Moved to Tumblr

March 9, 2013

I can’t take WP any longer. It’s just too frustrating to use. New stuff is appearing at:

http://thefsb.tumblr.com/

Oh boo hoo. I’ve been snubbed by some algorithm at Google.

You’d be sad to see me go, huh?

Well, since I’ve never managed to figure out any use for Google+, Buzz, Reader or Picasa, I shall not be sad to see these go.

Bye bye!

Newslie illegally spammed me and I assume is illegally spamming many others.

I received an email properly addressed to me as “To: Firstname Lastname <user@domain.com>” and clearly shown as “Newsle <invites@newslemail.com>” with a subject line: “Subject: Firstname – See news about Person 1, Person 2, Person 3, Person 4” where each person is the Facebook account name of someone that is a friend of mine.

Evidently Newslie has my name and email address, which they have successfully associated with my Facebook account, and they have obtained at least part of my list of friends in Facebook.

This is worrying:

  1. I never had any relationship with Newslie. This was the first I had heard of them. So I did not give them my email or permission to send me email. Hence the message was illegal spam.
  2. I never authorized Facebook to allow access to my account information in Facebook to Newslie or a 3rd part app that has any relationship with Newslie that I know of. And I have extremely restrictive privacy settings in Facebook.

Amazon SES is Newslie’s email service provider so the first thing I did was send an email:

To: abuse@amazonaws.com
Subject: Illegal spam from Amazon SES user
Message: The attached email was sent to an address owned by myself. I have no relationship with the sender (From: Newsle ) and I never gave this sender permission to send me email on this or any other address. The address must have been scraped off the web, or another online service or have been bought from a spam email list vendor. This behavior is illegal.

(With my .sig contact info.)

Next I wrote this blog.

Now I will have to find some other way to draw attention to Newslie’s unscrupulous and illegal activities.

Unless it has a hardware fault, a computer only ever does exactly what it is instructed. If it gave an error message, it was instructed to do so. Frustration at that is absurd. Frustration arises in the experience of not being able to identify which instructions should be corrected. So frustration at error messages, programs or computers is an error of perception. The object of such frustration, if any, would more correctly be somebody’s incompetence. If the chances are that this incompetence is ones own then the frustration is especially unhealthy. Meditation might mitigate the frustration at and, more importantly, aid acceptance of ones inevitable incompetence.

500px. What is fine art?

September 13, 2012

Welcome to #photogeeks, the home of “Tough Love” school of photo critique

11:52 thefsb   nFFF: don’t get me started on teh 500px “house aesthetic”

11:52 virhilo   and be well done in all other ways not neceserty post

11:52 thefsb   i really don’t like it

11:53 thefsb   it’s often more digital fine art than photography

12:05 Morinaka   what’s their house aesthetic?

12:09 virhilo   thefsb: just curious(not native english) what’s difference between fine art and art?

Good question.

First: What is art? Hard to say. A few concepts I personally find useful:

All art is human artifice. All art is an attempt to communicate something ineffable. Anything perceived as art *is* art.

No tangible object can be said to *be* art. Art comes into temporary existence only through the act of perceiving it, which may also be while it is being created or imagined. Like truth, art does not exist in any materialist ontology except in the minds of humans considering propositions.

Next: fine art is a tradition in two and three dimension visual arts. It is not really categorical although polar opposites such as illustration vs. fine art do exist. Good examples (that I love) include Breugel’s Icarus, both Vellasquez and Bacon’s Pope Innocent, Ernst’s L’Ange du foyer, Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa.

Various things that can be art but not fine art: poetry, music, decorated pottery, the photography of Weegee, Cartier-Bresson, Graham Watson.

Regarding 500px, there appears to me to be a coherent aesthetic emerging from the front page of that web site. I can’t easily describe it. The photos are highly proficient in their technical aspects. Extremely dramatic. Unnatural and/or hyper-natural in general appearance. Very digital-looking. The flow of this stuff has been accelerating in recent years as various tools (both hard and soft wares) have become affordable. As a meme, this aesthetic has taken root in many photogs’ minds and is replicating rapidly through the available population.

This is an aesthetic of fine art through digital manipulation (of digitally captured high-res images). Consequently it is less “photographic” to me.

And I don’t like it.

I am also into music and the current situation in digital photography reminds me of when Pro Tools became affordable and everyone was overusing the same popular plugins. You could distinctly hear them. That’s when I found it necessary to distance myself from digital enhancements and refocus my efforts on creation and originality.

Well, it should work.

September 5, 2012

When I moved to the USA and got a job at a big corporation I got my first experience with IT support people. They would come to someone’s desk, ask to sit down at the computer, do some things and then say, “Well, it should work.”

I always loved that.

Since I worked at tech firms, there were usually people around who liked to show off their computer skills. And you could often get them to say it too. Naturally what these people really want is to demonstrate that they are skilled and you are stupid—oneupmanship, after all, is one of the few true joys of office life. So getting them to say “Well, it should work,” while demonstrating their skills was just the best.

I have no idea what my kilo result was. Bad, I’m sure. it always is.

The scratch race was awesome. Fast enough throughout to make attacks hard. As I expected Matt Lasker and Jeff Palter (Cycle Loft Velo Masters) attacked in sequence looking to get away or failing that, soften the field. But the pace was too high and neither attack stuck. So we were all together going into the sprint. I was not thinking and ended up doing my last turn on the front as the sprint started, leaving me in the dust. I don’t have a sprint this year, not even a little bit but I might have got omnium points if I’d had better position. For example, Chris Namie wasn’t stronger than me but managed 3rd by being a smart rider and having the right wheel as the sprint began.

Scratch race

The points race was 20 km with sprints every 2. I got 1 point on the first two sprints but it was clear this strategy wasn’t going to work. I led out the 3rd and got swarmed over. As the others sat up after the sprint I figured I had nothing to gain from staying with them so I kept my speed up, rode under them and away while they were gasping for breath after the sprint. Matt Lasker bridged up to me and after a couple of laps was ready to share work. I promised not to attack him on the sprints (I knew I had no chance at that, so the silver medal was my goal) if he shared the work to get us a lap up, which we got fairly quickly. Back in the main bunch, I did the same attack again after the next sprint, again Matt came with, and again we got a decent gap. Later, Jeff Palter (same team as Matt) bridged up and he and Matt attacked on the next sprint. I had told Jeff not to bother because I wasn’t going to contest for sprint points (it would change nothing only tire me out to try). But they did it anyway and as a result Jeff was gassed while I pressed on with the highest steady pace I calculated I could sustain to the end of the race (as I had been doing since my first attack). For some reason Matt stayed with me. By rights, since Matt had, by this point, already secured the win, he should have stayed with Jeff to help him get silver over me. But he didn’t.

I’m really pleased with that silver medal in the points race. There were 3 riders clearly better than me overall and 5 much better at sprinting. But I managed silver by playing the only cards I had right and maximizing the gain from the opportunities luck gave me. I’m genuinely proud of this medal and I won’t forget this race.

Team sprints were ad hoc. I rode with Sean Silva and Chris Namie and we got the second fastest time but were relegated for an illegal exchange.

I got a PR in the Individual Pursuit, but it was only good enough for 5th in the 40+ field.

I rode for Cycle Loft Velo Masters in the Team Pursuit and we got gold with what was, for us, a rather slow ride. But it was nicely done and I enjoyed it very much. Getting a TP right is an awesome feeling.

Team pursuit

I didn’t race the match sprint tournament because I’m absolutely crap at sprints and don’t enjoy doing them. I like watching them.

There weren’t enough riders for the Madison, boo hoo hoo! 😦

Elite championship is up in two weeks.

“What will Mark Zuckerberg do next? Who cares! You do, in an involuntary, Pavlovian way…”

1st person I really, really want to punch

2nd person I really, really want to punch

3rd person I really, really want to punch

Code quality

July 10, 2012

“The contract we have with the machine is that if the program is in any aspect, at any time, and in any way, imperfect with respect to any of its inputs, the computer has license to do anything it wants. And it can often do the worst possible thing, and at a time of its own choosing, which could be the worst possible time. And when that occurs the fault is not the computer’s, it is the programmer’s. So our programs have to be perfect.” — http://vimeo.com/25606006

“There are always going to be stupid people who don’t want to get it right, and for them, it’s really good that JSHint is available.”

Google doesn’t offer a way to hide it but you can get rid of the obnoxious gratuitous fluff with a custom user stylesheet.

On a Mac, this is where to put the style rules:
~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/User StyleSheets/Custom.css

You can use a text editor to get it in there or do something like:
cat > ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/Default/User\ StyleSheets/Custom.css <<EOT
#card-slider-frame,
#recently-closed-menu-button,
#dot-list {
display: none !important;
}
EOT

Presented by CCB International
Marblehead, MA Sunday, March 27, 2011 8:35am

I had a small mechanical just before the start so I was at the back at the start. But I got to the front quickly and after the hill, drove it fairly hard for a lap or so, hoping for an attack to hop on or see team colors in. Thereafter I kept close to the front, trying to keep the pressure on when I could. The mantra being: split the field, shed riders, maybe a break goes one of us can join. Above all, thinking of Cav’s great remark, no racing like juniors.

One guy soloed off. I can’t recall if I was too gassed to go with or didn’t believe he was worth it or what. The pack let him go and so did I. Later a couple of others went, I have the same lack of memory as to why I didn’t go with. I regard these as lost opportunities and mistakes to be learned from, see below. All other attempts were shut down real fast.

A bit later, on lap 5, I attempted to bridge. I jumped on the downhill after the yacht club and had a good gap after I was around the turn from Harbor onto Ocean. I backed off to threshold to climb the hill. But I was hurting bad. I had gone too hard — unnecessarily hard! — to get the gap. The PT file shows I was over 700W for about 15sec before attempting the hill at hi-Threshold. Then, seeing the big gap to the break, I lost courage, faltered, looked back, found a but more pluck and hit it anew, but again anaerobically, for about another 25sec, enough to get me half way to the top. Riding that hard hurt so much all my beliefs evaporated and I sat up.

After that I made some efforts to pull in the break with the pack. I don’t recall the catches clearly or when Gerald Harris of Team Harris (I’m guessing unrelated to the Cyclery in Newton) got away. I remember him coming up and being at the front a while and then he wound up the winner on a solo break. Awesome riding!

Last chance. I tried to rest on the 2nd last lap and get position on the last. I was 2nd wheel behind Brier going into the last turn and it stayed that way to the bottom of the hill. But going up it I got passed by 15 to 20 riders and won a couple of places back after the top. Slaughtered.

While I’m sure the wheel suckers who made top 10 are more pleased with themselves than me, I’ll take it. I did most of what I set out to do.

But my skills of the break are lacking. I screwed up in two ways and learned good lessons. 1: Don’t drain myself with an unnecessarily hard jump, especially if what I really need a solid VO2max effort to get properly away. 2: Sometimes soloists win. Why not go with? I didn’t have anything better to do.

I feel some satisfaction from being active rather than passive but being smart sure would be a bonus. Driving the speed of the race up is a pretty stupid strategy and is unlikely to serve you or your team.

Anyway, I had fun. I love racing. What’s up next? Ninigret on Sat or Myles on Sun or both?

The cassette!

November 18, 2010

I spent some time digging to see if I had that cassette that I mentioned in the earlier post about Majella Stockhausen. Look what I found:

Unfortunately the case is empty. I have not located the cassette itself.

Healing

October 15, 2010

The pain of Tue night and Wed dissipated surprisingly quickly. I didn’t take any narcs Thu, only a couple of Alieve, and today nothing. From the worst experience of pain of my life to a tolerable throb in about a day.

Now I feel tired a lot. I sleep 9-10 hours at night and take one or two naps during the day.

The dressing is off. The incision is seven inches long and messy looking—mostly still covered in steri-strips.

D2R2 really delivers

August 26, 2008

  • Photo gallery below, after my comments

I first heard about D2R2 while riding a brevet in 2006. I think it was the BBS 400 km. I was with two riders who spoke of it. I think they were Ted Lapinski and Russ Loomis. They talked about the ardors and cruelty of the ride, the relentlessly steep rough roads, the pain and suffering, the exorbitant length and breadth of the thing, the sadism and masochism, and the DNF rate. I listened while they went on. And on. And I listened on. Eventually I had some sort of a brain malfunction, perhaps an overload of the brag detection centers, and I blurted out, “So why would anyone do this other than to prove how much pain and hardship he can endure? Is that the whole point of it?” I think it was something like that.

Ted, I think it was, corrected me. I had it all wrong. It’s a beautiful ride, one of the nicest in the region, one of the nicest he’s done. The views – splendid; the roads – quiet; the terrain – varied; the sights – all overwhelmingly picturesque. I immediately regretted my outburst and made apologetic sounds (uh huh, mm mmm, right, yeah) as though I understood. Since then I heard a lot more riders talk about D2R2, usually about its vicious brutality.

I didn’t get to ride D2R2 in 2006 or 7 but this year, 8, I did. Clearly I was going to ride the 100 km variant. I wasn’t going to spoil what sounds like a very enjoyable ride by choosing the 170 km death march. I know how my mind works: concern about finishing would cause me to focus on the difficulties and finishing and would distract me from enjoying the ride. I don’t need to drive a gasoline-fueled motor car four and a half hours round trip  from Boston for that. Besides, the nine o’clock start for the 100 km is quite civilized.

So what can I tell you about the ride besides the already well known? I used a road bike with 35 mm cyclocross tires, standard Shimano triple (30t granny) and 12-27 cassette. It was fine. I used the 30/27 ratio a lot. I put SPD pedals on for this ride but I’d probably have been alright with KEO too. I unclipped on the climbs only twice. Once, when a stick got caught in my chain-set and the chain dropped off inwards. The other time, close to the first climb, was more educational.

There was a tight group at the front on the flat roads before the first climb. They made me nervous. It was like I feel on CRW centauries – too many of the riders (a few is enough) in the front group looked more eager stay attached than skilled. There were a lot of skinny tires in that group. I let a gap develop without going so slow that I got swamped by those behind me. In short, I wanted some space. But the gap wasn’t enough. On the first climb, which, in the D2R2 genre, is steep and rough, the lead group got off and walked. It only takes a few riders to put a foot down (and discover, teetering, that they can’t get stated again) to block the road. I slowed down as much as I could and looked for a gap to get through. One opened and I went for it, only for another cyclist to ride into it ahead of me stop, right there, to get off and walk. Sigh.

After that I spent way too much of my attention on other riders rather than on enjoying where I was and what I was doing. Things only settled down in terms of overcrowding after the first water stop.

Lesson learned: give the leaders a few minutes head start. Or ride the route some other day.

D2R2 is a swell ride. Really lovely. It’s picturesque to the point of absurdity in places: vistas seemingly composed for the photo shoots of exaggeratedly pastoral picture postcards and glossy Vermont tourist calendars; the sort of views that flat-landers might sprinkle croissant crumbs over in the Sunday Boston Globe while reading the tips on where and when to find the best leaf-peeping.

Also remarkable is how the route avoids roads with much traffic. This was impressive. We touched Route 2 briefly and that was about it. But beware: these dirt roads are not entirely devoid of traffic and some of the locals are fast. Don’t assume and don’t, as I witnessed a couple of times, take a blind bend riding fast downhill on the left.

Anyway, I loved it. Immensely. D2R2 really delivers. I want to do it again soon when leaves are turning.

I recommend it to anyone who’s ok with steep climbs and rough dirt roads and who likes overlooks with old-timey country goodness. Don’t let the D2R2 war stories put you off – it’s not that hard. Nor do I think that’s what this ride is about. Certainly the 100 km route isn’t. It’s relatively hilly by Massachusetts standards in that there is proportionately less flat and gentle riding than is typical. But it’s far from mountainous and none of the climbs are long.

 

 

A selection of the photos that were on the CF card in my camera after the party July 5th 2008. Since lots of people used the camera and I have no idea who took what, I take responsibility for none of them!

 

On July 5th 2008, 5 cyclists including myself joined Melinda Lyon on a very lovely bike ride of her design. It was 83 miles with about 20 of them on unpaved surfaces ranging from decent dirt roads to rivers deeper than my knees and stuff I probably wouldn’t be able to do even on my mountain bike.

It was one of the most enjoyable bike rides I’ve done. The route took in the best and the variety of beauty available in that corner of Massachusetts. The roads ranged from nice for cycling to top-notch. The off-road stuff was entirely away from traffic and, it seemed, hardly used (why not?). Among us, only Ted had a mountain bike, the rest on road bikes with wide knobby tires. Young John made it through the tricky bits on his Surly LHT, a touring bike with absurdly long wheelbase, much better than the rest of us. We took the whole thing at a gentle pace that caused no stress. I had a really swell time. I hope Melinda runs it again in the fall.

The ride passed by the famous Clam Box in Ipswitch. Here’s a high-res of the parking-lot scene: click the thumbnail.

 

The HATE Society

May 28, 2008

[I wrote the following a few years ago. I sat down to write cathartically about my hate for human behavior but this came out instead. It serves as a reasonable statement of some of my philosophical positions wrapped in some gratuitous self satire.]

When I was a student, a friend and I wanted to found a student group called the HATE society. This acronym stood for hedonists, atheists, temporalists and existentialists. I thought we were very clever to think this up. The cleverness of the name and our self-satisfaction were conveniently hateful. The student society idea never progressed. Perhaps that was because students, student life and student societies were all hateful, or so it seemed at the time. Our university had seven different communist student societies that appeared to spend most of their energy warring with each other. What was our society supposed to do? Meet in licensed premises to discuss and develop ideas relating to the insignificance of existence and the compensations of nihilistic self-indulgence? Maybe the idea of the HATE society, despicable on so many levels, never really stood a chance.

Hedonism is decadent and hedonists are repellant. The idea, that the only worthwhile use of one’s time on this globe is self-indulgence, felt very reasonable. But what to do with this knowledge and how to be self-indulgent was problematic — where to get the money, for one thing. So practice of hedonism turned out to be hard to sustain. The affected swagger of self-confidence retreating in the enduring onslaught of self-doubt.

I was taught that atheism is acceptance of materialism and belief in the non-existence of the supernatural. I was brought up by atheist parents to be a skeptic. As a teenager I had a fling, I’m embarrassed to admit, thought it turned out to be quite educational, with evangelical Baptists before returning to atheism as a university student. Now I consider myself a died-in-the-wool, table-thumping (in the absence of a bible) atheist. I’d like to consider myself a fundamentalist in this regard but that doesn’t fit with my hate for credulity. But I feel comfortable regarding myself as a skeptical but devout atheist.

Temporalist is a word I made up to fit the acronym. We needed a T. Collins’ dictionary gave me: “temporal — 2. of or relating to secular as opposed to spiritual or religious affairs”. Just add an -ism and, bob’s your transsexual auntie (as we liked to say), a new philosophical movement was born: the philosophy of a kind of secularism specifically opposed to spirituality and religion. Sounded good to me.

Existentialist thought occupied me from my teenage years. I suppose there’s nothing unusual in that. I eventually came to the view that attempting to answer the principal existential questions is futile but that the questions themselves are universally important. We all feel compelled to address existential questions and the non-existence of answers causes almost unbearable tension. The tension involves yearning and searching for any explanation. Credulity combines with sham existential answers to bring release of the tension. I experienced this with those very loving Baptists.

At the social level existential yearning and release propels all manner of outlandish ideas and practices despite their demonstrable nonsensicality. Beliefs such as god or nationalism and practices such as prayer or war, all remarkably durable ideas despite their very apparent weaknesses, are cast into existence by the quasi-magical power of existential tension. Sure, other factors contribute and other human beliefs and practices aren’t so harmful but that doesn’t contradict me. Existential tension has a lot to answer for.

Though my existentialist tension was never released, over the years I slowly gained confidence in acceptance of the materialist answer. There is no supernatural supervisor or a place to go after death of the body. We are just more-or-less complex arrangements of matter, ambulant zones of reduced entropy organized out of the environmental chaos of matter (dust) by intricate cellular processes, destined to return to dust when the machine wears out or is destroyed. Brain function is a result of a specific material organization and consciousness is an aspect of brain function.

So my life, thought and perception was material and of no more consequence to the universe than a peanut, a star or a molecule of potassium bromide. Nature was wholeheartedly disinterested in me. Compared to nature, and so to time and space, the phenomenon of my existence was an irrelevance of unimaginable proportion. I may be of matter but matter, apart from a few other pieces of it beside myself, couldn’t care less. Celia Green considered it remarkable that many humans actually appear to retain their sanity when confronted with this utterly inconceivable yet fatally significant thought.

Consciousness, cognition and language interaction, being traits of the human species, along with love, credulity and war, are therefore based in matter. Other than us, nothing within or beyond the universe, nothing natural or super-natural, nothing at all could possibly give a care to my behaviors and thoughts.

At death it’s just over. The material consequences of an individual human existence — a corpse, a photo, a poem or a firebombed city — persist for a while along with some memories, perhaps. All will disintegrate into the dust in their own course. I find it pleasing to think that if I were to create a large hard, smooth object of fully cured vitreous porcelain, it would be my longest lasting legacy. My life memorialized by a toilet bowl.

The persistent existence, beyond my individual human life, of morality, values, humanism etc. is interesting but is also material in nature since these are ideas and thus an aspect of brain function. The phenomenon of their existence outside of the self is partly realistic but also misleading for they exist, not quite as matter but as the dynamic state of certain specific matter, namely a collection of human minds (plural). Persistent ideas propagate from one mind to others. Humans imagine them, injected into the “hive mind” (the currently fashionable notion of the mesh of human minds interconnected by various languages) where they are sustained by the energetic motors of existential tension and pervasive credulity to evolve as memes through time and societies. I admit being complicit, in my own way, of sustaining and nurturing the memes.

I don’t really want to judge our established memes. They have no responsibility for themselves. But I do anyway. I would prefer to practice judgment only of their applicability to me and within my sphere of influence. But beyond that, I can’t deny that I love them, hate them or ignore them as capriciously as the rest of us. Presumably this is my relationship with humanity more than it is with humanity’s ideas.

Unquestionably, the well-established memes can have utility and some have awesome power. They can be deployed to organize populations for war or for peaceful co-existence, to generate wealth for individuals or for societies, to exploit and impoverish or to educate, empower and cure disease.

There’s also no question that they exist. God exists. Heaven exists. They were here before I was and will be here after I am gone. But they are still only ideas in the minds of people, products of material evolution and liable to extinction with our species. They have no other existence.

I found the truth of all this inescapable. Deny it and I am forced to deny the basic axiom of materialism, denial of which is denial of empiricism and reason. Despite sometimes wanting to, I could never bring myself to do so, at least not since renouncing that teenage thing with the ever-loving Baptists. Natural philosophy and empiricism compels me to accept materialism and the non-existence of the super-natural just as they compel me to accept that the sun shines on the earth. I can’t prove the truth of either, nobody can, but the evidence is overwhelming.

So I applied materialism, and what follows from it, to some specific existential questions. Materialism, turning menacingly into an overbearing alter ego, didn’t answer my first one: why am I here? Instead he rebutted the question. “Who cares?” he said angrily. “Hardly anyone and nothing besides. That’s who! It doesn’t matter why you are here. That’s as irrelevant as why a leaf is here. It matters not why you are here but that you are here, how you got here and what you’re going to do about it.” [His emphasis, not mine.]

“But what you do is your own business,” materialism continued angrily, “yours alone and its a lie to say otherwise. It’s your job to figure out what you believe and what you do. Accept ideas from outside without all due consideration and you deny individual freedom and responsibility. All education, indoctrination and media are essentially authoritarian. Received wisdom isn’t. Feel free — turn yourself into an automaton programmed by your environment if you want. But uncritical acceptance of external ideas is credulity. So don’t come to me for tea and sympathy when received ideas abandon or fail you.”

So materialism, harsh as he was, didn’t answer my existential question before he stormed off. But he had unwittingly given an answer to what was going to be my next one: what is the nature of my freedom as a human? It was, perhaps, a meta-answer but it was a crucial one.

While I busy myself here, making stuff up for this essay, more or less, about my personal history (oh yeah, like you’ve never done it), humor me as I coin a name for the alter ego’s rebuttal. His philosophy of “materialist existentialism” never released my own existential tension but it was a handy framework for mulling over other questions.

For example, materialist existentialism readily allowed me to accept the worthlessness of many customary existential answers. I wasn’t going to talk myself into going to church like that pussycat Kierkegaard. And I wasn’t going to fret over the evil in the world — it doesn’t exist anyway, other than as a subjective individual evaluation of things — nor over the actions of others outside my sphere of influence. On the other hand, my new philosophy — not itself new, I presumed, but new to me — rebuked me sharply for being passive in the face of life and my environment, for not expanding my sphere of influence and striking out to actually do anything. Following my path of least resistance from school to a comfortably paid career, living a life with consequences that were barely measurable and, averaged over time and space, not necessarily positive, was an act of cowardice.

So materialism was a product of empiricism that led me inexorably to atheism while materialist existentialism bullied me into libertarianism (what you do and believe is your business and yours alone) and thus into secularism. Furthermore I chose to adopt temporalism — I invented it, I thought, so I might as well go first — because I disdained the spiritual and religious lies forever hurled at me. I suppose materialist existentialism could also justify hedonism, but I never had either the wealth or courage required.

Maybe the HATE society idea, that distant but still visible beacon of my studentey pretentiousness, wasn’t all that far from the mark after all. Only the hedonism bit didn’t work out — the rest turned out to be correct. Maybe now is the time for an update: replace hedonism with materialism to produce … the MATE society? Maybe revise this manuscript in front of me — getting rid of the first person singular and past tense — and there we have it: the MATE society manifesto. Come! Join us in the MATE society. We’ve got ideas, unoriginal perhaps, worn out even, but revitalized in a new style with all the passion of reformed HATE. Ideas ready to thrust into the minds of others in that fecund milieu of … um …

Perhaps in another 25 years, if the bits and bytes are still available, I can look back on this MATE society manifesto, like Krapp reviewing old tapes of his thoughts on reviewing even older tapes, and enjoy a chuckle over my mid-life post-studentey pretentiousness.