We’re there

As you may have guessed from the last two items, I’m in Seattle now, joining Lisa who’s been here since our closing on Tuesday. The house is…well, a little empty until our furniture gets here, but we’re starting to get things whipped into shape.

Lisa is currently deadheading some of the approximately one kajillion flowers in the back yard. Feels weird but good being a homeowner—and feels very good having WiFi (of course the base station came with me and not on the moving van), even if it’s another week until broadband. Gotta run to Costco and stock up now.

Weird parallel universe

Written Friday night about 11:10 PM EDT: I just spent a few minutes talking with my former seatmate. He had moved up a row and across an aisle, as we were sitting in the “narrow seats.” From there, I saw with amusement, he was making a wedding video on his TiBook with iMovie.

I just got into St. Louis—hey, there’s a first time for everything. Sitting in the gate waiting for Seattle. I found the only electrical outlet in the place. The other outlet is occupied by an iBook power cord.

But there’s no wireless signal, and there wasn’t any in Logan either. I have fallen into a parallel world where Apple laptops are almost as ubiquitous as WiFi hubs are in our, more connected universe.

Syncretism at 30,000 feet

Written Friday night around 9:25 PM EDT: I’m currently about 30,000 feet in the air, having left Boston behind about fifty minutes ago. I’m not thinking about Boston. On the contrary, I’m losing myself in Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum and Sonic Youth’s Murray Street. I’ve just finished reading Chapter 33 in the section called “Hesed,” in which the narrator Casaubon describes the taking of his girlfriend Amparo in a Brazilian syncretic rite of possession by spirits, while listening to “Rain on Tin” and drinking a glass of American Airline’s “house merlot.” Powerful syncretic ingredients, these. You find yourself drawn in…

I’ve always done this, seeking explanation or maybe escape in external sources when major things like life changes are happening. Maybe that’s why I’m a link-pointing blogger. It’s not enough to proceed from first causes, what you yourself know, like those diarists with their LiveJournals; you have to connect yourself syncretically to everything around you. Maybe that’s the difference between Radio users and other bloggers. We aggregate, synthesize, syncretize right out of the box.

As Eco’s narrator says at the beginning of Chapter 34:

Diotallevi was to talk to us often about the late cabalism of Isaac Luria, in which the orderly articulation of the Sefirot was lost. Creation, Luria held, was a process of divine inhalation and exhalation, like anxious breathing or the action of a bellows.

“God’s asthma,” Belbo glossed.

Good man, that Belbo. He’s a born blogger. Give him a login on Instapundit.

The sunset and two twenty-something sarcastic youths are in the seats to my right; the window and the wing beyond, and darkness, to my left. Ahead the West Coast, my vocation (or is it an avocation?), behind the East Coast, my roots and my life to date.

I am breathing clearly, no anxiousness at all. Am I still creating?

Amazing how slow a day is…

Amazing how slow a day is when you’re killing time. I have an 8 pm flight that I’m trying to get changed to something earlier—so Lisa doesn’t have to pick me up at 1 am.

In the meantime, I’ve: had donuts with Charlie and Carie (on whose floor, surrounded by boxes, I slept last night—their lease is up today), seen part of “About a Boy” (giving up halfway through—I don’t think I can watch a Hugh Grant movie again without restraints), browsed through Borders and HMV, had lunch at John Harvards (where the bartender very nicely spotted me a free pint of Pale Ale as a farewell gift) and tea at Tealuxe. In other words, messed about. I hope the flight can be changed, as I’m running out of ways to mess about.

Packed, loaded, and ready to go

Ten hours later…

The moving team took a long time because their central office screwed up the permit. The van spent ten hours double parked, which meant that one of the three movers had to spend all day with the van.

Enough. The van is loaded, I am spending the night on someone else’s couch, and I have to wait until 8 pm to fly out tomorrow night. Gotta fill a last day in Boston. I think I know how to do it.

Waiting for the packers

The apartment has everything off the walls and most of the stuff that’s trash has been thrown out. Now I’m just waiting for the packers. It feels weird to be here and dialed up rather than wireless. I decided I’m carrying the base station with me, though. No way I’m going two weeks without wireless in Seattle, even if it’s still 56K.

Hell is late June in South Boston

Yahoo! tells me it’s 92° F outside, and I believe it. I was just lost for about two hours in South Boston trying to find the AT&T Broadband office so I could return our cable box.

South Boston is a little different from Boston proper. I walked the wrong way (thanks to bad directions) over a bridge that led over a railroad boneyard and under I-93, and to the home of the Boston Herald before I found my mistake. The drop location was on West Broadway, but I had just looked up the same number on Broadway—the street number didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop Yahoo from cheerily giving me directions on how to get to the grittiest part of the road under the I-93 overpass. Then the AT&T wireless operator couldn’t give me a direct number for the drop location, so I had to go through menu hell and patiently explain to the “customer service representative” that I just wanted to know how to get to the drop location.

Eventually I got turned around and headed the right way on West Broadway, past the boarded up church and parish of St. Peter and St. Paul (est. 1844), a bakery (closed), a low income housing complex (boarded up and quiet), a liquor store with elaborate murals for independence for Northern Ireland and the Dropkick Murphys logo. I finally found the drop location, turned in the box and remotes, and turned around and started back. Thank God for the otherwise unremarkable sub shop along the way back, or I’m pretty sure I would have dropped dead of heatstroke before getting back to the T.

Whose bright idea was it to make cable dependent on set top boxes that had to be returned to the cable company when terminating service? Every AT&T Broadband location I’ve ever found is in the ass end of nowhere.

Preparing for the move

Today is the last day before the packers come. By late Friday all our worldly possessions will be on a truck and I’ll be in Seattle.

Had a really good evening with George, Charlie, Carie, and Jessica last night at the Sunset Grill. I’ll definitely miss hanging out with these folks. But I’m looking forward to the chance to make new memories in Seattle.

Anywhere I lay my head, boys

Ben Hammersley: Whereever I lay my URL. Ben, a writer for O’Reilly, woke up one morning and realized that geography didn’t matter in his job. So he and his wife moved to Florence and cut their cost of living in half. Bastard. 🙂

That’s me, someday, maybe. Then again, moving off the east coast is traumatic enough. Lisa has one of those “geography independent” jobs, but it’s not always that simple. If you’re not a totally independent producer, like a writer or independent software developer, you have to have a really high level of trust with your coworkers to make it happen. I don’t take what Lisa is doing for granted for a second, though I don’t tell her that often enough.

[Thanks for the link, Doc.]

Almost forgot…

I had a brief but rewarding lunch with my friend and former roommate Greg yesterday. He’s on his way up to Maine (for the first time) to do some legal consulting work for a group up there. It’s funny—it’s been at least two years, maybe more, since I last saw Greg, but we hadn’t changed a bit. Politics, music, edging around talking about life.

I’ve often said Greg needs to get a blog. It looks like he’s come close over the years, with stints at ePinions and various other media, but he’s never bitten the bullet. Now would be the time, Greg.

Batching it

Lisa is on her way to sign the papers for the house closing. I stay in Boston this week and wait for the packers and movers to come, and run any miscellaneous errands we’ve forgotten about. Yes, I’m batching it. (I follow Martin Amis’s spelling, from The Information, here, because baching it looks too much like I’ll be playing fugues. But then again, you never know.)

Score one for due process

New York Times: Case Against Seven Tied to Group Labeled Terrorist Is Dismissed. The judge ruled that the Justice Department’s case against seven people accused of sending charitable donations to an Iranian military group that the State Department labels “terrorist” is “unconstitutional on its face.” This is a major repudiation of a 1996 antiterrorism law that criminalizes providing “material support” to “any foreign organization that the State Department deems a threat to national security.” Judge Robert M. Takasugi cites erosion of due process as the reason for the ruling:

…the law gives these groups “no notice and no opportunity” to contest their designation as a terrorist organization, a violation of due process, Judge Takasugi ruled.

“I will not abdicate my responsibilities as a district judge and turn a blind eye to the constitutional infirmities” of the law, Judge Takasugi wrote.

Because the government made its list of terrorist organizations in secret, without giving foreign groups a chance to defend themselves, the defendants “are deprived of their liberty based on an unconstitutional designation that they could never challenge,” he said.


Star-making machinery

Doc Searls really nails what’s wrong with the entertainment industry, aka “the star-making machinery,” and why it’s pulling every string it can to ensure that the web doesn’t walk on its turf, even if it means killing the web:

The entertainment industry is fundamentally about making stars. It isn’t just about entertaining people, except as an effect of the star system, which serves to entertain mass quantities of people. It’s about packaging celebrity as a product, causing appetites for it, and delivering mass quantities of stuff made appealing by it, for as long as any variety of it might last. And doing it over and over and over again.

Nothing wrong with that, by the way. Just something wrong with nothing but that.

Which is why the CARP/LOC ruling is so awful and wrong. It’s about maintaining the incumbent star-making machinery that starts with the recording industry and works its way through commercial broadcasting, mass market advertising, arena performance events and cross-promotion through the whole mess of it.