Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

A journal entry, entitled “happy February”.

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I opened a text editor with nothing particularly in mind.
I suppose I wanted to write down what happened, but it wasn’t particularly clear to me what that was.

I guess I should start at the beginning.

It was yesterday. I woke up, with my usual hangover symptoms – not the broken brain and crushing pain in the skull that many report, just an incredibly sore neck. I don’t know what it is about me that makes my hangovers highly local in that manner. I mean, no matter what I drink, or take, the results are the same. My neck, on the right side, just where it joins my skull, hurts like hell. It’s a muscle pain, not an ‘oh god, I’ve broken bits of myself I’d rather keep functional’ pain. It’s kind of useful, in some respects, because I’m immediately functional. But really it sucks, because it makes the best kind of hangover activity, sitting on the couch and watching crap kung fu movies or playing videogames, much more difficult to prosecute. Is prosecute the right word there? I think it might be, but I’m not sure. I like the sound of it, though. ‘I’m going to prosecute some hungover videogames today!’ A fine plan, no-one could argue with it.

Unless, I guess, they were your boss, and it was tuesday, and they really needed you to come to work.

Which it was. I have to cancel monday night karaoke, I’m too young to get fired.

So I went to work. I took some neurofen and a hot as hell shower beforehand, which usually works to clear up the neckover.

On the bus to work, I played a few rounds of puzzle quest. Nothing serious, you know, just enough to make sure my brain is in working order and to imprint floating geometric patterns behind my eyes. I can’t play puzzle quest before I go to sleep, because I lie there for hours trying to find optimal moves on boards which shift as I cast my attention around them, and don’t react correctly to moves which I choose. This is somewhat distressing to the logic-and-rules oriented half of my brain, and prevents it from shutting down correctly, which makes me sleep badly, which gives me a pain in the neck. But doesn’t make me tired. Just sore neck, like I have a hangover.

That’s kind of weird, actually. Like my body has decided that the only way to make me pay attention to it is to literally be a pain in my neck, and rely on my rules and logic side to figure out exactly which biological norm I’ve contravened and take steps to prevent it.

It doesn’t work, because I just keep doing it, and buy more neurofen, but I guess it’s a good strategy, if you’re a body with a brain which pays little attention to subtle signs like growling stomachs, fuzzy eyes, deadened reaction times, etc. I wonder how long it’ll be before our peripheral nervous systems evolve their own communication organs and start yellng shit at us when we’re being dumb, like “Hey! Asshole! you’ve had enough! one more tequila and I’m gonna turn us inside out, messily!”.

Heh.

That’d be pretty funny. And inconvenient. You’d get it yelling stuff like “hot damn! go stick your dick in that!” in the middle of lectures. Stupid unruly nervous system. You just wait until we can mediate you out of existence. I’ve got all the nerve endings I need right here in my skull.

Plus, who taught you to speak like that? Do you have access to my ears? That’s kind of freaky.

Uh, yeah. That couple sentences can probably be safely ignored.

Anyway, so I get to work. I go through the usual security rigmarole of having my DS booted up to make sure there’s no recording software implanted on it, not that they’d know if there was, being technical illiterates, the gate guys, and for good reason. But there’s no big red button marked ‘record’ anywhere, so it’s good to go. I swap my phone out for one of the work phones, which is a shitty old thing with no features whatsoever, but also no camera, which is really what they want to prevent (like, we all need to be contactable at all times, so we need phones. And we get paid well enough and are geeky enough that they can’t expect us not to have cool toys. So this whole swap your crap for some other crap thing, every morning). I don’t bring a laptop because you have no idea how much hassle that is. God.

So, inside, and now I’m probably breaking an NDA, but since no-one will ever read this anyway, given my circumstances, I guess it’s not really a big deal. Maybe if there’s a review panel somewhere monitoring my situation, I’ve just blown it, but I reckon not. Hey, if you guys are listening, I’m more use to you alive.

haha. I kid, I kid.

So, inside. The Receptionist directs me to my office, which is convenient, because it’s moved again, to the fifth floor. I was on seven the day before. I guess I’ve pissed off a director or something. Monday night karaoke is supposed to be safe place, where you can drunkenly say whatever the hell you want, but some of the directors are bitches.

If any of the directors are reading this, I didn’t mean that. It’s for, uh, some kind of narrative effect. I guess I’m trying to set up a conflict of some kind, even if it’s not a direct physical conflict. Perhaps I’m trying to build an image of myself as ideologically unsuitable for the corporate lifestyle, to garner sympathy with my readers, who, while nonextant, would probably be non-corp if they were real.

Or lawyers. I guess they might be lawyers. Man, that’d be good.

(see, I’m doing it again!)

I get in the lift and swipe my card. It’d take me to the fifth floor anyway, but it’s disorienting to have that happen without Reception telling you beforehand. I’ve seen guys just kind of standing there, staring, lost, after they get moved from eighteenth to second. I’ve seen guys get hellva scared when they don’t stop on three and move on up towards the top. I was that guy, once. I had a corner office on twenty.

But, now, five. I get out, and my whole department is there. Which is both bad and interesting. Bad, because it means I’m late, or they’re all early, which is functionally the same thing. Interesting because it means that whatever caused my office move was probably not me. Not unless I fucked up really bad.

And they all turn to see me enter. And they all bare their teeth and run right the fuck for me.

The discipline in our company is pretty amazing. It happens every now and then that an entire department will go feral, but they’ll all still come to work every day, go wherever reception tells them, then run amok for nine hours, then go home. I mean, sure, the going to where we’re told is inculcated at an early age for us. But working overtime, when you’re bug-fuck crazy? It’s impressive. I’m impressed.

The first guy hits me full in the forehead with his upper teeth. It’s Jimbo, goddamn no-chin Jimbo, and he’s launched himself through the air like a human javelin, upper teeth for my forehead.

I blacked out.

Which is for the best, because the video footage shows me getting mauled pretty comprehensively. Fortunately, the autoguards are triggered on potential head injury, so they were called in as soon as Jimbo’s incisors lodged between my supercilliary arches. Nice one, Jimbo. Way to make the department look incompetent. Everyone knows that if you go feral, you have to eat them from the feet up.

So, now I’m sitting here, watching my death on video on my internal HUD. Thanks to the autoguards, none of my brain is actually ripped out through my eye sockets, or anything, though there was some frontal and occipital lobe bruising due to goddamn Jimbo’s goddamn facebite. The bruising has been edited out in the upload, they tell me, but I feel a little different anyway. I’m not really cut out to be a brain in an electronic jar.

Plus, these puzzle quest visual overlays are never, ever going away. The next couple centuries of indentured AI hiveminding are going to be really crap.


Draft of a story. It’s short, I know, but that’s how I like them. I think it’s interesting to kind of allude to a world that’s different to ours but not make it entirely explicit how the differences work – it leaves room and food for the imagination.

anyway!

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Written by Danoot

September 16, 2008 at 12:31 pm

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