The Darkener's Console

You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Music in my Head —

Sometimes (lately especially) I’ll wake up with a song stuck in my head. It isn’t necessarily a song I’ve listened to recently. Tonight I fell asleep briefly and woke up to a Deftones song stuck in my head. I don’t know how long it’s been (months at least) since I heard the song. But earlier my wife was talking to me about Guns ‘n Roses being on Sirius XM Radio and that they were still touring at the moment. She brought up their website and their tour page said they were playing some shows with Deftones. I thought that was cool, but don’t recall even thinking of that song specifically either.

Sometimes I think my mind has memorized all music I’ve listened to and plays it back to me while I sleep.

Karamu Poutama —

Open your third eye,
And cry for the first time,
Feel the wonder unwind and medicate your mind,
Walk bare feet on the grass, breathe each breath, as if it were your last
Look to the future, step with the past, only way you miss it is by walking too fast.

Two eyes for lookin’
One eye for seein’
To stare into this shining light and open up the meaning, for feeling
This sight with open arms, be calm, no harm has to rest in your palms.

This is the beginning of your healing

Too many theives on the steal, too many walls up and blocking out whats real,
And as the morning shines with the sun rise I look into the light
And let it pour into my mind, yeah
Don’t bother trying to look for meaning,
When your head is pressed against the corporate ladders ceiling
That us just stealing, the moments from the homeless that
Believe a walk in natures more important than a building.

Watch his full set at LiveFeeds here.

The Future of Google Glass Style Devices —

I’d like to see Google Glass in a form factor that causes it to be nearly invisible.

The big hit to Glass was that it was obvious what it was and what its capabilities were. Google didn’t impress me in the “obviously you’re being recorded, look at this thing on my head” department. All of the technical capabilities, given I haven’t experienced one first-hand before, are very forward thinking and well thought out.

I find it only of a successive nature that this isn’t the end of the road for wearable recording devices. Not by a long shot – IMHO Glass was simply a proof of concept. Many times during the week do I wish I could just record a special moment of what I’m seeing and hearing. Not necessarily to upload and share, but as a convenient replacement for having to pull out a phone, unlock it, launch the camera app, then live the rest of said special moment vicariously through the abstraction of the weird and awkward phone camera app. This all takes away from the moment, which is irreplaceable.

3 Essentials for success in everyday wearable recording devices:

  • Make it invisible (so others aren’t distracted by it, therefore tainting the special moment).
  • Make it absolutely dead easy to start recording (i.e. do not allow it to distract from the special moment).
  • Make it private and secure (do not require cloud storage, or even network/Internet access – store locally!)

Carl Jung on Death and Dying —

“Look forward to the next day, as if he had to spend centuries…and then he lives hopefully. But when he is afraid, when he doesn’t look forward, he looks back, it petrifies him. He gets stiff, and he dies before his time. But when he’s living on, looking forward to the great adventure that is ahead, he lives, and that is about what their conscious is intending to do.” -Carl Jung

Somone hates me on Slashdot —

These days, it seems I can’t comment on any story without losing at least one modpoint. Doesn’t matter the contents, whether it’s a nice, watered-down, etc. comment, or what type of story I’m commenting on, almost instantly I go from 2 points to either 1 or 0. This has been happening for at least 2 years now. Someone’s got it out for me either on Slashdot or someone else with a huge collection of accounts that use collective modpoints to mod their foes down.

There’s gotta be something that can counter that. I’ve always liked Slashdot’s karma system, but it really seems at this point that someone’s figured it out and started abusing it on a massive scale.

Drain the Stale Chi —

Drain the Stale Chi
Tingles with the energy
Give it to the world
Inverse the hurt

Breathe in, let it sink in
Withdrawal from Mother Earth
She keeps me balanced
Slowly I gather up

Seldom moments become plenty
Slowing the mind creates time
The perception of reality
Is whatever I want it to be

Let me not forget this
As I plunge back into it
Keep me true, to you
Remember this

This energy
Bleeds tranquility
This energy
Bleeds tranquility
This energy…

Cellphones at Concerts —

You know what would work well for artists that perform at concerts who are annoyed at everyone pointing their cell phones at them? If they (or the venue) professionally recorded each concert in high quality and distributed it to each paying concert-goer. Why have a thousand shitty videos with shitty audio flooding YouTube when you could have a single, awesome looking/sounding one given to all, possibly included in ticket price? Then, at least, the artists would be re-connected with their fans by being able to see the whites of their eyes. I honestly don’t envy performers in that respect – I don’t want to look at a stadium full of camera lenses with people who love and are enjoying your music being blocked by them. I want to connect.

Carpet Ride —

Chris Cornell
Seems all the ones from
When I was young are

Seems that all who sung from
The heart soul and lungs aren’t

Is it true
That times are gone
For honest men?

And now even you
Won’t sing your songs

I’ll try to
Keep my head up high
Put my sorrows aside

I’ll find you
In the sky
On that carpet ride

I’ll try to
Keep my head up high
Put my sorrows aside

I’ll find you
In the sky
On that carpet ride

Something’s gotta give, but
There’s something in the way

Someone’s gotta live, brother
I think we’re being played

I think we’re being played…

Play to the Drummer —

I feel no dumber
It’s a sausage cucumber
I’ll take a number

You’ll never make it
And I can’t fake it
Don’t try and take it
No I’ll never

Play to the drummer
Play to the drummer
I’m winter to your summer
Guess I’m that much dumber
I’ll take a number

Dead Letter Feeling —

Ostracizing a pet goat
What am I worth today
Not much, says the salesman

I want to fly away
With the fuzzy bass
And an electric face

Keep it coming, randomly
I can’t suppose the supposedly
Gimme one more shot man
I can do what you want then

Fuck this abbreviation
I can’t take this asphyxiation
Let me breathe through this tube
Not much more than a plastic bag womb
Killer, traitor
Taking it down
Can’t stand it when a clown starts to frown
And I cant fill my head anymore
I’s gore, then a bore, to desensitize the masses
Take classes
Or smoke weed and pass it

Why can’t I be sedated
I’m overrated
Just a drunk in a stoner’s jacket
I whack this mole till it comes true
To you
To you
I’m through

Spray —

You don’t wanna talk
No you don’t wanna talk
Got your tail between your legs
Guess I put you in your place

What did I have to do
Were you convincing me
Or maybe just you
And the ones that used to know you, too

I get what you want
But you’re stuck in a loop
I get what you want
But you’re stuck in a loop
Stuck in a loop

Do you ever regret
Getting high before the set
Called the photographer a chump
Yeah you pissed on that stump

So go fool some more and
Keep spitting that game you got and
Keep playing those same songs
With a million more people who’ll figure out
You’re just spraying shit

So sick of M$ OS/Product Announcements —

“Windows 10 Cloud”…lol. C’mon Microsoft, really?

I guess I’ve just been through enough of these types of project announcements from M$ that I’ve become ‘immune’ to them. At first I’d be interested. “Oh, something new. I wonder what it’s about.” It almost always ends up being some rehash of an old system that sucked.

What M$ system doesn’t suck though, seriously?

I’m so finished with Microsoft shit. I hate supporting it. I’ve been ready to completely shift over to open source projects for years now. I hate having to rely on Microsoft’s shitty products to make money.

The New American War: Rich vs. Poor —

On his first day, Donald Trump signed into law an effective increase on mortgage loans for low-income, many times first-time home buyers (FHA).

Congrats Trump, you’ve effectively started a class war. Those ‘with’ you will fight for money, and those ‘without’ you will increasingly suffer in poverty. Way to project your business life into the lives of every American trying to make ends meet.

Fuck you, Trump.

Gasping for Air —

I feel like I’m suffocating in a sea called America who’s sole purpose is now to strip the very air necessary to sustain life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How the fuck did I allow this to happen? The Earth is changing, our next generations in jeopardy and our new narcissistic leader is forcing us to turn our cheeks in favor of money.

Fuck you, Trump. You are a cancer, a destructive parasite who cannot see that your host will topple over as you gut it, killing you in the process of your narrow mindedness, your naivety, your aggressive campaign to turn back the hands of time. And for what? You still haven’t told us, you’re leaving us in the dark. You are a criminal, and somehow, some way you tricked an entire nation into disregarding your entire past and believing that your blabber is the correct way to move forward. Again I say – FUCK YOU, TRUMP.

Facebook ugh —

I feel right now that logging into Facebook is largely futile and repeatable. What stems from a login is checking bloated notifications, scrolling through an endless feed of mostly regurgitated news and narcissistic quests of adoration, wrapped up with me sharing what post seems to be the least diluted and maybe even a bit educational and fun…and then my mom immediately ‘liking’ and commenting on it, giving me a sinking feeling that nobody else will now dare comment on it.

Digital Freedom Denied —

-= 1 =-

I am 36 years old. I currently live in a small town in Northern California, but grew up in a semi-large city of just under two-hundred thousand people. I’m married and have two children. I own my own I.T. business where I support and maintain small business computer networks. I am a musician. I work. I spend time with my family. I indulge in music, art… and pursue a few different dreams, projects and personal life goals. I guess you could say I’m “pretty normal”.

I’ve worked hard throughout my life to ensure, as much as possible, that I am ultimately in control of my own life.

Like I said, I’m in the I.T. profession. But even before I started my career, I was constantly immersed in technology. I was a computer geek before being a geek was cool. Right behind me, in fact, is a Commodore 64 setup – a computer reminiscent of my very early childhood, complete with some of the video games I used to play. It is a nostalgic representation of the start of my love affair with computers.

-= 2 =-

As I grew up in the early 1990’s I became interested in what some might call the “digital underground”. Back then, before the Internet was a common household utility, this meant calling online bulletin board systems with my computer’s modem. BBSes were independently run systems belonging to geeks like me, places you could log-on and communicate with others that shared a common interest (usually relating to technology). They were essentially places you could send messages to others, play games and download files that others had uploaded to share. I like to think of BBSes as part of the digital “golden age”. Every board was an island, a separate country – ruled by those who created them and, in the vast majority of cases run for free with the sole intention of sharing and communicating.

For the most part, BBSes gave you anonymity. When you signed up for an account on a BBS, one of the first things you chose was an “alias”, a “handle”. Handles were your identity on that particular board. For the vast majority of BBSers, your handle was not your real name. The reason for this was actually the basis of why most people called BBSes in the first place – to be able to be someone different than who they were in real life. For me and many of my digital peers growing up, my handle was just as important as my real name – and in some ways more important. Who I was online was who I wanted to be in real life as a teenager, but couldn’t; someone who was respected for who I was on the inside and not primarily by physical appearance or social status.

Having an online handle also gave me self-esteem in real life. It provided me with an identity that I could fall back on and allowed me to conduct my real life with a bit more strength and sense of worth. I still use the primary alias I created and used on most BBSes in 1993 for my personal e-mail address and consider it just as much of a real name as my legal one, even if now as a nostalgic reminder of a time when I could escape the real world and be who I was without fear of ridicule. If someone was behind me and called out to me by my alias today, I would turn my head without hesitation.

-= 3 =-

Besides simply having fun and interacting with others like me, I used BBSes to learn about technology. One of the things I was most interested in, and still am, is computer security. Possibly the start of this fascination was before I even discovered the BBS. When I was 11 years old and a friend had come over to play, we walked into my living room and he saw my Commodore 64 computer on the floor next to our large, wooden-cased television set. He widened his eyes, looked at me and said, “Dude – you could hack into a bank with one of these!” My eyes widened as well when he said that, and my adolescent imagination started running wild. I had no idea computers could be used to access other computers. A couple of years later, I became officially hooked on computer to computer communication when a friend and I called our first BBS late one night and thought we had somehow accidentally accessed a secret government mainframe. “WHAT IS YOUR NAME: ” It prompted. We looked at each other in confusion. We gave a fake name. “WHAT IS YOUR LAST NAME: ” ….I hung up and immediately unplugged the phone line from the wall. I was scared to death at first, but underneath that fear was a boiling excitement that never really left me; that drove me to learn more and more as the years went on.

On BBSes, “hackers” were just about the highest rank in the hierarchy of users. If others considered you a hacker, you were “elite” – a few steps above the normal user. You possessed knowledge many other BBSers wanted. You were a knight in the digital domain. You were looked up to, sought after and even feared by some. The Mentor’s “The Conscience of a Hacker”, written in 1986, was something that when read made you proud to consider yourself a part of hacker culture. System Operators (SysOps) became hackers if they wanted to successfully defend their BBSes against the bad guys – the “Black Hats”.

Black Hats are hackers with ill intention. In the BBS days, they sought to cause destruction, delete or modify files, to completely dismantle boards – usually to gain what they believed was respect, but in actuality was mostly hatred by the rest of the BBS community.

“White Hats”, on the other hand, are hackers that secure their systems and help others secure theirs. Their primary motivation is to learn as much as possible about computer and network security, and to help others learn as well. Back then, if White Hats hacked other BBSes, it was simply to prove to themselves and others that they could do it, and would not delete files or otherwise cause harm (besides maybe leaving a simple ‘calling card’ such as a message that would be displayed to other callers claiming their hack). Other hackers considered themselves “Grey Hats” – those who dabble in both good and evil. A Luke Skywalker and a Darth Vader rolled into one, if you will.

Most good intentioned SysOps wanted not only to defend their BBSes against Black Hats, but to protect themselves and their users against the danger of law enforcement overreach. Back then, government agencies were creating accounts on BBSes for the sole purpose of investigating them – and taking them down if they felt they were breaking the law. The “illegal” content on boards was usually nothing more than text files that taught you how to hack or software that aided in doing so, such as scripts and programs that other users created themselves. Some boards (called “Pirate” or “Warez” boards) hosted illegal software, such as commercial applications that were cracked to allow you to use it without paying for it. These were in stark contrast to purely hacking-centered boards, and though the pirate and hacking communities many times intermingled they were looked at very differently from each other.

From the SysOp’s perspective, law enforcement’s sole purpose was to hinder the process of learning and sharing. By secretively infiltrating their BBSes, raiding their homes, arresting them, seizing their computers and causing real life devastation, they were seen as an enemy of freedom. They were the biggest threat to independently run digital worlds. Many boards had disclaimers at time of sign-up that if you were an employee of a law enforcement agency, you must inform the SysOp before you gained access. The reason for this was simple; to let cops know that you knew they were likely there for the sole purpose of invading the privacy of your userbase and to attempt to take away what had been built with care and the purpose of helping others learn more about computers.

-= 4 =-

These days, my focus is on the Internet. To me, having grown up online before most people knew what “online” meant, the Internet is simply the largest BBS in the world. Everyone and their grandma is a user. There’s a message base for any topic, file sections for just about anything you could ever imagine and online games that allow you to forget, just for a bit, the difficulties and stresses of real life.

But the Internet is much more than just for having fun. Business depend on it to function and communicate. It is now used in almost every aspect of modern life, from medicine to military. At its core, though, it is simply a worldwide network of computers. It is not biased toward any particular use or intention of its users. It exists to facilitate whatever needs its users can come up with.

And to me, unfortunately, law enforcement is an increasing threat to the basis of what the Internet means and is capable of. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that their intentions are good. I know that they feel they must protect e-commerce, governmental integrity, corporate interests…but their inability to understand what the Internet really is causes their actions to undermine some of its most important virtues of all of its users.

One of my main concerns about digital freedom is that many countries’ federal governments have not only the technical ability, but the increasingly LEGAL ability to hack into innocent peoples’ belongings. To hack my computers, my smartphone, my wife’s smartphone. My children’s video game systems (which have integrated cameras and microphones, which require a connection to the Internet simply to function). I look at laws being passed and see the potential for widespread abuse by the few that are legally allowed to exploit them. I feel like I should move my copy of “1984” to the non-fiction part of my bookshelf.

I do what I can to defend myself and my family against these potential intrusions. I have a strong firewall between the Internet and my home network. I use an anonymizing VPN service which masks my true IP address associated with my Internet service provider and provides an encrypted tunnel between me and the VPN service itself (which I trust more than my ISP, unfortunately). I run open source software everywhere I can and always make sure each device is up to date with security patches. I even employ low-tech solutions like placing black tape over camera lenses when I’m not using them. Little can be done to microphones unless I physically open up the electronics and cut the connection, because black tape won’t stop acoustic waves from getting to ultra-sensitive microphones underneath. I must trust my other methods of protection to be ‘good enough’ to prevent threats I cannot myself eliminate.

But all of these things can’t stop the most resourceful Black Hats from invading my personal space and the personal space of those I care about. I fear there is still nothing stopping nation states, including my own, from using known and undisclosed security vulnerabilities in computers and devices I have on my network to intrude on my freedom of privacy. Even one vulnerability, say in a connected game system, could potentially allow an attacker to tunnel in past my firewall into it and then attack my entire network from the inside. Covertly activating microphones, webcams, keyloggers, screengrabbers is much easier when you’ve got direct access to the device.

Not only is privacy in jeopardy, but the battle against online anonymity is growing. Many social networking sites try to force you to use your real name. There are laws in the legal pipeline attempting to make it illegal to use anonymizing VPN providers, or to assume you are a criminal simply by using one and using that assumption to legally hack you. Many high profile web sites and services disallow access simply by using a VPN-associated IP address or Tor (such as Hulu, Netflix, and many online commerce sites like I understand that many are simply protecting themselves against criminals that use these anonymizing services to mask an attack, but a blanket reaction like blocking entire IP subnets is sloppy and overreaching at best. Why deny access to all of your customers that wish to practice digital security simply because a few bad apples use those same services as a way to attack you? That’s akin to outlawing all airplanes because of what happened on 9/11.

-= 5 =-

I don’t know what the future holds. What I do know is that some very basic human rights are currently being allowed to be tossed to the wayside by spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt to the masses. As the world becomes more dependent on the Internet for matters of modern life, the personal freedoms we all deserve seem to be darkening, shriveling, and fading to black. I feel the reason this is being allowed to happen is that most people don’t understand the technology they depend on, and therefore assume that the anti-hacker, terror-esque propaganda being spread about by greedy and naive governments and corporations is all true and must be stopped at all costs. These costs unfortunately include the right to individual privacy, anonymity and security. What people, in my humble opinion, must remember is that governments and corporations are still made up of people. And while many White Hats are employed by security agencies and corporate I.T. departments to secure their (and their clients’) assets, there are likely just as many Black Hats being employed which are circumventing these rights for their own benefit and the benefit of their employers.

We must, as a people, stand up once more for what we all deserve in life, which is peace of mind without compromise.

Stardog Champion – Temple of the Dog (Mother Love Bone) – 2016/11/04 —

It is simply awesome to see Temple of the Dog play old Mother Love Bone songs on their tour. If you watch the videos here on the Seattle grunge movement and Andrew Wood’s documentary, you’ll see how important the connection is between members/friends of Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, and after Andy’s death, Temple of the Dog and Pearl Jam. To someone who’s experienced their music first around age 11 (1991), but never knew the story behind all of these incredibly talented musicians and friends, it’s mind blowing. I feel like it’s a story that should be a movie in and of itself, one of young friends making music for the sake of music, one that expresses the value that friendship holds even after 25 years and the events that tie you together as empathetic humans experiencing life and making a difference upon the world with your craft. Here’s to Temple’s renewed presence in the world of music, and here’s to Andy Wood, who let everyone know he was there by fucking with Chris’s microphone (you didn’t think he’d let you sing the whole thing yourself, did you?)

Make it Happen —

I can’t change games within the rules

I don’t climb mountains as a fool

Circles, circles all around me

All this wasted energy

I want to kill, then create with you

Don’t you want to change it, too?

I want to turn this upside-down

Shake them up and drop them down

Watch ’em scatter in the sky

I was low and now I’m high

Media Decisions —

If major media and news outlets (including AP) made conscious decisions to promote and broadcast, not just of the U.S. but the whole world, stories that depicted generally positive news, the world economy would greatly improve.

I believe that when people are happy they are more likely to work harder and spend more money. Accomplishment is a great motivation booster and endorphin generator. We become more in sync with each other and less divided / solo. Not to mention the nice byproduct of people generally getting along instead of constantly at the defense, looking to separate from one another.

Media news outlets depicting a greater percentage of generally positive news (such as charity coverage, stand-up-citizen and generally positive role model, “I wanna do that too” type coverage) would create a desire for people to want to mimic it. As they say, it’s not called “television programming” for nothing. And not even just for news media but all kinds of mass media. It truly is, IMHO, something that could save the world at this point in time.