October 18th, 2003


Going Public

Well, I'm not sure what will happen now. So far, the only regular visitor to this site is The Professor (or more implausibly). Whilst I'm on the subject, he wrote to me recently concerning the particular type of spam that's been arriving of late and I include, with his approval I hope, the following comments from him on the subject:

"i'm quite interested in the random emails your friend Sarmoung has been mentioning. wonder if you might be willing to forward me a couple of them, if you've still got em around. I've seen lots of these sorts of things floating around Usenet, usually in newsgroup flooding efforts.

e.g. "Otherwise the smack in Morely Dotes's spool might contribute. One more hard admin or doorway, and she'll amazingly penetrate everybody. It sporges, you restrain, yet Dr. Jai Maharaj never quietly relays in the news server. A lot of virulent fast RAMs will slowly infect the snervers. Chris Lewis kicks, then Hortis Gadfium III annually recycles a overloaded programmer to Otto J. Makela's database. Tell Kristopher K. Barrett it's junk relaying against a disc. Don't even try to coddle quietly while you're annoying about a odd proxy. My weak junk fax won't burst before I flagellate it."

These are computer generated, sort of like Mad Libs, using a set of syntactic constructions and filling in words, not only from a preset dictionary but also drawn from the particular target newsgroup. So the content can look (a little) like regular conversational topics in that newsgroup, and include names of regular posters. But crucially they're almost impossible to stop using content filtering.

Maybe your emails are test messages sent by some spammer? It's a more interesting tactic than the "appended gibberish" technique, which is done to get around rules related to multiple postings of the same message.
e.g. Choked white whores used as black cum recepticals. WzBsa Txax"
(never mind the question of whether they were first choked and then used as recepticals [sic], etc.)"

Thanks, Professor.

One curious event is the disappearance of the two LJ links I put in an earlier entry to the journals kept by some of the San Francisco Salon. Are you alerted if linked on a page? And, if so, have they thrown up their hands in horror/insult/fear and had themselves removed? Could just be a glitch, but I'm intrigued.

So, yes, what will happen now...mmm. I've been thinking about web profiles recently, or, perhaps more accurately, the way one's personality is expressed online. I "exist" in two places; here at LJ and then also on Friendster. Now, as you will note from earlier, going on Friendster was very much at Wynd's instigation. My only friend there is Wynd, but it doesn't bother me since it's not really in my personality to contact people unnanounced. Mind you, yesterday I did see that both Marc Bolan and Damo Suzuki were in Wynd's network so I did "ask them to be my friends", it's kindergarten all over again. I do like the idea of a network of entirely bogus entities. I am unfortunately one stage away from befriending Babushka who, judging by the photo, is indeed that beleagured Russian archetype. Should we make contact, I can thank her for barging through all those queues with her razor-sharpened elbows, repeatedly slamming doors in my face, shouting 'Nyelzya! Nyelzya!' at most opportunities, and once in the Ukraine even physically preventing me from entering church so I went down on my knees and begged for The Lord's forgiveness in Church Slavonic, after which she was all hugs and tears.

So there's Friendster and then there's here. I started this because it was somewhere to farm off ephemeral thoughts that might otherwise escape. It's not a profession of their value, it's just I though I might like to read them again at some point. Bu after the entry last Sunday about the C____ sisters, I realised that perhaps things were swinging more towards the interior emotional life. I wasn't sure if it was a mistake to veer that way. There's enough moany entries elsewhere on the LJ site. I'm wary of things devolving that way.

Last weekend was certainly filled with memories of things past. All of these old photos, the Rufus Wainwright interview stirring up memories of shabu hell in Japan. As I promised, I went out and bought the new album on Monday and it's been the only music I've been listening to for the last five days. I signed up to the official Rufus website and left a message on the board briefly recounting reading the interview and how much it meant to me to read an interview with someone coming straight [sic!] about using crystal meth. I really didn't expect it to. Put another message up recommending Benjamin Biolay to fans, as I thought they're quite complimentary to each other in a way and he deserves to be known outside of France. Well, these messages were replied to and now find myself reading and posting regularly.

In this sense, it's the reverse of Friendster experience for me (noisy bar, being introduced to friends of friends, forgetting their names too quickly afterwards, trying to think of conversation, wonder what you have in common, preening at home beforehand, lonely bus ride home) as in this case you're encountering a conversation in progress and it's certainly more in me to be, I ashamed to say, a little arrogant with knowedge or opinion. If people at Friendster were engaged in conversation rather than just scoping each other out (or worse in Wynd's case..., ho! ho!), it would be far simpler. The people who post at the Rufus site seem quite likeable and I've seen precious little of the sniping that goes on at most newsgroups. I despair every time I look at the Eastern Orthodoxy group on Google. Who are these zealots and half-wits? I was however intrigued by the man who started posting recently about Heidi Klum, I think this is him by the way, I think he's been posting to every newsgroup in the world. I am as excited by Heidi Klum as I am by Angelina Jolie [utterly deadpan expression]...see earlier.

The thing that perturbed me, or rather had me unsettled about the Rufus site was this. On Friendster, my persona is described by two photos and a list of books, films, music. That persona is quite dark. Here, it's not nearly so crucial what's entered as there is all this ceaseless logorrhea to pass judgement on. Above all, I had no expectations of building any kind of network. It's just an easy enough way of getting stuff onto the web. What struck me suddenly two days ago was that at Rufus, I seemed to be more gay.

Now, dear God, there's a long story here that's prompted by that. Suffice to say for the time being that those particular two years in Japan wrecked a hard drive of life experiences and attitudes. Not the best analogy. The level of mental and physical abuse sustained in that time. Much of it was directed at my sexuality. I'd told L____ that I'd been out with men before, she seemed okay with this, but as things unravelled, this was always an issue she returned to. Where had I been the last three hours? Her psychic spies had reported that I was down in Shinjiku ni-chome (the gay district in Tokyo) assuaging my lust, when normally I'd either been sat in a park working out overly complex escape routes or rifling through art books at a shop. I didn't want to go home. Home was were I got hit, run down and insulted. Home was danger. So I stayed away. Just as I stayed away from other people. There's a lot to write here, and far more than I can now. The whole experience left so entirely beaten that it took a long time before I felt capable of having a relationship with anyone. There were other things to contend with, mostly staying off drugs and not jettisoning myself from available rooftops.

One other memory prompted last weekend was the altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers at St Bavo in Ghent, Belgium. I found some postcards last week I'd bought when there. When I got back from Japan, I knew that I was going to die very shortly and quite possibly not at my own hand. One profound sorrow I had was that I had never seen The Adoration of the Lamb, it's always been my favourite painting and I could not contemplate a life in which I had never seen it for real. So I boarded the Eurostar the day after getting back from Japan and went to see it as one final pilgrimage for the sake of beauty and mystery. I can't say that the picture saved my life, but I do remember this event as an indication of just how far gone I was. In a curious way, I'm still sort of proud about the fact that my deluded mind considered this a fitting final gesture, because it did describe who I was (and am) more honestly than much else I have ever achieved. And yet, at the same time, I was completely mad.

So in this time since, still recovering, still remembering. This mind does feel like my own now. It didn't for years. So this week, I truly remembered that once upon a time (in this fairytale distance from then) I used to be gay, for fuck's sake (I'll pass over the fluid nature of human sexuality and the whole bi issue for now), and I had no problem with it. I feel intensely angry about this and I don't really want to write so much more - there's Gogol to be read - but how did I let someone drive some vital part of me so far into the ground? I may never know.

These days, I don't think so much about going out with men or women, although I have every faith in miraculous interventions from either side, what I do think about is a monastery that nestles on the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan. There the air was still and the fossilised desert stretched before me. I saw an eagle high above the ground and could hear it's every sound. There was no other and my soul was filled with the knowledge of all those thousands who had passed here before me, of a life spent in quiet, unceasing prayer. In the end, we do not matter. You most certainly do. But not the ever-chattering "I" here. I truly believe that we are here to serve each other and not ourselves. Father Anthony, of blessed memory, a man who could not speak the word 'love' without me physically trembling in the sound of the word, once said that one reason for people to enter monasteries was that they would otherwise become destroyed by the world. I have been pondering this for the last six months and I have given myself another few years before I make any firm decision. Anyone who knows me will after all note that I've always been a little too much Dostoevsky for my own good (as the writing style of some of this paragraph indicates!).

For those of you who may read this entry following BaconGrabber's most undeserved glowing recommendation on the Rufus board, I can assure you that it's not all Orthodoxy, drug abuse, revelation and insanity on these pages - it just seems that way at first! I wasn't sure about putting the link in. Heck, no one will ever read it anyway, I thought. It was never really set up to be visited. Well, aside from The Professor from time to time, in between experimenting on human subjects. It feels slightly like someone coming into my house and I am unable to provide you with the level of welcome I would if you were to do that physically. There's vodka, bread and salt on the table. Help yourself.

And I haven't written about Angelina Jolie in weeks either...
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