A blast from my past...
June 15, 2000 12:04 PM   Subscribe

A blast from my past... I know it's improper to do this in MetaFilter but I'm doing it anyway cuz I'm a cad. Actually, well I rationialize it this way... [more]
posted by ZachsMind (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If there's anything that kills mailing lists, newsgroups, or online discussion of any kind, it's the

"I know this is wrong but I'm doing it anyway"
posted by alana at 12:10 PM on June 15, 2000

This morning I got an email from a woman who wanted to know that I was linked to a page she once had which is no longer up, and she asked me to look into it. This surprised me. I don't have her linked at my weblog. What was she talking about?

The page she was referring to is actually over here and at her request I started clicking around and found it amusing. it's like opening a time capsule.

I mean this isn't really me. I mean it IS, but it's a me that wrote those words a few years ago.. It's like looking at someone else's stuff. Which I think was my intent. I made my online journal Facing the Mask so I could look back at my life later and see where I'd gone wrong.

But this is the X-Files stuff. It's not even Facing the Mask. I wrote this stuff even before all that. And when I got to Operation Closure I just felt I wanted to hear other people's input on what it says, cuz in some ways it still holds true but it's also typical of my general negative and very "Eeyoreistic" viewpoint on life. I found it amusing and thought provoking and felt like sharing it here, even if I was originally the bonehead who wrote it in the first place.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:11 PM on June 15, 2000

Thank you Alan.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:12 PM on June 15, 2000

That was some pretty deep stuff on that page, Zach. Thanks.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 12:19 PM on June 15, 2000

You're welcome Eric, but what did you think about it?
posted by ZachsMind at 12:23 PM on June 15, 2000

I know it’s improper to be rude, but …
posted by alana at 12:38 PM on June 15, 2000

I found the whole "we need closure" concept fascinating. "Who killed MLK", being the best example.

James Earl Ray was visited by Martin Luther King III, just before he died. After years of of admitting it, he suddenly turned around, in an "almost-deathbed confession" and said "I didn't kill your father"....

MLK III's reaction: "I believe you".

They re-tested his rifle. To this day the results of the ballistics report hasn't been made public.

After watching "The Rat Pack" on HBO... they were trying to imply that Sam "Momo" Giancomo had something to do with JFK, RFK and Marilyn Monroe's death. Momo wasn't *that* powerful... and I don't recall such Italian-Americans like Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby and Sirhan-Sirhan (sp?) being on the Mafia payroll...and why they all had to die before thier trials.

Lots of other stange things that we'll never know answers to. Though I fear you and I may "dissappear" sometime after this discussion, for already saing too much... :0)
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 12:47 PM on June 15, 2000

Okay, no one asked, but I gotta say that it takes balls to go back a few years and look at what you were doing. I used to write stories for posting on rec.arts.comics.creative, and to look at them now is actually painful for me. Even the stuff I think I'll revamp into a novel is just agonizing.

As far as the subject matter of the post that originally got us here, Zach, well...if you've been to my blog, you know how much fun I have in wild speculation, so it's not surprising that I'd have my own take on what you said. I believe that Western Civilzation had its first nervous breakdown tens of thousands of years ago, during the ice age, and it's been downhill since then. The idea that our governments are not concerned with us is not new, and I don't necessarily think that what we seek is closure at all.

I think we seek a wide-open field, where no one will tell us 'That's not possible' or 'The laws of physics tell us' or what have you. Science has become so painfully dogmatic lately that it gets annoying to try and discuss matters of wonder with a physicist. They keep trying to tell you what's possible and what isn't, just like Priests did a half-millennia ago. And just like Priests, all they have to go on is what they've been told.

A few days ago, someone may have pushed light to FTL speeds. Before that, every single goddamn physicist in the world had bitched and moaned repeatedly that space-travel was an impossibility because of the absolute barrier of lightspeed. The fact is, we don't know shit about the laws of physics. We are trapped on this little blue ball, and we have only carried out a fraction of the work of truly understanding what is possible and what isn't. (I have a friend who just earned his Ph.D. in Physics...I refuse to go see movies with him anymore, because he constantly ruins the wonder for me by arguing the square cube law until my whole body is a twitching mass of rage.)

I think we want openness, not closure. At least, that's what I want, the freedom to speculate wildly. But it was a well-written letter from your past, and I was fascinated to read it.
posted by Ezrael at 12:53 PM on June 15, 2000

In 1970, when I was in kindergarten, I stole some watercolors from school, crawled into an open sewer, and painted "hieroglyphics" all over the walls. Almost 30 years later, I visited my hometown and, on a whim, crawled into the same sewer. Most of my paintings were gone, but there on the ceiling was a picture of a book, all done in red paint, with the word "book" scrawled underneath. I don't know why I painted a book, but I remember painting it. It's still there! It didn't wash away!!!
posted by grumblebee at 1:06 PM on June 15, 2000

>Science has become so painfully dogmatic lately.

It's important to remember that there's a BIG difference between science (the discipline) and the people who practice (or claim to practice) it--the scienTISTS.

Science is simply a set of tools for gathering knowledge. Using these tools, we have learned certain things. Other things have remained mysteries. Some things have become MORE mysterious due to science.

It's worthwhile trying to avoid becoming polarized (science is good/science is bad). If we stumble upon a huge mystery, it's so easy to say "science doesn't know shit!" If we figure out a cure for cancer, it's just as easy to say, "science can do anything!" As with most things, the truth is more muddy and complicated.

It drives me crazy when people say, “Science is just another religion.” It also drives me crazy when people say, “you don’t need to believe is ESP and UFOs and magic. Science will open your eyes to even greater, more beautiful mysteries.” Both these views are wrong, and what’s worse, they are both knowingly used as propaganda.
posted by grumblebee at 1:17 PM on June 15, 2000

Wild how of all the hieroglyphs, it was the book that didn't wash away.

I have no idea what a 'square cube law' is and I'd ask but I don't think I want to know.

Openness vs. Closure.. Hrm...

Maybe what we want is just no more lies. No more having to say, "I want to believe." The whole cold war was filled with spies and counter intelligence. Even today, 'spin doctors' for everything from politicians to corporate executives constantly try to take the truth and bend it to fit what they want reality to be. The truth doesn't bend. Our interpretation of the truth can be distorted, but our perception of the truth doesn't alter truth one microbe.

Since the invention of the nuclear bomb, everyone has known that knowledge is power, but they're still stupid to believe they can control that knowledge by not sharing it. It's like trying to capture all the air of this planet in balloons so only the chosen can breathe. It's simply absurd.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:19 PM on June 15, 2000

Ezrael, were you watching some kind of "giant monster" flick? IIRC, the square-cube law means that as the height of a creature increases, the volume which needs to be supplied with oxygen increases with the cube of the height, while the surface area that can take in oxygen only increases with the square of the height. In other words, a critter can only get so large and still be able to breathe.
posted by harmful at 1:38 PM on June 15, 2000

Hey, strip-club owner Jack Ruby definitely did have Mob ties. So nyah. Leave my conspiracy theories alone.
posted by snarkout at 1:54 PM on June 15, 2000

They can still get pretty big.
posted by lbergstr at 1:54 PM on June 15, 2000

Wow, Grumblebee.... *I* was in kindergarten in 1970 too. What are the odds????? This is creeeeepy......

heh heh... sorry couldn't resist. I was getting emails from a guy that was totally blown away that there was actually another "Eric Brooks" on this planet besides him (it's *such* a unique name, y'know...). He said "there could be more to this...."




The guy never looked in a phone book?
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 2:04 PM on June 15, 2000

Actually, I thought the square cube law was usually used to point out that an intelligent creature can only get so *small* before it's brain doesn't have room to think any more. Perhaps it's both; that law seems to be damned difficult to find a definition of on the net.

Everyone just *references* it.
posted by baylink at 2:22 PM on June 15, 2000

The square-cube law has to do with single-cell organisms that feed or respirate through their skin, not with multicellular creatures. The relationship is that surface area of the feeding skin grows proportional to the square of the radius, but the volume of goo that needs food grows proportional to the cube of the radius.

This is why, much to my dismay, movies like The Blob just won't happen in real life.

posted by plinth at 2:30 PM on June 15, 2000

I read about square-cube a long ago in an article about some giant-insect movie (Them?). Since insects breathe through their skins, they could never grow beyond a certain size. More complex animals (vertebrates, etc.) have complex internal breathing structures (i.e. lungs) that provide more surface area for the volume. However, I can easily believe that the same math could be applied to the number of neurons vs. the number of neural interconnections.
posted by harmful at 2:38 PM on June 15, 2000

In this mailing list RPG I'm playing, I signed on as this shapeshifting amnesiac named Jeff Kearn. He goes from being a fly on a wall to being a rhinocerous on a bad guy's spinal cord in milliseconds.

The square cube law puts a major damper on my fun.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:41 PM on June 15, 2000

Or microbial intake of nutrients, or many other biological systems.
posted by harmful at 2:41 PM on June 15, 2000

You're playing superhero RPG's and worrying about that trivial a violation of natural law? The "don't worry about it, just have fun" scene from Austin Powers 2 comes to mind. You're probably just moving your thought processes into extradimensional space or something like that.
posted by harmful at 2:44 PM on June 15, 2000

Shroedinger's cat used to give me the willies, then I just got a dog.

Okay. Topic Drift. What the hell happened? I can never spot it until it's already too late. Oh well. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 3:14 PM on June 15, 2000

Yeah... come on... back to Zach's Operation: Closure! What do you guys think?
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 3:36 PM on June 15, 2000

Topic drift started with this thread. Alan made a good point, it would have been nice to see people pay attention.
posted by bryanboyer at 3:38 PM on June 15, 2000

Thank you Bryan. This thread had nothing to do with the arguments happening on other threads about what some find to be excess. Actually, Alan started the topic drift on this thread.

In fact, pointing fingers at people for not using MeFi in just the right way, that's just it's own form of trolling. I know people mean well, but communication is not meant to be stifling. If there's no room for improvisation, there's no room for conversation, cuz that's all conversation is.

I did pay attention and thanked him for his input, then disregarded it. It wasn't topic drift that killed Usenet. I was there. I saw it deteriorate. It was people complaining about the Topic Drift. And it was people chiming in without any regard for the previous thread, particularly advertisers who didn't even read the thread before posting. That's what killed it.

At least drift builds off the previous content. I don't mind that. If we weren't supposed to respond to the links people post in here, there wouldn't be a forum with which to do so. Complaining about not staying on topic is old and abused, and that's what will kill MeFi if it continues. People want to enjoy themselves in here. We don't need topic police.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:57 PM on June 15, 2000

"Actually, Alan started the topic drift on this thread."

No, Zach, you initated topic drift by starting this thread. You said it yourself, it was an uncouth link to your own material. "Cuz I'm a cad" doesn't cut it, no excuse does. MF is not your discussion board, use a UBB for that.

"In fact, pointing fingers at people for not using MeFi in just the right way, that's just it's own form of trolling."

It's an attempt to maintain what used to be the exceptionally high signal/noise ratio here at Metafilter. Call it trolling if you like, but the reality of this situation is that you were caught blatantly violating one of the community's rules and now you're flagrantly touting that mistake as some sort of attempt to enrich the discussion here! In all honesty, I'm sure you didn't even think it would be a big deal or that this would just be another happy-go-lucky post by Zach, but the ignorance excuse is wearing thin. Perhaps you should refresh yourself on the community guidelines.

"People want to enjoy themselves in here. We don't need topic police."

Communities have rules, and rules ensure a fair (and hopefully enjoyable) experience for all. If you do not like the rules at MF, please go elsewhere. If you like MF so much that you feel that no other online community can satisfy your need and you feel that the rules are unfair, then I suggest that you discuss this matter in MetaTalk under the policy boards there.

I have no problem being quite harsh, so make no mistake, I think you are actively degrading the quality of this site. This is my plea: please become a reasonable member of Metafilter or stop posting until such time that you do.
posted by bryanboyer at 4:23 PM on June 15, 2000

I think you are actively degrading the quality of this site.

As far as I'm concerened, there's only one person on MetaFilter with the right to say that... and you ain't it.

Perhaps you should refresh yourself on the community guidelines.

I did... lookie:
A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: .....there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.

This seems to fit the bill. Now dude, I don't wan't any trouble here... until Matt makes MetaTroll, for you guys... we're discussing stuff here, okay? I'm a little tired of the bitching.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 4:59 PM on June 15, 2000

The original link that started this is from a me that is some years past. I get absolutely zero positive results from a high hitcount on that page. In fact I'm surprised it's still there. This was not a post like, "hey! come check out my new website and increase my hitcount so I can pretend to be all cool and shit."

I doubt you even looked at the page in question. If you did, you'd have better ammunition with which to attack me personally.

The intent was to hear what people thought about what the page in question said, not to boost my own ego. In fact I'm zapping my own ego cuz some of the stuff in the said page is a bit over the top. Feel free to blast me by dissing the content of the original link, but if you want to further your trolling and complaining about how people who don't think like you are actively degrading the quality of this site please do so in MetaTalk. There's already a thread on this topic in there.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:07 PM on June 15, 2000

Zach, I think you're confusing self-promotion with what Bryan said:

"MF is not your discussion board, use a UBB for that."

I busted Joe Clark a couple months ago for it, so I'll have to do it again: linking to something you wrote in the hopes that it generates feedback here is simply using MetaFilter as a discussion board.

I have to say this because there's no way I can condone this. If it's ok for Zach to do it, then it's also ok for baylink, then it's ok for bryanboyer to do it to, and then the whole place is everyone's guestbook/bulletin board, simply because it's here and easy for people to use.

Philip Greenspun's Loquacious is a free BB you can add as a link off any of your pages, and serves the same purpose.
posted by mathowie at 5:17 PM on June 15, 2000

[ reads again ]

Aw, crap. He *did* mention me. :-}

Did he rename Lusenet?
posted by baylink at 5:32 PM on June 15, 2000

I was hoping for the input of the people in here cuz usually the people in here show as smart people. Zap the page, Matt. I stopped fighting for logic and tolerance among this community years ago.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:37 PM on June 15, 2000

As far as I'm concerened, there's only one person on MetaFilter with the right to say that... and you ain't it.

He speaks... and we respectfully listen.
Yeah, I agree the front page *would* be annoying if 1000 MetaFilter members posted "look at my page!" every day...

You'll all note he said nothing about going "off topic".
:P :PBPTHHHHHHHH!!!!!: :0)
-Zipping lips and saying no more...-
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 5:40 PM on June 15, 2000

Interesting post on the subject of why did x happen? I wonder if American government is the establishment involved in the cover up? How about China, and other governments in Asia that have different rules concerning elections or the sharing of information.

I certainly agree that elected officials are there to collect power and have ALL decisions pass through their hands first/last. Does Government know best? Do we need a bigger and better force to correct or move markets in order for the greater good or to make life fair?

As far as taking responsibility in coming clean with what you have lets not forget the sensationalism that fills the airs every time an death occurs. Do you turn on the evening news to see what is wrong with the world today rather than what truly good events took place that were not reported? How many deaths/shootings/law suits or studies are reported in finding mistakes? How many missles shot down Flight 800 out of NY? Who is responsible for killing students at Columbine, the gunmen who pulled the trigger, or the media/ violent video games, parents, school teachers, and who knows who else is named in suits? For the amount of attention following such an act maybe some news or events took place beside what could have been?
posted by brent at 5:43 PM on June 15, 2000

I love how I'm thought of as some sort of vengeful god. It does wonders for my ego. :)

I hate singling anyone out and having to come down on them in public, but it's something I want everyone to think about - think about others when you post something, and think about what the site would be like if everyone posted in a similar way. That's all.
posted by mathowie at 6:26 PM on June 15, 2000

Hail Matt!!!
Hubris!!! Hubris!!! Hubris!!!!! :0)

Dude... I wouldn't be you for anything in this place.... But we *do* appreciate MetaFilter.
(slinking back to his corner & zipping up his lips again)
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 6:38 PM on June 15, 2000


ZachsMind: When you intentionally break the rules while making it clear you know the rules, you should expect a hostile response. Now that you're trotting out all the tired rhetoric about topic police and stifling creativity, I think people have been way too kind.
posted by rcade at 9:02 AM on June 16, 2000

You guys make me laugh...

Where were you all when Jason Kottke did the same thing??!!?!!? Were was rcade, bryanboyer, and alan then???? These comments could have all fit in there too.

I can deal with trolls and little sissy tattletales, but I can't stand hypocrites!
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 11:15 AM on June 16, 2000

Dammit, learn to close your </I> tags while you're at it...
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 11:17 AM on June 16, 2000

... I think there's a difference between "hey look, I wrote something neat a while back, aren't I clever, discuss" and "I have these really great links to *other people's really great sites* I'd like to share but there's a ton of 'em and I've already written them up elsewhere so instead of a two-screen-length MetaFilter post why don't you just head over to where they are now if you're interested in plowing through 'em all".

As I read it, Jason wanted to show us some bleeding-edge websites. Zach just wanted us to go see the neat thing he wrote.
posted by Sapphireblue at 5:40 PM on June 16, 2000

Where were you all when Jason Kottke did the same thing? ... I can deal with trolls and little sissy tattletales, but I can't stand hypocrites!

I don't think anyone should be linking to their own sites, but the issue didn't pass my why-give-a-shit threshold until Zach fiercely defended the practice of using MetaFilter as a vanity press.

(In other words, if loving Jason Kottke is wrong, I don't want to be right.)
posted by rcade at 11:56 PM on June 16, 2000

Uhm.. I accepted Matthew's decision. It's his site. I'm not interested in making a scene. Matt's not a god but this is his site and I will agree to his decision.

Why is this page still here? Zap it.

And please don't compare me to Jason. That is an unfair insult to him.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:08 PM on June 17, 2000

*YAWN* This proves positive that Metafilter sucks ass!!!
posted by Mr. skullhead at 6:38 PM on June 20, 2000

For the record, I was hoping to start a discourse about the topic and content from the original link, not the quality or personality or lack thereof of the asshole who originally wrote it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:29 AM on May 5, 2001

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