“Windy place(s)” in cyberspace(s)

by Yule Heibel on August 25, 2006

I started a private blog recently, which doesn’t exactly account for my absence(s) here, but it means that I now have three virtual spaces that I can neglect: this blog, my new one, and my wiki. Sigh.

“Sigh” — sounds almost like wind, doesn’t it? Well, I did finally get around to putting a new item on my Victoria City Style Council wiki, although it’s an anomaly since it concerns a development outside the boundary of downtown, which circumscribes my usual area of interest. I included this project, however, because it’s in my neighbourhood, Rockland. My commentary (strictly my own opinion) is on the wiki page called Schuhuum — 1322 Rockland Avenue. (“Schuhuum” supposedly means “windy place.”) The piece was sparked after I attended yet another city council meeting during which the project came up, and I started to think about the problem (and the fabulous opportunity) of dealing with what is in my opinion a dreary piece of “heritage” or traditional architecture that desperately needs a modern complement to make it wake up to life again. But I also realise that my opinion is of the “if pigs could fly” variety: i.e., dream on, and …sigh.

Still to do on the wiki: add more “letters to the editor.” Add some photographs, too.

My camera and current computer set-up are speaking to each other again, so this should now be possible. But then again, it’s also the case that my camera just this moment died — I hope it’s only the battery, although the camera usually tells me if that’s running low. Instead, it simply shut itself off. It did this right after I took some shots of an old sheep, which I intended to post to my private blog’s “about” page. Perhaps the old beast (the sheep, not the camera) is so beat-up and destroyed that its sheer decrepitude broke the camera. It’s not every day, after all, that one shoots a nearly 50-year old lamb (no worries, it’s stuffed, but it’s nonetheless quite dilapidated…). It has led a distributed existence quite different from the kind one might now associate with that concept, although its life, too, has been entirely virtual. My anti-vivisectionist stance forbids that I dissect my virtually alive lamb to find out what its stuffing is made of, and (as that famous 19th century anatomist, Rudolf Virchow, already noted apropos of corpses), I might dissect its corpse, but will likely not find its soul. (Virchow is alleged to have said, “I have dissected many corpses, but never yet discovered a soul in any of them,” a comment considered unspeakably “philistine” and materialist by the “soulfully” geist-oriented abstractionist Vassily Kandinsky.)

Well, to each his own. But with my virtually alive sheep I can at least be fairly certain that its stuffing is animated by nothing but my memories, experiences, and emotions. With other distributed experiences (including perhaps myself), I certainly have lost that …certainty. It’s entirely possible that we’re the stuffies now, filled with the “souls” of all the virtual experiences we randomly encounter and even go out of our way deliberately to create ourselves… Technology is my virtual exoskeleton, and the soul of the new machine is us.


maria August 25, 2006 at 5:56 pm

My Old Bear, having dipped his paws into a biography of Spinoza (written by the daughter of a cantor who went to a yesihiva and then, because she asked too many questions, became an analytic philosopher), is currently pondering the problem of Evil in a rational universe — talk about windy places!

Hope the camera has a second coming….

yulelog August 25, 2006 at 6:09 pm

Ahaaaahaa! Thanks, Maria — I didn’t give you due credit in the blogpost, but readers should know that it was Maria’s foray into a private blog via an old stuffy (“Old Bear”) that inspired my (as yet) tentative attempt. It’s one of those strange “do you mention it or not” things, when something (relatively) private is inspired by someone else’s private project… Ack, complicated!

The problem of evil (I see You Capitalised IT!) in a rational world, eh? That’s weighty, and not so easily blown away (perhaps unfortunately). Perhaps apropos to this question, an essay on gratitude and its general absence?

As for the camera: the battery charger thingie light is still blinking, so I guess it’s still charging. I’m hopeful the camera will indeed have a second coming — and grateful that it’s not my battery that has run out, just a gadget’s! 🙂

maria August 25, 2006 at 9:51 pm

No need to give credit…. I am sure I am not the first one to have done the Old Bear thing. And yes, I was having fun with the capitalized evil reference … knowing that you would catch the slight irony there. 🙂

I am going to check out that article on gratitude now! Which reminds me … I owe you gratitude and lots of credit for sending me to all sorts of interesting places in cyberspace … for showing me where there is enough wind to get the sails positioned and the ship underway to a destination!

brian moffatt August 27, 2006 at 6:08 am

Oh good, you’re back. Like the new do.

yulelog August 27, 2006 at 9:20 pm

Hi Brian — thanks for stopping by… Yes, I’m sorta-kinda back, but not in the business of daily blogging at this point…

Maria, there has got to be a picture somewhere that embodies this idea of wind in the sails of cyberspace, ships underway to destinations… Where are the surrealists when you need ’em, eh? 😉

Winston August 28, 2006 at 10:08 pm

I was so happy to see you active again, that I had to blog about it…


yulelog August 30, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Winston, I’m too shy to be able to take flattery like this without wanting to run away and hide — don’t let this brash blog exterior fool you! Actually, I feel guilty already about all the things I’m neglecting and not reading and not doing… But of course it’s really great to read your enthusiastic welcome back, too. Thank you! I’ll try to keep up the entries on a fairly regular basis. Fairly. Sort of. When I feel like it? 😉

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