Saturday, February 26, 2022

Can Del Close Save META?

In 1973 I went on a high school field trip to Second City, the sketch comedy club in Chicago. I got to watch - without knowing it - John Candy and Bill Murray on stage. I also remember this weird guy with glasses at one of the tables, chain smoking and laughing loudly. He often distracted the audience enough to fluster the players. Only later did I realize he was Del Close.

Del Close helped figure out long form improvisation, and it is my opinion that art form will be the only savior of META and the VR universe.

Let me unpack that. VR has been around forever, but only lately have the 1980s fictions like Ready Player One become closer to reality. MPORG games have been around forever and it was assumed that VR would just be 3D glasses. But get past the avatars and the goofy chaos of youtube hooligans, and people have been social on it. Not mass event social but small theater social.

What is not realized is there are things that must be shared events, public events, and VR doesn't do it. Not when you can do it IRL. Dinner theater and one ring circus would seem to be VR outlets. But nothing unstructured and liberating. Instead the artficial joy of pixels and voxels and a Disney Ride. The only improvement to VR action will be hamster balls*, but creative play? Not on Zuck's lawn. 

Enter improv. Del Close, paraphrased, said "conflict is boring. I'd rather say 'Yes, and' instead of  'No".

Del Close came up with a generative method of long form improv called The Harold. The Harold was later improved to produce long form experiences of 10-45 minutes. The successful performance (allowing participants more time to develop believable characters and storylines) involved initial suggestions, followed by vignettes, followed by a group game using the vignettes, iterate until it goes bust or something magical happens. Good participants witness a logical structure develop from a premise, a set of equations today now known as Chaos Theory or nonlinear models.

Long form improv has advanced beyond actor warmups and parlor games, but what's wong with those? Aa parlor game can be either premise-based or organic play, can be expanded into a community, a consensual reality, and then you get the gestalt effect. If you've ever played in a garage band and improvised, you get the idea. Out of all that awful dirt appear nuggets of gold. You use those nuggets to make less dirt and more nuggets, before you know it you have a world built and a personal mythology to follow. And you will note that those instances or trances occur when the band was the Band, hive mind achieved.

How does this work for VR experiences? People improvise anyway, right? Anyone who has watched Youtube videos of VRChat understand too much improvisation is annoying, not at all freeing or creative as a social place to go. My suggestion is the people don't follow The Harold, the bots do.

Consider: the internet is increasingly being writen by bots. Probably 99% of internet content will be AI-generated. Online worlds and all the stuff that inhabits them, with humans in a tiny minority. How will it be fun and useful for us humans? My answer, hard-wire the spirit of fun and play into the bots. How do you have fun? You feel safe. How are you able to play? It's safe to play. The Yes-And logic of The Harold, that conflict is boring, could possibly make META safe and interesting. Although honestly, VR, like block chain, is a solution looking for a problem.

Other things. I got done with my radation treatment. The proton beam really anatoginized the tumor, however, I am noticing an improvment in vision as the inflammation subsides.

I got a ceremony at the end of treatment. I rang a bell and got a challenge coin. I don't consider my role in this as military veteran, as the rituals and tone would suggest, still I acted the part. I am honored by the network of care.

I thought about being an actor, still could. The limiting factor in my case is probably talent. Too inappropriate reactions because duh autistic dork flinch.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Nuke That Tumor!

I started proton beam therapy Wednesday. This is the proton beam aperture and my immobilizing chair. The mesh cowl was premade to clamp my head. The plastic mesh has a haint that stays in my nose for a while. 

The proton beam aperture is appropriately intimidating. It's amazing this powerful cyclotron machine is delicately murdering my wayward cells with such care. (Let's not forget the doctor and technicians are the actual care, magnified to atomic eyed monster, magnifying glass of will and deadly purpose)

Really big hose clamp? No, precision ring and stand with a light I stare at. I'm surprised I'm not claustrophobic. The restraint oddly comforting. If the above pic were an illustration, I'd be intrigued by the form. It reminds me of the hibernation pods from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Or Space Ghost. It's the cowl I guess, huh?

Weekend off and then three more sessions next week. Anything go wrong, sight loss or black and white vision, I am to go straight to the emergency room. People ask how I'm doing and I'm fine.

I didn't feel anything. I didn't even see the flashes or flares or streaks of Cherenkov radiation like the astronauts see. Just as well, it would mean something went horribly wrong and I look like the Elephant Man before I die.

Nothing so dramatic. The proton beam is but a tickle compared to astronaut particle blasts.

I will tell you that my brain is sad. It has lost half its visual field. 

What I see is a sargasso sea with occasional patches of clear. Those are welcome, comforting fetishes of vision, but looking through a tumor at the world is no fun. I've noticed an insecurity that did not exist before. I am less lithe, more hesitant, having to pause to orient: the motions of an old man. It might not get better. Not getting out of the woods. It may be woods from here on out. My brain must deal with this.

If the vision fails to improve, I will allow the ghost of Del Close to possess me and practice this particular affectation, but with less hair.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Addicted to Gov

Last night I had a future dystopia dream. The interesting thing is I woke up to pee and wanted and managed to go right back into that dream. I been working on lucidity. Could be other people not so stupid as I. Could be others say yeah sure easy lucid dream.

The plot or action was mainly gang-pressing, drafting people involuntarily into labor and drudgery. I was threatened but never assaulted and could roam about the place. It was kind of a urban decay setting, perhaps soon after whatever collapse or breakdown as everyone seemed to be well fed and clothed. 

The basic definition of a state is a collective of people. How that collective forms itself differs but based upon a primate foundation: Social monkey hive gets you heirarchy and castes. But the state, the intentiional eggregore, seems to be scaled up from a ship. A nautical Snow Piercer of an organization, as self containted as can be, between sources of refreshment. Impressment, slavery, is a primary definition of a ship, like it or not. As to how voluntary that impressment is on a map with axes freedom and liberty? (If you feel the need to collapse to cartoon). 

You are free to take a shit on the hood of my car. You are not at liberty to do so.

There is a third dimension in the involuntary recruitments into a state and that is drugs. Intoxicants. Hallucinogens, yes. Always alcohol. Alcohol is a 500 million year old food. It easy to make and makes lots of calories. 

Every state had a public drug delivery system. Every single dug up site identified as maybe a state, had drug manufacturing facilities. And with monkey distillers, Good Stuff pretty much guaranteed to get you hooked. So much easier than enforced labor. Build my pyramid and I will get you so high. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Fuck My Feelings

They say there are 100 billion dead behind us billions living. It's probably worse with bots. Bots have hurt my feelings on every venue of the intertubes. They are getting better at it.

One of the dumbest things I ever did was to waste time on the bulletin boards. It was interests and information exchange at first, and soon enough bickering and turf wars, spines and poisonous barbs come out. Little did I realize my reactions were being gauged, weaknesses and tender spots identified, triggers and reinforcements emplaced.

Probably by 2004 they had a really good simulation of me, or millions of me, in the virtual death spaces. Run a million times faster, consumerbot me, many me, knows exactly how to push my buttons.

To do what is the question. How am I working for the Man? (and don't even know it) Or rather, discourage me to do anything outside my established parameters. 

Had a daytime operation last Tuesday. Emplacement of little tantalum rings sutured in the white of my eye. These are references for the proton beam. Atomic fire of death in a couple weeks. This was with "twilight" drug. I was consicous at the end of the operation, the surgeon says "last stitch". I  asked him "good boy?" All the surgical staff  said "good boy". All these surgeries have lowered my IQ with the drugs. I reread my last essay and realized I was still under the power of whatever goofy juice they gave me. 

This is twice in as many months I've gotten a needle in my eye. After radiation treatments, and waiting for OK, I have another operation to salvage what sight we can. 

In the meantime my feelings are being damaged by generative adversarial neural networks not even as sophisticated as a pyramidal neuron in your average cerebral cortex.