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2/28/00 Nobody escapes Fargo

It's a given. Fargo is a deathtrap, which collests the people not strong enough to escape, traps them within it's unholy grasp, and restrains them against further movement in the future.

It's true -- it's a given. If you are born here, and don't put up a fight to escape, or if you come here under your own free will, then there's no way out. I tried; I went to college for a year in Missouri, but the foul tentacles of Fargo were still around me, and drew me back within a year. I've known plenty of other people in the same state of being. If you let any root be planted here, you're stuck. For several years, I theorized moving away, finding someplace else to be, some other home to live within, but it's just not going to happen. Continue reading…

2/6/00 Am I as cool as I think?

I'll answer the question above now: No, I'm not as cool as I think, or even as cool as I'd like to be. To refer to som previous articles I've written, I'm rather friendless now, and I'm trying to come up with some definition of identity for myself. However, this is all by choice; I need a new start, and I'm trying to make that start.

In a lot of cases, however, I think my standards are out of whack. I still gravitate towards the subculture, even though I object to a lot of it. On the other hand, the standard definitions of the "straight and narrow" don't apply to me either; I take what I need from both extremes and come up with something closer to the middle. Enter my apartment on an average day, there are Barbie dolls on the floor, houseplants everywhere, a replica human skull mounted on a pike, there are original works of classical art on the walls, and the new Crystal Method CD is playing on my brand-new 5-disk CD changer. Consumer, wannabe, artist, craftsman, parent; all are characteristics of me, even when they are stark contrasts when set close to each other.

Even within the definitions, my actions are both pro and con. As a consumer, I shop at Wal-Mart habitually, my grocery store is decided upon because it's the closest, I wander the mall but rarely buy anything, and I spend the rest of my mad-money at thrift shops. Regarding technology, some people think I'm a god, I've come up with one of the oddest attractions on the internet today, I am deeply in-tune with my computers, but my knowledge pales in contrast with that of the REAL computer-people, with degrees and experience. As for intelligence, I know enough obscure questions in Trivial Pursuit to impress the average person, but there are plenty of questions I get wrong. Fashion-wise, I have some impressive clothes, some ugly clothes, and some unremarkable clothes. My people skills are equally middle-of-the-road -- some days I say remarkably stupid things, other days I'm witty. I don't mind talking to people, I don't avoid conversation, but neither do I overly enjoy it. Continue reading…

2/4/00 Feeding the fears of the uneducated

Jumping on the bandwagon, ABC News just aired a report on the Evils of the Internet. Their complaint was that posts made in online BBSes were trackable back to you. As an example, they tracked a woman who had breast cancer through the rest of her life, about an alcoholic friend she had made other posts about, and back to her 'for sale' house.

There are two issues here, feeding the paranoia. Number one, is identity, and the other is private vs. public info.

What this comes dow to is this: The ABC news article erroneously calls her entries her "private thoughts," but unless they were put in a public place, they could not have been found. When the woman created the posts, did she want her identity known? The answer is an overwhelming yes. Without the identity-tag on the posts, she couldn't be tracked. The only way that information could be there is because she typed it. End of story. Referring back to my homunculus concept of online identity, this is a perfect example of poor application of online identity resources. Logically, if her medical history was such a private issue, she should not have used her real name, and she should have used either a dummy email address or created a temporary one just for the purpose of responding to email regarding those posts. The other places that messages were left should equally have been hidden this way; whenever activities are not intended to be attached to other activities, a new aspect of the homulnculus must be created. This is the only way to keep the balance in the battle against the information seekers and the private individual. Continue reading…

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