Computer disaster and other dissertations

June 1, 2015

I was stressed, the machine had pulled me in, I wanted to fix everything, I wanted all to be as it was: working without issues, I wanted to be doing something else. I didn’t want problems with ones and zeroes. At the same time the fight with the machine gave me purpose, a situation to use knowledge, ingenuity, an obstacle to surmount. I can win this. I will conquer this, which meant at the same time; I cannot lose this I cannot be conquered. Labyrinth of ways to the heart of it, dark halls, things done over and over, the machine starting to un-machine itself and starting to do things it cannot do, like willing itself not to shut down when I attempted it. How brash it was, insolent automaton who should know its place. Finally I went barbaric, rebooted and F9’ned it into Safe Mode and in a egregious gesture set the annihilation process in motion to eradicate this antagonistic minded machine, raze its mind, its ill will, its fuckedupedness back to the blandness of its factory presets. Zero it. I’ll show it what it costs to think on its own…

ERROR. In red big screen sized letters. What? This is supposed to be a given, the program running itself, no interference, just loading itself into actualization. A digital DNA of sorts, the fail proof code. PROGRAM X,Y,Z IS CONFLICTING WITH PROGRAM B,C,D…. A third note popped up, on the screen then a fourth which was the second red on white ERROR screen. They all sat there one on top of another with the superimposed message in black with the three dots, dots, dots repeating themselves ad infinitum. DO NOT OPERATE MACHINE. Dot. Dot. Dot. DO NOT OPERATE MACHINE. Dot. Dot. Dot. DO NOT OPERATE MACHINE. Dot. Dot. Dot. …


Thankfully I had backed up the whole past impersonation of the machine, the OS in full on another drive. But still. What do I do now? Do not operate it says. I waited a tiny bit then I did, I operated it and I turned it off. It restarted itself. Again and again. Finally it offered its new personality to me. Holy shit. Everything is gone. It’s a sleek, blank face, with a slick becoming smile but with no personality. Got to start all over. Meet, chat and discuss our preferences. Then I realized, Photoshop is gone. Illustrator is gone and I don’t have the discs, this is a problem along with all sorts of other things now gone; programs, files, things on the desktop… but I got the OS right? Hmm but I mindlessly renamed the machine… Messed that one up too. There will be messed up paths between the old name and the new name. I’ve been sitting there for hours at this point, how many, 8, 9? maybe 10. The sound of the hard drive gives me angst. Anxiety. But I carried on and I started moving all the files from the old operating system to this new one. And on it went. Then the phone rang: “I made bread! Come and taste it!” it’s now somewhere around 2 AM.

“OK, I’m coming.” Leave the damned machine to its own self-importance.

I walk up the street next to the stadium. Up to Istiklal. Most are drunk, wobbly and stupid and it irritates my existing state of annoyance more. At one corner a taxi driver stands outside his bright yellow car.


“Do I look like I want a fucking taxi!” I threw at him. He was all smiles… I regretted my outburst all of this is my own issue. But it’s not just the machine, it’s my own self generated self hell of doubt, fear and loathing. It has been around, waiting for me, hiding behind the corner, like a gang, like a cloud of bugs on the roadway that smears itself as an icky goop on your face shield reducing your ability to see as well as creating a deep disgust. Urgh.

I’ve been battling with myself; I found this new home, then lost my work, then I start to fear the future. The possible lack. The out of controlness that is going on. I’m trying to hold it all in and I cannot grasp, hold or control anything.

I get to my friend and the fresh bread and I start ranting about the calamity of losing Photoshop and Illustrator. As I talk I start hearing myself, I hear the voice that wants to hear itself whine, wants to be right, wants to have a problem. I start to see that the actuality is not what I rant about.

We talk, then we walk, then we talk more. In North America we have this concept: Rock bottom. How bad can it get? Well you go down until you hit rock bottom and then the only thing left to do is to push yourself out of the depths of the waters and emerge a grown person. He says to me: There is no bottom to worseness. Here things do keep getting “worser and worser”. Wow, ultra hell. That is a new way of thinking and I am not sure it’s a good one. So on one hand a culture says that it can only get so bad, on the other hand the second culture says there is no bottom to the potential of worsening of a life-situation.

“What about becoming a better person?”

“There is no such thing. If you are good, you are good, good is good, there is no improving on that. It just is.”

“Wow.” Here is yet another twist. So things can worsen indefinitely, but if you do your best, it’s good enough. So again, in one culture there is a bottom to how bad it can get, and the ceiling of self improvement is limitless. In the other there is bottomless badness but you are good enough as you are if you do good. It’s a bit dizzying a thought. It changes the whole perspective one would have on life and possibilities. wow.

I was sitting down on the floor looking at the ceiling of the room trying to define what I wanted, what I needed, what was wrong, what would be great… and finding that all these are convoluted dirt trails leading back to the starting point, a meaningless voyage back to the fact that by looking into a void; the unknown future, that trying to asses and organize it into a understandable, controllable whole, is pointless. The nullity of this processing so clear; What do I know really? Shut up. This is just the whole ensemble of my mind, my ego, my restless fears, and restless reach to achieve God knows what and trying to pretend that I know something. Phew… Sigh.

“You have to just enjoy what is.” he said. And I thought. And I saw the inumerability of good moments that occur, keep occurring. Yes, I have no financial means, but then, a large amount of people here are in exactly the same position, and they don’t cry about it. They still live, go on. They have nothing and they live and tomorrow comes, and the next day, and the meal times and somehow everyone lives on. Then he said: “ I am happy that I can give up. Hmm, not give up.. but… what’s the English word… continue on. Not hold on. I gave up my literacy, now I make food. Later I can return to literacy, or do something else.

“How did you get to be so wise?” I asked.

The next day I gave up. I slept an enormous amount of time. When I woke up I realize the depth of my sleep as it felt like heavy rocks had covered my eyes. My body too was heavy, it had given up, abandoned itself to slumber. That day, I did not look ahead. I was calm. I enjoyed my home. Made breakfast, used my new shiny espresso machine, sat down and breathed. Wow. How special is this? Really, honestly? Since… well since last July I’ve been pretty much houseless, this now is immensely luxurious. My home. My room. Quietness. I give up worrying about rent. Doesn’t something always happen? Yes. And it could be that I would get really busy, who knows? If so,then I would not have enjoyed this gift of quiet times and gentle mornings and days without pressure. And the same if, God forbid, if I was to find myself unable to pay the rent and back to houselessness, then I would have stressed all the time I could have used to enjoy, rest and recover.

I went out. As the door closes heavily with a clang, I step out. The birds. They sing and the air is cool and the sun is there, here I am in Turkey, I walk towards the little mini park, cats, women in scarves. I walk slowly, I realize that my body is tired, that I have not felt it, or given it any attention so much my head was lost ahead. I have been pushing and pushing it now it needs to breathe. Up the steps and under the canopy of the trees. I feel the ground under my feet. I give up, let go. What’s the word?.. Surrender, that is the word. It’s good. It is right. My Westerner’s head if full of this bullshit of achievement and production. Of this necessity to reach, or die trying. Of this necessity to have something to overcome, conquer, so that your life has value. A few days ago I chided myself: “when is the last time I created anything? A song, a poem, a nice piece of writing, a drawing? And I was shamed and worried; who am I then? Nothing.. What will I do with my life? Why do I exist? Life as a thing. A raw stone to carve. A blank page to write on. But today I read this:

“La vie est là qui vous anime, laissez vous porter, sentez vous vivante, la plus vivante possible, vivante veut dire unifiée. Ici et maintenant je suis ce que je suis. …Pas «ma vie et moi, moi et la vie» vous êtes la vie à quoi se surajoutent, venant nous compromettre et limiter cette vie, toutes les préoccupations, tous les soucis, tous les esporis que vous projetez dans le futur.

Life is there, animating you, let yourself be carried, feel it, be as alive as possible, alive meaning unified. Here and now I am what I am. … not `my life and I or me and the life`, you are life, onto which, the following come superimposing themselves on us, compromising us and limiting life, those being all the preoccupations, the worries, all the hopes that you project into the future.

Real peace is reconciliation. To welcome all without taking, without holding on, without maintaining, without conserving.

From the big bang onwards, at every moment, the whole of all chains of cause and effect that constitute the weave of this universe … results in… the production of a circumstance…

Reading this, I saw the unfolding in my mind of the whole universe, my own space expanding into this immensity. I am life. I am. I don’t own anything, I cannot hold anything, control anything as I am formless in all this. This weave… to think of all the cause and effect. To think of the scope and its plasticity; all-nothing.

So today I walked slowly, again. I did not carry my backpack with all the knick knacks stored in it that I might or might not need. This computer war thing made me realize many things, one of them being how within not so many years, these machines have become part and parcel of human functioning. “Who cares about the internet, they just made this up so they can use you and make money.” “You don’t need this, you should go out in the world and face it that way.” All the great promises of success and communication of social media; Yes, now I can send 200 invitations for my gig and no one shows up. They click the « join » button having done their part in showing me they care. I want to free myself. I need to interface with the world, not a screen.

The candles burn. Fuck the rules we said. So I am writing at 2:25 AM and he left to go make bread for in the morning. Real bread. It’s a beautiful night. How do I feel right now? A little tiredness in the shoulders, my head is thinking a lot about mom these days, about Canada, strangely, and also about Seraphim in the California sun, about Crystal who is about to embark on a big life journey and about my bike sitting there. I have been thinking how much i would love to have a cat on my lap… don’t ask why, it is just a thought. At this very moment, all is well. Beautiful. Peaceful. Life is.



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