March 2008

Read this at my funeral

Inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's instructions for his funeral, I thought I should make some notes for my own, even though I hope it's a century away.

No preaching at my funeral, please.

I'm gone.
Don't eulogize me as a saint.
My life was contented and free.
I had the serenity to accept the things I couldn't change,
the wisdom to identify the things I could change
and the courage to admit that I was too lazy to do much about either.

No preaching at my funeral, please.
I'm gone.
Show no attachment to my body.
There was never any more than meat,
fantastic meshes of neurons
that encoded my memories,
that interacted consistently enough
to be recognizable as a personality,
that generated moments of insight
(most kept inside,
some shared,
depending on who had the patience to listen).

For those of you who loved me enough
to pan my dribblings for the few bright specks of intelligence
I am still present...
right there,
neuron number 20,537,713,622 fired
when you thought about
silly verse,
dark humour...

For everyone else,
You find yourself in a quiet building.
At one end there is a body in a coffin.
There are people here, some tearful.
Try as you might,
you can't help but imagine the chaos
if the recently deceased were to sit up
and announce, "I'm not dead yet."

In case you're wondering,
I'd do that if I could,
Just to see the expressions on your faces.

No preaching at my funeral, please.

I'm gone.
No scripture and no prayers either:
don't speak to each other in that pantomime
of magic communion with a mystic being.
Speak to real people
and share your memories
as finite, fallible, vulnerable humans.
Enrich each other's lives while you can.

No preaching at my funeral, please.
I'm gone.
If any of my organs can be used
to give life to another,
then do it.
I don't need them any more.
In fact I'd be very pleased if you could
donate my brain
in order that some other
less fortunate body
might live.

Mercy Girls... Ewwww

Message to Australian Government:
Allowing Hillsong Church (or any church for that matter) to provide mental health services is like:

  • letting Exxon Mobil determine your environmental policy
  • outsourcing theoretical physics research to the Flat Earth Society
  • appointing Paul Mullett to head a police corruption investigation
  • letting the Pope make decisions on reproductive health policy and abortion law.

This is what happens as a result:

Instead of the promised psychiatric treatment and support, they
were placed in the care of Bible studies students, most of them
under 30 and some with psychological problems of their own.
Counselling consisted of prayer readings, treatment entailed
exorcisms and speaking in tongues, and the house was locked down
most of the time, isolating residents from the outside world

No more Gloria Jean's for me.

The Park


Allie watched from her window and documented. They, in the park, couldn't see her. They didn't want to. They had their bottles of oblivion, their benches, and the occasional gift of a blanket and meal ticket from one of the compassionate.

It was Thursday evening, 10pm. Allie sat up and scanned the park perimeter. The fembot swaggered in from Sharpe Street, regular as a crystal. Whose turn tonight? Not Greysocks; he's dead to the world. Not Warlimp; he's gathering his stuff to make an exit. And not Weirdnewguy, whom she hadn't yet named; he's curled up in a ball by the brotherhood bin, shouting at an oppressive shrub. The fembot paraded its perfect black lace past Supermustache. Allie knew he would take the bait. She'd watched him closely last time. He was interested. The mustache amplified his grin as the bot worked through its routine on him: the wide eyes, the pout, the calculated combination of body language, scent and sighs. Delicious meets derelict. An impossible tragic romantic comedy... Allie's mind had wandered. She returned to her self-imposed discipline.

"10:04 Supermustache lets go of bottle and stands up," she wrote. "Bluescarf is making encouraging rude gestures from over beside the statue." He'll be next, she thought. Why do they follow? They must know fembot service doesn't come for the pitiful few bucks they've got. They don't seem to have noticed that those who follow never come back. Maybe their addled brains don't remember. Maybe they don't care. Their park is becoming cleaner and quieter.

"10:05 Supermustache trips on the steps--too focused on fembot's stockings. Fembot proceeds up Sharpe. Supermustache is confused. May have hit his head. He won't catch up. Fembot is not checking at all, not looking back, not listening, lost him."

No final fantasy for you, clumsy Mr. Supermustache, thought Allie. Still, she now knew what needed fixing in her code.

Hmmm... tricky

The skin underneath my ring was itchy this morning. I moved the ring around and rubbed the irritated skin. It felt tighter than usual. Yes, it is a bit swollen.

I think I'll have to wear the ring on another finger. I've removed it every couple of years, just to prove I can. In the past the difficult part has always been getting it over the knuckle. I didn't count on swelling. I wonder if a lubricant and judicious force will be enough to get it off? I don't fancy having it cut.

Random thought for the day

We etch a pattern of fairness on our pupils,
Then complain about distortions in our vision.

Comic Love

If I wore my undies outside of my leggings,
would you wear the girdle of steel--
the one with the physiological gloss
to project super-nature's appeal?

If I padded my spandex and practised those poses
that spawned my jejune aspirations,
would you show me that stance where your bookshelves hold up
to the weight of teen male expectations?

If perspective promoted my muscular thews
would you match my dramatic dimension?
Would our Freudian dances and meaningful glances
contribute to unresolved tension?

If together we teamed in a tandem of trust
waging war against evil's foundations,
would we fight side by side, pert and proud, light and lithe,
and perspire through tight situations?

Would our narrative tread ever stranger romances
through retcons and wrinkles of fate?
Would the risks that we run climb beyond unbelief
as our foes and our powers inflate?

Could we catch me and swing you with fearful faux physics
where meat flies as light as a feather?
Then, like a kid-fantasy pushed past its prime,
could we lose the plot,


Q: What's scarier than a megachurch full of fundies looking forward to the end times?

A: A megachurch full of fundies looking forward to the end times and carrying concealed weapons.

Lunchtime reading

Henry Markram:

Like a real brain, the behavior of Blue Brain naturally emerges from its molecular parts.


There is nothing inherently mysterious about the mind or anything it makes.

It's more than mere theorizing when you have your supercomputer producing accurate simulations.

♦ Out of the Blue