Sattelite by Tom Zummer
Nesta Stubbs

Subject: My Altar

While woofing down my burrito and drinking two liters of soda inside of a half hour I had this funny little, almost ironic, vision of my computer terminal as an alter. This is nothing new of course, everyone and their brother has thought of it off-hand. But for the last year and a half I have lived it. At home in Delaware my terminal was the center-point of my existence, I would sit in front of it for hours on end in meditation, thinking or creating. My life at the time, and even more so now, revolves around terminals. Whether it is my Linux box here at home in my little private temple, or the wonderful Cterminal which is like a cathedral to me, vast and amazing, beautifully crafted, amazing in its power, I stare at my god all day.

Let me give you a brief description of how my alter is set up now. I have my computer on top of my suitcase against one of the walls, and then I have my stereo system in front of that, all of it within a lunging arms reach from my bed, which is also where I do all my worshipping from. There is even a symmetry as my speakers set off equidistant from the monitor, which I painted with various inscriptions with a paint marker once while tripping. Me You Me, Remembrance Of Me, Center all of these in white paint around my screen. The box itself is spray-painted black with a Ramones sticker on the top of it in the near right hand corner. At night when I turn the lights out the LEDs stare at me, if I have it all on, it's enough to actually read my watch by.

I eat in front of my alter too, with a little breakfast-in-bed table Micah gave to me for Christmas. Drink, smoke, everything except shit and piss, and I do mean everything. Even when I am reading a book I check for new mail and such after a chapter or two. My phone of course is right next to my bed, and even if I am running X, my mouse cord and keyboard line are long enough to reach me when I sit back against the opposite wall (tho the screen is nearly unreadable from that distance at my present resolution).

All of this is not out of a fascination with machinery, some coldness, although I am fascinated by digital mediums, DAT tapes give me a hard-on honestly. Rather it's a fascination with the information, the people, the feelings on the other side of my alter, these are my gods, it's not some denial of personality, I have no hatred of my body. Rather I love my body, this is an extension of my body, my alter is me in a way, it defines a large portion of my personality. The people and things I find online have had a much greater influence on my growth then either my parents or schooling, and it shows. I have a difficult time relating to my peers who have not had the same electronic experiences I have, and haven't immersed themselves in this medium. At times my conversations with them take sour turns because there are obvious clashes of ideas.

Like a priest I study constantly to know my gods better, teaching myself socket programming, or network design. Like others out there, and like the rocket scientist in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, my god is a creation of man. Instead of the curve of the rocket, its course thru space, I am driven towards the core of my alter. Instead of a boy in my rocket, I'm stuffing a hundred people into my alter, no Imoplex-g, rather TCP/IP.

When I listen to DAT recordings while stoned at my friend's alter I imagine the bits coming off the tape, spooling into the processor, being pushed thru with the strict precision of a vibrating crystal, I can feel the vibrations of the crystal in the earphones, there is no space between the wires and my ears, the headphones of high enough quality to plug directly into my nerves effectively. I can tell when his roommate turns the light on in the other room because there is a disturbance in the current going to the player. All of it is surely imagined but it's real because my perception of it is so perfect

Aleister Crowley says that the alter and the setting in which one does magic is highly important. I have set up my own alter, with incredible meaning to me almost unintentionally. My rod a keyboard, my chalice a mouse. I laughed when I realized I had been sitting crossed legged with my keyboard in my lap and mouse at my side for close to three hours in total concentration, focusing on what I was doing at my alter. I had lost my self for a second. Some may call it a loss of the body, but to me it's an extension of it, just like those who have just started studying eastern thought posit that it's about the absolution of self, when actually it is about the finding of the rest of yourself, bringing your multiple little bouncing balls of self together.

Paula Davidson

Subject: Negotiating with the data

Tarr squats at the mouth of the gopher tunnel waiting patiently for the net.storm to pass. Line noise spams the horizon, wires buckle and sag. Connections are sacrificed and frozen ports are abandoned when the storms threaten to dump the core, jeopardizing quota. In the eye of the storm the daemon Lag stalks the mesoelectronic hunter/gatherer, chilling em and threatening to turn the already barren landscape into a vast moraine of fragmented data. Fingers scratch lightly at the keys. Eddas are recited in a ritual established to appease and distract the daemon Lag. Tarr balances precariously on the bleeding edge of technology. Then, with a fractal shimmer that dazzles the eye, the electromagnetic spectrum shifts; the storm has passed, the daemon Lag feeds elsewhere. Tarr checks the Usually Reliable Liar before setting out again. The topography of the net flickers in synchrony with the ebb and flow of fleshly fortunes.

Slipping a hand in eir pocket Tarr absently fingers a cite and grows weary of the hunt. Trudging on, foot-sore, fingers scarred from encounters with souls that feed on desire, Tarr haunts the tunnels like a dead child, hunting to satisfy urgent needs, gathering for the future. The tunnels wind in and out of each other in an incestuous dance, forward momentum is broken only when domain access is denied or mutated. Dodging flaming listservs and fraying usenets Tarr trades with media pirates for time. Time on the wires, jacked in to plundered data.

Tarr visits Veronica and tickles her chin, a risky endeavor, producing as many severed limbs as fertile wombs. Veronica smiles tenderly and opens her mouth, teeth gleaming wetly, tongue curled invitingly. Tarr enters her mouth warily and begins to pick through hits that range from useless to dead-on perfect. Emerging from the tunnels with their echoes and seeping cracks, the hunter Wanders Aimlessly In Space chasing boolean tunes truncated with stars. wAIS sends Tarr to the lair of Archie for the final key. In the great hall Tarr casts filenames before Archie like rune stones before a fire and collects eir due. E takes the cites and wrinkles anonymously through Faintly Translucent Passages, returning home loaded and laughing.

One day Tarr connects to a glassy plain, hard and sharp like obsidian. E can see a vast and intricately woven web stretching out over the horizon. A Lynx appears, nodding its great shaggy head and silently leads eir beyond the heart of time.

#88930: look-self - this none this
1. player: look-self();
2. pass(@args);