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Thursday, December 16, 2004

For lack of a better name, Chapter 1

The story is fragmented and difficult to assemble. The pieces, having been blown to bits of various shapes and sizes, have arranged themselves arbitrarily, haphazardly. Nothing is written down in its entirety in any one place. The story exists only in parts; on my hard drive, on napkins and paper bags, and in various incomplete notebooks. It’s difficult to say whether this makes it more difficult to fully understand, or whether the essence becomes more evident when viewed from obscurity.

I have come to realize some important things from the experience. First, though there most certainly is a comprehensive web of surveillance in operation, there is also ample opportunity for "you" to watch "them." It can be done in subtle ways, and becomes quite effective during the frequent episodes of malfunction. Government equipment, systems, management and such - they break down with stunning regularity. Data is irrevocably corrupted by a hostile analog world (a spilled bottle of cola, for instance). The half-lives of these bits and bytes are as yet undetermined.

The data collected is sifted through the bureaucratic sieve, cc’d around and between departments, then generally disregarded. There is no central mainframe that holds all the goods, just like there is no central council of humans who rationally and methodically review the "facts."

The beige leather notebook is a reliable start. It happens late in the story, deep in debt and chronically high, but offers a few moments of lucidity. In my daze I was able to see clear through the noise, beyond the barrage of frequencies and transmissions that afflicts any urban form of life.

A song without lyrics for a change

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