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Fox Mulder

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago




The truth is out there.



Mark Hufman

aka Fox Mulder

Excerpt from pg. 181

“Ubik Meets Barry Bonds” Remix





(Joe Chip has just made his epic assent of the stairs and fallen into his room) …

And saw a figure seated in an overstuffed chair, facing him. A spectator who had made no sound but who now stood and came rapidly toward him. Joe recognized the giant, but would not accept what his eyes were seeing. He was surely hallucinating he kept telling himself. His mental strength must be eroding as quickly as his physical strength.

The figure was none other than Barry Bonds.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you climb the stairs Joe,” Barry said, his enormous forehead stern. “She would have seen me. Matter of fact, I was afraid she’d come all the way into the room with you, and then we’d be in trouble because she—“ He broke off, bent and hoisted Joe up to his feet, using only one arm, as if Joe had no weight left in him, no remaining material constituents. “We’ll talk about that later. Here.” He carried Joe under his arm, across the room—not to the bed but to the overstuffed chair in which he himself had been sitting. “Can you hold on a few seconds longer?” Barry asked. “I want to shut and lock the door. In case she changes her mind.”

“Yes, but what are you doing here Barry?!” Joe said.

Ignoring him, Barry Bonds strode in three big steps to the door, slammed it and bolted it, came at once back to Joe. Opening a drawer of the vanity table, he hastily brought out a spray can with bright stripes, balloons and lettering glorifying its shiny surfaces. “Ubik,” Barry said, he shook the can mightily, then stood before Joe, aiming it at him. “don’t thank me for this,” he said, and sprayed prolongedly left and right; the air flickered and shimmered, as if bright particles of light had been released, as if the sun’s energy sparkled here in this worn-out elderly hotel room. “Joe I’m here to help you. In this world where everything is becoming older and wearing out, Ubik is the answer. Ubik restores your strength and counteracts the breakdown process.”

Joe looked at him dumbly. “But of all people why are you here?” he asked.

“You see Joe; I owe my career to Ubik. I was long past my prime and I couldn’t hit homeruns anymore. I fell into deep depression because baseball was all I knew. That’s when Ubik turned it all around. It restored my muscles to their youthful state. People in the media credited it to steroids, but Ubik was the answer. I would have corrected them, but then everyone in baseball would have been doing it.”

Starting to feel a bit annoyed Joe said, “Barry that’s a real good story and all, but that still does not explain why YOU are here!”

“Well, after my reality television show didn’t go so great, I decided to become a spokesman for Ubik. It did so many great things for my career I figure the least I could do was give back a little bit. Besides, the off-season gets awfully boring,” Bonds replied.

“But I thought you didn’t want anyone to know your secret?” Joe asked puzzled.

“You got me there Joe, but what you don’t understand is that where we are, I’m not too worried about other ballplayers hitting more homers than me,” Barry said with a sigh. “But anyway, Runciter is on his way and he’ll be able to explain everything more clearly for you when he gets here.”

Remix Explanation

The first time I read the book, Ubik, one part of the book that really stuck out to me. It was the scene of the story with Joe Chip struggling his way up the steps to his hotel room while fighting off physical deterioration. He had the deepest desire to lie down in his bed and rest, but was instead faced with the mountainous staircase. The grueling journey from lobby to hotel room goes on for nine agonizing pages. During which Joe is taunted not only by exhaustion but also by the dubious Patricia Conway. To me, this is one of the most powerful sections of the book because it makes you feel how Joe feels. While reading it I have an uncanny sense of dizziness and disorientation if not outright nausea.


I chose to insert my remix directly after Joe Chips assent of the stairs and his triumphant plunge into his room. At this point in the book the reader is fully unaware of what might happen to Joe. Past experience tells the reader that characters showing symptoms such as Joe is exhibiting have notoriously gone off somewhere alone to shrivel up and die. This would lead the reader to believe that Joe has gone through the pain and struggle of getting to his hotel room only to be found a short time later reduced to a heap of bones and ash. But low and behold, out of the shadows a savior appears in order to rescue Joe.


When deciding what I wanted to incorporate into my remix I noted early on that I wanted to add an element of humor to the book. I couldn’t help but laugh when thinking about Joe Chip enduring his hardships only to be greeted by yet another commercial. I wanted to make Barry Bonds' role basically to restore Joe while making a Ubik sales pitch. I found it funny and it also really played on the alternating realities that Philip K. Dick established throughout the book, between what was real and what was merely a commercial.


The idea of using Barry Bonds came to me when I was thinking about what the product, Ubik, really did. The answer that I came up with was that it stopped entropic effects and restored material to its original form. This almost immediately led me to think of steroids and other substances that restore muscle strength faster and enable the growth of additional muscle. Barry Bonds, who has basically become a steroid icon, was the first person to come to my mind and also the perfect fit for someone who would be in need of Ubik. He is a baseball player who is fighting the entropy that is aging and needs to restore his strength to what it was in his youth in order to compete. Spray on some Ubik and he goes from aging athlete to homerun king.


In my remix I attempted to combine humor, the reality vs. commercial dilemma, and a shift in the story that would unsettle the reader. Drastic leaps from struggle to uncertainty to confusion and finally to humor. The sudden shifts of mood in the writing are also a way to kind of distort the reality of the story. An aspect that is in line with what Philip K. Dick often accomplished with his novels.


SO THAT'S HOW HE GOT ALL THOSE HOMERS!!! No wonder the drug tests couldn't pick it up--- who would of thought to test for something only found in half-life. I like



I thought it was really humorous and interesting that you set up Bonds as the "savior." Also, you explanation further exemplified your consciousness of making Bonds, steriod king, the bringer of Ubik. Also, a great job of combining the commcericla element of the work with the prose portion of the novel.



Call Me Ishmael


I agree. I really like what you've done here. As I began reading I was thinking wow it's like the beginning of each chapter in Ubik where Dick incorporates a type of commercial. Very clever and creative. I give it an A-




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March 20, 2007




Awhile back someone posted a link to Swaptree. I signed up for an account, but I guess they were only letting so many people on since they were in the beta testing stages. Finally I got an email back yesterday and signed up. This really seems like a cool idea in my opinion. Basically you make a list of stuff you own that you wouldn't mind getting rid and make a list of stuff that you want. The computer mixes and matches people who are looking for stuff you have and have things you want. I'm not positive but I think that the computer goes as far as to make multiple party trades. The whole process really reminds me of the days of elementary school where I used to trade my baseball cards with the other kids. It would be kind of cool to buy a videogame, beat it, trade it for a different one, repeat. Somehow I don't see the music, movie, or gaming industry taking too kindly to this software.


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March 5, 2007

__More Cosmic Trigger__

My copy of Cosmic Trigger finally made its way to Webster’s and I got to pick it up today. I sat down attempting to get started reading and the first hundred pages flew by before I knew it. I thought the number 23 idea is especially weird because of the movie Number 23 which I’m sure you all thought of when you read it. There is definitely something about this book that freaks you out a little bit. After reading it alone in the stacks for a few hours I was ready for invisible agents from the Cosmic Coincidence Control Center to start throwing books off all the shelves. Speaking of coincidences, putting together how it seems that each age of humankind has experienced their own version of what we now call extraterrestrials, whether they are in the form of leprechauns, angels, spacemen/women, or the Virgin Mary. This book opens up new concepts to me and it seems to go so fast because Wilson puts many teasers throughout the book as to what crazy idea might be revealed next. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up finishing it tonight even though I have a whole ton of other work to do.

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March 1, 2007

__Just Say Yes to the Noosphere__

Conveniently I had class at 6:30 in the Stuckman building last night, so I was had the chance to go see mobius’s talk before my class. I really found it enjoyable. The timing was impeccable in that his talk was basically at the heart of what we are now discussing in class. I was standing beside someone that was just passing by and was checking out what was going on. When he heard what the talk was about and especially when a giant picture of an alien popped up on the big screen, I could tell he was really confused at how this was all going on. It really made me think about how far I’ve come from when I started this class and then comparing what I know now to the many people who have never been exposed to this information was quite interesting. The little I knew about psychedelics was all bad stereotypes. Images of aging hippies with spaced out looks on their faces passed through my mind. I had once heard about engineers in the 60s being experimented on using LSD, but I was under the assumption that these test failed miserable and that the engineers where probably mentally damaged in some way. I once read a fiction novel about a killing that had been done by a Marine. The Marine was part of an experiment involving LSD and through violent hallucinations had committed the murder. And last but not least, I saw Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This film did very little to suggest that psychedelics may be useful in the development of information technology. I’m sure I’m not the only one that based their assumptions of LSD to references such as these. The fact that I was exposed to something completely different from what I had assumed was reality mixed in with reading Cosmic Trigger has really driven home the fact that we live in a constant state of premise lock. It gives teeth to Wilson’s statement that “belief is the death of knowledge.” I don’t know exactly what I think about that statement, but I would say that assumption is certainly the death of knowledge. The question is how close are the lines between assumption and belief.

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Febuary 26, 2007

__Cosmic Trigger__

I went to pick up a copy of Cosmic Trigger and Webster's had recently sold their last copy. The library also didn't have a copy. So I am waiting for a copy to get here from Utah. In the meantime it is really killing me. I have been reading everyone's responses to the book and it sounds really interesting. Interesting enough that half the class is ready to organize a group LSD experimentational final project. After reading the preface I can understand why. I think it is a combination of curiosity and need for enlightenment that pulls us towards this subject. Questions about the meaning of the life, universe, and everything came to mind when I read about multiple realities. The biggest draw for me is that Wilson talks about all of these abstract ideas and states of mind that are very interesting, but without his experience I don't think I can fully grasp what he is trying to explain.

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Febuary 21, 2007

__Catching Up__

I’ve been busy messing with the scripts (throwing table of contents all over the wiki). I really like the new look that some of the wiki pages are taking on. Although some can be a bit overwhelming, i.e. hot pink background, bright yellow text, and an assortment of convulsing images). But in the process of changing the interface I have completely neglected my wiki writing responsibities. However, I’m back to business. I finished Ubik awhile back and I really enjoyed it. I commented on the book 150 pages in, thinking I was around the halfway mark. Then I realized that the book was basically finished. I plan on reading more Philip K. Dick novels. I think it is his story even more than the stories that he writes that really draws my interest. He is definitely a wild guy with some very keen foresight on developing technologies. Imagine if he would have used his vision in the stock-market rather than in science fiction novels. Although I guess the result would still be the same, he dies and his talent eventually earns him a boatload of cash.

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Febuary 14, 2007


I read the first 150 pages of Ubik and have really enjoyed it so far. I like the way Dick throws unrealistic ideals at you, but as I read I notice that I immediately begin to accept them. I also think it helps seeing some films based on his stories. For example, precogs would have been much more difficult to grasp if I had not had an image of what precogs were from seeing Minority Report. I can also so an unmistakable connection between Ubik and the movies Paycheck and Scanner Darkly. All dealing with alternate realities and also the society of control. I agree with the assessment that reading large portions of Dick's novels helps to immerse you into the story. I decided to read a few pages in the bathroom once and found myself needing to read the pages over again to really get back into the story. More to come after I finish the book.

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Febuary 12, 2007


I read some random article in the USA Today and it was talking about an online software called Second Life. I had never heard of it and the article made it sound interesting, so I looked a little further into it. The software itself is kind of setup like a game in that you get to create yourself and you can move/fly yourself around in a simulated world. There are some interesting aspects of it though. You can interact with all the other people who are logged on. Apparently users can establish businesses in this alternative world and receive cash from other users. The eventual goal of the creators of Second Life is to make this the new interface of the internet. Rather than go to amazon.com, you would rather go to the Amazon store in the Second Life world and interact with clerks and other customers. Also the new big deal with the software is that it has recently gone open source, meaning that anyone can view the code of the software and adjust/add onto it in order to make it better. Now, they have an entire army of people going over their original codes, removing bugs, installing patches, and eventually probably making revolutionary contributions to the software. All in all it seems like an interesting endeavor, however, it doesn’t seem to have the muscle yet to really offer anything all that impressive. At this point, jumping on websites is much simpler than walking around a virtual world.




Oh man, Second Life. I've been so curious about this "game" ever since I read Neal Stephenson's way awesome scifi novel, Snow Crash, which supposedly influenced aspects of the SL universe. From SL's wiki...

"Second Life is one of several virtual worlds that have been inspired by the cyberpunk literary movement, and particularly by Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash. The stated goal of Linden Lab is to create a world like the Metaverse described by Stephenson, a user-defined world of general use in which people can interact, play, do business, and otherwise communicate. Despite its prominence, Second Life has notable competitors, including Active Worlds, considered by some to be the founding company of the 3D internet concept in 1995, There, and newcomers such as Entropia Universe, Dotsoul Cyberpark and Red Light Center."

I meant to set up an account in SL over winter break but never did, distracted by HW, family, friends, life, etc. But I'd love to incorporate SL into a class project somehow, if, indeed, the game universe deeply pertains to aspects of control societies. (Which I think it does, since the game's apparently gone open source now, and its world involves a kind of commons, and plenty of control). Random interesting fact - At University of Texas in Austin there's a course devoted to Second Life. My friend who attends UT gave me a link to the course syllabus a while ago, but I'll look for it later. A quick "ut second life" google turned this up. It makes a good case for implementing SL in college curriculum. This got me wondering...If mobius wants to get the Wiki into classes, why not also have online games like Second Life? I thought I saw pedagogical gaming" mentioned in the Digital Proposal somewhere... -Houdini

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Febuary 6, 2007

__RFID Run-In__


Over the weekend I was planning on visiting some friends at another college. I'm not a big car-ride kind of guy, so I figured I would get an audio book to pass the time. I found Minority Report and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick. This was cool because I have been wanting to read some of his books and I also thought it would pretain to the class. So, I was using the automatic book checkout, trying to scan the barcode. The barcode was in a wierd place, so I asked the librarian to help me out. She went on to explain that the barcode was not needed because the scanner was scanning the RFID tag on the inside of the back cover. This was at the Schlow Library downtown and not the campus library. I was pretty impressed that my first encounter with RFID (that I know of) happened so shortly after I have first heard of it. It really hit home I guess as to how fast this technology entering our society. In a previous post of mine I expressed that tagging sex offenders and such would not be a bad idea. I have since given the matter more thought and read the reasons other bloggers gave as to why this might not be the best idea. My initial reaction of "Sure, why not tag these scumbags?", gave way for many reasons, but what really topped it off was actually seeing this RFID technology at work so close to home. Rather than being the technology of the future, tagging human beings with RFID technology could be done as we speak.





Do you know if they can see you right now? LOL As in, can they see where the book is now or is it just for scanning? I'd be really freaked out if an organization like the Schlow Library could track where their books were. Could you imagine if an agent popped up at your door or window because of an overdue book? LOL


Call Me Ishmael

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Febuary 5, 2007

__FBI Files: Roberto Clemente__

I was searching for someone to check out in the FBI Reading Room files when I came across Roberto Clemente. I am a suffering Pittsburgh Pirates fan and seeing his name was interesting to me. I assumed the file would be about his death in a plane crash that occurring on New Year's Eve 1972. However, it was actually a file on a threat that was made on Clemente’s life in 1972. The threat was in the form of a letter mailed to Three Rivers Stadium and was treated as fan mail. The letter promises to shoot Clemente on September 29th, 1972 during the top of the second inning, at which time he would have been playing right field. The letter ends with “P.S. Did you ever get shot with a shotgun before?” Due to the large amount of mail that is received from fans, this letter was not discovered until November 1st. Needless to say Clemente played in the game without incident. He went on to get his 3000th hit the following day in what would be his last ever regular season at bat. I found this story to be very interesting in the fact that although it was a false alarm, the threat on Clemente’s life went over a month without being discovered. It reminds me of the problems we have today in processing massive amounts of data and the possible consequences of overlooking information.

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January 29, 2007

__RFID: Where has it been? Where is it now? Where is it going?__

Whether we realize it or not, RFID technology has already integrated itself into our world. The future of the up and coming technology looks to make itself an even bigger part of our lives. Implanting these chips in sex offenders seems like a good idea that may not be too far off. The idea of implanting them in children seems at first to be a great idea, but at second glance we may reconsider. Do we really want the location of our children to be known at all times? Digital information can be vulnerable. If this information would fall into the wrong hands it would have the potential to do much harm. But forget about the cons for a minute. What can we do with RFID technology? For starters, I would put them on the valuable items that are likely to be stolen. There is already similar technology being used in a device called a Helio. It is basically a glorified cell phone, but one of the gadgets on it is a Buddy Beacon. Using GPS technology, you can pinpoint the location of other users of the Helio. I can see RFID technology being integrated with cell phones and even websites such as MySpace. EDIT: Apparently they (Helio) already have me beaten to the punch with the myspace thing, even though I was envisioning something a little more elaborate. While there are many positives to the induction of RFID into society, I believe that it will just be another stumbling block for criminals. New technology to hinder crime is most often met with new techniques to nullify the technology. Ways to block the RFID signal will be developed or methods of removing the chip altogether will be developed. But such is the dilemma of a control society that is not capable of being fully controlled.

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January 26, 2007

__Electronic Dependency__

Lately I have been pondering the little things that I do during my daily routine that upon further reflection seem quite odd. Often, the small aspects of our lives that are easily overlooked can hold great meaning. One such aspect is the extreme dependency on electronic devices in order to get from place to place. I don't mean as a form of transportation, but rather as a form of entertainment. Today I forgot my mp3 player at home. Typically, I take the music device everywhere. It's something to do while I walk to class or workout at the gym. Next, my cell phone died shortly after I left my apartment. I don't fancy myself as much of a talker on the phone, but I nonetheless felt stranded without its availability. On top of that, it was undoubtedly the longest walk to class I've ever had, without the capability of immersing myself in conversation or song. At a glance, it is evident that I am not the only one with an electronic dependency issue. Nearly everyone I passed on the street had earphones in or was on the phone.

__USB Sabotage__

I find the social engineering used in the USB sabotage article to be very interesting. It really opens up a new realization as to just how vulnerable information can be. I also read over the Social Engineering FAQ website. The relative ease with which information can be taken is intimidating, but in all reality how shocked can we be. As a culture, we have shifted from the use of paper money towards virtual money. There are plenty of positives that come out of this, for instance, we don't have as many thieves attempting to break into household safes. However, by digitalizing our wealth, we expose it to the threat of hackers. Despite this, we proceed to put our private account information all over the internet. Because honestly, what choice do we really have? The electronic transfer of money is nearly unavoidable in our culture. The most ironic part of it all is that it typically isn't the technology that has left us vulnerable, it is the people who run the technology. Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to safeguard against human error.

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January 24, 2007

__Overcoming the Distractions…__

In class, we touched on the history of people shutting themselves inside the proverbial cave in order to rid themselves of distractions. Sometimes I feel as though I must do the same in order to get some schoolwork accomplished. The month of absolute nothing, also known as my Christmas break, has diverted my body and mind away from responsibility and toward the meaningless void (i.e. hours of solitaire). Every time I sit down to accomplish something my mind wanders toward food, television, aim, that itch on my back that I just can’t seem to get, and a list of other distractions that could go on for pages. I’ve been meaning to write on the wiki for the past few days, however, I have found a major flaw in the wiki ideal. In order to write on the wiki I must be online. I go to research an article to post about and I subconsciously end up checking the score of the Penguin’s game. It has become almost a nervous habit for me to check about ten different websites for updated information before I can continue with what I original got online for. Maybe it is time for me to seek my Fortress of Solitude. Anyone know where I could spend an hour or so in an isolation tank, preferably floating in ten inches of salty water?


Side note: Can anyone tell me why I can't get get my text to left align? It's trivial but it sure does bug the hell out of me. You might say it's distracting.


Helpful Hint #1: while I completely support the float tank (in fact, I am going to be volunteering my time working on the project), I would like to note that one does not need to go through all the hassle of showering, stripping, plugging and securing, floating, and de-salting to find some isolation. No, seriously. If you are interested in finding some isolation, you could also just start meditating. It is perhaps not as novel as the 'float tank' but it's (arguably)a hell of a lot simpler. ~Echan

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January 22, 2007

__Step One, Begin__


Although it’s not my first wiki experience, I am amazed at how daunting it can be to get back into the swing of things. For instance, I need to aide of Microsoft word in order to put my thoughts in order. I am used to HTML and other computer code but there is something about having it side by side with my writing content on a blank webpage that doesn’t mesh at first. That being said, I am a huge advocate for the wiki to be incorporated into the curriculum here at Penn State. I took English 15 with Dr. Mobius during freshmen year. Prior to the course I loathed everything about writing (i.e. boring topics, rules of grammar, little to no feedback). However, though writing on the wiki I grew to use my writing more as an interaction tool than trying to spew ten pages of bullshit just to meet a minimum page requirement. The realization that people other than the professor were going to read my work made me want to write something interesting and for the first time I was actually thinking about my writing. Now, two years removed from English 15, I am back for more writing. I am taking an English class as an elective. This fact alone speaks volumes.


On a side note, I read over Provisional Idiot’s link on cryptography and found it quite interesting. I would definitely like to learn more about it in the future.

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