Episode 65 – The Saddest Episode Ever!

In this episode, Charles and Coté get just a little bit of the actual recording. The majority is of this week’s recording is currently lost in a corrupted WAV file.

On a lighter note, check out BarCampEarth this weekend: perhaps coming to a town near you! I’ll be going to the Austin one.

Also, if you like IRC, come on over to the RedMonk IRC channel: irc://irc.freenode.net#redmonk. Perhaps we’ll start a #drunkandretired as well if ya’ll’d like that.

(This episode edited by Coté)

Movie Night: The Descent

Thanks to some of Kim’s co-worker-friends, we’re going to see The Descent tonight. My first reaction was, “whao! I don’t want to watch 99 minutes of people stuck in narrow passage ways. I think I might freak-the-fuck-out!”

But then I remembered that in the preview there’s “spooky” stuff in the movie, and I figured I’d only have to endure 20-30 minutes of fashionable women stuck in cracks.

Let’s hope I’m right.

My money is on the “spooky stuff” being a lost race of primates along the lines of Lovecraft meets H.G. Wells.

On a positive note, the local weekly’s review (by the often brutal Marc “Salvo” Savlov) ends on what I’d call a god note: “The Descent may not be everything you’ve heard, but man, it’s also a lot of things you haven’t.”

Update: I can’t spell, but I can fix misspellings!

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New CoteIndustries.com

I redid my “portal”/plant site over the weekend: http://www.coteindustries.com/. Of special interest to some of you is that I pulled out feeds for all my different content. Instead of just two to choose from, there’s now several. So, if you’re not interested in getting everything, you can just get content from DrunkAndRetired.com, PeopleOverProcess.com (I left the links in, sorry), links, photos, books, or music.

As always, the existing feeds are the same. So if you like the feeds as they are, you don’t have to do anything. On the other hand, if you’re one of the people who’ve told me there’s too much crap in my feed, now you should be able to slice out parts you don’t like.

And just for ScottD!, I brought back the random pictures ;>

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Podcast: Radio Open Source

I’ve mentioned Radio Open Source several times to several of you. The most recent episode in the podcast queue, “Chomsky: My Dinner with Hassan,” is a great example of the show, as is “Re-thinking Neo-conservatism”. While I’m attracted to the American politics and Fiasco ones, there’s plenty of non-political ones to pick from.

It’s an hour long show that covers a wide-range of topics and brings together several people of “mainstream” expertise and Citizen-* experts. Chris Lydon, the host/moderator is quite unique in that he expresses strong opinions both directly and indirectly and asks follow-up questions when they’re called for. Most hosts in “issue” shows seem to be ignorant of the follow-up question, even something as simple as, “nah! really?!”

The best thing, of course, is that it’s a frequently updated podcast (here’s the RSS feed)…that isn’t tech-related. There’s a tremendous amount of community built around the blog-formatted web site; though I don’t get involved in it, you might enjoy it.

All-in-all, to get all cutesy, it’s pure Radio 2.0

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Endlessly Climbing the Value Chain and The Big Bucks

Corpus Christi

I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I choose
It amounts to the same:
Absolutely nothing

As I mentioned on a RedMonk Radio episode recently (I forget which one: either 19 or 20), I have a philosophy degree. As such, I spend way too much time searching for The Value in everything. Previous to rubbing out divinity, in Western thought, you were searching for The Truth: that metaphysical “law” that you could reference when asking why you should act, think, or believe in some way.

In my mind, The Truth was changed into The Value when people realized that only things like gravity, math, and chemical reactions had inescapable truth to them. That is, you can’t argue or be upset about the rate at which an object falls on Earth (gravity): it just is. (Of course, there’s all sorts of whacky-physics that I have no skill in that would argue points about gravity, uncertainty, and all that). Fine. But things get whacky if The Truth of 1 + 1 = 2 changes.

Anyhow, The Value to me is figuring out the question “why am I doing this?” As in, why am working at this job, watching this dumb TV show, planning my finances, or anything. You can always answer “because it makes me happy,” which is what you often end up with…and then you get the thoughts about “well, what if it makes me happy to kill people or litter” (I’m a native Texan, so I was brain-washed at an early age to see littering as near a capital offense).

Two Questions

More importantly, you can still ask The Ultimate Philosophic question, “so what?” Indeed, once I figured out that simple two word phrase, things went easier in philosophy. Every time you encounter a conclusion or a QED, just ask “so what?” For example, let’s say you lead a good life and get to The Afterlife. Now you’ve got an eternal life of bliss (or whatever). “So what?” Or let’s say you join The Infinite Nothing. “So what?”

Of course, the sub-question in “so what?” is “what next?”

I’m sure we could get all Continental and unravel what my mindset and beliefs are based on me liking those two questions. And then get crazy-recursive and ask “so what?”

I file this line of hazy thinking and practice away under a mental-category called climbing the value chain. That is, you’re always trying to find the pre-cursor thinking that lead to the current conclusion. The problem is, it never ends when you take Divine Beings out of the equation. That was the great thing about that role in though: part of it’s being/prupose was to be the end of the line. No more questions once you read that.

Which, in itself, was and is frustrating: the cause that has no cause. Our assumption is that everything must have a cause…and “cause” is a slippery fucker in that if you believe that something is causeless, you still have that nagging question, “what caused it to be causeless?”

Money as Value

In my job, much revolves around money as value. You can judge the effect of an IT/technology decision by how much money it makes the vendor and customers who use it or saves the customers. This is fine for the context of business: the whole purpose, The Goal, of business is to make money in either all or some of the short, medium, and long terms.

But pulling money into your personal life is another affair. It’s usually a matter of security, wish-fullfillment, and/or pride. Of those three, as Imperial Grunts argues, security seems like the necessary foundation for anything: it’s kind of like the reverse on Montaigne’s “why I don’t fear death argument”: if I’m not secure, how can I worry about anything? If I lack security, do I even properly exist anything but a meat-pawn?

The other two are fun, sure, but they’re not philosophically satisfying answers. Of course, you could argue in a Freudian approach that thinking that is just a way of deal with the mental torment of not having loads of loot: that is, whatever you think is Truth or Value is simply a way of justifying the state of life you’re in because the crucial thing in life is feeling Justified.




At this point in such value chain climbing, I usually get bored, and just settle on being a happy nihilist. Nonetheless, all that cloudy thought has come up several times over the past few days starting with see The Stranger in

Talladega Nights, IBM’s acquisitions in document and compliance management of late (a bizarre, self-referential category created by the desire to Do the Right Thing or, at least, enforce it and punish people who don’t), citizen-*, and Hugh MacLeod on The Gillmor Gang (0,
1, 2, 3, 4, and,

I’ve meant to mention Hugh on those shows a few times before: he’s an awesome counter-weight to the usual “how we gonna make money or kill some software company?” thread that runs through the show; I’ve listened to (probably) every episode since way back in the IT Conversation days, so clearly I don’t think that thread is bad. Nonetheless, it’s great how Hugh’s work/life world-view confuses the fuck out of all of the speakers except (at least it seems) Doc Searls. Each of them always comes back to the same question, “yeah, yeah, but how are you gonna make The Big Bucks?” and then Hugh tirelessly tries to respond.

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