Sun, Sand and Nattat

(Rasgado’s Jazz Club, Baía Farta, Angola | Claudio González Jorge, Google Maps)

The watchtower-cum-viewing point framed against the bright sky was at once precise and aleatory. While the Geometrical exactness of the structure itself left nothing to chance, the assemblage of buildings themselves gave an impression of being plonked down at random on a randomly chosen location.

“That is enough Nattat”, hollered the big bosomed woman with an arthritic limp. The walls of the kitchen into which she hobbled into was covered in jet black soot. It was the only room other than the stuffed living room that also doubled up as the family bedroom. But it was also 15 year old Nattat’s abode of art. “Come and help me clean the stove. You are in a musseques in Angola!”

With a hardly audible sigh, Nattat, gently placed her latest work of art atop a stack in the corner. This was neither her first sea nor would it be her last sky.

(Word Count: 150)

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw

For the complete list of entries, please click HERE

 

 

Air

(Photo Credit: CEAyr)

Words had long ceased to have meaning and meaning itself, was no longer capable of being articulated in words. The interaction between eyes, words and pages had irretrievably lost its cusp. There was nothing left to either define or redefine. The world itself was a vast endless plateau of never ending books each indistinguishable from the rest. It was more a churn arising out of a mass assembly endeavour than a spontaneous outcome of lambent ingenuity.

The same books were being read in prison libraries as well as Parliament portals.  A vile and toxic air, uniformly breathed in by all.

(Word Count: 100)

This story was written as part of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS challenge, more about which may be found HERE

For more stories based on the above prompt, click HERE 

Love Finds a Rustic

Amenable to neither sophistication nor pretense, a veritable rustic of doom

Aesthetics was never his forte and he could walk by with nary a glance at a flower in full bloom

Like a bolt out a blue, this bucolic specimen was rendered hopelessly besotted

Walking around with a weightlessness even though his stomach was knotted

 

The lass, to her credit was a damsel straight out a seraphic playbook

A beauty that made necks crane out of every cranny & inaccessible nook

Caring a jot for whether he choose to be crude or delicate

She knew not whether she loved him, leaving it all to fate.

(Word Count: 105)

Courtesy of Sammi Cox Weekend Writing Prompt#123

 

 

 

The Input – Output Fallacy

(Photo Credit: Crispina Kemp)

The engine looked straight out of a Lego assemblage. An arresting yellow with a dash of sombre blue. The metal finishing was exquisite and precise to the point of fascination. The “Lord Hinton” was an epitome of perfection. But it was also inscrutable. The 6 axle behemoth popularly known as the SD 70 AC- 4400, and weighing an astonishing 400,000 pounds (a full 200 tons) was not the outcome of hours of labour expended and sweat poured within the confines of an Integral Coach Factory.  The engine was a confounding printout. Yes, you read that right, a goddamned printout! Using unimaginatively sophisticated component called ‘supergoop’, a gargantuan printer the size of a two story building swallowed the design of the Lord Hinton, before spitting out a mind blowing replica of the vintage product.

Capitalism rejoiced as 4578 workers mutinied their obsolescence with placards, plaintive calls and even 15 pathetic suicides.

(Word Count: 150)

Written as part of the Crimson’s Creative Challenge #44 More details regarding this challenge may be found HERE.

Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey through Virtual Reality – Jaron Lanier

Image result for Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey through Virtual Reality - Jaron Lanier

Usually when a man credited with coining a technical term, expounds about his creation, the outcome is inevitably anticipated to be dense, it not downright esoteric – expect for a segment of the populace that terms itself fraternity. Unless such a man goes by the name of Jaron Lanier that is. The author of the best-seller “You Are Not a Gadget”, and “Who Owns The Future”, in his latest book, “The Dawn Of the New Everything”, gives a vantage techno-spiritual overview of the concept of virtual reality. Universally acknowledged as one of the pioneers of this immersion technology, and also the computer scientist who coined the term VR for the first time, Mr. Lanier has penned what can be correctly described as a riveting quasi-memoir.

Here’s summarizing the latest offering of Techverse’s most famous recluse:

  • A deeply personal and touching memoir where Mr. Lanier dwells about the devastating loss of his mother in an automobile accident and how he was left to nurse this scar for a protracted period of time. Writing in a matter-of-fact manner, Mr. Lanier described as to how before turning seventeen he designed his family home, an asymmetric, futuristic, weird angled geodesic dome. Not surprisingly, he chose to call it, “Earth Station Lanier.” This following the burning down of their home in an arson attack. Unable to obtain any compensation from the insurance companies, the prodigious Mr. Lanier and his equally prodigious father Ellery (Ellery went on to obtain a PhD in his eighties), were forced to live for some time in a tent. If this reads unbelieving, wait until you get to the part where he deals with goats and musical instruments;

 

  • Possessing an inveterate and a preternatural zeal for music, Mr. Lanier accumulates musical instruments at a rate which puts even the reproduction capabilities of rabbits to utter shame! From the conventional to the bizarre, Mr. Lanier’s personal collection numbers at least a whopping 1,000!
  • Stretch limos are passé; goat limos are in! Procuring a goat so that he could make money by selling cheese, which in turn would enable the payment of his tuition fee, Mr. Lanier comes to the firm conclusion that many are better than one. Modifying an already modified care – one with a missing back seat – he stuffs bales of hay where there once was a seat and where one rightfully should be too, thereby converting the battered car into a barn. This “goat limo” facilitated Mr. Lanier going about his chores while, “moving the lovely creatures around in style.”
  • In a Where-C.S.Lewis-meets-J.R.R.Tolkien fantasy, while still attending high school, Mr. Lanier gets himself enrolled at New Mexico State University. In the course of studying computer science, he comes across the exploits of Ivan Sutherland, a pioneering tech enthusiast, who, in the 1960s, conceived a head-mounted display permitting an individual to view a digital world, the preserve of computer programs. Another book that gets a special mention by Mr. Lanier is the complex work, “Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid”, popularly known as GEB, penned by Douglas Hofstadter
  • Virtual Reality is a kaleidoscope of a myriad definitions. In this book, Mr. Lanier defines Virtual Reality in more than fifty – yes you read that right – different ways. From the Triptych of Hieronymus Bosch to haptic Data Gloves and Headsets named Sword of Damocles, the medley is just jaw-dropping! However, at the heart of every definition lies a benevolent and benign concept of beauty. The objective of VR is to encourage young people “create beauty” in stark contradistinction to the greedy multinational corporations where hackers, “twitch our marionette strings.”
  • The story of how a group of happy-go-lucky, carefree and creative spirits brought together their eccentricities and enthusiasm to form a formidable VR Company – VPL Inc. – demonstrates in clinical fashion the heights to which an unshackled human spirit full of vibrancy and bereft of the weight of expectancy can soar. However, Mr. Lanier’s story also underscores how swiftly and unfortunately such a vision can disintegrate, if not evaporate as after a bout of differences of opinion, involvement of venture capitalists and gung-ho marketers, Mr. Lanier leaves the very company that he founded. In a typical self-deprecating and humourous manner, Mr. Lanier blames himself rather than castigating any of the protagonists involved in the rupture of VPL. In fact, throughout the book, he refuses to bite the bait, in the form of the lure which a juicy story about a rambunctious board battle could bring both to the author and to the published work. He prudently and steadfastly steers away from making controversial statements of any ilk;
  • VPL existed for all of five years during the course of which Mr. Lanier had the opportunity to engage in eclectic collaborations. Partnering surgeons in an effort to design higher quality prosthetics to working in tandem with military personnel on defense contracts, Mr. Lanier attempted to elevate the utility of Virtual Reality to a height hitherto experienced or ascended. In fact, VR’s coming-of-age movie, The Lawnmower Man featured VPL’s ‘EyePhone’, a headset capable of tracking head movements. VPL’s most famous invention, arguably, the haptic “DataGlove” appeared on the front cover of Scientific American in 1987.
  • A phantasmagoria of characters appears in a whorl throughout this curious book. Ace Hollywood Director Steven Spielberg, Marvin Minsky, the American cognitive scientist concerned largely with research of artificial intelligence (AI), and co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AI laboratory; Andy Herzfeld, the father of the Macintosh Operating System; Larry Tesler, the inventor of the browser; acid Guru Timothy Leary; and the inimitable and brilliant genius Richard Feynman, who taught Mr. Lanier how to form geometrical designs using one’s fingers to think about chirality. This phalanx of geniuses and their indelible contribution to the fields of Science and Technology leaves the reader with a sense of awe.
  • The biggest takeaway from the book however, lies in Mr. Lanier’s clamour about the plummeting ethical standards that has become the cornerstone of today’s technology domain. While multinational corporations are flush with wealth, a predominant proportion of such accumulated riches come, courtesy tracking online identities. Cybersecurity firms ubiquitously prowl the unseen digital world compromising the data privacy and security of millions of gullible and unsuspecting people. In the words of Mr. Lanier, “The strange new truth is that almost no one has privacy and yet no one knows what’s going on.”

Voice Of Empathy

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 6.37.56 AM

(Photo Credit: Google Images)

The towering cranes reached out to the sky as if they were either offering their benedictions to an unseen God or trying to desperately snatch at something not belonging to them. An agglomeration of asymmetric noises competed for the attention of whoever was wont to pass by the vicinity. Whirring, Roaring, Moaning, Whistling, Howling and Rumbling, the wheels and motors of capitalism were alive, well and thriving.

The spotless road to the right of which these gargantuan machines were relentlessly at work was called Pioneer Road. As spotless as the blue sky above, one could see one’s reflection on the exquisitely tarred and leveled piece of track.  A Doosan excavator was paving a small patch of road at the cul-de-sac.

Venky wiping rivulets of sweat streaming down his face, thought, “there is every kind of sound assailing my ear except one of empathy.”

Welcome to a New World Order.

(Word Count: 149)

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw

For the complete list of entries, please click HERE

 

PERIPHERY!

(PHOTO PROMPT © Penny Gadd )

It wasn’t just the plant that grew in a bold and unrestricted manner. Every ceiling on desire was brought down and every shackle on ambition unshackled. Each book meriting its place on the bookshelf ceased to command a standing and was now at the apex of irrelevance.  People issuing warnings about the untrammeled profusion of Virtual Reality were relegated to the confines of peripherality as prophets of doom.

Now the machines had taken control. The word was their information highway and mankind, insignificant puppets traversing the lanes. Puppets as worthless as spiraling branches, neglected, and taken for granted.

(Word Count: 98)

This story was written as part of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS challenge, more about which may be found HERE

For more stories based on the above prompt, click HERE