So I just got this free internet thing so I could get online from my Dad's house. (I have a local ISP at home). It works okay, but there's an ad thing at the bottom of the screen that won't go away. I expected as much. Right now there is a little cartoon shopping cart zipping back and forth down there at about 80mph. I think it's going to give me an epileptic fit if it doesn't stop soon. I don't know what it's an ad for, and I don't care. My point is that I think our world has become so infiltrated by bells and whistles, bright lights and buzzers, things devised to attract our attention with gaudy excess and sensationalism, that those things which now attract attention are just the opposite. I find myself now drawn to objects of silent monochrome beauty, things that are quietly engaging, which do not leap out at me from nowhere and without any frame of reference. The things which hold my attention and interest are those which seem as they would be just fine without my attention. They don't care if I want them, it is as if they have a self-satisfaction, a contentment, which cannot be found in our usual world of flickering neon and lava lamps. I know this has nothing to do with the previous reference to bells and whistles, but I like the phrase.

beige toaster = B = bells whistles and gongs

bells and whistles n.

[common] Features added to a program or system to make it more flavorful from a hacker's point of view, without necessarily adding to its utility for its primary function. Distinguished from chrome, which is intended to attract users. "Now that we've got the basic program working, let's go back and add some bells and whistles." No one seems to know what distinguishes a bell from a whistle. The recognized emphatic form is "bells, whistles, and gongs".

It used to be thought that this term derived from the toyboxes on theater organs. However, the "and gongs" strongly suggests a different origin, at sea. Before powered horns, ships routinely used bells, whistles, and gongs to signal each other over longer distances than voice can carry.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

If you lie your head close to ground and press your cheek against the soil, bury your hair in the must and muldering leaves and deepening mulch, where the skitter of crawlies sleep under hard winter, your hands splayed loosely on the crumbly ground; bits of roots and pebbly chunks and brown brown brown falling sifting lightly on caressing fingers-- you let the world fall away, and the earth curve around you; to sleep in the soil and let it hold your hips and hug your waist and curl into the warm bosom of sleeping earth. 

Bells&whistles, the world is like today. The office lamps are like circular halos of prison cells, each workmate scuttled and tied to his screen and desk, the halogen lamp above a tight noose around his neck. We barely leave our lightcells, little circles of industry lit up -- from above, far above, does Wall Street light up in a solar flare of productivity? You want to leave, the hours count down like the steady pulse of an oncoming migraine - you feel it approaching like the lights of a subway train chugging and screeching in the distance, the streets blur into automatic memory, a leg forward, a foot down, time marches on, and you wake up; suddenly outside your door, home. 

The earth comforts you in its emptiness. It's not too cold today, you strip down to shorts and sweater and sit on the unlit steps, savouring the dark. Who else loves you but the earth? This landscape sings to you only when blind, a music only you can see - the sound of fish swimming in the windless night, the moon blossoms behind a wavering mirror, skimming clouds on a night drive and when you dig your toes into the moist darkness (spongy and damp, with a hint of death), you can't help but feel grateful -- this simplicity, a generousity of soft earth.

Sometimes i think what i dream of in life is just oblivion. No bells, no whistles. no colours or lights or fanciful monsters, just the I and the earth in a dreamless embrace. We can lie there in the dark, curled in the womb of the dark-dark with our eyes closed in dark and double down for the darkness to take dirt from our bodies into forever night. I used to be so scared of the dark, because darkness meant sleeping. To sleep is to dream, and Ido too much dreaming. I live more than half my life in dreams -- did you know, today i glimpsed another future? A rolodex of interfaces, each as thin as a memo and easy as written hand; shuffled into decks and stacks for personal perusal. datamania, datamemo, data in memoriam if I whisper will my soul escape from my parted lips like a flicker of incense or a burn of candlight glow? Catch it back in your hands, each fragile lumen-year.....

I am so tired I feel like i could bleed out of my pores if my bones didn't hold myself into place. Backbone, that's what I need. A spine. The gothicness of bones that holds you into structure: limbs like arcades, from toe to knee to groin, then spanning to encompass nave of the pelvis. Up the gallery, the vaulted ribcage with buttress of floating bones, into the chambers a transept of an echoing heart that booms and transpires all oxygen in quire. A song. Inhale, exhale. The bells & whistles of your body, you know intimately, the necessities of keeping you alive. To give your body to another is to give into their own darkness, a yielding oblivion of openings: the ears, the nose, the mouth, the vulva, the anus. openings and closing. Each opening is also an exit out - a bullet through the ears, two fingers on the nostrils, a drug-poison in the mouth, a penis in the vagina, a spear up the anus like a pig on a spit. Choose your pick.

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