The folks at SunSITE (sunsite.unc.edu) called up and offered The SubGenius Foundation not only a FREE Web site and expert help, but a slot for THE HOUR OF SLACK on THE WORLD'S FIRST INTERNET RADIO STATION!!
In the course of the conversation, it finally sunk in that I was talking to legendary Internet Gods! SunSITE at U.N.C. was the FIRST WEB SITE IN NORTH AMERICA. It was set up partly by the European guy who INVENTED the Web. When the WHITE HOUSE wanted to get Internet connection, THESE are the guys the FEDS came to. (The White House archives were first set up there.) SunSITE is also the main distribution point for the Linux operating system (the freeware Unix thing also called Slackware, with little Dobbshead graphics in it). I asked my new buddy at SunSITE, David McConville, if he could put me in touch with the guys who were developing Linux , so I could ask them to add our trademark info to their use of the Dobbshead... he leaned away from the phone and said, "Hey guys, he wants to know if I can 'put him in touch with the people creating Linux!' HAR HAR HAR!" This was them.
Anyway, it turns out that, now that they've bought themselves some Slack, clout and leeway with their previous work, and have all this equipment and expertise at their disposal, they're rounding up people they figure are new to the Net and might do some interesting work there. They "recruited" and are doing Web sites with Negativland ((http://sunsite.unc.edu/negativland)), Craig Baldwin (who made the film Tribulation 99), even Bob Moog (yes, THAT Bob Moog, as in the synthesizer). The way David put it, he and his coworkers helped create this technology. They know its every limitation inside and out... so they were looking for people who didn't know JACK-HOOEY about the limitations, who were in other words ignorant enough to be TOTALLY CREATIVE, who would thus think up stuff to do with the Web that no expert would be DUMB ENOUGH to attempt, but perhaps SHOULD ANYWAY... well, they certainly had me pegged. I've got lots of time to kill while on the road next week so I plan to finally hide out from my email and alt.slack, and devise elaborate plans for both a SubGenius CD Rom "VR-game-environment-encyclopedia" and the most multimedia, interactive Web site imaginable, BEFORE I LEARN ANOTHER THING ABOUT WHAT'S POSSIBLE AND WHAT'S NOT.
For instance, I knew that you could put sounds and videos into a Web site... but I didn't know you could BROADCAST LIVE RADIO THROUGH IT IN REAL TIME! But it makes sense. I'd read that parts of a Stones concert or something had been "broadcast" live over the Net, and I'd already heard of a program called Maven which allows you to use your computer as a telephone. (And CUCMe which makes a rinky live TV hookup.) You can talk to your Ma in Boise through the Net... both of you just need good equipment. The SunSITE folks wanted to be able to hear the UNC student radio station, WXYC, down in their basement lab, so they used Maven to pipe it out of their computer speakers. Well, by gobbs, it worked better than they'd thought, and that turned out to mean that YOU can listen to that station through YOUR COMPUTER TOO -- you simply use Maven and connect to WXYC through SunSITE. ((for specifics, look at their Web page, http://sunsite.unc.edu/wxyc)). I FTPed a copy of Maven from Adam Engst's tidbits.com place and tried it, but Maven wouldn't open for me -- said it needed the new Mac System 7.5 and/or Sound Manager... I gotta get some new RAM, that's all there is to it. Hopefully I'll sell mountains of T-shirts and tapes at the Pittsburgh show and return with enough money to get some brain surgery for my little 'frop-encrusted Apple friend here. But theoretically you only need Maven, a SLIP or PPP connection, and at least a 14.4 modem. David says the radio signal breaks up and sounds a bit crackly at on a 14.4. But with anything faster, it sounds fine. I would have expected some kind of telephone-grade sound at best, but he says it sounds just like an AM radio broadcast -- depending on your SPEAKERS, of course.
Now, this doesn't do you a hell of a lot of good if you're sitting at a dinky little machine like mine, connected to some college Freenet. But in a couple of years we'll all be up to speed... won't we? (I will be in a couple of weeks, anyway.) And YOU'LL BE ABLE TO HEAR THE HOUR OF SLACK ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
They are going to put Hour of Slack in their WXYC line-up. That and the Negativland show from KPFA in Berkeley, OVER THE EDGE. In fact, since Over the Edge is produced live at a radio station, WXYC is planning to be CONNECTED to KPFA so that it will be broadcast to the Internet, LIVE. The Hour of Slack is currently produced in the SubGenius Foundation studio and mailed to stations on tape, so it won't be "live" exactly... yet... which may be just as well...
Other stations are planning to do this too, but SunSITE/WXYC is apparently the very first. (WREK in Atlanta, which coincidentally also carries The Hour of Slack is working on this too. ((URL: http://www.gatech.edu/wrek))) It is a great honor for we Foundation SubGenii to be invited to participate in this historic undertaking. But the SunSITE people are worried that it won't last long; they say the Clinton administration is trying like crazy to jump in and CONTROL (THROTTLE) such uses of the Net... like the FCC does with TV and radio. As things are, I can't play half of my favorite songs and rant or comedy recordings on The Hour of Slack, just because they have CUSSWORDS in them. The Net is the last unFUCKED place where one may speak one's DAMNED MIND FREELY, and those Conspiracy glorps have NO INTENTION of letting such a thing go on much longer... but you knew that.
Speaking of which, there was a great quote in the Austin Chronicle last week:
"The net is at the same crossroads as the American West when the sodbusters had fenced in the open range and the Good Citizens of Dodge decided to close the saloons and whorehouses to make the streets safe for their wives and daughters. There's also the same load of carpetbaggers arriving EVERY DAY on the noon stage. Your presence will be YOUR VOTE on what kind of net we have in the future." -- David Fricke
But until the day that the Con finds a way to force Internet access companies to all turn into nasty little nosy busybodies, reading everybody's mail for subversive buzz-words, we're going to GO NUTS with it!!!
We're dubbing tapes RIGHT NOW to get SunSITE started with the show, and I don't know what the times will be -- I assume it'll be weekly -- but we should know soon. I just looked at the HoS info Web site they set up: <http://sunsite.unc.edu/wxyc/slack.html>
but so far it's just a list of the OTHER stations that play Hour of Slack, with times and frequencies. And some art that my machine won't open until I get it a new brain or a missing mystery program.
BUT, MAN??!? WOMAN??!? THING??!? DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS MEANS?? We'll be able to SAY, to BRAG in fact, that The Hour of Slack, our humble little compendium of Churchly audio madness and idolatry, will be one of the first radio shows ever to be AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE through the INTERNET. We'll be able to SAY that we have vastly more potential listeners than RUSH LIMBAUGH. Can they get Rush in MOSCOW? In BEIJING? Can they get that lying monster in ICELAND? And would they even WANT him? Well, most of them probably won't want THE HOUR OF SLACK, either. I'm sure they'd RATHER get Howard Stern. But we'll just leave that part out of our bragging.
It means we have our FOOT IN THE DOOR, either right at the very beginning of something marvelous, or else at the very last moment, in the nick of time before it's SLAMMED SHUT! Uncontrolled Internet radio -- it's where all us ranters and musical groups and whatnot who don't want to have ANYTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE RECORDING INDUSTRY CONSPIRACIES will get to HACK AND GOUGE at the very EARS OF REALITY to our heart's content. SO WHAT if nobody's listening at first!? There was a time when only TWO TELEPHONES existed.
So we got us a new radio outlet with immensely high compu-geek status, we got us a damn WEB SITE -- it's already there, they created the blank spot for it and opened me a SunSITE account right then and there while we were on the phone, WE GOTS EVERYTHING!! All we have to do now is fill the damn Web site up. That shouldn't be hard... heh heh heh...
That URL WILL BE <http://sunsite.unc.ed/subgenius>
There's nothing there yet. Probably won't be for a while. But before we're done with it, it'll have bells and whistles, inside-out 3-D art tricks, noisy psychedelia, a minute or two of sync-sound video, and GOBBS ONLY KNOWS WHAT-ALL ELSE!!
And my registration for the domain name subgenius.com came through. Yep, we nabbed it before anybody else could. I don't know how soon that'll be the actual address we use here, but at least Philo and I can rest assured that nobody ELSE gets to use it! We're still waiting on subgenius.mil.
Here's the plan so far. First we upgrade the Mac here, learn some html, and take advantage of this free Web site donated by those wonderful people at SunSITE. When we're a little more sure on our feet, we'll beg, borrow, steal or be donated some beat-up used Unix machine that will sit here in our offices, on auto-pilot, forming the basis of our own NETWORK... so to speak. You would be able to connect to it, ftp stuff from it, play games on it, etc. I only have a rough grasp on the possibilties. Run&Gun, the most original game creators in the universe, are fooling with some sort of "Stark Fist Online" PROGRAM or INTERFACE that SubGenii might use to interact with this thing. It's still all very nebulous, obviously. Ye who KNOW YOUR STUFF are welcome to help guide the halting, faltering steps of Pore Old Nearsighted-and-Blindfolded Rev. Stang into this brave new world, dragging the giant sacks of SubGenius Art, Words and Noises behind him. Those sacks seem to WRITHE FITFULLY as if containing LIVING THINGS, clawing to get out...
One thing we surely ought to develop is a new, ongoing HIGH WEIRDNESS listing. Mitchell Porter's HIGH WEIRDNESS BY EMAIL, accessible on the Web through any of the SubGenius web sites, is a real inspiration. But it is concerned mainly with electronic weirdness. I have a HUGE box of new oddball mags and videos and tapes, etc., sitting here waiting to be wrote up when I get half a second. Or a month or so. That archive would be one of the things at our Web site, as would the collected "Best of alt.slack," as well... and of course it all needs to be laid out with graphics and printed as a for-real STARK FIST too. So we definitely have our work cut out for us. YES-SIR-MAAM.
Well, I ought to quit speculating and scheming, and get back to administrating and doing. We'll need all the help we can get. We certainly appreciate all the help we've gotten so far!
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