Tag Archives: Security

Randonautica #8

The intention yesterday was “Pluto.” There was a reason for this having to do with Vaneigem’s theory of spontaneity, but the connection escapes me now. I don’t think it really matters. More and more, I sense that if there is anything to the idea that the Randonautica quantum-bot enacts some sort of mind-machine meld, it must be at the level of the subconscious, not of announced intention. That’s not to say that the unconscious can’t be summoned into consciousness, and those instances could possibly help explain some of the heavier randonauting synchronicities. But it seems doubtful that following the app’s directive to “focus on your intent[ion?]” during the five seconds it takes to generate coordinates is enough to achieve the necessary depth. If the notion is to be accepted, or in any case entertained, that there is a quantum-level relationship between the user’s thoughts and the app’s computations, then the possibility should be considered that the full accumulation of the user’s mental state, which may or may not be spoken or even speakable, is involved. Perhaps, then, we don’t know what our intention is until we arrive at the coordinates, or a sequence of coordinates, which reveal it.

It should also be considered that Randonautica is one of many Alternate Reality Games on offer, essentially an 18-and-up treasure hunt like Geocaching, which predates it by nearly twenty years, and letterboxing (or “questing”), which predates it by more than 150. The difference, of course,  is that instead of finding physical objects that have been planted in a particular spot by another person or people, the randonaut is looking mainly for coincidences. At base, randonauting is a fun and sometimes meaningful way to walk around (or drive around, if you prefer) and see new places and things — or familiar ones, but from a new perspective.

Perhaps above all, it’s good idea to stay aware that Randonautica is a fairly new and increasingly popular recreational platform — it has nearly doubled its number of Twitter followers in the last four months — that, despite cloaking its operations in some notable ways (e.g. who is this exactly?), is clearly aiming at greater development, mass appeal, and more overall legitimacy. It has recently redone (and relocated) its website, and started a reality television series. Meanwhile, the app itself seems to have just added protective language. At least, I think these “Pro Tips,” which now appear on the user’s phone when the app launches, are new:

And now on to randonauting. Continue reading Randonautica #8

Randonautica #3

Several hours before I used the Randonautica app yesterday, I went out of the house and passed the new city parking deck which consumed a good deal of my attention last fall while I conducted a field study of the structure. I have not gone into the deck more than a few times in 2020, and not at all since the coronavirus outbreak began three months ago. When I walked past the deck today, two vultures suddenly appeared just above me, flying low, as though they had launched from the roof of the deck. I thought of perhaps going up there for the first time in a few months but decided not to.

A little while later, I passed by the office I share with another writer. I haven’t been working in it since the pandemic began in March. Just outside the street door to the office were two men I know in passing: one through the writer with whom I share the office; the second man lives two doors down from me and, I now learned, is friends with the first man. It turned out they were using the office for the day, having been given the key by the writer I share it with. They were taking a smoke break outside.

My Randonautica usage is concurrent with my reading of some of the work of the French sociocultural theorist Guy Debord (1931-1994), whose theory of the Dérive (1956) is an antecedent of Randonautica. The tenant in the other side of the duplex we own has a PhD in Philosophy and knows twentieth-century theory well. Late yesterday afternoon, as I prepared to go Randonauting, I asked my tenant what he knew about Debord and the Situationist International movement Debord co-founded, explaining its connection to Randonautica. Not surprisingly, my tenant was well versed in the Situationists and gave me a book to read by one of them (not Debord). I put it inside the house and made ready to go on my Randonaut walk.

At that moment, the two men who had been using my office approached on the sidewalk in front of the house. They came up to our porch. Since one of them lives two doors down, I assumed they were headed to his house and stopped off at ours to say hello. It transpired that they had accidentally locked the keys inside the office and themselves out, not knowing that the knob lock push-button has to be released; otherwise the door locks behind you. The writer with whom I share the office generally likes to keep it locked. The two men’s destination wasn’t the second man’s house, then, but mine: they were hoping I could let them back into the office. (The first man had called me a few minutes earlier, but I didn’t recognize the phone number and hadn’t answered.) They also said hello to my tenant, whom the second man, the one who lives two doors down from me, already seemed to know.

I told them that their timing was perfect, because I was just leaving the house, and the three of us walked back to the office together. On the way there, the man who lives two doors away from me told me that he and my tenant had been students at Duke University around the same time, and that was how they knew each other. He went on to say that the editorial assistant to one of my tenant’s graduate professors had been the editor for the book he, my neighbor, had recently completed writing and published. I recognized the professor’s name: he was the father of of one of my good friends in high school, over thirty years earlier. We agreed that was quite a coincidence.

We arrived at my office. I let the two men in with my key. We said goodbye, and then I initiated the Randonautica app. That meant that I began Randonauting from the office instead of from home, about half a mile away; therefore, all of the destinations to come were almost certainly different than they would have been had I started from my house, as I had intended.

For the first destination, I chose Attractor” as the quantum and “Venture” as my intention. The point generated by the app was just a block or so away from the office:

Directly across the street from this building is the entrance to the parking deck where I conducted last year’s field study and over which I had seen the vultures flying earlier in the day: Continue reading Randonautica #3

Parking Spaces #88

Thursday, the day after Christmas, 11:30 a.m. Unseasonably warm.

I was working from home this morning but the construction project behind the backyard—condominiums called “Eleven Durham”—was very loud. Mainly the noise came from a cherry picker beeping whenever it moved. This is a picture of it from later in the day, when it was farther from the yard:

Your Own Garage; A Garden to Play in; Extra Money in Your Pocket:

I had asked them a couple of days ago if they would mind disabling the beeping function and they said they would disable it, but they didn’t. I wasn’t sure they understood English. I was going to ask again today but it was the same workers on the cherry picker and there was no one else around.

I couldn’t concentrate in my house over the noise, and it was a nice day, so I took my work to Level 7.

That is the construction project seen from the garage. I could still hear the beeping from the cherry picker.

Continue reading Parking Spaces #88