Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chowing down

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That's what I got by running one of my old posts through the generator on this page.  The entire results can be read here.  So if you read that page and think it makes sense, it might be a good time to go to bed. Which I'm doing about now, but I'll be back.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'm not proud

The woman in this video has a good voice for teaching children.  Even for them, though, I'm not sure "how to make shadow puppets with your hands" is a necessary distinction.  Trying to make them with your feet won't get you very far.

(And if a guy offers to make an elephant appear while reaching for his zipper, that's a good cue to leave.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Holy Mole-y Friday Random Ten

Finished reading Railsea tonight.  It's the second China Mieville book I've read.  It's got a fascinating premise, in which railrad tracks are treated as an umpredictable part of nature, like the sea.  For reasons that are sort of clever, the word "and" has entirely been supplanted by the ampersand ("&").  Somhow Mieville resists the temptation for cute puns like "s&wich".

Couple more things to say (it's Saturday afternoon now) about the book.  First, Mieville's left wing politics are fairly well known.  A lot of authors - some would say all of them - mix their political viewpoints into their work.  There are wide variations of skill in doing this.  Mieville is working at a pretty high level.  The book's concluding chapters, which reveal why his world is the way it is, do contain a sharp critique of rentier capitalism.  It's not a reductive political book, though.

Also, Mieville references and has fun with a number of well-known maritime novels, including the work of Herman Melville, who it's easy to think Mieville is related to if you read both names in a hurry.  Melville's Moby Dick has become recognized as a classic, but it was a commercial catastrophe when first published.  MD was a very strange book, for our time or its own.  So I'm happy to see that some authors like Mieville have been able to make their weirdness work for them in a career sense.

1. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Beautiful Zelda
2. Laurie Anderson - Sweaters
3. Arcade Fire - It's Never Over (Oh Eurydice)
4. The Fiery Furnaces - Keep Me in the Dark
5. Reading Rainbow - Wasting Time
6. Beck - Turn Away
7. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Summertime
8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - New Lace Sleeves
9. Jimmy Smith - Memories of You
10. Dirty Projectors - Useful Chamber

Thursday, April 17, 2014

History gag (I'm optimistically putting the "funny" label on this one)

Nostradamus walks into a bar.  The bartender asks, "What'll it be?"  Nostradamus says, "Pull up a chair, Phil.  This could take a while."

Monday, April 14, 2014

The big glitch

Wow.  I spent a big part of this evening at a certain Starbucks trying to write or to do something, anything at all.  Somehow the wi-fi in this place is so bad that it sabotages the functions on your computer that theoretically have nothing to do with going online.

On the bright side, the impossibility of getting anything done made me get up and leave, walkng downhill to wait for the bus at the tunnel.  Which got me looking at the sky during and just after sunset.  I'd consider that a silver lining.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

S'urreal, s'alright

Okay, from the library I've got something of a doorstopper book on surrealism.  It's got a notable quote from Andre Breton, via his "Lachet Tout!" essay, translated as "Leave Everything!"

Leave everything.  Leave Dada.  Leave your wife.  Leave your mistress.  Leave your hopes and fears.  Leave your children in the woods.  Leave the substance for the shadow.  Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future.  Set off on the roads.

Salvador Dali, Two Elephants

First of all, gotta love the supposition that the reader will have to leave both his wife and his mistress.  Presenting France, where adultery is customary, much like tipping.

Also noted is how the further Breton goes on, the more he echoes Christ talking to his Apostles.  Talk about stealing from the best!

Kay Sage, No Passing

Surrealist techniques are a mixed bag, but as such they command attention.  If the point is to shut down the rational mind, that doesn't quite work for me, not in my own process.  I work best when I get both halves of my brain in on the action.  Still, in a group setting, this can be potent stuff.  The exquisite corpse is a very interesting technique.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Baby'd Friday Random Ten

So a baby shower isn't just drinking hot water when you're pregant?  My bad.

There was a baby shower for one of the girls at work today.  A quite well-catered one too.  Me and the guy I work with* were invited to stop by.  Not too surprisingly there weren't a lot of guys there.  One reason this isn't all that suprising is that it's a majority female workplace.  Which is interesting to think about.  Not many men worked in high-female environments fifty years ago, except in movie musicals.

1. The Cramps - The Crusher
2. R.E.M. - Kahoutek
3. Laurie Anderson - Big Science
4. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Strict Time
5. Beck - Blue Moon
6. The Clash - Remote Control
7. Zapolski Quartet - Allegretto Pastorale (Nielsen)
8. Fiery Furnaces - Take Me Round Again
9. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Powderfinger
10. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Bijou