Thursday, May 31, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Yesterday I was reading at my table in an eatery/drinkery. One of three gay guys who—Okay, I'm guessing on that part, but it's a pretty well-educated guess. Anyway, oh yes, one of these men asks if I'll take a picture of them. It's on a cell-phone, as it's likely to be if someone asks you to take a picture in the year 2012. I'm not really used to digital camera technology, though, so I snapped two pictures to increase the likelihood of getting it right
There was a time when I might have thought of this as being put on the spot. Depending on mood I guess I could still see it that way. Really, though, it's an opportunity for positive interaction, and that's not an imposition at all.
Friday, May 25, 2012
All places to live have their assets and liabilities. Here in the Northeast US one of the latter is a certain endemic rudeness. While I'm very much an introvert, I try to avoid this when I can. For example if I'm ordering at a coffee shop I try to smile at the barista and maintain a non-aggressive level of eye contact. Maybe tell a joke if there's time. Not that they'll always have time to talk, but I like to show that I don't think I'm above talking to them, as a number of customers do seem to think.And people, walking away because you don't have time to collect your twenty cents change is not the same as tipping.
- The White Stripes - In the Cold, Cold Night
- Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It
- Fleetwood Mac - The Ledge
- Pink Martini & Saori Yuki - Puff the Magic Dragon
- Sarah Vaughan - If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)
- Sly & the Family Stone - (You Caught Me) Smilin'
- Morphine - Mary, Won't You Call My Name?
- Ladytron - Altitude Blues
- John Lee Hooker - Highway Blues
- Finn Riggins - Wake (Keep This Town Alive)
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Huh. There were a couple of things I was planning on maybe blogging about tonight, but one of them sort of relies on a weblink that doesn't actually exist. I respect the right of publications not to put all their articles online, and there may be solid reasons for them to make that choice. But in 2012 you sort of take it for granted everything will be within e-reach.
Anyways, Brian Eno has fascinated me for a long time. Partly as an artist in his own right, but also as someone who thinks and talks about creative processes. Not that these two things are completely separate.
When I heard about his Oblique Strategies cards, I thought it was an interesting idea. That idea being that randomly generated suggestions could help kickstart your thinking in unexpected ways. It's a more shambolic version of concepts under the umbrella of Oulipo and other groups. And yes, as I said, interesting. But not, I would venture to say, worth the arm, leg, and nut that it most certainly would cost to get hold of a deck, or at least not for most of us.
So it's kind of good news that there's a website that's archived the contents of the deck. The prompts come one at a time, not all at once. I've been re-typing them into Word with a somewhat nicer font. Some of them do put fun thoughts in your head.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
- Nat King Cole - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
- John Lee Hooker - Low Down Midnite Boogie
- Ladytron - White Elephant
- The Kinks - Shangri-La
- Fleetwood Mac - I Know I'm Not Wrong
- Harry Nilsson - Don't Forget Me
- Sly & the Family Stone - Africa Talks to You "The Asphalt Jungle"
- The White Stripes - The Air Near My Fingers
- Jimmy Smith - Ruby
- They Might Be Giants - Let Your Hair Hang Down
Do they really expect us to believe that Bazooka Joe still has both eyes? It's universally known that he lost an eye in a fight with a pimp outside a shady Bucharest nightclub.
Saturday Random Ten this week, for those waiting for a less silly post. Not that I can promise that.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
We all know the Bartleybys, they are the beings inhabited by a profound denial of the world. They are named after the scrivener Bartleby, a clerk in a story by Herman Melville, who has never been seen reading, not even a newspaper; who for long periods stands looking out at a pale window behind a folding screen, upon a brick wall in Wall Street; who has never been anywhere, living as he does in the office, spending even his Sundays there; who has never said who he is, or where he comes from, or whether he has any relatives in this world; who, when he is asked where he was born or given a job to do or asked to reveal himself, responds always by saying,"I would prefer not to."
I read "Bartleby the Scrivener" myself back in college, and maybe before that as well. It's stuck with me, because Bartlby just is. His malady, if you want to call it that, has no real explanation, be it physical, mental, or social. And for a lot of cases that feels true-to-life.
The above quote is actually from Enrique Vila-Matas' Bartleyby & Co. It's a novel that's also an essay on what the narrator calls "the authors of the No." Those who for whatever reason stopped writing or never started. (Arguably David Bowie has been in this club for almost a decade now.) As a character, the narrator is somewhat interesting in himself, obviously feeling some kinship with his subjects. He's also more than a little off, psychologically speaking, although this builds subtly. It's a more low-key version of what Nabokov did with Charles Kinbote in Pale Fire
A lot of the essays are worth reading on their own, certainly. A lot of the Bartlebys are interesting people, in a way that productive authors rarely are. One particular instance is Swiss writer Robert Walser. Walser did sidle his way into publishing fiction, and there are a couple of volumes of his short stories, as well as the novel Jakob von Gunten. Eventually, though, he had himself committed at his sister's urging. Thereafter he only wrote incomprehensible and microscopic lettering. This is the man Kafka wanted to emulate, and in some sense did.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
- Finn Riggins - Antoinette Pt. 1
- Sarah Vaughan - All of Me
- Lou Rawls - Groovy People
- Battles - Leyendecker
- Fleetwood Mac - Honey Hi
- The Magnetic Fields - Acoustic Guitar
- Nat King Cole - That Sunday, That Summer
- They Might Be Giants - You Probably Get That a Lot
- The Cramps - Rockin' Bones
- The Kinks - She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Seen here is a glimpse at the kind of world and wildlife that the first emigres from Northern Asia to the Americas faced. Including an illustration of a giant sloth. That would be something to see, yes. I think once you went from one hemisphere to another, the kind of animals you saw would be vastly different. It makes me wonder what they thought about it.
There's been some controveyersy over whether the proto-Americans caused the extinction of the continent's megafauna. They were proficient hunters, yes. Probably not enough to cause mass extinctions, though. Not without the geological and climactic changes that were also going on.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Hello again. It's been a bit.
Okay, last Friday night I noticed that my laptop was inexorably losing power, regardless of how everything was hooked up. At first I thought the surge protector had gone flooey. Then after a little consultation I changed my mind and thought it was the battery, and thus made arrangements. But now I find that it was really the AC adapter. This I didn't suspect because I had just replaced the AC adapter a couple of months ago. So today I bought a Targus cord at Staples which goes with pretty much any PC. Well, "goes with" is a funny term. It stopped the bleeding, but nothing's recharging.
Anyway, I'm back on the scene, blogging-wise. I have to skip Friday Random Ten this week, though. Power's stuck around 9% and I'm afraid what'll happen if I try to charge an iPod off this thing. But I'm ordering another Dell adapter, or cashing in the warranty if I can. Once that's done I should be back on track.