December 11th, 2013
|sbisson||12:00 pm - My tweets|
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- Tue, 18:49: Brainh slowly coming back on gear after the nastiest cold in years. And that was *after* a flu jab.
- Tue, 18:58: Here's a request for Seattle-area friends: if Jack-in-the-Box are still doing Seahawks antenna toppers, could one of you pick one up for me?
- Tue, 19:51: So will there be a Windows Phone lens app for the new @photosynth? Would be rather excellent for the Lumia 1020!
- Tue, 20:28: Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Mega Shark. What have Hollywood monsters got against San Francisco?
- Tue, 21:15: Recent Rereads: If The Stars Are Gods. Benford and Eklund's exploration of non-human intelligence is an early experiment with modernist SF.
- Tue, 21:22: RT @MattRosoff: "I could be wrong... but I feel a negative correlation between celebrity interaction, and a startup’s future health." http:…
- Tue, 21:27: RT @CallinOates: LAST DAY to vote for Hall & Oates for @rock_hall. H&O army, make yourselves known! #rockhallnoates http://t.co/4HlUF6ijbG …
- Wed, 10:29: Just arrived: my copy of The Complete Uncle that I backed on Kickstarter. What a beautiful book. http://t.co/WoCOOGeLZq
- Wed, 10:30: RT @shadowfax1804: Welcome to Cloud City (aka London) http://t.co/PQdu8jZTsQ
- Wed, 10:47: RT @maryjofoley: Microsoft CEO Ballmer: Separating the man from myth: http://t.co/ei8qLqrtFx (where I chat with Ballmer on his CEO legacy)
|susandennis||04:00 am - My tweets|
|james_nicoll||01:38 am - Huh|
A $15-million lawsuit against the chair of the Canadian Mint, which turned up evidence that millions of dollars was moved through offshore havens in a "tax avoidance scheme" and much of it was never reported to tax authorities, ended with a pact not to alert the Canada Revenue Agency about the case, CBC News has learned.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.
|james_nicoll||01:36 am - Yeah, this can only end well|
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sparked another controversy and the threat of legal action when he appeared to accuse a newspaper reporter of having pedophilic tendencies in a televised interview.
The Toronto Star journalist, Daniel Dale, denounced any such suggestion as "categorically false."
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.
|fringefaan||10:06 pm - Jay Salmon, RIP|
I'm trying to digest the news that my friend Jay died suddenly today, apparently of a heart condition that he'd never told me about. He was a good friend for close to thirty years, and a next-door neighbor for many of those years. He was just here on Sunday to watch the football game with me, sitting on the couch, drinking a beer, shooting the breeze. It is completely unfathomable to me at the moment that he is gone. None of it makes any sense.
|kdotdammit||11:01 pm - Listen to the Silence|
Listen To The Silence
graphite, cheap ass ballpoint pen, chalk pastel, prismacolor pencil on paper
Okay, so I’ve been a bit out of sorts. There is a WHOLE LOT going on inside my head. With Christmas coming on the heels of my dad’s death, my daughter being the same age I was when I left home, recent revelations about my mother, a lot of stuff. TOO MUCH stuff.
Something has been eating away at me, but I can’t put my finger on “it.” I don’t know what “it” is, so I can’t fix it. I learned today that “it” is a “constellation” – a cluster of things that are hitting me from multiple directions and converging into a massive flood that has left me feeling very disoriented.
I was advised by my therapist to Stop Everything and Make Art. She said, “Kim, for you, art is your coping mechanism.” It is true. I don’t just produce this stuff out of manic productivity. I make art to survive. These past few weeks have been so crazy that I haven’t had time or space to make art or write. I haven’t had any alone time with my cheap ass ballpoint pens.
I realized that Pen Noise isn’t just about what exists on the surface of the paper. It’s also about giving me a place to put the noise inside myself, so it doesn’t clutter up my psyche. I get it out of me and onto paper. You can read more about my Pen Noise on my website (which I’m going to revamp and update during the holidays).
So this drawing is today’s Pen Noise transmission. The Punkzilla was SO HAPPY to spend time with me in my art room on HER CHAIR chilling to the sound of Joy Division and pens on paper.
I feel a lot better having spent the time drawing. I needed it. It’s better than getting wasted. Also, I’ve kind of made a commitment to myself not to put pressure on myself over the holidays. I have a film writing deadline for CounterPunch this coming week. I’m doing a feature on James Gray. Other than that, I have to take it easy.
I showed my therapist photos of the front of our house and my Everything But The Kitchen Sink Xmas Decorating. She thought that was just great. I also decorated Bean’s garden with lights. I’ll take photos soon. So, I’m going to do more holiday stuff, string some more lights, make some more Pen Noise and get through the “it.”
Just writing this down helped. Also, for the record, I have my book deal to publish my memoir which I’ll begin full throttle in January. I’m testing different formats for it. One is to frame it around historical events. The other is to frame it around music. I think for my FIRST book, I might go with music, but then again the historical events will be good too – Patty Hearst, the Zodiac, Jim Jones, Moscone/Milk assassinations, etc. I’m inspired just writing those ideas down.
Wow writing a lot of nothing makes me feel better. Maybe I should get back to my 60 minute writing. Death is a hard motherfucking thing to recover from. My whole universe was turned upside down when my dad died. And all this stuff is just tumbling around me. But things are sloooowwwwwly stabilizing. I know I will be better. I know healing will come. I know “it” will pass.
In fact, writing this meaningless blog entry just made me realize that I’m damned ready to write again. That’s a relief.
In the meanwhile, I’ve got a place to put the noise. I’m lucky to have that. I’ve had it since I can remember. Even when I was a little kid, holed up in my room on restriction, I scratched away drawing with colored pencils while listening to my collection of 45 rpms or the A.M. radio. Some things never change. And some of those things are good things. Lifesavers, really. Glass half full.
|nellorat||11:34 pm - Recortadores|
I am just in awe that a modern sport so similar to Minoan bull-leaping exists! In Northern Spain and Southern France, these bull jumpers get in the ring, unarmed, with angry bulls and dance around them, sometimes jumping entirely over the bull.
They generally don't actually brace themselves against the bulls as they vault over, as in the Minoan pictures and sculptures, although in this video, around 1:28, the guy clearly does an acrobatic tumble over the bull's head and horns, at one point supporting his body with one hand on the bull. The real leaps begin around 2:26.
Despite the inexplicable pop-song soundtrack, this video has great leaps, starting around 1:20; also, around :45. one guy spins in mid-air off the bull's horn! However, the more I watch them just dodging the bull, the more impressed I am with that, too.
And here is even a video from a BBC science show, explaining that the recortadores rely on fast-twitch muscles.
I think this is so cool! Yes, they deliberately taunt the bull, and both bulls and humans do get hurt, but it's so much more a display of real courage than bull fighting.
Mood: impressed, intrigued
|rimrunner||03:33 pm - on the importance of structure|
My friend Chris used to do a thing where about this time every year he'd divine a single word that summed up the theme of the year to come. This is a rather fun exercise; not because I think it necessarily says anything about what's really going to happen, but it can be a way of identifying what's going on at a subconscious level that one needs to pay attention to.
My word for 2013 was Structure. This has manifested in two important and related ways.
Since Jesse died several of us who were his students at the time of his death get together a couple of times a week to work out. The space is a former speakeasy in a basement under a tea shop in Seattle's Chinatown, which is of course inexpressibly cool (and the owner is letting us rent it for ridiculously cheap), but there's been some talk of moving elsewhere because the building has a pretty bad rat problem--as in, I had to scare one of the little fuckers away from me the other night. (I snarled at it. I have a very good snarl. It's possible it thought I was a cat.)
One of his friends, who teaches over in Port Orchard, comes over sometimes to work out with us. This guy has a very different teaching style than Jesse did. Jesse didn't break things down for you too much ahead of time. He'd show you something, and then watch you do it until he found something specific to correct. Over time, those corrections accumulated until you were doing whatever it was properly. This could take years, and it's not a teaching style that worked for everyone. (Particularly, I theorize, it's not a style that works very well in America. It's not too unlike, I guess, what you see Pat Morita doing in the original Karate Kid movie, except that we weren't doing chores or fixing up the place--although it could have used it. Personally I thought it was great, because by the time you got a "That's good" out of him you knew you'd earned it. Who needs belts when you know you can throw a punch hard enough to knock a guy bigger than you on his ass?)
His friend teaches differently. He'll instruct specifically and then tell you "no" until you get it right. Which can also be pretty frustrating, but I like learning from him because he can explain structure. Jesse knew structure, but it wasn't how he taught.
What I mean by structure is what I guess a lot of martial arts styles call stances. It's how you stand, how you set your posture, how you position your arms. Small changes can make a significant difference here. I didn't appreciate this properly until this year. Part of me wishes I'd understood it sooner, but Jesse's friend reminds me that even if I'd learned it earlier, it takes a lot of experience to make it work for you. Experience I have.
The other arena in which structure has manifested is in writing.
Unsurprisingly I have a lot of issues with how creative writing is taught. That might seem funny since I've taken a lot of classes and am in an MFA program (a very pragmatic one, which surprises nobody who knows me I'm sure) but what I see little emphasis on in a lot of these kinds of programs is technique: the equivalent to drills in martial arts, or scales and technical exercises in music (I've played one instrument or another for most of my life, usually without sufficient practice to be particularly good at it). More to the point, though, there are structural elements to fiction, and a lot of the art involves hiding them so the reader isn't sitting there checking off all the points identified in Save the Cat!
So, I've spent a lot of time lately working on plot: what leads to what, what happens when, how each event influences the next. I think there's a tendency to avoid this sort of thing because it sounds like following a formula, and that can indeed be what happens; Hollywood scripts following Save the Cat! religiously whether or not the resulting story makes any sense is a case in point. But structure in fiction is no more necessarily formulaic than symphonic structure is to an orchestral work, or sonnet structure is to a poem. Structure can give you freedom of movement, the same way that skeletal structure does for vertebrates.
This is really pretty 101 stuff, and it annoys me that it's taken me this long to figure out that a) my writing tends to have major structural issues and b) there's a relatively simple solution to the problem.
But, maybe it's like Jesse's friend said: in order to properly appreciate something, sometimes you have to muddle around without it for awhile. Then, when you do find it, you recognize what you've been missing all this time.
This entry was originally posted at http://rimrunner.dreamwidth.org/1364164.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Current Mood: contemplative
I think I am about 18 or 19 here. It is taken in Sydney in the backyard of my friend Mandy's house in Balmain, opposite the high school in Terry Street. The connection was that we met when we were 15 hanging around the studios where Duran Duran were recording, then on the night I ran away from home, her parents invited me over to stay there the night and made lots of calls to friends and youth services people and sent me off in the right direction the next day. I am eternally grateful to them, I hate to think where I may have spent the night had they not intervened. After being settled in briefly with my foster parents eventually I attempted a return to school and went to Balmain High where coincidentally Mandy went also. I think I lasted about a month, school was not for me at that time. A year or so later, when I landed my housing flat, it was round the corner from Mandy's, so we saw a lot of each other, and I lived there for five years. There were lots of cats at Mandy's and her parents always made you welcome if you popped in. Once, my mother called them up and blamed their daughter for turning me gay. Hilarious.
I tried hairdressing again,hated it, worked for the phone company, then got a job in a science fiction bookshop and worked and saved and furnished my flat and went to Europe for a year when I was 21. I've pretty much fended for myself since I was about 17. Mostly I am proud of how I did it.
December 10th, 2013
|susandennis||04:26 pm - kind of milestone-y|
Today when Julie and Hoai asked me what I did when I wasn't swimming, I promptly responded that I was retired. And I was perfectly fine with that response.
Before today, I would have either said that I used to be xxx or I would say I was retired but then feel totally and perfectly inadequate and devalued because of it.
But, apparently, I'm over that! Julie did ask what I had done before I retired which was nice of her but she also asked how I fill my days other than swimming and I was back to lame. I knit and watch tv and play on the internet. Now, that all seems fascinating, doesn't it?
One of the most difficult things I discovered when I first decided to do this was how to fill my days (and also what to tell people when they asked so I didn't sound like an idiot). I haven't figured out that parenthetical part quite yet. But, I'm pretty ok with how I fill my days and with being retired. Only took 18 months - call me Speedy.
|susandennis||03:30 pm - Not what I had on the calendar...|
I got to the library and then to the pool and then found out the pool is closed. A burst pipe. I am soooo weary of the pool being closed. I decided to call Julie and tell her and see if she wanted to move lunch up.
I sat in my car totally unable to make a call. I punched in the number and hit 'call' and got the home screen of my phone. I tried 8 ways to sunday. My phone would NOT make a phone call. I finally went into a shop and got them to call me. My phone received calls just fine, sent email, sent and received texts... it would just not... be a fucking phone!!!
Lunch was fun. Julie was really interesting and interested. She runs a bed and breakfast - in her home, I presume, although I can't seem to find it in the Seattle B&B listings. We were joined by another swimmer - the one who dries her flip flops with the hair dryer. Hoai. Hoai is writing the second draft of her novel and she went into great deal about the plot of the first and second chapters. We ate at a place I have never been to before. It's really close to the pool and open for breakfast on Saturdays. It would be a fun place to try after a Saturday swim. When the pool opens! Arugh.
Apparently they closed the pool yesterday after my morning swim. Hopefully, they will be getting it open for tomorrow morning's swim. Maybe pressure of the rental contract (the team that practices before us in the morning) will hurry the fix along. If it isn't open tomorrow morning, then I'll just go somewhere else at mid-day.
When I got home, I dug into the phone issue. Something somewhere was just very hinky. I thought about calling the Nexus help desk but decided that a factory reset would probably be better. It's good to do now and again anyway and has become relatively painless. So that's what I did and now I can make calls again. Weird - o.
It is now 3:30 - man, when your day gets hijacked it just disappears in a finger snap!
|akirlu||02:53 pm - Wintry|
Along with most of the rest of the country, we've been having a chilly week. Nothing on places like Madison and Minneapolis, with temperatures in single digits, but by local standards, damn' cold. Sleeping at night is complicated by the random pile of heat-seeking mammals weighting down the comforter making it tricky to roll over in bed, and pretty much impossible to pull the covers over whatever shoulder is exposed thereby. But by pulling out all the stops in my usual cold-weather layering routine I've been managing to keep reasonably warm. I hate to guess what the electric bill will be like for December, though. And I broke down and ordered a whole suite of Thermaskin long underwear from Land's End. Of course, by the time it arrives, the cold spell will have broken and the longies will be temporarily redundant. But I expect they'll come to some use later in the winter.
Also had a hot toddy for the first time this weekend. Hal and I had meant to get to get to Cederberg Tea House to try the South African tea that friend M. raves about, but in the event the tunnel on 99 was closed making traffic on any southerly approach to Queen Anne pretty well unspeakable, and so we gave up and retreated to dear old Hudson for something warm and consoling. It being too damn' cold to have a Bloody Mary (my usual at Hudson, because they are reDONKulously good there), I decided to try a hot toddy instead. Lovely. Really quite nice. I've been playing with recipes since and have decided that whole cloves are a mistake unless you spike them into the lemon peel because otherwise you just wind up with a mouth full of cloves on the first sip, but otherwise it's a gorgeous drink to curl up around when it's too friggin' cold to do much besides huddle under a blanket and a warm dog and watch The Good Wife.
|per_square_mile||09:48 pm - New York’s High Line hit by hardy cockroaches never before seen in US|
Ian Sample, reporting for The Guardian:
Periplaneta japonica has special powers not seen in the local cockroach population, including the ability to survive outdoors in the freezing cold. “There has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates, so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York,” Ware said.
|natureofcities||08:23 pm - Comment on Money for urban biodiversity is scarce. What is the single most important idea, program o|
David, I agree that artists can be really be meaningful if they come to understand why we need urban biodiversity. In Brazil TV actors and soccer players have a tremendous power to transform people’s minds. Maybe, it could be a good way to start.
Pippin, I also agree with you: I am not sure if zoos are the best way to showcase animals in cities. Maybe, in larger ecosystem fragments, people can have contact with native species of mammals, birds and insects. In our forests and even in surrounding streets, we can see monkeys and animals. People get to excited when they meet them.
Good ecological park and other green areas design also helps people understand and learn about nature, and natural processes. Even small community gardens and yards can be educative and help a lot to reestablish human nature relationship. Food production, also is quite effective.
The real challenge for me is changing decision makers minds in my city. It is all about money and technology – green washing…
|barondave||02:46 pm - One Day As An Engineer at Fresh Air Radio |
This story is for Bubo G. Gear. We were discussing Patti Smith's punk poetry and I mentioned the following incident, saying I probably shouldn't post it on Facebook. So here it is, in all its glory.
NSFW, so the naughty bits will be under an LJ cut (not that you'll notice from the link in FB).
One Day As An Engineer at Fresh Air Radio
In the early days, KFAI-FM was a small, 10-watt (at best) station that was, as I used to say, "exclusive to parts of South Minneapolis". The station began broadcasting in 1978, and I joined in 1979 for Shockwave Radio. Even though non-profit and (mostly) volunteer run, we were required to have 3rd Class Broadcasting licenses, meaning we could handle the studio controls.
One day, probably circa 1980 or so, I was asked to be the engineer for a remote broadcast. The Urban Guerillas, a local Mpls punk band, was giving a concert at nearby Powderhorn Park. I didn't have to do much, claimed the guy who recruited me, but the station needed someone in the studio for legal reasons and if anything happened to the tech during the concert. Okay, I thought, an easy gig for which I get volunteer credit.
I sit down in the studio, alone in the station on the weekend, scan the settings, and get a little bored. Punk rock isn't my kind of music, and I'm sort of half-listening while absorbing more of the equipment and any reading material on hand. The live concert is going well and I don't need to do much but adjust the pots (volume controls) now and again.
( Suddenly, out of nowhere….Collapse )
The rest of the concert went smoothly, at least from a technical perspective. No one else called and no one said anything afterward. One of the many reasons I remain a volunteer at KFAI to this day.
|nellorat||03:13 pm - In Poetryland|
Prompt from cynthia1960: What is your favorite poet or songwriter?
First off, I like the question because the hallmark of many of my favorite songwriters is writing lyrics that could stand alone as poetry, whether Dorothy-Parkerish clever and satirical, such as Jonathan Coulton; involved imagery and wit like Elvis Costello; or ballad-like emotions and use of repetition, such as Bonnie Raitt or Bonnie Koloc.
However, with poet as well as songwriter, it's really hard to settle on one.
For a while beginning in late high school, my favorite poet was T. S. Eliot. Now some of his poetry seems--I'm sorry--not only bleak but a little whiny, and too self-consciously profound, although I still admire his bold eclectic mythologizing and enjoy his ability to portray altered states of mind in poems like *The Four Quartets*. Then and in college I became enthralled by the poetry and plays of Federico Garcia Lorca; I stopped reading him after a few years & don't really know what my reaction would be now.
Then in graduate school my passion became more or less split among William Blake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and 17th-century Christian/metaphysical poets such as John Donne and Thomas Traherne. All of these are quirky, with a contemplative but energetic voice, all of them both personal and transcendent in subject matter and its treatment. All of them pull meaning out of everyday experience and use metaphors no one else would ever think of or at least dare to use; all are entranced by and almost dizzying in their use of the playfulness of language.
I may be undergoing a new change, as rereading Shakespeare and Milton to teach them has impressed me in a new way. There is a solidity to them that Blake, Hopkins, and my beloved metaphysical poets probably don't have, without sacrificing inventive wordplay. Specific lines of my previously favorite poets have helped me codify, understand, and appreciate my own experience, while specific lines from Shakespeare and Milton seem to lead me into understanding other aspects of the universe and other human beings in a new way.
However--to connect this to a discussion of age in the lj of wild_irises and elsewhere--adding new favorites doesn't really displace old favorites, any more than new understanding of the world as we grow older completely erases our past selves and their understanding.
Mood: happy, chatty, lazy but that must change