Prague, late 50’s by R.Vitek
.. UNREAL | thanks for posting lostandfoundinprague, fantastic photograph ..
this is absolutely amazinggg
The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar will reveal the 3-D architecture of forests, as depicted in this artist’s concept. The unprecedented detail of these measurements will provide crucial information about the impact that trees have on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
ARTBOOK | D.A.P. + Kohn Gallery + Tam Tam Books invite you to joinLun*na MenohFor a Fashion Show + Book Signing with authors Lun*na Menoh and Leslie Dick, in celebration of:Lun*na Menoh: A Ring Around The Collar
(fashion show atsharp)Kohn Gallery1227 N Highland AveLos Angeles, CA 90038
September 12, 2014
If I have one addiction, it is the sweet addiction of taking two or three baths a day. In the past, this was not a big deal or a person would barely raise an eyebrow about it - but alas, us citizens of Southern California are experiencing a drought that is severe, and more likely (and we have to be honest here) will kill us. I can imagine in the near future that visitors will come to visit the landscape, and it will be full of skeletons with their skulls in a dried ditch. So, there is a certain degree of guilt now when I take a full bath or two (or three).
What I have done is actually put an extra bathtub in my bathroom. When I either flush my toilet or use the bathroom sink, the water automatically goes into the main bathtub which is made out of fiberglass. Since I’m the only one who uses the bathtub I’m not concerned if the toilet water is slightly dirty, or if there is some strain of toothpaste from the sink that ends up in the main tub. The other tub, is used for the evening, and what I do is to transfer the bath water from the original bath to the second tub. Meanwhile, whenever I walk by the restroom, and of course due to my liquid diet, I need to consistently use the toilet. So the water supply is reasonably fresh for the main tub.
It is common knowledge that John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (who also served as Prime Minister) invented the bathtub for the full adult body. Before that, it was the size of a glorified dishpan. The “modern” bathtub came to the United States as recently as 1842, and it was reported that the tub was made from mahogany lined with lead. The bathtub for whatever reason was a controversial topic matter, until President Millard Fillmore had one installed in the White House. After that, bathing in a full bathtub became quite popular. Before 1842, Americans were tended to be dirty.
Since I have a tendency to use the toilet a lot throughout the night, I do have a sizable amount of water in the bathtub. For one, I don’t use shampoo or any type of soap. Soaking in water should be adequate enough to enable one to be clean. After I get out of my bath, I use a rubber hose to suck up the water from the tub and put the hose into the second tub. Similar to the practices of siphoning gas from a car. Also as a rule I don’t put anything unclean in the water, except perhaps a rubber boat, which I like to play with while taking a bath.
So, with this in mind, I can save water and still enjoy my bath time. There is nothing like having the music of George Jones in the background, specifically his early recordings around “White Lightning” and enjoying the landscape outside my window, which is basically a field of dirt and rocks. Once there was vegetation, but alas….
Color Study for Homage to the Square, c1960s, Josef Albers
"… a pair of suspended saber tooth tigers that will be on view this month at Mary Boone Gallery as part of her solo exhibition, “Semi-Feral.” Here, a peek behind the scenes." (wmagazine.com)
Every year on #911 I post this photo hoping 2 return 2 owner. Found at #groundzero #WTC in 2001. Pls RT (via https://twitter.com/ProfKeefe/status/510267665597091840)
Update via laughforabs: she found the owner this year and all six are still alive.
Did an amazing triathlon on Sunday (race report here). One more next weekend and then I just need to get on a regular exercise schedule. I've been resting all week due to tired legs, scraped-up elbow and knee and general insanity of school!
Some good light reading around the edges (weeks worth, really - I am annoyed with myself when I go so long without posting it as it becomes tedious to paste in a good many links at once!):
My friend Marco posted a picture drawn by his ten-year-old daughter that reminded me of my passion for Martin Millar's Lonely Werewolf Girl. I checked Amazon and there was indeed a new installment of this utterly enthralling series: The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf! It is just as good as the previous two. Imagine Jilly Cooper (he has her rare gift for writing funny appealing characters you care about & being able to spool off stories about them at nearly infinite length) as rewritten with input from Stephen Elliott and Francesca Lia Block - these books are frankly just ridiculously appealing!
Then I read Millar's pseudonymously published Thraxas, but it is not as much to my taste (if you want to try Millar without werewolves, a good place to start is the hilarious Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me).
I liked Declare so much that I downloaded a few more books by Tim Powers; The Drawing of the Dark and Three Days to Never are bot good reads but neither is as much to my taste as Declare.
A cycling-related recommendation from my friend Troy: Richard Moore, Slaying the Badger: Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault and the Greatest Tour de France.
I got Gwenda Bond's Girl on a Wire as an electronic advance reading copy via Amazon Prime. It is delightful! Gave me happy memories of reading again and again from the school library a Noel Streatfeild book that was not one of my absolute favorites (theaters being more exciting places to me than circuses!) but that still captivated me like all her others, Circus Shoes. (It was clear even to optimistic childhood self that I could not have a career as an acrobat or a trick horse rider if I had to run away and join the circus, but I thought there was a good chance that I could play in the band!)
Amazing two-fer that got me blissfully through the knackered evenings of the first week of classes: Lee Child, Personal and Tana French, The Secret Place. These two books are perfect of their respective kinds, and they are appealing kinds at that. I would teach these on a syllabus to show the equal importance of voice, character and plotting to perfect popular fiction! The Tana French in particular is just remarkably good, I am sure I will read it again very soon - shades of Miss Pym Disposes! Especially impressive is the way the whole thing really depends on the creation of a grimly intense mood - it is really like a much more effective and amazing version of what I was trying to do in The Magic Circle.
A very appealing SF novel by Daryl Gregory called The Devil's Alphabet (reminded me of another underrated old favorite of mine, Peter Dickinson's The Green Gene).
Finally, devastatingly (I finished it an hour ago and can't quite imagine what novel I could read immediately following it - might have to turn to some nonfiction instead?): Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun.
One more tenure letter to write this weekend, and a letter of recommendation I should have done already (many others hard on its heels!); meetings tomorrow morning, but after that mostly just plans to do a lot of work and some exercise. Had to get this post written this evening because light reading catch-up is one of the throat-clearing procrastinatory things I do when I have to write something that takes attention but that I don't really feel like doing, and it will be better to have gotten it out of the way this evening!
September 11, 2014
When the twin towers fell, I was thinking about Barbarella. When something horrific comes upon me, I immediately turn to a pleasant thought, or to be honest, an escape. There is always that moment in time when you don’t know what’s happening, and you are on the computer or watching television, and you’re not getting news, but just the raw feelings of anxiety, fear, and numbness of watching the jet hitting the building over and over again. It becomes pornography after while, and I just prefer the Eros of Barbarella than seeing a death machine hitting a skyscraper. To have used that jet, not as a missile, but as a spacecraft going to another galaxy for the purpose of having sex with Barbarella. That is the purpose of machinery, to give and receive pleasure not death.
I had to go to work that morning and it was strange, because I worked at a bookstore, and there were a lot of customers that day. I think they wanted to be with other people, and somehow a bookstore fits the location and the need when those want to make contact with others. I remember a customer coming in and asking if we had books on the al-Qaeda. I never heard of them, and it took me awhile to get the correct spelling of the name to see if there were any books in print on that subject matter. Then shortly another customer came in and wonders if we had any books on Osama bin Laden. Again, a name that I never heard of. What was interesting is that a lot of people were either freaking out, or trying to comprehend what happened and what does that exactly mean in their lives. One thing I do remember was that the Sheriff’s department closed off traffic to the West Hollywood City Hall. I thought to myself of “why would anyone want to attack the city hall of West Hollywood?” Nevertheless, I think everyone who saw a plane in the sky thought it may be a missile of death.
The cultural significance was when Salman Rushdie came into the store to shop, and this maybe two or three days after September 11. He just wrote a book called “Fury” and he consented to sign the stock for our store. He was friendly, and very disturbed about the attack. One thing he said that made an impression on me, was that his novel (“Fury”) is totally not important anymore. He stated that his novel was the old New York, and now the attacks happened, his version of New York doesn’t exist anymore. He was likewise left stranded, because he couldn’t fly back to his home in New York City. At the time, I read a lot of observations by New York writers and all of them were interesting. The one that stays in my mind is a column in the Guardian newspaper, written by Jay McInerney, where he comments on the “before and after,” and although it is a stock statement or cliché, it is also totally understandable. For me, my fear for the then future would be how the U.S. would react to the crisis. Sadly, and not surprisingly, they did everything wrong. Not only Iraq, but our policies in dealing with the international world as well as the terribleness that is happening in the States. The terrorists sent us a box and the U.S. opened that box without any hesitation. All the evil things came out, and no one will never ever be able to box up the ingredients of pain. The other thing that stayed in my mind was that our best selling title at the bookstore that month was "Zagat Los Angeles 2001."
Somewhere down the line we traded our fantasies for despair and horror. We could have gone on the Barbarella route - to explore space and bodies, but instead we now have a world that is not enjoyable or aesthetically pleasing. Just dread, misery, poverty, and a century (the 21st) that will be my last...
September 10, 2014
I have weekly meetings with the College of Sociology, which usually takes place at lunch time at various cafes and from time-to-time, in people’s homes. We had a meeting last week, which took place in my living room. The one thing we all have in common is that we strongly disagree with the theory of Surrealism. We all feel that the surrealist’s focus on the unconscious privileged the individual over society, and therefore ignores the social dynamic of experiencing the human that works in various social groupings. As a group we’re interested in “Sacred Sociology, and we study all manifestations of social existence where the active presence of the sacred is quite clear.” We have studied and critique the army, Marquis de Sade, English monarchy, literature, sexuality, Hitler and of course Hegel. Each one of us must present an essay or a lecture on a weekly basis.
Within this group, there is a secret society where we meet on a monthly basis, always late at night, in the nearby forest. Our meeting place is by an oak tree that was once been struck by lightning. The “acéphale” (greek for headless) Society is devoted to perform certain practices, including nudity and eating raw meat of some sort. Using a flashlight in pitch blackness of the forest, we read aloud passages from Sade and Nietzsche. We see these two writers as liberators of the human spirit, and therefore in great secret, we celebrate their thoughts as it is written in their books. For purity, we read the works in its original language: German and French (for Sade). We all discuss carrying out a human sacrifice, but we couldn’t agree on who the executioner should be. Everyone of us in the group wanted to be sacrificed, and none wanted to be the executor.
We were fascinated with the art of “slow slicing, ” or better known as “death by a thousand cuts.” It was a type of torture and execution used in China from AD 900 until it was banned in 1905. During the execution, a knife is placed on the body, where the executors would cut pieces of the flesh, till the prisoner dies. Opium would be applied mostly to prevent fainting of the criminal. It’s important that the criminal is conscious of his or her body being stripped slowly. In general, these executions took place in the public square, where the citizens can watch the drama that is taking place in front of them.
“We have in only two certainties in this world - that we are not everything and that we will die.” The ritual of death is fascinating and to share our thoughts within this group, is something that I treasure greatly. “Sacrifice is nothing other than the production of sacred things.” We tend to stay by the oak tree till the lightness of the dawn, and then we wander back to our homes, thinking it was just a dream. Alas, we know it isn’t because we all shared as series of moments reflecting on death, and therefore becoming more alive knowing that the moment will happen eventually. A good friend of mine told me once that “work is making a living out of being bored.” Thinking of death somehow frees me from boredom, and knowing that, makes living way much more intense. And on top of that, I don’t have a job, therefore I’m never bored.
But I’ve lately undergone a crisis of confidence: I find it hard to hit the road without consulting my phone. And while I’d like to think the recommended route (from Google, Waze, Hopstop, etc.) is just one influence among many—that I have other preferences their algorithms can’t perceive—I’m not too proud to confess that I trust the computer more than I trust myself. The habits, hubris, and quirky predilections that once manipulated my movements are being replaced by the judgments of artificial intelligence.
In this I'm not alone. The rise in mobile navigation technology has, in just a few years, transformed the way we get around cities. In 2011, 35 percent of Americans had smartphones; by 2013, that had grown to 61 percent. Three-quarters of those people now use their phones for directions and location-based services. One in five Americans used the Google Maps app in June; one in eight used Apple Maps. Tens of millions more rely on car-based modules hitched to the satellites of the Global Positioning System.
That is dumbfounding progress. The full precision of GPS was made public only 15 years ago, and as recently as the early 2000s, GPS was considered a tool of "sailors, hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts." Today, nearly every mobile app employs it. Radio traffic reports feel as antiquated as floppy disks.
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THEY GOT A NAME FOR THE WINNERS IN THE WORLD
John shook his eyes and everyone else.The twenty-sixth episode of ｌｏｏｓｅ＿ｃｏｎｎｅｃｔｉｏｎｓ is entitled a fortnight of slack (for Peggy) & it contains the standard terminal rumble of traffic; pulses and tones in slow motion; rain in the backyard; a refrain form a popular song recorded in the 1970s; a heavily distorted voice; children throwing caps (or do you call them bangers? – i think we used to conflate the two when i was a kid) at the ground; newsreaders in cheap goopy ersatz dub; a train station; Susan Lawley on Youtube & an exploration of pitched kick drum samples. Breath then ruthie and since this. Shaw but still josiah grinned. Truth was all our way for them. Mountain wild knife and continued. Whatever you once more food. Besides the children would later. Truth was lost my family. Since they stopped her lap and blankets.
& I WANT A NAME WHEN I LOSE
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ｌｏｏｓｅ＿ｃｏｎｎｅｃｔｉｏｎｓ is half an hour of shambles and solecismoid audio cobbled together fortnightly by Jimmy Kipple Sound for the glorious & suddenly time-limited Basic.fm.
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TRANSMISSION DATES : Wednesday 3/09 & 10/09 @ 12:00 BST / Saturday 06/09 & 13/09 @ 08:30 BST
September 9, 2014
This may seem odd, but when I see an image of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame, I think of Japan. There are many KFC outlets in Japan, and each one has an incredible statue of Colonel Sanders by the entrance way. Although he did live, he doesn’t to me appear to be a real living person. Only an image. A ghost image to be honest. Also when I used to eat meat, I liked the Japanese version of KFC. For whatever reasons, which are a mystery to me, the Japanese taste seems different in these chain of fast-food stores. Everyone I know in Japan loves KFC. Now, I don’t love the food but I’m fascinated with the numerous statues of Colonel Sanders.
Colonel Sanders was born on September 9, 1890 in a small house in Henryville, Indiana. The population was 1,905 according to the 2010 census. Weather wise, Henryville has a humid subtropical climate, which means it has hot, humid summers and generally mild winters. In 1902, after his father died, he moved with his family to Greenwood, Indiana. He didn’t get along with his new step-father, and drifted away from his home life to move in with his uncle in New Albany, Indiana. His uncle worked for the city’s streetcar company, and got his nephew a job as a conductor. He then falsified his date of birth and joined the United States Army in 1906, where he was sent to Cuba. He was honorably discharged after only three months and then moved to Sheffield, Alabama, where another uncle lived. There he got a job as a blacksmith’s helper, and then eventually became a fireman at the age of 16.
He got married, had three children, and while being a fireman during the day, at night he studied law by correspondence and eventually became a lawyer. His legal career ended when he got into a fistfight with his client in a courtroom. He then moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana to work for the Prudential Life Insurance Company, where he sold life insurance. He then got fired for insubordination, and got a salesman job with the Mutual Benefit Life of New Jersey. Around this time, he started up a ferry boat company that was a success. He operated a boat that went from Jeffersonville to Louisville and back. He sold his business for $22,000 and used the money to launch a company that made acetylene lamps. Sadly this was not the right type of lamp, because Delco introduced an electric lamp that soon became the format that was sold at the time. He moved to Winchester, Kentucky to work as a salesman for the Michelin Tire Company, but lost that jobs when Michelin closed their New Jersey manufacturing plant. He then met the general manager of Standard Oil of Kentucky, who asked him to run a service station in Nicholasville. But like his luck, that too didn’t pan out, due to the Great Depression, and therefore the gas station had to shut down. However, if you failed once, try again. The Shell Oil Company gave a service station to Sanders rent free in return for a percentage of sales. It was here that he began to serve chicken dishes and at the same time he was awarded with the title of Kentucky Colonel, by the Governor of the state of Kentucky.
Colonel Sanders claimed that he had a original secret recipe for his chicken, and the only thing he had to admit to the public was that he used salt and pepper as well as 11 herbs and spices. The big difference between KFC in the U.S. & Japan is that in the States they use vegetable oil for frying the chicken. In Japan, the oil used is mainly the more expensive cottonseed and corn oil. Therefore the taste difference between the two cultures. So the colonel eventually sold KFC to John Y. Brown, Jr. And Jack C. Massey for $2 million. When many years later Brown and Massey sold the chain for $239 million.
Colonel Sanders died in 1980, but in truth did he even existed? After he was awarded the identity of being a Kentucky colonel, he immediately dressed himself as one. He grew a goatee and wore a black string tie with a white suit. He never wore anything else in public, and he in fact bleached his mustache and goatee to match his white hair and white suit. He had a heavy wool white suit for the winter, and wore a white light cotton suit in the summer time. Colonel Sanders wore this uniform for twenty years. So even after his physical death, he still lives on as the logo for KFC. But again in Japan, one is accustomed to see his features, his white suit, string tie, in front of 1,181 outlets as of December 2013. As of this writing, Kentucky Fried Chicken is well known as being the meal at Christmas time in Japan. Roughly one billion chickens are killed each other, and therefore I usually just have a salad on Christmas Day.
A model in the Museum’s cephalopod display, photographed #InsideAMNH by djkrugman.
Learn more about the #InsideAMNH Instagram collaboration and follow along @amnh to see much more.
Milton, books 1-4 of Paradise Lost
#Stanley Fish, from Surprised by Sin: The Reader in Paradise Lost, 2nd ed. (1967; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 22-37
#Christopher Ricks, from Milton’s Grand Style (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963), 118-138
#Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, from “Milton’s Bogey: Patriarchal Poetry and Women Readers,” The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979), 187-207
September 8, 2014
“There is no me. I do not exist… There used to be a me, but I had it surgically removed.” It isn’t I can’t stand myself, but I’m on the surface extremely dull. There is no spice in my DNA to make me special. What I can do is re-invent myself to a better version of me. Or just start from scratch and make a totally new “me.” I tried to do my best to blend in with the crowd that I came to be accustomed to, but clearly they never took me seriously. All of them feel that I’m a performer, but for the heck out of them, they can’t remember one film or theater piece I have done. They know that I exist, but in what degree is totally beyond them.
As a card-carrying pataphysician, I have consistently been mistaken for Peter Sellers. The interesting fact is that we don’t look like each other at all. But still, I’m consistently reminded of him, due to what people think he or I looks like. A day doesn’t go by, where someone doesn’t comment on the resemblance of the dead late comic actor. If he was alive, I wonder if people would still make the comparisons between me and him. “The dead… are more real than the living because they are complete.” I suspect if I was dead, then I would get my own identity back. Again, even with that, my lack of uniqueness would be very difficult for someone to pin me down. Even my face is not mine, but a remembrance of someone else’s face or appearance.
To live in one’s shadow, is a traveler wandering in a neighborhood where he’s not invited, but accepted with closed arms. I have often appeared in front of an audience, but they expecting something else, or even someone else. It takes approximately ten minutes into my performance where the audience realizes that they are at the wrong show. After awhile, I believe “that the applause of silence is the only kind that counts.” Everyday I try to re-think myself in a new position where I find that I need to think what ‘my character’ would do in a certain or specific incident or plan. It is rarely that I consider “what I would do” but mostly ‘what would he or she does. ” And that is pretty much how I see the world. A fellow pataphysician has commented that “the theater, bringing impersonal masks to life, is only for those who are virile enough to create new life: either as a conflict of passions subtler than those we already know, or as a complete new character."
I was reading Siegried Sassoon’s poetry and I came upon a statement by him that touched me: “The fact is that five years ago I was, as near as possible, a different person to what I am tonight. I, as I am now, didn’t exist at all. Will the same thing happen in the next five years? I hope so.” The only occupation that I’m suitable for is acting. Sadly I can’t remember a written line if my very life been dependent on it. What I do is improvised anytime I find myself in a conversation with someone. I never know where or when the conversation ends, but I pretend that I do know, and I think the other person will just gently follow my lead - in a sense it is like dancing the waltz, where one leads the other.
I wrote a play, that had one performance, so I guess one can call it a total failure. Nevertheless, the lead character stayed with me, and I adopted his language as my own. For instance I never say the wind or it's windy, instead I would say “that which blows.” Slowly but surely I built up a character that became comfortable to wear. But I was always aware that the things I said or do was based on another character - sometimes a fictional character. In the future (if there is a future) the play “will not be performed in full until the author (the royal we) has acquired enough experience to savor all it beauties.” I tend to see the world as a theater piece, and sadly, I’m the only one in the audience.
Remember the color-coded Homeland Security Threat Level system?
Remember how it made you feel?
My latest project is called Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ. It’s a participatory music performance transforming security threats into spiritual renewal. It debuts on Thursday September 11th, the Ethiopian New Year (Ethiopia uses its own calendar system) in Washington D.C.
Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ treats the changing threat-level data as a musical score to be sung by a D.C. choir and audience participants, using the five-note (pentatonic) Ethiopian musical scale. Accompanying the choir are several pieces developed from East African harvest/new year songs for masinqo (one-string lute) and voice, performed by Gezachew Habtemariam and Kalkidan Woldermariam.
After the performance there will be music by all-lady DJ crew Anthology of Booty and complimentary vegetarian Ethiopian food in tribute to the holiday, from which the piece takes its name and inspiration. Everything is FREE and open to the public. Festival info page | Facebook event invite (pls help spread the word if you’re on Facebook!).
For a glimpse of what to expect, on Friday we did a 15-minute preview performance at the Dither Extravaganza event in Brooklyn. Ben ‘Baby Copperhead’ captured a few minutes of the room audio from that:
The free outdoor event takea place this Thursday, September 11th, at the Gateway Pavilion at St. Elizabeth’s East, in D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood. St. Elizabeth’s is the former national mental institution that currently houses, among others, the Department of Homeland Security.
Doors open at 6, with Enkutatash beginning at 6:30. Event is rain or shine (we will be under the Gateway structure, protected from the elements). There will be shuttle bus from the Congress Heights metro to the event location, & maps for those who prefer to take the 10-minute walk through the grounds of St.Elizabeth’s.
When curator Stephanie Sherman approached me about doing a site-specific composition in the capital for her Near Futures / 5×5 Festival selection, I knew I wanted to engage with D.C.’s role as a center of government as well as its reality as home to the largest Ethiopian community outside of Africa. Mixing homeland security threat levels with African songs about returning to one’s homeland to celebrate the new season… Making various systems audible and overlapping, bringing ourselves into the picture with voice.
When I told them I was looking for a masinqo player, my friends in Debo Band and The Ex both directed me to the hugely talented Gezachew. And Josef Palermo suggested the Sept 11/Ethiopian New Years connection which grew into the title & date of the piece. Five colors, five notes, many ways of understanding and cherishing the day.
Jean Harlow in Red-Headed Woman, which I include in my latest blog post, Pre-Code A to Z.
blight: The Sun, photographed by Solar Dynamics Observatory, 8th March 2014.
East limb of the Sun. 12 images over 3 hours; inverted 21.1 nm (2x106 K) + 17.1 nm (6.3x105 K) light.
Image credit: NASA/SDO, AIA/EVE/HMI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.
September 7, 2014
“I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty… But I am too busy thinking about myself.” I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the world that’s out there, but I do know myself, and in the end of the day, that is all I could offer you. Now, whatever that is good or not, is totally up to you. I can only offer what I know, which is not much. I feel like I 'm 250 years old, and man does my eyes feel heavy. All I know is that I’m a man of excellent taste, and “good taste is the worst vice ever invented. ” To stand out in the world is like asking someone to cut your throat. It’s not a nice world out there. In fact, it’s a jungle. And I wish I can inform you that I’m Tarzan, but I’m more like George of the Jungle.
I feel time is marching on, and I’m afraid that I will remain in the dustbin of history, which means totally ignored, and my writing is lost somewhere in the Central Los Angeles Library. I wake up with the greatest dread, knowing that I’m facing at least 12 or 13 hours of failure. “You know the horrible life of the alarm clock – it’s a monster that has always appalled me because of the number of things its eyes project, and the way that good fellow stares at me when I enter a room.” I feel time mocks me, and I know when my birthday just passed, people were thinking “there he goes…”
Not long ago I purchased a six albums (on vinyl) box set of Buddy Holly’s music. America has produced many talented people, but none is more important than Buddy Holly. He was a figure that was totally a modernist, specifically with his take on music making as well as appearance. The heavy dark rim glasses, with the beautiful suits and sweaters that he wore, it had a profound affect on me, because I had trouble seeing without my glasses. His imperfections became a symbol of perfectionism. He turned the negative into the positive, why that boy was a magician as well as a superb musician. His death, to this day, is exactly what I can’t take in. I cannot possibly understand why he went in that dinky airplane in a storm to get somewhere early, so he can do his laundry before the next show. Dandyism is a life-style, but it can also lead one to an early death. Yet, there can't possibly be a God, to let go such a brilliant talent. He tested against the elements, and lost. I obviously don't have his genius, but I do have the talent to lose, in a major and significant way.
“Hot water is my native element. I was in it as a baby, and I have never seemed to get out of it ever since.” I’m not worthy of living in a world that makes such great demands on my ability to create chaos that is my poetry. “Poetry is the deification of reality, ” and I feel like I’m standing against a wind machine, that is blowing me towards another direction, that I care not to go. “ART does not exist - So it is useless to talk about it - but! people go on being artists - because it's like that and no way else - Well - so what? ”
I never got over the death of Buddy Holly and especially Jacques Vaché. Two poets who I feel didn’t finish their work. At this point and time, I have outlived both, for many years. Holly was quoted in saying that “Death is very often referred to as a good career move.” Perhaps he’s right, but I feel I was left by the side of the road, and I don’t have a compass to tell me what direction I should go to. The art is to wander. “I’m not trying to stump anybody… it’s the beauty of the language that I’m interested in.” - Buddy Holly.
Book-recommending has unsurprisingly become a tradition at the BG Literary retreat (see 2013, 2012). Below are the titles we talked about this year, and as a bonus, miscellaneous productivity & other tools. In no particular order.
Revolution by Deborah Wiles
Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Last Dragonslayer series Jasper Fforde
The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
The League of Seven by Alan Gratz
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle
Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
Doll Bones by Holly Black
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Sixth Gun by Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn
Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer
The Fiction Editor, the Novelist and the Novel by Thomas McCormack
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sacks
Productivity & Other Tools
Mind mapping with coggle.it
SpiderOak as a DropBox alternative
For outlining: Screenwriting Beat Sheets
And finally, not a tool, but forever my favorite article about procrastination, Robert Benchley’s marvelous “How To Get Things Done,” which begins: “A great many people have come up to me and asked me how I manage to get so much work done and still keep looking so dissipated.” Read the whole thing, then get to work.