March 23rd, 2006

bear by san

ten reasons why I like living in the future.

  1. As I sit here this morning working on my day job, my bread machine is in the kitchen making me lunch. Home robots = cool.
  2. As I sit here this morning working on my day job, I am in my pajamas, tucked up on the couch under a throw sent to me by a friend who I only met because we were involved in an internet workshop together. That's like three for the price of one, really.
  3. I am so buying a roomba the next time I sell a book. The cat needs the competition. Also, see above, home robots. And sweeping is no fun, anyway.
  4. Much knowledge is contained in either Google or Livejournal.
  5. No matter what I say or think, if I happen to express it in my blog, thousands of people the world around can either tell me how wrongheaded I am or offer unsolicited advice. Or both.
  6. The ability to stalk ex-lovers over the Internet
  7. Project Gutenberg, the Bible Gateway, Bartleby!, the Perseus Project, Wikipedia (even when it's wrong, it's still the coolest idea ever).  Etc. Not having to know something if I know where to find it.
  8. Alton Brown
  9. Flying cars. Since 1927, baby. In fact, it's a flying boat/car: Bucky did the future one better. I don't wanna hear any more bitching just because you capitalists couldn't drum up support for the damned thing.
  10. The absolutely unparalleled access to pr0n. Nancy Friday, eat your heart out.

bear by san

(no subject)

"We're very hardened today, and we only look for the edge. And Chim was saying that that's not necessarily the best way to see people."

--From an NPR piece on the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibit of the work of war photographer David "Chim" Seymour.

John Gardner talks about this a bit in On Becoming a Novelist, the best book about learning to observe the world that I know of. (It's not a book on writing; it's a book on looking.) About how harshness--what he calls the disPolyanna fantasy--isn't any more honest than sentimentality.


Okay, specifically, because I feel like it, I'm going to talk about this a little bit more. Cynicism is fashionable, and stylish, and easy. It's why so many of us are, in fact, cynical in high school. (That, I think, and some lingering traces of childhood sociopathy, and the human tendency to assume that everybody else is much like we are. As we grow older, and our motivations become more complex--and often less selfish--our acceptance of cynicism is colored. So is our idealism. They are not mutually contradictory values.)

Cynicism is also, in its own way, just as shallow and false as sentimentality. Edginess is facile. It is a simplification, and as such, eventually serves as a sort of Teflon armor.

Real emotion, real existence--conversely--is complex and sticky and gets down into your gut and up your throat. And thus so must real art be.

It's not something you can turn aside with a stylish flip of the hand, and it's not something that confirms either the sweet or the bitter preconceptions, but rather marries them with other, disparate elements.

It's kind of like cooking, really. Baklava goes better with coffee than with a milk shake, yanno?
bear by san

Why biography by textual analysis is silly, part umpteen

400 years from now, somebody is going to write a book about truepenny, in which they will disclose that The Stratford Man is a thinly-veiled roman-a-clef, in which she is meant to be Kit and I am meant to be William.

And some gloriously erroneous conclusions are going to be drawn.

Book 27: Ul de Rico, The White Goblin. Yeah, it's a kid's book, but I figure I can add it into the portion-of-Cook to claim it as a complete entry.

Alas, this slender volume does not measure up to The Rainbow Goblins, of which I have a battered and much-reread copy that was originally given to me by my Aunt Lissa (the name Elizabeth runs in some families; in mine, it gallops) either in terms of art or storyline. And I don't think that's just sentiment talking.

Book 28: David Riggs, Ben Jonson: A Life.

Once he hit Prince Henry and The Alchemist, I was in paydirt. Yay!

Man, there is a lot of book in this book.

"My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise...."

bear by san

Last spork on the Ben Jonson biography.

1) There is something heartrending about the four-times-bereaved father, Jonson, holding court in his later years for a group of younger poets who referred to themselves as "The Sons of Ben."

2) Okay, Riggs mouthed the thing about the early moderns not forming deep or lasting supportive, sympathetic friendships.


No, you know, I'm not even going there. (What's the dominant nonromantic relationship paradigm in Shakespeare, other than parent-child? Oh, right, same-gender friendships of almost codependent closeness.)

I'll be in the bar.

With Ben.