Posted by toadstar on 3:59 PM

Apparently He Gets This From His Father:

Last Saturday Lucas and Heidi were invited to a birthday party. I stayed home and tried to clean up the house a bit. I turned on the TV for company, and I ended up watching ALIAS. Alias is one of those shows that popped in under my radar and by the time that I heard of it, it had been going for a while, so I never really got into it. But Saturday it was on the telly, so I figured that I'd check it out for a minute or two.
There was this scene that took place in a lot in Burbank, I mean Berlin, and not a lot, but a club and like all clubs in Berlin it was a goth-industrial club, because really, that's what all of Berlin's youth are, industrial goths. Well at least that's what the tv writers would lead you to believe. Any roads, the first few minutes of the scene is spent people watching, before Ms. Sydney Bristow makes her entrance. The people watching is great, a sea of kool-aid colored hair, piercings in every visible hole, menacing looks, and wall to wall PVC and leather, all of it black. And of course it had to have heavy industrial music, blaring in the background, because what scene of Berlin is complete without industrial music, from what sounded like a bad rip off of Rammstein.
The other day when I told Heidi about this she didn't seem to recognize the name Rammstein, so I went to youtube and started playing Du Hast to give her a taste and as soon as the guitar kicks in-with a rif that would make Beavis and Butthead throw up the goat, squee with delight and start furiously banging their heads and yelling that Rammstein kick ass-I see my son start bobbing his head to the music, squee with delight and start jumping up and down, like it's the greatest thing he's ever heard.
I wonder where he get that kind of behavior from.......

Posted by toadstar on 3:26 PM

Writing:
I seem to have misplaced my internet connection this weekend, which turned out to be a good thing because I actually ended up working on my short story for the Machine of Death Collection of Short Stories. Early submissions are due on the 31st, which I was hoping to make and I think that I may have the story finished by then, I just don't know if I can have it edited by then. Tonight my wife and son are off to their monthly La Leche League meeting, so I can sit and type until my fingers turn blue.

Link dump:
Here is an interesting article by Jonathan Lethem. I like his ideas regarding Creative Commons Licenses.

I've been following this new clockpunk movement over at Da Vinci Automata. They are toying with the idea of an anthology here is the first submission On Deep History by Jim Rossignol.

Ernest Hemingway once said his best work was a story he wrote in just six words: 'For sale: baby shoes, never worn.' These six words have sparked a meme with this two articles here and here. Here are some of my favorites:

Internet “wakes up?” Ridicu -
no carrier.
- Charles Stross

It cost too much, staying human.
- Bruce Sterling

I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss … ?
- Neil Gaiman

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
- Orson Scott Card

The last one goes nicely with this bit of news.



Posted by toadstar on 4:26 PM

Random Thoughts and Links:
As kind of an afterthought to yesterdays post, I found this article about creating your own universe:

Also, the baby universe has its own space-time and, as this inflates, the pressure from the true vacuum outside its walls continues to constrain it. As these forces compete, the growing baby universe is forced to bubble out from our space-time until its only connection to us is through a narrow space-time tunnel called a wormhole [...].

Sitting inside the monopole, you would see space expanding in every direction
In the end, space-time becomes so distorted that even this umbilical cord is severed. The baby universe's space-time is left entirely divorced from our own.
____________



NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day

I saw this picture of John Edwards this morning and I was reminded of the roll that the media can play in an election. How a candidate is portrayed in the media can make or break an election. I remember in 1992 when Clinton ran against H.W. Bush there on the front page of the Denver Post, were the two candidates the top picture showed Clinton, he was smiling, giving the thumbs up and standing in front of cherry trees blossoming in the early spring. Then I looked down at bush, the picture was half the size of Clinton's and he had a look on his face that made him look as though he were about to throw up (and no it wasn't a picture from the famous Japan incident). I knew right then who was going to win the election.

Now look at the above image. Edwards is standing there, looking like a real human being, and next to him is the coup de grace, the road sign. How is this a coup de grace you may ask? The message, road work ahead, that is precisely what will lie ahead, should he win.

Later on in the day I was reading this article about how the FBI may have violated the law or government policies as many as 3,000 times since 2003 as agents secretly collected the telephone, bank and credit card records of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals residing here. When I just happened to glance at the sidebar and I read: "Today In Slate: Why Obama is like a serial killer" so I had to click on that and I found this article, which I'm sorry, I think is a bit ridiculous. Yes when you find out that your neighbour is some kind of serial killer or that someone that you grew up with is running for president, it's going to change the way that you think about them. Your brain is going to take this information and process it with the old information and then look for patterns, but I don't think that a presidential candidate and a serial killer are that much alike-well most at least. More importantly, it feeds into the whole perception thing. They are portraying Obama as something he isn't and purposefully or not affecting the potential outcome.

___________

Finally I just wanted to comment on the potential showdown between Congress and President Bush over authorizing subpoenas for White House political adviser Karl Rove and other top aides involved in the firing of federal prosecutors.

Democrats angrily rejected Bush's offer to grant a limited number of lawmakers private interviews with the aides with no transcript and without swearing them in.

What would be the point otherwise?
Congressman: Yesterday during our closed door meeting with Carl Rove he confessed to ordering the firings of federal prosecutors...
Rove: No I didn't.
Congressman: Yes you did.
Rove: No
Congressman: Yes, yes, yes.
Rove: Do you have a transcript? Or perhaps sworn testimony?
Congressman: No....
Rove: Then no I didn't.

I can see why the democrats don't want that.

What if uhh... C-A-T, really spelled dog?:

From an interview with novelist Zadie Smith on KCRW's Bookworm program:

"But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, 'I should sit here and I should be entertained.' And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true."

I would add that talented writers begin as talent readers, though I've scarcely heard it remarked upon.

The two activities are not only fundamentally similar, they're the necessary halves of a single human activity.

The reader completes the arc.

If there is no reader, there is no text.

I never really gave this that much thought, what is the model of a reader? I read a lot, in fact I'm rarely without a book nearby, so do I read as I were watching a movie? Do I read more like a pianist playing a piece of music? Today I kind of found out which one it is.

I was sitting outside, under the tree again, inhaling massive amounts of pollen (something I'm beginning to regret currently), and still trying to finish my book (I had hoped to finish last night, but time slipped past me). Suddenly I found myself in the zone, so to speak. I was rushing along reading as fast as I could, not because I wanted to be finished, but because I wanted to know what happens, how does this all tie together? My eyes drank in each word like they were nectar.
"Kearney fell to his knees and pushed his face into the beach, where he perceived with clarity and suddenness not just the individual grains of wet sand but the shapes between them. They looked so distinct and detailed that he did, briefly, feel like a child again. He wept for the sheer loss of this: the loss of himself."

I read these words, and as I did another part of my brain started to think of infinite smallness and how to something almost microscopic, looking up from a grain of wet sand, it could look like an entire universe, spanning to infinity. We would only see a beach spanning from point A to point B. Reality is perception.

I sit up, straighten my back, and lean into the book like I'm trying to fall into and become the book just as Seria Mau Genlicher was her spaceship, the White Cat, I read on:
"Everywhere you look it unpacks to infinity. What you look for, you find. And you people can have it. All of it."

In my mind I'm microscopic, standing on a grain of wet sand, I see it grow and expand, like a camera in a movie, pulling out further and further. The grains of sand spread out like some sort of explosion, they zoom out then suddenly stop. They are no longer grains of sand, but stars. The universe unpacks to infinity.

I have to wonder though, am I just like the micro-organism? Is the this infinite universe actually a beach? Are we just a smaller part of something greater like at the end of Men in Black?

My lunch ended and I still didn't finish my book (fifteen
pages left!). As I walked back to my office, I remembered the above quote from Zadie Smith and I thought to myself that I was the pianist using M. John Harrison's words as my music and I wondered if I got the notes right.



In Which the Author Walks Into the Room, Turns on the Light, Sweeps Out the Cobwebs, Walks Up To the Mic, Taps Twice, and Says-Hello, Is This Thing Still On?:

Sorry for the dearth of posts here, but life got in the way. The mysterious red lump on Lucas' neck caused him to be hospitalized for a week. I have uploaded some pictures and saved them as Drafts, so as soon as I finish adding witty commentary to them, you will be getting posts from Christmas past.

I have made a few changes around here, most notably I combined my two blogs. I was having a heck of a time keeping the fatherhood posts separate from the rest. Lucas and my on the way child are just too big a part of me to separate out, so I combined them. All the posts from the old blog have been moved over here, so if you look back you can find them.

This afternoon, whilst on my lunch break, I went outside, sat amongst the trees and tried to finish my book. I had just stopped to look up at the tree above me and and watch the wind rustle both the new spring leaves and the old fall leaves, the latter of which would finally find their way loose and flutter to the ground, when I heard a bird singing his song to the wind. It took a while before I found him, he was a little house finch, hard to find amongst the leaves and branches of the tree. I watched him as he flitted from branch to branch, all the while his song became more frantic. I wondered what was wrong with him, was he lost, looking for someone. Instantly an image popped into my head, that he had lost his love, and was franticly looking for her, all the while singing louder and louder, calling out her name. Where are you my love, where are you.
The noise of a lawn mower drowned out the birds song and woke me from my imaginings and I returned to my book. Right as I was getting ready to return to the office, the lawn mower stopped and before I made it back to the door, I heard him sing again, but this time he was not alone, which made me happy.

The above images are some that I created using some of our honeymoon pictures. We drove from Houston to Colorado and then back down through Roswell. These are some of my favorite images that I have created over the past couple of years for some reason they also made me very happy. I guess that I'm just easily happy today.

Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas

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