Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This morning I went and did something rather rash. It turned out well, though perhaps a bit too long for the purpose I intended it. We'll see. If nothing else, perhaps it will appear on this blog at the appropriate time. And yes, I am being obtuse, though I prefer the term mysterious.
At the Monkey, they play music. Presently, a nearby young man is quietly singing along to Death Cab. Earlier, he hummed to Franz Ferdinand and Pink Floyd. Such things are one of the perks of being around people.
In other news, Kelly Barnhill's story, "Four Very True Fairy Tales," is up at the Interfictions Annex.
Also, my ears have stopped ringing. Which, though expected, was a nice addition to the day.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Last night, I received my M.F.A diploma from Ole Miss. It felt surprisingly meaningful for a piece of paper. More so, even, than my other, more engineering type master's degrees. This one had that extra sheen of finding what you love to do, not to mention finding people whom you simply, and forever, love.
Going to see The Walkmen at Mercy Lounge was not originally planned as a celebration concert, but that's what it became. A very loud, violently nostalgic, occasionally painful, but ultimately kick ass kind of celebration.
I've never seen a drummer take such pleasure in the simple joy of hitting something very hard. Nor have I seen a singer wail quite so prodigiously, as though he were attempting to expel his heart from his chest, or perhaps, maybe, just to be heard over the animal antics of a very happy drummer.
My ears are still ringing. They'll get over it.
And now for something completely different.
It's banned books week. This is something I wrote about that.
The ALA (American Library Association) celebrates banned books this week (September 26th to October 3rd). You might think that book burnings are a thing of the past, but alas, at least metaphorically, many old and new books, featuring certain kinds of language, sexuality, and religious viewpoints--among other dangers to the community--continue to be consigned to the flames of ignorance, fear, and all around dumbness.
The fantastic genres, despite their avowed escapist nature, haven't escaped being pinned down as indecent.
On their list of challenged classic books, the ALA lists 1984 as being challenged for it's "pro-communist" views. Slaughterhouse Five gets a mention for "bestiality, a reference to 'Magic Fingers..., and the sentence: 'The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty.'" Vonnegut's book was actually burned in Drake, North Dakota in 1973.
More recently, occasional mobs accuse Harry Potter of being a witch promoting book--a fairly silly accusation since everyone knows what's really being promoted in those books is tragic orphanhood. Also, there's Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, which, for it's not so subtle anti-authoritarian/religious views, was the second most challenged book in 2008.
It would seem that books about the abuse of authority tend to invite such abuse. Way to be disappointing, world.
For more, check out Powell's list of science fiction and fantasy banned books. Guardian has a link to a poem you can read.
But mostly, if you have the time, the best way to celebrate banned books week, of course, is to curl up with something good and scandalous. Maybe something about burning books, like Fahrenheit 451, for example. Which, yes, occasionally people want to ban. As noted, world=disappointing.___________________________________________________________________
Saturday, September 26, 2009
It really is Friday today. I promise.
In honor of that, here is a list of fun, fascinating, sad, and occasionally absurd things which populate my tabs and deserve to be listed in a list somewhere.
Thing 1) J.G. Ballard died a while ago. This was sad. Jonathan Lethem recently wrote about him in honor of the publication of a 1,200 page collection of Ballard's stories. This was also kind of sad, but as Lethem says, to mourn is first to love.
Thing 2) Lego sculptures at Bored Panda, featuring exposed hearts, life-size men, and tiny people escaping from some poor Lego brain.
This one reminds me of the Neverending Story. They look like such big, strong hands...
Thing 3) Sci-Fi Signal has a great collection of anthology editors, including Jeff Vandermeer and Ellen Datlow, talking about the nuts and goblins of putting together collections. It's a lot of reading, but it falls under the fascinating category.
Thing 4) Amash romance. Bonnet-rippers? Erm...
Thing 5) Henry Jenkins' introduction to Interfictions 2, the second anthology of interstitial fiction put out by the Interstitial Arts Foundation.
Thing 6) Small Beer is giving away copies of Holly Black's Poison. Just name your favorite, and why, in the comments and perhaps they will send you something which will probably not kill you. They promise. No, that's not a wink. I have a condition.
Thing 7) Infinite loops.
Happy weekend, readers.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Yet, I find my mind drifting to tomorrow, and the second season premiere of Dollhouse. Miracles are rare in this day and age, much in the manner, as a friend pointed out, of phone booths. When they occur, both miracles and phone booths, we should take the time to notice, and by Joss, in the case of television, we should take the time to watch, DVR, tweet, facebook, and generally make loud our love. It's an idea.
You can listen to Ira Glass interview Joss Whedon at 826NYC. They ask for donations to help teach children to read and write. You don't have to, though, if you hate children.
Last night (I just can't seem to keep my mind on today, huh), I ventured to the Vanderbilt campus for a showing of The Marriage of Maria Braun. It's part of Vandy's International Lens series. Ebert calls it a "Great Movie." It's a German film that takes place during the years 1945-1954. A woman, Maria Braun coincidentally, gets married in the midst of Berlin falling. The Russians take her husband prisoner. She stays faithful to him, though. Even as she sleeps with an American named Bill, and even after her husband returns and ends up in prison and she embarks on an affair with a French-German who is the owner of a successful company. She is fond of these men, you understand, but she loves her husband.
After the film, a Vandy professor said Maria represented Germany's inability to mourn the past. The professor, endowed symbolically with waves of curly, white hair, said that Maria's getting into bed with these different men symbolized Germany's mad rush to align with the French, among others, in a mad pursuit to regain glory, rather than to deal with the horrors they unleashed, and had unleashed upon them.
In any case, I enjoyed it's Douglas Sirkian splashes of color and melodrama, not to mention the sad, sexy, resilient, dumb, hopeful, determined performance of Hanna Schygulla as Maria. She seemed bigger than Germany to me. And I mean that, of course, in the profound, metaphoric sense. Not the literal and impossible sense.
In conclusion, tomorrow, Friday, at erm, some time, maybe eight?, watch Dollhouse. Support genius. Look for symbols. Believe in people. And talking cats. They usually know what they're talking about.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I'm sitting on a monkey's patio. The sky is a certain kind of blue I don't know the name of. We'll call it purple. I was going to describe the man with glasses sitting near me, but he has vanished into the rapidly approaching night, possibly never to be seen again. It's dramatic, this patio sitting.
In other news, I did make pomegranate syrup. It is amazing. On waffles, in oatmeal, and even in some greek yogurt with almonds. At some point, I may try it in cookies.
Don't forget to check out the new story at the Interstitial Online Annex. It's called "Nylon Seam," and was written by F. Brett Cox.
Also, Nabokov edits and illustrates Metamorphosis. What a presumptuous kook, that Nabo was [via Maud Newton...who else?].
And now it's very dark. The monkey has locked it's doors. I think it's time to go home. Maybe grab some barbeque in honor of old times and places.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
It's Friday. This means many things.
It means new movies like Jennifer's Body, which may or may not be accidentally(?) sexist despite it's hopes to subvert the horror genre into a vehicle for girl empowerment.
It means day of Venus, or possibly Freyja, depending on your mythological point of view.
It means that possibly you dressed in a casual manner because Fridays are casual attire day at your office and that means time to break out, perhaps, this clever little number from Think Geek.
Being Friday, it also means that tomorrow I will make pomegranate molasses as demonstrated by Alton Brown. I find weekends best for culinary experimentation.
Perhaps there will be pictures. You never know.
Happy weekend, interweb people.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
In other news, here are links.
The Online Annex at the Interstitial Arts Foundation is indeed online, and the first story, To Set Before the King by Genevieve Valentine, is up.
New Scientist is holding a flash fiction contest.
Square Books, an independent and wonderful balcony having bookstore in Oxford, MS, has been around 30 years. Here's a video about that.
"Everything that matters is invisible. Except everything. And matter..." John Lloyd, British type, talks at TED about the importance of invisible things.
The 2009 Southern Festival of Books takes place October 9-11. It will happen in Nashville. Kate DiCamillo will be there. Cool.
Happy Wednesday, readers.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
At some point today, the Online Annex for Interfictions 2 should go online.
Also, Patrick Swayze has passed of pancreatic cancer. It's what my father had. It's a dumb disease as most diseases are. Except for Rickets, which I know is horrible, but always reminds me of Don Rickles, who is not. In memoriam, a facebook friend has reminded us of what Patrick Swayze said in Roadhouse: Pain don't hurt.
Words to live by.
Unless you happen to be Peter O'Toole pretending to be T.E. Lawrence. He believed that pain certainly hurts, and that the trick, in fact, lies in not minding that it hurts.
The Belcourt showed Lawrence of Arabia this past weekend. It was my first experience of it on a big screen. It was quite impressive. Sand has never seemed so sandy, or existentialism quite so existential.
Until the future, readers.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Have arrived safely back from D.C. It was a brief stay, one-day actually, but an impossible amount of things were packed into that one day. As a result, I am feeling a bit tired and will possibly recount the adventures of that day, including our encounter with Jesus and his mysteriously pomegrante-y shots, at a time which isn't quite now.
Until then, Henry Jenkins, director of MIT's comparative study program and uncloseted fandom geek, has created a sort of comic-book club. Apparently, a friend of his wife's read and enjoyed Scott McCloud's Zot!. Mr. Jenkins decided to recommend other things for her to read. He then remembered he had a blog and so decided to share it by posting his recommendations here. Enjoy.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
So, it's Labor Day weekend. Football will start soon. Leaves will turn poignant. And, much sooner, I, my sister, and a friend who shall be named, Friend Who One Time Stole A Thing For Another Friend-Not-Me (FWOTSATFAFNM), will be travelling to Washington, D.C. There, among other things, we may try out a kosher restaurant called, Eli's, which, according to FWOTSATFASNM, is quite wonderful.
Here are other wonderful things which are currently scattered about my tabs:
On the awesomeness of ladies and their need to carry on being awesome. [LCRW]
R. Crumb illustrates Genesis. [3Quarks]
What to Expect for the Expected, a guide to fetal living.
Rogert Ebert, in Granta, writes about drinking, mythologizing, and other activities in the bars of Chicago in the late 60s and 70s. It's part of Granta's Chicago issue, which features a cover by Chris Ware, and many other possibly wonderful things as described by acting editor John Freeman, here.
Shirin Neshat discusses her film, Women Without Men. Many interesting things are said about magic, art, and Iran.
Speaking of which, I was asked recently by the Sad, Wise Woman for a contemporary writer in the vein of J.G. Ballard. I was stumped. I turned to gnod and tastekid. They came up with possibilities such as China Mieville. It occurred to me I might do better asking the Interweb more directly, so, if any passerby happens to pass by and has any suggestions, please suggest. Also, hello.
Friday, September 4, 2009
We all loved picture books when we were children and much smarter than we are now. I'm not entirely sure why most people stop looking at picture books when they grow up. Perhaps someone has done a study somewhere.
There is a blog, Drawn!, which sometimes I frequent. It is a blog devoted to cartooning and illustration and Canada.
Here is a picture of a tentacle accelerator, as drawn by David Franzese and promoted by Drawn! blogger, John Martz. Follow the link for more ray guns which sometimes come equipped with forks and knives.
Today, John also mentioned art by David Paleo, but I will not post an example. I will only say that his art is somewhat dark and possessed of a slight whimsy. There is a sad teddy bear in one. Of note, Peleo's blog calls itself, Monster Without A Cause, and so you know it's awesome, or magnelephant, as the case might be if we pause and remember the name of our own blog.
Here is a picture from Eaten By Ducks, a blog full of similarly lovely and creepy images which is sometimes posted on by Paleo.
Alas, poor hobbit, I knew thee well.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
And it's begun to smell like Fall, which is nice.
Other nice things include new books. Here are two.
Publisher's Weekly has a review up for Shut Up, Ugly, the one day possible book by Jack Pendarvis. It has been written, but as of yet, not quite printed all that much. It's a mysterious noir about a detective who's so unobservant as to have grown fat without his noticing. A girl, probably of some sex appeal, notes at one point that, "Karaoke is a kind of grief." PW says it reminds one of a series of Abbot and Costello adventures. Hopefully, it exists some day.
There's a new book by Alan DeNiro approaching. It is called, Total Oblivion, More or Less. It's about a girl and her family and their escape down the Mississippi from invading hordes of horsemen. Dan Chaon says, "Imagine if Huck Finn had been living in post-apocalypse America, and Terry Pratchett had been promoted to God, with George Saunders as his avenging angel." How can you not trust hyperbole like that?
And now, I'm off to buy fresh vegetables. Possibly zucchini, maybe some eggplant.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Recently, a friend sent me an article on time. She is a fan of Lost. You might call her "Lost in Orlando" if you were an advice columnist or a fan of nicknames. In any case, the article discussed why time seemingly only moves in one direction--or at least why we silly humans only observe it as moving in one direction. In physics, there's no particular reason why time can't go backwards. Everything still works out when the little t in all those equations is negative. You can read said article here.
Speaking of time, and also the future, the Interstitial Arts Foundation has posted the dates upon which the stories in the Interfictions Online Annex will go live.
Sept. 15: Genevieve Valentine, “To Set Before the King”
Sept. 22: F. Brett Cox, “Nylon Seam”
Sept. 29: Kelly Barnhill, “Four Very True Tales”
Oct. 6: Ronald Pasquariello, “The Chipper Dialogues”
Oct. 13: March Rich, “Stonefield”
Oct. 20: Kelly Cogswell, “For the Love of Carrots”
Oct. 27: Chris Kammerud, “Some Things About Love, Magic, and Hair”
Nov. 3: Eilis O’Neal, “Quiz”
I can' t wait see what the pages look like. Not to mention read the stories and learn if any of them are told from the point of view of a rabbit. My expectations are set to fantastic.
Happy Monday, readers. This day will never happen again. Or maybe it will and you won't notice it. Either way, enjoy it while it lasts.