Sunday, August 26, 2012

Emotional Resonance and Rocket Launchers

Hello, readers.

Three things.


1)  Every Brilliant Piece of Writing Advice* from Clarion 2012 from Sam J. Miller

2) Clarion 2012: Apocalypse When, FourGreenSquares breakdown of their experience of Clarion and its teachers.

3) Joss Whedon on what matters most:

The two things that matter the most to me : emotional resonance and rocket launchers. Party of Five, a brilliant show, and often made me cry uncontrollably, suffered ultimately from a lack of rocket launchers. (whedoninfo)

That is all.

Happy Saturday.






ttfn.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Things I Learned At Clarion

Hello, readers.

I went to India. And Dubai. I came home. I attended Clarion, in San Diego. It was amazing. All of it. Clarion most of all. Feels like I have a family and army at my back. Feels like I loved more than I've loved in some time.




Here are some things I learned there.

1) Start with the goosebumps.

2) Don't burden your heroes with a busload of dead classmates.

3) You must kill your children.

4) All stories are romances at heart.

5) It's your job to save the world.

6) Top four uses of Nazi's in fiction.

7) Mad scientists are poised for a comeback.

8) People will buy the crazy stuff if you make the really, real stuff feel real.

9) Not everything has to be subtle.

10) They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

11) Our job as writers is not to be profound. It's to tell what happens next.

12) Don't listen to the bullshit. Make your own mistakes.

13) Fail early. Fail often.

14) There are people out there who want to read your stuff. They just don't know it yet.



Happy Friday, readers.


ttfn.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Flanerie


Evgeny Morozov's opinion piece, "The Death of the Cyberflaneur." Also, a cat.

The flâneur would leisurely stroll through its streets and especially its arcades — those stylish, lively and bustling rows of shops covered by glass roofs — to cultivate what Honoré de Balzac called “the gastronomy of the eye.”


...in order to engage in flânerie, one must not have anything too definite in mind

You may rest assured, readers, no matter what manner of frictionlessly shared future Facebook designs for us, I will remain, at heart, a flaneur (both virtual and actual), cultivating "the gastronomy of the eye," "taking turtles for a walk," celebrating "solitude and individuality, anonymity and opacity, mystery and ambivalence, curiosity and risk-taking," and, generally, making it my goal "to observe, to bathe in the crowd, taking in its noises, its chaos, its heterogeneity, [and] its cosmopolitanism."

Because as much as I love listening to music with friends, sometimes it's nice to put on a pair of headphones and live alone in the music.

Because as much as walking, and traveling, with friends is great, there's something necessary and nourishing, at least for me, in the solitary stroll, the one-man adventure, and the random joy of meeting new people along the way.

Because, as much as I love going to see movies with friends, sometimes I love watching them alone with strangers.

Because sometimes I know not everyone wants to watch that 4-hour Japanese cinematic opera of kung-fu upshots and true love I keep going on about.

Because spending time alone makes being with people better.

Because I don't want a single portal to the world wide web, especially Facebook, no matter how much I love my friends. You are all brilliant, lovely people, but you do not know everything. And I don't expect you to.*

So, don't worry.

Flanerie lives. Tell your friends. Write it on the subway walls. Meet me at the arcade. But don't say hello. Just nod and stroll away. We'll know each other by the silly hats we wear.


ttfn, readers.


*Twitter, with it's original and intended emphasis on following people of interest--and not just friends--seems to encourage a certain amount of cyberflanerie, which is quite nice of them, really. It's possible that, like Twitter and now Google+, Facebook will also cultivate (will want to cultivate) such broader concepts of connection. We shall have to wait and see. One portal will always remind me a bit too much of AOL, though. I love the wander of things, and I'd rather not give that up.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

History and Piracy: A History

Benji Edwards writing for Technologizer.
And what about cloud software? If all of our software tools become centralized and run over the Internet, it will be hard to pirate them, which also means they won’t get preserved. That’s bad for history.
When paleoanthropologists wonder if a 13,000 year-old Clovis point can take down a Bison, they tie one to a spear and let it fly. If spear points had been automatically cloud updated over the course of their development, however, we would only know of the most recent iteration in the design process. Clovis points wouldn’t exist today, and we’d be wondering how ancient Native Americans managed to hunt game with uranium-tipped bullets.
I had never thought about software and games, and the like, quite in the way of Beowulf and arrowheads before. Now I have. My brain is a better place for it, too.

Also, in light of a possible, eventual, transformation of the paper book industry to e-books, there's this to think about.
Current U.S. copyright laws have good intentions, but they ultimately jeopardize the survival of digital property because they do not take into account the rapid pace of digital media decay and obsolescence.
Our body of copyright law makes a 19th-century-style legal assumption that the works in question will stay fixed in a medium safely until the works become public domain, when they can then be copied freely. Think of paper books, for example, which can retain data for thousands of years under optimal conditions.
In the case of digital data, many programs will vanish from the face of the earth decades before the requisite protection period expires (the life of the author plus 70 years in the U.S.). Media decay and obsolescence will claim that software long before any libraries can make legal, useful backups.
Consider: Will an e-book of today run on an e-device 100 years from now? If only e-books are published, how will we archive them?


ttfn.

Soon I won't be here...

Hello, readers.

It's snowing outside. A flat-bed truck is selling vegetables. Jonathan Franzen believes e-books are bad for society.

The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom. I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it's pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model 
Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I’m handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing - that’s reassuring.
Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough...

Also, I will be leaving Seoul soon. This city has given me more than I could have asked for. New friends. Old friends newly made. A collection of students that have blown my mind with their hearts, their brains, and their tendency to give presents and sing songs on the last day of class. We all had a good cry that day. The Doctor couldn't have asked for a better send-off.

In March, if all goes to plan, I'll be in India. There will probably be pictures. That's how these things work.

love.

ttfn.

p.s. I have a lot of time right now. I might use it to blog. I might use it to Google+. I might watch what I've left of Community, Misfits, Mad Men, various K-dramas, and snow. It's really quite nice.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Words

Hello, readers.

Sometimes I read. This year was no different. Here is a list of things*.

Enjoy.

1. Things of the Novel and Whatnot Variety Published In, or very Nearly In, 2011:



Habibi by Craig Thompson**

Bossypants by Tina Fey**

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Swamplandia by Karen Russell

The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi


2. Things of the Novel and Whatnot Variety Published in the Past, in One Golden Age or Another:



Infinite Jest** by David Foster Wallace

Complete Shorter Fiction** of Oscar Wilde

40 Stories** by Donald Barthelme

A School for Fools by Sasha Sokolov

Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O'Connor

Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The Drowned Life by Jeffrey Ford

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

River of Gods by Ian McDonald


3. Some Selection of Things of the Longform or Longreads or What-Have-You Variety


Ray Kachel (photo by Wayne Lawrence)



"All the Angry People" by George Packer (one man, among many, at #OWS)

"Why Science Fiction Writers are Like Porn Stars" by Charlie Jane Anders

"Unspoken Truths" by Christopher Hitchens

"Pre-Occupied" by Mattathias Schwartz (on the origins of #OWS)

"Outsourcing Jobs" by Gary Sernovitz (on Steve Jobs, China, and Apple)

"Wall Street Isn't Winning -- It's Cheating" by Matt Taibbi

"The Last Movie Maestro" by John Jurgensen (a profile of John Williams)

"Stumptown Girl" by Margaret Talbot (a profile of Carrie Brownstein)

"The Han Solo Comedy Hour" by Frank DiGiacomo

"Al Goldstein: The Pornographer in Winter" by Lili Anolik

"Just Write It" by Laura Miller (on George R.R. Martin and fans)

"You Say You Want a Devolution" by Kurt Andersen (Except he's wrong. Mostly. Partly. The world of fashion, technology, and art has changed. Take the ten year old me and zap him 20 years into the future, and he would notice a difference. Trust me. He was a sharp kid. But, the article is an important one to remind you that some people's eyes go old before their time).

"The Writer as Detective" by Roger Rosenblatt





ttfn, readers. Happy reading.


*Note, that ** will be used to indicate these books may have changed my life and/or will probably be returned to, or thrust upon people, for a variety of well-intentioned reasons, as time goes on.

**See above.










Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Sound

Hello, readers.

In 2011, I listened to things. Here is a list to that effect.


1. Things named after themselves

Bon Iver, Bon Iver.




Cults, Cults




2. Songs more beautiful than their name would lead you to believe





3. Bands that reaffirmed their awesomness


The Whole Love begins and ends with different sorts of long, meandering, wonderful. Well done Tweedy, and company. Well done.








4. Bands who reaffirmed that they're just having a bit of fun at this point.









5. New friends







6. Best use of a suicidal squirrel





7. ttfn, readers