It's 13 degrees outside, with a windchill below zero, and snowing merrily. Supposed to accumulate two to four inches today here in Omaha. Luckily I am flying tomorrow, which is supposed to be clear and calm, though still colder than Dorgau's hindmost paps.
Low-key day today after yesterday's roaming about the wilds of southwestern Iowa. I think we're catching a movie this afternoon, and an early dinner. Another friend may pop by the hotel to visit a little while this evening, weather and schedule permitting.
Last night I had, as usual, complex dreams. The part where my house was flooding to the window sashes in clear, warm water wasn't hard to understand. My bladder has a sharp voice in my nighttime wanderings. The part where Zachary Quinto leapt out of a wrecked VW bus to attack me with a badminton racquet was a little harder to interpret, but I went with it. After fighting Mr. Quinto off, of course.
That last part is odd. While I often dream about real people, either directly or in the form of a dream avatar, I quite rarely dream about people I do not actually know personally.
I've spent time with the folks from my prior Day Jobbe. That was good but also sobering. I went on disability there just shortly after my tenth anniversary of service. That makes the Day Jobbe my longest-tenured employment in 26 years of working professionally across three related industries, by a fairly substantial margin. A big part of my life. It was work I enjoyed, with people I (mostly) liked, in a field where, while I wasn't exactly working for the betterment of mankind, neither was I helping make anyone's life worse. It was also work which enabled me to have a writing career through a good work-life balance and a decent paycheck. And, later it on, it was work of a sort that allowed me to segue into the deeper phases of my illness without an abrupt economic disruption, both through disability-friendly management and workplace policies, as well as a very good benefits package that turned out to make a critical difference in my life in at least three different ways.
So a lot to reflect on here in Omaha. Plus, well, Zachary Quinto. And snow.
I flew there, of courseHanging with the poochesA friendly meighborhood duckYesterday we set out in the car of garyomahaAs always in life, we drove down uncertain roadsUntil we came to my joint in Shenandoah, IowaA slightly more sobering neighborMe and my namesake (or vice versa)The store was full of cool old things, like those sliding ladders, and the manager was very kind about us wandering around gawping and photographingelusivem and garyomaha enjoyed old fashioned fountain treats (I had an iced tea)ThemselvesWe then looked at interesting old buildings in Shenandoah, which reminded me of my grandparents' town in north Texas when I was a small boy in the late 1960sIncluding a dry-docked caboose
As usual, more at the Flickr set
Photos © 2012, 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and M. Jones.
by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and M. Jones
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License
If Only for a Second
— Remaking cancer patients. This made me cry. (Via willyumtx
.)From Tudors to Turducken: An Engastration Tale
— Engastration? (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)
Seams Geeky | Items Sewn with Love for the Chic Geek
— A Kickstarter for some high quality embroidered geek gear. Me, I’m down for the Schlock Mercenary stuff
.Google Glass prescription frames spotted but concerns linger
— Yay for this. If I were not so sick as to make the project more or less pointless, I’d be very actively pursuing a prescription version of Google Glass.Nymi Is A Heartwave-Sensing Wristband That Wants To Replace All Your Passwords & Keys
— And more than that. From the department of weird future tech. (Via David Goldman.)Microsoft designs smart bra to combat emotional eating
— What happens when your smart bra has a blue screen of death? I guess that would be the ultimate Nerd World problem.Wafer-scale production of graphene devices to become a realityNASA May Test Its Lunar Green ThumbEverest Panorama from Mars
— Mars!Solar would be Cheaper: US Pentagon has spent $8 Trillion to Guard Gulf Oil
— Imagine what we could have done in alternative energy with an eight trillion dollar research budget. Instead of warring for oil, destroying whole countries, and slaughtering people wholesale.Top 25 Censored Stories from 2012-2013
— (Via danjite
.)The Mandela Problem of the Angry White Male Wing of the GOP
— Wing? That’s the whole GOP. Duh.
?otD: How deep is your slush?
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (restless)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)
- Tags:cancer, cool, food, funny, gender, healthcare, iraq, links, mars, media, moon, personal, politics, race, science, space, tech, videos
Terri Windling, Delia Sherman & I are selling our beloved Endicott West, the house/arts retreat we all put together in Tucson, Arizona some 13 years ago . . . The letters are flying back and forth across the Atlantic, of course, as we three come to terms with this change in our lives, and say good bye to a past and a vision. In one of them, Terri wrote:
A wise woman I know named Ellen Kushner once said this in an interview in Locus magazine: "Now my generation, we're all hitting late-thirties to late-forties. Our concerns are different. If we stick to fantasy, what are we going to do? Traditionally, there's been the coming-of-age [novel] and the quest which is the finding of self. We're past the early stages of that. I can't wait to see what people do with the issues of middle age in fantasy. Does fantasy demand that you stay in your adolescence forever? I don't think so. Tolkien is not juvenile. It's a book about losing things you loved, which is a very middle–aged concern. Frodo's quest is a middle–aged man's quest, to lose something and to give something up, which is what you start to realize in your thirties is going to happen to you. Part of the rest of your life is learning to give things up."
I don't remember saying all that! But I do recognize both those thoughts as coming from conversations I had with Michael Swanwick
, back when I used to visit him in Philadelphia after Philcon. We'd stay up late talking, and then he'd drive me around the city, showing me local curiosities and dispensing wisdom and pensées - mostly just posing questions, and chewing on them happily together.
I like to quote my sources, so: Thank you, Michael.
Fortunately, Mr. Swanwick wrote up his thoughts on Tolkien in a gorgeous essay for Karen Haber's Meditations on Middle Earth.
I invited him to speak about them on my public radio show, Sound & Spirit
, for one of the last shows I did, The Lord of the Rings
- and, Lo!, someone has transcribed his words and put them up on The One Ring Forum, here
!* (You can also listen to the entire 1-hour radio show - including the Swanwick interview - here
Oddly enough, speaking of the LOTR S&S show, I just got FB Friended by a guy in Poland with the rather elegant name of Ryszard Viajante Derdzinski
who says, "Your broadcasts are famous among the Polish fans of JRR Tolkien. Thanks to you I discovered The Tolkien Ensemble and Varttina."
( When my son, Sean, was nine years old he told me I had to read him Lord of the Rings because his friend had LOTR read to him and he was only eight years old so Sean was suffering from major loss of prestige. It was a really wonderful experience to travel through Middle-earth with my son. Every night at bedtime, for months, we'd follow the Hobbits through Middle-earth. And it was really a great experience for both of us, but... as we read, I realized that Sean was hearing a very different story from the one that I was reading. The story that he was hearing was the same one I read when I was sixteen. It was the greatest adventure story in the world. He really loved it, but... as a forty one year old man, what I was hearing was the saddest story in the world. Everybody in that book is in the process of losing everything they hold most dear. And there's nothing they can do about that. Galadriel mourns the withering of Lothlorien. The Elves are leaving Middle-earth. Ents are slowly dying away as a race and turning back into trees. The Shire is changing and not for the better. Frodo loses more than anybody. At the end of the three books, Frodo has lost everything. He's saved the entire world but there is no place for him in all of Middle-earth. All that he can do is go to the Grey Havens and die. That was an important book. I probably read it 20 times through. I might even have read it 20 times in a row, straight through. And then, at some point as an adult, I went away from it and I was afraid to come back because I was afraid it would be a children's book. And then, I reread it... it's an adult book. There were depths in it I could not appreciate at 16. Sean couldn't appreciate at 9. And you have to have experienced sorrow and loss to be able to appreciate it. Tolkien knew that, if you want to live in this world, the price you have to pay is, at the end of the ride, you have got to die. But that's okay. That's a small price to pay.Collapse )
Wow. What goes around . . . certainly goes around! And Finnish women's neo-trad singers Värttinä
can't have too many fans.
*Swanwick quote from Sound & Spirit: The Lord of the Rings:
: Farscape: the good, the bad, the ugly (and/or beautiful)
, and laurashapiro
prompted: Since you asked Lum to talk about Farscape, I'd love to ask you to talk about Farscape!
I should start by saying that while I have seen most eps of the first three seasons more than once, I've never rewatched the show in its entirety, and I haven't watched at all in years, so my memories are decidedly vague. (I'm thinking I might do a rewatch this spring and see whether those vid ideas I've been hanging onto for years are still viable.)
What I love about Farscape... I'm just going to have to quote cesperanza
Why do I love it?—seriously, the characters. Seriously, Crichton, and seriously fucking Christ, Aeryn, but also D'Argo and Zhaan, and also also also the narrative chances they took and the fucking amazing writing they brought out each and every week. They were just so relentlessly inventive and smart—and beyond that, it's like, they actively avoided things that were stupid.
I mean, that sums up a lot of it, for me! The characters, definitely -- John, Aeryn, Zhaan, D'Argo, Chiana, Pilot, Stark, Crais, Scorpius. John/Aeryn, oh my god, one of my favorite 'ships of all time. I love the continuity, holy shit, this is a show that doesn't forget stuff, a show where small things turn out to matter in unanticipatable ways. I love the way it veers between intensely emotional and deeply goofy. I love its willingness to forego exposition and just dump us in the middle of our heroes' latest crazy shenanigans and trust us to sort it out later. Of all the shows I've loved, it's the one most concerned with psychology -- by which I mean not just that it offers remarkably rounded characters, though that too, but that it demonstrates a profound and ongoing inquiry into what it means to think, to remember, to feel; it is deeply concerned with how people come to be who they are and why they make the decisions they make and under what circumstances they can change.
Farscape was not an unmitigated joy for me; large parts of S4 bored or annoyed me, enough that I stopped recapping eps. But S2 and S3 are some of the best TV I've ever watched. Writing up this post (and reading other peoples' posts!) is making me want to revisit the show. ♥Originally posted at Dreamwidth || Read comments on Dreamwidth
The paper is infested with either Christmas presents &/or Christmas foodie stuff, or Looking Back At the Top Whatevers of the past year, which never seem to include the things I thought were the Top Whatevers, should they even be Whatevers that I am interested in in the first place.
I was massively incensed by this: Danny Alexander, apparently a Lib Dem MP of some standing:
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Work hard and believe in yourself, and you can fulfil your aspirations, no matter what your background.
Please to form an orderly queue, and sustainable substitutes for codfish will be acceptable.
I only skimmed this article, which seemed to me to spend a lot of time in the personally anecdotal, but I liked this bit ALOT:
I was trying to challenge one of the structures of the world: story structure. Creative writing classes teach the Joseph Campbell myth of The Hero's Journey. If you are new to it, it is a simple, circular structure: the hero is called to adventure, given the help of a mentor and an antagonist, crosses a number of thresholds and is challenged and tempted until he reaches an abyss of revelation, experiences rebirth where he is transformed, atonement is sought and he returns to his original life renewed. In Hollywood, this structure has often meant only one hero is followed. Story structure has been taken over by the single person's need to conquer the world, to take the selfie on the top of the mountain. I was trying to adapt this structure, as I told people, earnestly: look, stories are not about single people.
Stories we would rather not encounter over breakfast, or really, at any time of day, and I think I shall not link to it, if you are really interested you can go google for it: guy who got back from Uganda and found a tick stuck up his nose. I do not care that it was a species previously unknown to science, that was still gross.
Cannot find in online version picture of adorable baby orangutan. Chiz.
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Being here in Omaha, being in the world at all, keeps stirring my thoughts of mortality. My dreams these days are almost always about incompleteness, failure and error. Comically so sometimes, some nights a tragedy in six REM cycles. I feel like I am digging my own grave, slowly.
I am so very glad to be here, and so very sad to be here. Which in truth is how I feel about almost everything these days. Fortunately for me, it's my nature to enjoy myself most of the time. Even when the grim dusk of my own death casts shadows across all my words and deeds.
We all die. Most of us spend most of our lives assiduously ignoring that most basic fact of human existence. I keep trying to convince myself that my own enforced awareness of my ending is a gift.
On occasion I succeed.