Monday, December 31, 2007

Lederer quote

Why do "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing? ... You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language where a house can burn up as it burns down and in which you fill in a form by filling it out. English was invented by people, not computers . . . . That is why when the stars are out they are visible but when the lights are out they are invisible and why it is that when I wind up my watch it starts, but when I wind up this poem it ends.

[Lederer, R. 1990. CRAZY ENGLISH. New York. Pocket Books.]

Sunday, December 30, 2007

home again

ah, nothing like being away to make me appreciate being home again. (and telephone, television, & video games too -- yay!)

---

some nights falling to sleep were a struggle. dreams fragmented their way into my consciousness; and too often i found i was fighting against something, pushing or pulling, until i would wake suddenly, bristling with fear and adrenaline.

other nights were more calm, and i would drift away into forgetful bliss.

---

[more bliss these days; not so many struggles (which were years ago and seem like a distant memory now).]

Thursday, December 20, 2007

yule tree & 'if we want to'


[heh, more snow this morning; they'd better not close school tonight -- i have a final!]
---
madness and insanity -- they're really not that far away from us at any time; instead, they exist in close parallel to our sanity and rationality, and it doesn't take much to nudge some of us into them.

indeed, we can sometimes pass into those worlds, live in them for a time, and pass back into sanity again. sometimes not unscathed; and almost never unchanged.

but we *can* come back, usually. if we really want to.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ice & sun


A rainbow-fringe-producing wisp of cloud in the winter sky,
and i don't have my camera;
instead i must capture it with my heart.
Over the years, i've fared far better with clouds and moon
than with romantic love and fellow humans
whose art i never mastered (and seldom felt).
Ice-clad branches glow white in the morning sun,
and i sometimes feel the frozen sheath
around my love (and possibly melt).
---
[the above pic was from my back window in the late afternoon, not from Starbuck's where i watched & wrote about the wisp of cloud in the morning. and don't click on it -- it won't enlarge much. :-) ]

Sunday, December 16, 2007

snow flash


heh, deploy the flash, Sulu. What do you think, Mr Spock?

at least no traffic jam today. am slightly tempted to slog through the woods down the hill and over the reservoir to Starbuck's this morning on foot, but only slightly.

very pretty out the window.

Friday, December 14, 2007

snow morning


yester my heart went out to all the drivers stuck on the roads in the midst of the mess. (heh, and this morning i'll try on bicycle to get to Starbuck's and the gym -- wish me luck.)

maybe the storm was for the best: i couldn't get my Java homework to work (something about the way i was passing arrays to a method), but there was a snow closure at the school and i was off the hook.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

'The Piano' again

wow. just watched 'The Piano' again after a long time of not having seen. remembered why i liked it so much in the first place, why i identified so closely with. an old friend. sad, but made me feel good, sorta.

the gift of a dead bird

[ from NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU
- by Miranda July;
- "The Man On The Stairs", p.34 ]
---
. . . We both fantasize about other people when we're having sex, but he likes to tell me who the other people are, and I don't. Why should I? It's my own private business. It's not my fault he gets off on having me know. He likes to report it the second he comes, like a cat presenting the gift of a dead bird. I never asked for it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

mostly

mostly i just like the *ideas* of things -- love, romance, the ocean, the beach, sailing, mathematics, et cetera.
when i have to deal with the realities of those same things, i never enjoy them quite as much as i did when they were just ideas.
it's why i love reading & watching videos so much -- they're sufficiently removed from reality for me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Starbuck's sightings

women in tights,
men in Ferraris,
driving their machines
under shining lights.

gas guzzlers apologize,
mumbling their "sorry"s;
whispering through scenes,
hybrids economize.

tomorrows never die,
though murdered every day;
politicians never lie,
and pigs all fly away.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

red dawn


pulled the screens off my front windows and snapped some beauty sunrise cloud pictures yestermorn. makes me feel good to be alive.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"A death in the family"

i didn't have time to say:
"Since you brought it up, may i ask who died?"
- and -
"Best efforts writing your business paper."
- and -
"I hope to see you again at Borders sometime."

Monday, December 3, 2007

[insert emotional adjective here]

heh, getting stuck in front of the tv watching some [insert emotional adjective here] movie, i'm just the kind of sucker Hallmark is looking for. (except i don't buy their cards.) but fiction, i'll sometimes give that a go. after all, i *live* for fiction.

i enjoy having some buttons pushed, even if the outcome is somewhat predictable. romantic love is another one i enjoy; it's like having an idealistic twelve-year-old grabbing hold of the controls to your heart & life and making you do the most crazy foolish things. the stuff of life.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

again

snow and rain
love and pain
tears inspired
alone again.

clouds and sun
sleep and fun
brain is tired
work is done.

---

[heh, me work?]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

beauty

where do you see beauty in your life?

i sat yestermorn at Starbuck's, watching the most beautiful (and ephemeral) wisps of clouds forming and dissolving in the clear blue sky.

beauty where you find it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

some days

don't you find that some days, you're just *on fire*? way yes. this morning, my brain overfloweth with bits of Java. (it's what i get for cramming my homework into the final 24 hours.)

but amidst all that, a multitude of cognitive computational linguistics ideas just sprang to mind unbidden the other day. yay coffee! yay AI!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

time to slow down?

manufacturers continue to make faster & faster computers with higher & higher resolution monitors. when will they be fast enough?

the manufacturers hope never, i suppose; for if computers were fast enough, they wouldn't make as much money selling new ones every few years.

same kinda thing with lots of other stuff (cars, cameras, et cetera). maybe we've reached the peak, and it's time to slow down some.

(and mind you, i *like* fast computers and high-res displays -- more's the pity.)
---
[heh, sorry -- this isn't as jolly an entry as others of late.]

Monday, November 26, 2007

perfect moment

if you could slow down time and extend a perfect moment for as long as you wanted, what moment would you choose?

what's your perfect moment?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Minimalist reformation

have been thinking about writing a new story: first there was the Protestant reformation (to decrease the number of intermediaries needed between the common man & Yahweh, however many hundreds of years ago). now there can be the Minimalist reformation (to get rid of the extraneous later gospels and pare the new bible down to the book of Mark, the earliest of the written forms of the Jesus story). just a thought.

(and i'd welcome the parallel with Chomsky's Minimalist syntax. :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Party On!


heh, the other day i received a confirmation letter from town hall changing my party affiliation from UNENROLLED to DEMOCRAT. before, i'd always liked to think of myself as an INDEPENDENT, free to choose whatever candidate i liked; but that's not an available category in my town. (i even had a chance to cast a vote for Ross Perot, while i was in college.)

however, for the upcoming election i realized that i might *never* get a chance to vote for my favorite breakthrough person (Hillary or Barack, i haven't decided) in case they don't happen to win the party nomination, so i needed to get in on the partisan primary (which UNENROLLED voters cannot). a quick trip to town hall, and i'm all set.

(and the above is from a picture i took last night, after noticing through my front window the nearly-full moon rising. i raced right out with the camera; it's that time of month. ;-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Salad Days

how could i have gone for fifteen years without buying lettuce and making salads? fifteen years!

it's a mystery to me. it's the speech equivalent of waking up one day and henceforth forgetting to use any prepositions in what you say -- i mean, you could do it; but why would you want to? severe traumatic brain injury, i suppose (for i used to eat salads, then just stopped).

then one day i had a Caesar salad (with chicken strips) at a restaurant, and it was like a light went on in my head. on the way home, i picked up a couple of Caesar salad kits (which i quickly consumed) from Stop & Shop. now i'm going through lots of lettuce, making frequent stops at the nearby Country Gourmet; and my body very likely thanks me. home at last.

hope everyone's belly is full from Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

thank you

gentle reader,
---here's to being unexpectedly attracted to someone, someone surprising. (perhaps to someone of the same sex if you're hetero, or over some other personal divide.)
---rejoice!

flirtation and coffee,
chitchat and conversation,
talking and smiling,
listening and laughing,
not holding back emotions
but riding on waves and joy and
subverting your own dominant
pantheon of paradigms.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving foliage


it doesn't get any sweeter
than saying hi to a new reader.
--
i see you.
you see that i see you.
i see that you see that i see that you see me.
you smile,
and i see.
--
laugh; live; love. as much as you can, and as often. and forgive, so that you will be forgiven.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

first snow


heh, it's about *time* we had something pretty to look at after all those cold mornings (with me bicycling down the hill for a coffee). this makes it all worth while.

Monday, November 19, 2007

5,873rd day of retirement/perpetual vacation

yay reading! yay writing! yay coffee drinking! yay studying! yay playing on the computer! yay watching videos! yay sleeping!

living the dream -- life without responsibilities. (except for 2 days of jury duty so far, and even those were kinda fun. ;-)

yay everything!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

love moon love turkey


if people can't, don't, or won't love you for who you are, don't bother with 'em; just love yourself.

yay! -- saw the half-moon this afternoon on the way home from Country Gourmet, and the moon visible in the afternoon means it's *waxing*, so yay upcoming full moon! . . . [oh boy, it's dog food again!]

life goes on, despite unrequited love.

here's to the 100 million Meleagris gallopavo, family Meleagridae (or Phasianidae), who help us give thanks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

nose close rose

why doth my nose close?
allergies or a cold,
i knows not.

outside the ground is froze,
and on a warm couch i doze;
but there my constricted airway goes.

---

i guess winter's almost here; i turned on my humidifier last night, boo. it's still summer in my heart, and i'm still often at the beach.

Friday, October 19, 2007

again

in each others arms again, oh. not thirty seconds together and we're entwined. memories are nothing like the real thing, such meetings repeatedly remind me.

the best intoxication, seeing you again. lost time, like an alien abduction. come back anytime; come again.

and again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If Ann Coulter Had Any Brains

in response to Ann Coulter's book, IF DEMOCRATS HAD ANY BRAINS, THEY'D BE REPUBLICANS, i'd like to write a little piece i call:

IF ANN COULTER HAD ANY BRAINS, SHE'D COMMIT SUICIDE
---
yes, suicide. our planet doesn't need
any more Republican recruiters like Ann;
we're in enough trouble as it is.
stop big business.
stop overpopulation.
equal tax rates for all,
not special priviledges
for the very rich.
(and stop the so-called "war".)

perhaps if Ann Coulter offed herself,
she's set a strong example
for other nutcases like her
and do us all a big favor.

---

by the way, tops on my new US evil person list, in *ascending* order of evil:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
David Addington

and if you don't know who David Addington is, i recommend the PBS show Frontline: Cheney's Law. here's a link to the Boston station scheduling of it:
http://www.wgbh.org/schedules/program-info?program_id=26520&episode_id=3558404

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Letter(s) To Haven

not heaven; haven.

writing that will move across the land into another person's hands.

sculpted sentences, second-draft segues, word-wise winking.

hoping that the message gets across.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

blood & bell-ringing

first volunteering at a blood drive. got to donate first, so the usual questions about sex & whereabouts, freaky medicines & health, and repetitions. many many repetitions.

did my bleeding and then went to the waiting table -- every donor must sit at the table for 15 minutes drinking bottled water or fake juice (water, corn syrup, and 10% juice) -- attended by me. so i attended myself and then the slow stream of other donors. i was also in charge of the all-important hotel-desk-clerk-summoning bell to DING & summon the nurses in case anybody passed out or started bleeding again. but no luck in that department, after six or eight donors.

until . . . a couple came off the donor tables, but instead of coming right over to the waiting table they decided to stand and talk to someone they knew. for like 5 minutes. then they did come over to the table. i gave the gentleman, rather portly, a bottle of fake juice at his request (and the lady a bottle of water); and the next thing i knew, the portly gentleman had keeled over in his seat and the nurses came scrambling over.

it happened too fast for me to ring the bell. (and the nurses should have escorted the couple from the donor tables, or at least directed them to go to my table; but they were too busy doing nothing.) so i missed my chance - no bell ringing.

the guy was all right, and they got him onto a padded table pronto. they had him sit up a while later; but soon after, he had to lie down again. and then my shift was over.

next time, i'll have my finger on the trigger.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Those Were The Days

Yes. But no. I hear the lyrics, the song, and it makes me cry. Baltimore Sue. I'm still crying; the wound still feels fresh. But it's a good cry.

I just got the CD from my bookstore. Not the live, unplugged version that Sue listened to. But still.

Why does music bring me back like that? Some people strongly associate smells with memory; i guess i associate music. Sounds. Lyrics. But it's not so bad to cry, if it leads me to a new strength.

"These Are The Days"

10,000 reasons for a new day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

people are kinda dumb (especially security people)

ok, after the last embarassing fuck-up by homeland security (the blinking-sign Boston bomb scare), you'd think they'd instruct security people what basic electronics stuff looks like.

but no. an MIT girl named Star shows up at Logan Airport with a simple breadboard circuit is arrested amid an enormously foolish media flurry. when i was seven years old, i would have said, "Gee, that's no bomb; it's just a breadboard." but i guess i shouldn't expect security people to have that level of sophistication. they're just getting paid to arrest people and make headlines; they're not expected to actually do a good job.

i vote that everyone go down to Radio Shack, pick up a breadboard & a few simple components, attach them to their clothing, and show up en masse to Logan Airport to say "Hey, you idiots; these aren't bombs!"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

rain, rain

rain, rain, stay and play;
we're so dry we need some today. :-D
wet the lips of our leaves
and the hips of our hearts;
nourish our growth
and flourish our flora.
we fauna thirst so,
you'd plenish our souls.

Friday, September 14, 2007

i smile & smile. thank you . . .

. . . for walking into Starbuck's this morning and waving to me from the cash register. and for coming over to where i was sitting and continuing to smile. and for more flirting. lost telephone #s, both; but all is forgiven. calamity averted. we'll get together next week and swap stories.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

new

torrents that don't.
right room, wrong day.
pain that won't.
(ever go away.)

feel sorry for me not,
lonely though i be.
my dreams cannot be bought;
i'm still true to me.

torrents will reseed.
my pain will fade.
class tonight indeed,
and i might get ... lucky.

---

thanks to meaningshapes for smiling through.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"Homeward Bound"

But all my words come back to me
in shades of mediocrity
like emptiness in harmony.
I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound . . .
I wish I was . . . homeward bound.
--[Simon & Garfunkel]--

--

an emotion-laden verse for me, but reality is no longer so stark & cheerless for me.

for i am -- homeward bound -- today. home again, home again, jiggety-jig. "September, I remember. A love once new has now grown old."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

not

not my chair, not my apartment, not my house. eh, it's probably all for the best. time to go home.

my iBook was born again, and i got enough social stuff to remind me of the good and the bad. i'll come back and visit some, perhaps a little more often than before.

picked up the Intro Mechanics book (Kleppner/Kolenkow) that i never had, but should have if my old advisor at Cornell had actually advised me instead of just signing off on my proposed course schedule no matter how unrealistic. better late.

best case reality (for me) == resignation mingled with optimism

i'm signed up for another college class for fall semester, this time in the CS department instead of English; maybe i'll be less of a misfit in computer science than the other.

is it so wrong to be human after all?
[ Level 42 ]

cheesy? not not.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

contradiction

do you ever have contradictory feelings for things (or people) in your life?

i sure do.

if you're reading this, you're probably on a computer; i certainly used a computer to write it on. but sometimes i really dislike being so tied to computers, and i long for the days when i would sit in the shade of some big tree on the Arts quad. no laptop, no cell phone (not that i have one now), no bother. just whatever book that had caught my fancy -- Michael Crichton or Stephen King or maybe even George Eliot -- probably instead of the 3rd or 4th semester Calculus i should have been studying (which is part of why i became an English major instead of staying in physics).

or the ocean. every time i go to the ocean i think about somehow arranging a little shack in the dunes (legally or illegally) and abandoning my life of computers and electronics. it's a nice dream -- one of my favorites.

if i can be creative while i'm on the computer, i like it ok; but mostly it's just a diversion. mostly i'm not doing creative stuff; mostly it's just killing time. i end up spending time on the computer instead of with people, because it's so much easier. i don't mean this as a judgement on anyone else; this is just my own personal dissatisfaction with being married to technology.

when i was seven or eight, and i got my first computer, i thought it was *great*. i suppose it appealed to the mathematical side of me -- the logic and structure -- and i had lots of fun "playing" (writing programs and getting them to run). nobody said "Careful, or you may end up spending much of you life looking at a computer screen." and i probably wouldn't have listened to them, even if they had. some days i still like computers; and some days i feel like i've sold out to the military-industrial complex

for the past couple of months, i've been doing basically all my writing on paper (instead of a compuer), and it's been a different experience. the fiction that i've been working on is mostly about a character given a chance to make some different choices in his life and in his past -- choosing to not be part of our mechanized & electrified society, for instance. it's a story i might well not have written on a computer; and now that it's getting to the point that i should transfer it to the computer (before it gets any longer), i've been hesitating. i'm almost happier with it on thirty pages of haphazard print, in pen & pencil, with lots of crossings out and emendations and changes. maybe it's better that way.

[i'll get to the contradictory-feelings about-people thing next time.]

Thursday, July 26, 2007

love

have you ever loved somebody so much that if they're away from you, you just want to be with them again so badly that nothing else matters?

it wouldn't matter if the world collapsed around you and everything all just went to hell, so long as they would show up again and you two could carry on?

nothing else matters, just seeing them again. and maybe they feel the same thing for you. and you could just die. but you don't.

it's always like that. and it never is.

always.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

phone number

and i have a phone number again. that i'm actually at, and can actually receive. not that anyone will call, but it's nice to think that they might. "i've seen your face before, my friend; but i don't know if you know who i am."

Pêche Lambic, and vodka & orange juice and vodka & soda. Escape From New York. literally and figuratively.

i kissed a girl; and i'd do it again.

Monday, July 2, 2007

wishing upon a star (even if it's the moon)

star light, star bright, first star i see tonight
i wish for new life and new love and lasting joy.

ok, it's the city, and star sightings are fewer & farther between. but while riding home from Diesel, Saturday late, i found my old mistress moon out presiding over the night; it was so *good* to see her again and i made my wish.

and i've also been reborn and transformed -- hairwise, that is. perhaps the hair will help with the wishing. :-D

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

nice niche (& Nena noodling)

to catch up on old events: Earthlink totally dissed us, and we went with RCN's high speed internet for a much better deal (and actual service, instead of empty promises). (and NOT with Charter, who would only sell it to us with cable tv service -- and we don't even have a tv!) am also enjoying the writing again as i haven't in *years* -- thank you, Diesel Cafe.

"Maybe it was the city, being in the city, that made him feel how queer everything was and that it was something else."
[E.B. White, 'The Door']

spent a few hours sync-ing & combining the 1984 Nena song (in German) '99 Luftballons' with her English version '99 Red Balloons', so that the right channel is German and the left channel is English. contact me if you'd like a copy of my remix. ;-)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

fish -- definitely fish

the bait is cut, and it's time to fish.

when i close my eyes i can envision a world as i want it, get comfortable in that world, and then open my eyes and see that the actual world out there isn't so bad after all. nor are the people.

just relax, let out the breath you're holding in as you cast out your line, watch where it lands, and reel it back in as you inhale again. who cares if it's the best cast ever; just give it a shot.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

the city

ah, the city again. dancing at Dance Path; a Lila Downs concert at the MFA; and Diesel Cafe, of course. and high speed internet again -- BBC radio, i can't turn it off!

i'm writing again, too. yay!

and people -- i'm with people once more! a vacation from the monastery in Southborough, whether temporary or permanent, is *most* welcome. just can't get enough.

thanks for listening; cheerio for now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

cut bait or fish?


the view in the other direction at Newcomb Hollow, where my spirit lives.

should i go on vacation this summer? (and be with people and do things and have fun?) of course i should.

but the harder question - should i go back to school? (and take a grad degree in English?) maybe; maybe not. (or perhaps computational cognitive linguistics?) again, maybe or maybe not. or should i just remain the academic bum i've been for ten years, and just read & write & study what i please?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Earthlink update

ok, i complained about them before, but now they seem to be making good on their original offer, crediting my bill to make good on the originally promised (and still currently advertised when i called to complain) price. just goes to show that putting in the time on the phone with customer service sometimes pays off.

erosion of a dream


i was at my favorite place in the whole world again two weeks ago. the usual winter erosion combined with a week of heavy storms have claimed another ten or twenty feet of beach from this spot on the outer Cape.

the high tide line has moved almost to the edge of the parking lot and is eroding the high dunes on either side. thankfully the beaches on the inner Cape are getting *more* sand, some of it migrating from the outer. Cape Cod -- always in motion.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Earthlink ripoff, a.k.a. sharp practice - caveat emptor

ok, so at the beginning of March i was laid up with a bad hip. knowing that i'd have a lot of time on my hands, i signed up (again) for dialup (no high speed available being available where i live) internet connection from Earthlink, a company i've dealt with before (from when i bought my first iBook, back in 2000). they had mailed me a special offer: $6.95 a month for the first six months for returning customers. so i signed up, giving the promo code, all fine and dandy.

but then the bill comes for the first month -- $9.95 -- so i called up Earthlink to ask why. the reason, they tell me, is that the $6.95 offer i signed up for had already expired when i first called (only they didn't tell me at the time). coincidentally, another identical $6.95 per month offer had arrived in the mail that very day; so i asked them if THAT offer, with a different promo code, had also expired. they said it had.

why mail expired promo offers? so that they don't have to honor them.

the conclusion, patient reader? apparently Earthlink has gone from being a somewhat respectable company to being just another ripoff scam. a sad day, but i suppose i shouldn't be surprised. don't you be either, next time you respond to a tempting advertisement -- especially from Earthlink.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quand Tombe La Nuit -- When Falls The Night

otherwise known as 'When Night Is Falling' -- a low budget Telefilm Canada & Ontario Film Development Corp production, but to me a masterpiece of discovery, joy, and rebirth. saw it twice with friends at the Valley Art Theatre in Tempe AZ back in '95 or '96, and finally now found it on DVD. not a man's man flick by any means. and the final scene makes it an Easter film, too (in the pagan sense of Eastre, goddess of spring).

finished FRANKENSTEIN, read some of the critical bits (it was the Norton Critical Edition, which uses the 1818 text), and re-learned some stuff i'd forgotten about it. for instance, it was Mary's *husband* (not brother, heh :-) Percy Byshe Shelley who was involved in some early editing, but who died 9 years before the 1831 third edition came out, perhaps shaped some by the deaths of 3 of 4 of Mary's children, and a miscarriage, over a period of seven years.

Emily Brontë's WUTHERING HEIGHTS (also Norton Critical Edition) is next on my stack.

and my advice to you on a rainy grey day like this? put on some disco, find a comfy chair, and enjoy a hot cup of tea while you read, write, or study -- it works for me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

paradise

the sky out today is grey, but i'm snug in my apartment listening to sounds of the ocean on my stereo, sitting in a comfy chair and reading, and sipping warm chai tea. paradise.

am reading Donna Tartt's THE SECRET HISTORY again -- a book i love dearly -- and it's even more fun this time because i'm also in the process of learning Homeric Greek myself. (there are elements in the story about Greek and the Classics department, etc.)

have also been going over Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN again (i read it quickly once before), though that's more an academic exercise -- interesting and worthwhile, but not as close to my heart -- and i do that mostly at Starbuck's

fiction is such fun. and reading a good book makes me want to write again myself (and even sketch out ideas in a notebook i keep beside me). just call me Οδυσσευς. heh. [Odysseus]

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ten Random Things About Me

i've been tagged by MeaningShapes and i'll bite.

"Here's how you play: Once you have been tagged, you have to write a blog with 10 weird or random things, facts, or habits about yourself. At the end you choose a few people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them to be tagged. You can't tag the person who tagged you (they've already written theirs). Its the perfect excuse to praise fellow bloggers while posting an important piece of media in the comments. Tweak your entry or comments as you see fit."

ten random things:

1. this morning i had to do major surgery on my lily, who had became pot-bound. instead of finding a larger pot, i elected to cut lily in two and re-pot each half (on the advice of my plant-wise sister). lily lost a few stems of each half, but the operation seems to have been a success; and now lily is two.

2. Brad Delp (the lead singer to the band 'Boston') has killed himself, and i grieve. since i heard about it, though, i've been in denial and basically just ignored it. but today i've been playing all Boston's albums (or at least the four i have) as a sort of personal memorial. Boston was to have toured again this summer, but now they can't. maybe i can finally see that suicide is a bummer.

3. i've decided to re-grow my Abe Lincoln beard, which i shaved off on the vernal equinox a week or so ago. but i missed it, and so i'm letting it sprout again. maybe i also missed saying "The Amish called -- they want their beard back."

4. i have twelve (at last count) pictures and/or maps of boats, ships, or the coast in the front room of my apartment. it's a mania.

5. i'm learning Homeric Greek at the moment, which so far involves me sounding out Greek words letter by letter to figure out the meaning (with words specially chosen to have obvious English cognates, like μανια) – i feel like i’m four years old again, but i’m beginning to grok the Greek.

6. i’m slightly OCD about lists — i have lists of all my books and DVDs, for instance; i have 477 and 271 of them, respectively, at last count. μανια. and i have to have everything in order, whether it's my bookshelves, my bookstore, or the HDs and discs full of images, music, and downloads.

7. i’ve never owned a car, and i haven’t even been behind the wheel since 1994 (i think). i’ve owned six bicycles, though (and only wound up in the hospital three times because of riding them — heh).

8. if i was stranded on a remote island somewhere (which would be paradise for me, in some ways) and could only have one food, i would choose peanuts. of course i would probably soon die of some dreadful nutritional lack in real life; but if we’re going with a silly premise like this, i’d make it a remote *tropical* island and get some greens too (to go with the peanuts).

9. i prefer fiction & fantasy to real life (except as much as fiction & fantasy are parts of real life). although it's true that i like to take pictures, it's almost always of scenery and not people -- scenery without people stuff, if i can manage it.

10. i think i’ve spent more time in cafés than i have in classrooms (including K-12, college, & miscellaneous grad school). and if not more, then give me a few years. café scholarship.

---

[and sorry, MeaningShapes, i haven't been writing any stories lately. i think a few up and occasionally jot a few notes, but seldom do i write them out anymore.]

[and i can't tag any other blogs, since i don't read (or know of) any other blogs except MeaningShapes.]

Sunday, March 25, 2007

snow-flash (and on the road again)


this is from the snow at night, 16 March '07. i rarely use the flash on my camera, but it helps sometimes (in instances such as this) to freeze time and illuminate foreground objects.

and as of Friday, i'm back bicycling hither & yon again; my hip is healed enough for it; i just have to not overdo it.

i'm renewing my studies, too, of Homeric Greek, Middle English, and C, Java, & Python programming -- nothing like restricting oneself to a single course of study. heh.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

my wispy pink friend


sunset on the 5th of March redlit the most gorgeous sky-puffs i've seen in a long time. and from my back window, it's all about the timing & the geometry.

a week of resting my hip, and it's a little better; but i've a way to go yet. my patience wears thin, however. i miss the simple things -- bicycling to the cafe or to the local market.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

get me outta here

first blog entry with no picture; rats.

not getting around & about much anymore, trying to heal my (damned) hip. and it's driving me crazy. taking the bus (instead of riding my bicycle) -- and conforming to its schedule -- gets me somewhere, but passively. arg

so to retain some degree of sanity, i'm reading & studying a lot (more, that is, than usual). fiction and computer science and physics. revisiting old friends (and trying to make some new ones).

i even get out to Starbuck's occasionally, or the library. but only on the (damned) bus. so only on weekdays.

and music. Enya and Vivaldi help some to displace the crazies from my brain. and The Essential Mix. and whoever else i feel like.

and Star Treks. and movies.

Monday, March 12, 2007

the moon is red -- that is, it was


she can't sleep now
the moon is red
she fights a fever
she burns in bed . . .
[Paul Simon, 'She Moves On']

this photo (cropped & resized) is from Panther Observatory, Austria from the recent lunar eclipse (2007-03-03); *all* the credit for this image belongs to them. go to their website (a link to them is in my LINKS list) and click on NEW for all the details plus a *very* hi-res version of the picture (with great stars & galaxies in the uncropped shot).

---
a hundred wounds remain within me unhealed;
you left just before it was over,
and i didn't tell you that i thought
that it was about to end.
you forgave me,
but i'm still sorry.
[DSM]
---

heh, Fellowship mishap.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

last month's moon (plus a link to the eclipse moon)


this is from the moonset morning of 03 February 2007, and the image is contrast & exposure enhanced on Photoshop.

i missed the full lunar eclipse moon on 03 March 2007 due to clouds (and i missed the moonset the next morning due to sleeping until 06:30); but if you want the most spectacular lunar eclipse picture i've ever seen, go to:

http://panther-observatory.com/ [or click on the link at the top right]

and click on NEW to get to an 03 March 2007 Lunar Eclipse red-moon image, available in 3152 x 2368 -- absolutely fabulous!
i am indeed humbled by the quality of the Panther Observatory images, all of them.

shine on, all.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

snow moon & Dan Brown ANGELS & DEMONS


here's another 1st quarter moon scene (not far from where i shot the previous one); the moon is in the upper middle of the scene, somewhere.

recently i've started reading Dan Brown's ANGELS & DEMONS, the prequel to THE DAVINCI CODE, and i can hardly stop laughing. it's all about a supposed particle physicist who has created substantial amounts of antimatter via a large particle accelerator, but the physics cited in the story is hilariously off.

supposedly, matter / antimatter explosions don't emit dangerous radiation, just a flash of light. doesn't he get that radiation IS just light, but very very high energy light? and the story goes on to propose antimatter as a great source of energy, because it explodes so cleanly & energetically with matter. what he entirely misses is that the amount of energy needed to create the antimatter in the first place would be at least equal to (if not significantly greater than) the energy output of an explosion.

sure, antimatter would make a great weapon; but it would make a LOUSY energy source (unless, say, a large chunk of antimatter could be found floating around in space and then harnessed for energy, with a lot of radiation shielding). aside from the usual Dan Brown gross (and subtle) historical inaccuracies, the distorted physics makes for some good laughs!
---
oh, and i forgot to mention: i finished THE MILL ON THE FLOSS, and there isn't really any redemption in the story after all. oh well.

and i just got a copy of Radford's MINIMALIST SYNTAX: Exploring the Structure of English -- what fun!

hope you're all out there finding joy or humor (or both) in various bits of life.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

aeolian waves of snow


here's that picture i promised a few days ago (taken the afternoon of 03 Mar '07) of wind-sculpted snow on the local reservoir ice. i love waves & periodicity in any phenomana; maybe my brain does a Fourier analysis in processing it (and then delivers a jolt to the pleasure center proportionate to the periodicity ;-).

and here's something i wrote earlier tonight (slightly drunk):

To me, she was a sucker for women — a sucker for women almost the same way many men are suckers for women. Ok, maybe not quite so much a sucker, but close. Falling for the wrong ones. Or one. She was sometimes nuts for a woman the same kind of way (a little) i was nuts for her (once upon a time). But a bit better at it. And more successful. Perhaps i exaggerate. And she liked how much i wanted to *be* a woman myself, even though i was so thoroughly a man. She even called me a dyke once: she said, “Oh, Rek, you’re such a dyke.” And she didn’t really approve of my liking Pink Floyd so much. Or at least that’s what my memory records. Fond memories. My friend. A million years ago. But she’s not so much anymore, a sucker for women. She’s grown. I haven’t, much. A little. Maybe enough. And i still like Pink Floyd. Whatever it takes to get you/me through the day/night/weekend.

Who goes there? (Or, rather, Who went there?)


sometimes i like to think of life as a series of footprints -- footprints other people have left on the landscape of my life and footprints i've left on theirs, and the times i've spent trying to figure out who left what footprints (and not being able to tell). all part of my de-personalization of life, i suppose. heh.

(ps, thanks to my sis for the first part of the title of this entry.)

any suggestions for Question of the week? or maybe i'll just use that.

Friday, March 2, 2007

there ain't room enough in this tree for the both of us


crows in the trees behind my house, part of the local murder.

ah . . . i'm back on dial-up and sitting in my apartment. slow, but cheap (for the first 6 months). and i finally scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to look at my damned hip; ouch.

a slushy wet day out there, so no trip down the hill to Starbuck's (or to the library to check my email) today. and no excuses not to get some work done on the GOFAI programming. :-D

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

not seeing the moon for the bush flowers


can you find the moon in this picture? (and click on the picture to enlarge it.) it's not that easy to find. below, i'll include a closeup of where it is.

this was such a lovely day. i rode down the hill and took pictures of aeolian (that is, windblown) shapes & patterns of snow on the frozen reservoir, then more snow-shapes on a hillside (near Starbuck's) below the rising 1st Quarter moon. on the way home, i'd bicycle a little ways and then stop to photograph the moon against various backdrops. these pictures are from a beautiful section of the Sudbury Reservoir Trail that passes by the road at this point.

have also been re-arranging furniture in my apartment to make a more inviting space for me to sit down and actually do some work on Python (and C) programming; i'm such a procrastinator.

and i'm considering moving out to Amherst, both to maybe do some more grad school at UMass and to be in a livelier town again. Southborough is all right, but even *i* start to miss spending time with people.

here's the closup of the bush flower scene (it's a tiny bit to the right of the upper-middle of the above picture):

i just love the optical zoom on my camera.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

me and my shadow


Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Dreck & Dross Media Productions!

i invite you to get to know someone today (and in so doing, let them get to know you).

and the question of the week -- What parts of past relationships (friendships, romances, whatever) do you remember fondly? If you like, relate a pleasant memory.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

i'm your Venus, but not your fire. your moon instead.


here's a recent conjunction between the waxing crescent moon and Venus, near sunset (a few days ago); i took the shot from my bedroom window, as i was too lazy to go outside with the tripod in the cold.

a little more snow expected tonight -- just enough to be pretty.

hip still sore because i'm not disciplined enough not to overdo it. it starts to get better, but then i'm on it too much (for a full moon or too many bicycle rides or whatever) and hurt it again.

just got a dvd of The Godfather on interlibrary loan. never saw it before; should be fun. hah, fun. ok, good. entertaining. blah blah blah.

more new apple tree seedlings going -- three from the seeds of one (organic) apple, and i've just started sprouting the seeds from another. their grandmother, a tree sprouted a year ago and still growing strong, towers over them.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

last year's love


here's last year's Valentine's moon. such a beautiful shot, but i hardly knew what i was doing with my camera (and didn't even have it set to capture the highest quality image, nor did i take enough other pictures at that location, rushing off to try to compose other shots at other places, which is a bad idea with an extremely limited time window).

am at the library today, re-recording last week's Essential Mix, since the original got somewhat messed up by me doing to much on the internet while recording.

have been spending quality time with some old friends -- Mary Ann and Michael C. -- writers, of course. THE MILL ON THE FLOSS (which i haven't read before, at least not to the end) and SPHERE (which is much fluffier, but still a lot of fun and a great ride).

with MILL, it's the first time in *years* that i've found myself really caring what happens to people in the story. i really don't want Maggie to end up marrying Stephen, but Phillip instead. i still have the last chunk of the book to go.

also just finished Daniel Dennett's SWEET DREAMS: Philosophical Obstacles To A Science Of Consciousness. great great stuff. my hero. makes me want to go back to grad school.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

the only Valentine i'm sending out this year


another moon shot from the morn of 03 February. difficult to compose much of a picture at that magnification (and keep a fixed-position object like the moon in the frame), but i generally like anything with the moon visible.

another day in the library, recording another Essential Mix. this week it's John Askew -- wonderful trance techno; not much vocals; definitely a keeper.

tomorrow we're forecast for a snowstorm, but i'd bet we don't get more than 6 inches here in Southborough. any takers? ;-)

i've just been down to see what kind of shape my bookstore is in, only to discover that the library trustees have carted off all the books. (btw, they're having the room repainted & recarpeted, if i haven't mentioned.) so it doesn't look like i'll be re-opening for a while.

on the anatomical front, my hip still hurts some, but is improving.

on the book front, i'm still happily wading through The Mill On The Floss, trying not to rush it but to stop and admire certain especially praiseworthy bits of phrasing (which are the main reasons i'm such a big George Eliot fan).

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, ALL!

Friday, February 9, 2007

more moon


this was on the golf course in Southborough, on the morning of the 3rd. a little artifice with the moon -- it was overexposed, so i photoshopped in one with a little contrast.

i feel like something of a cripple again, although i'm probably walking better than i have in a while; i put a 1/2" heel lift back in my left shoe, hoping that my pelvis & hips will fare better with the adjustment prescribed by an orthopedic specialist fifteen years ago (but that i stopped wearing after a couple years).

blood drive this afternoon; bid me bleed well. :-)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

c'mon now -- big smile, everyone


ok, so i'm in a silly mood. but i encourage you all -- relax, have a drink (or not), and watch some classic Tom Baker 'Dr Who' episodes; it always does me a world of good.

still cold as sin out there, and no end in sight; i'm getting tired of wearing my hood when i bicycle down the hill. April, come she will . . . and soon, i hope.

and somebody tell George W. to get with it and hold talks with the president of Syria -- it's about time he swallowed his pride and tried to elicit some co-operation in the region, instead of just intensifying the mess in Iraq.

Monday, February 5, 2007

do you prefer artifice or nature?


so, artifice or nature? can anyone tell the difference? or does it even really matter? the picture in my last blog entry was somewhat faked -- the moon in it was overexposed, so i pasted in another image of the moon properly exposed. today's picture is authentic & natural (just shot at a lower exposure level).

is it better not talking to people much? i don't anymore, and i find it to be a lot easier -- they don't expect anything of me, and i don't expect anything of them. the new statistic buzz these days seems to be that we spend more time with our computers than with our spouses -- a good thing, or a bad?

just watched the movie 'Crash' again. disturbing, but with some redemption. maybe the best film of 2004 (or whatever year it came out).

Saturday, February 3, 2007

the moon on the breast of the newfallen snow


it was snowing when i went to bed, but i woke at 5 o'clock this morning and looked out the window -- it was clearing, and the moon was perfect!

i broke fast and went outside for some great predawn & dawn moonset pictures (though it was *cold* out there); the entire landscape glowed from the moon -- it was magic.

if you didn't get a chance to see the moon in person, here it is secondhand.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Boston bomb scare -- duh!


ok, here's a picture of the device -- NDR found me one. must run; my laptop's running on reserve power.

Department of Homeland Hysteria


did any of you *see* the devices that were mistaken for bombs in Boston? a circuit board with LEDs and a fairly simple control circuit, four D batteries, and a light sensor (to turn the device on after dark). it was about as sophisticated as a 3rd grade science fair project. no explosives. it bore no resemblance whatsoever to a bomb.

i mean, what are they -- idiots? maybe i'm no expert in electronic hardware, but even i could see within a few seconds of seeing a picture of the device that it wasn't a bomb. how could you have a bomb with no explosives? and these are the people supposedly overseeing our security?

someone should tell them if there's snow forecast to fall overnight; otherwise they might wake up and think they've stumbled onto a major cocaine distribution ring and close down the city again.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

snowman is an island


more snow today, at least on & off flurries and dribs & drabs: pretty, but insubstantial. and still wicked cold this morning, but better by noon. (and this is a picture from the last storm, not today's.)

coming toward the end of The Great Escape; interesting reading what was changed for the movie -- what they left out and what they made up wholesale for it. also still wading through The Mill On The Floss, moving much slower so as not to miss any unique phrasing which makes George Eliot such a joy to read. for me it's good to read a fast story as well as a slow.

and Starbuck's is noisy today. (yes, i admit: i'm writing this entry ahead of time, not at the library with the free internet.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

snow one home


it may have been only half an inch or so of the white stuff, but it sure makes the land feel more like winter. this picture is of a little section of the Sudbury Reservoir Trail, which i pass by on the way to Starbuck's or the gym. it may not have been the Blizzard of '78, that so-called snowstorm; but it makes this feel more like home.

did anyone watch the president's State of DisUnion address last night? i had it as a PIP in one corner of the screen as i played Tekken 5, a fighting game which seemed an appropriate surround for W's address (which the tv's sound was on). maybe W's motto should be "If we're going to do something wrong [like the war on Iraq], let's do it wrong RIGHT [by surging the troops]."

have been reading THE GREAT ESCAPE, by Paul Brickhill. like the movie, which was based on the book, but with way more detail and sad details and pain & struggle and some humor. a compelling read. the movie was sort of a distillation of a few facets of the book, and it's interesting to read the characters who were combined into the movie roles.

happy day, all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

waiting


Wyvern Press has me busy putting together a dual-language version of EN ATTENDANT GODOT, with the original French and the translation by Samuel Beckett also.

another dual-language Wyvern Press title coming soon will be 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', with the original Middle English and a translation by JRR Tolkien. more good stuff.

half an inch of snow last night, and another dusting this midmorning. practically a blizzard compared to what snow we've had so far.

am trying one-legged exercise cycle at the gym, and one-legged leg curls and leg presses; this whole hip-rehab thing is getting to be a drag.

stay warm, all.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

muss ill man


no, i'm not really ill; just a little sore from the gym. but it's the good kind of sore, instead of the injured kind. (or at least that's what i keep telling myself.)

finished the new Michael Crichton, NEXT. lot of fun. good stuff on genetiocs and bio-ethics and that sort of thing (from someone who knows what they're talking about, medically). and chimps.

watched the first disc of Looney Tunes Golden Collection; nice to see the cartoons not trimmed to fit the small commercial television slots currently in use.

bookstore quiet this morning, after a few initial visitors.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gerald Ford tribute


here's this month's last-quarter moon next to the half-staff flag: about as political as you'll see my blog get.

Ford was president when i was very young, but i don't remember anyone at my house ever speaking his name; my parents didn't talk about such things as politics (at least in front of the crumb-crushers). i remember Carter and Reagan and all, but not Ford or Nixon.

and on a personal note, today i took the plunge and signed a 1-year contract with a local gym. guess that means i plan to spend another year here (or that i'm willing to eat the rest of the contract if i move). sounds like the fulfillment of a New Year's resolution that i never made (but can't resist making up) -- to more fully engage my life and take advantage of opportunities around me. (and trying to rehab my bad hip by not running for a while -- i needed to arrange some low impact workouts.)

am just getting toward the end of Michael Crichton's new book, NEXT. pretty good stuff -- genetics and bioethics and such; better than STATE OF FEAR.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

belfry moon :-)


ok, so no pictures of the *full* moon, but caught this nearly-last-quarter moon in the belfry of the local church; so i'm good with the cycle.

have been spending time again with Mary Ann, an dear friend from my early days as an English major. she's always helped me with my writing & speech: "And if you deliver an opinion at all, it is mere stupidity not do it with an air of conviction and well-founded knowledge. You make it your own in uttering it, and naturally get fond of it."

more thoughts of returning to Ithaca and being near Cornell -- either for a visit this summer, or as a more permanent thing.

and my thumbs are sore from . . . from video games: too much Burnout 3; a mild case of 'Atari thumb'. (and am actually playing some 2600 games again too, like Adventure. good to see the dragons once more, hopping mad as ever.)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

no Wolf moon pics :-(


missed the moonrise pictures on Tiu’s—the sky was clear and a ghost pancake moon hung in the afternoon sky, but my camera batteries were still charging (i’d forgotten to discharge & recharge them on (ironically) Moonday). tried Wodin’s morn, but forgot until 07:10 and then the moon had either set or was behind clouds. cloudy last night (Wodin’s) and again this morning, so no shoot. *very* early this morning, the moon was an appealing white blob in the sky, behind a thin haze; but then the clouds thickened (by 06:30) and the moon was totally obscurred. so no Wolf moon pics this year. but another Cornell pic -- another Cascadilla gorge one, from '02.

Capcom Classics and Atari Anthology (PS 2 games) were delivered yester. i played some Street Fighter, Bionic Commando, 1943, Ghouls & Ghosts, and such; then, a little Haunted House (2600), Tempest, Battle Zone (both arcade), and then a lot of Adventure (2600). Adventure is easily the best game ever written, i think, from an efficiency point of view. 4 kilobytes! that's how big the game ROM is! first i played a level 2 game and finished quickly. then i played a level 3 game, set to maximum difficulty P1 & P2), and it was of great difficulty—magnet dropped inside the wall of White castle, which attracted (of course) the key to the castle, and the bat was flying around, wreaking its usual havoc. aggressive dragons, hopping mad (but afraid of the sword). haven’t gotten the magic dot yet (and found the secret message), but will soon. i still remember all the routes through the kingdom and passages through the mazes from all those years ago. such is the result of video game saturation at the age of language acquisition, i guess. digital brainwashing.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

fly away home


yay! i wrote my first 'real' Python program: it produced all the anagram combinations (720) of the word 'zombie' (none of which were actual English words, but i just wanted to figure out a way of doing it in Python). i did it a quick & dirty way:

w = 'zombie'

count = 0

for a in [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:
for b in [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:
for c in [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:
for d in [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:
for e in [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:
for f in [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:
if ((not w[a]==w[b]) and (not w[a]==w[c]) and (not w[a]==w[d])
and (not w[a]==w[e]) and (not w[a]==w[f]) and
(not w[b]==w[c]) and (not w[b]==w[d]) and
(not w[b]==w[e]) and (not w[b]==w[f]) and
(not w[c]==w[d]) and (not w[c]==w[e]) and
(not w[c]==w[f]) and (not w[d]==w[e]) and
(not w[d]==w[f]) and (not w[e]==w[f])):
print w[a] + w[b] + w[c] + w[d] + w[e] + w[f]
count += 1
print count

although there's probably a more elegant way to do it with Lists instead of strings, this way works. blah, blah, blah. anyway, that was yesterday. (and sorry that all the indents disappear in the blog text of the program -- makes it hard to read.)

(and why anagrams of 'zombie'? i was looking for a last name for Karen, and there's the whole big zombie thing in the philosophy of consciousness that i wanted to acknowledge, even though Karen *won't* be a zombie. maybe Karen Zimboe. but i thought of that before writing the program.)

today, my digital brother delivered a great gift -- his old Playstation 2 (he got a 3) -- and i hope this doesn't signal the demise of my non-video-game-playing activities. (it won't; but it *will* be a lot of fun.) i've ordered the Atari Anthology, Capcom Classics Collection, and Burnout 3; and those should keep me busy for a while. Baldur's Gate is on my list, but it's harder to find. any other suggestions?

the full moon is tomorrow night, but i forgot to recharge my camera batteries in time for tonight's moonrise, which will be before sunset -- tomorrow's may be after dark, and then it's difficult not to overexpose the bright moon. wish me luck.