03 Sep

Sacks

I just read that Oliver Sacks died on Sunday. I’m behind on events, behind the instant world, still processing while others have moved on. I tried to write about what he meant to me as a young man and the decades since, as a young writer, and how I finally attended a lecture (on his book tour for Uncle Tungsten), where it struck me how kind and gentle he was, though not always patient, and belonged in conversations and consultations, not auditoriums. I don’t know why I saw him and Terry Pratchett as different edges of the same coin. It as little to do with there appearance. More to do with the need for their existence. But I don’t know how to write about him in a larger context and he doesn’t need my posthumous wishes.

30 Jul

The lesser I get, the older I know

You get older and realize you don’t know anything. People won’t hear of it and try to persuade you otherwise, with examples. So you pretend to know things, becoming a tedious character in a series of linked short stories where climaxes, if they occur, seldom happen as planned. So you substitute emphasis or a quick follow up so that the last thing someone recalls about you is positive. It works for TV news, for which everyone is a trained audience.

02 Feb

Well I never

From the Wiktionary entry for Wist:

Usage notes
  • Use of wist was never a part of the regular English language; rather, it resulted from the erroneous attempted use of archaisms or as a joking or erroneous use of the past indicative of wit.

Apparently they have never heard: “From wist hast thou come and to wist shall thou go?”

To wit, wist is the alpha and the omega.

Sheesh.

21 Nov

Your Work

“Look you have a gift. Life is precious, and eventually you die. All you are going to have to show for it is your work, and whether you did a good job or not.”

Charles Bowden, 2005 (died Aug 30,2014)

It’s good but sounds better when he says it.

06 Nov

A Day in the Background

I spent a good chunk of my day updating my netbook from Mint 16 to 17 (XFCE) –really a background task that took an hour of hands on time. The netbook with its limited resources wasn’t really happy with v16, so I gave 17 (Qiana) a shot. I didn’t have much hope–its only one version, right? It turns out that almost everything about it is better, including a performance bump. I also added a nice Google Drive sync client called Insync. (I’d make a joke but I can’t recall the names of which boy was precisely in which boy band. Unless you called the Clash a boy band–or perhaps a band of raucous lads.)

The upgrade would have taken less time if I hadn’t tried to cheat it first and just update without doing a clean install. The former didn’t work, the latter worked well, and the changes in the UI were often better than those I had configured previously. Good show, Mint.

06 Nov

WordPress Fatality

Today WordPress dished a fatal error message when I tried to hit the admin login screen, essentially a “class not found” error from a php script in a Google security plugin. The solution, after several other attempts: FTP into my WP install, browse into the plugins folder, and delete the Google folder. In other words, I used a hammer. I don’t recall exactly what the plugin does, but I do know that (based solely on my ability to reach my dashboard and type this entry) that things are back to normal. I’ll dig into it and determine if it’s a useful plugin.

If you are maintaining your own WP install, you’ll find that there are more error messages that solution search results, Horatio. I feel like I got lucky. It’s also another reason to do some plugin weeding.

 

08 May

Shiv Muse

Shiv Pen

It was nice to cross paths this morning. I hope the hell I’m so healthy in 150 years. It’s been a morning of chance meetings with old friends–not two blocks on I ran into Tim from my  three year stretch in the Washington County lockup. We shared the same cell block and often worked together on the publishing crew (we produced the original quarterly “The Sentence’ along with our reprint work). Like I said, his name’s Tim, though we called him “The Shiv” on account of his sideline. (I was “The Editor, Motherfucker”.) The Shiv’s shivs were deadly works of art camouflaged as normal everyday devices. He made them from silverware smuggled from the cafeteria (this was before they all switched to compostible utensils). His cellmate Tiny (who ran our mechanical press) would lay on them until they got good and hot, then Tim would work them into the night. He asked me if I still had mine. I do (see the attached photo). You don’t give away art that saves your life. Multiple x.

BTW, Tim (The Shiv no longer, Just Tim) has done well since his release, with exhibits in Detroit, New Orleans, and Synecdoche, NY. He was headed over to a breakfast meeting (at Fullers, no less) with the owner of Galerie du Couteau in The Pearl. He recognized me before I made him. I think it was the new hip joint that threw me off–he walks straight now instead of semicircles, wears his hair long, and dies his soul patch. (I asked about Tiny. Tim said he didn’t know–last he heard Tiny had become a Vegan and then more or less fell through the cracks.)

14 Mar

Found On Internet – Excellence

Get Reading And Soar….

or FOIE GRAS tm

Look for my chain of link-sharing kiosks opening in malls across Merica soon. My plan is to seed all populous locations with kiosks and then, on a secret signal, assemble them into a monolithic superstore (shaped like a goose) and crush the independent link shops. Because nothing has a laugh more sinister than a goose (except perhaps a swan, and they’re federally protected, so…)

Gander powers, activate!

The Xylanthians are already among us (Yes, I’m Sirius! You’ll C!)
http://xkcd.com/1342/

Why you can’t read past this link, if you made it this far
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/why-writers-are-the-worst-procrastinators/283773/

Some of these are on my reading list now. Note, none are about Bender, the Futurama character, although perhaps someone should write one.
http://io9.com/this-years-most-mind-expanding-book-about-gender-1524862506

“Bitch!” “Wow, you say it like it’s not a compliment!”
http://www.stackedbooks.org/2014/03/the-unlikable-female-protagonist-field.html

Peter Watts on how Silverbacks React to Eye Contact or Who’s Watchin’ the Watchmen
http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=4689

Finally, just get the job done
http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2014/03/you-dont-have-to-write-every-day.html

(Sorry, it’s the emergence of sunshine and the resulting colors in a humid yet crisp atmosphere.)

17 Oct

Objects in Space #1

Kaiju skull headed back toward Earth

Kaiju skull headed back toward Earth

Conventional astronomers identify the object above as a massive asteroid that could strike Earth in 2032 (as reported in the pop culture site io9). What the artist’s rendition clearly shows, however, is the skull of a category IV kaiju known as Leatherback (minus organic material other than skin) on a boomerang course back to Earth after being knocked clean off its body in the battle of Atlantis (circa 1500 BCE).

It’s important for us to ask ourselves and the authorities, when this skull strikes the earth, will it regenerate, and are we prepared for what could be an extinction event? Recent documentary evidence shows that we’ll receive a planetary Darwin award if we remain complacent.

Please, write your Congressman, now that they have a little free time.

14 Oct

Mawwiage

Our oldest son, Travis, married Sara last Friday at Multnomah County Courthouse in front of his mom, pop, sibs, and uncle; her mom and pop (and their SO’s); and one each of their BFFs to formally witness. They picked the judge based on online reviews–and sometimes reviews are right: the Honorable Youlee Yim You was terrific, very sweet, relaxed, and clearly enjoying her task. Her clerk was efficient and happy like she’d just won a prize in leading these two kids to the docket of matrimony. (Her funnier lines included “She’s a judge so when she says anything, you reply Yes.” “Anyone with a camera needs to stand over here or lean way over, as if the judge was only this tall.”)

From the ceremony start to end, I’m pretty sure that Travis and Sara saw only each other and heard the judge. The rest of us popped back into existence at the end of their kiss. (Not a bad way to reenter the world.)

I had coffee with him today. I asked him if he and Sara felt any different. He said they fist bumped when they returned home, then he grinned big and said, “God, I love that woman so much!” while people at nearby tables–those okay with love, looked on in approval.

Photo: Travis and Sara celebrating later that night with friends

Now I can stop calling Sara “Travis’s fiance” or my “soon to be daughter-in-law.” This is Travis and this is Sara (he’s her husband, she’s his wife), and they spend a fair amount of their time like this.