And you shall know us by our doodles!

Oh, the tortured and convoluted minds of the insane! What a horror, the knowledge that they slink down the evening streets, pass us on rainy highways, stand behind us on line at the supermarket. They mutter, they stammer, they crane their necks and wail with bloodied hands during every lighting storm. But when they are silent? When their tumultuous souls are temporarily still? How shall we know them then? I ask you, how will we safeguard our slumber parties and campsites and abandoned gas stations? How will we ever again feel safe walking through poorly lit parking garages at three in the morning? How will we change flat tires on remote rural roads knowing deranged minds lurk all around us?!  Fortunately, good citizen, there is an answer- for so deranged are these crazies that their madness spills over, not only into their ramblings and murderous hands, but onto the very walls around them! Lunatics simply can not resist the urge to scrawl their turbulent thoughts over every inch of bare wall available to them. They are, one and all, compulsive doodlers… evidently.

10.02. filed under: film. observations. play. 7

Earth Noir

Quick thought: colors, a seemingly fundamental aspect of the Earth, elemental, saturating every micron of the planet in a magnificently complex array (existing even before there were eyes to behold them) evolved over vast expanses of geologic time, from a more visually uniform substratum, in the same way multicellular life evolved out of simpler forms. Way back in the mysterious Hadean eon, the Earth would have appeared essentially colorless, or more specifically grey. Browns, yellows, oranges, and reds are all results of the oxidization of iron. At this time the iron which had not sunk toward the core was mostly dissolved in water and the atmosphere was not yet oxygen rich. The sky did not yet appear blue and so neither did the proto-oceans. Purples and greens were the result of cyanobacteria converting sunlight to sugars. A process which didn’t begin until a couple billion years later. At this point, chromatically, the Earth would have looked a whole lot like our moon looks today.

09.29. filed under: observations. 2

Scorched rock floating through empty space beholden to cold dispassionate forces for near eternity.

Observations of the star “V 391 Pegasi b” have revealed that a planet circling close to its star, like say, Earth, is not necessarily doomed to being swallowed whole when its star expands and goes “red-giant” in old age.

Quote: “Stars such as our own expand into red giants in their old age, engulfing nearby planets. Now a planet has been sighted circling close to V 391 Pegasi, a star that has gone through the red-giant phase to become what is known as a hot B-type subdwarf. The planet, it seems, survived this process.”

09.18. filed under: humanity. observations. space. 1

It may surprise you to learn, good reader, that in our splintered, chaotic and perhaps irreducibly complex world there yet remains something pure. In my research, relentlessly poking every facet of human experience, I have identified something so widespread and yet simultaneously so unlikely as to be truly worthy of the overused adjective- extraordinary.

12.12. filed under: !. life. observations. play. 5

Night of the Ground Stars

Or: urban shoe-gazing finds a purpose

Electric light, Concrete, and Chewing Gum, what have they in common? Though, admittedly, both concrete and chewing gum can ultimately trace their roots to antiquity, all three of these items, in something akin to their modern form, entered the American stage in the 1870’s.

Edison invented the first commercially successful incandescent lamp around 1879. At the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 David O. Saylor exhibited the first American made portland cement, though it was not until 1891 that the first concrete street in the United States was paved. Thomas Adams opened the first chewing gum factory in 1870, and a year later Adams’ chicle based New York Gum went on sale in drug stores for a penny apiece. By the beginning of the 20th century all three of these items had become popular and were on their way to being staples of American life.

11.27. filed under: !. history. ideas. observations. play. 5

“It is only possible to succeed at second-rate pursuits - like becoming a millionaire or a prime minister, winning a war, seducing a beautiful woman, flying through the stratosphere or landing on the moon. First-rate pursuits - involving, as they must, trying to understand what life is about and trying to convey that understanding - inevitably result in a sense of failure. A Napoleon, a Churchill, a Roosevelt can feel themselves to be successful, but never a Socrates, a Pascal, a Blake. Understanding is ever unattainable. Therein lies the inevitability of failure in embarking upon its quest, which is none the less the only one worthy of serious attention.”
-Malcolm Muggeridge.

11.26. filed under: !. life. observations. personal. 13

Normal: the romanticized average

What percentage of the time is the concept of “normalcy” referenced in relation to human fears I wonder?

I am wary of the adjective “normal,” as I’m sure many people are, when used to describe anything other than geometric relationships or chemical solutions. It is a dishonest sort of adjective I think, seeking, at worst, to describe something which does not exist, or, at best, to pretty-up something which does exist, but which ought to be called by another name entirely.

11.01. filed under: !. humanity. observations. 9

I am about a third of the way through Jeff Vandermeer’s newest novel Shriek: An Afterword and am enjoying it immensely. I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s works since first getting a whiff of City of Saints and Madmen way back when. Shriek is an incredibly satisfying book thus far, with a unique structure that fractures time, as so many contemporary “post-modern” narratives do, but in an altogether more intimate and rewarding way. I won’t say anymore since this isn’t a review, I haven’t even finished the book yet after all, but anyone interested in more in depth reviews can see the following: SFCrowsnest, Shaken & Stirred, or Infinity Plus. What I wanted to share with you tonight was something entirely more specific, a short section that might very well represent the greatest book rejection ever put in print. With Jeff’s kind permission I will reprint it for you below.

10.26. filed under: books. fiction. observations.

It is usually my practice to limit my image posting here to those things which I find pleasing and which I assume you might find pleasing as well. This is only natural. We all like pretty pictures. Today, however, it is my intention to post some decidedly ugly images, images which are so ugly, in fact, that they might correctly be called “the ugliest” images in existence. Don’t fret, they are not close-up proctological photos used for diagnostic purposes. Images of that nature are not meant to be pretty, but rather functional, and in the satisfying of that function do have a certain merit; No, the images I am about to show you were created by human hands to fulfill a purpose (like said proctological images) but to simultaneously be aesthetically pleasing as well. The ultimate statement on their awfulness is that they fail miserably on both counts, which is to say their ugliness is so great that it actually hinders their intended functionality. That is the definition of failure in design I’d say. Brace yourself…

10.08. filed under: !. criticism. design. observations. 13

A Billion Dialects

Or, our secret languages and private lexicons

Language. Isn’t our relationship with it strange? There is a sense somehow that language exists outside of us, that we are users of language only, consumers rather than manufacturers. When we are children language is offered to us as a fully formed quantity, to be learned and employed in just the way mathematics or chemistry are, replete with correct and incorrect solutions to the “problems” of expression. Language, of course, has the added characteristic of containing within itself “forbidden” ground– words and phrases which were you to utter them in polite company would illicit outrage, stern reproach, and disgust. Imagine, by way of comparison, stating the correlation coefficient between two variables at the dinner table only to be knocked up-side the head by an incensed Grandma. As adults most of us would seem to think about language only when searching our numb skulls for that elusive perfect word. And yet… behind closed doors?

09.21. filed under: !. observations. people. 20

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