Friday, December 28, 2007

Josh's new interest

I seem to be interested in photography. I've started playing with Jae's analogue, manual 35 mm camera. I've also gotten interested in alternative photography, like Polaroid and pinhole cameras. Yesterday I read about fstops, and I have 2 books on constructing and using pinhole cameras on the way. I'm fascinated you can get pictures like this with a cardboard box with a hole in it.



http://www.pinhole.org/gallery/artist.cfm?name=Nhung_Dang

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A New Year's resolution kept

Lot's of folks face bigger challenges than me in the weight control area. I don't want to come off sounding smug here, but I am proud.

I made the resolution on Jan. 18, which is both close to the New Year and the day after my birthday. The resolution was lose 10 lbs, and keep it off for the year. The AND there is key. I didn't want to lose it and gain it back, or lose it, gain it, lose it right before the end of the year. Not overly ambitious, but something that would be an achievement.

I was 185. I had a noticeable gut going, though I wasn't obese. I had gotten to this point by creep, putting on 2-5 pounds per year. Not real noticeable or worrying the first few years. But if that keeps up for 20 years, you can do the math. I wanted to maintain my health into the future, so that I could enjoy life, so that I could be there for my wife, and later in the year so that I'll be around and active for my kid.

I had lost the 10 pounds by the end of February. All diet change. I was very careful to not think of myself as "on a diet." I was changing my diet for life. Then I really wanted to hold the weight steady. Limit the big swings.

Worked pretty well. There was the occasional swing, both up and down, but pretty steady. During the summer I averaged about 173, which was slightly better than the goal of 175. When Fall set in, the average moved up to 175, and I have to admit the swings became more frequent. Just harder in colder weather. Started exercising semi-regularly during this period.

Then we hit the holidays. I heard somewhere that the average American gains 7 pounds from Thanksgiving to the New Year. I'm not sure I believe that number, but I believe its common to gain. I vowed not to. I went into Thanksgiving 175, and came out of Thanksgiving 175. Cool. I did gain a couple pounds after a Christmas potluck in mid-December. Took almost a week to get back to 175. That was the only blip.

Today it is December 27. Christmas is past and only a few days to the end of the year. Weighed in at 172 this morning.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

The high road


Sunday I drove out to one of New Mexico's little known jewels, and went hiking. I'm not naming it, because I didn't see anyone there, and I like it that way. It's a new place for me. I went out there once before, but missed all the trail heads. I wandered around and had a good time that time, but missed the most spectacular parts.

This time around I found an amazing trail. Takes you up on this narrow ridge that runs through the wilderness area. I have tried a few times to convey what its like in these places. Most of you who read this blog have read them, and know what I'm talking about.

http://www.joshgentry.com/scribbling/guadalupe.htm
http://www.joshgentry.com/scribbling/rockcreek.html


This time I did something I have purposefully not done in the past. I took a camera. I was rusty with the all manual 35 millimeter, so not many of the pictures came out. There were a few worth sharing.

This first one is from right off the dirt road that takes you into the park.


From the road took a trail that starts up almost immediately. I had no idea where it was going. The climb up from the road crested at this point. The rest of the trail ran on along the top of that ridge you see running down the left side of the photo.


This picture is from where I turned around on the ridge and headed back towards the car.

Monday, December 10, 2007

German Camper



I took these pictures on our way back from Page, Arizona this summer. This is apparently what German's consider a camper.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

They know me in Pakistan

Video version -- Experimental




Hmmm. The video I uploaded was much higher quality. After the Google Video processing, not so great.

The Internet is cool.

For awhile now I have a successful tutorial on the web, Cisco Router Configuration Tutorial
. If you google for "cisco router", typically there will be one or two links to cisco.com, and then my tutorial. I've gotten a lot of milage out of this, mostly for my ego. So today I was doing some ego building, and I was checking on sites that link to mine. One site that caught my eye was this one,
http://www.niit.edu.pk/~umarkalim/courses/2007spring/rs.html. It's a course description for a course titled Routing and Switching, at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan. In the Lecture notes section, under Miscellaneous Pointers, is a link to
Cisco Router Configuration Tutorial.

:-)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Outsider art today

This series of photos seems to document something, but I'm not sure what. Today's hobos?

Ridin' Dirty Face

Monday, December 03, 2007

Wonderfully Weird Jenny Lewis

This post is partly to satisfy my curiosity about the weird stuff you can find on YouTube, and partly for my brother Luke, who is a Jenny Lewis fan.

The interesting editorial decisions for this post were what order to put the videos in. At first I thought I'd start with the official Jenny Lewis weirdness of one of her videos, but I decided this video from Steve Paul's Puppet Music Hall should lead off.



Now, the video for "Rise Up With Fists."


For pure bizarre, clip of Rilo Kiley, a band of which Jenny Lewis is a member, watching the Paris Hilton sex tape. What's mostly weird about this is that it exists on YouTube.




This one isn't weird. Its here for Luke because, well, she's sexy. Oh, and the moment at the end where one of the Watson Twins breaks out the harmonica. Audio isn't good, so don't expect it to be.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Untitled new story

I've been working on this story, on and off for the last couple years. I'm working to finish it, because I've decided to publish it as essentially web graffiti, as part of this: shiftspace.org. Possibly as a serial. I'm still in rough draft stage, but I'm pretty sure of the opening:



We descended on the city, three dark birds with wings of leather, scavengers to pick this corpse clean of revelry and rue.

I feel her lean into me before her hand covers the pages of my notebook. Her lips brush my ear.

“I hope its sordid, and I hope I'm in it.”

The scent of leather envelopes us. Pressure builds in my ears from the descent. She kisses my cheek. I do not turn my head to look across her at Jon. She removes her hand from my journal. In the dim lighting of the cabin, the pages are a jaundiced yellow. I continue writing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OBEY

Other people's images, this time.

Have you seen Shepard Fairey's OBEY series, an art project spanning almost 20 years? Here are some samples. The most likely place for you to have seen them might be as stickers stuck up in public places. Street art, as they call it.

obeygiant.com



Sunday, November 18, 2007

other people's words

I think of this blog as mainly about words. Written, spoken, sung. I want it to be mostly my words, but I haven't had many, lately. So some other people's.

I enjoyed this review in the Economist about the book, _How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read_. When I first saw the book of that title, I thought to myself, "ha ha," as in, "gee, isn't that funny." After reading the review, "The importance of not reading", however, I want to read the book. Sounds like it could be slyly brilliant.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

lucky 24

Today is another lucky 24.

We've got a lot going on in our life right now. We are expecting our first child. I knew that having a child would mean dramatic change, but I didn't realize how much change it would mean before the kid was born. He or she is very much "here," impacting our lives. My line has been that it is both thrilling and terrifying, which it is. We are excited and happy and its already adding new dimensions to the way Jae and I see each other. It's not all ups, though. It's also tough.

There is so much to do. And its not just getting a nursery ready and going to doctors appointments and such. Like I told Jae, if I wanted to be an adult I'd have done it by now :-) Now its, "Oh, shit, time to stop half-assing it." I was on a plateau at work, and in the last few weeks I've started a big new project, important for the company. I'm trying to finish the yard project we started but never finished this summer. We have and old house and there are health worries. Years and years of lead paint, for example. We've painted over most of it, but there is some left to go. Last weekend I had the ducts cleaned, because who knows what crap was in there, and boy did they suck out an impressive amount of crap. But its not limited to that. In my head I'm thinking, "OK, yeah, I've got to get those things done I've been thinking about for years, llike storm windows and attic insulation and the outside of the house needs painted . . .." Not rational, this impulse that it all has to be done now before the midget arrives, but there. Must be the good provider, and all that.

Jae hasn't felt well, so I've been trying to take care of her. She's not an invalid or anything, but she also has a big art show next week, so I'm trying to keep her fed and comfortable, and help with the show. Last weekend it came to a head. I was dwelling on work, I ordered samples from a storm window company, I got the ducts cleaned, I helped with some laundry, and fetched food, I dusted after the vent cleaning, and a hundred little things I ended up extending my weekend to finish. At the end of my weekend, I was feeling like I was about to crack. Wed. morning I struggled to get out of bed and start my new exercise routine. I wanted to pull the warm covers over my head and disappear. Finally, I forced myself to think, "Josh, any morning you wake up is a miracle. You've got another 24 hours, another lucky 24." And I got up did my exercise and plowed through my day.

That night, Jae sat me down and said, "Look, this project has at least another 18 or 19 years. Don't burn out now." Thank you, Jae. I've slacked off this week, and the panic has eased. Amazing what just a little relaxation will do for your outlook. Today I'm taking most of the day for hiking. That's my mental health treatment. There's plenty to do later this weekend, and I imagine this will fluctuate. I'll probably hit the wall again in the not so distant future. But that's OK. After I bounce off, I can snuggle up to wife and hope for another lucky 24.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall of 07

You hear people talk about the Winter of 45, or the Flood of 22, or the Spring of 78, and its usually because of some notably harsh weather or event. I'm going to remember the Fall of 07 as one of the most glorious seasons I've seen.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Where is the faucet?

One of the reasons Jae and I work together is that we are different. I'm strongly socialized. I tend to follow the rules, do what's expected. Nothing wrong with that, its a mess if you don't have people like that. Variation is good, though. Jae is more outside the box. One of my favorite examples, that is easy to encapsulate, is her take on the "glass is half full/glass is half empty" thing. Jae says to me something like this:

I don't get this "glass is half full/half empty thing." Who cares? I want to know where the faucet is.



Friday, October 19, 2007

Cryptochrome

Word of the day: Cryptochrome

Stumbled on it in this article about coral reproducing for a few nights after a full moon. The question was, how do they know its a full moon. The answer is cryptochromes. Cryptochromes are also found in mammals, and are thought to affect circadian rhythms. There are also studies to see if they are involved in animal migration.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A big adventure

Many people who read this blog know this through other channels, but there might be some who don't. Jae and I are expecting a baby in mid-April. Excited, anxious, and for Jae, sick and tired. Just the beginning of quite a ride.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bands you wish you'd seen live

Mazzy Star is one of those few groups I bought a CD of solely because of a review. Ironically, it was a review of a live show here in Albuquerque. A band I'll never see. Sigh.





Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Autumn words

I haven't had many words of my own to put here, lately, but here are some borrowed words about my favorite season.

"Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves."

"Immortal Autumn," Archibald MacLeish

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Genius knows more than one song

I think that one thing being a genius is, is that within the narrow area you are a genius in, you have versatility. There are lots of musicians I really like, who basically have one song. It's a good song. I like it. But its one song. Well, below is a video of Bob Dylan performing "Mr. Tambourine Man" in 1964, and "Like a Rolling Stone" in 1966. Two years difference.






Two years difference.

There's more. Doing Country with Johnny Cash



And it keeps going. A video from 2006. Only they won't allow emedding with this one. It's new music, but the video is mostly a montage of video of performances thoughout his carerr. There's a funny comment on the YouTube page.

This was probably a pretty easy video for them to make.

it probably went something like this:

"Bobby, could you come in? We need to shoot a video."

"No."

But check it out. Good song.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5uKHa9Gmks

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fierce Friend (3 verses)

Fierce Friend

for Jae

Lift your hands to build a wall of thorn and bone
Rise up
Line your stomach with iron, sharpen your teeth on stone
Rise up
Bathe your tongue in acid, cover your eyes with chrome
Rise up
Set your hair on fire, make a whirlwind your throne

Rise up
Rise up

Drag me from the wreakage, blow your breath into my lungs
Rise up
Help me burn the bodies, help me hide the gun
Rise up
Steal us tickets on a fast ship, one that will really run
Rise up
Wrest the wheel from the pilot, set the controls for the sun

Rise up
Rise up

Rattle your sabre in my chapel, root through my flower bed
Rise up
Startle my heart into beating, turn my blood from blue to red
Rise up
Pry my fingers from the brake, blow the ballast, dump the lead,
Rise up
You and I are going somewhere, we've got to get there before we're dead

Rise up
Rise up

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fragment

While doodling at lunch. Perhaps a duet.

Voice 1
I am your emergency brake
When all your tires are flat

Voice 2
I am your fire alarm
When the water is rising fast

"The End," on YouTube

This is the kind of thing that makes YouTube cool. Are you in the mood for some stylish, creepy animation?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

new pictures on jkdrummondart

She's been painting, but she hasn't been posting. New stuff today at jkdrummondart.blogspot.com.

Laugh for Joy

Do you laugh for joy? Not because something is funny, but out of startled wonder? Like you are hiking the short trail from Highway 89 to Horseshoe Bend Overlook, and you slog through the sand up this hill. You are wondering why they routed the trail up the only hill on the way to the canyon rim, and you crest the top of the hill and you are on the highest spot 360 degrees for many miles. The panorama hits you and you throw back your head and laugh. I do that. It's my favorite laugh.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Rock Creek Bay, Utah

More old material. Pre-blog. This was from the last trip to Lake Powell where we got to go backpacking.

Rock Creek Bay, Utah


I don't carry a camera when hiking, but here is a picture from someone else's hike at Lake Powell.

Hiking Lake Powell

Greatest Hits I

I'm swamped, and won't be posting for the next week or so. Today I thought I'd link to some of the better posts of the blog. I ended up settling on all the posts labeled "plumbing." It is perfectly capped by Beth's six word story.
Plumbing

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My Sweet Heart



"Lemonade on your breath
Sun in your hair
Have I told you how I love you in your underwear"
--Josh Ritter

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Helping hands

On our block we have several neighbors in a similar situation as us, old home needing constant maintenance, and lots of landscaping, uh, opportunity. They are also pleasant company. So we have decided to take turns helping each other with projects. Kind of the old rural model where you'd go to one farm this week and help with harvest or build a barn, etc., and next week everybody would come to yours and help out there.

We started at our house :-) Putting in flagstone. It's a good project for this kind of thing. Mostly labor, not specialized skills needed, and we could get to a milestone where we could feel like we really accomplished something.

Here is what things looked like before Tim, Nina and Ben showed up at 9 AM. Jae and I had done most of the digging in advance, and had set the stones in one small section to get the idea for what we were doing.



That's Tim and Ben in the background, leveling sand. Tim in the blue shirt, Ben in the yellow. Me in the foreground, doing the last bit of digging. Jae is taking the pictures.



Further along. Jae in back placing a stone. Tim and Ben again in foreground, placing and leveling stones.



Approaching the end of the day, about 2 PM. Huge progress. That's Nina and Ben. Somehow Nina only made it one picture, but don't let that fool you, she was there all day :-) When we quit, all the stones were in place, with some leveling and filling in between left for me and Jae to do next weekend. We are thrilled.



The final stages will be getting some crusher fine to fill in between the stones. Also, the feature in the middle of the wide part of the flagstone will be a compass rose, a la Jae. We are so close to there.

And we are so on the hook for helping Ben and Nina and Tim at their houses.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Most beautiful book

I had a journal that I scribbled in, things like "Fierce Friend". I left it out in the rain. You'd think that would be hard in the desert, but I managed.

I went to Barnes and Nobles on lunch looking for a replacement. They had these. There was one out of the package that you could handle. It was one of the most beautiful objects I've ever held.
Roma Lussa Leather Journal, hand bound in Italy. I came so close, but alas, I'm a little frugal. They had something similar style, the made in China version, for a third of the price. That's what I got, and its quite nice. I'd be thrilled with it if I'd never picked this one up. Sometime when I deserve a treat, perhaps I'll gift it to mysel.


Can I play you a tune

I wrote about daytrotter.com before. Checking it out today and I really like the set from the band, The Dodos. Here's their song, "Horny Hippies." If you like it, head on over to www.daytrotter.com for the rest of their set, plus tons of other music.


Neil Gaiman

I came to Neil Gaiman material in the meandering way that often
happens. I had, of course, heard of _The Sandman_, just as part of popular culture. I think I became aware he wrote novels when I saw his children's book, _Coraline_, in the book store. From skimming, it looked interesting. Then my brother Luke and sister Anna read _American Gods_ and recommended it. I intended to check out his stuff for a long time without getting to it.

About a year ago, on a whim, I bought a collection of the first few
Sandman comics. Enjoyed it. Wasn't blown away. Pretty cool.

Not long ago I was browsing and stumbled on _Neverwhere_. Neil Gaiman novel. Felt like the time. Skimming was promising. I bought it.

Loved it. He did an amazing job of world building. Rich, textured,
multi-layered alternative world under the streets, and on the
rooftops, of London. Darkest, most twisted thing I've read in awhile. And funny. He showed some of what he did so well in _American Gods_, the ability to write the intersection of the mundane and the fantastic. _Neverwhere_ weighed heavy on the fantastic, though.

My only negative observation is that while there were several great characters, the protagonist was lackluster. Really just a device for propelling us into and through the interesting stuff.

Jae liked it, too. A couple weeks ago she picked up _American Gods_ at Birdsong Used Books. I started it excited, and it looked like the excitement was warranted. It is really hard to do that intermeshing of the everyday and the mythical, and he pulled that off amazingly. I have to admit, though, that by the end of the book I was disappointed. While the conception is great, and that aspect I just mentioned brilliant, the storyline just didn't hold me all the way to the end. I can only say
I finished because I skipped ahead and read the end.

So I loved _Neverwhere_. I don't think of _American Gods_ as a
failure, because, as I keep harping on, I'm blown away by his ability to so interestingly set these mythical beings in the a realistic context. For me, not a great book, however.

All and all, an author I enjoy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A third of a gopher

"A third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it back down again."

Ah, that movie is genius.

Josh

Paul Harvey lives (and still broadcasts)

On the drive to work this morning I accidentally switched the radio to AM, and was immediately sucked into a time warp. Paul Harvey's voice, a little wavery but undeniably him, came through loud and clear. I had no idea he was still broadcasting. I don't think I've heard him since I was in my teens.

Interesting show he does. The blend of news, commentary, and folksy charm is so unlike media of today.

You can hear him on the Net.

http://www.paulharvey.com/

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You are the northern lights

The new album is out today.

Some more of the best of early Josh Ritter -- "Kathleen"




And two of my favorite songs off _Animal Years_.



Have mercy on the man who sings to be adored

Josh Ritter -- "The Snow Is Gone"




Perhaps still my favorite Josh Ritter song. As far as I can tell he's always that ecstatic on stage. When we saw him at a little place in Albuquerque a few years back, he was on fire with talent and love of what he was doing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Guilty Pleasure: 2525




In the early 21st century, a stripper who goes by the stage name, Cleopatra, gets a boob job but never wakes up from the anesthesia. Until the year 2525 when she's brought out of cold storage for parts. After a kidney is transplanted into futuristic warrior woman, Sarge, she awakens, and finds herself in a world where humans have been driven underground by invaders, presumably alien. She is soon teemed up with the sexy and scantily clad Amazon duo, Sarge and Hel. Hel is played by the ravishing Gina Torres, later to attain glory in Firefly. Cleopatra's main talent is the ability to distract the bad guys by pole dancing.

Sam Rami can find the lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

new article at www.patriciathirdday.com

Over at www.patriciathirdday.com, the article "Evolution of 'Patricia Thirdday Gets To the Point" now exists. Its under the tab, "Story Commentary." I'm playing with some fancy web interface stuff, so when you click on the article it will open in a new tab.

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Patricia Thirdday Story

I have another website. Occupational hazzard. There is both the old and the new Patricia Thirdday story at www.patriciathirdday.com
.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

lovin' me plenty

She makes the most of her time for lovin' me plenty
She knows there'll come a day when we won't be gettin' any

Josh Ritter, "The Dogs or Whoever"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Nutrition for dummies

It seems like every day there is another report, another recommendation about nutrition, another fad diet. I've long said that you are better off following what they told you in grade school about the 4 food groups. Well, Jae has been doing a lot of work planning menus, and here is what she has come up. For a meal, take your plate, divide it in half, and then divide one of those halves into 4ths. Fill the half with vegetables, one 4th with protein (meat or beans), one 4th with grain. Repeat consistently. I'm sure its not the perfect diet, but I wager it is considerably more balanced than the majority of Americans achieve.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A boat that loves the rocks and the shore

Bring me a love that can sweeten the sword
A boat that loves the rocks and the shore

New Josh Ritter album on its way in August, _The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter_. I'm excited. You can stream 1 full song and 45 second clips of the others from http://www.joshritter.com/historical/. Above quote is from "To the Dogs or Whoever."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reading Camus (Ha! Ouch.)

Have you read any Camus? I first read _The Plague_, then _The Stranger_. Much prefered _The Plague_. Right now I'm reading _The Fall_.

Reading Camus is hard for me. There's a line from the "Jaynestown" episode of _Firefly_. Simon says,
"All right. Fine. I'll go. Just... stop describing me."
That's what reading Camus is like.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Telefunken



I'm not patient enough to get a good photo, but I think you get an idea of the cool factor.

Jae found the idea in Ready Made, a mag she likes. They had a project where you find an old radio, gut it, slide some PC speakers into it, and presto, retro cool speakers for your MP3 player or computer.

When I said I wanted to do it, Jae thrust her fists in the air and said, "Yes, I've passed on the meme." She told me she knew the perfect place to look for the old radio. She took me to the place in Albuquerque, on San Mateo, known as the Indoor Flea Market. What I found was not a radio. It was speaker. I removed the guts, slipped in some little speakers Jae originally had for her CD Walkman, and we have stylin' audio equipment in the library. The brand name of the original speaker, which is on the front, is Telefunken.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

3rd St. Arts, Albuquerque

In, House Concerts Rule, I wrote about my first trip to 3rd St. Arts. Jae goes sometimes for the life drawing, also. Those folks do a great thing for the community with 3rd Street Arts.

Last night we saw local Jenny Gamble, backed by Fitch (short for fiddle b**ch), AKA, Ben Jones. Really enjoyed them. For my money, Ben was the most talented person upfront last night. His solo was the highlight.

The headliner was Wendy Colonna. She was good. She can write a song, and she can sing.

Found website for the opening band of the first show we saw there.

Minie Gonzalez Band
http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.asp?epk_id=105435

Friday, July 06, 2007

union in a visual dictionairy

I had several posts about the word "union." Today I plugged "union" into Visuwords. Neat application. I'm especially tickled at looking at a graphical representation of the relationships between the definitions of "union" because the word itself is about relationship.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Preview _A Betrayal in Winter_

It's been a few weeks since my last Daniel Abraham plug, so its time for another. On Daniel's new website you can read the Prologue and Chapter 1 of _A Betrayal in Winter._ Good book.

Preview

I have loaner copies of the first book, _A Shadow in Summer_. It's also available in paperback, now.

Fierce Friend (2 verses) +

While I was stuck for that rhyme, I did go ahead with a second verse. I also have a title. Inkling of what the 3rd verse might be.

Fierce Friend

Lift your hands to build a wall of thorn and bone
Rise up
Line your stomach with iron, sharpen your teeth on stone
Rise up
Bathe your tongue in acid, cover your eyes with chrome
Rise up
Set your hair on fire, make a whirlwind your throne

Rise up
Rise up

Drag me from the wreakage, blow your breath into my lungs
Rise up
Help me burn the bodies, help me hide the gun
Rise up
Steal us tickets on a fast ship, one that will really run
Rise up
Wrest the wheel from the pilot, set the controls for the sun

Rise up
Rise up

By our strength combined, we climb out of the gravity well
Rise up

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

stuck for a rhyme

I've got something going I like, but I'm stuck for a rhyme. I've come up with several clever rhymes, but there too clever. Self-consciously clever. I need an organic fit.

Lift your hands to build a wall of thorn and bone
Rise up
Line your stomach with iron, sharpen your teeth on stone
Rise up
Bathe your tongue in acid, cover your eyes with chrome
Rise up
Set your hair on fire, ----blank----
Rise up
Rise up


"Foam" almost works. Like the other rhyming words, its a substance. But if you ask which of these things doesn't belong: bone, stone, chrome, foam, its an easy choice.
I think it also has to be one syllable. I thought about cyclone, but it didn't sound right, and I decided its because its 2 syllables. Blows the rhythm.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Be hip, be a Daytrotter

When I read about daytrotter.com, it partly caught my attention because its based in Rock Island, IL. It's part of the underground, man, the revolution against the corporate media overloards. Some subversive types have scavaged recording equipment and put together a studio. Little known bands travelling through stop and record a 4 song live set. The songs go up on daytrotter.com.

The ultimate question will be, is the music good. I've just scratched the surface of the music there. I've found some stuff I liked. I haven't been blown away. The idea, the gestalt, though, its wonderful.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

First cars, now motorcycles

This is a strange group of posts for me. 2 out the last 3 are about cars or motorcycles. An interesting thing about "cool" vehicles is the marriage of aesthetics and function. If these machines of Confederate perform anywhere close to as good as they look, Wow.

http://www.confederate.com/confederate2/c2-links/machines.html

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Patricia Thirdday and the Citrus Sorrow

Awhile back I wrote a little thing I call "Patricia Thirdday and the Citrus Sorrow." Didn't get a lot of feedback on it, but Anna loved it. Today she wrote me that she had shared the story with a friend, and that friend now claims citrus sorrow when having a bad day. Totally cool. If you haven't read it, you can find the PDF at http://www.joshgentry.com/scribbling/scribbles.htm.

Here's a teaser.

“What can I help you with, Mr. Royce?”
The trim man across from her stared directly into her eyes.
“Sometimes I turn into a citrus fruit.”
After a short pause, she nodded slowly. “You transform into a spherical, orange or yellow fruit full of pulp and juice.”
“Yes. Well, not literally.”
She looked at him and waited.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Close Eyes and Spin Slowly

It's a custom Genre on my Ipod, Close Eyes and Spin Slowly. So far its all Mazzy Star. Back when, I read a review of a concert of theirs in Albuquerque, first I ever heard of them. It went something like:

Imagine you are in a small, dark club, candlelit, smokey, you are stoned, there's a beautiful woman on stage crooning beat poetry, close your eyes, spread your arms and spin slowly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Interpretation

I'm into words. I like the work of those who are good with them. I mess about with them for fun, myself. So much of our literature is focused on the written word. We read silently, to ourselves. We are even into the physicality of the media words are printed on. I usually smell a book before reading it. We like nice binding. Sometimes part of a poems structure is how it looks on the page. This world of words has always been my words focus.

The world of silently reading on the page is like a 2 dimensional world, a fine thing unto itself, but without a whole dimension that some other places have. I'm talking about performance. People speak or sing the words. You can add this dimension to any writing, reading a story aloud, performing a poem in a coffee shop, reciting scripture in church. The most obvious and widespread form that performing words takes place in our culture is singing. What's fascinating about vocalizing words, is that there really is a whole nother dimension, a whole layer that isn't there if it is read silently. The amount of room there is for interpretation is astonishing to me. Particularly because I have no competence for performing.

As I said, we see this most often with music. It is amazing to me when someone takes a song, especially a well known song, and makes it their own, something very different. Many examples come to mind, and I have this whole thread going in my blog about different performances of songs written by Leonard Cohen. Yesterday, Luke sent me a gorgeous example of a song transformed. He has since blogged it, via YouTube. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

undone

I came back from lunch, and one of my co-workers said to me:

The thing that was done has been undone.


Has a ring to it, I think.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Raise your hands

I'm messing about with a new scribbling project. So far its mostly false starts, but I have a whole line, dammit, that I think is going to stay.

Raise your hands to build a wall of thorn and bone

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What I call getting away (Sawtooth Mountains, NM)


I grabbed this picture from World66, a wiki style travel guide. It was taken by R X Garcia. These are the Sawtooth Mountains in New Mexico, as you approach them on Forest Service Road 6a. I know because I was there this weekend. I went backpacking in those mountains. If you have some desert rat in you, and you enjoy isolation, then I shouldn' t tell you about this place because you might go and make it less isolated. There are no population centers of any size near this area.

From the time we turned on to the dirt road, we saw no one. Where we parked the van, in the plains below the mountains, we saw the usual fire rings and occasional beer bottle. Once we entered the mountains we saw none of that. No trails, no campsites, no fire pits, no trash, no sign of human kind. No lights, no human sounds. Even when you got to the top of one of the mountains, the vista is strikingly empty of people.

This is my holy land.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Balaam

The title of this blog, And the Ass Saw the Angel, comes from the story of Balaam in the Book of Numbers. Here are some of Balaams words after viewing the Hebrews he has been summoned to curse.

I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of
Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of
Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of
tumult.

Numbers 24:17


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

I'm Your Man

The next Cohen song has been chosen by Anna. Go to her blog to read the lyrics.

Here is a combination interview with Cohen and performance of the song. As usual, via YouTube. This is a love song, but it has teeth. It's a variation on the "I'll be anything you want me to be," and its a particularly good one. Especially when you hit this verse

Ah, the moons too bright
The chains too tight
The beast wont go to sleep
I've been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep
Ah but a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or Id crawl to you baby
And I'd fall at your feet
And I'd howl at your beauty
Like a dog in heat
And I'd claw at your heart
And I'd tear at your sheet
I'd say please, please
I'm your man


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Daniel Abraham Interview

Daniel Abraham- Self-promotion. Not really my strong suit.

I'd say it's worth buying because it's a good set of characters in an interesting, morally complex world. I've done everything I know to make the ride fun and memorable, and besides it gives you all the back-story for Winter Cities, and that book's even better.


Daniel Abraham is a talented young writer and a friend. For those reasons, plus the fact he's got new work coming out and its a tough career to get rolling, I'm doing my bit to promote his stuff.

Not long ago I linked to an interview of Daniel. Today I found another good one. Looks like Daniel is a good interview. Having had many dinner conversations with him, I'm not surprised. This interview also links to a review of the book by the interviewer (8 out of 10).

A few highlights from the interview.

Daniel Abraham-

A Shadow in Summer is a high fantasy set in an Asiatic milieu where captive spirits are used to drive trade and replace military protection. When one of these spirits conspires with a rival nation, a handful of men and women have to come together to champion right, save their city, and prevent genocidal slaughter. Pick two.

.
.
.

Jay Tomio- You thank Connie Willis for giving you the first advice on the book. What was that advice, and whom would you identify as those who influence your own work?

Daniel Abraham- Her words were "Start with someone getting hit in the head."



Let me know if you want to borrow a copy.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bede's Ecclesiastical History

Back in April I posted, Light in the Darkness, a post about an Old English metaphor for life that I had read somewhere. Even with Google, however, I could not find the source. Today an anonymous commenter left what appears to be the source. I admit the translation I just read from that source is not as much like a poem as I remember it, and I'm not sure its the source that I read, but now that I know where to look it is much referenced from Bede's Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapt. 13.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Borrowed Words: Dylan Thomas

And taken by light in her arms at long and dear last
I may without fail
Suffer the first vision that set fire to the stars.

From Dylan Thomas's, Love in the Asylum

I'm loving words.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cohen/Buckley branch

In previous posts I talked about 2 main branches of the interpretation of the Cohen song, Hallelujah. Those branches stemming from the John Cale and Jeff Buckley versions of the song. This post is about the Cohen/Buckley branch.

After hearing some much about Buckley's version, and acknowledging how good it is, and forming this opinion that there were these 2 branches of interpretation, I'm now having trouble finding (on YouTube) recognized professionals doing versions that fall in the Buckley branch. Sheryl Crowe does one. Jim likes it, but I don't. Perhaps what Buckley did is just harder. This shortened version by Imogen Heap isn't bad, and I think its clearly a descendant of Buckley's version.



Among lesser known musicians, and outright amateurs, generally younger folks, this version is king. Most can get either the guitar or the singing OK, but putting both together is tough. Some of them do a good job, and some aren't so good, but they do their best to stay true to Buckley. I enjoy both of these.



Page out of the notebook IV

In consideration for the folks who read this blog and might not be as obsessed with Cohen songs as I right now am, I'll take a break from that topic today.

I found a journal of a dream I had sometime in 2006. It was one of these were you keep waking up, realizing you were dreaming, falling back asleep and falling back into the dream.

I wasn't "me," no sign of my life, except the woman protagonist of the dream was someone I knew back in Illinois. I'm censoring the name. It wasn't a dream "about" that person, because she was completely out of context, as well.

I was in her house. She was a roller derby queen. The old house was slanted disturbingly, it was hard to keep your balance when walking around. The house was full of people. There were a bunch of other roller derby queens hanging out doing publicity photos of them naked and oiled. It was a loud, active environment. The Mom of the place fed us a huge white trash meal, I didn't record the particulars.

After hanging around the house seeminly for days, the Father of the place showed up in the dream. He was a wild-eyed, unstable, Tom Waits pentecostal preacher kind of personality. He led the whole group on a kind of pilgrimage, which was a hike along an interstate, to a big old derelict farmhouse he wanted us to help fix up.

The alarm went off.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cohen/Cale Hallelujah branch

In the previous post, 2nd Hallelujah, I described how I think of the different covers of the Cohen sond, "Hallelujah," fall roughly into 2 branches, one branch strongly influenced by John Cale's interpretation, and one branch strongly influenced by Jeff Buckley's interpretation. That post had links to live performances by both those artists. In this post I'm going to link to several covers I think fall in the Cale branch.

Perhaps the best known in this branch is Rufus Wainright's. Although my brother Luke has been mentioning Wainright to me for awhile, I hadn't listened until I started this Leanord Cohen kick. Wainright is a gifted performer. His take on this song seems to come directly from the Cale interpretation.


K.D. Lang can sing.


The majority of covers of this song on YouTube are amatuer. Not fair putting her right after Wainright and Lang, but I thought she did a good job.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tally ho

I have a habit of saying, "Tally ho," when Jae and are leaving someplace. Often when I do that, Jae replies with, "There's a ho, there's a ho, there's a ho."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

2nd Hallelujah

I'm really interested in this song as its passed from performer to performer. I don't know music in the sense that I could compare what key this or that performer does it in, etc. I just have my naive perceptions.

This song has been covered about 1,000,000 times. As far as I've been able to tell so far, it was John Cale's cover on the tribute album, I'm Your Fan, that was the first influential non-Cohen interpretation. I haven't heard the track from that album, but there are several live performances on YouTube:



Powerful stuff. Among the many versions, I think I'm discerning two major branches of interpretation. One branch seems to descend from Cale's version. The other branch, from Jeff Buckley's.



The same song, but different. This is a song where you can really go for the glory, go for big, soar. That's Cale's branch. Buckley does something different. His interpretation is subtler, more ambiguous. It's supported by the lyrics, this interpretation. You can sense more that is "broken" in Buckley's. In its way, just as powerful as soaring.

In the next post, I'll further explore one of these two proposed branches.

Friday, May 18, 2007

First Hallelujah

Back to the Leonard Cohen investigation. My main sources are YouTube and Wikipedia.

Of all the performances of "Hallelujah" I can find on YouTube, I've only found one that's Cohen. After all the covers, it was shocking for a couple reasons. One stems from the fact that its a performance for German television, I guess in the 80's. The presentation is just kinda weird. The second thing was that after the first 2 verses, the lyrics were unfamiliar. I had not heard them in any of the covers. And the later verses that were in the covers where not in the Cohen performance. Here it is.



In this version its an almostly completely religious song. It's pretty powerful in this manifestation. Intrigued about how it evolved, I found an extensive Wikipedia article on this song. Here's one clue. Seems John Cale was the first person to do a major cover of this song, and here is what happened when he asked Cohen for the lyrics to the song.

In a 2001 interview with The Observer, John Cale said:

After I saw [Cohen] perform at the Beacon I asked if I could have the lyrics to "Hallelujah". When I got home one night there were fax paper rolls everywhere because Leonard had insisted on supplying all 15 verses."

Also, Cohen has both performed and recorded the song with different combinations of verses.



Thursday, May 17, 2007

Redhead


One day last week I looked up from my desk at work, and leaning in the doorway was this knockout redhead who said, "This is the woman you're sleeping with tonight."

This picture is a snapshot taken in a poorly lit hallway at work, so it doesn't do the makeover full justice, but you get the idea. It was to get a picture of Jae, but my expression is telling. She looked enough different to make a difference. The sub-conscious is funny. I KNOW this is my wife, but welling up from just below consciousness is real unease. Facial recognition must be really important. She talks like Jae, walks like Jae, looks like Jae in every way except her head just isn't Jae's head. Weird.

She looked like a million bucks and it very much amused her, but I was relieved the next day when her hair was curly again. It was still red, yes, but once it curled she was much more recognizable.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is a fritter?

On the way into work today, I said something about frittering away money. Jae wondered out loud of that use of "fritter" was related to the noun, "fritter." Which led us to the conversation of what is a fritter, and where do you get them.

Jae said she thought a fritter was defiantly fried. I said I had the impression it was a pastry, and that it might sometimes be one of these wonderful manifestations of meat pastries. According to Wikipedia, the definition is broad enough that we were both right about all that.

A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep fried.

Another definition is a type of hole less donut. That's what fritters are. As to where you get them, that depends on what part of the definition you are going with. I think an investigation of fritters available in the Albuquerque area is in order.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Shadow in Summer

Daniel Abraham's _A Shadow in Summer_ was published in 2006, and I'm willing to bet it was one of the more interesting Fantasy books published that year. It can't be ignored that this novel is genre fiction, and so the first thing that's interesting about it is what it is not. As one Amazon reviewer says, "If you're looking for escape to a fantasical world of ripe-roaring adventure, it ain't here." The book unfolds slowly, revealing an impressively believable and familiar world, a world where the economic impact of magic is paramount. A world peopled with , well, people, but these characters have more interesting lives than your neighbors.

The Characters. That's what is magical about this book for me. Abraham's characters are the most real and provocative folks I've met recently. For me, the two best and most real characters in the book are an aging business woman, and the Andant. There is some irony in the fact that the Andant is not real at all. He's a magical construct, and how deliciously constructed he is.

If you follow the link above to Amazon you can read part of the prologue. In the next couple days I plan to post some favorite excerpts.

I have couple loaner copies of the book. I'll be glad to mail you one, on request. I will ask that when you are done with it, you either ship it back to me or the next borrower.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Be good for something

My sister Anna has this quote from Henry David Thoreau on her blog. Really struck me when I read it this morning.

Be not simply good; be good for something.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Leonard Cohen

You are going to need Flash for this post, and probably next several. YouTube is just too good a resource.

At various times in my life I've been enamored of songs written by Leonard Cohen, thought I didn't always know it. First one was on one my parents Judy Collins records, "Suzanne."


Next was probably was "Everybody Knows," as performed by Concrete Blonde.



A couple years ago, my sister Anna played me Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah."



This weekend I heard Madeleine Peyroux's version of "Dance Me to the End of Love."



I've decided to actively explore Cohen's music. I figure I'll find one of his songs I like, then I'll try to find as many versions of it as I can.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Brown ale

I'm getting into brown ales. Newcastle is the best known brown ale. I've been aware of it for a long time, but only recently started to drink and enjoy it. In my fridge now is Beer Town Brown. Not as tasty as Newcastle, but a nice variety. Milder bitterness than Newcastle. Very easy drinking, yet has body and flavor.

That sums up the attraction to browns. They are nice middle-of-the-road ales. They have body and flavor, but to moderate degree, and go down easy.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

House concerts rule

Jae and I try like hell to have date night every Saturday night. We go through phases where we are creative about what we do on date night, and we also get in a rut, usually the dinner-and-a-movie rut. This week Jae told me she was taking care of date night, I just needed to be ready to leave work a half hour early. She was obviously excited. Since it was a surprise, I assumed it was something I was going to like, so I was excited, also.

She picked me up with a car full of the smell of Rudy's barbecue. Rudy's is good stuff. We drove to what seemed a random spot in a residential part of downtown Albuquerque, and she pulled to the curb, got a cooler of beer out of the trunk, and said, "Let's eat." So we had this picnic, on the curb, odd. I was still in the dark. I remained in the dark until Jae looked and the street and said, "Ah, well ...."

I followed her gaze, and down the block several people were unloading instruments from a car. I looked at her.

"House concert?" I asked.

Yep, it was a house concert. My understanding is that house concerts range from 20 people or so in a living room and the band playing with no amplification, up to something more like we attended. It was an old house, about the age of ours, definitely built before WWII. The kitchen and 2 bathrooms and a little dining room off the kitchen were intact, but the living room and bedrooms had been gutted to create one large room. Hardwood floors, exposed brick walls.

Including people on the front porch, in the back yard, and in the room, I guess there were somewhere between 60 and 80 people at the peak. It was relaxed, it was cozy, it was a ball. There were a few snacks for sale in the kitchen, but folks brought their own libations of choice. We had the beer Jae brought, lots of people were passing bottles of wine. Folks wondered in and out of the back yard to smoke or chat. Fun, fun.

The music was good, too. They weren't the most incredible musicians I've seen, but they did their thing fine, and in that setting just about anything would have been good. Local folks. The opening band was a pretty new group, and they were green. But they could play, they had an acoustic base, and the singer had a sweet voice. She was bashful, which was charming. I believe they were the Minnie Gonzales band. Supposedly you can find them on Myspace, but I haven't had any luck.

The main attraction was Cole Mitchell. Jae had heard a sample of his music before she decided to take me, and she thought it sounded like my kind of thing. It was, though, though its not her style. She much preferred Minnie. Anyway, you could call him roots music, or alt.country, or something. Done this kind of thing a lot, was comfortably up there and obviously enjoying himself.

There was a guest star appearance. Though I admit I had only heard his name a few times and never his music, Eric McFadden was a big deal for the folks there who knew. Another New Mexican, he's apparently made a little name for himself in the world. He dropped by the show for a bit and got asked to play. He played guitar on one of Cole's songs, and he sure enough could play.

I had a goofy grin on my face all night, and Jae and I were like infatuated kids. She did this for me, and it was excellent. She's the best.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Light in the darkness

It was in an English class at NU that I read my favorite metaphor for life. We read some Old English poetry. I can't remember the name of this poem. I think the attribution was simply traditional. I can't find it again. I'll describe it, but its a shame I can't share the real thing.

A bird flies alone through complete darkness. Suddenly ahead is a square of blazing light. The bird flies through the square and into a dining hall where a banquet is in full roar. Light, heat, music, laughter, as the bird soars over the festivities, and out through the window at the other end of the hall, returning to the long night.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Daniel Abraham Interview

Daniel is a friend of ours. He is a writer, with one novel on the shelves and another out this summer. This is a good interview of him.









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Friday, April 20, 2007

That's why its funny*

From Britannica Online:

asymptote

In mathematics, a line or curve that acts as the limit of another line or curve.

For example, a descending curve that approaches but does not reach the horizontal axis is said to be asymptotic to that axis, which is the asymptote of the curve.


You've seen those curves graphed. Often they have a gradual slope until they get close to their limit, their asymptote, and then the slope of the curve gets dramatic. I've always seen it as a metaphor for so much in life. The closer you get to perfection, the more effort it takes to make smaller and smaller increments of progress. The better things get, the harder and harder it is for them to get better. That's why its funny.


*Also a reference to the pilot episode of Arrested Development.

I'm gonna cover you in oil*

I once heard a venerable old rocker described as the idiot savant of rock music. I'm not sure it applied to him, but I thought it was a fun description and it stayed with me. Yesterday and today I've been listening to AC/DC, and the phrase surfaced in my mind again.


*AC/DC lyric

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mechanizing inference

A couple years ago I sat down, with great expectation, to read David Berlinski's _The Advent of the Algorithm_. Long story short, it was a frustrating and disappointing experience. I couldn't decide if the book was just bad, or if I just didn't get it.

Recently I picked it back up. I pinpointed where my frustration started, page 10. I didn't get it, and was lost from there on. Berlinski starts his story about the origins of the idea of the algorithm, with Leibniz and his work in logic. According to Berlinski, very little had happened in formal logic since Aristotle and his syllogisms. With the syllogism, Aristotle codified inference.
  • All men are mortal
  • Socrates is a man
  • Therefore, (I can infer that) Socrates is mortal
The nagging question is, what really happens in my mind when I infer. How do you describe that procedure in a way that doesn't rely on an intuitive human understanding? I gather from the book that Leibniz pondered this and ended up describing it with algebraic logic. Berlinski then gives an example. The example never made sense to me. I won't incude it here. I'm sure its correct, it just never clicked for me, no matter how much I looked at it. This was driving me nuts, until I went looking for an alternative that I could grok. I found one which I will steal from the wikipedia article, First-order logic. ∀x φ(x) means that φ(a) is true for any value of a.

  • ∀ x (Man(x) → Mortal(x))
  • Man(Socrates)
  • ∴ Mortal(Socrates)

This makes it clear to me that the inferential step is substitution.

That, of course, is what Berlinski's example in the book shows, only I couldn' t follow it. The reason it is important is that it means inference can be achieved with a mechanical procedure of substitution.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lucid geometry

Lucid dreaming
Euclid geometry

---------------symmetry +++++++ order

Guide your fantasy

My new self-help program, "Lucid Purposing"

oneironauts (literally from the Greek ονειροναύτες, meaning "dream sailors")

suffused with light

Monday, March 19, 2007

fearlessflyer

My nom de plume over at ficlets.com is fearlessflyer. See all my ficlets at http://ficlets.com/authors/fearlessflyer

snap snap clappiness

Happiness snap snap clappiness silly putty

greatest happiness principle as a guide for ethical behavior

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~purpose?

Bluebird ++++++++ birds of a feather

mudluscious
Happiness is a warm gun.

Difficulties in defining internal experiences
.


Money is the root of all ????

Albert Schweitzer:

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

prose rose

purpose repurpose propose prose rose


According to some philosophies, purpose is central to a good human life.
.
.
.
Purpose is similar to teleology, the idea that a final goal is implicit in all living organisms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purpose

-----------------------------------------_The Purpose Driven Life_

Dictionairy of the History of Ideas

Eat, sleep, reproduce, eat, sleep, reproduce, eat, sleep, reproduce, eat, sleep

Don't worry,
&&&&&&&&be happy

Ecclesiastes ~~~~~~~I dream ++++++++++what's the payoff?

Partner

Life is like a roll of toilet paper

Friday, March 16, 2007

Symbol: ∪

From wikipedia:

In set theory and other branches of mathematics, the union of a collection of sets is the set that contains everything that belongs to any of the sets, but nothing else. If A and B are sets, then the union of A and B is the set that contains all elements of A and all elements of B, but no other elements. The union of A and B is usually written "AB".

That's not what I though union would be, intuitively. What I thought would be the union, is the intersection:
In mathematics, the intersection of two sets A and B is the set that contains all elements of A that also belong to B (or equivalently, all elements of B that also belong to A), but no other elements. The intersection of A and B is written "AB".

Also interesting is symmetric difference:

symmetric difference of two sets is the set of elements which are in one of the sets, but not in both. This operation is the set-theoretic equivalent of the exclusive disjunction (XOR operation) in Boolean logic. The symmetric difference of the sets A and B is commonly denoted by
A \Delta B\,

The symmetric difference is equivalent to the union of both relative complements, that is:

A \Delta B = (A - B) \cup (B - A),\,




Union City Man

Union. It pops up again as I'm listening to ... Blondie, of course.

Oh power, passion plays a double hand
Union, Union Union City man

--Blondie, Union City Blue

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ficlets

My brother Luke pointed me to www.ficlets.com. You write something very short, release it into the wild, and see if anyone writes a prequel or sequel. Or you start with something that's already there and write a prequel or sequel. It's bite size, its tasty, its fun. I have contributed my first ficlet, Weed.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Haunted by words

Do you ever become fascinated by a particular word? Entranced? Haunted? Do they take on the power of incantation? Recently the word, "union," is always slipping around in the shadows of my mind, darting in and out of my peripheral vision.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Borrowed Words (from a Has Been)

I know exactly what she's going to do,
And I can't wait for her to do it.
--William Shatner, "Familiar Love"

Monday, March 05, 2007

My footsteps here don't matter

I could write volumes about the hike I just took in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, about 30 minutes from my home. These are the kind of stream-of-consciousness notes I jotted down while out there.

Decomposing leaf in stream becoming transparent

Cool breeze off stream
Granite is slippery when wet
Red willow branches

Water in many forms, snow, ice, running water

Many little channels in one stream

Stream disappears

The heat of my body, the chill of the air, the stream, the ice

True shapes

Snow that hasn't forgotten itself

My footsteps here don' t matter

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Thick as a Brick

One of the best movies I almost never saw. I've never seen any promotion for it or read any reviews. Pure word of mouth. Amusing idea brilliantly executed. See it.
Brick.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Word problems

Jae and I are taking a very basic algebra class at Central New Mexico Community College. Early in the course, we reached the first word problems in the text book. The teacher was going over the first one thoroughly in class. The word problem was about making bicycles, and producing a table that showed how many tires you needed to order if you were making x bicycles.

Jae and I have been enjoying passing notes to each other in class. Makes us feel young, I guess. Jae passed me a note that said:

For each bicycle, how many pairs of tight lycra pants do you need?
I made the problem more complex and passed it back:

If you have 100 bicylces, and 20 of the riders each have a nice ass, how many pairs of baggy shorts do you need?

I can see a whole passtime of writing amusing word problems.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Borrowed words -- Home

Saw this in the banner over at Good News Network.

Beyond ambition, beyond attainment, is home.
Contentment, without content; peace, uncaused.
--A. H. Almaas

Monday, February 12, 2007

Brain Cache

I keep looking for interesting things to blog that don't require me to do any new thinking or work. I have another try. I don't know about you, but I carry a bag. I guess its my purse equivalent. Somewhere between there and a binky and an external cache for my brain. I am going to list the contents of my bag as it is today, no editing. *

It's a messenger style , black nylon bag. It has one large, zippered pocket in the flap. It contains:

  • 1 bottle Ibuprofen
  • About a dozen cards I apparently think I'll send to people someday if I just carry them long enough. Mostly from despair.com.
  • Checkbook
  • 1 J. K. Drummond Watercolors business card
When you flip back the flap, the exposed front of the bag contains a mesh zippered pouch, a solid weave Velcro closed pouch, and 3 cylinder pouches for writing utensils. These contain:
  • 1 yellow highlighter
  • 2 mechanical pencils
  • One ball point pen
  • 1 Leatherman (original)
The main compartment contains:
  • 1 TI scientific calculator
  • One collection Edward Abbey essays
  • Elementary Algebra for TVI Math 100A
  • One Mead Five Star one subject notebook, plastic cover
  • "What is Web 2.0?" essay by Tim O'Reilly
  • Printout wikipedia article, "First-order logic
  • Printout wikipedia article, "Algorithm"
  • Printout artcile, "India gets biofuel mobile power"
  • Supplement to magazine Sys Admin, Training and Certification
  • One legal notepad, notes from work
  • Printout article from The Economist, "Rich Man, Poor Man"
  • Printout article from The Economist, "In the Money"
  • OK, turns out there are more printed out articles in here than I can possibly list
  • Copy of Penny Saver classified adds
  • Letter from City saying we must remove pile of dead branches from back yard
  • About 10 DVD's a friend at work burnt for me of TV shows I"ll never watch
  • A copy of Money magazine
You will notice the self-improvement, professional, "serious" theme. It's a ruse to make me feel cool. These little games we play with ourselves.

*If you believe that "no editing" part, I have same river front property in New Orleans for sale.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

moon scribble

Full moon in the day sky,
pulling my blood in strange tides.
Load your gun with silver, if
you treat with me , this turn of the remorseless earth.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Jae Day

Today is Jae's birthday. It's a good reminder of how grateful I am for every day with her.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Snowshoeing

Going snowshoeing later today, after it warms up a bit. These are my snowshoes, which Jae's parents got for me a couple Christmases ago. We usually try and go on a weekday, because you'll see almost no one, but monday is Jae's birthday. I'm hoping the Superbowl will thin the crowd.

The shoes

This is the area I'll be snowshoeing in, up at Sandia Crest.

Sandias in Winter

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Matt rocks St. Baldricks

Most of you already know what this is about. For those who need an introduction, every year Matt participates in a charity event which raises money for childhood cancer research. The event is called St. Baldrick's. Shavees volunteer to have their heads shaved for donations from nice people like you all. From now until March (the exact date is not yet published) they raise money from everyone they can. And then on the event day they go into downtown Chicago to Fado's Irish Pub at a big, fantastically fun event and donators can see Matt get his head shaved, can bid on auction items, and can have a few beers, free bar food and just hang out. I haven't been able to attend the event, but I hear its a blast.

Matt says the standard donation is $50, but he's been pleased to receive donations as low as $1 and as high as $250. His largest donor gets the added benefit of taking the first swipe at his head with the shaver. Last year he exceeded his goal of $5000! This year he's increasing his goal to $7500. Here's a tip for maximizing your buck, check with your employer for matching contributions.

Matt started participating in this event when his cousin Nathan (my nephew) was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma on April 1, 2003. He is now 6 years old and still fighting.

St. Baldrick's main website is here:

St. Baldrick's

And Matt's page is located here. Look for the donate buttons at the upper right corner.
Matt's St. Baldrick's

Thanks,

Josh

Poems for February

On her blog, on February 1st, Anna blogged a poem about February. Fitting. I'll reply with one about winter, that fits February, and will particularly fit tomorrow when I am snowshoeing.

Go to the winter woods: listen there, look, watch, and
the dead months will give you a subtler secret than
any you have yet found in the forest.
- Fiona Macleod, Where the Forest Murmurs

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