the world on glass

Hello, readers.

Things are happening in the world. Important things. The things below are not that important, really. But they are things. And they were, at one time or another, happening.


Thing one.

Soy sauce. Totally still a thing. Apparently, it began happening in the Japanese town of Yuasa during the 13th century. Here’s a video about that by Mile Nagoka. (via kottke.org).


Thing two.

A lot of people take pictures with their phone. I am one of those people. Though I try not to call my phone a phone. I try to call it an astrolabe. I am mildly successful at this. If you ever wondered how to take better pictures with your phone (and by phone I mean astrolabe, and by astrolabe I mean an iPhone) then Apple’s made several small videos, in the shape of a phone screen, to help you understand how to better capture the world on glass.


Thing three.

Storyological. This week. An episode entitled:

DARING DARRINGTONS

In which we discuss:

The Debutante by surrealist adventurer hero person Leonora Carrington, anthologized in What Did Miss Darrington See, (originally published in 1936).

&

An Unborn Visitant by the real-life inspiration of Orlando and also the real-life person Vita Sackville-West, anthologized in What Did Miss Darrington See, (originally published in 1932).

We did a thing where we picked two stories from the same book. We do that sometimes.


Thing four.

Next week we will be in the United States of America. I will take a look under the hood while I’m there and see if I can spy what the trouble is.

Happy Friday, readers. And good luck.

ttfn.

basically, johnny cash

Hello, readers.

Things happen from time to time. Here are a few of said happening things.


Thing one.

I watched the first episode of American Gods. It struck me that they are aiming for a violently weird sort of Americana. Everything either looking flat and staged and nightmarish or deep and rambling and golden. Somewhere between goth and Johnny Cash. So, basically, Johnny Cash.


Thing two.

It’s short story month. Which is weird. Because I read stories every month. But that’s not how these things work. It’s not about saying this is the only month. It’s about saying let’s take a moment and celebrate the existence of this particular thing. Like a birthday, really. You exist all year. But people only notice, really, for this one day. Well. I mean. If your life is sad. I hope your life isn’t sad. Or if it is, you make some good art out of your sadness. Or like really feel it for a little while and then put it aside and go out and make room for happiness in the world. Making room for happiness in the world often helps make room for happiness in your heart. There’s a mirror in everything.


Thing three.

This week, on Storyological, we discuss these two stories.

He—y Come On Out! by Shinichi Hoshi, The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories, 1989. (orig. F&SF, 1978).

&

Bring Your Own Spoon by Saad Hossain, The Djinn Falls in Love, and Other Stories, 2017.

Along with, among other things–emotional baggage, Grayson Perry, Ted Chiang, logic, nonsense, and that old song hope.


Thing four.

There’s this new bag of Doritos that will play the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

Also, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is great1.


Happy Wednesday.

ttfn.

  1. For some values of great. Such as incredibly violent, ridiculous, and sincere. There’s no such thing as nostalgia. That’s just life in the 21st century. The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past. We might as well put its music in movies so it has something familiar to listen to.

a violent and tender rain

Hello, readers.

How are you?

That’s wonderful.

Or not.

Or not so much not as that’s life and things often exist in a place of wonderful-notness, or not-wonderfulness, that most people compress quite neatly into the word ‘fine.’

Which is, as words go, a fine one.

Anyway.

Here are things.


Thing one.

I’ve just finished Another Country by James Baldwin and the world smells, and sounds, like a violent and tender rain falling between two men on an apartment bed, drinking, smoking, and wondering about how any damn body manages the trick of loving and being loved in a world that denies so much of itself.


Thing two.

This week on Storyological, we chatted with Adam Ehrlich Sachs about his book, Inherited Disorders, and about many other things. Such as, for example:

  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • Cats
  • The Simpsons
  • Monty Python
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Fathers
  • Shadows
  • Flying contraptions
  • Thomas Bernhard
  • Derek Parfit
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • & the poignancy of precision.

The Rumpus described his book as “endlessly sharp and engaging.”

I describe it as a hilarious and heartbreaking and cut through with the best sort of nonsense.

Which is to say the logical sort.

You can listen to the interview here.

Or you can read an illustrated, and footnoted, version here.


Thing three.

Another thing is that after visiting the Tate Modern Exhibition, The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, I am thinking a lot about photographs. In the gift shop, there were books by Susan Sontag, John Berger, and Geoff Dyer about the nature of photography and I have been devouring them with great intellectual zeal.

I’m not sure I would have ever thought of myself as the sort of person who said things like ‘intellectual zeal.’

But, there you go.

These things happen.

We surprise ourselves if we’re lucky.


Thing four.

On Being is one of my favorite podcasts.

This interview with John O’Donohue, in an episode titled, “The Inner Landscape of Beauty,” is one of my favorite episodes.

If you find yourself facing the end of the world, this is a good one for to listen.

I mean. So long as it’s not the actual end of the world. In which case. I don’t know. Maybe talk to someone. Talking helps.


Happy Thursday, readers.

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the invention of clouds

Hello, readers.

Here are some things of a thing-like nature.


Thing one.
Gary Kasparov, chess player and expert on the humbling nature of mechanical intelligence, has this to say about “Learning to Love Intelligent Machines.”


Thing two.

A recipe for gluten-free muffins.

Flour.

  • 40g coconut
  • 80g sorghum
  • 30g almond
  • 25g all-purpose white dove

Some salt.

Mix that together.

Watery bits.

  • 1 egg
  • 50g oil
  • 11g vinegar
  • 140g milk1.

Mix that together with two bananas2.

Cook at 150° C for 35 minutes in a greased pan.


Thing three

This season’s hot new clouds.

This headline reminds me of that one chaptor in Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh called, “The Cloud Factory,” which itself always reminded me of “The Invention of Clouds,” which, so far as I know, doesn’t exist.


Thing four

Storyological, that one podcast, is off this week. We’re back next week with something new. In the meantime, here’s that one episode where we talked about rabbits:

HUNGER. SAINTS. BIRDS.

Happy baking, readers.

ttfn.

  1. Generally, I use some sort of rice/almond milk.
  2. I sautéed the bananas in a bit of coconut oil, first, until mushy.

it’s only

Hello, readers.

It’s today. Probably the most important day ever to someone out there. I hope it goes well for you, whoever you are.

Here are some things, more or less.


 

Thing one

Louis C.K. (philosopher comedian, playwright, man most likely to not believe in the honesty of your walking) appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week. Two of my favorite people talking about several of my favorite things including, but not limited to, the aforementioned dishonesty of walking.

 


 

Thing two

I don’t really understand the weather in London, and I’m okay with that. My understanding is that one isn’t supposed to understand such things.

 


 

Thing three

The Art Assignment is an amazing YouTube channel full of fantastic, and fantastically fast, rundowns of various movements, persons, and modes of art. It’s like that one bit in that one movie where they attempted to run through the Louvre in record time. Except, less with the black and white.

Here’s an example of one of their ‘The Case For…” videos.

The Case for Yoko Ono.

 


 

Thing four

I’m editing this one thing for Storyological, and it is reminding me how I want everything to tell a story. I’m narratively selfish.

 


 

Thing five

This thing in The Wall Street Journal called “Twilight of the Rock Gods” (paywall).

The oldest of America’s 75 million baby boomers started turning 70 in 2016. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau, boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964). In about 20 years, all the boomers will have reached 70. So, the number of celebrity deaths last year wasn’t exceptional, according to a study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, though the number of “mega famous” celebrity deaths was. Because of their penchant for hard living, rocker deaths are likely to stay consistently high. “The musicians are ahead of their audience, if you will, on the death curve,” says demographer Kenneth Johnson at the University of New Hampshire.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is already scrambling to keep up. “We play their music all day long, lower our flag, and hang their image in a place of honor for a year. And we have a special exhibition,” President Greg Harris says. “But the exhibitions are getting kind of crowded.” Almost 60% of the Rock Hall’s more than 800 inductees are still living, meaning the biggest wave of the boomer musician deaths has yet to come.

I know it’s only rock’n’roll. But. There you go. Proof positive. Yesterday’s gone. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

Because death.

 

Happy Thursday, readers.

 

 

 

ttfn.

 

p.s. I apologize for the lack of footnotes.

there’s no single more interesting time to be alive 

Hello, readers.

Here are some things for Tuesday.


 

Thing one.

A few days ago I watched The End of the Tour, a film based on a book1 written by the journalist from Rolling Stone 2 who joined David Foster Wallace for that writer’s final days on tour for Infinite Jest. The film contains some deliciously uncomfortable expressions, and accurate definitions, of shyness, brilliance, and at least one perfect shot of the snow-covered plains of Indiana. There is also a surprising amount of Alana’s Morrissette and slow-motion dancing in a slantly lit midwestern Baptist Church.

There is, at its heart, a depiction of David Foster Wallace as kind and difficult and confused and alone with everyone, even himself. It’s happiest moments were its saddest and best.

Jason Segel did a wonderful job.

I almost loved it.

This is what David Foster Wallace said in 1996.

There’s no single more interesting time to be alive on the planet Earth than in the next 20 years.

I should probably get on with reading Lipsky’s book.


 

Thing two.

Jason Segel on Making Sci-Fi and Growing Oranges (Really).

When did you decide it was time to move out of Hollywood?

I went to a small town to get ready for “End of the Tour” and read “Infinite Jest.” I didn’t feel I could do that with the distraction of the big city. In L.A., there’s a real quiet “what’s next?” being whispered into your ear, constantly. All of a sudden, with that voice gone, I realized that I felt significantly better.


 

Thing three.

There’s a new episode of Storyological:

BULLETPROOF EELS

We discuss, as we generally do, two stories. In this case, “Starver” by Daisy Johnson and “Trauma Plate” by Adam Johnson3.

Also, as we also generally do, we discussed other things. Such as universalities, privileges, and Bob’s Burgers.


 

Thing four.

Aimee Mann has a new album out called Mental Illness. I like it.
 

Happy Tuesday, readers.

 
ttfn.

  1. Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
  2. David Lipsky
  3. Almost certainly no relation. Though, I didn’t check.

this moment in which I hang my laundry in a timeless and universal manner

Hello, readers.

Here are some things upon which to ponder on this hopefully not terribly too ponderous Wednesday.

 

Thing one.

Someone illustrated the Terms and Conditions of iTunes. I bet you didn’t know you wanted someone to do that. That’s the best thing, really. When people do something unexpectedly wonderful.

Terms and Conditions by R. Sikoryak, Drawn & Quarterly.

 


Thing two.

The washing’s done. I should go take care of that. I can see how this might not seem entirely relevant to you. But, for me, though, it seems relatively relevant. Plus, maybe by sharing this moment of my actual right now really real life with you it will create a sense like we’re all in this together. Like this moment belongs to all of us. This moment in which I hang my laundry in a timeless and universal manner.

 


Thing three.

From The Washington Post: Lockheed Martin says it is ready to hand over laser weapon to U.S. Army for testing

Laser weapons. Just what the world needed.

 


Thing four.

This book, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, which Michiko Kakutani reviewed in the New York Times:

By mixing the real and the surreal, and using old fairy-tale magic, Hamid has created a fictional universe that captures the global perils percolating beneath today’s headlines, while at the same time painting an unnervingly dystopian portrait of what might lie down the road. The world in “Exit West” is, in many respects, an extrapolation of the world we live in now, with wars like the one in Syria turning cities into war zones; with political crises, warp-speed technological changes, and growing tensions between nativists and migrants threatening to upend millions of lives.

 


Thing five.

No new Storyological episode this week. But we’ve already made some three dozen episodes, so now’s a good time to listen to one of those if you haven’t already.

 

Happy Wednesday, readers.

 

 

ttfn.