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.

things inside of other things

things inside of other things

Hello, readers.
 

It’s Tuesday. And that means it is time for some things.1 


Thing one.

The Magicians has, according to Vox, in its second season reached “Buffy heights.” 

So. Maybe I should watch that, then? 

Possibly probably.


Thing two.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the seriously amazing tv show with the ridiculously on-purpose ridiculous name, debuted some twenty years ago on March 10th, 1997.

Here are some things about that.2

For one, this A.V. Club interview with Joss Whedon from 2001. In the past, a particularly anxious young man printed out this entire interview and taped particularly resonant quotes to the walls of above his desk. It worked. More or less.

For two, this archive of Joss Whedon’s comments on the messageboard, The Bronze, on which he, along with many of Buffy’s writers often conversed with fans of his show. I am having a moment right now, readers. I am remembering things.

For three, this article from The Atlantic which argues for “The Body” as the best episode of Buffy and one emblematic of the show’s radical empathy. Inside of this article there is this:

“There’s things,” Tara tells Buffy about her own mother dying when she was 17. “Thoughts and reactions I had that I couldn’t understand. Or even try to explain to anybody else.” The power of Buffy is that it understands those thoughts, and does try to explain them, all in the guise of being a teen drama about vampires.”

More than any other show Buffy led me into conversation with the monsters that attend my heart and the hearts of others. It affirmed and engaged with the terrible wonder of being. 

That’s really all I ask for in a tv show.


Thing three.

There’s a new episode of Storyological!

This often happens. Which is cool. It’s nice to make things and then tell people about them. There’s a whole podcast about that very thing in fact. E.G. quite enjoys that podcast. I’ve yet to listen. There are so many things to listen to, after all. Storyological, for example. The latest episode is called

THE WINDMILL WAS INSIDE OF YOU ALL ALONG.

It marks the first time we’ve discussed Don Quixote. It does not mark the first time we’ve discussed an episode of Babylon 5.

We discussed these two stories:

“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu, a parable both delicate and brutal, which conjectures at the nature of colonialism through, among other things, the philosophical attitudes of bees and wasps. Come for the theory, stay for the stained glass windows made from the wings of executed bee ambassadors. Read it in Clarkesworld.

“The Janitor in Space” by Amber Sparks, a small tale of much wonder and pain concerning a janitor going about her day on a space station orbiting Earth. Come for the epiphany, stay for the mysterious intimacy of the infinite. Read it in American Short Fiction.


This is, perhaps, enough things for today. See you in the future, readers.

 

ttfn. 

 

  1. Every day, really, along with every time, is a perfectly good time for things. I mean, metaphysically speaking, time is itself a thing. I mean, I don’t really know that. I mean, I am just making things up. I haven’t figured out yet how to make things down.
  2. Things inside of things! It’s like something out of science fiction.

just in case you get lost

Hello, readers.
 

Things. Here are some. 

Thing one.

Everything is where the internet was. Well. Not everything. Two things. The BlockChain and quantum computing.

The Blockchain Will Do to Banks and Law Firms What the Internet Did to Media by Joichi Ito, Neha Narula, and Robleh Ali.

The “killer app” for the early internet was email; it’s what drove adoption and strengthened the network. Bitcoin is the killer app for the blockchain. Bitcoin drives adoption of its underlying blockchain, and its strong technical community and robust code review process make it the most secure and reliable of the various blockchains. Like email, it’s likely that some form of Bitcoin will persist. But the blockchain will also support a variety of other applications, including smart contracts, asset registries, and many new types of transactions that will go beyond financial and legal uses.

Quantum leaps1

… The “killer app” for the early internet was email; it’s what drove adoption and strengthened the network. Bitcoin is the killer app for the blockchain. Bitcoin drives adoption of its underlying blockchain, and its strong technical community and robust code review process make it the most secure and reliable of the various blockchains. Like email, it’s likely that some form of Bitcoin will persist. But the blockchain will also support a variety of other applications, including smart contracts, asset registries, and many new types of transactions that will go beyond financial and legal uses.

 

Thing two.

There’s a new Nintendo. And on this new Nintendo, a new Zelda. Here is a review of the new Zelda in the New Yorker.

Yes, I know.

 

Thing three.

The Times has this thing called “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music is Going”

You should probably read it. Not for its prognosticative abilities, but because music is good for the soul, and, somewhere in here, I imagine there’s at least one song strung with the right words, or rhythms, to set your spirit alight.

 

Thing four.

Elon Musk offered to fix Australia’s power network.

In other news, Jeff Bezos offered to fix the world’s moon delivery services2.

 

Thing five.

A map of the universe. Just in case you get lost out there.

 

Happy weekend, readers. 

See you in the future.

 

 

ttfn. 

 

  1. I remember when Sam went back to Vietnam and maybe for the first time thinking and talking with Dad about what it was like when he was in Vietnam. According to that link, this particular episode aired at the end of 1990. Which means I was all of nine-years-old.
  2. By which, of course, I mean the delivery of things to the moon. It is, as of the writing of this blog post, still impossible to deliver the moon to you–however much George Bailey might argue otherwise.

if there’s one story

Hello, readers.

Things continue to happen. Here is a selection of said things. 

Thing one.

John Oliver, about halfway through this video, sits down with the Dalai Lama. I’m not sure there’s a laugh better in this world than that of the Dalai Lama. Seriously. Just listen.

My favorite part might be the part where the Dalai Lama confers his demonic status onto an understandably reluctant John Oliver.

Thing two

There’s a book I want to read. This is almost always a thing. Currently the thing that is this thing is a book by Angie Thomas called The Hate U Give. All the people are talking about it. Including the people named John Green. Whose blurb adorns the front cover and who also mentioned it in this installment of Vlogbrothers as destined to become a classic.

Thing three

There’s a new Storyological episode out in the world: THAT DANIELA ROMO MOMENT. It includes the longest conversation that we’ve yet had concerning the merits of Soviet architecture. It also marks the first time we’ve ever talked about a piece of non-fiction. What is truth? I don’t know. If it exists, it probably exists only probabilistically speaking.

We discussed these two stories:

“Love” by Yuri Olesha, originally published in 1928, and readable here. It is remarkably entertaining.

“The Boy Who Never Cried for Me” by Juliana Delgado Lopera, a funny sad bursting brilliant story published in a brilliant magazine (Midnight Breakfast)

Thing four

There’s this thing where people, at parties or shows or other such events, forfeit their smartphones to the confines of a smartphone-locking pouch from a company called Yondr.

I’m not really sure when we began, as a species, to deliberately misspell words as a basis for identity and meaning, but I’m pretty sure the practice has increased exponentially in the last twenty years. Much like wealth inequality. Related? Probably not.

Thing five

Abigail Nussbaum has published her picks for the Short Fiction categories on the Hugo Ballot. A lot of wonderful things to read here. Particularly, “The Venus Effect” by Joseph Allen Hill. We discussed how amazing it amazes in this one episode of Storyological. Here’s what Abigail said:

It’s not an exaggeration to say that stories like this one are why I keep doing this, rooting through hundreds of short stories on the off chance of happening on one, by an author I’ve never heard of, that completely blows me away. I don’t want to say too much about “The Venus Effect”‘s plot, both because it’s a surprise worth preserving, and because to describe the story is to make it sound like so much less than what it is–too academic, too gimmicky, too preachy. This is a story about stories, and about who gets to be the hero in the core stories of our genre. It shouldn’t work–the tack Hill chooses should come off as glib, and the structure he comes up with should devolve into repetition–and yet, amazingly, it does. If there’s one story on this list that I’d like you to read, “The Venus Effect” is it.

 

So, there you go. Go read it, already.

Happy Tuesday, readers.

 

 

ttfn.

on pizza, existential angst, and listening

Hello, readers.

Here are some things for the beginning of your March. This being the only March you will ever experience in 20171.

 

Thing one.

I’ve started using this relatively new bit of transcripting software called Trint. It would never have occurred to me to think about transcripting software until E.G. and me started Storyological. And then someone we love told us that they have trouble with listening to recorded voices. And then I thought. Oh. Right. Of course. Lot’s of people have trouble listening to things. So, I googled. I found these people. You upload audio. It creates a transcript more or less accurate with some understandable misses of words not in the dictionary such as, you know, Storyological. The cool thing is that it’s easy to listen to the audio and correct the transcript as you go. The audio and text are in sync. And you can play the audio in slo-motion if that helps.

Here’s a screenshot from the transcript-in-progress2  for Storyological 2×02.

Pizza. Existential angst. Friendship. That’s good listening, Trint.

Here’s a link to the latest Storyological transcript for Storyological 2×01 – The Importance of Celine Dion in which we discussed stories from Amal El-Mohtar and Su-Yee Lin.

 

Thing two.

This amazing bit of journalism in the New Yorker profiling unaccompanied child refugees by Lauren Collins.

Europe’s Child-Refugee Crisis

 

Thing three.

Tomorrow, I will be seeing Julia Jacklin in concert. Here is a video for her song, Don’t Let the Kids Win.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8-sRdRHU3o

  

Thing four.

President Trump spoke to a joint session of Congress last night, and, speaking of transcripts, here’s an amazing annotated version of the President’s speech from NPR.

 

Thing five.

Oh, I don’t know. But it’s always best to have five things. Otherwise things might get out of control. Maybe I should change the name of this blog to something thing related. Maybe not. Too many puns. I hope you have enjoyed this fifth thing, readers.

 Happy March.

 

ttfn.

 

  1. Or, well, the year 12017, if you are so inclined.
  2. I attempted using Trint in Safari but they didn’t like each other. So, I used Chrome. They got on better.