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.

overcome by compassion, among other things

 Hello, readers.

On this day, the last day of February, a few things.

Thing one.

Storyological, that one podcast I host along with E.G. Cosh in which we discuss the very best in short stories which we have chosen to discuss, has returned for a second season. We recently put out an episode–THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS, OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND GET BEHIND THE FEMINIST LOCOMOTIVE–which is one of our best, if I do say so myself. 

Which I do. 

Whoever it is that I am1, that is.
 

Thing two.

Speaking of Storyological. If you know what the Hugo’s are, and you are registered to vote in the Hugo’s, and you are reading this blog right now, then you might be interested to know that Storyological is eligible for the Best Fancast Award.

Jonah Sutton-Morse, host of Cabbages and Kings, said a lovely thing about our podcast:

Storyological is the best genre podcast out there. The short story discussions are excellent, Chris and E. G. have great banter while staying close the the topic & getting in and out quickly. I love it.2

 

Thing three.

Jon Stewart appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, as he is wont to do. It was funny.

 

Thing four.

Jeanette Winterson, one-time preacher and continuing purveyor of sharp, heart-struck prose, wrote this piece on Oscar Wilde for the Guardian in 2013 called, “Why we need fairytales.” It includes such lovely arrangements of words as follows:

Fairytales always involve reversals of fortune. This works in both directions: beggars become kings, palaces collapse into hovels, the spoilt son eats thistles. Wilde’s own reversal of fortune from fame and money to destitution and exile shares the same rapid drama. Fairytales are also and always about transformation of various kinds – frogs into princes, coal into gold – and if they are not excessively moralistic, there is usually a happy ending. Wilde’s fairytale transformations turn on loss. Even “The Star-Child”, in which meanness and vanity are overcome by compassion, ends with a kingdom that lasts only three years.

You should probably read it. Or, at least, read “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde. It is a story, I see, that Mr. Wilde intendeded to be read to children. If you don’t have any of those handy, I recommend reading it to yourself. After all, you were once a child, and I imagine some part of you remembers what that was like.

Happy February, readers. Enjoy it while it lasts.

 

ttfn. 

 

  1. Love me some Crash Course Philosophy.
  2. http://yellingatmybookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/2017-hugo-nominations-rough-cut.html

by any other name

 

Kelly J. Baker in the New York Times:

They want to convince the media that they are a “new form” of white nationalism that we’ve never seen before: clean-cut, intellectual, far removed from the unpolished white supremacists of the past. But the alt-right is not as new as we might think. In fact, efforts to dress up white supremacy in ideas and middle-class respectability have been around since the first organized movements emerged in the late 19th century — and once again, people are falling for it.

Olivia Nuzzi in the Washington Post:

Burying racist and anti-Semitic ideas in fancy language is nothing new, of course. David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, shed his Klan robe for a suit and now calls himself a “human rights activist .” This is clearly about presenting a more salable front for the persuadable public. But if it salutes like a Nazi, you can safely call it one.

 

 

the gene: an intimate history by siddhartha mukherjee

 

Hindu philosophers have long described the experience of “being” as a web—jaal. Genes form the threads of the web; the detritus that sticks is what transforms every individual web into a being. There is an exquisite precision in that mad scheme. Genes must carry out programmed responses to environments—otherwise, there would be no conserved form. But they must also leave exactly enough room for the vagaries of chance to stick. We call this intersection “fate.” We call our responses to it “choice.” An upright organism with opposable thumbs is thus built from a script, but built to go off script. We call one such unique variant of one such organism a “self.”