june do

Hello, readers.

Here are things I would like to do this month.

Finish the second draft of my book.
Get married.
Hang out with my sister and friends.
Travel through Paris.
Finish a short story or two.
Critique a friend’s book.

So, if you don’t see me on the blog, this is why.

Hope it’s an excellent month for you all.

See you in the future.

love.
ttfn.

on mad max and my possibly mad mom

on mad max and my possibly mad mom

Hello, readers.

Welcome to another week. This one’s way better than last week which was so three minutes ago.

Before that, when I was a kid, my mom introduced me to Mad Max, a dusty trilogy of post-apocalyptic westerns. I don’t remember the how’s, or the why, I just remember my mom had a crush on Mel Gibson and would often shake her head at the oddity of a woman seemingly so gentle, and against violence, finding such joy in films that carved bone from flesh.

Guess I’m just crazy, she said, and she was, and that could be quite frustrating, at times, but in her love of certain things I think her presumed insanity was really just a cover for enjoying things that, perhaps, she wasn’t supposed to enjoy.

3698.0.570.359

But, here’s the thing with those Mad Max films. They were not a mindless celebration of violence, so much as a celebration of the fight, and, in fact, the very fast running away to avoid fighting. There was, amidst the so-called psychopathic violence, some bit of soul, some moral compass, to those films. The world was a scorched, weary, violent place, and here was this man, made mad by the loss of those he loved to a world grown increasingly more violent, who was left just trying to survive.

I think my mom found something, whether she knew it or not, in the story of a man with the weight of a lost world on his shoulders, carving a lonely path, the weight of his past holding him back even as it pushed him forward.

I think she loved the love Max sought, and sometimes discovered, in the wake of having lost everything.

That was, at least, part of Mom. She could be gentle, and she could be mad, and it did very much seem like, from time to time, the weight of some lost world would visit her shoulders.

Later this week, I’ll be seeing Mad Max: Fury Road. I’m so excited and so full of thoughts of Mom and what she would make of a Max not played by Mel. I think, considering what people are saying, she would have loved it. I think she would have found its rebellion led by women something to cheer. I think, perhaps, she might have developed a crush on Tom Hardy, or, who knows, Charlize Theron. We’ll see.

Here’s something A.O. Scott said of this most recent version of Max.

Even in the most chaotic fights and collisions, everything makes sense. This is not a matter of realism — come on, now — but of imaginative discipline. And Mr. Miller demonstrates that great action filmmaking is not only a matter of physics but of ethics as well. There is cause and effect; there are choices and consequences.

This captures, a bit, of what maybe Mom, and certainly I, have grown to appreciate in Miller’s post-apocalypse.

The weight of things.

Of the past, of action, of consequence.

It’s a mistake a lot of action movies make, allowing their pace, and their explosions, and their BAM/POW to escape gravity when really it’s the gravity of things that holds it, and us, all together.

Happy Tuesday, readers.

ttfn.

the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl

Hello, readers.

One afternoon at City Grocery in Oxford, before my father died, and after one or another trip home to spell my sister from taking care of him in his less than self-sufficient state, I mentioned to Barry Hannah how spending time with my dad, and listening to his collection of Abba and Enya and love for Sarah McLachlan, that it was more and more apparent to me that he possessed the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl.

To which Barry Hannah, a gloriously and infamously unpredictable man, known as much for shooting a hole in his car’s floorboard to drain floodwater as for writing the sort of stories where people killed each other with uprooted tombstones, said to me, “And what’s wrong with having the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl?

And I said, “Nothing’s wrong it.”

And he said, “Sometimes I think that’s what I got.”

And I said, “Me, too.”

If at all possible one should choose one’s role models so that a fair share of them are men possessed of the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl.

Also.

Regrettable things our white relatives have said to us.

You’re not like other Asians. You know, the real Asians.

Were you closing your eyes in that photo? I can never tell with you.

Of course I was surprised when your parents adopted a Korean, but I wasn’t unhappy about it.

Happy monday, readers.
ttfn.

tuesday nostalgia

Hello, readers.

It occurred to me, as it often does, how my life divides itself around moments. For example, it’s been 18 years since Buffy premiered on the WB. Which is a longer amount of time than I had been alive at the time of that premiere, which I didn’t actually watch. I didn’t start watching until a few episodes in. For shame.

Also, this happened in Seoul, during protests surrounding the sinking of the Sewol Ferry, this being the anniversary of that.

Speaking of anniversaries, Facebook, and companies like Timehop, enjoy reminding us that every day is the anniversary of something.

Nostalgia was originally thought of as a mental illness. Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer coined the term in 1688, combining a pair of Greek words: nostos (homecoming) and algos (pain). Nostalgia, in other words, was homesickness — an affliction suffered by Swiss students and soldiers who went abroad. Some doctors of the era considered it a “hypochondria of the heart,” and thought it could be cured by shaming sufferers until they stopped feeling nostalgia, or by covering them with leeches. If nostalgia got bad enough, some believed, it was possible to die from it.

Now, less so.

The researchers began bringing people into their lab and trying to trigger nostalgia, sometimes by showing them certain photos or playing certain songs, but most often just by asking them to write about fond memories. Their stories almost always involved social memories, created with friends or family years ago — and when surveyed afterward, participants reported feeling significantly more loved and connected with others, and had higher levels of self-esteem, compared with a control group.

The above come from “The Nostalgia Machine” by Joseph Stromberg.

It’s funny to think that a long time ago, in more or less this galaxy, people couldn’t see their past. And then they learned to draw, and they could see a representation of it. And then they took pictures, and that was still a representation, much in the way that film and sound and, I suppose, tweets or posts are. There’s a whole Radiolab episode about time and objects and the tangibile intangibles of things, including email.

I just finished listening to a Mutant Enemy Reunion podcast done by the Nerdist Writers’ Panel.

Once, I told someone that Joss Whedon was the most important man in my life that I never met. This is probably true.

See you next time, readers.

ttfn.

cider on the floor

Hello, readers.

Presently, here in London, the sun’s striking the rain-dropped window and it’s a bit like living in a disco ball.

Last night, I had dinner with eg and vi and spilled some cider on the floor. It was a thing involving how the server explained that you were meant to poor Spanish cider in one of those up and down motions that make you look cool unless you spill it on the floor. I tried it twice. Once, it worked. I got cocky and tried again. It worked less well.

Somehow I ended up telling the story about my first day of kindergarten in which I didn’t make it inside the school. What I remember is sitting on the sidewalk with mom and crying until we went back home. The next day she got me in the door by promising to stay where I could see her in the parking lot. I still remember seeing her out there, drinking from a pepsi bottle, keeping watch on her boy.

I have probably written about this before. But, the thing is, last night, after I finished telling that story, vi asked what I was afraid of and it felt wonderful to be asked. A lot of people aren’t so vocal with their inquisitiveness. Maybe it’s because she’s a fellow writer. Or, maybe, as eg said, it’s a sign of deepening friendship that one feels free to go spelunking into the caverns of each other’s fears.

Possibly a little of both.

Happy Tuesday, readers.

Careful with that cider.

ttfn.

stillness

Hello, readers.

The last ice storm I remember (other than those featuring a young, pre-ringbearing Elijah Wood), occurred in 1994. I was thirteen. We had a landline. Possibly a rotary phone. When you went for a walk everything was quiet except for the sound of everything slowly breaking, ice melting in the sun, refreezing at night, branches and wires unaccustomed to the weight bending, bending, and then, at last, falling. It was wise not to walk under things during this time.

School was cancelled for a week. I don’t remember doing anything much different than what my sister and I did a few weeks ago, sled and play video games. Sometimes kneel and look at frozen things. Leaves, blossoms, paint brushes. Stillness in unexpected places.

Something else that happened in 1994 was Friends.

I watched the pilot yesterday. It reminded me of that year and of being thirteen and of fearing stillness and sex and not always understanding what the people on tv meant when they said things but wanting and trying to understand the world through this box with the people. What’s amazing is how looking back sometimes feels like looking forward. I can see myself in episodes of Friends looking forward to who I am now. I can see myself wondering when I will date and when I will kiss and when I will fall in love in such a way as to warrant standing still in the pouring rain full of unexpected hope.

So. I watch. And I wave to myself. Hello, I say.

Nice to see you after all this time, I say.

Dear god, my past self says, this parachute is a knapsack.

Chandler was an early role model.

ttfn.

ttfn, 2014

Hello, readers.

This, most likely, will be my last post of the year. Tomorrow, EG and I will board a train for somewhere Kentwards, as has been noted, and very likely on this trip, I will refrain from very much in the way of blogging, though not from writing, in general. And maybe sketching. I may not refrain from that. I plan to bring a notebook and sketchbook in which to note and sketch.

Over the course of this year, a great many changes have occurred, as so often happens every year because of time.

Later, perhaps, I will write some of them.

Now.

I must wrap things.

ttfn, readers.

see you soon.

reporting anything unusual won’t hurt you

Hello, readers.

Yesterday, I fell into the you-hole, which is a word I just made up and would like to unmake now. Can I do that? Okay. Well. Anyway. I watched a bunch of videos from marinashutup. They’re cool. calm. collected. And she says fuck sometimes in a way that conceals a wonderful amount of rage. I seem to be talking a lot about rage lately. Perhaps, I’m just paying attention.

also.

I read some YouTube comments. OMG. I KNOW. But, I did. And I learned that what some people call sexism other people call biological evolutionary competitive peacocking, which I believe also is the cause of erectile dysfunction.

also. also.

I watched another YouTube video, recommended in the sidebar underneath marina’s videos, in which a videographer of occasional reality purported to undermine a particular idea of Anita Sarkeesian’s concerning the influence of media (and video games as a whole) by demonstrating that some 10 billion people had been killed in video games, or possibly this one game, and, WELL OBVIOUSLY THIS HASN’T LED TO 10 BILLION PEOPLE BEING KILLED IRL SO SHUT UP ALREADY ABOUT HOW VIDEO GAMES INFLUENCE REALITY.

also. also. also.

Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released their report on the ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES (or, ETI’s for short, or TORTURE, for slightly less occasional reality) that the United States sometimes maybe definitely engaged in, and then lied about, in terms of its existence and its efficacy.

What’s good to know is that in our culture, where some believe there’s this ridiculous idea that narratives of violence have an effect on the culture at large, we continue to see that IRL THERE’S NO EVIDENCE ANY SUCH UBIQUITY OR ACCEPTANCE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST OTHER HUMAN BEINGS EXISTS AT ALL WHATSOEVER GOOD ON US EVERYONE CAN GO HOME NOW.

After all, violence is in our nature. Why not in our video games, movies, books, and Senate Intelligence reports. Why would we ever want to act different from our nature anyway? Our nature is AWESOME. It is totally EXCEPTIONAL and also just like all the other animals and animals, also, AWESOME BECAUSE PANDAS ARE SO CUTE.

Yes. Well. Not entirely sure where this is going except that there’s some value in, on occasion, occasionally questioning your own nature, and your preferred narratives, and whether or not you really want to watch or act in yet another demonstration of violence being the way for to win.

Happy Wednesday, readers.

Don’t read the comments.

except. well.

ttfn.

snowsnowsnowsnow

Hello, readers.

SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!

you probably can't actually see the snow but trust me it's there and besides some things are better left to the imagination
you probably can’t actually see the snow but trust me it’s there and besides some things are better left to the imagination

That is all.

well. actually.

also.

The Verge has a fanastic, and fantastically designed, list of the “most important people at the intersection of technology, art, science, and culture” in 2014. Besides snow, this is how you know it’s December. All the lists.

In case you ever wanted to know all the lists of, if not people, at least all the books in 2014, you can always head over to largeheartedboy’s list of lists purporting to list all the best books of the past year.

also. also.

It’s Tuesday, and that reminds me of Buffy, which reminds me of this one moment where my sister and I received a ride home from Hercules. This was in Los Angeles. May of 2003. Hercules was, possibly still is, a writer for Ain’t it Cool News, a primordial movie news website that emerged from the pre-facebook goo of the internet around the time of THE PHANTOM MENACE. My sister and I were there to witness the final ever episode of Buffy at the Downtown Athletic Club in Los Angeles. It was a party thrown by Ain’t it Cool News. It was a graduation present for both my sister and me, who had both just graduated–me from undergrad, her from, um, over grad. Every seat at the event had a box of kleenex close by. There were clip-reels backed Smashing Pumpkin songs. Special guest apperances. And after the episode, and all the crying, my sister and I were talking to Hercules and he offered us a ride back to our hotel. Which we took, because no one walks in L.A. It’s a strange place with people named Hercules.

Happy whatever day it is where you are, readers, and whatever of which it reminds.

ttfn.

p.s. SNOW!

p.p.s. You thought I was going to just write SNOW! But I didn’t. I wrote all these other words, too.

p.p.p.s. um. i forgot.

the invention of me

Hello, readers.

There’s an excitement in the air, or possibly the soil, or maybe the clouds, and there’s a question for you, are the clouds a part of the air? Is the wind? Are you? Once, there was a book called THE INVENTION OF AIR, which is a great phrase as phrases go. I wonder if the author of that book would say he was made up mostly of air, or clouds, or heart. I wonder if anyone’s ever written a book called THE INVENTION OF ME. If they did I bet it would have to go back a long way. Probably before television, but after the big bang. Sometimes I also think about the first person who ever thought. Not about anything in particular. Just thought anything at all. Right now my other wonder is whether or not the invention of me came before, or after, the invention of you, or if it was concurrent. Concurrent being a cool word we should all use more because once you accept the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, it’s not a big leap towards accepting the fundamental concurrentness of all time. Except, sometimes it’s too late. Which is sad, but probably for the best. If everyone was always on time for everything then a lot of things would probably never get invented. It’s the things that steal our time and take our air away that generally invent who we are and sometimes that means we miss out on other things. I’m not sure where this is going, but here we are.

John Oliver interviewed this amazing human at one point in time and I watched both parts this morning and this is part of my excitement.

This weekend, EG and I met up with a girl whose initials are IY and I will use those initials because it might stand for I & You, even though it doesn’t, though that’s pretty close to you and me which we were talking about earlier. We met up at a coffee shop over near Bloomsbury. It didn’t have a bathroom. It did have some lovely peppermint tea and a coat rack on which to hang our heavy, London in December coats. While we were there, one of the baristas looked at EG’s sketchbook and made happy noises. The three of us talked about our books and our futures, which is a way of saying we talked about the things we were hoping to invent, things that none of us could see, but we were happy to imagine how we might pull them out of the air and make them real and read by others. I have been working on my book for a while, and not saying much to EG about it, keeping all the excitement to myself, putting it on the page, and it was nice to take this get-together as an excuse to talk a bit about it and listen to their thoughts and this is part of my excitement, too. I don’t have a link to this excitement, though. Not yet. Just wait. You’ll read it one day.

The sun’s already setting. It’s a London in December sun. It rises late and goes to bed early. December 21st is coming up, though. Almost to the mid-point, the solstice, halfway out of the dark.

Happy invention, readers.

ttfn.