lobolance: (Default)
Tasty science in the physics arXiv blog. What if there really is no beginning and no end? No need for hard-to-swallow huge quantities of dark matter? 

The theory could generate some great story ideas at the very least. Perhaps combined with another piece I read, about how stars ring like bells, with their expanding and contracting sunspots...
lobolance: (Default)
not 'just' art. Read the Discovery article. Going to be interesting to see where this goes.

Rob Lee: "In semasiography, the symbols do not represent speech -- such as the cartoon symbols used to show you how to build a flat pack piece of furniture -- and generally do not come in a linear manner."

Note: the posted Hadrian's Wall video on the page has nothing to do with the story. ;-)
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by Clive James.

Go here to read it.

I heard it on the Writer's Podcast today, and it was too good not to share.

[post edited. sigh. too much work to fix.]
lobolance: (My Boots)
(btw, I hereby give up on the leather events review blog, as no one else was posting to it)

Last night, I went (with a couple of kinky compatriots) to a reading event at Femina Potense, a tiny space in the city, on the outskirts of the Castro. We arrived a half hour late (see why below); the event had pretty much just started, unsurprisingly. The room was very much standing room only, and hot (cake was quite unobtainable, until afterwards; I didn't try even then).

The first couple pieces were ok. Midori then came on, and read a very hot (until the very end, for my tastes) futuristic high tech sex/hot vehicle story. Laura Antoniou read the first chapter of a new Marketplace book (yea!!! I can't wait), and Carole Queen read a fantastic older piece, on knife play, with joyful celebration of complex sexuality. All fabulous pieces.

Laura talked about now trying to become a full-time writer, and looking for support. :-) My south bay contingent discussed on the way home how we could pretty easily see putting together an excellent event at the Back Room... (more planning to follow).

Unexpectedly, several other south bay friends were at the reading (in addition to a couple we already knew of). So about nine of us went out for dinner afterwards. We went just down the street to a place called Home, which was really quite good (and able to accomodate us all easily). It was a lot of fun. Combined with the excellent readings, and the lack of a ticket on my car, it made for a worthwhile, fun evening.

The big downside: I left San Jose by about 5:15pm, smack dab in rush hour. The traffic was insane; more of what I would've expected for a Friday night. Dense the entire way. We spent just about exactly one HOUR driving around before we found a place to park (we'd actually more or less given up and were heading back to the freeway when we found a risk-acceptable parking space). My companions and I were strongly reminded why most of us avoid going to the city any more.
lobolance: (Default)
I worked from home yesterday. It was wonderful. Instead of distracting myself a number of time with useless web surfing, I did a handful of tiny household chores when I needed to get up and stretch. The sense of accomplishment, both for work life and home life, was a pleasure.

I go for a couple of walks a day, usually. Yesterday I took one, through my neighborhood. It's old California, bungalows, tree roots pushing at the sidewalk. Visited a tiny florist which turned out to have really staid, boring arrangements. So much for getting flowers there. Walked on. Smiled at an older Latina who was pushing one tot in a stroller and holding a slightly bigger one by the hand; it was great to see her seamed dour face take on a smile. It surprised me!

Kept walking. Round the corner back to my block. I love looking at the yards/gardens; it's a fertile area, and I like to garden. Right now many plants are in there first wave of bloom. I discovered that as much as love austere gardens, what really brings passion in my response is a slightly-overblown garden. And it must have a space for sitting down! If a person can't sit in a place to relax in it, well, that's nearly useless (ok, don't go there :-) ).

So I was walking 'round this one house which had a ton of roses, and an older Japanese man came out. In the midst of him sitting down on his flat little stool, I complimented his roses. He paused half way down to give a surprised smile and a brief word.

That was cool.

I decided a few years back to give as many compliments as I could, for assorted reasons. It's been good. Yesterday, I stretched myself to compliment these folks I normally wouldn't extend more than a polite smile to. It felt good, deeds well done.


What if I had left out the word Latina?

I'm sure the old man was American of Japanese descent. If I had left out 'Japanese' would you have pictured an old white guy? 'Older guy with a stool' would've been an older white guy with a round three-legged stool (at least, if you are essentially white bread American, like me).

Leaving out those words would've made the descriptions a lot less interesting. And a lot of 'meta' info - which makes things feel more real - would be gone. And yet if it had been an old white guy, probably I wouldn't have said so (unless maybe he was clearly Italian or something - all of this is really about my history in some sense...).

So I wonder about race in the play of all of this. It's good to acknowledge the details. Yet doing so points out expectations. Odd stuff. I think the only good response is to always put in as much interesting info as possible. :-)

I do love the diversity of my neighborhood.

Reminded me - *Boston Legal* this week was in part about this sort of thing (sorta); about 'not sounding black'. About how talking about race isn't racism.

Still, I notice.
lobolance: (k/s)
I had a very unexpected and kinda nifty Harlan Ellison track in my Worldcon experience this year.

To start with, yes it was entirely inappropriate (shock value monkey tho he is) for Harlan to grab Connie Willis at the Hugo ceremony. That was not cool. I don't condone it. The man can be an idiot.

I first encountered HE's work when I was in junior high. SF for me started with a few kid's books in grade school (only a very few were to be had!), then I found Asimov in particular by late grade school, and also Heinlein and Clark in early junior high, etc. Great stuff.

Around late junior high, I discovered a bunch of short stories that rocked my world, and gave zing to my ideas about writing (yes I was writing even then). They were by Harlan Ellison. 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream'. 'Pretty Maggie Money Eyes' *Deathbird Stories* and so on and on! (yes I first found him for writing 'City on the Edge of Forever'; *Star Trek* was pretty much the source of everything for me, after all it came on when I was six.)

I'm not exactly sure what convention it was at that I first saw Harlan. Somewhere in Seattle, certainly. A Puget Sound Star Trekker's (PSST) con? An early Norwescon? (I could probably look at my photos and figure it out.)

But I do remember waiting outside the speaker's hall after first seeing him, heart pounding, waiting for an autograph, trying to think of something wise to say. A typical story I know, but still, it's mine. I heard him read works in progress (including the hysterical sex aliens...), rant at the Glass Teat, etc etc. Words!

August 2006. It had been a LONG time since I'd last seen HE at a con. So it was a wonderful surprise when I got the schedule and saw he was gonna be at LAcon, and do a talk. I confess I was initially a bit disappointed by the "lecture"... because it was all stories, answering questions; I'd wanted to hear what was on his mind now, what he was thinking about (criticizing). However, some of the stories were great. I actually felt honored when at the end of the talk he spoke about never being a victim, about choosing action, about writing... Powerful stuff. He said this was likely his last con.

I have some sense of the circle of time, from my early cons (including LAcon2; I wore Reynolds Rat on my backpack, and no one seemed to know who he was....) to now. Harlan spoke of seeing the early greats (like Isaac Asimov) age, and he and his contemporaries moving into the 'most active writers' slots... and now I see him aging (and so of course myself). Not entirely comfortable stuff, but immensely real and human and vital. I still love the way words roll off of his tongue.

I wish him lots of peace and a continued flow of words from his house on the hill.

I loved that, hours after his talk, Harlan still sat behind a long table and signed books and talked with fans. Mr. Prickly. Uh huh.

I loved that he received as well as gave an award (yes again he was an ahole in the process) at the Hugos... and actually seemed touched by it. All told, this was a much happier, more relaxed man than the one I first saw 25 years ago. I am happy for him.

Nostalgia, inspiration, thinking... and a love of words. Thank you for being there, Harlan.

PS Yes I know he was an ahole on stage.


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