Off to Burning Man in 8 hours. Before then, shower and sleep. See y’all in a couple of weeks, when I regain access.
Archive for August, 2003
Someone called my attention to this article. Very much worth reading.
Untrue, of course. In 28 hours, I’m driving out from Los Angeles toward Reno. There I pick up friends and, after a shopping stop, we drive on until Burning Man.
To say I’m excited doesn’t begin to cover it. This is my first, and likely only, time there. I’ve been told to plan nothing, so I’ve planned nothing — except for making an extended trip to a copy shop, and packing survival gear. I’ll be there with friends who matter.
I am oddly more sad about leaving here than I ever thought I would be. Mom and I will miss each other; overall we had many more good days than bad.
I’ll miss granny, too, and am sad to think that she may not recognize me when I see her again in a few months. Memories will keep me company, though, the most recent among them from yesterday. Driving over to the doctor’s for what turned out to be a four-and-a-half-hour visit, I was flipping through radio stations and eventually settled on one playing classic rock. Grandma was indifferent to the music… until I noticed her tapping her fingers along to Sunshine of Your Love.
When I was just starting out with this humanities computing doctorate idea, one of my advisers-to-be sat me down and provided me with a list of books that I was to read before we could speak to each other about anything. Orality and Literacy was the first among them. Much like Matt, I found myself nodding to what seemed were my own past instincts about literature and other word-based communication suddenly articulated on paper. Ong’s arguments keep making their way back into my own, as starting points for discussion, provocations for thought. I am deeply thankful that he lived and wrote.
[Wrote this during the blackout, was utterly unable to post it, made the connection to being unable to retrieve my e-mail, checked others' blogs for news, hunh! half the east coast is blacked out, and I'm blissfully unaware. Of course, had ifMUD been up, I'd have found out in no time; but it, as my 'net space provider's servers, lives in New York City.]
Just yesterday I wrote the following in an e-mail:
“I’m doubting myself heavily, finding myself restating others’ truths over and over again, not saying anything new. I draw parallels that others have not drawn, but don’t feel that this is enough. It’s difficult to have faith in this monster project while in the midst of it, while unable to see the whole, the whole does not exist yet. I return again and again to the thought that I’m much better suited for the role of facilitator, or feeder of the masses, creator of an environment in which cool things happen; not one who makes cool things happen. This makes me sad.
“I cannot wait [to be back home], but will come back to an unreal backlog of work, and fear that I will drown in it. I will cancel my digicablemodem ‘net service from home, as an attempt to create some quiet inside my head…”
Today, while driving back from an errand that took an hour and a half instead of the fifty minutes it should have, I saw a police car with a rainbow sticker on it. It was like someone had suddenly shone the sun on my abysmal mood: there’s hope for tolerant humans yet, hmm? I thought nothing more of it, until Joseph Campbell shone his eyes at me from the TV screen and spoke about following your bliss in a rebroadcast of The Power of Myth on a public television station. The universe is telling me something again.
All the cool kids are doing it, especially of late. Looking at others’ photos, I realized that the 381 diigtal pictures taken by myself and Talan on this summer’s Providence –> Los Angeles road trip are still sitting around mostly unsorted. That’s just the digital, too: haven’t developed the Real Film yet, so no count on that.
Here’s one, anyway. I was playing with the macro feature on Talan’s camera, and got into photographing flowers. The light specks in the center of this one are… well, I’ve my own theory as to what they are; but wild speculation is encouraged. Click on the image to get a larger version.
Gregory Hines is dead. At 57, of cancer. For goodness’ sake.
Well, I wasn’t planning to take a hiatus this long, but there we are. The past month was spent too busy living to update; now, the schedule has calmed a bit, although I’m not sure how long that’ll last. In 15 days, I’m off to Burning Man, and after that will drive back to Providence with a friend. Although there’ll be a bit of a rush to get back to the place H.P. Lovecraft called home, I’m looking forward to several days in a car with Andy, chatting and eating fruit and listening to music. Plus, he can drive too. Big plus.
Right. So what’s happened? The whole last half of July another friend was houseguesting here from Britain. He’d never been to Los Angeles; this was Jon’s second ever time in the States. We took advantage of relative freedom of action and did the following:
- allowed ourselves to be attached to hard bodysuits and harnesses for the privilege of being hoisted Really High Up by a rope, our bodies parallel to the ground. After which he pulled on a string and we hurtled forward and down, swinging at “up to 60 miles per hour.” There were two of us in this thing (maximum is three), and at the end of the first swing we had gone so far forward that for a few moments we were suspended vertically in the air many meters above ground. It was quite easily the best thing I’ve ever experienced in an amusement park.
- hiked up a little residential hill to see a house built like a Mayan temple, which was used in the filming of Blade Runner.
- watched several movies. Rented Blade Runner and Christopher Nolan’s Following on DVD. That last one was excellent. Beautifully shot, good use of black-and-white, good acting. Also saw Tomb Raider 2, god help me (no, it really wasn’t *that* bad, indeed I quote enjoyed myself, but would’ve never gone to see it on my own), as well as Chicago which, to be fair, received a lukewarm review from Jon.
- shopped in a good bookstore in Venice Beach, in which I bought my first Harry Mathews book. Human Country is a good solid collection of short stories. I like Harry Mathews enough that I would say I’ll seek his work out some more, except that realistic expectations of dissertation workload prevent me from making foolish promises.
- lounged about the house. glorious.
- took an afternoon to lounge on the beach in Malibu. Cold, cold ocean water and warm sun, with burritos afterwards which were so good, even Adam might have approved of them.
- attended a João Gilberto concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Be still my beating heart! That man seems in love with his guitar, still, after all these years.
- spent time at the Getty Center, where I gawked most of all at the medieval bookmaking exhibit and all the manuscripts. You’d think I’d have gotten this fascination out of my system by now, but no.
- went to Las Vegas. Another thing I’d never have done on my own, but this is the way to do it: with a Briton fascinated by its gaudy Americana, whose comments make you laugh even when it’s ungodly-hot, at midnight.
Good visit, that was. My grandmother thought he was great, and was duly impressed with his obscure mathematics book. Every morning, they re-introduced themselves to each other. (sigh.)
Besides this, I’ve been working on an online journal (of which I’m the techincal editor – watch this space for the grand opening), and on a book review. As well as cooking, cleaning and taking grandma to sundry doctors. Mom’s away on a well-deserved week-long vacation, and I do hope that she’s having a fabulous time. It’s quiet here.