Media Summary: March 2017

 The Upper Nepean (1889) by WC Piguenit

 

Random stuff read online last month:

  • The story of the guys who created Superman (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) is … dramatic (also, Superman as initially conceived, was actually a villain).
  • There’s a lot of crap on YouTube, but also a lot of gold — in this case, the first ever recording of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” (as in, he sits down, says “I’m gonna sing another new one now … I know these new songs, maybe that’s kind of weird”). Five minutes or so, and totally worth it.
  • Bonus: if you like that, here is the equivalent one for “Old Man”. Also, there are no background singers or dancers, or a music video to go along, or special effects of any sort; it’s just him, a guitar and mic. Just saying.
  • File this under the irony or stranger than fiction category; the headline says it all: “Man dies under his six-ton pile of porn magazines”
  • Someone has to remind us that this is the 100th year anniversary of something, so the New York Times does it.
  • The picture at the top is something that randomly popped up because I have a Chrome extension that shows stuff like this.
  • Someone followed an unusually large rabbit hole and found a Templar’s cave. Seriously.
  • I finished slowly re-reading Moby Dick and this piece (”The endless depths of Moby Dick symbolism”) perfectly captures my bewildered mix of feelings (what the **** did I just read?)

The book is nearly impossible to place, to categorize, to hold without feeling the vertiginous swell of its creation. More than any other book, it fills me with awe and dread.

Moby-Dick is about everything, a bible written in scrimshaw, an adventure spun in allegory, a taxonomy tripping on acid. It seems to exist outside its own time … It is so broad and so deep as to accept any interpretation while also staring back and mocking this man-made desire toward interpretation.

What does it mean? There are so many symbols as to render symbols meaningless.

Well, I just try to recommend my little essay to you, as an amusing attempt of a perfect stranger that went astray in the labyrinth of your Ulysses and happened to get out of it again by sheer good luck. At all events you may gather from my article what Ulysses has done to a supposedly balanced psychologist.

Monthly recap: March 2016

Tara’s first library haul

A few miscellaneous highlights:

  • Prepared for a trip to Japan (more on that later) — very smooth application process.
  • Jogged on a treadmill for the first time in five months.
  • Took Tara for her first library trip and checked out some books
  • Installed the “Tinycards” app and memorized basic Hiragana and Katakana
  • Had a picnic brunch with some friends
  • Went to the “Magical Bridge” playground

Things I read or watched:

  • Saw “Manchester by the sea”, “Martian”, and “Moonshine”, via Netflix DVD (that’s how I watch movies these days)
  • Finished listening to “The end of Tsarist Russia” by Dominic Lieven, on Audible
  • Read the “Showa” pair of books by Shigeru Mizuki (quick and fun reading)

Media Summary: January/February 2017

Cahokia (artist’s rendition), across the Mississippi from what is now St. Louis

(I think I missed the entry for January, clubbing that here too …)

So, random stuff read, heard, seen:

And just as Smith’s friend says, this descent to righteousness is a habit—one of those habits of the heart, as Alexis de Tocqueville called them, that are essential to “the maintenance of a democratic republic in the United States.” In a nation founded on the suspicion of authority, in which the state church is no church at all, in which everyone may well be equally right (or just as disastrously wrong), ideologies inevitably wrestle each other to a standstill. But there is no arguing with the person suffering through no fault of his own; he’s been wronged, so he is right. The struggle for the moral high ground becomes, in remarkably short order, a race to the bottom.

  • Cautiously optimistic about a possible forthcoming movie adaption of Dune
  • AtlasObscura has a lot of interesting, weird stuff, like this bit about the “China girl” images that apparently used to be at the beginning of every movie reel.
  • I’ll admit I never knew about the man behind the “Hugo award”; and if you care about the Hugo award at all, you should read this piece, written by James Gleick (yes, that guy); would’ve used this image for the cover if I’d got to this item first.
  • Harry Houdini wasn’t just a great escape artist, he was also a great inventor. Also, secret footage(!)
  • Finally, 38000 year old art.

Monthly recap: February 2016

February was the last month of any formal recovery; my physical therapy came to an end, and I can pretty much do most normal things now (except for climbing down stairs, that’s still a work in progress).

To celebrate my walking without a cast, we went to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose (and ended up getting an annual pass; it remains to be seen whether we end up using it).

The big event of the month was our trip to San Diego (my first after the leg fracture in October), for four days.

We went to the zoo on the first day, which was lucky because after that the next two days had surprisingly stormy weather. We spent a great day at the Children’s Museum the next day, and at my brother’s place the next two days. Much fun was had by all 🙂

Monthly recap: January 2017

I went back to work, and things are slowly (but strangely!) getting back to normal.

I can almost walk up and down stairs, which is the last “normal” barrier. I even dropped Tara to daycare and picked her up.

The big downer of this month was some sort of big “norovirus” attack that all three of us have been down with for the past three weeks, on and off.

One achievement is that I’m slowly becoming a morning person, actually getting a few minutes to sit and think and write before starting the day. Let’s hope it continues!

Media Summary: December 2016

  • This may only be interesting from a curation/archival point of view, but still: the folks at the “Long Now Foundation” (responsible for that big clock) have a “Manual for Civilization”, which is their canonical list of fundamental books as per various Science Fiction authors, artists, etc.
  • I still think people should care about handwriting, so I’m happy when someone agrees with me
  • This is a fertile period for political theories, and one source of explanations is to go all the way back to the mid-century Frankfurt School.
  • You may have never heard of Terence McKenna, but you might still enjoy this selection of quotes by him.

“The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”

“Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology.”

  • I got to know about “Christmas Tree Worms” after seeing the photos someone took on a coral reef dive (there’s no end to weird stuff in the sea).
  • I don’t have time to really play console games any more (sigh!), but I can still drool. Though now I care less about “Call of Duty”, and more about stuff that has a compelling narrative. A leading contender here is “No Man’s Sky”, and here is NPR’s literary perspective on it.
  • Hypertext and interactive fiction is a recent fad of mine, so I found this article interesting, since it asks why we don’t have more hypertexts around (my own explanation is that this branch of fiction migrated from books, to video gaming instead).
  • Finally, I wasn’t sure whether to file this under the ‘science’ or ‘art’ category, and I chose the latter because it just looked so freaking gorgeous: a renaissance-era geometry book! Here is an example:

Notes:

  • List is somewhat in flux because my, um, note-taking system was badly used the last several weeks. There was a lot of other interesting stuff, which is just … lost.
  • A reminder that none of this means anything, it’s a rough catalogue of “some stuff I came across over a month”, that’s all.

Annual recap: 2016

(being a digest of all the monthly recap posts this year)

  • Started running again this year, did the San Francisco Half-Marathon
  • India (New Delhi, Bekal) trip in March
  • Wrote a trippy mini-novel
  • Tara grows up (toys, Duplo, play-doh, chalk)
  • Not a lot of movies/tv (some Midsomer Murders), but some audiobooks
  • Mexico (Puerta Vallarta) trip in June
  • Saw “Finding Nemo” with Tara
  • Weekend staycation in San Francisco in July
  • Started a “write 750 words daily” habit
  • Moved to a new house and sold the old one
  • New York trip in September
  • Fractured left leg in October
  • Did most of a 1000-piece puzzle
  • Recovery and physiotherapy in November and December