Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Henry Darger

After posting the link about the 15,000 page novel yesterday I just couldn't let it go. This is the Internet! Surely someone has posted that whole ridiculous masterpiece online. Well, sadly, so far no luck. Maybe on the Dark Web? [kidding]

I did, however, learn more about Henry Darger himself. Holy crap, people! I felt like I was reading the synopsis of a Criminal Minds episode. And the book, aside from the length, is probably not something I would want to read but I still kind of want to read it anyway. Lost or inaccessible works really stir up my curiosity, not to mention some minor outrage at being denied access to something I'm curious about.

The book by John MacGregor, mentioned in the article, is $200 at Amazon so that's not happening either.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Just a Few Links

Long Reads - I discovered this excellent site via Twitter. It has longish articles on a variety of topics.

Henry Darger's 15,000 Page Novel - I have a strange thing for big books. I have actually read books because they are long. But a 15,000 page novel? Well, yes, I want to give it a try. I probably will never get the chance though. I have checked both Amazon and Project Gutenberg. [Sad, pouty face]

Snow Sculpture Battle in Tokyo - Nice, lots of Star Wars stuff.

Vintage Store Front Mosaics - I love these. It makes me sad that nobody does this anymore and few people are interested in saving the ones that still exist.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Current Media Obsession and Other Random Semi-related Thoughts

Have you ever noticed that the media can't seem to handle more than one social outrage at a time? How long has it been since you heard anything about Black Lives Matter? The MSM have gleefully dropped this and other topics and embraced one that they find much more interesting and, perhaps surprisingly, safe - sexual harassment. Now I'm not saying this isn't an important issue to address but the attention it's getting compared to other equally or even more important issues... Well, I want to call it astounding but we all know this is how the media operates so it's really no surprise at all.

It has slowed down somewhat but for a while it seemed like every day another famous man was revealed as a harasser. We have been on pins and needles wondering what beloved actor we will have to start hating tomorrow. But we are never given any details. Was it rape? Was it groping? Was it inappropriate comments or overly aggressive flirting? Exactly how much hate and outrage is appropriate? And is forgiveness ever possible?

I have never experienced anything like sexual harassment. It would be too easy, and not at all fair, for me to talk about my life and what kind of person I am in connection with this subject. Girls of my generation were taught that if you dress modestly and act like a lady men will treat you with respect and it seems that it worked for me but to make this assumption ignores the fact that other women have experienced sexual harassment in spite of following the rules. Personally, I think it's comparable to the old saying about locks - that they only keep out honest people. Just as a thief will still break into your house or car in spite of locks, not even a burka will slow down a true scum bag.

What doesn't get talked about much is respect, or the lack of it. Sexual harassment is just much farther along the same spectrum of disrespect as condescension and mansplaining. (No, I'm not saying they're equivalent. Pay attention.) Sexual harassment and sexual violence are more widespread than most people realized but the underlying disrespect is even more widespread. It would be nice to think that the light that is currently being shone on the problem of harassment will lead to bringing an end to it but unless something is done about disrespect for women little will change.

If you are a woman you have been condescended to and mansplained to, and if you challenge the man who does this he will invariably react with hurt and outrage. I firmly believe that the vast majority of men do not even realize that they are doing it. If you point it out to them they will righteously swear that they were "just talking" and go away convinced that "you just can't talk to women" or some such dismissive thoughts.

I don't have any hope that things will ever really change. There's a small, stubborn, old-fashioned part of me that feels life was easier when men were free to condescend unchallenged and women laughed and talked among ourselves about how immature men are and what fragile egos they have and "you just have to let them think they're in charge" and all that sort of talk. But that fails to acknowledge all the horrible things that were swept under the rug in those days. We have to keep shining the light, even when it hurts to look.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ursula LeGuin

It was all over Twitter last night - Ursula LeGuin has died at age 88. I have only read three of her books: The Dispossessed, The Word for World is Forest and The Left Hand of Darkness. I liked them all well enough but was never especially motivated to read more so I guess I'm not a huge fan. What's sad about it for me is that I have reached the age when all the people who have been icons for my whole life are dying. Of course they are because they're all older than me but it's not that easy to be logical about it.

Anyway, maybe I will finally get around to reading the Earthsea Trilogy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This 'n' That

A really unusual place to hang a chandelier

I need this today. But with a less thorny kind of plant.

Women on Bicycles - 19th century posters and interesting history

Okay, so apparently it is possible to anesthetize plants.

The coolest memo pad ever and I want one. Not much space to write notes though when you get past the first sheets.

New Google app is cool but needs a little more work.

Probably more than you ever wanted to know about blood types

The Star Wars opening crawl? Flash Gordon did it first, in 1940.

In case you're not already creeped out enough about voice commands

You've probably already heard about the sandwich that was smuggled into space but it's so delightful I can't resist sharing. If you're like me you probably assumed that NASA security was so tight nobody could ever get away with anything.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Time Lapse

I heard this on the radio a few days ago - beautiful and serene, with a hint of drama.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Reading List

As if I really need more books to read, here are 95 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in 2018. I haven't finished reading the list yet but already I have found a few that interest me.

Stars Uncharted, S.K.Dunstall
QUIETUS, by Tristan Palmgren
Free Chocolate, by Amber Royer
Outpost, by W. Michael Gear

Well, that's certainly a good start. Now, to read the rest of the list.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Brains Are Weird...

... but sometimes mine is awesome. Last night (or this morning) I dreamed an entire Star Trek series that never existed. I wish I could remember more of the details. There was an android character named Data but it wasn't Data and that confused us (I was watching with my son) so I grabbed the remote and looked at the "info" and the first aired date on it was 1965 and that confused us even more because the technology and decor was more Next Generation era but I noticed that the uniforms were original series style uniforms except they were all blue. I think the captain was female, which would be wrong for 1965. So, because of all that, at some point I realized I was dreaming.

Like I said, I can't remember many details. There was something going on on a beautiful planet, something involving a river. There was also a spectacular view of an ocean. Wherever it is I kind of want to go there for real. In the dream it was like I was there. Even though I knew I was just watching it on TV I was also in it somehow? You know how dreams are. Anyway... that's what my weird brain came up with last night. I'm really disappointed that I probably won't get to see any more episodes.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hello 2018

So 2018 is finally here. I am neither happy nor especially unhappy about that. Years that end in 8 are the years I turn an age that ends in 0 and this year it's going to be a big, ugly one. I'm still not done being freaked out about turning 50 ten years ago in May. But honestly, it seems too unreal to have any strong feelings about it. I don't quite believe it yet. I think after a certain age (say, 45?) we should no longer be required to know how old we are. We should be allowed to say, "I'm 45 plus," and put 45+ on official forms and documents.

Other than that, new years don't mean much to me. It's totally arbitrary. It's just the day when we start a new calendar. Not that I don't think about it at all. But I just can't get very excited about it. The last time I got excited about a new year was 2000 but the new millennium has turned out to be, mostly, a big disappointment.

I've always sort of thought it's weird that the new year starts in January. It should be the first day of spring, or, if you want to keep the months the same, March 1st. Or maybe April 1st. On the other hand, Having it a week after Christmas does feel like a good end to the big holiday season - a way of formally "getting back to normal".

So that's it. Life is getting back to normal, whatever that means in 2018. Normal is always changing you know. I want to blog more, I kind of miss it, but I don't know if I will. Maybe two or three people are even reading this and I have trouble feeling motivated without at least a small audience. Aside from that, I'm not sure I have much to say that's worth the time. Mine or yours. I do, sometime in the next few days or week, want to say a little about the last half dozen books I read. If I can get motivated.

But anyway, happy New Year to all of you who are into that sort of thing.