20 February 2016

see jane run

from betsy smith's "a tree grows in brooklyn":

For quite a while, Francie had been spelling out letters, sounding them and then putting the sounds together to mean a word. But, one day, she looked at a page and the word "mouse" had instantaneous meaning. She looked at the word, and a picture of a gray mouse scampered through her mind. She looked further and when she saw "horse," she heard him pawing the ground and saw the sun glint on his glossy coat. The word "running" hit her suddenly and she breathed hard as though running herself. The barrier between he individual sound of each letter and the whole meaning of the word was removed and the printed word meant a thing at one quick glance. She read a few pages rapidly and almost became ill with excitement. She wanted to shout it out. She could read! She could read!

i'm guessing you can read, now, since this blog isn't braille. do you remember not being able to read? i do not. i know there must have been a time when i could not read and could only follow along dumbly whilst being read to, but... i do not recall how that felt.

that said, i am amazed by language. i mean, think about it. here we have a group of 26 symbols that are put together in varying combinations to stand for nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs, and then these words are combined into strings which follow a set of grammar rules we've all consciously or subconsciously agreed to resulting in descriptions of people and places and things and feelings and actions, all with their varying degrees and conditions. and, not only are we building these -- we are sharing them. and not only are we building and sharing them -- we are gleaning meaning from them.


i mean, sure, fire was a great invention, but c'mon. communication is the bomb.

see jane run.

reading that, did you get a picture in your mind? if not, try again.

see jane run.

did you get a picture that time? wild, isn't it. some lines and dots on the screen caused a picture to form in your mind!

imaginotransference. that's jasper fforde's word for what happens when you read. from his book "well of lost plots":

Books may look like nothing more than words on a page from the Outland, but they are actually an infinitely complex Imaginotransference technology that interfaces the writer's imagination with the characters and plots so that it will make sense in the reader's mind - odd inky squiggles into pictures and emotions.

he's nailed it, hasn't he.

see jane run. jane's six years old, and she favors pink tee shirts paired with purple shorts. she dressed in just such a pairing today, and since it's over 80°, she's barefoot. the dandelions are thick in her backyard, but that doesn't slow her down. her stringy brown shoulder-length hair is pasted to her temples by the same sweat that's turning the red north georgia clay-dust to grime in the creases of her neck. she dashes to the treeline, strikes a pine trunk, and dashes back to the cracked aggregate porch over and over and over again. when she is running, she feels happy, and she imagines that if she could, she would run all the time.

as poorly as i may have depicted it, did you see jane run?

for your sake, i hope that you did.

13 February 2016

time travel: a couple of Qs

currently reading "outlander" by diana gabaldon. i'm a bit late to the party, the book having published 25 years ago, but hell, better late than never, am i right?

outlander is a story about a woman who steps through a stone circle and is transported from 1945 scotland to 1743 scotland. it's exciting enough and all, but i'm not here to talk about outlander. i'm here to talk about time travel.

whenever someone goes back in time -- e.g., every freaking story ever written about going back in time -- the time travelers are explicitly warned by whatever expert gave them the spell, charm, potion, hex, talisman, ring, powder, amulet, or incantation to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE PAST. they are so terrifically, frighteningly, precisely, plainly, unequivocally warned that the fact that we are to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE PAST whenever we visit the past is common knowledge. i mean, it's knowledge so common that babies are born knowing it.



except, in outlander. apparently, no one told li'l claire beauchamp not to change the past, because she never considers this as she merrily tromps through the mid-eighteenth century. i mean, at the rate she is going, there's an excellent chance that she is going to do something that will result in her never having been born.

and what then? if she does something in the 200-year past that precludes her birth, does she spontaneously disappear from the past? or, is her extant self somehow retained, in its past incarnation?

while we're at it, if she changes something in the past, wouldn't the residual ripples of change result in a changed 1945 that is not experienced as "changed" at all by anyone in 1945 because the change occurred 200 years previously?

08 February 2016

of photographs and memories

02.04.2016 - facebook turned 12 years old, and like any little jr high schooler, it got all dramatic. on it's birthday, facebook introduced a video stitch feature you can use to turn your photo album into an automated slide show. who doesn't like a slide show?? nothing like a trip down everyfreakingbody's memory lane.

thing about pictures is that they are flat and soulless. the only life that pictures have is the life our memories imbue them with.

like, i have on my phone a snapshot of the view from a seat in a football stadium. it's not much to look at -- crowds milling around, some people in their seats, orange-clad marching band on a green field, bright sun in the big blue sky. it's marked by nothing moreso than its normalcy - it couldn't be more like another 50,000 such pics. but to ME, it's special. i look at that shot and remember... the adrenalin-juiced giddiness of having just jumped off the money cliff and spent more on a pair of scalped tickets than we'd normally pay for a pair of shoes... the thrill of hunting just the right souvenir, trekking from merch stand to merch stand tracking the dwindling supply of logo caps, constantly one step behind until (joy and relief!) we obtain what could be the very last one... being surrounded by our team's fans, boisterous and confident as the overdogs, certain of impending victory before the game'd even begun... the pressing heat of the too-close florida sun, rendering me dazed and bleary, so hot and with my bronchitis so recent that i could close my eyes and drift into sleep, right there in the midst of the madding crowd...

to you, it's just another picture of just another pre-game stadium, but to me, it evokes specific layers of emotion and experience that combine to form a unique memory. when i look at that picture, i can still feel the echo of that good, good day.

that's why we like so much to look at our own pictures and couldn't care less about each other's. that's why being subjected to vacation slides is such a well-known metaphor for dazzling boredom. i mean, i might look at your pics and be all, great, great, looks wonderful, but all i can think is how boring you are and how lucky i am not to be you.


you know you are thinking the same thing about me.

02 February 2016

caucyou caucme caucus

do you want to talk about politics? i mean, the iowa caucuses were last night, so it's hot on everyone's mind.

on the democratic side, hillary clinton and bernie sanders finished in a dead heat. they're both claiming victory, because of course they are, but it was a tie. there was some other guy in it as well, but he got like three votes, so he's done. it's down to those two and it'll be interesting to see who ends up as the nominee. bernie's offering free everything - free college, free health care, free puppies. problem is, there is no such thing as "free" - someone has to pay for it. if he becomes president, he will have his work cut out for him finding people to pay for all the shit he's promising. and, he's got to know that, you know? he's got to know that he's promising the moon with no way to get there. interesting. we'll see.

on the republican side, there are myriad candidates and the finish was dispersed a bit, but three tentative leaders emerged: ted cruz, marco rubio, and donald trump. (if you are time travelling from 2004, yes: donald trump, the goofball with the wonky rug and that new "apprentice" television show. i know, right??) none of them are promising free stuff, but that's republicans for you. stingy bastards.

here's something i want to know: what's the difference in a caucus and a primary? according to diffen.com (tagline: "compare anything") --

"Unlike a primary, where residents simply cast their ballots, a caucus is a local gathering where voters openly decide which candidate to support. The caucus format favors candidates who have a dedicated and organized following because a small band of devoted volunteers can exert an outsized influence in the open setting of a caucus."

well, now. "outsized influence" implies it's bigger than it should be. just because the band of devoted followers is small doesn't mean the influence should not be big, if you see what i mean. if the message is clear and applicable to the larger group, then the influence is more rightsized that outsized. the influence might seem bigger than the group exerting it because the group's number is small, but since the influence is pushing a message that already matches the needs of the larger group, this lessens the influence-requirement of the smaller group. i mean, if the message already matches, then they have to push less to get their way. it's not a greater influence they are exerting, it's a small influence that is just enough to push the larger group into their way of thinking precisely because the larger group is already almost there.

see what i mean?

i wish we had caucuses where i live.

01 February 2016

picture pages, picture pages, time to get our picture pages!

SNOW! they say that patches of snow like this are waiting around for more snow, but i am pretty sure this patch was just waiting around to die.

this doesn't look like much in the picture, and admittedly, it's just a storm drain, but it was making a really delightful water-flowing-over-rocks sound. use your imagination!

i don't know about the place where you live, but around here, there are these little cemetaries like everywhere. you'll run up on them in the woods and by the side of the road and like, literally, everywhere. this particular historic cemetary holds none other than a revolutionary war general. you'd think he'd get more respect than a broken down sign behind the galleria.

more delightful storm drainage - you can almost HEAR the waterfall!

random piece of fence. there is no other fence along the sidewalk anywhere. why is there a piece of fence here? is it holding something in or keeping something out?

this is a retaining wall, but it's generally hidden by trees and completely overlooked so i thought i'd give it some props. nice job, wall!

okay, it is really, really hard to see, but there is a man made structure back in the woods! what could it be?? it looks sort of like a viaduct.

again, hard to see, but this is another structure. it's a small spring-house that pre-dates the galleria. talk about not getting any respect, jeez, not even a sign!

now, THERE's a sign! ....*snerk*