Movie/SS/Song Idea

Male torch singer against priest and one who becomes faithful, in high school and a dozen years later, both times at Christmas.

Faded and false piety ('our lost saints')
holy = lonely

Holiday song


The Love of Mother Tongue

I just read an excerpt from a novel forthcoming this October 27th.

It's to be a peculiar book in some ways; twelfth in a sequence of books of an estimated fourteen (three more books!*). The project is interesting in that it generated a substantial following within a certain genre, so much so that a hack's been brought in to finish the series after the untimely death of the author.

And I loathe the hack's use of language as much as I enjoyed the books before. He inverts subject verb order, so that I hear Yoda at inappropriate moments. His metaphors are strained, his characterization daft; the only thing he has going for him is that he can crank things out on schedule.

On a grave personal note, I've nearly run out of new or rereadable fiction in the house. Matters have come to such a sorry pass that I'm tempted to write fiction. The only thing I can see in the way of me losing all sense and decency via the naked page is if someone lends me lots of good books.**

*Something of an in joke. The original author it seems has claimed that he'd need only three more books to finish the series for the last ten books.

**Due to unavoidable delays in the arrival of my stipend, the local libraries are out of the question.



Perhaps the most inspiring thing I've seen in the last quarter.

"And something very unusual happens. That fixed behavior--which is rigged and stereotyped and usually ends up with a meal--changes. ... And an incredible ballet begins. ... They are beginning to do something that neither would have done without the play signals."
"John mentioned that I've done some work with murderers."

"It doesn't have a particular purpose, and that's what's so great about play. If the purpose is more important than the act of doing it, it's probably not play."

"[M]anipulation of objects is the hand in search of a brain. The brain is in search of a hand, and play is the medium by which those two are linked in the best way."




The plural of anecdote is not data.


One Thing

If there is no other thing you take from my words, now or ever, receive this: the great question of your life is your response to what the universe presents to you.

I call the motions in history toward the Best 'acts of God,' and seek to join in them. I want to be part of the work of the best, even if my only work is to stay out of the way as the Best unfolds and fulfills itself. Remember that "they also serve who only stand and wait."

Your response might be a question. 'Why, god?' seems to be a common one.

Your response might be a complaint, or a curse.

Your response might be a deed of mercy, an act of compassion, a thought, a song, or a whisper.

My point is that any of these can be good or ill, depending on what is necessary to the best. If one dedicates oneself to the best as one knows, and the God who knows and wills the Best (the God who loves, the Beloved), then one is usually on to a true, good, and beautiful response.

Above all, I charge you, constant reader: remember that your response may be informed but can not be mediated by the actions of others. I call the response to the world that one embraces the Best, worship. I declare this of worship: that the one thing it cannot be is stereotyped or simply copied. If it were so, one could not exist, because one would be unnecessary to the ultimately efficient Great Work.



So Cory Doctorow wrote this great book called Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town.

There's this wonderful quotation from that novel:

Have you read all of these?” Alan asked as he shifted the John Mortimers down one shelf to make room for the Ed McBains.

“Naw,” she said, punching him in the shoulder. “What’s the point of a bunch of books you’ve already read?”

Actually it's quotations from the novel, because of reincorporation, but you get the idea.

Best Regards, Constant Reader,

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who watches the Watchmen?

Who watches the Watchmen?

Who watches the watchmen?

A simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice, although consider yourself free to amplify.


Esaay on Gray Introduction

Sing to me, O Muse, of Precious Balance, of Judgement hard won, of the Tao of metis

The hall of Elrond's house was filled with many folk . . . .

Frodo looked at them in wonder, for he had never before seen Elrond, of whom so many tales spoke; and as they sat upon his right hand and his left, Glorfindel, and even Gandalf, whom he thought he knew so well, were revealed as lords of dignity and power.

Gandalf was shorter in stature than the other two; but his long white hair, his sweeping silver beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. In his aged face under great snowy brows his dark eyes were set like coals that could leap suddenly into fire.
J. R. R. Tolkien, quoted from The Lord of the Rings, Book 2, Many Meetings

I was chatting (in the technological sense) with some friends last night [this two years and gone], and remarked that my hair had grayed since last they saw me, December. It being now March [N.B. of 2007], I was vehement at the change. A gracious lady made remark that graying (actually whitening, I read in wikipedia) distinguishes men.

Which is the common observation of early 21st culture. At least in the industrialized world, and I suspect uniformly. Gray hair on a man signifies wisdom, victorious struggle, and dignity. On the other hand a woman's gray hair simply means she isn't young. Which, at least in this pleasure driven cultures that value objects, means she doesn't have one of the two qualities of worth to a woman. And of course that she's likely quickly losing the other: beauty.

(I dissent with the notion that age must rest ungraciously on women. I think we can see the beauty of potential: a young girl or small gazelle or budding gardenia; and the beauty of fulfillment: a mature woman or grizzled wapiti or withered wreath.)

Perhaps it is a specific and concrete achievement to notice, to appreciate the beauty, the good of each thing.


Bluegrass Last Friday

I don't know what they were called, but some folks played music for me at the Blue Bagel (a local coffee shop) Friday.

They were--well they played murder ballads. Need I write more?


DAPPO: To set goals well. Also, a note on planning.

When setting goals,

Objective Fulfilment

We never show values, vision, mission, objectives, or goals to anyone unless they ask to see them so they can help. Principle: It is better to

underpromise and overdeliver.

An inferior man speaks and does not act.
A good man's acts accord with his speech.
A superior man acts, and his actions speak for him.


5 Levels of Communication ala Powell

My paraphrase:

I. Phatic (Cliches)
II. Factual
III. Evaluative (Opinions, I believe statements, I think statements)
IV. Emotive (Gut, Conviction, I feel statements, I want statements)
V. Communal or Peak (Needs, perforce Vulnerabilities)

"If you are on fire, folks will come to watch you burn." - paraphrase of Dale Calvert, in his blog post about public speaking referencing the five levels.

So, when I speak to you, I notice, I know, I think, I believe, I feel, I desire, and I need all at once. In fact, I do all these things all the time every conscious moment of each day.

With the possible exception of believing. I'm understanding "beliefs" psychologically here, to mean mental structures somewhere in the no man's land between thoughts and feelings. That is, beliefs are neither evanescent impressions, like feelings; nor chains binding assumptions and propositions, like logical thinking.

Mood is a close word to what I mean here. A belief is abiding like a mood, but may include rather more thoughts. In fact, a belief might be simply a coupling of mood and thought--not merely what I think about something, but what I intend to do about it because ... . If one follows the linked causes all the way to their root, one will find somewhere a transition from objective statements to normative statements, and it is this transition that I find beliefs. At the interface of fact and feeling as it were.


Stolen from Vincent

Captured here.

2009-01-23 : Making Stuff
Learned from Ben.

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
1) I make no guarantees that you will like what I make;
2) It'll be done this year;
3) You have no clue what it's going to be. It could be anything but it will most likely be made of paper;
4) I will probably make something pretty nerdy.

If you post, you must agree to spread this sort of "meme" only if you actually want to, rather than paying attention to the instructions for spreading.

And ... Done!

A caveat to make this Willish:

You must mail me in addition to posting a comment, if a couple of weeks have gone by with no response in the comments thread for this.


Growing Pains

Being an open letter to those experiencing some vagaries of discomfort, having exceeded the design specifications of homo sapiens sapiens:

The body that clothes your soul, your sense of feeling and fact and your vehicle of physical expression, arose out of some specific pressures over a few million years. It historically is called upon to outrun wolves by fifty miles a day and outfight the tigers whose teeth are swords. It is strong to these tasks, and lives on--is fueled by--stories and meaning, meat and nuts and berries, beauty, kith and kin (these last called commonly your tribe).

Traditionally it has perished with use at the ripe old age of thirty and five. Having, by the by, a stomach full of intesinal parasites, a head empty of teeth and cruel, cold, practiced wisdom.

Therefore, if you have over or radically underused these capacities, it will not be unusual if your body's instruments, your feelings, tell you from time to time that something is terribly,terribly wrong. Something usually is.

And even if there isn't, your body thinks you need something to complain about just to keep in practice anyway.




The first one, called Reps, is somehow immensely pleasing to me.

I imagine it's partly the melding of loveliness and determination in the woman, but the music is shockingly delightful to me as well.

Why He Isn't a Very Good Friend

I have only really really liked a few musicians' work. I remember having an immoderate love for Tchaikovsky when I was a child. I grew to love Bach, Stravinsky, and Rachmaninov.

Then I hit puberty. Five years passed, during which little of note to our story occured, and then there was Evanescence.

I had known folks who fanatically followed, who changed their lifestyles to reflect the culture of the band. I never thought I would even come close to that level of commitment.

Oh, but Amy Lee's wistful soprano made short work of that. Although I didn't ever change my lifestyle, so began and enduring love of goth girls.

Then a friend of mine introduced me to Andrew Peterson, an explicitly Christian poet and novelist, whose primary expression is writing terribly, wonderfully true songs.

More recently, an unfriend of mine pointed out Priscilla Ahn to me for

a listen. While I don't think she'll turn out to be quite as major as Andrew or Amy, she definitely appeals to my weakness for dark haired women who sing.

Which is why my friend Chris is a bad, bad man. No one should have a haunting temptress lowered on himm like a boom.

So beware of Chris Newton. He might introduce you to some winsome singer who alters your worldview.

New Words, Same Heard Voice(s)

I had no idea how self indulgent my identification with the Prince in Black might be until a good man was asking me about this space the last quarter of last year. Thus I must change my splash text for this blog.

I was reminded that is not, in fact, easy to be green the day before yesterday, and thus--

Old and bust3d:

Actually, the quote from Hamlet is:

If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.

New and shiny:

Being Subtitled: The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me (link to song to follow)


One Thousand Hours

Either we see another day, or we don't.

I have fifty odd years to live, statiscally speaking. I should plan for that time; if I endure so long, the time will pass anyway whether I am intentional in my use of it or not.

A friend of mine started playing guitar when he was thirteen. He's thirty three now, and he estimates he's got 23,000 hours or so logged on guitar. It shows.

In one thousand hours I might:

*learn to please myself calligraphically
*finish the first draft of a novel
*write a cycle of sonnets or songs
*finish and produce a game, from soup to nuts (or apple to egg, as the Romans said)
*read a couple hundred novels
*watch all the movies I must for my Master's in Creative, as well as make my own forty minute film
*work half a year full time (40/168 h per week)

What could you do, if you started now?

Remember, you can't start, except where you are.