Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

11/25/2003

Reload.

So I'm teaching myself TADS, the Text Adventure Development System. An object oriented programming language designed specifically for interactive fiction. One of the biggies. Why are you learning this, you might ask, besides the fact that you're bat shit crazy? Good question. It's not easy. No, especially for a brain as, er, nonlogical as mine. But, after completing two works of IF in ALAN (yes, that's its name), which is much easier (not being object oriented at all), I like some of the possibilities that a more robust langauge can give. E.g., making standalone games (e.g., an .exe for the PC)--nice ease of use for IF-novices. There's also ability to imbed HTML, sounds and graphics in the games, which can be very useful, though god knows I feel at least weeks away from figuring that out.

Plus, most importantly, there's the fact that, with a deeper syntax--there's greater opportunities to teeter on wrecking said syntax. OK, so I've already written a game in first person plural. It went pretty well for what it was worth. But hopefully that's the tip of the deepverb iceberg.

"It looks like an ordinary to me."

11/21/2003

Best quote from a review of Cat in the Hat, from the Boston Globe:

"If the producers had dug up Ted Geisel's body and hung it from a tree, they couldn't have desecrated the man more."

Just to give you an idea of how obscenely bad most people consider the movie to be, on Metacritic, Gigli received a composite score (from nation-wide critics) of 19. Cat in the Hat received a 17.

That empty Myers leer, desperate to product placement his teeth into the corpse.

11/19/2003

I'm surprised how solid the latest Blur album is. I really expected to hate it. I guess that's all I have in the tank today. 1 post a day keeps

11/18/2003

See Tomb Raider needlepoint. Cradle of life this, Angelina.

Confused Analogies, But...

Let's say there's this evolutionary Wallace Line separating different nonrealistic genres. Continental drift has meant a diversification of species that are nonetheless connected vestigally (Latin American magic realism to urban fantasy to East European folklore, etc). Suddenly you have an airplane moving between different biospheres. You can go back and forth! But you don't necessarily dwell on the fact that you can go back and forth. It's a technology. It's more a matter of what you do when you land--how challenging yourself as a writer has transformative and even political (small letter p, as in dwelling in the polis) properties. And rather than hauling these weird animals to the zoo, you try to develop relationships with the people who are already living with and tending to the weird animals and ecospheres. Who are probably more interesting than the people you meet at airports. You have to resist the taxonomic urge, the itch under the skin to canonize. So, finally, all of these layers fall away so that in the end, there really is only one big biosphere. Then the moral and aesthetic questions shift to where everyone has a stake, writer or not--and airplane travel doesn't allow you to escape from your own fragility as a human being. (Everyone is under the same umbrella, trying to stay out of the rain.)

Is it pleasure flights over the pretty landscape or airdropping medicine or landing come hell or high water?

11/17/2003

Jim Munroe's interactive fiction Punk Points is a barrel of anarchic laughs.

Contemplating writing fake poems about farms for the State Arts board.

11/14/2003

Ariadne's Thread/Threat

"I had thought the writer must first have it all in his head and only then put it into words, but no. I began to see how it was really excitingly done: You wrote from what you didn't know to whatever could be picked up in the act." (Coolidge)
*
"If it is plausible that ideology will in general serve as a mask for self-interest, then it is a natural presumption that intellectuals, in interpreting history or formulating policy, will tend to adopt an elitist position, condemning popular movements and mass participation in decision-making, and emphasizing rather the necessity for supervision by those who possess the knowledge and understanding that is required (so they claim) to manage society and control social change…." (Chomsky)

(Quotes from Joe Ahearn's article "The Freedom Principle: First Notes Toward a Poetics of Liberation")

11/13/2003

In case you haven't heard, the Ann Arbor Borders is on strike.

This article in the Michigan Daily points to the wage and benefit deterioration:

When I started at Borders in 1991, the starting wage was $6 per hour with semi-annual raises (usually totaling 6 percent), quarterly profit-sharing checks (usually the equivalent of two weeks’ pay), 12 personal days and seven paid holidays a year, two weeks paid vacation and a good health benefits package. This compensation model encouraged people to stay and master the craft of bookselling; the company’s commitment to its employees helped Borders become one of the best and most profitable independent bookstores in the world.

In 2003, the starting wage is $6.50 per hour with one raise a year (usually about three percent), the number of personal days has dropped to nine and profit-sharing is but a distant memory. Workers routinely take a second (or third) job to make ends meet. I doubt executive compensation packages have suffered similar erosion. By way of comparison, Chief Executive Officer Greg Josephowicz makes approximately $586 per hour.


Well, at least this type of wage deterioration isn't happening in any other service industries. And at least our president isn't shifting the tax burden away from wealth onto work.

So, boycott Borders. I admit, since I live in the styx, Borders is the closest bookstore and I'd go there. But now, no thanks. This is a crucial instance of "artists without Borders". (maybe about 25-30% of my readers will get that?)

11/12/2003

In other news, this is what your television thinks about you.

11/11/2003

Meanwhile, while the readership for poetry, rather than actually buying poetry, is forced to spend lots of money on the arbitrary right to have a manuscript recycled for the small fee of $30. And the rest of America lurches towards its own self-modulated variable penny dreadfuls. Note: There are no poets in these market segmentations. They don't "count." Rather than channeling their (small amounts of) capital into worthwhile, (even slightly) transformative enterprises, the poetry reader/writership embroils itself in a babylonian lottery--all for the right of having your book, in the end, poorly distributed and read by no one!

Christ, model rocketry organizations have their shit together more than this loose confederation of crony capitalists disguised as tenured cyborgs. Crumb-greed disguised as roccoco gallantry and aesthetics. "The soi-distant Avant-Gardist builds a pyramid scheme, a last ditch pitch to the lure of Empire." (Jennifer Moxley)

Seems we have enough problems on our hands with imperialsm these days. So, o poetry presses large and small, please don't add your eyedropper of kerosene to the fire that has already consumed most of your eschatological warehouses. Thanks!

11/07/2003

Just misread my yogurt container as being made by X-plait.

Suddenly yogurts got a whoooole lot more interesting!

I hate about 95% of what the Poetics List stands for.

There should be a Poetics List Prize for a first book with a $30 "reading fee." Why the fuck not. They could publish it on its own thread in between the backchannel requests. Of course this is as likely to happen as Jonathan Safran Foer ever holding a minimum wage job.

Can you backchannel me that address, that name, that person who is not you? Backchanel? Me? Can you secret decoder ring me a person I actually want to talk to? Backsecret me? Me?

11/06/2003

Can a chess game move a person to tears?

Click here for a poll:

btw, for what it's worth, I finally have a new chess poem. ONly, uh, 50 more to go or so. And that's only the majors (what's 1. h3?? I'm sure it has a name?). Chess is exhausting even when it's fun and I had needed a break from it. Taxing the mind in tariffs. It all comes down to either knowing lines or intuiting tactics, slopping a way through your own mistakes and those of others. Hard work, motherfucker.

There are way too many death cults in this country, maybe it's time we had a permit system. It has many more regulatory requirements than hunting squirrels. How is transhumanism not another name for "erasing frailty", remind me?

Frailty, as in: others weaker than what you want to become. Which is most.

11/05/2003

(Wandering around the Kmart cafeterias of my youths

11/04/2003

I but as if anyone's going to stop this "I" person.

I just realized that my last six posts began with "I". No!

I had totally forgotten about the whole "drinking champagne out my name tag holder" thing. Putting into practice Alcohol without Borders.

11/03/2003

I think it has to do with the fact that there's snow on all of the oak leaves, birch leaves, maple leaves, willow leaves. Snow shouldn't be on decided leaves. They should fall first. I'm figuring to, once unpacking, finish stories.

I mean, I love living here and all, but the flakes are massive, like cat-shredded toilet paper. Was away in Charlottesville and DC--I would have been thrilled with a lot less but the weather was all Watteau autumnal, non-sloppy foilage, pedestrian friendly. Great to see everyone at the convention. As usual, too little time and not enough time w/ everyone. Panoply of books, oh yeah!