We watched the Perseids a few summers back from an unlit stretch of beach on Lake Huron. A lantern guided our way from campsite through the dunes. We were aware of other groups of people who like us reposed in the darkness along the shore. Eyes that rarely see the sky unpolluted by electricity searched for distant sailing sparks. When one group saw one, they'd cheer to alert those other people, off in the darkness. They would scan the skies and cheer in response. For cheap laughs once, we agreed to applaud a non-existent one, to see if others would follow our lead. They did, though it was half-hearted. A really good flaming star might light a chorus of cheering along the Huron shore, like dogs barking across the countryside at night.

Then four years passed.

In the last six weeks I've written many pages, but not as much as I'd hoped. Mind you, I completed a short story before I returned to the ms, and I think it's a pretty good one. I'll revise it in another month and see if it'll be my next published piece.

Some questions about bears arose during my writing. This prompted some research, during which I encountered the following bit:

When someone asks (as many people have) whether shooting a bear with a pistol will have any effect, one response by those who know bears is to say yes, absolutely, but you should file the site off the barrel before attempting such a thing.

It will hurt less when the bear shoves the pistol up your butt.



In these same weeks, I've also read the following:

  • Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by David Nickle. I reviewed this unusual historical horror.
  • Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill. Well-written but overrated account of Montreal's seamy side, shown through the eyes of a child. A junky's daughter, she becomes sexually active at twelve, while still retaining a warped childlike perspective. Her perceptions ring true. The beginning needs editing; the conclusion involves a Deus Ex Machina
  • The Paperboy by Pete Dexter: Good, if chaotic novel about some journalists in the American South in the 1960s, and our contemporary notions of the Truth.1
  • Whale Music by Paul Quarrington. I wrote a review of this one, and its film adaptation. The late Paul Quarrington deserves to be more widely-read.
  • Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang. A somewhat rambling and stylistically tortuous scholastic account, I nevertheless updated my Charlie Chan write-up as a result of reading it.
  • The Fall of the House of Hapsburg by Edward Crankshaw: Okay—I admit, I haven't quite finished this one, a noted but rather dry and pointedly opinionated account. I return to it when I'm having trouble sleeping.
  • Zodiac by Robert Graysmith: Creepy. This book is responsible for outing a prime suspect. It's questionable whether the individual identified in the book (though not by name) actually was the Zodiac Killer, but said suspect wasn't a very good person, so few mind that the subsequent publicity thwarted his attempt to live in quiet the remainder of his life, after he completed a prison term for molesting a child. See Gerardus's account under Zodiac Killer for further information.
  • The Marvels Project: The Birth of the Superheroes by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. I found this one in the library in Exeter and read it while my wife was rehearsing for the Bach Festival. I reviewed it here.2
  • Superman I finished and reviewed the final, frustrating story arc that completes the run before DC reboots and goes back to issue #1. Probably my exit from mainstream comix for a few years. The well-kept issues of this story arc will be donated to a charity auction with which I'm involved next year. They're already doing reasonably well on ebay.
  • The Walking Dead (first two graphic novels) by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore: A good graphic tale—but I prefer the tv adaptation.


Today would have been my mother's birthday. I have not said all I'd like to say, but I've said what I need to say.



Notes

1. I purchased this at an apartment sale in 1996, when the book was still relatively new. The apartment owner was a recent University graduate leaving Canada for Great Britain (where, I have learned through the magic of Google, she has become a curator and author). I bought two books from her sale, and read one right away. The other sort of followed me around, and I forgot its origins until I opened it and found the little piece of paper she included with each item:

Purchase Certificate
JD is the official owner of The Paperboy. Purchased for $1.00 an August 24, 1996. This item is a utilitarian object, [Her Name] collectable and a portion of an original [Her Name] art work.

[Her Signature]
[Her Name] Tally-Ho Party and Charity Auction

Canadian Flag - ONE WAY-> Union Jack

2. Apart from the value of the Bach Festival, we had an interesting experience with Google Maps. Most of the workshops and performances were held in small-town Ontario churches. Do not rely on Google maps to correctly distinguish among the numerous small-town Ontario churches (especially when two churches with nearly-identical names have been built ten minutes from each other), or between a paved rural road and a barely-accessible cowpath.

The choristers did a superlative job of Bach's Mass in B Minor, performed in a hockey rink in a city of 4,500.

It's been awile since I've posted on here, but am very glad to see things are still cranking away. Here's something that I wrote just about a year ago but haven't posted up anywhere, essentially it's a personal take on what happened after this: http://backcountryaccess.com/blog/?p=1821  Take it as you will.

 

We are well into summer now, the last three weeks being a blur of pain meds and sympathetic conversations.  This has been a tough report to come up with i must say.  I just keep looking over the pictures from the day trying to think of what made it any different from the others- inherent risk I suppose. I keep thinking back to the  the moment where I was back at the trailhead, I sat down on a rock with SAR and paramedics swarming around but there was a moment i turned to see who had sat down next to me, and it was my dad, and I started balling.  I had held in my pain and my emotions all day but the sight of my dad sitting right beside me at the end of it all was too much. I started balling, crying it all out while the paramedic was still standing there trying to ask me questions. And it felt good to get that emotion out, to pour it all out on the table.

Las Vegas is the only city I have visited where the streets are paved with pornography. In the evening, as you walk down the street, groups of "flappers" buzz with the hum of small glossy advertisements being constantly flicked across the wrists and hands. If you stray too close, someone will detach from the swarm and approach you with one of these nuggets of vice. Inevitably it will contain a phone number for "companionship" of some form or another. Often, the message is reinforced by underlying and extremely adult imagery, only marginally censored with bright yellow or black stars in strategic locations. An accommodating tourist will collect many of these over the course of the evening walking from casino to casino. At some point it loses its humor, and the cards are discarded. Evidence shows this does not always happen in a trash receptacle, because for those rare and sporting individuals who see the sun rise before the street sweepers arrive, the streets of Vegas appear covered in chesty and wonderfully disrobed advertisements. Which leads us to:

Flapper Quest

(or some possibly more informative name here)

In a recent editor log, Aerobe pointed out the ever present need to bring in some fresh blood. Through messages, we have discussed possibly sponsoring a quest in support of this drive. However, I continue to have arm troubles, (and will do so for the foreseeable future), and am going through a particularly unpleasant spell. So I'm throwing this idea out there, in hopes that someone will carry the torch forward. Here are the specs:

  • What - A Quest! To Attract New Users!
  • When - ASAP, preferably before October 1, because we don't want to override this year's Horror Quest.
  • How - Really, however the sponsor wants to set it up. But I would recommend something along the following lines:
    1. The quest should encourage creative ways to raise awareness of Everything2. I have created and disseminated bookmarks featuring the website address at my local library. Other users have created bumper stickers. Even more users have created calendars, or wearable items. At one time there was a bounty (cash) for the first person to get the website mentioned on CNN. While I doubt that is still in effect, you get the idea. The quest should document these attempts. Especially if they are replicable.
    2. The quest should have good rewards to reflect its important nature. I will personally provide votes, GP, and non-everything2 real-world gifts to those who participate, and especially those who get creative. Document everything! Additionally, I would like to see whoever ends up being the sponsor providing copious C! support as well.
    3. The quest should not harm e2. Yes, pouring gasoline in the shape of a giant "E2" and setting fire to it on the lawn of the White House would obviously garner a great deal of attention, but probably not all of it would be positive. So avoid destructive (although I suppose that is open to interpretation).
So please, someone with working appendages, take up this banner and go forth!

On a related note, I'm seriously having some arm problems beyond the ordinary again. This means that I will not be checking e2 on my phone or at home except for very brief instances in the next two weeks. However, my decaversary interview is coming out Friday. I WILL respond to messages! It just might take me a week or two. So, if as you read it and your eyes blaze with indignation and you would like to send me some hate mail, just message me. I'm not ignoring you, it just takes a little while for me to respond. Alternately, if you want to send me a message of praise and adulation, I will get back to you immediately. Just kidding, you will have to wait too.

Still vertical,

Monkeylover

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