(Nodevertising 'cause I'm using this as my home page for now and non-everythingans don't know how to find stuff.)
Highest-rated music writeups:
How to appreciate jazz without really trying 5C!s
Sk8er Boi 10C!s
Is file sharing theft? 3C!s
Music is not a universal language 3C!s
Miss Mary Mack 3C!s
You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) 1C!
Highest-rated fiction writeups:
Schrodinger killed his cat 3C!s
Now I ask you, is that any way for a cosmic body to disintegrate? 5C!s
Prosenoder's Cup 2003(idea) 2C!
Wisest is he who knows he does not know 1C!
The Sticker Underground 1C!
Higest-rated science writeups:
How to build a computer out of black holes 5C!s
metallic hydrogen 2C!s
Why is the sky blue? 2C!
Mind the Gap 1C!
” Physics, Mathematics and the Feminist Critique of the Sciences 2C!
It's like I switch between modes. Sometimes I like simplicity and every description seems flowery, cliched. Othertimes the rhythm of the words is what's important and the feeling they give, clauses tied to each other like a freight train or a chain of hotdogs flailing back.
I wrote this between modes, I don't know if I like it:
"Where have you seen me?" he asks.
His face is cleanlined but not quite chiseled and perfectly symetrical except for the smile, which tilts slightly to the left. Around it is the Decorative Border, ensconsed with the toll-free number, and around that is the edge of the TV, and around that is the faint haze of too many cigarettes, the Ghost of Marlborough Past, drifting aimlessly in the flickering television light.
She's face down on the bed, trying to remember.
Xetig had light brown skin, bleached blond hair gelled into coolness, and asian eyes hidden by fully reflective sunglasses. Currently, he was emperor of the universe.
Ahead, in the blackness, 3 points resolved into featureless, colorless spheres. Peering closer, he could felt a giddy exhiliration as the Zoom-O-Matic 10,000TM showed him the view.
OzzieDude, C4tfish4, and _brYce plowed toward him, airboards misting trails across the twilight-blue surface. Twilight-blue trails - should have been invisible - but he grinned anyway; they were sharp and dreamlike, spiderweb fractals casting bright wide shadows behind, dividing darkness from darkness, air from air from air, and for a second he paused.
Then, not-quite-automatically, the arials kicked in and it began.
Resident, Ann Arbor, Michigan
When I needed a name for the main character of the detective story / madcap space adventure I was writing in 6th grade, I mashed the keyboard and added vowels. Tlogmer was what came out. (His first name is Charlie. Middle initial M. You can read about him here (maybe I should rename this...).)
Snakes, phonograph lines traced outward through the night, dividing darkness from darkness, above from below. She watched them for minutes, really, and her eyes stung.
Procifia Station has been omnipresent for a long time.
Once, when she was younger, she'd sit on the edge until the wind numbed her ankles completely, playing with the arials, dipping a finger into the currents and seeing the colors swirl, little fractals, fragments of a hologram rose against the night. Now she just watched, and the unaltered lines drew along their straight paths without intervention, like an electrostatic microphone hiss, a stark, lonely perfection.
My family's from South Africa (I visited there in 1990), and recently I've been finding out just how in-the-dark I was about everyhing. I was going to do a writeup of the country's history, but found that had already been done, and exceedingly well, far better than I could hope to do as an ignorant american. Still, I'd already written up one newly-discovered family anecdote, and though there's nowhere for me to node it (sigh; perhaps it could have passed the gauntlet a couple years ago) I don't want it to go to waste, so without further ado:
My mom preferred her parents to pick her up from school themselves, rather than send the driver for her, because when they sent the driver, some of the kids would tease her. They'd say, "your father picking you up again, Sue?"
You see, the driver had dark skin. If her father was a Black that would mean that she was not actually a White, but a Coloured. It would mean, further, that she was the product of an extramarital affair, an affair with a servant, that she was the product of miscegenation.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll turn on David’s hat.
We got it for his 20th birthday, me and Rudy and Sara, had it put in while he was in biology. Met him coming out of class with silly, unsuccessfully contained grins on our faces.
He looked at us. "What?"
"Nothing," said Rudy.
"Happy birthday," said Sarah.
We cracked up.
It took him awhile to figure it out, longer than usual. We’d be sitting at Arwolf’s, munching on the sandwiches, listening intently to the convesation with artificially serious looks on our faces, and then, every 2 minutes or so, the fifth iteration (a vagina) would roll around and we’d dissolve into giggles. Eventually he realized we were trying not to stare at the space above his head.
"What, did you guys give me a silly hat or something?"
"Ding!" said Sara, handing him a copy in powder form (still shrink-wrapped). "One hour, eighteen minutes, and forty-two seconds."
"Oh, fuck you," said David. But he was smiling.
He grabbed some tissues and stood up; we watched a trail of fireworks follow him to the bathroom. You can swallow mods, but snorting is faster; he probably wanted to see the joke before the end of lunch.
It's funny how an author can completely alienate you by disagreeing with your political views, even if he's talking about something completely different.
Neal Stephenson wrote a great essay called In the Beginning Was The Command Line and I was reading right along, admiring his intelligence and cool ultra-accurate semi-physical analogies that made his points with utter precision and clarity when he launched into an extended metaphor that included some commentary. The part that annoyed me (especially because it was a kernal that found its way into several paragraphs, and because I had encountered hints of it in The Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon) was this:
The basic tenet of multiculturalism (or "honoring diversity" or whatever you want to call it) is that people need to stop judging each other - to stop asserting (and, eventually, to stop believing) that this is right and that is wrong, this true and that false, one thing ugly and another thing beautiful, that God exists and has this or that set of qualities.
Multiculturalism isn't about dismantling notions of truth and beauty, relativising every possible fact. Rather, it's about disconnecting underlying truth and beauty from the ways in which they are represented: the music of Charlie Parker arose from a different culture than that of Incubus, and consequentially it sounds very different, but both are about finding cool, beautiful sounds that make you feel cool, beautiful things. Irish folk music seems completely unrelated to French House music but you can dance to either. Chinese literature is no less literature for being written in pictographs rather than rough phonetics.
Multiculturalism is not a denouncement of absolute truth but an acknowledgement of it, a realization that differing surfaces, once stripped away, can -- and often (though not always) do -- reveal the same substance underneath.
Cygna III rotates exactly once per minute.
He is standing on the observation panel, looking downward, looking at the stars millions of miles below. At 10:28:23, the Earth floats past. At 10:28:42, the sun is breifly full-on and overpowering, and the panel dims to compensate -- a white circle surrounded by blackness passes beneath first one tennis shoe, then the other, then the stars reappear. At 10:29:23, the Earth floats past.
(An argrophobe's nightmare. The universe whirls around beneath and the only thing that keeps you from falling into it is 20-inch plastic. The ground is close but beneath it is an infinite drop, no other solidity in a trillion trillion miles.)
He scuffs the surface, seeing if he can smudge it, though he knows he can't.
"You know, you can't smudge it." She is standing in the doorway, hair backlit with green light from the hall; to him, in the dimness, it makes her look like anime`. "The others are gone."
"Yeah. I know."
And now she is coming towards him, touching a hand to his shoulder. He remembers kissing her here (well, there, against the spinward wall), but this time they just look down at the sun, and the earth, and the sun, and the earth.
"Funny," she says.
And then she is gone.
The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.
- Albert Einstein
Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts.
- Dan Quayle
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
- Bertrand Russell
T-shirts with expensive words on them are now the insignia of the upper class. T-shirts with cheap words, or no words at all, are for the commoners.
- Neal Stephenson