My Books

Just the beginning of my library . . . a dash over 200 books that I entered into Delicious Library today. Basically one bookshelf and there are 4 more to go here in the apt and boxes (probably 10 or so) in my parent’s attic.

My Books So Far . . .

I have to say that I’m not terribly pleased with Delicious Library’s export function, in particular the fact that author names are kept in one field, so you can only order them by first name (or go back and manually change the order).

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Adventures of the Young Doctor Who

Came across a great link to an article on the young David Tennant from his grammar school magazine. The tone of it reminds me of my high school yearbook and the short bios we wrote for our senior year pictures, especially when he says:

“David has no real ambitions, only to live and to ‘fulfill’ himself . . .”

God how pretentious we sound when we are young! (Actually, I kind of miss that sense of knowing that you know everything.)

But I digress . . . the real point of interest is that, as early as 1988, Tennant had “one particular role” that he “would love to play . . .”

That role?

Doctor Who.

There’s something satisfying and sweet about that fact that he is now doing that role. And while I do miss me some Eccleston, Tennant’s dream come true is . . . well, neat.

Link. (via SF Signal)

Currently Listening: Rachael Yamagata – Worn Me Down

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Thoughts on Space

I recently finished Wyn Wachhorst’s The Dream of Spaceflight, a series of essays about the history and meaning of–and desire for–space. There are a number of quotes in the book that perfectly expressed my own feelings about space and space exploration (whether that exploration is actual or virtual).

Wonder, in its larger sense, denotes the mysterium tremendum, the aura of unfathomable majesty, utterly humbling and wholly Other, surrounding the sublime and terrifying unknowns that border our models of reality–the dark forest, the empty desert, the sacred mountain, the boundless sea, the black silence of cosmic infinity. Thus we gaze into the night sky and feel not diminishment but dilation. We sense the vastness and passion of creation and glimpse an equally vast interior . . . We are aware of the stars only because we have evolved a corresponding inner space. (136-137)

I have loved space for as long as I can remember. There have been times in my life that I have wanted, even desperately so, to be able to explore the cosmos, to see nebulae and black holes; to explore worlds of acid atmosphere’s etching patterns on strange rocks; to find our reflection in another sentient race; to listen to the vibrations of the big bang still reverberating throughout all of the universe. I used to fantasize about being abducted by aliens and while I would miss my family and friends, the chance to stay with them and explore “out there” would always be to good to give up and off I would go with my strange captors.

When looking at pictures from the Hubble or other space telescopes, I nearly always catch my breath, feel a tightness in my belly and a swirling motion in the center of my chest and feel like I am witness to something so truly majestic, beautiful and humbling that I am all at once reminded of how small we are as a species and so incredibly proud of our ability to take those pictures. We are smart enough to take pictures like this:

Web-2

Or this:

Web-3

Or this:

Web-1

These are images that make me believe in humanity, in our capacity and potential to get past all the bullshit of violence and greed and desolation and anger that seem to rip peoples lives to shreds on a daily basis. The problems we face are incalculable, to be sure. But so is our potential.

I still remember, so very vividly, standing in in the middle of a Nevada desert at 3 am and soaking in the silence and the vastness and the intimacy of space. Space wasn’t something “out there.” Rather, I was always already in space. My spaceship is just a bit bigger and more unwieldy than the spaceships of science fiction and my own fantasies. I was, all a the same time, in and of and yet outside of the universe, aware that what I could see was such a small portion of the whole as to be nearly laughable.

Exploration, evolution, and self-transcendence are but different perspectives on the same process. (151)

I miss the sky. I miss the silence of living outside of a city. I miss the darkness that overflows from space and fills in all the cracks and crevices of the landscape late at night, when you sit still and silent for a long time, gazing at the universe through such limited eyes, but knowing that something deep inside of you is wholly connected to that endlessly exceeding hugeness. Connected by the very materials that make up your cells to those stars and galaxies and nebula and quasars and black holes and all the strange, beautiful collaborations of matter–collaborations on such scales that you really will never fully grasp them–wrapped, like islands of light, within the arms of an emptiness that can only be understood at deeply profound.

I want those nights back, those moments of peace and stillness and silence. Wachhorst didn’t so much awaken these desires as he enunciated them, as well as pointing out some of the reasons that I have become enamored with the idea of moving to Truth or Consequence, New Mexico and becoming part of the creation of Spaceport America. Reasons that have to do with being part of something larger than myself, with making a small contribution to our species’ long, long road from ocean to cosmos. Images of space have always triggered a spiritual feeling in my heart and mind. To help humanity leave our world, and venture–even tentatively–into the larger universe seems to me both an exciting adventure and a joyful, and deeply spiritual, undertaking. The following passage, while lengthy, speaks so eloquently to my own feelings, hopes, and desires surrounding space and space exploration that I will simply conclude with his words:

Perhaps in some recess of the psyche the human organism knows that it is a fractal of the reflexive universe itself, repeated in microcosmic multiplicity like a holographic plate–worlds within worlds within worlds–and that, far beyond the cold war reflex, our emergence into space rose inexorably from the taproot of evolution, the heartsong of a cosmos that is finally the dance of spirit. We are fascinated by the roiling surf for the same reason we are transfixed by fire; we too are matter asserting itself as energy. So are the fires of the night sky, where our being was written long before planets were born or oceans condensed or mortal cells emerged from primordial soup. The communion of cells formed a lung, a heart–an eye. And the world awoke. The price of vision was mortality, but its prize was the capacity for love and wonder. And if the cosmos is spirit incarnate, the the flame of life, the eye of consciousness, is its resurrection. Like salmon, we hurl ourselves against entropy, returning in fits and starts and occasional heroic leaps to our place of origin; as though the primal spirit had fallen into infinity multiformity and had somehow forgotten itself in the process. We are that ineffable essence, slowly, agonizingly, remembering. (164)

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Live Blogging 9-20-07 Democrat Presidential Debate

Well, that’s that. Liveblogging is hard.

Closing Remarks: Edwards, need to end poverty. Need honesty, trust and integrity. Dodd, care about family, need leadership to create hope for their children and grandchildren, leadership to bring people together. Biden, “fallen angels” = soldiers, going after Bush for saying that he wasn’t going to end war. Clinton, set big goals for America, restore leadership around the world. Rebuild economy, middle class, going to face difficult challenges we’ve ever had. Richardson, sensible priorities, telling a story. Soft spoken. very uninspiring.

Biden has used the phrase “god-awful” twice. I like that in a politician.

On Iraq: Biden’s plan to soft partition, “not going to be able to govern Iraq from the center” – loosely federated republic

Family leave issues: Biden not responding to question about family leave. Cantankerous, strong. He’s coming off really well. Richardson would RATIFY ERA!!!!! Hells yeah!!

Richardson against carbon tax, claims that cap & trade more effective. I really think he has some very very good ideas. The fact he want’s to take us out of Iraq so quickly, his attention to specific ideas (he had the second mention of Unions in the debate – go him!)

Richardson looks like he just swallowed a sour lemon

topic: economics and global warming: Dodd wants corporate carbon tax. Good for him.

I want to like Clinton more than I do. I would love to have a woman president in this country, but I just can’t trust and/or get excited about her. I have to say, Biden is doing really well tonight. He’s impressing me with his ability to talk straight and the fact that he doesn’t seem to play the “like me” game.

Dodd trampling all over the time constraints. Good for him. Edwards is being too cutesy tonight in his attempts to be friendly. His eyes are too wide and eager at times, like he wants us to like him. Biden certainly not worred about making us like him.

Edwards saying we need to strengthen labor and unions to organize. First pro-union statement. (I thought I found out how to insert time code. It didn’t work.)

Clinton going after Haliburton & Cheney. Good for her!

ahhh

Richardson again, asking very politly if he can talk, giving a very balanced, rational talk about fiscal discipline. But there is no fire, certainly not the passion of Dodd, the truculence of Biden, the coolness and command of Clinton. Edwards – not doing much for me tonight. This would be more fun with other people here. Maybe shots of Jaegermeister. Continue reading

Wil Wheaton: Gettin’ all Crusher on the RIAA

Wil Wheaton has a good post on his site about the RIAA and their current underhanded, slimy, evil and generally effed-up tactics to control those dangerous internet radio stations:

If SoundExchange can scare enough indie webcasters into signing this horrible agreement, the RIAA will be able to go to congress and tell them that they really don’t need to pass the Internet Radio Equality Act, which would permanently save internet radio by preventing the RIAA and SoundExchange from jacking up royalty rates so high, it would force indie webcasters out of business. (Link)

The sound and the fury seem to have deserted the movement to save internet radio, especially when the RIAA promised they wouldn’t enforce the current copyright laws that would bankrupt the majority of internet radio stations. But the need to press on and help pass the Internet Equality Act as part of a long term strategy is as pressing as ever for those who care about access to good radio stations, the likes of which you will not find over the air.

Go to SaveNetRadio for more information on how you can help support the music, the musicians and the freedom to hear the widest variety of music that we have had since . . . well, probably since forever.

Currently Listening: Comfortably Numb by Kate Bush

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Next Sound Design Project

Intentional Theatre Group’s Production of Archipelago.

November 8 – 18 Altered Stages, West 29th Street (btwn 7th & 8th Avenues)

Mark your calendars now! It should be an interesting show and I’m going to be working hard to deliver and interesting and compelling sound design. Additionally, I’ll probably be writing some original compositions, a sort of Archipelago theme that will tie all the different plays together. It should be challenging and fun.

Currently Listening: Lucinda from the album “Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards [Disc 1]” by Tom Waits

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Links-O-Rama – of the Star Wars Kind

You’ve heard of Darth Vader, but what about

CHAD VADER, DAY SHIFT MANAGER!!

Check it out, yo:

Stormtroopers, Stormtroopers, Stormtroopers everywhere . . . and far sexier than you may have though possible. Red & Jonny have a unique predilection for taking pictures of themselves in all sorts of contexts wearing Stormtrooper helmets. The effect is equal parts sweet, sexy, odd, vaguely disturbing and strangely titillating.

Then there is the hand-crafted Asciimation version of Star Wars

Head over to FreakingNews.com for some Star Wars Photoshop Fun – this is my favorite:

Postcard-Model-Tour-Guide--18633




Finally, animating with light in Star Wars v. Star Trek (don’t see much Trek in there, but the video is really cool):

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