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when to move? [Mar. 1st, 2011|11:57 am]
[mood |anxiousanxious]

In my slow move, I am reaching the point when I need to get the bulk of my stuff out of my old Wareham (Massachusetts) place, since it is about to go on the market.

I am planning of renting a truck, either on the 2/3 of April or the next Saturday (9 April 2011); it has been pointed out the first/last weekends are difficult times to get moving trucks.

My basic problem is getting helpers, particularly for the Wareham/morning part.

I am not sure what is the best way of going about the call for help.

Otherwise, I may have to consider professional movers.
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The Big Bambu of the Starn brothers [Oct. 3rd, 2010|07:47 am]
A little over a week ago, I walked up and down the Big Bambu sculpture on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Starn brothers (identical twins) have branched out from photography to recreate a piece similar to one in their Beacon studio. They have employed a team of climbers and the odd civil engineer. The bamboo comes from the southeastern United States. Brightly colored climbing rope lashes the structure together. In order to get a tour on the Big Bambu itself, I had to wait in line for a ticket; I arrived 45 minutes before opening time and I just barely got a ticket for the morning block of time (see the Met website for details). At least on the weekends, the tours are very popular. No waiting is needed just to view the Big Bambu from the rooftop.

I like sculptures that I can climb in and around. To me, the question arises of where lies the boundary between sculpture and architecture. In a sense, all houses can be considered sculptures, though I would consider most (including the one that I am currently in) to be very boring ones.
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last opera of the season and it was a Lulu [May. 20th, 2010|03:04 pm]
[Tags|, , , , ]
[mood |busybusy]

I spent a weekend with Berg and Japanese comic books (plus the usual sleeping and eating).

same old song?Collapse )

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Why read criticism? [Apr. 9th, 2010|08:56 am]
[mood |depresseddepressed]

Somewhat reluctantly, I subscribed to a new electronic mail list only land in the middle of a rant/flamewar by an editor somewhat incoherently deriding fandom (of which I consider myself part). Many of the complaints seemed to be rehashed arguments going back to the days of the pulps, even though oblique attacks on Wikipedia were included (even while the editor in question seemed to be disingenuously proclaiming that he was not starting an attack on Wikipedia). From someone who is a professional editor, his posting were IMHO rather embarrassing.

I am most definitely not a professional editor nor do I play one on television, but I am wrestling with the question of the value of reading criticism (a core topic of the above mentioned email list).

I read for entertainment.

I actually do find amusing the critical essays by H.L. Mencken and George Bernard Shaw. I also read criticism to find out about obscure works that might tickle my fancy.

However, much criticism involves the formulation of theories and the attempt to justify these theories with examples. I admit to playing this game myself. While I may not always agree with a critic's pet theory, I am willing to play along if the critic writes in a lucid and entertaining fashion. Unfortunately there seems to be a large body of critics (particularly in academic institutions) who write in some of the most turgid and boring prose that I have run across; I am reminded of Heinlein's savage caricature of a literary academic in Time Enough For Love.

All too many critical essays read like fodder hashed together for the publish-or-perish mill. Even most of the entertaining ones seem like the author's opinion disguised as a theory with lots of citations.

Aside from entertainment, is there any value to literary criticism?
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surveyors in the Boston area? [Apr. 9th, 2010|08:04 am]
Can anyone recommend a surveyor in the the greater Boston area?

Ultimately, this is to satisfy my father, so whether or not
I really need a surveyor is only a minor factor.
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Summer Wars [Mar. 2nd, 2010|09:40 am]
Last night I went to see the Cambridge (Massachusetts) premiere of new animated feature by Mamoru Hosoda.

possible spoilersCollapse )

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mad science, reports and reality [Feb. 22nd, 2010|07:42 am]
[mood |distresseddistressed]

I just got through one convention debrief (my part was minor) and I should write a report for the upcoming debrief of another convention (where I was spread a bit too thin). Whether or not I do the same job next year, I have have to figure how to stress the importance of the need for things like more gaffers tape (if if were not so expensive, I would be tempted buy and donate several rolls of fluorescent pink to highlight the need). I also need to figure out how to use InDesign so that I can do a better job with the signs.

As some of you know, this year theme for AnimeBoston is Mad Science (I am aware that another convention also has this theme). I am on a panel dealing with the trope of the Mad Scientist in Japanese fiction, with the obvious emphasis on manga and anime. While tvtropes.org helps, I am trying to figure out how to compile a more extensive list and who to include. Do Nina Einstein and the Elric brothers count?

I am also trying to examine the nature of reality (virtual or otherwise) in Japanese cyberpunk, by which I mean works like Ghost in the Shell and Serial Experiments Lain, not the movies like Burst City or 964 Pinocchio.

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Where is my Chocolate Squid? [Jan. 24th, 2010|05:21 am]
[mood |melancholymelancholy]

In the F&SF community, why is steampunk so popular at present?

A Steamy AffairCollapse )
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under Strauss [Jan. 13th, 2010|08:25 am]
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |riparian estate]
[mood |stressedstressed]
[music |Also sprach Zarathustra]

I am trying to figure out how to maintain emotional equilibrium during a major upcoming event. Recent and upcoming family difficulties are upsetting me greatly and things at work are not helping (I added debugging to code to trace down a bug and, of course, the heisenbug disappears -- unfortunately, the debugging slows down the program to unacceptably glacial pace). I am overwrought and I am afraid that I may act with emotion rather than reason during the weekend.

There must be something in the air. During my recent visit with my father, we attended Der Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera. The performance was competent and the staging tradition, though wandering cameras added an odd touch. However, much strife arose over seat contention, usually because people misread their tickets, though the occasional SRO tried to sneak on to a supposedly empty seat -- no fisticuffs but a lot of harsh and distracting words during the performance. My father, who is going through chemo, slept through all this, but he wondered why there was a different person sitting in front of him every time he awoke.

I recently read Ernst Jünger's The Glass Bees and Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes. Both books seems to have a European flavor to them, but I am having difficultly figuring out what specifically brings about this "flavor". Jünger's book is mostly introspection with surprisingly little on-stage action; the action involves mostly two job interviews, plus a few airborne eponymous automata. Boulle's book now suffers from the infamy of launching all those ape movies.
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Aussiecon [Jan. 4th, 2010|01:22 pm]
I am trying to decide whether or not to go to Aussiecon this year. I have a membership, but that is a relatively minor consideration.

Even this far removed in time, it looks like I will only be able to attend the convention. I will not have time to add a tour. Given that just getting to Melbourne will cost me a fair chunk of change, I have difficulty justifying the expense just for Aussiecon (it is extremely unlikely that I could find a professional reason to make the trip). Going to Aussiecon will preclude me from going to a certain metropolitan event.

However that certain people and things that I tend only to see at Worldcons. I admit that some of the past Worldcons have been lackluster.
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