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23 October 2016 @ 12:32 pm
Remember to eat. And sleep. Orange juice for the throat. Serendipitous encounters with dear friends, always a treat. Tie your laces, but make sure your toes have room to wiggle. When you feel yourself slouch at your desk, do a lap around the office. Stretch regularly and allow yourself some time for prayer at day's end.

As I pulled tight the strings on the teabag, I heard Her voice behind my ear whispering, as if in benediction, "do this in remembrance of me."
Current Location: New Haven, CT
21 October 2016 @ 01:09 pm
Ce qui m'agace le plus est la perte de la discipline. Avec la concentration, main dans la main, fuyant ma tête. En promenant avec le chien noir, je ne veux ni son aide ni ses encouragements blasé. L'éléphant sur ma poitrine, je veux juste respirer. Respirer et ecrire. Mais comment lui dire d'arrêter...
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - The Noose
21 October 2016 @ 12:39 pm
-- The Most Dangerous Gamer - Taylor Clark, The Atlantic, May 2012

"When Braid debuted, in August 2008, no one had ever seen a video game quite like it. Its aesthetics alone would have been enough to win Blow awards. Whereas most games begin with thundering music and splashy cinematics, Braid opens with a dark, painterly canvas of a city at night, its buildings engulfed in flames. Your character, Tim, stands in shadow in the foreground; as you move him across the screen, a sparse and mournful soundtrack eases in, and you suddenly see that this painting is the game. Soon, Tim emerges into view on a lamp-lit street, clad in a schoolboy suit and tie, a pensive expression on his face. When he enters his house and then opens the only available door, Tim finds himself in a room made of gently percolating clouds, and the game begins."

-- Master of Play - Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, December 20/27, 2010

"Miyamoto has told variations on the cave story a few times over the years, in order to emphasize the extent to which he was surrounded by nature, as a child, and also to claim his youthful explorations as a source of his aptitude and enthusiasm for inventing and designing video games. The cave has become a misty but indispensable part of his legend, to Miyamoto what the cherry tree was to George Washington, or what LSD is to Steve Jobs. It is also a prototype, an analogue, and an apology—an illuminating and propitious way to consider his games, or, for that matter, anyone else’s. It flatters a vacant-eyed kid with a joystick (to say nothing of the grownups who have bought it for him or sold it to him) to think of himself, spiritually, as an intrepid spelunker. The cave, certainly, is an occasion for easy irony: the man who has perhaps done more than any other person to entice generations of children to spend their playtime indoors, in front of a video screen, happened to develop his peculiar talent while playing outdoors, at whatever amusements or mischief he could muster. Of course, no one in the first wave of video-game designers could have learned the craft by playing video games, since video games didn’t exist until people like Miyamoto invented them. Still, there may be no starker example of the conversion of primitive improvisations into structured, commodified, and stationary technological simulation than that of Miyamoto, the rural explorer turned ludic mastermind."

-- The String Theory - David Foster Wallace, Esquire, Sept. 17, 2008 (Orig. Jul. 1996)

"What he says is understandable, but it's not the satisfactory part of the answer. The satisfactory part is the way Joyce's face looks when he talks about what tennis means to him. He loves it–you can see this in his face when he talks about it: His eyes normally have a kind of Asiatic cast because of a slight epicanthic fold common to ethnic Irishmen, but when he speaks of tennis and his career, the eyes get round and the pupils dilate and the look in them is one of love. The love is not the love one feels for a job or a lover or any of the loci of intensity that most of us choose to call the things we love. It's the sort of love you see in the eyes of really old people who've been married for an incredibly long time or in religious people who are so religious, they've devoted their whole lives to religious stuff: It's the sort of love whose measure is what it's cost, what one's given up for it. Whether there's 'choice' involved is, at a certain point, of no interest ... since it's the surrender of choice and self that informs the love in the first place."
Current Music: Hybrid - Break My Soul (Orchestral Version)
20 October 2016 @ 02:57 pm
-- The Heir - Eliza Griswold, The New Republic, Jul. 20, 2010

"Saif’s polish and prestigious friends make for a conspicuous contrast to his father, who was, for many years, shunned by the Western world for harboring terrorists and for bankrolling notorious despots such as Charles Taylor and Idi Amin. In recent years, however, Libya has swiftly shed its pariah status. The United Nations lifted sanctions in 2003, the United States followed suit in 2004, and, in 2006, the Bush administration removed the country from its list of states that sponsor terrorism. Saif, who is often presumed to be his father’s successor, has played a prominent role in this rehabilitation. Last year, in an event that marked Libya’s improved standing in the world, he negotiated the release from prison of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, who was convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. And Saif has ambitious plans. He wants to end Libya’s economic dependence on oil, rewrite its repressive penal code, and draft a constitution, which the country has lacked since 1977. The question, however, is whether it’s really possible for a man named Qaddafi to bring democracy to Libya."

-- Inside Al Jazeera - Michael Paterniti, GQ, May 23, 2011

"If you get talking to the people at AJE—the newsroom represents 50 nationalities, though the Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, and Americans constitute the biggest percentages—you hear a lot about "the story," about the channel being the voice of the voiceless, or "the street," or something called "the global south," a concept that even some of the AJE staff can’t quite define. Is it an economic south? A sociological south? And where does it start and end? (In general, the term, as interpreted by the Jazeerians, seems to speak to that class of people in the developing world who have been either patronized or ignored—or, worse, have had their problems mediated—by the global networks for too long.) But these aren’t dicta, says Garda. Everything is up for debate at AJE, which allows the nascent network its unorthodoxy, its horizontal decision-making (or decidedly antimonolithic stance), its powerful, at times useful, enigma. One of the most concise ways to think about AJE, Garda told me, was framed for him by a frequent commentator on the channel: If other networks are interested in the politician, the commentator said, Al Jazeera will always be interested in the politician’s driver."

-- Once Upon a Time in the Middle East - Nathan Deuel, The Morning News, Oct. 2, 2013

"There were rules. Occasionally you might break them. In a place like Beirut, when everyone was living so close together, order could feel beside the point, secondary to the little compromises that actually governed a life in a city. After another car bomb or execution, when everyone rolled down their security gates and the streets became ghostly, you could begin to see community as an organism predisposed to letting people doing bad things. Instead, all that seemed to matter was money and power, habit and who you knew. There were a few public parks, but in general the idea of sharing was preposterous. Better to have tall walls and strong bars. In battered Senaya Park, near the old green line that separated the east of Beirut from the west, the first playground I took my daughter to was until recently a place to sleep for people whose homes had been blown up."
Current Location: Water St.
Current Music: Machinehead - Vim
20 October 2016 @ 01:16 pm
C'est beaucoup plus que simplement la tristesse.
19 October 2016 @ 09:36 pm
Particularly terrifying during the sojourns with the Leviathan is the fog. A cognitive muddling. The rivers rise and become oceans so that neural pathways turn into smaller and smaller islands of concentration. Where before I could fold a conclusion into minutely detailed origami, they now, thoughts, fall from gunmetal clouds like snowflakes, melting as soon as they touch my hands so that I can only hope and pray that my fingers type fast enough to remember their shape. Or they drift like leaflets by church spires and rooftops, warning the populace to evacuate but only after the bombs have dropped. The mental machine begins to rust. Gears groan against each other until the whole contraption threatens to halt itself and fatigue binds the arms and shackles the legs, ever-present fatigue.

Before, when I knew much less about this, I could work or write my way to the other side. I didn't have to worry about companions beside me but could rest assured that they and the rest of the world awaited me at the mouth of the tunnel. But now, when I know so much of how this works, it's like the shortstop in Chad Harbach's bit of literary Americana: I think myself straight into a bad throw. There much less certainty of process and much more certainty in the fact that, as much as I know, I am yet a mystery to myself.

Ça fait un mois.

Current Location: New Haven
Current Music: I See Stars - Running With Scissors
19 October 2016 @ 09:30 am
Current Music: Assassin's Creed - Trailer #2
18 October 2016 @ 12:37 am
It's huge of course, the room. Which is how things go when they pay for you to do things like speak.

There are 2 beds. I want to say king size, but really anything larger than a twin is just different shades of more-than-enough. On one wall, over a chaise longue patterned in gray and brown with gold-themed cushions hangs a series of paintings. Silhouettes, almost stenciled. A man and woman caught in a tango. The bottom half of a dog. Above that, a separate portrait of its head. A woman in a dress that bunches slightly over her hips and pools at her feet. There's the sheen of a headband, Wonder Woman-style, barely seen, shadowed as it is. Next to the chaise and directly preceding the life-size mirror by the door is a cushioned stool, presumably what I'm supposed to sit on while unlacing my shoes. There's of course the large cupboard and the tv on top. And next to that, a desk and corresponding leather chair.

The room is all different shades of brown and gray, even the carpet.

The bathroom is a palace all on its own.

Generally, fatigue is supposed to signal sleep, but of late it generally fertilizes the ground for anger and old ways of being. It resists entry of foreign forces, repels entreaties, burns bridges and salts the earth. It picks fights.

I forget sometimes that it is within my toolbox to say simply "I'd rather not" with regards to talking about something, especially when that something implicates family and expectations and work and achievement and disappointment.

I went for a walk after checking in. In search of fresh air as well as "fresh air", eventually stumbling on the object of my quest not at the CVS I'd spotted but at a 7-11 by Dupont Circle. I'd taken Connecticut Avenue all the way up, at one point enlisting the aid of a bookseller. It was perhaps my shortest stay in a bookstore. But I perambulated and without my ever-present music to distract me, much to the desired effect.

In the pilot episode, I believe, of Justified, the main character US Marshal Raylan Givens has a moment on a balcony with his ex-wife. The picture painted of him so far is that of a laconic 19th century lawman. He's got the hat and the boots and the drawl. And as good as he is with a gun, he always seems reluctant to get to that point where he pulls the trigger. And as reluctant as he seems to pull that trigger, he seems to do it a lot. On that balcony, he confesses to his ex-wife that he doesn't fancy himself an angry man. His ex-wife replies that he's the angriest man she's ever known.

In Peaky Blinders, it's a bit more obvious, the linkage between anger and violence but there's brotherhood and joy in it too. The way they hug each other does damage.

Lastly, my thoughts amble towards Bartleby the Scrivener. "I prefer not to" what was that? Self-preservation? Self-actualization? I don't know but it seems to hold for me at least some sort of key. And while I've spent all this time trying to force this door open, to grant Her access and let Her into whatever maelstrom is on this side, it seems all parties might be better served were that door left to close, returned to its natural state.

There's no need for that violence.
17 October 2016 @ 11:55 am
This brace feels like a bulletproof corset.
Current Music: Diplo - Diplo & Friends BBCR1Xtra: January 23 2016