Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Origami: Folding-Fears

We all have phobias*.  Some of these phobias are life preserving (e.g. Rattlesnakes), others are just our fears of not being good enough (e.g. I might fail).   Today I have decided to take on my fear of folding paper in the ancient practice called Origami.  Origami started in the 17th century, folding cranes was a practice done for weddings in ancient Japan.**
I have always had a fear of failing to fold things properly.  I got tired of people trying to help a poor cerebal palsy kid learn how to fold paper properly.  I have learned to not even try.
 But I need to face that fear and enjoy the process of folding paper.   I promise to myself that I will allow myself to fail, or to work a long time on the little art.  I know that in time I can get good at anything I put my mind to; but at first the origami creations may not look so good. But with God all things are possible, and I shall not fear but go forward into the folded future.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bridge on the San Luis Rey: A Quick Review

The Bridge of San Luis ReyThe Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

It was a good short read, about relationships.  A book that is  a morality tale about the sorted lives of five victims of a collapsed bridge.  
The bridge collapses as the key relationships in the characters lives fall apart.
 Not sure why it was on the list for the 200 best books from the Modern Library.  It seems that a number of books in the Modern Library 200 are not enjoyed by everyone.  Come join the group on Good Reads Modern Library 100.    But at least it was short, and to the point, and did not meander through the valley.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Man or Astro Man Unofficial Reading List Book

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional UniverseHow to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Think of a refrigerator box, a normal kitchen clock, and a dad and a son, mix in time travel, and you have a bit of what the book "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is all about.

A boy learns that if you bend life too much than "you might end up over there."pg 45. The book is an answer to what it means to group in a Science Fictional Universe.

Charles Yu, the author, seems to confirm my suspicion that good Science Fiction is a conversation with the great science fiction writers of the past. Good science fiction is a continuation of the dialog begun by Herbert, Asimov, Bradbury, and Vance; as well as a dialog with scientists who hope to bring new ideas to light (e.g. David Deutsche and his book: Fabric of Reality). He seems to be telling the reader, read this book, then write it again in your own point of view.

The message that I gained was find those moments where you are the actual man you are and live in this light with much rejoicing. live in the science fiction possibility world.

If my description of the book seems a tad abstract, then your right this book is a tad abstract. But well worth the Read. There is just way too much here to tell you all of it, but you should check this book out. Then write me back and let me know what you think of it.

Read with Man or Astro Man for Full Pleasure Experience.  Also read before or after, "The Fabric of Reality" David Deutsch. How to Life Safely in A Scientific Universe is a continuation in a fictional form of the ideas expressed in the Fabric of Reality.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Thoughts from How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Its as if our lives are sucked into some type of Worm Hole 
What is it that maintains stasis, that gets people sucked into the lives they lead.  What makes them stuck in a time loop? An indefinite time loop?  Why do some people keep thrusting forward while others take a back seat?  What shapes our POV on forward motion?

n(Mathematics) a straight line that is closely approached by a plane curve so that the perpendicular distance between them decreases to zero as the distance from the origin increases to infinity.
So the closer we get to truth the further we are from that truth. We never really meet at ground zero.  We never get folded back in.

Random book, random thoughts, random Guy.
Gregorio Roth

Monday, November 22, 2010

To fly to drive that is the Quesiton?

Escape Velocity Here I Come
To fly, or not to fly, that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The rattling in an oppressive tin can,
high in the air, not being able to move,
for at least an hour and a half,
Or to drive against traffic for three or four days,
Would I ever get to Grandma's house.
To drive, to sleep at a truck stop
because all of the hotels are booked-solid,
No Vacancy Rules!!!
due to a baseball tournament in Idaho.
No More; of this stupid traffic jam in Atlanta.
The heart-ache and the thousand cars stuck in a mouse trap.
My flesh is heir to; sitting in this car for way to long.
Devoutly to be wished.  To drive, or to fly,
To fly, perchance we will be home sooner.  Ay, there's the rub;
For in that oppressive tin can, dreams may come,
When we finally get down to it,
Must give us pause-there's the respect
That comes with visiting family.

Idea for this piece of writing came from Bary Lane's - Reviser's Toolbox; a great resource for the beginning writer.   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mulengro: Charles De Lint (Review)

Mulengro Charles De Lint (Review)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mulengro is seeking vengeance and purification of the Gypsies (Romany) who have gone astray in modern culture;  will the Gypsies be able to stand up to this dark force?

I enjoyed the thought that everything is possible, and our eyes can't perceive everything rationally. .
This book examines clearly what is real and what is more real... Jeff can't believe his eyes. Modern  science excuses this as him having a concussion. But the gypsies see another world... and their eyes have not been so conditioned as the non gypsies.
"A Question of seeing Gaji only saw what they wanted to see." p.191

De Lint’s master stroke in Mulengro is, 360 degree POV, and shifting perspectives.  He shows character motivation for all of his characters, none of the characters are flat-cut out props.
The tension builds with the shifting of viewpoints, growing deeper and deeper into the climax of the story.  But then  when the tension rises to its highest point, De Lint inserts an amusing comment from the talking cat Boboko.

De Lint is a master at revealing the motivations of his cahracters.  One even has sympathy for the devil, here  Mulengro the evil one, can be met with an “hmmm maybe he is right to do what he is doing. Haven’t the gypsies gone astray in modern life, shouldn’t he want to purify the gypsies from gypsies who have gone astray."  What does it mean to purify a race to make a stronger group?How does a community get pulled away from its clear roots?  What rips the goodness out a community?

Mulengro is addictive fiction, The book's flow is one that is not easily put down.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Drowning in Books: A solution.

Have you tried to do a reading schedule*? I have had the same problem of feeling in a serious book slump? or that I have so many books I want to read that I am drowinging in them!!!! I am prone to this because of my ADHD.

While reading through the board discussion list of the Modern 100 Group on Good Reads, there was a question that I decided to answer.   The reader said that he was in a book slump because he had so many books to read, and did not know where to start.    I had to find a solution for this, I was becoming  very frustrated at not reading books or only reading the first 100 pages then putting them down, ashamed, and feeling down on myself; only to start the cycle again and again.  I felt like I was the king on the hill who every day has his entrails ripped out, only to have to do this again and again and again.  something had to be done about this syndrome, so I found a solution for now; here it is.  

I adhere to the rule:  read only one non fiction and one fiction book at a time.  This saved my back from having to carry 20 books I plan to read that week.***

 Then I look at the books I want to read and think how long I want to take on each book, Star Wars Pulp Stories read fast, so I allow myself no more than three days.** But a classic book I allow myself to savor the words and read it in 7 days. If I am lagging then I reassign the reading time to be shorter so that I am forced to skim over the book, and not get hyper focused on a book that does not interest me.  

Then I put the reading time on a calender and this is the time I allocate for it.  I read the book.  Then I write a review of the book , this gives me a sense of completion for the story.

Right now I have scheduled my fiction books up to January. (See Second Page for listing).

Hope this helps all those who feel they can't get the reading they would like to get done.  
Gregorio Roth

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To listen or not to listen?

Reading according to Websters Dictionary is an  activity of interpreting music, a situation, or something said or written.   But it also means to be able to read a written or printed text.  Today one can read in a variety of formats; the traditional format can be read on the computer, on one's kindle, or on a traditionally bounded set of printed words.  But also reading is now being defined as listening to books; the reader can listen to complete books via audio c.d.s or via a MP3 file, on their computer.

But is listening to an audio book reading?  Does listening to a book constitute the same experience as reading one?  Will the reader's reaction to the book be influenced by the listening experience?  Some authors have published and read their own works on an Audio format.  Neil Gammon read his Graveyard Book and recorded it onto C.D..  I ponder if my liking Fahrenheit 451 was due me listening to it, and not reading it.  Bradbury is a really good oral story teller, but is his writing good?  Hmm we ponder!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Worth Clucking: Girl Talk

Oh No by Girl Talk is one of the best tracks I have heard in a long time.
Lately, I have been bored with music... but this gets me excited again.  Mr. Brian Morris suggested that I check this band out.  I am glad he did, because they are truly awesome.  Kind of a Dick Vitale, "It's awesome baby... ptp in da house." (note: some of y'all may not like them, for they do not always keep it clean, but listen to the musicology of these guys and y'all be loving them.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fahrenheit 451 (A Review)

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fahrenheit 451 is a story set in the future, told as a parable* about the role of the critic/teacher and the independent reader.  The book takes place in a future where literature is burned and thinking is a Capital Crime.   The only books allowed in this future dystopia are those that don't make you think, like Richie Rich or Archie comic books.  The big thing you can ask questions, but don't ask why, never ask why.  The main characters Montag and Faber battle against each other in war between the preservation of books and the need to burn them all.
The characters in the story represent the battle between readers and those that stand in the way of the reader.   Montag represents the blank piece of paper.  Faber represents a pencil with an eraser.   Faber desires to graft the critics wholesome viewpoint on the blank unwritten mind.  Faber types feel the best way to keep the people mailable is through the work of firemen, the maintainers of ignorance. The defenders of the thinkers are the librarians who maintain the critical mind by safeguarding valuable books.
Teachers sterilize the independent yearning of students when they dictate what one should think about this or that book.   Society stands conditioned as trained morons, to use Prussian systematization to condition our future to be like drones thinking with homogenized answer.  The homogenized answer is a problem in a divergent complex world.
The group discussion at the Larry Jackson Library was indepth, and full of insight. Don't miss next month's book discussion at the Main Library or the Jackson Library on the book: Emily's Ghost.

Fahrenheit 451 is a Classic Tale-and I liked it a lot!!!

(Listened to this on Audio C.D. Read for B.S.I. Lakeland.)

*(a short story that uses familiar events to illustrate a religious or ethical point)

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Cannibals Pertake Body Sushi Extreme

 Last night I saw an article that struck me as quit sick.  A restaurant nearby is   promoting body sushi, where you eat pieces of sushi off of a model.   This is to me a depraved way to enjoy food.  I feel that things like Body Sushi can easily lead to the above sketch, its just a matter of degrees.) This is a sketch of an idea, I could not write the full story as it scared me too much, I just wanted a rough sketch here.  

The beautiful model laid on the cloth covered table, deliciously lathered with special seasoning, her body was covered with pieces of meat.

The master sushi chefs were preparing the main course.

The spacemen were awakening their sensual pleasures.

The men sat in another room enjoying the beautiful bodies simulating sexual pleasures.  The clients sat with their lips quivering in anticipation of the full course.  .   The men awaited smoking cigars and swapping stories told too many times at the mahogany stained table.  And yes, on space capsule Xeron, their were strip joints modeled after the old legends of Hustler, Penthouse, and Playboy.  The stories of the men whispered up with the smoke.

Strippers danced on poles, teasing the spacemen who stared.  Their breasts were sprayed down with glitter, the disco ball reflected on the women's glittery breasts, shinning faeries on the wall.   The space traveler's  hard ons were hidden beneath the lacquered oak dark stained table. Some of the men were business men signing contracts and entertaining clients, others were space cowboys on leave. Some of the men joistled with their dicks, while others played with their straws in their pink Cosmos.  All of the men were guilty of a feeling that they were about to do something not quite right.

"Gentlemen!"  The steward spoke,  "Please join me in the pleasure den, where tonight we have a real surprise!!!"

The men arose from their tables and followed the steward to a back room.

This practice has been outlawed on Earth, but here on planet X we think not.  This is a special event which we offer you to participate in tonight.   We ask that you show decorum and not fight over the pieces of meat from the model-Angelic.   Angelic will not feel a thing, I promise you,  for she has been thoroughly drugged.  So stick your knives and forks into her flesh, and carve her up boys! She's all yours!!!!

If their is any thing that my stewards and I can get you to make your night more enjoyable let us know, we will be happy to assist you.  And we hope y'all have a great night here."

The night commenced in bloody mayhem.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gods and Mortals (A Review)

Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical MythsGods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths by Nina Kossman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book that takes a modern look at classical greek mythology.  A great reference to making the mythic relevant in this troubling time. Why Myths? -from the Introduction the editor Nina Kossman explains why myths resonate with our 21st century lives.
"The venerable tradition of doing a Greek mask is often used by poets in order to speak of things they would have found difficult to approach otherwise."xix  Kossman believes that truth is found in the pure expression of the arts, "If we think we know the answers, it is because the questions were first posed in antiquity... And perhaps it is because the myths echo the structure of our unconscious that every new generation of poets finds them inexhaustible source of inspiration and self-recognition."xx

One example of a poem I really dig is Zbigniew Hebert's Old Prometheus:
He writes his memoirs. He is trying to explain the place of the hero in a system of necessities, to reconcile the notion of existence and fate that contradict each other.

Fire is crackling gaily in the fireplace, in the kitchen his wife bustles about- an exalted girl who did not bear him a son, but is convinced she will pass into history anyway. Preparations for supper: the local parson is coming, and the pharmacist, now the closest friends of Prometheus.

The fire blazes up. On the wall, a stuffed eagle and a letter of gratitude from the tyrant of the Caucasus, who successfully burned down a town in revolt because of Prometheus's discovery.

Prometheus laughs quietly. Now it is the only way of expressing his disagreement with the the world.
Translated from the Polish by John and Bogdana Carpenter. Gods and Mortals Modern Poems on Classical Myths ed. Nina Kossman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

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Gods and Mortals Modern Poems on Classical Myths ed. Nina Kossman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991),

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Reads: A Good Experience

Good Reads is a terrific social media site for all readers.  The web site provides a place to share lists, ideas, discussions, reviews, and previews.  Also the site offers quizzes and trivia contests to keep the mind sharp.   Readers here promote reading as a pleasure sport.

  If you are in a reading group, this is a good place to meet before your "live event".  I currently have a group space for the Book Sandwiched In Lakeland Public Library Group discussing this  month's current book. Why don't you drop by Good Reads sometime and I will show you around!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land: Review of....

Stranger in a Strange LandStranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heinlein is a master of the literary craft.  Here in Stranger in a Strange Land he interweaves human relations, large ideas (theology), and the art of the story. The story a Stranger in a Strange Land takes place in a New America, that is one world ordered hegemony.  The world has made missions to mars and has set up a space colony there.  The space colony had been deserted on the planes of Mars.  The man from mars is found after many years of exposure to an alien race. The climax resolves whether Michael Valentine Smith will be excepted by the people of Earth.  At times this book gets bogged down in Heinlein's philosophy, so it can be a difficult read. 

What I liked about the book is its deep analysis of Faith. Heinlein first looks at the cult of the Fosterites. A cult where everyone is happy, and everyone thinks as a one happy unit.  (I would like to go deeper into describing the Fosterites, but I am afraid that this would lead you down a rabbit hole and would maybe bore you deeply.) 
Then he looks at how Michael Valentine Smith twists the Abrahamic religions to make a cult that combines elements of Confucius, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism.  
The religion is based on the wisdom of the old ones (Confucius).  (I am only all that I Grok.(Buddhism)) The perfect wisdom of the elders is not to be disputed at all.   The cult members become entwined by a sharing of water together.  They see each other as all Gods.(Brahman Hindu)  Thou art god and so are my Guinea pigs and Lovebird.  The religion replaces God and put man in God’s place, this allows man to worship created things.
When God’s proper place, to be above all, is replaced all is left in Chaos.  A chaos I imagine to be like the ending of the Demolished Man by Alfred Bester.  This chaos is a place of no form at all, the lizard eats his own tail and poof he is no longer. 
Because man is now God like, the divine things are the things that connect man in deeper communication.  Sex is seen as sharing deeper with many people.  The communal orgasm is sacred, a great religious experience.(Athenian Greek Goddess Cults)  Cannibalism is the holiest way to die for it is taking the spirit of the other deeply into the body of the collective (Native American Ritual).
Stranger in a Strange Land  raised the questions: 
What does it mean to be both God and man? 
Why could not Joseph and Mary give birth to the messiah? 
Why did it need to be a virginal birth?    
What becomes lost when the Messiah is merely a superman?
(Loved this book and Clucked it Loud)

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Music Preview: Cover lay Down



Some times the best way to hear something anew is to listen to it covered by someone else.   This way the gift of the song is not saturated with the nuance of smog that keeps us from listening.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Best of Jack Vance by Jack Vance

This is a collection of stories by Jack Vance written between 1952 and 1973.  Part II of III
(1958)Ullward's Retreat: (Issues Examined: Utopias)
How much space does one really need?  A whole planet is it enough for one man?  Are we that greedy that even ownership of a planet is not enough? 

(1966)The Last Castle: (Issue Examined: Civil Rights)
The Last Castle, is a short story influenced by Japanese Samurai Culture, and explores the ideas of a closed caste system where it is impossible to alter one's life.  The story highlights the relationships between the gentlemen society and those that work to support it.  Vance poses the quesiton: "Is prospering from slave labor ever okay for the building up of a society?  The men of high means almost always underestimate their servants, "They are a clever, resourceful race, untroubled by qualms or preconceptions, and we have long underestimated their quality."   The gentlemen becoming Wild Animals? or Nomads with out a home? if they are to leave their caste system.    The answer to Vance is clear, "Society need not wither, provided that all of us - you as well as we - toil for it.  There can be no more slaves."pg 112 

(1952)Abercombie Station:
Where is Abercombie Station?

(1961)The Moon Moth:
An anthropological tale.

(1973) Rumfuddle:'
Where is that portal, where does it lead, can you change history?  Can you change history by helping others find their creative calling?  Can Hitler make a good hotel maid?  Can Genghis Kahn make a great catcher on the San Francisco Giants? This is one of my all time favorite short stories. 

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jack Vance

The Best of Jack VanceThe Best of Jack Vance by Jack Vance

Sail 25
a short story about a voyage into deep outer space. The cadets are headed to mars on a space clipper. The captain Henry Belt is a no nonsense chap, who desires to die in space; so he hands the reign to his cadets to sail on through the outer limits of space.  Will they get home?  The story was a keen observation of Sailors and Captains, and the relationship between the two.   I really enjoyed the story.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Wasties: a NovelThe Wasties: a Novel by Frederick Reuss

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I felt torn between the book being a good read and something else; a hyperbolic torture chamber.
At times it was philosophical preaching. And yes the main character is adroit and infantile but this is the charm of the book.
I think the plot did not move much, but then again it was a book of character exploration. I have had my feel of this character. I also felt empathy with the character's loss of himself and his family. He seems to a character who is the result of Henri Miller's opulant equations, lost and disconnected from others.
The books presentation of psychosis with literary figures was fantastic.  
The strength of the book was that reading is much more than just reading, its a journey just like Don Quixote did with the Romantic Knights; we converse with authors we have not had the opportunity to meet with.   All in all an interesting read but not a great read.  Chuck this one lightly into the compost pile, let the ants do what they will to it. 

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