Tuesday, September 30, 2003

After finishing "Scoop" on Friday, I finally and reverently picked up "Wonder Boys." Michael Chabon can't write books fast enough for me. Every platitudinous remark ever made, all the hyperbole ever given breath to about a writer is true of Michael Chabon. Great, funny, moving, lyrical, poetic, fun, amazing, ironic: all this and more. Very different from "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," and written before that opus magnum, still "Wonder Boys" delivered adventures and ridiculous situations to surprise, sadden and amuse me. I had already seen the movie, and I have to say that the movie delivers the feeling of the book amazingly well. Oh yes, I finished "Wonder Boys" last night, now to go backwards again and buy and read "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh."

Even if J.K. Rowling and Michael Chabon don't write another word, I will have been privileged to live in their time.
Finished "Scoop." Evelyn Waugh was able to capture journalism in its most twisted form. I am not sure today that all the events in this book could be brought off. We live in the age of video and live broadcasts. However, that probably just makes MAKING THE NEWS somewhat more challenging. "Scoop" still carries a wallop.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

WOW...Apple pulled the 10.2.8 upgrade. Too many user problems right off the bat. Oh well. I can wait on anything new anyway!
Apple has a new version of Jaguar out. 10.2.8! I must have missed 10.2.7? So - compufun in the works for the weekend. I also need the newest version of GraphicConverter. It is a superb program, and my version is a bit outdated. I find there are many more updates and tweaks in the common use of Macs. The mindset seems to be to get all the newest versions, and the bug problem seems so much less. in a Winsystem you always have to think about how a new version can discombobulate your present software (or even your drivers), and as a rule there is always some punishment for each "upgrade," and some troubleshooting fun to be had after you add something. In the Mac OS, this seems so minimal, I haven't had the problem at all so far. I have downloaded a few programs that didn't seem stable and instantly trashed them. That's another beauty of the Mac OS. You can pull stuff to the trash and have the program gone after just a few files are removed from the preferences folders.
Freedom is at hand. I finished "The Heat of the Day." Now I can concentrate on Evelyn Waugh for awhile, and then finally get to the prize. I need to read "Wonder Boys." After "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" I had to measure my reading of Michael Chabon because I think he is the greatest writer alive today, and I could easily zip through his work and then have to wait while he gets around to writing more! I have the book "Wonder Boys" and have longingly picked it up several times, only to remind myself to finish every other book I started.

I briefly considered entering the race for governor of California, even though I live in New England, but what the heck, I don't have the time with all the reading I have to do. I thought I may as well run because everyone else is running, but then I thought what a waste of time being governor of California would be. A person might win, what a stroke of bad luck.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The hurricane has come and gone, even leaving downed trees in New England! Now Fall is coming on, leaves getting red, orange and yellow slowly while the temperatures remain livable outside. If winter didn't come right after Fall, I would enjoy Fall much more.

I have decided that Elizabeth Bowen's writing is among the most tedious. I am still plodding through her book, "The Heat of the Day". If I do not let myself read anything else, it is even more difficult. Her sentence construction is convoluted and ambiguous, and the narrative often winds around some introspective philosophical digression and then twines back to the remnants of the story. It is not really a character driven story, but rather a philosophical tome. In some ways her writing is evocative of Virginia Woolf.

What keeps me going is the overall ambience of the book - the "feeling" of deadened feeling. WWII must have cast a dismal pall over Britain because victory was not insured, and many were very frightened of the future, while fighting valiantly in any way, even small, to stave off the enemy. This feeling is manifest on a personal level by the few characters, including the City of London, whom she has allowed to take shape.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hurricane Isabel is slowly but inexorably moving toward North Carolina. Now the eye is on a trajectory heading straight for Raleigh-Durham and my grandbabies. This was a huge storm but is now category 2. It could get larger or smaller. I am watching it hourly. Preparations are in gear down there in NC, and I hope it misses all land, but this probably isn't going to happen. Oh for the monolithic dome home - the perfect home.

Monolithic Dome "Eye of the Storm"

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Yesterday late afternoon and into the night I finally got to see "The Four Feathers." First I watched all the "special features" which were all monologues from the director with a bit here and there from the screen writer. I appreciated this sequence of events after I viewed the entire film. Without the opportunity to see and hear the director, I would not have been attuned to the undercurrents of this film, nor probably to the musical interplay amoung the scenes.

Lots of reviewers panned it, and lots of reviewers liked it. The superficiality of the panning reviews is incredible. Apparently they were watching some other film because some reviews leave out Abou, and most seem to be totally unaware of this movie as "parable" and as the surrealistic episodic film it is - the desert portions are surreal and Abou appears as an angel in the oddest places. He comes and goes - there is no explanation of HOW. We westerners with out LINEAR discourse style have very little patience with the circular development of Eastern discourse, and we want HOW spelled out. Thus it is no surprise that reviewers have missed the flow of this story. If you allow yourself to see this film as it unfolds in front of you, and you allow yourself to listen without a linear frame of reference, or impatience, you will see that the story of Abou and Harry is the heart of the film, and that the journey Harry makes is within more than without, and Abou is the only way he can make this journey. One reviewer wrote that the Abou character has no believability and is false - he says, in fact, "What's in it for Abou?" Well, Abou is not motivated by that sentence, he is ruled by destiny, and destiny placed Harry in his path, and with that comes responsibility. Once the choice is made to help Harry, Abou has taken on that responsibility for life. A foreign concept to the Western world, but not to many peoples of the East.

"The Four Feathers" is a beautiful film, I recommend it.

Friday, September 12, 2003

WOW. New Blogger option to spell check! This has been needed. Careful editing is always a good thing, but spell checking provides the last word. So to speak. More new options as well make this an interesting journey. WAIT - for now the URL is not found. Maybe my browser? Who knows.

Thank goodness - Friday! Glad to see it come because I want to spend the weekend doing some much needed work around the house and watching several DVDs. HHHHmmm...which will come first, and which will get done?

I see Apple is being sued by the Apple Corps who are the Beatles parent company, or owner or however it is delineated. Seems Apple agreed not to go near the music business and the suit is not the first. There must be money in the "music business!" Interesting to watch this develope.

This week has seen a plethora of MS updates to our software at work. Security holes being patched, new virii sigs galore. Sigh. meanwhile - did I upload the *monthly* new Norton sigs for my Mac? I have to see about that...I keep forgetting about Norton on the Mac. Wonder why that is...:) Can't get too complaisant though, you never know.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Go to Applelinks and read "Grack." The writing is amusing, fast-paced and excellent. The pictures are of God's own country. And to top it all off, this guy is an Air Force Brat.
Monday morning coffee sitting on the desk beside me, and I am waking up slowly. It was an interesting weekend. Had one of those fits of organization where you go and look at your "wardrobe." That's what I call it, yea. So quite a few old things are history now, sitting in the Salvation Army sorting center. Had to reorganize the cupboards in the kitchen to accomodate the new water-heating-device-with-cord which I prefer to sit on the counter in readiness. All is now efficiently arranged. Nothing is like the thrill of saintliness you get from organizing, cleaning, sorting and removing. We all have too much "stuff" in our lives and homes. No doubt about it. I have too much stuff. Probably going to keep on having too much stuff. I do have a finite space for books, so when I go beserk and buy books I have to sort out some already on the shelves. Ditto CDs. If you don't get a grip and cycle through the stock, you are immersed in a sea of possessions.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Saw "Happy Texas" one more time the other night. Always a fun viewing. I am beginning to think we should just rent the movies we know are good because we've seen them. Taking a chance these days just might get you one horrid evening of film.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Worms eating their way through the internet. Our web is down at the college. All week so far, and this is Thursday. Mail only sporadic. Network really slow, and by really slow I mean almost unresponsive. I am getting a bit withdrawn, and not very enthused about the non-reception of email. It's the start of the school year, and I always forget the numbers of students in this metro area. With three colleges in town the numbers of internet users spikes tremendously in September. Should not come as a surprise to the local IT people. Phooy. Good thing I have a trusty modem at home and can POP the mail. Sometimes that works, sometimes it does not. And of course it goes without saying that having a Mac is a nice touch as well, especially in these wormy times.

Spent the money to register Nisus Writer Express. Now, I hope it gets some enhancements in version 1.1, coming out very soon they say. I would like the WYSIWYG font list, but that's not the top of the list. The ability to save as a PDF would be nice as well. This word processor is very very smooth. A nice "feel" and a good touch. You can also make the actual text area as wide as your screen if you want to. I like a nice sized window for my text, and you cannot get this with Appleworks or with Mellel as far as I could tell in my trial of that software. I didn't want MSWord for Mac, so I looked for another word processor with a variable text area, and Nisus Writer Express fills the bill.

If we register Mac software we encourage the developers. Go to it people!