Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ein kleiner politischer Witz

Not just für Elise but für jeder. Bitte genießen Sie!

Ok, done with the amusing (to me!) German music references. Here's the cartoon: (Click it to make it big enough to read.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fuck you, Furuno! I ain't buying it.

My friend Laureen has this to say on the subject:

Screw You, Furuno

I encourage any friends looking for new electronics for their boat to buy something other than Furuno.

Just my $.02,


Monday, June 21, 2010

Octopodes, a Love Poem

My friend Heather recently did a Facebook post about being at the aquarium and hearing the folks there talk about octopuses when there is a fairly widespread belief in our culture that the plural of octopus is octopi. That's a common misunderstanding from the (incorrect) assumption that octopus is a second declension Latin word. In reality, it is Greek and the correct plural is octopodes, with octopuses being acceptable, and octopi is a hypercorrection. [That means it's wrong!]

The discussion on Heather's post prompted me to start this little game/poem. Join in if you'd like, by adding your couplet(s), or whatever you feel moved to write, in the comments.

Octopodes, a Love Poem

The people who say octopi
Will also say for you and I.
On accident's in their lexicon
And their baseball-playing child's named Chone(1).
Instead of peak'ed they say peak'd
Which is neither piqued nor peeked.
'twixt your and you're, they're often stuck(2).
They've never sneaked, they've always snuk.
…add your verse(s) in the comments…

1. Chone (pronounced "shawn") Figgins, Seattle Mariner's second baseman.
2. Forget about yore!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, dad!

I love you, dad. You were extraordinary. Requiescas in pace.

Martin Joseph Maier 11/18/1918 - 1/19/2009

Friday, June 11, 2010

A melange of thoughts - sailing, life, ageism, metaphors, reality

I've recently stated a coupla times in a coupla different places that I intend to be more creatively positive instead of being reactively negative in my posts. To lean toward meeting that goal, lemme start this post on a positive thought and and continue mostly in the vein, with maybe just a little snarkiness sneaked in there, like a dash of wasabi used to enhance the flavor of a dish. [No! "Snuk" is not acceptable, unless you're the kind of person who says "on accident."]

Abby Sunderland is a person I admire greatly but not because *I* want to do a solo circumnavigation and feel envy when I think of her. I love to sail and I enjoy having time alone but I have no desire to sail around the world just for the sake of doing it and I certainly don't wanna spend that much time alone. I admire her because she is a person who had a desire and pursued that desire in the face of tremendous opposition. From outsiders, anyway. Her family obviously supported her and I say kudos to them.

Currently, Abby is dismasted in the vastness of the Indian Ocean She was knocked down several times in winds gusting over 60 knots and large waves. Her radar was torn away in one of the knockdowns. Her engine compartment flooded. Her satellite phone went out. Oh woe! Oh horror! Blah, blah, blah.

For those of you unfamiliar with sailing, allow me to inform you that shit happens on a boat, especially a boat which is in tough conditions and has been at sea with no break for months. Abby is an experienced sailor, her boat is well-founded and perfectly-suited to survive difficult conditions, and she is well equipped. She has a dry suit, survival suit, life raft, and ditch bag with emergency supplies. Wild Eyes is designed for travel in the Southern Ocean and is equipped with 5 air-tight bulkheads to keep her buoyant in the event of major hull damage. It is built to Category 0 standards and is designed to self-right in the event of capsize. She has two EPIRBs, one of which is automatic and turns on when submerged. Etc. This was not some spur-of-the-moment decision undertaken without forethought or planning. This (young) woman was experienced and prepared. Speaking of her age…

Alexander the Great became king at age 16 and then resolved the riddle of the Gordian Knot (by chopping through it with his sword, which is precisely how he became ruler of Asia Minor), subsequently totally ravaging the Middle East, and pressing on into the Indian subcontinent before his death. We all love the story and artifacts associated with Tutankhamun who became pharaoh at 9 and ruled Egypt for a decade before his death. These are just a couple of examples from history of people we now call "teens" and think of as "children." It is only in very recent Western history that we've infantilized teens and defined them as a form of "child." Returning to thoughts of Abby and her age in the context of attempting a solo circumnavigation, MJ was 12 when we moved aboard the Zombie Princess. Chloe was 11. I'd rather have either of them as crew on a difficult passage than a lot of people I know who are 30-something, or 40-something, or whatever. Calendar age is a meaningless measure of… well, Hell!, almost everything. Robin Lee Graham set out on a solo circumnavigation at 16 in 1965 with his boat Dove, which, compared to Abby's fabulous 40-foot, specially-crafted Wild Eyes, was a 24-foot production P.O.S. (A Lapworth Gladiator. I've never been a fan of Lapworth's designs.) with no GPS, no Satphone, no EPIRB, etc.

Wait. That's too much detail. This post is only peripherally about sailing. Sailing is just the specific context for Abby Sunderland. And a few others. What this is about is life. A life of freedom and choice and self-direction. In response to natterings about the dangers of ocean sailing, Abby's folks countered with the dangers of driving on the freeway. Naysayers demurred, complaining that the two were not congruent. No, they're not congruent at all. Driving is much more dangerous than deep-ocean sailing on a yare craft. I reiterate a position I've stated a time or two: If you don't know what you're talking about, you should learn a bit before you comment or you should shut the fuck up.

To Abby, Abby's family, and other self-directed, autodidactic teens out there, I say: I support you. I love that you are pursuing your dreams, whether that dream is a solo circumnavigation or a desire to be a manga artist. Keep going after whatever it is that you want. Ignore the annoying cawing of the doom-crows. Listen to your own inner voice. It's your life. Live it.


Robin Graham's Dove

Exploring manga art

P.S. Ben Lovejoy forced me to write a song about Abby. It's here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Some photos: Greybeards and Hot Backup Chicks at LiG 2010

A few shots I've filched from friends.

First, lemme start with an exception to the title. This is Chloe and some fellow teens singing with Kimya Dawson! Too cool, huh? Note Chloe's excellent new hair, although it's a bit messy and difficult to see details in this photo. She's the one standing farthest right in the photo.

Ok, now for the title shots. First, a transition from Chloe to Greybeards with a shot of Chloe and me.

Me, me, me, me! With my two-keyboard setup and my perfectly tackylicious mike!

Jeff, with Jon Gold apparently trying for the "money shot."

HBCs: Robin, Shonna, and Ronnie.

Russ in profile beyond the HBCs.

Best shot I have so far of Scotty, mostly hidden behind Jeff. I'm looking for a better one and will post it when I find one. Sorry, Scotty.

And a mashup video courtesy of Craig who generously excluded the worst of the worst of what we did.

"What is art?" asked jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer.

Two related concepts have been on my mind lately. Traditional, culturally-indoctrinated parents frequently: 1. parrot the belief that TV rots your brain, and 2. ask "Why does my child want to re-watch the same movie or TV show again and again?"

1. Thinking about "TV rots your brain!" I wonder why I've never heard anyone say, "Books rot your brain!" or "Art rots your brain!" or "Music rots your brain!" or "Math rots your brain!" Well, they do say that about music they personally dislike. Oops, waitaminit. Come to think of it, they also say that about books they dislike, e.g. "Why are you reading that trash?" and about art they dislike, like manga, comics, etc. and because they've mostly come up through our American education system, they've endured the curriculum version of math and all they know is that they mostly never wanna think about math again, which is very sad because real math is as beautiful as any sonata, sonnet, or serigraph. But that's another post.

So, distilling that concept down to its root, parents who say these things have their own opinion of the value of an exemplar of a medium and are quite ready to impose that value judgment on their children's apprehension of that medium or a particular genre of the medium. In the case of TV, our cultural bias is that "TV rots your brain (period)" and, having swallowed that bias hook, line, and sinker, those parents are only too happy to impose that belief on their children, despite their own experience that there are many TV events which they consider good (valuable, worthwhile, or any other POSITIVE value judgment which they impose from their own prejudice on that particular piece) while they simultaneously denigrate the entire medium.

I ask if it's logical or fair for you to be wildly anticipating the next episode of 24, which I detest and would therefore define as bad (imposing my value judgment on it) while bemoaning your child's anticipation for the next episode of [insert the show they like but you detest here].

Society's valuation of any given medium or work in that medium is not The Truth. Your personal valuation of any given medium or work in that medium is not The Truth. My personal valuation of any given medium or work in that medium is not The Truth. [O ye gods and goddesses of spacetime!, how it hurts to say that.] Let your kids have their own experience, apprehension, and appreciation of art. All forms of art. I know you'd like me to grant you that same courtesy.

2. Thinking about repeatedly revisiting the same work in a given medium, would you complain about an art aficionado wanting to look at Filippo Lippi's (Fra Lippo Lippi) Pala Barbadori more than once? A literary lion wanting to re-read Milton's Paradise Lost? A music maven wanting to attend multiple presentations of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony? A cinema connoisseur watching Rashomon for the nth time? Would you say to them, in that cynical, offended, martyred tone you use with your kids, "Again?"

You (the generic "you") accept those repeated viewings as sensible and worthwhile, dontcha? Why, then, would you deny your child the opportunity to re-view something which speaks to her/him the way these items speak to their fans? Clearly, someone revisiting a work of art (and I definitely include TV shows and movies in that phrase) is getting something out of it. Maybe they're distilling an amazing new insight at the level of a personal epiphany or maybe, just maybe, they enjoy that particular work so much that they delight in revisiting it for the simple pleasure it gives them. Isn't that reason enough?

Enjoy your life and the beauty (and learning) all around you in its multitudinous guises and, please, grant your kids the same boon even if their taste differs from yours.

Lippi's Pala Barbadori, which I like. YMMV. That's ok. (wink)

Author's note: I feel compelled to add two personal comments here.

One. I composed and posted this in one sitting. This is, for me, a terribly uncomfortable, even scary, thing to do. My typical process is to: Write. Think. Edit. Iterate a buncha times. Even a short, simple post often takes me several days before I'm ready to make it public. Here is my first serious attempt to let go of that perfectionism. Please be kind!

Two. I previously stated that I found my body of work to be mostly negative or combative and my future intention was to be more positive. I consider this post to be a positive one. I hope you do, too. Again, please be kind! My ego is terribly fragile. I am the quintessential delicate flower.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A coupla photos

Here are a couple of shots of me from our Saturday night performance at LiG. I'm still in the process of organizing more shots of my new hair (lack of) style and more group shots of the Greybeards.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Home again, home again


Leaving the LIFE is Good Conference was dolorous but with a soupcon of (potential, future) joy, both for the next opportunity to be physically present with our friends and for the ongoing opportunity to contemplate the long weekend that was the conference and all it meant to me.

I have two significant "me" items to report, then I'll catch up on some sleep and think about a new post because...

1. Over the course of this weekend, I accepted in my heart what I already knew in my head: I'm still mostly negative in my intercourse with the outer world. My internals have, indeed, changed in recent times, and I ain't the curmudgeon I used to be but I still tend to post or write publicly about negative things or address the negative aspect of a given topic. My positive, congenial, upbeat posts are the thinnest and stingiest of drizzles of lovely, lemony whiskey sauce on the ponderous mass of posts which constitute the malcontent bread pudding of the majority of my oeuvre. [Is that a mixed metaphor? I mean, there is egg in bread pudding but it's not really the same as "oeuvre" which has a fairly exclusive meaning in English. Anyway, to continue my narrative...] That's not a ratio I enjoy. I prefer a much higher proportion of actual whiskey sauce on my actual bread pudding, therefore I desire the same analogous condition for my blog. As I get the time, look for a new post by me which is positive, rather than cynical, snarky, and mean-spirited. More whiskey (sauce) for my men! ("Men" as used here is, of course, figurative and collective for all types of humanity in their variegated glory. I am nothing if not inclusive.)

2. My new look is in place. More photos to come but here's a starter: