Sunday, December 28, 2003

Rave

Like channel 62 on my new satellite radio, my life is a 24-hour, non-stop, ecstasy-doped, compelling rave (*). Electronic music evokes in my mind the aura of the modern metropolis at night, neon-lights burning brighter than stars, pouring life over cool streets; it evokes beautiful youth and the boredom, sex, and fatalistic philosophy of their lives, as the rhythm carries them ineluctably onward. Its point and counterpoint are the beating of a heart, and the cold reflection of the city skyline in a woman's shining eyes---the irridescent, immoral, narcotized cousin of a country-music sweetheart. The music can be meaningless, and hypnotic for that precise reason, and my mind fills it with stories.


* - Except for the small point that my life is not a 24-hour, non-stop, ecstasy-doped, compelling rave.

Friday, December 26, 2003

QOTD

I'm away from any real net connection, down on the Florida fruit grove, so I'm queuing up all the real blog entries to be uploaded when I return to civilization. Until then, here is a message my computer gave me this morning.

STUDENT SUCCESSES
Many of our students have gone on to achieve great success in all fields of programming. One former student developed the concept of the personalized form letter. Does the phrase, "Dear Mr.(insert name), You may already be a winner!," sound familiar? Another student writes "After only five lessons I sold a "My Most Unforgettable Program" article to Corrosive Computing magazine. Another of our graduates writes, "I recently completed a database-management program for my department manager. My program touched him so deeply that he was speechless. He told me later that he had never seen such a program in his entire career. Thank you, Famous Programmers' school; only you could have made this possible." Send for our introductory brochure which explains in vague detail the operation of the Famous Programmers' School, and you'll be eligible to win a possible chance to enter a drawing, the winner of which can vie for a set of free steak knives. If you don't do it now, you'll hate yourself in the morning.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Possessions

Today I heard a very telling story about the ex-husband of a family friend in Thailand. He had remarried, and bought at that time an expensive Mercedes, particularly prominent in Thailand, and prized it so highly that he didn't let anyone, including his wife, drive it. One day when his family's normal car was in the shop for repairs, he suffered a stroke---but his wife didn't know how to drive his Mercedes, and so couldn't take him to the hospital. They had to wait a while for an emergency team to arrive, and in that time he incurred brain damage that left him vegetative for the few years before he died.

If a more salient message admonishing those who love too much their worldly goods is to be played out on life's stage, I have yet to see it.

Sunday, December 7, 2003

After Shovelling

Yesterday for all purposes I was snowed in---mounds of ice pushed to the side of the road by the plows blocked my driveway, and after shovelling and hacking for two hours to clear a path, I found that the sections on which I had worked first, were already covered by another layer of falling snow. It seemed to be a fast-fowarded conceit for the way that the work of humans, if they are not constantly vigilent in its upkeep, is eventually swallowed by nature, subsumed back into the earth. This morning, all that remained of my effort were sore muscles; I'm glad I didn't attempt to build, for instance, a citadel to proclaim my glory through all the ages.

Today, though, the afternoon was warm, and after yet another shovelling, I drove to have a gigantic buffet meal, which I'm now digesting contentedly. I read what I thought was a funny paragraph in The New Yorker while I ate:

"A perennial issue in popular melodrama: How do you create villains evil enough to arouse the anger of the righteous? Many people enjoy violence in movies, but they want to feel justified in their enjoyment; they want to feel that some characters are so far beyond the pale that good folks have little choice but to kill them. The Nazis always qualify, as did Soviet spies (in the old days) and serial murderers, cannibals, rapists, drug lords, persons of indeterminate Third World origin, giant bugs and lizards, ambitions machines, Willem Dafoe---"

Friday, December 5, 2003

Snowfall

Today we had the first real snowfall of the season, and now at three o'clock in the morning, the world outside is muffled and cold, with the drifted sheets of snow seeming to glow in the dark, and the sky colored the pale pink of ice. The lights from my house play over the covered ground, heavy boughs, stumps, and myriad mounds, the sources of which made unknown by their cold wrapping; it feels almost supernatural. I sat for a while in a room with the lights turned off, looking out the window and sipping Japanese whiskey, so that what I saw was crisp and cold and beautiful, but what I felt was warm and comforting.