G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

Journal

Ordered by accident and almost tempted to keep it just for the terrible mis-registration on this copy's print job. Snooping around online and I'm not seeing any publicly available evidence of anyone else having come across such a terribly misprinted copy.

Almost want to send a picture directly to Dan Clowes just to ruin his day/week/life. But no, what good would that do without getting to see the look on his face?

#journal #reads

“Siphonophores are colonial marine organisms made up of specialised but genetically identical units, zooids, that undertake different functions, such as feeding or reproduction. The best-known species is the Portuguese man o'war, which resembles a large jellyfish but is actually seven different kinds of zooid that cooperate so that the colony acts like a single organism.”

From Paul McAuley's THE SECRET OF LIFE.

I note that he does the thing that I love when its done in fiction: including actual non-fiction knowledge. Chuck Palahniuk will almost always slide a little nugget of knowledge in his novels (i.e. how soap is made in FIGHT CLUB or how long it takes to choke in CHOKE, and I think there was something about airplanes or bodybuilding or both in SURVIVAL). This strikes me as an essential function of storytelling: using story to ever so slyly act as a vector for knowledge. It isn't the only function, but it seems to be one of several essential functions. It is after all a tradition as old as time itself. The oldest story known to humankind, THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH, lets it be known that wood obtained from Cedar trees is ideal for shipbuilding (and indeed, the oldest known surviving boat, excavated in Egypt, is built out of Cedar). The myth of Osiris contains mumification instructions. Story is carrier wave for philosophical pondering, parable, moral compass tuning, and factual knowledge. Drama is, for the most part, a really great delivery system.

At least that's how I like it.

#journal #reads #story

STATUS:

Awoke at 2:30 am for no good reason. It is now noon and I am dead and delirious, but I know not how to sleep during the day so I will continue to be dead and delirious till sundown. This always happens whenever I'm close to finishing a big thing, any big thing.

Trying to wriggle away from TSG for just an hour or two to tend to a few other things, but the Grid has me firmly in its grip right now.

Thoroughly enjoying Paul McAuley's SECRET OF LIFE in the very short reading breaks I manage to steal every now and again.

Now that I have fully shaken off the incessant doom-scrolling of all social media by not being on it at all, I am now more active on RESTRICTED.ACADEMY again, catching up on some fantastic threads that go back a couple years (!) but also starting a few new ones. Some of my favorites are:

#journal #work

I am told that today is the last day for Barnes & Nobel members to preorder DEEP DREAM with a 25% discount.

Edited by Indrapramit Das and published by MIT Press, I have a short story in it along with numerous other science fiction luminaries from across the globe. 

Confession: I had no idea that Barnes & Nobel had a membership thing. In fact, I didn't even realize Barnes & Nobel was still around at all.

#journal #work #fiction

On March 2, 1812, this anonymous verse appeared in the London Morning Chronicle, possibly penned by Lord Byron (opinions vary on this):

Those villains, the Weavers, are all grown refractory, Asking some succor for Charity's sake— So hang them in clusters round each Manufactory, That will at once put an end to mistake.

The rascals, perhaps, may betake them to robbing, The dogs to be sure have got nothing to eat— So if we can hang them for breaking a bobbin, 'Twill save all the Government's money and meat:

Men are more easily made than machinery— Stockings fetch better prices than lives— Gibbers on Sherwood will heighten the scenery, Showing how commerce, how Liberty thrives!

I love the sarcastic tone, very contemporary. Somewhat akin to The Fugs' KILL FOR PEACE in attitude.

On a completely different note, how on Earth can 36 degrees Celsius be “feels like 43”?

#journal

Spent the entire goddamn day speed re-reading this entire book just to locate one single passage I needed for a bit in THE SOLAR GRID.

Frustrating, but necessary. I am however reminded by what a fantastic and well-researched read it is. I doubt this is going to be the last time I utilize Luddite history in a story. It's such a fascinating episode in history. Remember this is just a few years before Mary Shelley started writing FRANKENSTEIN and young Percy was frequenting pothouses. Lord Byron was already a famed poet, having written verse in favor of the Luddites actually, and the Napoleonic Wars were still ongoing.

#journal #reads #work

The incessant bullying of one single child throughout his life may end up having played a major role in the reelection of Donald J. Trump apparently.

Not to overlook all the many other potential reasons, but it's good to have all aspects of the bigger picture.

Post office and grocery run out of the way. Lettering TSG08/#9. More cover art to do later. KS update to draft, and maybe find time to exercise and try a new recipe.

Already too much to squeeze into a single day tbh, because my evening hours belong to my son. I should also schedule a haircut already.

Started Paul McAuley's SECRET OF LIFE (one dollar on Kindle!) late last night and I'm hooked. At over 400 pages, it's a big fucker of a book though, so we'll see if it holds my interest to the very end. I note that the hardback is only $6, which would typically be more than an incentive for me to nab it, especially after having enjoyed the digital sample. But the cover art/design on that thing is enough to make me go uh, yeah, no thanks. If I'm gonna introduce another physical object into my life, it sure as fuck better be beautiful.

#journal

3:30am and I am in the process of making bread for the first time in my life for no good reason. An activity I'm sure I will regret having pursued instead of sleep, when my child awakens in three hours.

Finished one of the TSG covers and newsletter went out a couple hours ago.

Paul McAuley: “Staying alert to the happening world helps rather more, I guess, than trying to follow trends and fashions in fiction that aren’t a good fit for what you are interested in. Drawing on the here and now, which is crammed with the weird and wonderful, and changes driven by science and technology, rather than reworking previous instances of science fiction.”

This is why the best artists in any field are always going to be the ones exposed to things outside of their field. Filmmakers who only watch films aren't as interesting as those who also read fiction. Comix-makers who only read comicbooks aren't as great as those who read history or frequent art galleries. Musicians who only listen to music aren't as interesting as those who survey the news. Fashion designers who only look at fashion designers aren't as interesting as those who backpack around the world.

#journal

Post office run earlier today. Wise choice because presently a violent thunderstorm roars overhead. Assembling TSG08/#9 right now. Will break for cooking and exercise before starting on cover pencils. Very much behind on all the things this week due to Hurricane Beryl. Won't get to newsletter-drafting before tomorrow which is cutting it way too close.

Inbox 5, RSS 44.

#journal #work

There was a time many years ago when I spent about a week in a small oasis town in Egypt's west desert. It was probably spring and way too hot to be there that time of year, but I recall the locals had a smart way of going about it: they had switched their schedules: sleeping during the day, rendering the place very much a ghost town during those hours, only to emerge in the evening, and that's when the place became bustling with all manner of activity.

As a morning person, this was at odds with my typical circadian rhythms but very much made sense given the circumstances.

It strikes me as very odd that places like Houston don't enact similar schedule changes given the unbearable summer heat. But then again, nothing in Houston is the result of a culture that slow-cooked and simmered over hundreds or thousands of years. It is colonized in every sense of the word; outside ways of being, building, planting, and existing forced upon the landscape. This is one of Western civilization's greatest evils, an insistence on subjugating the natural world rather than working with it, even worse that it is done in a one-size fits all approach. We should know by now that such subjugation never truly works, and almost always tends to backfire (the over arching theme of TSG I s'pose). It even makes capitalist sense: Imagine the exorbitant energy bills that would be drastically cut in all those air-conditioned glass-case office buildings that wouldn't have the beating rays of that high-noon sun to contend with.


Wardrobe change enacted: sandals, cotton tank tops, linen pants and shorts, the occasional loose-fit shirt, and big hats. I've never been much of a hat person (or sandals person for that matter), but you do what you gotta do to cope with a scorched Earth.

None of the measures mentioned above have been enough. I may have to also enact a drastic haircut.

#journal