The latest toy in the house: an XBOX S.
The last time I owned a game console was when I had the original first-gen PSP, and I played that thing to death. Not just because there were specific games on there I enjoyed, but because the design of the system made gaming frictionless for me. I'd owned a PSOne and didn't like being tethered to the TV for some indefinite length of time. I liked that I could pick up the PSP, play it for a few minutes, suspend it in the middle of things without having to shut it off, and then resume it whenever. Eventually I let go of it, and fell out of the habit of gaming altogether.
An introduction to the roster of characters for "Welcome To The Fold", starting with the leads.
With any story the entry point for me isn't the concept but the people. I can't write a story if all I have is a gimmick; it means nothing unless there's someone for that gimmick -- and that story -- to happen to.
Drafts of a work are experiments. They just point the way, and help you narrow it further.
When I was much younger, I tended to think of writing along the lines of transcribing a movie that unreeled in my head. The book was a finished thing "out there somewhere", and my job was just to take dictation from it. It took a while to back away from this mental model, because as seductive and romantic as it was, it was also incomplete and sometimes downright harmful.
This year I did something I'd long avoided: I hosted Thanksgiving at my place. (For three.)
For years running now, the tradition in my family has been two Thanksgivings. One with my own parents early in November (the better to coincide with my father's and brother's birthdays, too), and another with my in-laws on the actual day-and-date. It's worked out nicely: my wife and I travel up to visit my folks and see New York in the bargain, and then later we get a second Thanksgiving right in the neighborhood.
But all that got knocked into a cocked hat this year, for Obvious Reasons. My mother-in-law lost her husband back in 2017 -- he fell ill right before Thanksgiving and died right before my birthday and Christmastime -- and so Thanksgiving with her has been a muted affair since. She's normally hosted a dialed-down Thanksgiving at her house since.
But I decided to do something about that state of affairs this year, given how awful everything else has been too, and offered to host Thanksgiving at my place for a change. Just the three of us, so nothing hazardous in this age of COVID.
I also offered to cook the turkey, too.
The "remastered" version of "Flight Of The Vajra" is now available!
After some delays and fribble, I'm pleased to announce the "remastered" version of Flight Of The Vajra, with new cover art and tweaked innards, under the Infinimata Press brand, is now available in both recycled-tree and recycled-electron versions.
My newly uncrated Dell notebook, and my general unease about anything brand spanking new.
I'm typing this on a newly uncrated Dell notebook, the replacement for the ill-fated Chuwi that died when one of its hinges exploded on me in mid-unfold. So far the only things I don't like about the Dell are the power connector (I don't think it supports charge-over-USB-C, which allows me to use a mag connector instead of the yank-the-wrong-way-and-you-break-it power plugs that are so common with notebooks) and that it's not fanless. But there may be a way around the former, and the latter is mostly me being a nitpicker. The rest is quite nice. It even has a fingerprint reader built in, something I totally missed when scanning the specs, and it supposedly gets all-day battery life. That, we will have to test independently.
The new laptop I picked up on the ultra-cheap lived up to the old adage that you get what you pay for.
After only a few months of service, and barely even that, the new laptop I picked up on the ultra-cheap lived up to the old adage that you get what you pay for. One of the hinges broke, rendering the whole thing unusable. Worse, the company that makes the notebook in question offers absolutely no support outside of Taiwan, Hong Kong, or mainland China.
How the influences on "Welcome To The Fold" came together to form its story.
In my previous installment in this series, I talked about the major influences on Welcome To The Fold. Here, I'm going to talk about the way those influences came together to form a story.
I've toyed with the idea of going on camera for fun and (possibly) profit. I never follow through, though.
Over the past couple of years, courtesy of my wife and a couple of other people, I've learned more than I ever expected about certain circles of YouTube-dom and influencer culture. Some of the folks who blow up bigtime on YT seem likeable and provide some enjoyable content (e.g., Anthony Fantano / Needledrop); but a lot of this material seems best sums up by the way one person recently put it: it's a reality show, with all the concomitant detachment from actual reality, all the drama, and all the wretchedness and self-indulgence of privilege and celebrity from old-school media.
People have told me, if I wanted to, I could start something like this and might even do well with it. I can be funny and spontaneous on camera (or so I've been told), and based on the contents of this blog, I might even have something to talk about. What I don't have are two things: a) subjects that have anything like buzzy mainstream draw, and b) the desire to spend oodles of time hamming it up in front of a camera for the sake of attention, instead of actually working on the things that matter.
Barrows Dunham's 1947 work of popular philosophy deserves the widest possible audience in 2020.
In 1995 I lived in Manhattan in a grotty little walkup with my wife, about twenty minutes' walk from the Strand Bookstore on Broadway. Sunday mornings after breakfast I'd head down there, and inevitably walk out with armloads of stuff . On one such trip, late in the year, I saw a spine on one shelf that read MAN AGAINST MYTH, by one Barrows Dunham. Such a title evoked a number of possibilities for me, all appealing, and so I brought it home and read it all in one sitting that night. I kept it through three changes of address. It has helped me retain my sanity these past four years. It now sits on a shelf immediately to the left of my desk, where I keep the books that I know I will read and refer to until the day I die.
Science fiction, rebooted.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind