I'm in some kind of Nowhere Land at the moment, waiting for the countdown to
start. This is something like 4.5 years ago but with more restrictions. The
only way to survive looking forward to it is to pretend it isn't actually
going to happen.
On a similar front I'm a step nearer to stability over here. I had the
official medical and received two arms full of immunisations I didn't really
need. This is somewhat ironic as I also had to go for a chest X-ray because of
the policy of not believing that some immunisations actually work. Thanks to the
medical it is reassuring, if not surprising, to find I have a clean bill of
The conference in NH was good and it was nice to see some familiar faces and
talk some darned good science. On the way back I had half a day in Boston to
kill and enjoyed hiding from the gross weather in the Museum of Fine Art. My original plan was for a trip
on a DUKW, as that had been recommended by several people, but they were sold
out for days. I had seen those vehicles doing the tours in Seattle and I
understand that they are already in Chicago and now heading for San
While at the Prudential Center arcade looking for the DUKW tickets I headed to
Barnes & Noble for something to read and ended up with Palahniuk's
Invisble Monsters. As ever he had me hooked in very short order.
Here's a fragment;
Don't expect this to be the kind of story that goes: and then, and then,
What happens here will have more of that fashion magazine kind of feel, a
Vogue or a Glamour magazine chaos with page numbers
on every second or fifth or third page. Perfume cards falling out, and
full-page naked women coming out of nowhere to sell you make up.
Don't look for a contents page, buried magazine-style twenty pages back from
the front. Don't expect to find anything right off. There isn't a real pattern
to anything either. Stories will start and then, three pages later:
Jump to page whatever.
Then, jump back.
I have decided that this is a perefectly adequate description of how real life
works. Why did I have to go so long before seeing it laid out so clearly.
Actually, I have only just started reading Palahniuk as I concentrated on
Salmon of Doubt beforehand. That, as I have mentioned elsewhere,
was excellent, especially because I didn't expect it to be.
I have been back to the library after a long gap. Since I don't anticipate
such a well equipped outfit in my next port of call my current rule is "if you
see something that interests you, however vaguely, borrow it immediately" as I
have previously been in circumstances where I have put off checking something
out only to have to wait for weeks for it to reappear. This is a circuitous
explanation for my currently listening to film soundtracks The Civil
War (Ken Burns' banjo and fiddle collection) and Black Hawk
Down. I borrowed the latter because of several pieces that made me
curious. The general mood is a mixture between Midnght Express,
Hawkwind and Nine Inch Nails but Danez Prigent and
Lisa Gerrard's Gortoz A Ran - J'Attends sounds like Clannad. It
wouldn't surprise me to hear some of these tracks being used as backing music
on This American Life or on one of Joe Frank's programmes.
Speaking of Joe Frank, while heading home late from Ron and Sue's after the
July 4th BBQ, I came across Ken Nordine's Word Jazz which has a little of
the Somewhere Out There kind of feel.
For my viewing pleasure I borrowed 《不散》 which was
bizarrely fascinating. If someone had told me that Tsai Ming-Liang would have
been able to come up with a fillum with even less dialogue than The
River or What Time is it There (or more rain than
Rebels of the Neon God) I wouldn't have believed them. Wow! He
also uses the familiar faces in yet different roles. While looking at the new
materials section in the library I also picked up a disc of Seinfeld's HBO
performance. I have to say that I don't understand what people see in his
stand-up material. Maybe the American psyche isn't happy without someone being
condescending to them. Maybe a big gap emerged, about 1776, and this is the
way to fill the void.
Speaking of voids, thanks to the change in management work seems to be just
one grey vacuum at the moment. The light at the end of the tunnel has
definitely been extinguished. I have appropriated Crackmonkey's singularly
apt description of "Slow train wreck. No brakes. and now everyone
uses it. I was delighted to see Nice Pete's quote today. I must remember that next time
departmental management decides to comment on my work.