January 27, 2004

Lo, I am Become Fripp, Destroyer of Chords

Check it out - Big Tony has put the first downloadable musical content on TiaJ, and it's wicked cool and Crimsoid. A bit more "That Which Passes..." than "Larks' Tongues" (for the benefit of all three readers who know what the hell that means), so you're spared the twisted wailing dissonance of the true prog conoisseur - for now, heh heh - but weird chords and undanceable time signatures we can do you.

And since we don't have comments up on the Thing site yet, go to his blog and tell him how much you like it.

January 24, 2004

"Ten forgives all kinds of sin, from ten begin again-o"

My thirtieth birthday starts in a little over an hour and a half. I'm okay with that, and more than okay - my twenties were a good decade, but I think this one's going to be even better.

Stacy and I had a great talk about this over dinner last night; she asked me what turning thirty meant to me, and I wasn't quite sure at first how to answer that. I've said lately that mostly it just feels like an accomplishment, which is about half-serious. But the answer I came up with after turning it over for a couple of minutes was that it feels like permission to have a second childhood. I think that you spend about twenty years trying to become sufficiently grown up and assert your dignity, until you get to an age where you discover it's not important to be dignified after all. It's a little like going to the Zen monastery in order to learn that you had what you really needed the whole time.

So - happy birthday to me, very shortly. We had plans to go to Philly today, and changed our minds when the snow got serious this morning - we'll probably go next weekend instead. It worked out nicely, as I got to stay home and read comics while the world outside was spread out in wintery beauty. A fine way to say goodbye to my first youth, and welcome gladly in my second.

Cheers. And, in true hobbit fashion, I wish all of you many happy returns.

January 22, 2004

A Wind-Age, a Wolf-Age, Before the World Ends

It's cold out there. Blustery January Fimbulvitr weather. Bleak and pale.

And I turn thirty in three days.

That's all for now.

January 11, 2004

Mind the Gap

So I spent some time last week lurking about the message boards for the newly-formed Interstitial Arts Foundation, and finally decided to introduce myself and hopefully join a conversation or two over there - the result of which was this week's moment of Fanboy Dorkgasm when I saw that Ellen Kushner had not only said "Hi" but had nice things to say about my RPG.net columns. (My intro post is here, with her response immediately following.)

Which is really quite cool - Swordspoint was a significant find for me back in the summer of '91 (!!), not only because it's such a beautifully-written novel and opened my eyes to the potential of fantasy (which it is, and did), but also because that was right about the same time I was getting serious about my coming-out process, and positive literary models for bisexual men seemed an unheard-of thing. (This was before we had Alan Cumming to make it all seem cool again; you young pups don't know how good you have it.) To read a novel that not only had a bi male hero presented as the most natural thing in the world, but a whole culture in which that was the norm... well, it was a Big Thing. And while it's certainly possible I might have turned out with a healthy attitude about my own ambiguous orientation without writers like Kushner, Gaiman, Barker et al creating works that didn't make me feel like a freak, that stuff sure didn't hurt. (And I think that there's probably a little seed of Jenny Haniver somewhere in all that, too. Jenny is infinite, she contains multitudes.)

So having one of my heroes open up her message to me with "it's an honor" was a real high point of my day.

And check out the IAF's site too - it's a very cool organization with some very interesting ideas. Makes me anxious to get to work with producing some properly interstitial work for Thing in a Jar, which you'll note Patrick has fiddled with so it's got a wee bit of content at last.

Much of the rest of my day was spent pounding the crap out of my thumb with a tack hammer in the interest of getting my new Ikea bookshelves assembled; I sit amidst them now as I write this, already laden with books (in various stages of organization) that I think were glad to be liberated at last from boxes. As am I, to have them be so.

January 06, 2004

Or, What You Will

Today is Epiphany, observed in some traditions as honoring the Gifts of the Magi (in some parts of the world, it's a bigger deal than Christmas for the giving of gifts). There are a lot of different customs associated with Epiphany and Twelfth Night (technically the night before), but one of the most interesting to me is the electing of the Bean King - a bean is baked into a cake, and whoever finds it is made king for the night. This makes it one of those curious fool's-season holidays that celebrates the inversion and, in a sense, subversion of the normal order of things, which is probably where the connection with Shakespeare's play (full of chaotic inversions, clever paradoxes, and unsettling epiphanies) comes in.

Will Shetterly (who is, like me, a Unitarian, though he's a much better writer) made an interesting post last month about the symbolic meaning of the gifts of the Magi; there's also some follow-up here. Much food for thought.

In any case, may your own gifts of revelation be rich and rewarding on this dark, chilly night, whatever star you find them under.

January 05, 2004

Semiotic Man Ink

Happy Birthday to Umberto Eco today.

Some excellent quotes from his work here (and check out the one on terrorism from 1978!), but in the light of US-VISIT, I thought this terribly appropo, from The Name of the Rose:

For what I saw at the abbey then (and will now recount) caused me to think that often inquisitors create heretics. And not only in the sense that they imagine heretics where these do not exist, but also that inquisitors repress the heretical putrefaction so vehemently that many are driven to share in it, in their hatred for the judges. Truly, a circle conceived by the Devil. God preserve us.

Well said, Professor. Many happy returns.