Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

Archive for March, 2013

25 March
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14-22 March 2013 Libra Horoscope

This is not an optimistic horoscope. Renverser, a French verb translates in to turning upside down, or reverse the flow. As an adjective, renversant, can mean stunning or astonishing. I have just had several experiences that I describe as turning my life upside down.

What’s with the French some might ask? It’s this group I’m in, a Francophile group, where all us rusty Francophiles speak French and bullocks it all up because we haven’t lived there in ages. But I’m trying here, so just don’t ask me to compose a good sentence with renversant in it.

My dry, impoverished emotional life has just had a juicy, fertile infusion. And no, I am not pregnant. Or would that also include my dry, impoverished writing life as well? My consideration of doing another tech book because I just can’t hack fiction? The ever-present nay-sayer editor in my head bitching at me that I am a writer, but a better technical one than a fiction one?

The deficiencies I’ve been worried about are now past full, and before this trial of my life is over, the proverbial coffers will be chock-a-block full of content. Any inadequacies I thought I had and made me feel sad have been bolstered with renewed confidence. I’m still relying on that tech geek, but over-all I’m figuring out my tech issues by myself. I also don’t mind being alone. Not as much as I thought I would, I do have most of what I need, in the scheme of things. It makes me aware of how little I really do need.

It makes sense though. That’s why I’ve been able to live below my means for so long. Because my needs are all so small. Now, the kids needs on the other hand…

In this situation there has also been a huge reversal that’s not so gratifying. One of my assets has become temporarily irrelevant. My car! The baby that I loved as if it were a child is in the shop. It’s future is not in my hands. I’m concerned for her. I don’t find this odd. People consider dogs their children, why not cars?!

I realized this morning that this current trade-off is so worth it. Why? Because my gains will completely outstrip my losses on this one.

07 March
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Our Connected World

In our connected world, we’re expected to have smart phones, instant access to directions somewhere, your email and a myriad of other applications. But I think we all need to slow the fuck down and reduce the time you spend working and increase the time you spend playing. Vacation is vacation.

Leave the laptop at home!

Don’t call in to check what’s up at the office. On vacation you should be relaxing. But, especially if you travel with children, as we do; whom are now 18 and 13 (the 22-year-old is out of the house), beware of neutral down time, which is time spent watching television. Let your kids watch the TV, but go do something with your partner, spouse, travelling companion, friends that live in the city you are in, or JUST YOURSELF!

Television watching may be low-pressure and moderately enjoyable. People are not mentally engaged the way they are when socializing, singing to music, cooking, reading (even on Kindle or iPad) or playing cards. Spend your time doing something more interactive and engaging. Thus, there are good reasons why you should never watch television, it really is a death trap for the mind.

We watch films. We watch minimal television.

In 1950, Daniel Marsh, BU President said, “If the television craze continues with the present level of programs, we are destined to have a nation of morons.”

So I guess the TV is to blame for most people being idiots.

07 March
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Velvet Rain by David C. Cassidy

I found this book on Twitter, some people were promoting it, so I picked it up. It is very slow-moving in the beginning. You are introduced to newspaper articles where past events are not how they really happened; for example, most people aboard the Titanic are saved, or a third Atom Bomb was dropped by the US to end WWII. Then we are introduced to Kain Richards and his hunter, Brikker, who we know is crazy because he owns a desk that belong to a high-ranking SS man. Brikker is proud of that desk, so you know he has to be creepy in some way.

Having spent my fair share of time in Iowa, from Mason City, and Spirit Lake, down to Oskaloosa and over to Davenport, I know how beautiful Iowa can be compared to, say, Indiana (which is my approximation of hell.) The first dozen chapters are so slow-moving that I stopped reading this book and in two days read three Patterson books. Cassidy has a way with words, and sometimes he uses, what I call, twenty-dollar words, but they work. Now, in my review of Marala Scott’s book I bring up how her $20 words DO NOT WORK. Her book is also 1000% more expensive than this one.

After I wrapped my brain around the concept of time moving sideways, which made me think of parabolas and maths. Mathematically time can move in any direction. I also love the TV show Fringe, and there is a parallel universe in Fringe, which is also an example of time moving sideways. Richards is a time changer, as was his grandfather before him. There are other people who can alter time, make accidents not occur, save people’s lives, or their own, in the case of Richards in Missouri. Brikker wants to capture this gift of Richards and mine it for himself. He’s a power-hungry Fascist.

So, as time moves leisurely for Richards in Iowa and he starts to care about a woman and her children, her estranged husband is a killer, rapist and Schizophrenic. This is the 1960s, where bigotry is more alive and well than it is today (albeit bigotry is still alive and well in America in 2012), where abuse is not discussed, but occurs and no one talks about physical or verbal violence, rape or incest. Richards moves back time for us only three times in the book that Cassidy actually walks us through. The last time is the most surreal. I think, but am not certain, he was going for the effect of Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory,” which is a painting Brikker owns, but is actually at MOMA (I think, I’ve really been to too many museums!) Dali’s painting is about time and displays melting watches to the decay implied by the swarming ants. The monstrous fleshy creature draped across the paintings center is an approximation of Dalí’s own face in profile. Mastering what he called “the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling.” Dali was a genius, and at the tail end of the book we have fire, which melts and the “Turning” which also makes people melt. They are foils of one another.

While our Iowan drunk ends up getting killed in the fire, Richards escapes the fire as well as Brikker, who has been tracking him ever since he escaped his crazy “Project,” (which is pretty much based on Third Reich torture techniques), and heads to Canada. The ending is a bit of a let down after the drama of violence, rape and death before Richards creates a parallel universe where the rape doesn’t occur, and the people who initially died do not. The final denouement are newspaper clippings of events that didn’t happen, again, because of Richards Turning.

This book brings up interesting concepts, and if you can make it through the beginning, which is the toughest stuff, and you’re not queasy about crazy, sick violence, this is an excellent read. I highly recommend. A warning though: this book is so slow-moving that it make take a while to finish. It took me four days, and I can usually read one-two books a day.