amul, a colleague and online friend from the world of freelance gaming by means of some convoluted connections, did a meme where you answered three questions for someone else, and then invited others to ask you for three questions. I asked him, he replied, and now I’m going to try to answer them. Feel free to ask me for three questions in turn. More
30 July 2008
Chinese martial artists have noticed that it’s no longer possible to practice tai chi or kung fu in parks as used to be the case in China. So they’ve collaborated on developing a program called Tai Chi Master that uses the camera in your computer to film you, and give you feedback, while you use the screen to follow the movements.
Here’s another link to the demonstration of the program if the video doesn’t properly embed.
Update: OK. It appears that it’s not actually a real program available yet, but it is a really cool idea, akin to Neo/Keanu Reeves waking up in the Matrix and knowing Kung Fu.
30 July 2008
Last night I featured at Reflections Café on Wickenden Street. and have already announced it on their own LJs, but the reading is shutting down for now, and if it does re-open it will be in some other location.
The Got Poetry Live reading has been one of my favorites in the area for two and a half years. I always liked going when I could, and I’ve had three features there — one completely improvised. It’s been humbling, having a reading where I felt like I could get up on stage and rock the house without a clear plan, and I’m honored that they let me get away with it so frequently.
There were some problems with last night’s set. The camera was distracting, I found it hard to connect with the audience and still focus on what I was reading; I was shaken by all the drama around trying to get chapbooks published and not succeeding earlier in the day. In any case, I hope I gave the reading a rockin’ send-off, and I wish it well if it decides to reopen in another bat-time, another bat-channel.
29 July 2008
Does anyone know of a printer/photocopy place in Providence, RI, that would produce chapbooks in … glances at watch … two hours?
The local copy place can’t oblige me, as their copier has broken down and their service company won’t come look at it until tomorrow.
Without some sort of printery, I won’t have books to sell tonight, and I’m mildly broken up about it.
29 July 2008
I’m aware that a lot of folks that I respect and like as poets, artists and writers are feeling crunched these days on an emotional/performative/creative front; articulated his sense of it in himself pretty well in today’s entry. (Others are doing fine: ‘s poem about Sunday’s shooting at the UU church in Tennessee rocked my socks off).
One of the tags I’ve been using on my LJ account these days is “annihilation anxiety”, which is my own sense of how difficult and hard this all can be. Gas prices have fallen slightly in the last few days and weeks, but there’s no sense that they’re going to fall enough to really affect many people’s budgets. The economy is tanking, and many families are having to tighten their belts on things like food as well as gas; eventually the trifecta here in the Northeast will be food, heating fuel and travel fuel. Global warming seems to be a continuing issue for everyone, but no one feels empowered to do much about it yet.
These choices are personal, but they start to become community-wide. I debate monthly on whether or not to stop using a cleaning lady, but I’m aware that Chris and her family will start to fall through the cracks if she doesn’t have enough work. Her husband has chronic illness, and the medicine bills and hospital fees continue to pile up. Traveling to see him in his specialty hospital continues to eat away at their lives and their wealth and their health.
A few months ago, when I began to read Club Orlov and other writings by folks interested in problems like Peak Oil and Climate Change as political-economic phenomena, I was struck by something that Dimitriy Orlov said about art. He said that in the days of Andropov and the early days of Gorbachev, there was an underground literature called samizdat. There were newspapers, blogs, zines, poetry journals, and other publications, usually produced on mimeograph machines or handwritten, and circulated hand-to-hand among interested parties. They were sharply critical of government — and in the Soviet system, that meant you were also criticizing the economic levers as well as the political ones. Satire and sarcasm were the principal weapons of these publications, first gently and then fiercely mocking the systems of authority.
Authority, of course, cracked down on them, hard. And got nowhere. The mimeograph machines were portable. There was a black market, and usable ones disappeared from official use to reappear in the unofficial economy. Alternately, the machines stayed right where they were, and the underground — who were all really part of the overground, too — simply used them while they were at work. And the writings were funny. They were pointed, bitter, hilarious, bleak, dark, humorous, and all the rest.
But the well of samizdat dried up, Orlov said. People stopped producing these writings, these cartoons, and this material, because they were working so hard on keeping themselves and their family afloat. The money system went first — no one put much trust in the rouble, because it didn’t matter how many roubles you had. You needed favors and contacts and friends to get inside the shop before all the toilet paper got sold. You needed to spend your time waiting in line to get the food. You needed creative energy for other things than ‘working’ at an official job in order to use an official mimeograph to wring out a dozen copies of your latest well-thought-out and funny anti-Communist screed.
My family genuinely believes in annihilation anxiety. Ask , but we laugh about it at dinners even as we think about how the latest bad news spells the end of the world. So you should take this next bit with a grain of salt, perhaps even a whole box of it. But my father — and I — both see the makings of another Great Depression here. And the commentators cloak it by saying, “oh, it’s not as bad as it was in ’35 or ’36, really.”
Well, maybe it’s not. But the rest of the world is losing its trust in the dollar, and shifting to other sources of value. Many of the best and most easily reached pockets of oil in the world are empty or nearly so, and the remaining ones are smaller, more difficult to get to, and involve releasing even more toxic waste than usual.
So I wonder. Are we having artistic difficulties because that’s just where we are in our careers? Or are we having artistic difficulties because our creative energies are being turned increasingly to ‘getting by’ instead of to getting out and getting noticed? And how bad is this likely to get?
Maybe it’s just annihilation anxiety. But I don’t see things getting great any time soon.
29 July 2008
We had a quiet night last night. A former student of mine showed up and listened for a while, and A. came (though her husband P. didn’t), and brought a friend, M. D and his wife passed through, slapped their foreheads and went duh!, but had made other plans.
We wound up doing a bit of a workshop on poetry instead of a reading. None of us had much new to say, and so we each wrote a poem on blueberries. Mine still needs some work, but they all really liked it. I’ll be trying it on stage again tonight, in order to get a sense of the editing process for it.
Come see me tonight at Reflections Café on Wickenden Street in Providence, at Got Poetry Live!
I have two chapbooks ready to go to the printers so that I’ll have them for tonight, but I’m not really sure where to take them. I could take them down to Staples in Willimantic, and that’s probably the best choice, but I may swing by the local printery and see if they can do a better job. We’ll see.
I did a thorough cleaning with Chris today of the apartment. The only thing I didn’t do was the office. The office dismays me. My filing cabinets are filled, my bookshelves are full, the desk is covered with important papers that I can’t just throw away, and it’s basically unusable as it’s currently arranged. I need either a new filing cabinet, or a new system for filing papers.
I am happy about my new printer. It seems to do a very good job printing, and it did reasonably well at printing out masters for my poetry chapbooks last night and this morning. It’s even hooked into the wireless network, so that I can print from anywhere in the house. (Kind of helps reduce the importance of cleaning the office, though).
I had some of my refrigerator pickles last night. They were good! I need to do a thorough cleaning-out of the fridge, though, and eliminate some of the stupid stuff that accumulates in a guy’s refrigerator. I also swept up all of the silly-saying buttons in the house, and put them all on one old jeans jacket. There aren’t nearly as many of them as I thought, but the jacket will look nice if I ever get to wear it.
Thinking a little about what to wear tonight. When you do a feature, do you ever worry about what to wear? I’m also determined to practice my set for tonight a little more than I did for the Hotel Vernon; I’ve got some ideas about what to read, but not about order or delivery so far.
28 July 2008
ganked from :
Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter’s reading list
Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals “who are ruining the country,” court records show. Knoxville police Sunday evening searched the Levy Drive home of Jim David Adkisson after he allegedly entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and killed two people and wounded six others during the presentation of a children’s musical. Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve Still requested the search warrant after interviewing Adkisson. who was subdued by several church members after firing three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the congregation. More
28 July 2008
It gets better! No only do you get a chance to buy Earth Meeting Sky hot off the copiers tomorrow, but you’ll also have a chance to buy A Book of the Moon, a collection of the first two years of moon sonnets from the epic Book of Feasts cycle that I’ve been working on, on and off, for the last three years of first-drafting, and four years of editing!
Plus, you’ll also have a chance to purchase nearly the entire Andrew Watt oeuvre, in the form of the verse-play Argonautica, the original collection of sonnets Fame’s Younger Sister, and the Percival canto of the Arthurian epic.
I may even (as a rare treat), have a chapbook of the more or less complete manuscript of Death of Atlantis if your insomnia is really bad.
Come to FLOOD STAGE tonight, at Victoria Station Café in Putnam, CT, and I hope to see you in Providence, RI tomorrow for Got Poetry Live at Reflections Café on Wickenden Street!
28 July 2008
I haven’t put out a chapbook in a long time, but it looks like tomorrow will be the night! Earth Meeting Sky will be on sale tomorrow night (assuming Kinko’s/Staples/wherever doesn’t screw up), although I don’t yet know the price of the book. It’s got an awesome set-list in it of old standbys and a few of my new favorites, and a couple of rockin’ photos by (I said you gave permission, sweetie, is that ok?).
There are six or seven of my Fire Circle chant-texts in the book, and nine poems:
None of them has ever appeared on the printed page before that I can recall, and I happen to think it’s all very solid work. I also plan on trying to put together a chapbook of one year of the moon sonnet cycle, and I think that has the potential to be a huge hit, but I’m not sure I can finish it by tomorrow. It’s a big project; I wish I had some piece of software or some such that would help with the layout. Argh.
So come see my feature at Reflections Café tomorrow, come buy the new book (I hope!) and share some of your own poetry about myths and myth-making during the open mic.
ALSO, if you haven’t ever shown your face at FLOOD STAGE, the poetry reading on 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month at Victoria Station Café in Putnam, CT, come on down! The reading starts at 7:30-ish, and usually finishes between 9:00 and 9:30.
28 July 2008
Tonight, come out to Putnam, CT for FLOOD STAGE, an open reading from 7:30pm to 9:30 at The Victoria Station Café.
Tomorrow, come see me perform at Got Poetry Live, at Reflections Café on Wickenden Street in Providence, RI. Open mic starts at 7:00-ish with signups, and I’ll be performing before a live audience and a video camera for some local-access television show. It should be a lot of fun.
It also looks like I’ll be releasing a chapbook of some kind tomorrow, as well. I hope.