Monthly Archives: October 2012

Errant Reader: Incredible Change-Bots – Jeffrey Brown (2011)

This is definitely not the next post in my series about reading Pynchon. (Well, I’m fairly certain at least. Pynchon has a deep nostalgia for 1980’s cartoons designed to sell toys, which if I’m honest, would be right up to his level of eclecticism.) I realized early last week that I was probably going to miss my self-imposed deadline for a couple reasons. First, work went a bit wonky and I had a lot of grading to do. Second, I realized that it’s almost Election Day and I need to finish Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail before I get too burnt out on all things political. Hence a brief post this week, Thompson next week, and then back to Pynchon (or so goes my best laid plan at the moment).

I’m also racing the clock today because I left my laptop charger at work on Friday. Which will run out first: my ability to ramble on about texts or my laptop’s battery? Only time will tell…

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Errant Reader: “The Small Rain” – Thomas Pynchon (1959)

This post marks the restart of an experiment I gave up on ages ago in the midst of graduate school. Back then any attempt at a regular series of posts about what I was reading was a bit of a wasted effort. It was, after all, a continuation of my “day job” and I didn’t see a lot of point in talking about books online when I could do it in real life with my fellow grad students every day. Given that I’m now a bit removed from my usual debating partners about literature, I thought it might be nice to revisit the idea. Oh, and give the series a better title (Textual Detritus…what the hell was I thinking?)

Given that I’m hitting the restart button I should point out some of the ground rules I’ve decided to use: first, I have some overarching goals, but there’s no set list of what I have to read for a given post. I want to keep this fun, spontaneous, and keeping with the “errant” title. I do want to do one post in the series every week. I guarantee that I will eventually miss this goal. So it goes.

What about those overarching goals? Well, this post is the start of goal number 1. For the last few years I’ve wanted to go back and read all of Pynchon’s work from start to finish. My dissertation work focused on his more recent novels and Gravity’s Rainbow. I read his work out of order though and I’ve been dying to go back and revisit everything in order of publication (or as near as I can manage). I’m starting out with the stories in Slow Learner (but crucially I’m not reading Pynchon’s Introduction to the book. I’ll get to that between Gravity’s Rainbow and Vineland.) I’ve always been drawn to Pynchon’s work, and I can’t think of a better way to start out this particular series. As they say: Go big or go home.

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Playing Beautiful Games

The title to this post only partly references references the links I’m about to pass along. It’s mostly about the beautiful game I’m playing in my head right now where I think (think) that I’m going to be able to start posting a bit more in the future. The new job is, if I’m honest, a bit daunting. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to start protecting my “me” time through writing and working on some projects I’ve had percolating for the past few months. As with any big and important job it’s pretty easy to let it overwhelm your every waking moment.  It’s a route I went down a couple times during grad school and I’m not eager to revisit it. So, here’s to striking a balance!

(For those of you in the know: I really didn’t think that the title I gave that comp conference would seem so fitting to my life when I thought it up.)

Enough rambling. More links!

First, this story about Argentinian Soccer at Outside Magazine was a fascinating read if you’re interested in “The Beautiful Game.” It’s also more than a little terrifying.

One of my favorite new websites is Randall Munroe’s What If. You likely know Munroe’s work if you’ve been on the internet for more than five minutes. In fact, my even mentioning What If is probably pointless since you all know about it already. I just want to note how much fun I’m having reading these improbable scenarios.

What If also deserves my thanks for the following amazing video:

Lightning at 7,207 frames per second.

That is all.

Quick Links

Given my excitement about the Endeavour a few weeks back I couldn’t pass up posting a link to this article at Jalopnik that speculates on what it would take to steal a space shuttle.

In other news, the illustrious Michael_lobster has been hard at work on a secret project. I think the results are pretty impressive:

[Edit]: I knew there was something else I wanted to post! Here’s a Minute Physics video I thoroughly enjoyed the other night: