Monday, November 24, 2008

The Proposition

Damn good film.

It was inevitable that I would see a film written and scored by Nick Cave, and this was well worth the wait. Fittingly enough the director John Hillcoat is adapting Cormac McCarthy's The Road for the screen. Should be a perfect fit.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Though I am not versant with cooperative multiplayer gameplay online, I am aware that it is extremely popular. Call it the virtual option for competitive personalities who are not otherwise inclined to athletics. Folks get heated in these games, facing off against each other in virtual sports and shooter arenas, and often the language used reflects players' passion for victory. By hurling racial epithets, a player seeks to disorient others and thereby distract them from playing effectively.

Psychologists call this behavior “paradoxing,” and it’s a classic attempt to gain the upper hand, to become dominant. Competitively, writes Owen Good, this frustrates and angers and diverts player concentration out of the game. Cooperatively, this aggression trumps decision-making and leadership on the arena of play.

What's unique here is that online you cannot see your fellow players. Consequently, you can out-paradox someone and undermine their crude strategy by simply asking, "What if I told you I was a minority?" While you may or may not be someone sensitive to the epithets, this question causes the other player to stop and wonder and effectively fall victim to their own behavior.

Then again, you can always take advantage of another unique aspect of online play and simply hit "mute" on the other players and listen to your favorite mix of zen techno.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

The opening paragraph of Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House, should scare the beans out of any aspiring writer. The grace and impact of the simple prose are awesome.

Music is a large part of my writing process. Of late, the 4th symphony of Brahms plays constantly on my decrepit cassette deck. Symphonies in general are conducive to the writing of novels, I find, and are in regular rotation when I am locked away inside my blue light pod pummeling at the page. The symphonies of Brahms lately drive me on, as well as those of Dvorak and (inevitably) Beethoven.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Arc of History

"The arc of history is long but it bends toward justice." -Dr Martin Luther King, 1963
"Americans put their hands on the arc of history and bent it toward the hope of a better day." -Barack Obama, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote

"Gum Election is a guerilla art project which started in New York City in October 2008. It should encourage people to vote on November 04th and also not to spit out their chewing gums carelessly on New York Cities already dirty streets."