Scenario

What if this eclipse somehow just didn’t happen? It would be even more terrifying for us than the eclipse was to people a thousand years ago. Suddenly, some very hard questions would need to be asked. Unrest; scientists, facing an incredulous public, desperately search for the moon, finally discovering that 60 years ago a researcher (the fourth of five listed authors of a widely-cited paper on the computer modeling of lunar orbital mechanics) incorrectly translated a punch-card into COBOL, because the process is mind-numbing, nothing like the life of the astronaut he wants to be, but anyway, in his distraction, he introduced a small, but compounding error. In the mean time we’ve burned down all the universities for nothing, all the scientists are in hiding, we’re all chain smoking and using computers to bludgeon livestock. The pope’s army is marching on the space station, and the caliph’s call echoes through Valles Marineris…

These days

It’s hard to follow current events these days and not comment on them. I try not to follow things too closely (the constant breathlessness will eat you alive), I try not to become invested in the way the world progresses (after all, nobody cares what I think about things), and I try not to add my voice to the angry clamor (there are too many screaming voices as it is). But at a point one has to speak, somehow, no matter how ineffectively, to say THIS WAY OF CONDUCTING OURSELVES IS NOT OK. We cannot survive as a people of anger. We must be a people of compassion.

I have chosen to be a man of compassion. It’s not much, I know, but it strikes me as the only way to start making the world better.

Be well, and love always. It sounds cheesy, but there’s nothing in the world more important.

Whistles in the Night

There are whistles in the night here in Luling; sustained and shrieking tones, vaguely metallic, always as if from some impossible distance. Everyone assumes they come from the chemical plant, I’m sure. That’s why nobody knows what I’m talking about when I mention them. People tune these strange sounds out for a variety of reasons, all centered around the necessity of avoiding confrontation with the unspeakable. But popular opinion on their origin is immaterial in this case: what if these tones are not the sound of the plant itself, but the sound of some effect of, or even response to it? I can’t help but feel they constitute a warning, or worse, some supernatural version of “Taps.”

I find myself staying up late to listen to them.

Tourist Traps

These days it seems like the whole world is a highway lined with tourist traps: word got out that we’re all yokels on a long and confusing journey, ready to jump at the chance to purchase anything that reminds us why we’re so far away from home.

Translation

When I say: “I refuse to chase after clicks,”

I mean: “I’m tired of making Mark Zuckerberg rich by chasing constant validation.”

LONG LIVE THE OPEN WEB!

*crickets*

Typical

Every week or so, I take all the little scribbles I accumulate in various apps and on strange, half-forgotten scraps of paper and I file them in their proper place in my system; a process I call my notebook démêler (h/t to the Cajuns of my wife’s homeland for the term, which is a fantastic way of saying “de-messification”). Today I was doing all this de-messificaiton and I noticed my list of books to read was kind of outdated (new books to add, books I’ve read to remove). Anyway, my point is that in the ten minutes it took me to update the list, I somehow managed to buy yet another book of poetry. Typical.

Also: to all the publishers who are thoughtful enough to include a page that helps you set the text size correctly on your e-reader so the poem line breaks are shown correctly, thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you for publishing poets.

Long Day

Long day today. Did that on purpose: woke up with a tired brain and my body was jealous I guess so I probably ended up walking for over three hours, roaming Alkmaar and taking pictures, enjoying the bracing, cool weather and the way the streets and buildings here are becoming familiar.