Tuesday, April 30, 22:14 CDT

I woke up this morning in the middle of dreaming: A desperate attempt to convince people I don't know that the world is in the grip of a conspiracy of demonic forces bent on obscuring all truth. A multilayered conspiracy in which, and I distinctly remember drawing the diagram in burning lines on a roadmap, God Himself must needs be a principle. Framed in Kenneth Rexroth meets Cormac McCarthy language, Roger Zelazny meets small town Nebraska imagery.

Such things probably come of eating too much chili and reading Cities of the Plain 'til 3:00.

It's finals week here. Other people scramble to complete coursework or prepare for tests. We drift. The piles of paper, books, discs, empty bottles and clothing scattered 'round the furniture approach a state of maximum entropy. Everything points to a single, culminating moment that will somehow sum up all that has occurred since late August. That moment when you realize you're done with classes and there's half a ton of your stuff still in your dorm room and somehow it all has to fit in your car.

Happy b-day, Stephen.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 30

Tuesday, April 23, 12:17 CDT

I love Roger Zelazny.

"I have a feeling," she said, "that you are heading into some sort of danger."

"I doubt it, Cassandra."

Nor pressure, nor osmosis will restore Adam's lost rib, thank God.

"Goodbye, Cassandra."

"Goodbye, my kallikanzaros."

And I got into the Skimmer and jumped into the sky, breathing a prayer to Aphrodite. Below me, Cassandra waved. Behind me, the sun tightened its net of light. We sped westward, and this is the place for a smooth transition, but there isn't any. From Kos to Port-au-Prince was four hours, gray water, pale stars, and me mad. Watch the colored lights. . . .

This Immortal

And that is why: Little tricks of narrative, words played upon and laid at odd angles, conventions bent all out of shape, a little self-consciousness. All of those things, sure, but opaque arty humorless pretense? Not here. He coulda done that easy enough. Instead he told stories. Really good ones.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 23
tags: topics/reading

Sunday, April 21, 21:40 CDT

Back to Rexroth. The Bureau of Public Secrets's (that apostrophe does seem really off) Rexroth Archive has actual depth.

Sunday, April 21, 20:20 CDT

I just paid $4 for hardcovers of GGK's The Lions of Al-Rassan, GRR Martin's Dying of the Light, Roger Zelazny's This Immortal, and Storeys from the Old Hotel by Gene Wolfe. I love used book sales. It almost makes up for the ten bucks I blew on beer and pool beforehand.

Johnny Cash rules. No, really.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 21
tags: topics/fantasy, topics/guy-gavriel-kay, topics/reading

Saturday, April 20, 23:00 CDT

It's sleeting or raining or some fitful Spring combination of the two outside the garage where I'm typing this on the Old Computer. I came home Friday to help my dad move a ton or two of firewood, really spend some quality time with the new chainsaw he bought. I just didn't go back to school last night for whatever reason. Watched a movie with the family, wrote a single e-mail, went to my room and slept on the bare matress I haven't actually put sheets on since Christmas or so.

Wandering the library last week, or maybe the week before, I pulled a copy of 100 Poems from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth off the shelf. It had cool looking Chinese calligraphy on the spine, and even falling apart it's a wonderfully printed book. A short run from some Italian press, I think. The poems were good, mostly too melancholy to dwell very long on in Spring at the age of 21 and trying not to be a sad bastard, and all translated from people I'd never heard of.

I've read a bunch of Rexroth since then. Some poetry, a bunch of essays. It's clear to me he was what you'd call a towering intellectual figure. Someone whose writing, let alone whose life, utterly defies encapsulation. Maybe that's why I wouldn't know he existed if it weren't for a semirandom bookshelf discovery.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 20

Monday, April 8

well in my mouth there's a hurricane
just let it out
on the radio a bunch of fakes
just shut them down
-- Hum, The Sheila Divine

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 8

Sunday, April 7

One of Brent's semi-random journal page quotes (perhaps he's slurping quotes from fortune?):

As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious. -- Albert Schweitzer

The good doctor pretty much hit it out of the fuckin' ballpark on that one.

See the unfinished updates below? I'm going to fill those in.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 7

Saturday, April 6

Actually, I cannot for the life of me remember what I was going to write here.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 6

Friday, April 5, 19:40 CST

Sorta local (hey, it's Nebraska - I figure in this state is sorta local) bands I've seen recently:

The Hot Carls - Punk? I guess. Covered Reel Big Fish and the Pixies, the rest was I think original material. Not bad. No crowd, 'cause hey, we're at WSC. From Grand Island, I think.

Three Day Meat Sale - Punk, I suppose. A little too polished for my tastes, but not bad. From Omaha.

Mandown - This one netted me a single, moderately used drumstick. Also, it was a pretty decent show. From Omaha.

Ivory Star - From somewhere in the state. Everyone around here's been to an Ivory Star show. Dance. Whatever. Except me, until last month. Some original stuff, a lotta covers done pretty well.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 5

Thursday, April 4, 12:45 CST

Ozma's Rock and Roll Part Three is a really good album.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 4

Half past Eight, Tuesday the Second of April

I was going to write this yesterday. Then I remembered a simple truth: You can't post anything serious on April 1, when the network's standard Reality Distortion Field is in full-on insane-trickster-god mode. Might as well just marvel a little at the static and wait 'til the next day.

So here goes. It's not really half past eight, but that's what the clock on the KDE taskbar says. It's not even close to eight o' clock. I'm registering a deep suspicion that this hard drive is about to die horribly. So to business, before a full blown local-storage disaster strikes.

...than fade away

It finally happened. I'd have sworn not me, no way. It happened anyway.

Look: I spent hours making games run on marginal DOS machines. I was a master of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. I played Commander Keen. I sat in math class and programmed the calculators. I wrote BASIC. I had a stack of floppies this @#$%ing high. I did cheesy things with Hypercard. I learned to love the Macintosh, and then to hate it. Doom rocked my world. I read PC Gamer religiously. I wished there was a local BBS. I cared about Windows 95. I waited two years for Quake. I played Quake deathmatch at 14.4k while you couldn't access the one local dialup because I had the persistence to monopolize it and you didn't. I wrote gamefic. I mocked fanfic. I had a home page. I surfed with Lynx. I read Phrack. I logged a thousand hours on IRC. I laughed at Real Life. I put my foot in my mouth on Usenet. I wanted to be Hiro Protagonist. I cared about the CDA. I installed Linux. I learned vi. I built a box from scratch and named it.

I burned out.

I don't know when, really. I guess the symptoms of impending collapse have been obvious for a while.

One way or another, the shiny tech machine isn't what I thought it was or wanted it to be. I can understand, now, all those sites fading from existence, the long time posters gone from your favorite newsgroup, those people you quit seeing on IRC, the guys who just don't write much code any more... Cryptic messages about real life getting in the way and those recurring screeds that boil down to go outside, read a book, get a life!.

And it's not all that bad, really. It's just that the world really is bigger and more complicated than I thought it was. There're more things that matter than I thought there were, and lots of things that can't be seen from where I was standing. Am I diminished by seeing beyond the borders of some hollow obsessions?


I realized I could just walk away from all this.

All this? Let's be honest, from the paltry residue of six or seven years' earnest but ineffectual geeking. Take Wendigo the PC home for the family. Let some accounts expire and a site or two moulder into oblivion. Find some worthy home for a half dozen O'Reilly books and a stack of vintage games. Never look back.

I thought about it, but there's a cost, and it's not one I'm willing to pay. I could live with wasting half the concrete skills I've ever acquired. Let's be honest again: I got no skillz. I couldn't hack my way out of a wet paper bag. And as for the rest, well, sometimes you might as well cut your losses.

What stops me totally abandoning everything is that somehow or another, I've still got a couple of pretty good friends who're bent on doing something with all this stuff. Them, I can't walk away from.

The rest of this bullshit, however...


I'll get some later.

p1k3 / 2002 / 4 / 2
tags: topics/technical