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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Breathe

May 7th, 2008 by Morgan J. Locke

Our pseudonymous friend at Wonderoom is up to her old tricks, posting one of her fabulous posts. This one is about breathing, banded iron, clocks, and time:

And so I contemplate a hunk of banded iron formation. Glimpsing a world before conscious thought, before much of anything. A too large moon and a mass of algae. Pre-Eden. A world full of so much possibility that it is empty of almost everything. Recorded in bands of alternating hematite and chert. Red and black, formed because the oxygen released by these primeval algae was bonding with iron dissolved in the oceans and forming layers of hematite all over the world. Oscillations of rock, billions of years old.

She posts fairly infrequently, but her posts are always worth reading. If you haven’t put Wonderoom on your RSS feed/ bookmarks page yet, you should.

Posted in Daily Life | Comments Off

Unca Scott Makes A Movie!

May 7th, 2008 by Rory Harper

Scott McCullar was the rhythm guitarist, frequent lead singer, and often song-writer for the late, somewhat- lamented Los Blues Guys. His song ‘The Element of Fire‘, based on the classic Martha Wells novel of the same name, is one of my favorites, though ‘Elvis is Alive‘ was always a huge crowd pleaser.

After tiring of the madness, the groupies, and the endless, hazy parties of the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, he became a librarian in Houston. But the spotlight called to him, as it does to us all. Here’s his new movie:

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Posted in Daily Life, Geniuses, Music, reading, Rory, Science Fiction | Comments Off

Sticker Patches

May 7th, 2008 by Morgan J. Locke

I grew up in New Mexico, and spent all my time outdoors. Furthermore, I hated shoes, and eschewed them whenever I could. Especially in the summer. I learned early to deal with all manner of barefoot-related issues: how to cross pavement so hot it melted tar; hot to avoid being bitten by red ants; how to deal with goatheads.

Goatheads (also known as puncturevine) are prevalent in New Mexico. They are the red ants of the plant kingdom–they grow swiftly after rains, and are as painful to remove as they are to step on (their thorns are so bad they can puncture bike and even some car tires, I’m told). You quickly learn how to recognize their characteristic leaf and flower pattern.

With practice, you can even pick your way lightly through a sticker patch without too much damage, if you are good at it, by moving from bare spot to bare spot, and stopping occasionally to pull out the one or two thorns that have punctured the soles of your feet. I prided myself on this ability.

Once, though, I wasn’t looking far enough ahead. Somehow, I wandered into a goathead demilitarized zone. One minute I was light-footing through like a sailboat cutting through water, and the next I was stalled: surrounded by a field of green and yellow, filled with goatheads as far as the eye could see (OK, I’m exaggerating. But not much). Worse, the soles of my feet were already caked with stickers.

I stood there, on my tiptoes, trying not to stand on the stickers already in my feet, and yelled, “Help!” till my throat and lungs were raw. Then I cried. Finally, I carefully pulled out as many as I could get without losing my balance and falling over (into thousands more stickers). Then I picked my way through the sticker patch. Because that was the only way I was going to get out of that fix.

I think of that experience sometimes. What it tells me is this: you can make what seem at the time to be all the right choices, and despite that, sometimes, you get stuck in a really awful situation. And in that case, there is no getting around it. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was or what you could have done differently: the only way out is through, and on the way out, you’re going to bleed. So just get it over with.

(But it’s OK to shed tears — friends, it fuckin’ hurts.)

Posted in Daily Life, Morgan | 6 Comments »

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