Archives for the month of: November, 2008

I’m back! Did you miss me? Of course not. You were busy hanging out with your own family.

Anyway, I’m back home. National Novel Writing Month is about to end (Marc just came as I was writing this to announce that he’s finished!). For the first time since we started producing Earnest I will have some free time again! And for the first time since November began I can read again without feeling guilty for not writing instead.

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So, umm, my name is Joby. That’s not really a very common name. Compared to say, Bill, or Jonathan, or Luke, say, there aren’t very many people  in this world that I share a name with. Every now and then I’ll be surprised to see my name somewhere. A friend called me up last spring, for instance, to ask why I’d never mentioned that I had my own book. Every now and then I’ll fire up google and see who else is using my name. I knew about Joby Talbot a few years before seeing his name in the credits for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Tonight I found my strangest namesake yet. Joby Rogers is, it would seem, the world’s foremost Michael Jackson impersonator. Even Mr Jackson himself thinks so, according to this interview:

After viewing one hundred sixteen different (116) possible substitutes, it is the decision I, Michael Jackson, have made to have Mr. Joby Rogers … be my official substitute.

I’m impressed, aren’t you?

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My mom and my brothers and I are all going to my sister’s house for the weekend. I don’t know whether I’ll see (or care to) the internet much until Saturday. Of course, you’re all busy visiting your families as well, I’m sure.

Debbie just posted some pictures and video of last week’s science demonstration. Check it out at http://ucshigh.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/science-experiments/ .

When I get back: pictures from The Importance of Being Earnest!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Tell all your families hello from me.

rosieDo you ever look back and remember what the future used to look like? Remember Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons? We wouldn’t have to cook any more, or do laundry, or clean, or… we could fill pages with the things that we wouldn’t have to do, when Rosie the Robot was real.

Life was going to be so easy someday, when we’d made robots to do everything for us. We looked forward to a life of leisure.

You know what, though? It didn’t turn out that way. We’re there now. We’ve got robots (or computers, or Indians) that can do all of our dirty work for us. We’ve got techniques for getting everything done faster, easier, more efficiently. Where is our life of leisure? Where is our Utopia?

Right now, there are over ten million unemployed persons in the US. Ten million people are out of work. They’re having trouble finding a source of income because there’s not enough work to go around. Isn’t that what we were looking forward to? We’ve got machines that can do some of the tedious jobs so we can lean back and… and what? Wonder how we’re going to feed our children next month because some corporation found a cheaper way to get the job done?

I’m not going to write a conclusion to this tonight. I’ve got someone who needs tucking in and, frankly, I don’t have the depth of insight to say what ought to be done (that is always the problem, isn’t it? It’s easy to see what’s broken and sometimes even to imagine a better way, but how on earth do we get there from here?). What are your ideas? Please, comment away, or just write me.

This planet has–or rather had–a problem, which was this:  most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.  Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

— Douglas Adams

P.S. This article is the first place I encountered the idea of unemployment recast as “not enough work to do.” It’s worth reading.


I read the Hunting of the Snark aloud to my brothers tonight.  If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. If you have read it, I don’t have to recommend it. Go read it! It’s still as lovely as you remember. Assuming you like that sort of thing.

Which brings me to tonight’s point. I’ve been sending various friends here and promising that I’ll write something interesting if they’ll promise to look for it (thanks for looking, by the way) and now that I sit down to write, I realize that my friends are, well, various. I tend to think of myself as a bit of an ambassador between different groups. An example? I’ve been accused of being a crusty kid by Glenn Kaiser, a hippie by others and I really have played accordion in a goth band. I bet that some of you don’t know any gutter punks or goth kids. I’m not saying you’re snobby or anything. I’m sure you’d get along fine if you met them, but when have you had the chance?

I would like to (and I will) work through my thoughts about the Christianity and Primitivism conference at Living Waters last week, but I don’t know how to do that without half of you thinking that I’m crazy and the other half thinking I’m still too domesticated — too much a part of the broken system. 


In the meanwhile, enjoy today’s links:

It seems Alexander Yalt has been translating English road signs into Welsh.

Did I ever show you this site? Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was taking color photographs of the Russian empire in 1907. Check it out.

prokudin-gorsky-kazakh-family

A family of Kazakh nomads in 1911. In full color.

Tonight, let’s see if I can invoke my friend Jon Trott. I haven’t told him about this blog yet. Jon, if you comment here, I promise I’ll write more about my piece of Montana history.

Somehow, I’d forgotten over the last several weeks just how important music is. I sprained my finger roughhousing with my brothers in September which made playing the cello impossible (well… very difficult) and anything else painful. Of course, school started in September. Marc moved in. There was the production of The Importance of Being Earnest and now National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been busy enough (and with creative things) not to notice what was missing.

It’s been long enough! Today I played piano with some friends and I can’t figure out how I’ve gone two months without really playing.

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Ever sincLet the Right One Ine reading this review at Twitch last month, I’ve been eager to see Let the Right One In. Tonight I had the chance to see it, and let me tell you, it’s amazing. I’m not going to write a full review right now. I don’t know how I could really review it without spoiling it and that just wouldn’t do. I will say that I think it should have ended… how do I say this without spoiling? It should have ended right before the phone call near the end.

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It seems that coraline.com launched this week. It requires a password — actually, different passwords let you see different videos. They (And by ‘they’ I mean LAIKA, the production company) broadcast the passwords through the ingenious channel of sending them through the actual mail to bloggers. You really should check these out:

http://www.despoiler.org/2008/11/17/my-funny-coraline/

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/11/on-not-doing-alan.html

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And now, I would like to take a moment to invoke John Scalzi. Just to be perverse.

Actually, I really do want to talk about this post about technology and generational gaps, but I let it get too late and I’ll have to save that for another day.

Good night, world. 

Good night, Mr. Scalzi.

Here is one of the more beautiful acts of protest against the war on terror that I’ve seen.  Erik Hillestad from Harmony Ridge Music responded to American jingoism in 2002 by traveling to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba,  Palestine and Syria to record mothers singing lullabies to their infants. Is that brilliant or what?

As a bonus, the tracks from Palestine were recorded on my birthday.

It’s funny, I’ve felt a little guilty for reading a book for more than a few minutes at a time this month, because I’m meant to be writing one. I also feel a little guilty doing anything on the computer other than writing, but sitting here I’m at least in the right place — I’m just about to get to it, I swear! I’ve even got the window open! What’s interesting is I keep catching myself doing more ‘important’ things so it feels like a more solid excuse. I’ve probably written more e-mail tonight than I had in the whole last month. And of course I wrote more words in those e-mails than I had planned on writing tonight.

Did you know that there’s a new Wallace and Gromit short coming out? It’s called A Matter of Loaf and Death  and will be airing in the UK next month. Amazon says that the dvd is coming out at the end of March.

Book View Cafe is worth bookmarking. Twenty or so authors (including Ursula K. Le Guin) have created a place to digitally publish their work — “out-of-print, experimental, or otherwise unavailable work” — and they promise new writing every day.

How did I not know that Nick Hornby released a YA novel a year ago? I came across this review and noticed the early November date before I noticed the year.

This afternoon I worked on my story with the most beautiful and unexpected background music: a duet of typewriters. It turns out that two friends in the house (The Benders and Andrew Schantz, if you’re wondering) have the same model typewriter and both were willing to lend them to our little marathon novelling sessions. While I fought hard not to be distracted by the internet, Zac and Marc pecked away at their word counts, each of them typing on a Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter from the 1950s. Aidan, Anna, Arriel and Elizabeth all put in serious time working on their books the even older-fashioned way: pencil. I wish I could show you a picture.

Oddly enough, there’s a huge discrepancy in the word count in Google Documents in Firefox vs. Chrome. I thought I’d lost 600 words somewhere.

you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you’re young,whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad
whatever’s living will yourself become.
Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:
i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man’s
flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid
and (in his mercy) your true lover spare:
for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave
called progress,and negation’s dead undoom.

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

— e. e. cummings

That’s one of the e e cummings poems that I love to turn back to. Something different stands out to me every time I read it.

It’s true what they say, you know. Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% not being distracted by the internet.

Trawling for giant squid? Try Nemo Brand Squid Lure. Guaranteed up to 20,000 leagues!

Looking for inspiration for the steampunk elements of my novel, I was poking around for descriptions of Jules Verne’s Nautilus and found this: a page of model Nautili. I especially love the warning on this entry: although the packaging looks “real”, the manufacturer and the distributor are humourous names!

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