This morning I signed up for 41 Pounds that is a company that claims to reduce junk mail by 80-95%. They basically send in your name to be taken off common advertising mailing lists. The gist is that you will get less than the average of 41 pounds of junk mail each year. It costs $41 for five years.
Last year I signed up for National Novel Writing Month but I never even started writing anything. This year I told myself I'd commit to it. The gist is to try and write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Obviously, it's not about writing the best novel, just a novel. My profile includes the stats for how far I've come so far. Yesterday I wrote 1455 words which is short of the 1667 needed to hit 50K in 30 days, but it's a start.
I titled it "Memoirs of an Idealist". I'm trying to embrace the philosophy of starting from a kernel and letting it grow on its own. I also have no illusions that this will be any less "semi-autobiographical" than any other author's first novel. And in so, I'm drawing from my inner demons — the ones that wake me up at 3 in the morning and present me with an impossible situation to challenge my ideals. They follow the same theme of trying to crush my individuality, whether it's an authority trying to make a uniform world, or some jerk trying to impose their ideals.
Writing the first chapter was painful to think back on. I just forged ahead with almost no editing. It was horrifying. I didn't go back to fix any missing parts or to try and fill in details I thought I'd needed. But by the end of it, things are starting to flesh out. I've got inklings of several characters and I have no idea what they will do or be like yet.
Ali and I went to Gusto (277 Alexander St.) for dinner. I had the special: a pumpkin ravioli with spinach and Gorgonzola sauce. It was just the right size and tasted spectacular. Ali had the ravioli lasagna which was also great.
We had to get going by 9 to pick up Ali's kid sister who was at a concert at The Bethel Christian Fellowship (321 East Ave.). I guess this Mark Schultz guy is quite a popular Christian singer and pianist. We were there a little early and the show hadn't let out yet but they have a cafe so we got a coffee and hung out. The tables are triangular and I noted the "trinity tables". Ali remarked that they must have a good marketing department.
Ali's sister and her friend were among the first two to get out. They got in line to meet the guy and to get autographs. A few minutes later and it seemed the whole auditorium let out and got in line too. I guess I'm the only one who heard that idolatry was some kind of sin.
I was just thinking this morning that laws are entirely voluntary. I mean, it's actually impossible to force someone to do something — you can coerce them, but if they are unwilling, then they won't do like you want.
Think of it this way: it's not the law that guides behavior, law just measures common morality and codifies it. So it wasn't that people looked around at the chaos of everyone killing one another for fun and said, "hey, maybe we should make a law that says that people shouldn't kill one another", but rather that people were mostly not killing one another and someone thought it would be a good idea to write that down. The contrapositive is also true. So if someone made a law that nobody ordinarily does, then nobody would follow it. If New York made a law that said you had to cut off the little finger on your left hand, I guarantee that nobody would follow it.
Law tries to be precise to ensure that it's clear what's being asked for, but what about something like driving faster than the posted speed limit. It's very clear but almost nobody obeys it. So why not make it "everyone must drive responsibly"? Well, that's not specific enough and the law would be bestowed with very little authority by being subjective.
I guess therein lies the thing that people like so much about them: authority. It makes people feel their ideas are validated if the ideas are formally agreed to be "correct". It's like a trump-card of cheap debate, "well, it's the law". Unfortunately, it's also a very weak argument. I mean, can you imagine a presidential debate where one candidate says, "well, it must be true because it's the law". On second thought, please avoid imagining that because we're not far from that being a valid debate tactic. [Rather, imagine that both candidates get to have TAZERS.] My point is that one should be able to argue the validity of their argument without the crutch of the law — in other words, law itself has no place in debate about a law. It's simply a populist argument — argumentum ad populum as they say.
And when the authority of the law gets too big for its britches, there's always civil disobedience — which, in the context of this discussion, is simply the recognition that what I'm saying is true: laws are entirely voluntary. And civil disobedience is most effective against laws that are irrelevant to one group (often a majority [and through typo, came out as "mojority", which seems like an awesome word itself]) but directly effect restricted behavior of another group, especially when that restricted behavior itself has no effect on the first group.
But what is it I'm supposed to say on the Internets about this kind of thing? IANAL or something?
This National Novel Writing Month thing is really taking all my time. Well, not really … it's just taking up some time I had been spending mucking around with the Colorado Burning Man mailing list. So it should be a wash.
The trouble is, I'm starting to live vicariously through my characters. They're all having such a good time that I'd rather just stay home and find out what they're going to do next. Of course, it's my novel, so — surprise — they end up hanging out at a bar talking a lot. Whether it's realistic or good, I don't know, but at least I'm keeping with it.
I need 5,000 words every three days to hit the 50K by the end of the month. Ideally I'd like to be ahead by a little bit so I could take a day off, but so far I'm just barely treading water. I imagine that at some point I'll stall out and that will probably piss me off. I'm not looking forward to that.
At least I'm saving money because it's way cheaper to write about people going to clubs and drinking at a bar than it is to actually do it yourself. It's also funny how I happened to stop by Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.) last weekend and was disappointed that it wasn't anything like the idealized place I'm writing about. But then again, I don't want to write about the reality of it all … it's the most excellent parts that are what draw me to it.
Ali and I went to Ming's I (1038 S. Clinton Ave.) for dinner. We went a few weeks ago and again on Halloween but on this night we played it smart and got soup: the kind where you pick the dominant meat or vegetables and pick the kind of noodles. It's the best thing going: it's tasty and generous.
I headed out to Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) to check out the show. I was looking to finally see The Varnish Cooks but they weren't playing — instead, the show started with City Harvest Black which is a guy in a white mask with horns doing noise-based loops and haunting voices. I liked it but it's not the kind of music that has a huge following. Next was Horseback who do rich, thick atmospheric instrumental followed by Mike Tamburo who started out with a hammer dulcimer — I think — and had a light, airy, atmospheric presence.
So this morning I got out and ran my standard 2-mile course — this time in 16 minutes so that's feeling really good. The outside temperature was 37°F and breezy but the most exciting part was that I got to run in flurries. Occasionally one would sting my tongue with its cold pinprick. And yeah, once again, I ran it barefoot. When I got back I checked the temperature of the bottoms of my feet and they were a chilly 58° but pink from adequate blood flow. It didn't feel too much different than when I ran last time in the cold weather, but this time there was some moisture on the ground from the rain last night and that made it draw more heat away. I'll stick with it and see what happens, ever watchful of how my toes are feeling.
Ali and I headed to the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) but we arrived early, and we got to join the tail-end of Jim Healy's coffee chat in the cafe. I'd like to have attended, as I only got to really listen in on other people's comments. I'm still stuck on trying to think of a romantic comedy in the past 10 years or so that Jim would like, as he was at a loss to think of one off hand.
Anyway, the films that night were those of Len Lye, an experimental filmmaker in the 1930's through 1960's. His technique was to "compose motion" by drawing directly onto film stock. A Colour Box was one of his earliest and I immediately recognized the tiny nuances of hand-painted and stamped images magnified hundreds of times. He also incorporated innovative music — typically Cuban music in his early films and jazz in his later ones.
It was amusing that some films were created as advertisements — such as The Birth of the Robot and Colour Flight, but they were so abstract that it was difficult to tell what the point was. Well, The Birth of the Robot was rather direct. In it, a guy dies in the desert and is resurrected by Shell oil into a robot that operates the mechanisms of the cosmos. Rhythm had interesting story: it was a commercial for Chrysler that got rejected by the company because it used African drumming and included a "knowing wink" from a black worker (although IMDb's trivia says it was because the film was "too abstract" rather than that Chrysler opposed racial equality in 1957). This also meant that an advertising reward for it was revoked because it was never actually shown.
Two of his last films: Free Radicals and Particles in Space were both excellent. Completely abstract in their artistry — and created from scratching white lines in black film — they conveyed the magic of motion and dimensions. I thought the hand-scratched titling that was animated to move in some warped spacial way was really innovative. The films also incorporated that technique, as if it were the film of objects dancing in a way unnatural to our orthogonal 3-D world.
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This afternoon from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the 5th Annual "Not Your Usual Craft Show" at the lodge at Brighton Town Park (777 Westfall Rd.)
Craigslist Rochester events]
The Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave.) will have an opening reception for America... So Beautiful with works by Gary Thompson and Phyllis Thompson from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The show will be on display through December 2.
Image City Photography Gallery e-mail]
This afternoon at 5 p.m. at The Storefront Anti-War Crisis Center (658 Monroe Ave.) is a presentation of oil portraits by David de Quoit titled Elegy: Iraqi Children and War.
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Lake of Fire starting at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. today through Monday — the special run will qualify the film for a "Best Documentary" Academy Award® nomination. It's a documentary about the ramifications of abortion in America.
Eastman House calendar][all ages]
Over at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9:30 p.m. is great, somewhat mellow rock-and-roll from Hinkley, The Haystack Shadows, and an excellent selection of Rochester's best talent harnessed as acoustic-rock backup from Old Boy.
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, November 8, 2007 (Thu, Nov 8, 2007, 11/8/2007, or 11/8/07) Friday, November 9, 2007 (Fri, Nov 9, 2007, 11/9/2007, or 11/9/07) Saturday, November 10, 2007 (Sat, Nov 10, 2007, 11/10/2007, or 11/10/07) Sunday, November 11, 2007 (Sun, Nov 11, 2007, 11/11/2007, or 11/11/07) Monday, November 12, 2007 (Mon, Nov 12, 2007, 11/12/2007, or 11/12/07) Tuesday, November 13, 2007 (Tue, Nov 13, 2007, 11/13/2007, or 11/13/07) and Wednesday, November 14, 2007 (Wed, Nov 14, 2007, 11/14/2007, or 11/14/07).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.