Fri, 23 Jan 2009

All The Pretty Horses

— SjG @ 11:00 pm

Cormac McCarthy, Vintage Books, 1993.

This is one of those books that I’d had recommended by numerous people numerous times. The description of the story didn’t strike any chord with me. Then Peter read an excerpt at a Meander, and I was intrigued. I resolved to read it. And time passed.

Well, then I read it.

All The Pretty Horses‘ plot is not exceptional. In terms of structure, it’s a love story, a western, a coming-of-age story. The text lacks quotation marks, which can be challenging. And there is a fair amount of vocabulary in Spanish. So much for the mechanics.

The writing is paradoxical throughout. It’s simultaneously simple vernacular and spectacular, soaring literary magic. Nearly every paragraph contains a revelatory sentence that exposes an underlying truth about people or about the world that we barely even suspected — and yet, once revealed, we know to be absolutely correct. The descriptions of a sunset may evoke a place that we have never seen, and yet we immediately know it. A phrase in a conversation will be one we’ve never heard before, but will be intimately familiar. The story unfolds slowly, but also in a strange breathless rush.

It’s a fantastic book.

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Tue, 13 Jan 2009


— SjG @ 3:54 pm

Seen on the way in to work this morning. Only had my Canon Powershot with me… so, it’s just another reminder to always bring the big camera with big glass at all times.

Semi-aerial combat

Semi-aerial combat

Fri, 2 Jan 2009

Address Book

— SjG @ 3:09 pm

So. Millions of people use Apple’s Someone must have a solution to the problem of households … but I somehow have been left in the dark.

Stated more precisely:
I have numerous friends for whom I have multiple contacts. For example, Alice Code and Bob Crypto are what we now call pairbonded partners. They share a common home address, but separate cell phones, email, work addresses, work email, etc. So I end up keeping three records for the two of them: one for Alice, one for Bob, and one for Bob and Alice.

Now, three records for two people isn’t so onerous, particularly when there’s not a lot of redundant information. But then, if they happen to have a land-line, and change the number, I have to update three records (unless I only put home number for the common record, in which case I’d have to remember this protocol). And the fact is that there are a lot of redundant notes I try to keep, such as anniversaries, favorite charities, etc. This makes the system unwieldy, especially since my whole goal is to reduce the amount of stuff I have to remember and maintain.

So how do people in the real world manage this? Bonus points for solutions that will still work when I sync to my Palm-OS based phone!

Charities, 2008

— SjG @ 2:42 pm

Having mailed off the charitable/political/ donations for 2008, I thought it might be worth listing some of the recipients here:

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The Miracle Mongers and their Methods: a Complete Exposé

— SjG @ 1:37 pm

Harry Houdini, 1920, read as an etext published at

Houdini reveals to us his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of certain magic tricks, who performed them, where they did it, and what variations they used. He also tells us how they actually did it. You’d think it would make more compelling reading than it does, but it’s actually fairly dry.

Still, it was interesting to learn the secrets behind some of the tricks I’ve seen, such as firewalking.

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