Open letter to Joe (the weblog vacuums all content):
Dear Joe,
I missed the vertexList opening--were you here?

Finished the 2nd Vernor Vinge book [A Deepness in the Sky]. I liked it better I think [than A Fire Upon the Deep]. It seemed more grounded in realistic physics, as opposed to zipping hither and thither through some new kind of spacetime.

Vinge's very influenced by Larry Niven (and Niven & Pournelle). Niven's (early) Known Space books and N&P's Mote in God's Eye are recommended if you haven't read them.

I like "innovation in the face of scarce resources" stories (Jean de Florette is one of my favorite movies*). In this one, the grinding wait followed by very rapid action--that's probably how it would be in space.

Another thing I really liked was that the fairy story quality of the stuff that happened among the aliens was explained as something filtered through the translator's memories and attempts to find correlations for human readers/hearers. That meta level was missing from the first book.
Best, Tom
*see also Joe Sacco's graphic novel/documentary Safe Area Gorazde

- tom moody 6-13-2005 9:45 pm

I was here, (there) but am back here now (there) in San Francisco. Sorry for not being more self promoty and all that. The Progress Bar (now called The Big Job) is running at vertexlist ( so check it out if you're in the Burg. I'm in town again in a month installing yet another piece which is going to be interactive and fun at Long Island University. Or at least that's the plan as it now stands.

I read 'The Stars, My Destination" (Alfred Bester) and was completely hooked what a great book. I'm almost finished "The Deceivers" now but it's not nearly as good. If you're not Vinged out try the bobbleing books by him too (Marooned in Real Time was the first one, I forget the second). I keep thinking about them so they must have been pretty good too.

I'm having a meeting this week where we submit (and make a case for) artists we'd like to come to the visiting artist program at Berkeley next year. I'm not quite willing to go public with my list though. (I'm shy ya know). I'm trying to balance people who might actually come vs people I'd want to come. I've decided to limit myself to the living.

I really liked your photos from the Cubicle show. Wish I could have seen it for real. The whole show looked pretty interesting.

- joester 6-14-2005 4:00 am

I've been playing "least favorite moment from Star Wars III"
Mine is Yoda responding to the Sith's pre fight smack talk ("I will obliterate all the Jedi bla bla bla). Yoda says "Not if anything to say about it I have"
But I got reminded of the line "Only the Sith would deal in absolutes!" and it's pretty sweet too. Fricking two faced Jedi facists.
Plus there's the great scene where Anikan and the girl are talking about how much they love each other - that had my whole audience laughing.

- joester 6-14-2005 4:05 am

Nice 'Mote in God's Eye' reference.

I preferred the previous Vinge book, but both were okay.

I thought the connection between 'Jean de Florette' and 'Safe Area Gorazde' was kinda stretched a bit.

Never I would money pay to watch a Star Wars product in a theatre, although the thought of hearing the audience reactions to the love scenes is tempting, almost.

- von Bark (guest) 6-14-2005 5:27 am

In Deepness the podmaster has a limited amount of water, organic chemicals, and human laborers in his space "hideout," so he must fastidiously conserve all these elements as he waits out several decades for the planetbound alien culture to mature and become ripe for exploitation. In Florette Depardieu fights like a Trojan to save a business that is carefully and scientifically worked out but dying for lack of water. In Gorazde, the Bosnian Muslims hoarded food and equipment, did rotating military duty, and rigged generators on rafts in the river so they could have electricity, all for a semblance of a decent life in a city under siege. It's not a stretch to compare these works if there is only one thing in them being compared: "innovation in the face of scarce resources." I'd say it's a theme at the core of all three--also some kind of race against the clock.

I stopped watching SW after episode 1, for three reasons: Jar Jar, mitochlorians, and it was bad.
- tom moody 6-14-2005 6:03 am

Another "classic Bester" is The Demolished Man--I remember it being pretty good. That's the only other one I read.

One of the things I recall most vividly from TSMD was "the Scientific People"--an asteroid-dwelling cargo cult who had chemical symbols tattooed on their bodies and said things like "Quant. Suff." as ritual incantations and greetings.
- tom moody 6-14-2005 6:37 am

overall "The Revenge of the Sith" is a dramatically pro-Bush movie. I am sure this is not Lucas' intent (although he lives in splendid exile his own Xanadu in Marin, I would assume Lucas toes the Mullholland Drive party line) but just the result of the fact that Bush and Lucas both trade in the same heroic mythology and iconography. Although the Jedi have their spiritual side, to be sure, they are warriors, quick on the draw, cavalierly light sabring anyone who blocks their path. There's little diplomacy in that galaxy far, far away
- steve 6-14-2005 9:31 am

Jar Jar swore me off the series too, but an egger friend drug me back during a moment of weakness. I hear all sorts of people saying, "you know, the first one was bad too and we didn't know because we were young". There are all sorts of reasons why this line of logic is crap but here's the main reason. This new movie looks awful! The actors never walk on the real ground, everything is rendered - and not in a cool way, in a cheap cut-scene kind of way.
- joester 6-14-2005 10:00 am

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