Pattern Recognition

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Location: Here Of Course

I like to talk. And write poetry. I paint a little too.

Friday, November 26, 2004

This is really a Commonplace Book

Kate, a university friend of mine, looked at my blog and decided it reminded her of John Julius Norwich and his Christmas Crackers:

I ordered the book and saw his collection described as a commonplace book.
One great piece in there is about an umbrella catching fire on a dry day in Paris...

How like a blog, I said to myself. Of course, others had thought of this before us:

"A Commonplace Book is an old idea that deserves remembering; a single place where we keep bits and pieces of language, knowledge, ideas that we run across. A kind of precursor to the weblog, where, as we read and listen to others, we pick up chunks of knowledge, blurbs, truisms, memes, that we in one way or another want to keep with us. So we write them down in a book..."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I Lied

I tried Dashboard Dashing, the extreme sport, again:

On one side was a blog in Dutch, on the other a totally empty test blog. On their sides again, a blog partly run by Google, and this, a first entry:

Woggs's blog

So now we know!

One out of four ain't bad, to paraphrase Meat Loaf.

A villanelle I love

One Art

by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something everyday. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these things will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

More about the poet here.

More about the form of villanelle here.

Comic Strip

The trip to Paris included a visit to the world of
one of the famous Belgian creators of comic strips.

His favourite, Gaston, produces the most amazing machines during working hours at the offices of the very publisher of his own strip, Dupuis:

I know Gaston appeared in Norwegian briefly, but I am not sure if there is an English version.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Absolutely Last Attempt At Extreme Sports

My absolutely last extreme dash.

Edited in: It didn't work this time either-- couldn't find my blog on the list of blogs updated (12 to the second, it seemed) But I have better luck a few days later -- see "I Lied".

First go to Teper's blog, the latest entry and read about rock scissors paper championships.

Talk about extreme sports!!
Dashboard Watching pales in comparison.

To touch on a third extreme sport, here is a poem of mine, published in the Apotheosis e-zine.

A Nursery Game

A snippy scissor lover
would harm a paper love.
But Scissy breaks his blades
on Stoney. Old stoneheart
isn't scared of cuts, but Paper
Boy would pack him off
like any parcel.

She wants that Paper Boy.

His poems will blind
Stoney easily, cover him
in dazzle. Now all she needs
is keep her treasure
safe from jealous Scissy.

What would I want
with dangerous scissors?

What do I care
for a cold hard stone?

My Paper Boy wraps
my heart in words.


More Extreme Sport

I missed it-- maybe because the clock on my posts is fifteen minutes slow or so.

Trying again-- with an O'Keeffe painting. Music Pink and Blue (1917)

Stieglitz and Dashboard Watching Again

I go to Paris this weekend to see the first Stieglitz exhibition I have managed to catch ever. In Copenhagen and in Vancouver I enjoyed Georgia O'Keeffe. The couple have fascinated me for a long time. The way Alfred Stieglitz discovered her: "Finally a woman on paper" -- then photographed her endlessly:

OK -- now let's go to the Dashboard and Most Recently Updated Blogs -- and to the ones either side of me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Poets, Yes -- But Bloggers Too Get Into Print

I know I came late to Salam Pax and his blog and the paperback containing the first year of it.

But it rocks!

I don't often devour books any longer -- I mostly have six going at the same time, but this one I dived into on the plane to a translators' conference, recommended to every colleague I met there, and read furtively at the back of the hall under my pile of papers.

It caught my eye as a blog I had vaguely heard about, and the deal was clinched when I noticed it came much recommended by the author of my previous un-put-downable (the novel that gave this blog its name).

A link to the actual web log has been added with my other favourites.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Advantages of A One-Room Apartment

I did read somewhere that fish grow in proportion to their pond -- you see few really big fish in a little pond.
If the roots of a pot-plant have nowhere to go, I imagine you end up
with a kind of bonsai...

So maybe a small flat works like a diet?
Just a thought.

Going to catch the update! Faster this time...

And I DID!

At 05.08.37 pm their time.

Either side of me were:

1) A blog full of pics of female models...too boring for me at least.


2) A blog called The Report with the following interesting quote:

In light of George Bush's first real victory in an election for the position of president of the United States, I'm trying to think of ways in which I can avoid his policies from touching on me directly. Here's what my girlfriend, friends and I have come up with so far:
-Establish my own sovereignty. I've always wanted to have more power over my life, and I think that becoming my own country, leader, populace, and tourist attraction holds many benefits: I'd be a strong but fair ruler over me; I'd not let myself get into scuffles which didn't directly threaten my own personal liberties or freedoms (especially since I'm such a coward); I'd spare no cigarette, no alchohol, indeed no fatty or salty food from myself because, after all, it's my health care plan anyway; no taxes; and a daily election because, after all, I might get tired of ruling myself (or would my self get tired of my rule?) and wish to hand the power over to someone else for a while. I'm currently eyeing my girlfriend for that position.

Thanks, Spoonturtle, for the laugh. And good luck...

Watching the Dashboard - An Extreme Sport

You ever noticed the bottom right-hand clickable list on the Dashboard: Most Recently Updated Blogs?

Well, I see from 4 to 6 blogs are updated on Blogger every second.

So -- this is a test to see if I can catch myself on that list before I am shoved off a minute later by 250 more recent updates.

Watch this space, and I will edit in a YES!!!!
Or a Missed It :(

You guys try the same...
Oh, and whoever updates either side of me, I am going there for a look tonight.

Missed It :(
But I don't know how the time in the blog relates to their way of calculating it--hmmm.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Poem Without Birds

Weather-vane rooster swivels
Gleaming jets roar south
Dry leaves flutter on the lawn

For Bravus, who posts bikes in his blog too.

Real Web Logs Log Your Web Use

Obvious, isn't it?
So -- going back to my roots, I just tried to log my evening on the Web.

And just lost a whole post -- it was cool too :(
I find blogger does that when you go to Preview and press Back button
instead of Hide Preview.

So I will keep it short and sweet.

Thanks for this link, Randy.

"...Weblogging started as a very simple concept. You keep a log of your web activity – where you've been, whom you've met, plus your thoughts and reactions – and then you publish this log as a series of links and comments, for others to read and use as a customized and topical snapshot of current web activity."(Tim Wright.)

1. Browsed web florists and ordered this amazingly weird Modern Style Bouquet for a friend abroad:

2. Answering a critiquer in a poetry thread, I found Carrots and Blue Dip

3. Called at to get nostalgic over last summer in New Orleans and an open mike poetry reading there.

4. William Gibson is still not posting in his blog.

5. And in The New York Times", I read about the jazz drummer Milford Graves, a musician healer in Queens, who analyzes heartbeat rhythms and pitches.

"When I hooked up to the four chambers of the heart, it sounded like four-part harmony," Mr. Graves said.

6. Starbucks has started playing Christmas music. Time to go for home-brew.

Gold Mine Saloon -- Be There!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Putting it Better than I Can

A Danish poet I like:

En gang om dagen er ensomheten så stor,
At man ikke kan stille noget op med den.

Og én er lykken.

Indimellom må man se at få ordnet sine ting.

Søren Ulrik Thomsen (f. 1956)
From: Hjemfalden, Vindrose 1991.

Huh? You don't speak Danish?

Here goes:

"Once a day, solitude is so vast
That nothing can resist it.

And once a day, happiness is.

In-between, you must get the chores done."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The First Blogs Ever

The comments under my last entry triggered a googling for the history of blogging.

First, I found a timeline.

Dec 1997: Jorn Barger coins the term web log.
November 1998: Cameron Barrett publishes the first list of blog sites on Camworld.
Early 1999: Peter Merholz coins the term blog after announcing he was going to pronouce web blogs as "wee-blog". This was then shortened to blog.

After reading an interesting essay by Rebecca Blood, I decided that *private, thought-recording blogs like ours, unlike the collection of presurfed links with comments a la, could be said to start with

And the founders of Blogger, the centre of my cyberspace right at this moment, Ev and Meg, have their own blogs since 1999.
Let me simply call those the first jot-it-down blogs:


For simplicity's sake.

BTW, on my travels with Google, I had fun reading this deja vu from 1998:
November 03, 1998
CamRant: Why I Won't Be Voting on November 3, 1998
Posted by camworld at 05:35 PM

November 04, 1998
CamRant: Why I Should Have Voted on November 3, 1998
Posted by camworld at 05:37 PM
More at Camworld, a very early links-type blog (see the timeline link).

At least the apathy was less in the 2004 elections.
I experienced that new voter involvement first-hand:

In the middle of the night here in Europe, but on Election Day 2004 in the US, my cell-phone rang. Gradually, after some initial swearing on my end, it became clear that this was an East Coast man I last talked to in 2001, on a long Greyhound ride to New York while planes were grounded after Sept. 11.

He wanted my take on the presidential election before voting!
"You said then we would over-react. I think you were right."

I must have been the only European he knew.
Hopefully I can take credit for 0.000000001 percent of Kerry's votes ...


(*edited: personal-- as a comment says below, a blog is hardly private!)