|17 September 1999|
I'd like to meet you
In a timeless, placeless place
Somewhere out of context
And beyond all consequences
-- "Language", Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing
I'm in a bit of a rush today, plus the Web's been a bit quiet lately, so I'm just going to dig through some stuff I never got around to posting and call them Quickies...
A new collection of Kurt Vonnegut short stories from way back when is out. His new preface is online:
- Bagombo Snuff Box (excerpt) [Penguin Putnam]
...a short story, because of its physiological and psychological effects on a human being, is more closely related to Buddhist styles of meditation than it is to any other form of narrative entertainment. ... What you have in this volume, then, and in every other collection of short stories, is a bunch of Buddhist catnaps.
...Just as people with dysfunctional kidneys are getting perfect ones from hospitals nowadays, Americans with dysfunctional social lives, like the woman in Ray's book, are getting perfect friends and relatives from their TV sets. And around the clock!
Ray [Bradbury] missed the boat about how many screens would be required for a successful people-transplant. One lousy little Sony can do the job, night and day. All it takes besides that is actors and actresses, telling the news, selling stuff, in soap operas or whatever, who treat whoever is watching, even if nobody is watching, like family.
Now lend me your ears. Here is Creative Writing 101:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
For your entertainment, here's the text of Microsoft's 'Hotmail Security Notice' that they sent to subscribers August 30. It's pretty uninformative:
I guess it's progress that they even sent anything to Hotmail subscribers. They don't have a very good record of saying anything directly to their customers about their security holes. They do have a place you can go if you want to know, but how many people do that?
Seen on Camworld a while back, a cool interview with Philip Glass, covering topics from Dracula to Koyaanisqatsi to South Park:
- Philip Glass: Dracula lives! [Borders]
[what has been holding up the release of Koyaanisqatsi?]
PG: Well, this is the question we are asking all the time because Godfrey [Reggio] and I have had a scenario for at least five years and ready to go. The holdup is money. Basically we're talking about a film industry which is part of the entertainment world, and that's the long and the short of it. Art movies are few and far between; people don't put money into them, in spite of the fact that Koyaanisqatsi earned its money back. ... When you say, "Well, we can make the money back in two years," people just laugh at you. They say, "Are you crazy? Out of your mind? If it doesn't make us money back in three weeks it's gone!" And you've seen that, I'm sure. ... In the long run it won't lose money, it just earns its money back dreadfully slow from the point of view of the studio.
If Koyaanisqatsi ever does come out on DVD, will be on my shopping list immediately...
- Sony seeks musician domain names for life [News.com]
Sony Music has added language to its standard contracts that gives the company ownership over an artist's name -- as well as any variation of it -- for use as a domain name. Moreover, the clause is written as a lifetime provision that would apply even if the artist and Sony part ways.
Talk about onerous. I wish no one were desperate and short-sighted enough to sign such a thing, but it's probably happened several times already.
Marc Andreesen wants a G4. He also owns bulldogs.
- The Download - Live Discussion With Netscape Co-Founder Marc Andreessen [Washington Post, seen on MacInTouch]
Apple's new products are simply amazing -- just last night I was excitedly showing someone the foldout ad for the G4 Macs in this week's Newsweek -- they are amazing machines, with great design and great marketing behind them. It's been really great to see, it makes you wonder what could have been had Steve Jobs never been kicked out of Apple in 1985.