In Which the Author Stops Apologizing/What I am Reading

One of the things I have found about writing a blog that you update frequently is that certain themes emerge whether or not you want to. For a while, I struggled with my role with the blog, eventually deciding “gee, I’m a critic”. I’ve played with the notion of “status vs. contract” novel, and described certain kinds of books as “fuckin’ br00tal”. I’ve also apologized more than I think is normal– so, I’m gonna stop. The blog is the blog, and what I write about and at what length is not something I’m going to concern myself with too much going forward. If a pattern emerges or re-emerges out of that, fine, but the ‘short entry, long entry’ pattern isn’t going to sustain itself, and I don’t want to fret over the ‘long entry’ every time. I like the twice a week schedule, and think it’s a good pace, so I’ll keep it. But sometimes it’s gonna be me commenting on things in progress, other times things I have finished, and occasionally ranting about the world of reading/books at large. And I’m going to cease my ceaseless apologizing if an entry isn’t a part of some artificial *thing* I have created. It’s like making a mistake when you’re playing music onstage; unless it’s a colossal fuckup, the audience doesn’t know or care, and drawing attention to it is foolish. 

So, here’s what I am reading:

“Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials” —Reza Negarstaini’s novel about… a lot of things, I gather, but specifically about oil being some sort of malevolent force. It’s framing device is curiously dated, with the narrator being a “Suicide Girl” and lots of talk about PGP keys. These things still exist (“Suicide Girls was/is a popular alt-porn site), but no one talks about them as much as they did in the early 2000s, when this was written. Interesting how quickly things can seem ‘old’. I’m there myself. 

“Moby Dick”— I only read one chapter this week, so I didn’t write about it this time out. 

“You Can’t Win”— halfway done with this old-time tale of thievery and hobos; it retains what is good about it, but it’s starting to feel a little overlong. There’s only so many amusing anecdotes about robbery.

“Akai Professional MPC Live II Manual”— a meaty 485 pages on how to operate a gadget I purchased to goof around on while my band is on a break. Whee! I don’t track these things normally, but she’s thicc. There’s a definite art to these, and the tutorial section is mostly… fine. If you’ve never worked with an MPC before, it’s interesting to see how the writer(s) try and introduce concepts to an audience who may or may not have any musical training. 

On a personal note, I have decided to spend the next two weeks practicing the ukulele in a disciplined fashion, for an hour a day, and finally memorize some shit I should already know. To that end, my reading also includes things like “understanding ukulele chords” and “chord melody method for the ukulele” — books which serve a similar purpose, but *do* assume you have some musical training. The differences in them are interesting to me, in their own way, and while I trudge over the mountain of ‘actually learning the fretboard’ and ‘memorizing scale patterns more gooder’ I may have some additional thoughts. 

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