Thanks Full Four

Two things to be thankful for this time of year as (we) American’ts celebrate the fairytale holidays known as Thanksgiving which, btw, is the doorway to the next fictional fairytale known as… consumer-to-survive frenzy winter solstice. First. The information that tells the truth about Thanksgiving and Xmas is readily available on these Interwebnets and the google. You know, stuff like natives and starving Europeans not really (really) eating together or how Coca Cola is the real brains behind Xmas (and its profits), etc. Beyond that, I highly suggest you look it up, dear worstReader, or checkout some of the links below. Second. During and after binge eating turkey and gravy, for some odd reason, I kept thinking about The Wizard Of Oz. Not the movie but the book, which I haven’t read for quite some time. And here is the catcher about that book, too much turkey and how so many Americans are thankful for stuff that ultimately means nothing. That said… I guess I’d better move on quickly.

What were Baum’s true aspirations with his wondrous story? Indeed, Oz is a very original story but who thinks of it as a political one? Also, the Wizard Of Oz is so at odds with certain American ideals, especially since, as it seems, it was intended as an American alternative for children above and beyond the grim of Grimm Fairytales. But then again, I suppose it is just-as-well to comfortably assume that Baum wrote what he wrote in order to think little of the stories of children being kidnapped, hands being chopped off or the cruel imaginary of gingerbread persons terrorising the neighborhood. But to come up with scarecrows, tin men and talking kings of the jungle? Indeed. Baum’s story is full of political symbolism–and ultimately the stuff that is worth being thankful for but rarely is. In fact, Oz is so full of political symbolism worstWriter was overwhelmed with it while picking a wishbone from his/my teeth. As I don’t want to turn this into an overwhelming useless-eating rant, I’ll just get to the worstPoint of what I mean and what got me thinking while stuffing my face.

Worst-thoughts on Frank L. Baum’s Wizard Of Oz while eating too much:

-The scarecrow symbolises the American farmer who is not without a brain but has been robbed of his individual freedoms in the name of the collective that obviously needs to eat.
-The tin man symbolises the American factory worker, so beaten and hurt that everything except his heart is replaced with metal so that he can continue working.
-The lion symbolises the American who thinks he knows what’s right but always loses the courage to actually do what’s right.

I reckon I’ll have to leave it at that for now as I don’t want to get into the whole witch, Dorothy, toto and Twister symbolism. Nuff worst-said.

Links:
Wiki The Wizard Of Oz.
Thanksgiving???
Thankful for WalMart… Yeah, right.
A cartoon a day…

Rant on.

-TGS-

Hungry For More

As mentioned here, I was hungry for more when I finished Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs. The book really didn’t get into anything down & dirty about the man or Apple, which made it a disappointment. Obviously I’m not alone in wanting more about Steve Jobs and also more about the nit & gritty of the Apple circus. A circus, btw, that the late/great American PT Barnum would/could be proud of. For, as you’all know, America is the land where a sucker is born every minute. Long live and die “designed by Apple in Cupertino”, baby. It’s not only a post-PC world, it’s a world on the brink of perfecting slave labor, debt consumption and living the high-life with grand gadgets. Oh well.

Enter Leander Kahney from Cult of Mac and his new book “Jony Ive – The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products”. Although it’s just joined my reading list, I’m not as yet motivated to move it up in front of the others on the list. But I might get to it around Xmas/New Year or when the Kindle price motivates me more. In the mean time, see the MacBreak Weekly where Kahney is interviewed and presents a few nuggets of what can be expected from this book.

To give you an idear of what worstWriter is interested in go to 30:27 in the above vid. Leo nails it when explaining the design intricacies of the MacPro. I am fortunate to own one of these devices. In fact, to the chagrin of many around the world, I practically stole my MacPro from a retailer last spring. For the longest time this machine had been in a showroom full of marked-down tower PCs. Over a period of a half (or so) year, I watched the store mark the price of it down until it hit €1500 (from €2600). I polished up my balls that day and asked for the department manager. I offered him €1200. He thought for a few mintues, realising he was never gonna sell it when he couldn’t even sell Windows i5 towers that were €1000 or less. And to my surprise, he took my offer. And I assure you, dear worstReader, if I could, and if my wife wasn’t in the way ;-), this device would be in my bed. That’s how friggin beautiful it is. Anyway.

Tommi's MacPro

As I was saying, Leo on MacBreak Weekly nails it. Apple, Jony Ive & Co. are obviously obsessed with DESIGN. And as far as I’m concerned, more power to ’em. The detail of milling the front aluminum cover of the MacPro is easy to miss. But the metal bends at the top, which means the milling machines had to cut the holes so that they wouldn’t be distorted when bent for the fit. I know that to many people that means nothing, especially when the heart of this device is based on technology that barely lives for a few years. Still. I have a MacPro. It’s like a tractor trailer on a highway of (Apple) sports cars, but I don’t care. Not only the design detail can be seen in the cheese grater front but just pop open the case. The motherboard, the daughterboard that houses the CPU, the cables, the drive bays, the on/off switch… It’s breathtaking.

But don’t worry. I do have a life. I think. And with that in mind. I digress.

At this point in time & space, and after failing to get a job in the world of industrial design so many years ago, back in the day when I tried to wriggle my way into a work-for-the-man career–I actually had a series of job interviews at Frog Design–I’m very impressed with the career of Jony Ives. And he obviously holds a lot of the nit & gritty about this awesomely influential corporate behemoth that can (almost) print its own money. So if you’re interested keep checking back for a review of yet another book about über-company #1 and the über-people that make it all happen.

Rant on.

-tgs-

What I Wish I Were

Endspiel by Samuel Beckett

A very silly title to a very silly post. To maintain some clarification, I do not wish I were Beckett. I only admire him for being an example that not everything the same can also be good. I do not believe Beckett to be the intellectual and/or difficult writer that so many claim of him – or that so many academics have given him. I think he’s a great example of purity and simpleness and how the two make for beautiful art… Or something like that. But before I continue with Beckett…

I still do not claim to believe in ”writer’s block”. But this morning, while working on a story, I realized that I had reached a dead end. I started writing it about two weeks ago and have since had two misleading breaks that have caused great pain in maintaining the focus, the concentration, the gist of the story. After the second break – this past weekend – I found that I had simply lost touch with what was streaming out of me only a few days prior. It’s sad, really, especially when one looks at such an unsuccessful (worts)writer as myself. Oh. The thousands of words I have obviously wasted. So much potential gone astray, one could say. Others would say: ”fuck it”, just get on with it all the same. Yet, how does a ”writer” explain to those who don’t write what it means to lose the connection, the trust, the fluidity of thecreative process? If only I had the courage to end it all – this writing madness. But I won’t give up. Especially when I think of all the grasshoppers for whom I’m providing such an example – you know, of how not to write. This grand trip we are taking together dear worst-reader, the places we are seeing, e.g. the corners of our rooms with too many cobwebs or the cracks in the tiles of our terraces, these places where our eyes gather and see what needs to be seen – the emptiness, the nothingness – is what keeps us going. Is it not?

Solace.

Or knowing that we will at least dream of trying to achieve what the greats have done before us. I speak, no less, of he who haunts me (us?): Sam Beckett. The genius and purity, simpleness, precision of pen. I’m only barely worthy to read and own a few of his books or to have had the privilege of seeing some of his theater on varying stages.

(Image of book.)

I know. Though shallt not want. And at this point it doesn’t really matter. I only own a few books. Most of my books are just plain old paperbacks bought used – because I hate hardcover books and paperbacks were (at the time) easier to travel with. I also own a few – I guess you could call them – collector edition books. One of my favorite books is a special printed edition of Endgame from the September 26, 1967, Berlin premier that was directed by Sam Beckett himself. The publisher of the book is Suhrkamp. The cast of the play is as follows:

  • Nell (left can): Gudrun Genest
  • Nagg (right can): Werner Stock
  • Hamm (dude with glasses): Ernst Schröder
  • Clov (dude kinda bent over): Horst Bollmann

 

The thing that’s cool about this book is that when you unfold it you get the feeling your in the audience. It’s printed in hard cover A4 landscape. The cover has a pic of Sam Beckett directing, see above. The title is:

Samuel Beckett inszeniert das ”Endspiel”

The inner cover has a few pics of the actors from the inszenierung and when you open it completely the whole book resembles a fold-out, maybe pop-up theater stage. When all the folds/covers are opened the left and right folds have pictures of curtains on them. The inside of the main cover has pictures of a ceiling with strobe lights. As you flip through the pages the text of the play is printed on the top page and a picture of the corresponding scene is printed on the next page below in black &white. At the end of the play there is a rehearsal journal, or diary, that contains the daily happenings, including what Mr. Beckett was doing, where he sat in rehearsals, what he drank, etc. The journal begins on Friday, August 18, 1967, with: ”Im Hof des Schiller-Theaters…”

Yes. What a lovely book to own.

Links:

 

Rant and dream on.

-tgs-

State Sponsored Injustice

Been following the case of Jeremy Hammond? Or are you just another American’t following the butthole of the dollar that rules your measly life? I know. I’m being a bit harsh (for I, as an Expat, follow the butthole of the €uro which ultimately is the same stinky, smelly thing!) What gets me about Jeremy Hammond, though, is the potential relation to others who also attempt to partake in what should be justice but instead is a systematic relegation of injustice masked in the/a happy-face of corporate dysfunction and a society hell-bent on failing upwards. Wait. Pause. Breath. Let me rephrase.

The case of Jeremy Hammond is what happens when ideologues in the form of federal judges abuse their power because, well, they have nothing better to do. Check out Aaron Swartz to see where the same abuse of state power has happened before. Obviously there can be no justice in a country that lets fraudsters and two-bit criminals get away with blatant robbery, i.e. the bankers and all those that support the speculation state that sustains itself by the profits made from trading debt and selling out. And let’s not forget the war mongers and profiteers of the military industrial complex. Yet young people, committed to openness, fairness and justice above and beyond ideology, are sentenced to jail time for being awesome computer hackers.

worstWriter also can’t help but think about how people like Jeremy and Aaron relate to other hackers e.g. Edward Snowden. Is there even a relation? Indeed. Hammond’s hack certainly differentiates from Snowden’s hack. I’m still waiting to hear about anything really significant coming out of the stuff that Snowden released. And let me not get started on how Snowden is an obvious coward compared to Hammond. (What daddy did you run away to, Mr. Snowden?) Thus far Snowden has told the world what it should already know. Hammond, on the other hand, tried to reveal to the world how the powers-that-be rule the lives of the measley.

I’m sure Chris Hedges would disagree with me.

Rant on.

-TGS-

Getting Blurred

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2013/11/14/tpp_exposed_wikileaks_publishes_secret_trade

Interesting debate between/among workers-for-the-man. But what is such a trade agreement really? On the one hand, this particular trade agreement has to do w/copyrights and all that that old chestnut entails. On the other hand, the environment is mentioned in it as well. All worstWriter can say about that is, why now?, why in secret?, and what’s the rush? Oh, and is there more to this report? 95 pages doesn’t seem like much (especially if you’re worstWriter that wrote a few or three of these reports in his/her day.) Also. Can’t help but wonder if, especially when copyright and environment is in the same context, whether thisis really about empire and nothing more or less. But I wouldn’t want to confuse things more… I mean blur them more.

Great how Cato guy seems to be overwhelmed by the depth of the lefty. You go gurl!

Rant on.
-TGS-