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Showing posts from May, 2006

A Love Poem in Tensor Algebra

As promised, many posts ago, from Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad.

A Love Poem in Tensor Algebra

Come let us hasten to a higher plane,
Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to n,
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

Come, every frustum longs to be a cone,
And ever vector dreams of matrices,
Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:
It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

In Riemann, Hilbert or in Banach space
Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.
Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,
We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

I’ll grant thee random access to my hear,
Thou’lt tell me all the constants of they love;
And s we two shall all love’s lemmas prove,
And in our bound partition never part.

For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,
Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,
Wielding their compasses, their pens, and rulers,
Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?

Cancel me not—for what then shall remain?
Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,
A root or two, a torus and …

There are no coincidences or once again about throughlines

Last night we saw "V for Vendetta" and I was going to come home and blog about it, but went to bed instead and then tonight, we watched "Everything is Illuminated" and once again as with "History of Violence" and "The Devil's Backbone" I realized that despite being extremely different films, they have similar through lines. They are both excellent films.

"V for Vendetta" is one of my husband's all time favorite graphic novels so he was afraid to see what Hollywood (and the Wachowski brothers) had done with it. Look at the travesty that is "Constantine" or the muddle that was made of Allan Moore's "From Hell" and the absolute disaster that was "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Allan Moore had his name removed from the film which is never a good sign.
Fortunately we were very pleasantly surprised. While certain elements were changed, like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," and &q…

Others on Da Vinci

"Who was married at the feast of Cana? Repetitions are magic keys. Of course, I've compiled; but compiling the truth is the initiate's right. Here is my interpretation: Jesus was not crucified, and for that reason the Templars denied the Crucifix. The legend of Joseph of Arimathea covers a deeper truth: Jesus, not the Grail, landed in France, among the cabalists of Provence. Jesus is the metaphor of the King of the World, and true founder of the Rosicrucians. And who landed with Jesus? His wife. In the Gospels why aren't we told who was married at Cana? It was the wedding of Jesus, and it was a wedding that could not be discussed, because the bride was a public sinner, Mary Magdalene. That's why, ever since, all the Illuminati from Simon Magus to Postel seek the principle of the eternal feminine in a brothel. And Jesus, meanwhile, was the founder of the royal line of France.""Nobody would take that seriously," Diotallevi said."On the contrary, …

Madame Bovary

A few posts back for "Mara and Dann" I mentioned that Madame Bovary makes it to the end of the world and I was sad about that since I think it's a terrible novel, then I realized I shouldn't make that statement since I haven't actually read the book--I believe in as much as one is able, one shouldn't criticize things one has not investigated, within reason. I don't need to see child porn or commit murder to know it's wrong, but in the case of art one should give oneself at least one to five minutes of contemplation before turning it off or shutting the book. So I read Madame Bovary this week. It's a beautifully written novel (well, the translation is--I wasn't brave enough to read it in French, and it would take the next two years). I suspect the original is beautiful as well, full of delicate descriptions of clothing and furnishings (he seemed quite fascinated by hats for instance). I enjoyed the contrast between French novels and British nov…

Sweet Jesus, what a terrible film

I went to see "The DaVinci Code" last night. I almost never see movies in theaters and I NEVER see movies on their opening weekend (although I tried to see "Serenity" but missed it), but a friend of whom I am very fond called and asked if I wanted to go. She'd read the book and enjoyed it. I had meant to read the book before I went, but couldn't find a copy in libraries (not that I was that surprised) and I wasn't spending money on it. I did take another friend who also hadn't read it, and I knew would be ready to laugh at it if necessary.
Perhaps I went in with the wrong attitude. I knew it had already been panned. I certainly knew the central premise and I really didn't want to like it, because as I said afterwards, I've enjoyed movies with huge plot holes before--I like Bond films for instance and they seldom add up when you think about them afterwards. As a side note, I've always regretted that I knew what Rosebud was by the time I sa…

Mrs. Henderson Presents

Lovely, just lovely. Wonderfully British, stiff upper lip, eccentricity, what? Also sort of an hommage to the musical revue films like "Bandwagon" where one song with different costumes represents a change of time. Sweetly touching as well--the agony of those who lost in WWI--the war to end all wars, which didn't--facing WWII. A lovely message about finding joy in spite of it all, in spite of human frailities.

Mara and Dann

Once there was a fantastic literary newsletter loosely affiliated with a book store here in Boston and one of it's features was the First Line Quiz. You didn't win anything but acclaim and a listing, but it was still fun. The internet of course made it easy to win if you wanted to win like that but I didn't. When I guessed as I did twice I was thrilled with myself. The lines I won on were from "1984" and "Canticle for Leibowitz." It made me realize I have a great fondness for (and collection of) Dystopian literature, specifically as in the case of Canticle post-apocalyptic. Where are we going, what will it be like, what will be similar to now, what will they think of us?

Mara and Dann is by the great Doris Lessing. Lessing has enough cache for the literary snobs to try and ignore the sci-fi elements of her stories by pointing out that they are social commentary disguised as sci-fi. Well, duh. All good literature is social commentary of some kind. They do…

Elizabeth George and Inspector Lynley

I read a new Inspector Lynley mystery. I enjoy watching mysteries, but I read very few because so many mystery novels are dreadful. If I can guess who did it early on I'm pretty annoyed, and I get tired of series where the "whodunit" is the whole point. Elizabeth George walks a fine line--I usually enjoy her and find the stories thought provoking. I think she's getting better as a writer. She has a fairly straightforward style and her novels seem very structured. This was confirmed when I read her book on writing (what is seriously becoming a sub-genre--I've read several). She plots everything out completely. Then she gets the details. Then she forms the structure so that the chapters end with cliffhangers. It shows. Sometimes it's a little too formulaic. Contrast that with Stephen King who talks about getting some "What if" idea in his head or some image and then he just starts writing and sees where it goes. If I was trapped on a deserted island I…

Of interest to my friends

I checked out a book from the library on people who have too many interstes. The author called them scanners which is unfortunate--she clearly must not have seen the film. I didn't find much to help me but it was an interesting premise. It was saying that those of us who are constantly starting something new and then moving on to something else, have too many interests, dread the idea of doing anything over and over for the rest of our lives are a certain type--like Ben Franklin or DaVinci, Renaissance people and that we should stop beating ourselves up over the projects we leave behind.

"The Aristocrats"

We watched "The Aristocrats" last weekend--the documentary by Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller, not the BBC costume drama. It was painfully funny and dreadfully obscene and put some images in my head that I'd rather were not there, but it was an interesting look at the world of comedians and a study of shock and humor and taboo. The parts I liked best were when the joke was twisted on it's ear. If you haven't heard it's about a joke that is as scatalogical and shocking as possible with a punch line, "The Aristocrats!" I man walks into a talent agent and says, 'I have an act for you' and proceeds to describe or perform (depending on the telling) the most vile, depraved, disgusting acts imaginable and when it's over, the agent says, "What do you call yourselves?" Ba da bam! The variation was to perform a very genteel act and then say, "We're called the C*ock-Suck*ing Mo*therfu*ck*ers." (Highlight to read). Part of t…

On the intoxication of fame

It certainly was odd, the way people again and again exected him to step into some space in their imaginations, fit into their dreams.--Doris Lessing, The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog

I was reading Mara and Dann (see post above), and its sequel and had L'Arc~en~Ciel's "Light My Fire" tour running in the backgroud, glancing up now and then to watch Hyde sing when I read that phrase. Watching Hyde on "Milky Way" as the Japanese crowd moves in unison, I thought about how intoxicating it must be to be rock stars--more even than actors, for the size of the crowd completely in your hands, worshipping you. No wonder it's so hard to give up, witness The Rolling Stones. Hyde so clearly loves to be loved by the thousands of fans--he controls them completely and yet he thinks he should be left alone in private. Sorry, Baby, Gods don't get to stop being Gods when they walk off stage. We have too much invested. You fill to…


I've added a few links to the side. I'm still trying to pass it on--go out, read more blogs, help forge links. Musing and Red Queen I've written about before. DMZ is someone I've never met, but he's a Vietnamese adoptee like me and he's roaming Vietnam at the moment, trying to... well, I'm not sure what all he's trying to do, but find his roots is a major part of it. The pictures are fantastic and I wish I could make that journey.

Joe and Karen are equity actors in Boston. Joe is my director for Eugene. I costumed them both in "Blinders" (the bottom middle picture on Joe's site) and built the set. Jeff was the lighting designer on "Far Away," the show of 50 hats. He has some great pictures of my hats and I just really like the way he set up his site (don't know if he programmed it, or hired someone).

Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me--Greenday

Some days my head is like a word association game, some days it's Trivial Pursuit.

This poor post has a history of it's own. First I posted it instead of saving it as a draft. Then I wrote it all and lost it when I tried to spell check. Hmmm.

A few weeks ago I walked into the family room where my husband was channel surfing and looking at one frame said, "Sabrina?" (original, of course, not the remake). And it wasn't Audrey Hepburn or Bogart or even William Holden. It wasn't one of the famous scenes--the cooking school, the tennis court, just an old character actor in the boardroom. My husband said, "How do you know that?" Me: "I knew it from the boardroom." I haven't seen Sabrina since I was a teenager. The designer in me, I guess.

I got a piece of spam with a chunk of text in the body and I knew from the first few lines it was from The Hobbit. A book I haven't read since my teens. Let me also mention it said nothing about elves or o…

On Atwood's the Penelopiad

Well, didn't love it. The narrator (Penelope) is annoying--whiny and weak. I think Atwood is aware of this, but I am unsure why we should care, or how this is new. She does speculate on the nature of Odysseus as trickster as in Lewis Hyde's "Trickster Makes the World." We love our tricksters in fiction--witness Sawyer on "Lost" but in reality I think con artists should get the death penalty. They destroy lives with complete malice aforethought, there is seldom going to be any confusion as to who they are, and they do it for money and power and nothing else. But we do love those who get money and power and so the con artist is venerated.

Having said that, it is nice to see her tread the same paths that I did in reading the Greek myths--see below. If we consider mythic heroes as real flesh & blood people who, sweat and have hang-nails, I find the interactions even more fascinating. In the same way as considering Jesus as I guy with way too much to live up …

More on language

I had a stroll down memory lane this weekend and bought a used CD of Depeche Mode's "Music for the Masses." This was an album (cassette) I shared with my high school boyfriend--(TMI alert!) I suppose it was the closest thing to a "make-out" tape we had. Which is kind of creepy when you think about the songs--"Never Let Me Down Again," "Strangelove," "Behind the Wheel," "I Want you Now." We were actually pretty normal. I also bought the new (newish) Cure CD. I bought it specifically for one song, though I like others. The song is called, "The End of the World." It got a little air play around the beginning of last year. In it Robert Smith sings, "I couldn't ever love you more," and within the song the phrase means both there was a limit to his love (he couldn't bring himself to love someone more), and that there was no limit to his love (it wasn't possible to love someone more). It's jus…

It's not my fault

Why is it so consoling after a near miss on the highway to see the other driver tailgate others or weave in and out? To think, "Oh, they're a jerk and a danger to everyone--it wasn't me.