Wednesday, June 30, 2010

jardin anglais

They were out for a walk in the park that Sunday afternoon, as they tried to walk in the park every Sunday afternoon, weather fair or fowl. Today they wore their splendid Sunday best, prepared for not only the walk in the park, but also for the luncheon and the afternoon tea and the quiet beat of late afternoon before cocktails are served. Their hats were garlanded with roses, their skirts rustled, they exuded the scent of peonies, as all around the gardens they strolled, waiting patiently to feed the ducks or admire a newly planted bed or watch children or the civilized variety float boats or children of the urchin variety turn cartwheels or immaculate poodles delicately prance along the clipped lanes, all the time filled with the chatter chatter chatter of women of many opinions and few fears.


clear nights of June

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Perhaps the door led to a wall mounted ladder, leading up between the walls of the house to the roof, another hatch, and suddenly: freedom, the night air, stars overhead, and tree branches and fences and the roofs of storage sheds close by leading to an escape from bedtimes and curfews and instead offering access to everything, every house, every street, every neighborhood after dark. Nights of clambering up and down trees, nights of dancing in alleyways, nights of singing, nights of rambling across and among and beyond the citizens of the parallel world of after dark, people whose eyelids have glitter, whose shoes have heels, whose footsteps have rhythm, whose voices have a deep, smokey, half whispered quality, their slang a language all its own.

Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions [vol. 1] / Martin Gardner

the livin' is easy / fish are jumpin' / and the cotton is high

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a bonny Bloomsday

Week II of early summer interlude. Regular schedules resume next week; all interim correspondence has been of the nature of righteous indignation towards government institutions, which will not be reprinted here.

I should be reading Joyce. A close second: the amazing "Dada in Paris." Best purchase in years.

In honor of, Irish, to the core. Looking for an antique umbrella recovering service.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Spending a research evening rather than a writing evening.

as before, with the addition of a vodka tonic and Trio Mediaeval's Folk Songs

very British, in celebration of which, meatloaf

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Möbius strips of verbiage

Ah, June, deadlines met with procrastinations met with vacation plans met with trapeze lessons. Moving, traveling, traversing, and fighting against the rain. The beginning of the month transposed to the end of the month, with the odd birthday here and there thrown in to keep things off kilter.

This month's project, thanks to late-night Economist reading (obituary: Martin Gardner)
is all about making multi-dimensional geometric forms ("a conjuror introduced him to the hexaflexagon, a piece of paper folded into an almost flat six-sided shape that could be manipulated to reveal a series of different interiors") : a four dimensional Möbius strip!

Ah, Google. Ah, mathematicians. The free exchange of knowledge brought gloriously to life. The following were made using the first search results for "hexaflexagon," a paper pattern which I interpreted as being 7 one-inch sections, with 1 inch bases, and a youtube video, which provided the multi-dimensional context for doing what when and where.

Some notes. I used double sided tape and copier paper. My glue stick, as ever, was dried out and didn't stick. The copier paper was not a color I would normally have chosen, but it was in the art drawer. These are rough drafts of projects that will receive more attention throughout the summer, so bear with the wonky folds and questionable text layouts. Other search terms to become acquainted with:

The text of "Places" is from DYP! June 2; what I love about this form is that multiple story-lines without beginning or end can be played against each other, and this piece was in the parallel plot department.

The second piece, "Artist's Conscience," came from two separate conversations, one on the need to develop an artistic conscience ("get work done now!") and one on having a truculent routine, in that my daily routine must be shy or have other issues, since it often can't be found. Is it hiding under the couch? Sulking in the closet?

But "truculent" wasn't exactly the word that we used in our conversation. I can't remember the word, and hoped consulting a thesaurus would trigger the neurons. It didn't, but here's the text of "Conscience":

{with all due thanks to the Mac dictionary application)

antonym cooperative, amiable.
defiant, aggressive, antagonistic, combative,
belligerent, pugnacious, confrontational, ready for a fight,
obstreperous, argumentative, quarrelsome, uncooperative;
bad-tempered, ornery, short-tempered, cross,
snappish, cranky; feisty, spoiling for a fight.

antonym cooperative.
intransigent, resistant, obstinate,
uncooperative, noncompliant, recalcitrant;
obstreperous, truculent, dissenting,
disobedient, insubordinate, subversive,
rebellious, mutinous, feisty.

antonym compliant.
uncompromising, inflexible, unbending,
unyielding, diehard, unshakable, unwavering,
resolute, rigid, unaccommodating,
uncooperative, stubborn, obstinate, obdurate,
pigheaded, single-minded, iron-willed, stiff-necked.

antonym flexible.
inflexible, unbending, unyielding, unshakable,
resolute, rigid, hard-line, immovable, intractable,
inexorable, firm, determined, obstinate,
stubborn, adamant, obdurate, intransigent, headstrong,
stiff-necked, pigheaded, single-minded, bloody-minded.


As soon
Seek roses in December, ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that ’s false, before
You trust in critics.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

Dada in Paris / Michel Sanouillet

The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess / Andrei Codrescu

Bauhaus 1919-1933 : workshops for modernity / [organized by] Barry Bergdoll, Leah Dickerman.

Big ideas for growing mathematicians : exploring elementary math with 20 ready-to-go activities

Mathematics appreciation : ten complete enrichment lessons / Theoni Pappas

Hexaflexagons and other mathematical diversions : the first Scientific American book of puzzles

Polyhedron models / Magnus J. Wenninger

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


An old, old man, so old he has lost count of how old he actually is, and when doctors or people from social services ask, he just makes up something that sounds plausible. 98. 102. Ninety eight is good, that's body temperature. One hundred two might be more accurate, though. He is no longer concerned about such matters. His wife died twenty years ago, hit by a drunk driver on her way back from the grocery store on a holiday weekend; they had married just as young as possible, childhood sweethearts, and he found himself confused by so much that remained unfinished. He had learnt about laundry and cooking when he retired, and she took up stained glass and watercolor painting and the house was filled with her half finished projects. Some of them he tried to complete, before shrugging at the futility of it all and returning to the crossword. He had never lived alone, found the silence eerie, began playing the harmonica a bit just to add some noise to the place. His houseplants flourished and a stray cat in the neighborhood adopted him.

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