Archive for February, 2011

Some Thoughts on Borders

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Braak
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Borders, you may have heard, is going to be filing for bankruptcy.  They will divest themselves of 200 stores at first (at first), out of their 640-some.  I have said that I think this is a strategy meant to allow them to easily shed the worst of their liabilities, and to make the remaining infrastructure more appealing for a buyout.  I generally stand by this decision; intuitively, I feel little certainty that anyone in the company is trying to save access to books; though I can hardly fault anyone on a sinking ship for looking for a life preserver before they consider the loss of their boat’s impact on the sugar industry.

What I find interesting about this is that Borders employees have been predicting a collapse like this for years.

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Still shaking off the mental cobwebs of winter. I’ve decided that our groundhog-based tradition of sorting through the season should instead be replaced by a personal barometer: whenever it is that you first say, “Christ I’m Sick of This Season!” simply add two more months. That is how long your personal winter will be. Come on, mid-March!

In other words, hard to motivate yourself to write something substantial when the most profound thought the brain can muster is “Well…that episode of ‘The Cape’ wasn’t that bad, for ‘The Cape.'”

Bill's personal decor remains...disconcerting.

So: More worthwhile posting later in the week, but for now I want to point you in a couple places:

1) Hell-ku, Bill Pettit’s new site of grumbly haiku with accompanying Edward Gorey-esque illustrations (it’s only on week two, but certainly worth the 30 seconds a week to check out), and

2) Boston or Bust, a journal of marathon training by Friend of TQP (or “fotquop”) Matthew Burns.

Go forth.

Moff (sometimes called “Josh Wimmer”, as is the custom of his people) a little while ago wrote a post questioning the value of criticism. I have been meaning to write something lengthy in response to it, as I think he makes some interesting points, and that it’s an interesting topic of conversation.

This isn’t going to be that, though. Instead, I want to look at just one idea, and how it relates to the theater, and how amazingly peculiar an artform the theater is.
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My name is Ryan Crutchfield and I am a system architect and application programmer with a master’s degree in archaeology that I never get to use. I am a regular contributor at weirdthings.com and my twitter stream (@rc6750) will more than likely bore you to tears.

I have a predilection for stories, usually of the cosmic horror variety, dealing with alien geometries and eldritch locations.  Alien geometry is the use of non-Euclidean geometry to describe places, buildings, artwork, or creatures that defy our very understand of the physical world. In these stories parallel lines can intersect, internal house measurements are longer than the external walls, cubes are not actually made up of right angles, and creatures manifest across multiple dimensions. Alien geometry is slightly different than the similar literary tool of sinister geometry. Sinister geometry is represented by large, perfectly made, unknown objects that leave an unnerving feeling with those who see it: think the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the sphere from…. The Sphere, or even a Borg cube. However, sinister geometry never crosses that line that bends geometry beyond our comprehension.  These objects are perfect squares, perfect circles, things whose shape, though disturbing, we recognize. It is the realm of alien geometries that crosses that line and tosses our Euclidean view of the world out the window.

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So I finally got around to seeing The Social Network and…hm. Well, Spoilers, except you already know everything that will happen in this movie (for reasons I’ll get into below).

As a film, it’s pretty solid, though its analysis of Mark Zuckerberg is about as subtle as Orson Welles’ Charles Foster Kane (in fact, I’m kind of shocked Sorkin didn’t just go ahead and name the girl from the beginning of the film “Rosebud”). Which means it becomes a good movie by also being a pretty terrible biopic, recasting people to suit certain agendas and flat out making shit up just to get a better dramatic arc going.

And while I knew going in this was hardly a documentary, I’m not sure how I feel about Sorkin honoring Truthiness while completely ignoring, y’know, reality.

Anyway. Other thoughts, one of which involves a space-laser and how I know for sure that as rich and powerful as he may be, the real Mark Zuckerberg does not have one…yet:  (more…)

That Gawker was redesigning has been known for a while, as has the new format. Denton made it public some number of months back, and people were complaining even then. But, to be honest with you, I’ve been expecting something like this for a lot longer. Undoubtedly, this is due in large part to pessimism on my behalf, but just because I expect the worst from the universe doesn’t mean I won’t get it.

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Against Canon

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Threat Quality
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I’m a recent reader of TQ, and I’ve been extremely impressed by the consistent quality and clarity of both Mr. Braak’s and Mr. Holland’s writing. The piece “Against Purity” particularly spoke to me, and thought I’d write up a response of sorts.

- Elliott Harwell

Reading the opening lines of Chris Braak’s “Against Purity,” I felt pretty certain I knew where the piece was headed. If the tags “Batman” and “Dracula” weren’t enough, the mention of Kurt Busiek’s asinine comment on continuity clinched it: Braak was going to talk about Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, using it as an example of how non-canon, “alternate universe” stories held a special and important place in the pantheon of comic genres. That reality and my expectations did not perfectly jive shouldn’t be taken as a rebuke of Braak’s work — his post was an excellent, thoughtful read, engaging one of the defining and most vexing two-part questions of nerdom: how do we judge the purity of an interpretative work? And just what does purity give us?
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