The Transfiguration

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Library of the Day #2524

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Library of the Day #2524

Our bookcases are finally assembled! With that, the most important corner of our library is operational; boxes and boxes have been unpacked, and the room is starting to come to life.

We get to let our books mingle on the shelf here, though it will be a gradual process. Laurel and I unpacked our own books, trying to group them by similarity of feeling, perhaps; over time they’ll migrate together, becoming one cohesive library.

These shelves are nowhere near empty, but there is plenty of space for new books. We have quite a few we’re planning to get already – it’ll be wonderful to fill out the shelves as time goes on.

raspberry heaven

Written by Umbrella Man

August 20, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Photo of the Day #2464

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Photo of the Day #2464

The summer solstice lent us enough sunlight to go read in the park this evening, long past what should have been dinner time. Laurel read the new Batgirl comic and I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and around us were all the sounds of the park: birds and children chirping, traffic whispering by, trains calling in the distance, planes rumbling overhead, a clarinet wandering over the grass, faint chiptunes from a video game by the community garden. After a chapter or two hunched over my book, I laid down flat on the grass and felt my back realign itself with the earth.

We went to brunch with my dad today, as well, but he prefers to keep away from the camera. Over omelettes and crepe we talked a little about going to Brazil, and I think we really ought to make that a reality.

crackled clarinet

Written by Umbrella Man

June 21, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Sum of the Day #2314

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Sum of the Day #2314

After working, climbing and wandering through a bookstore late at night, I found myself waiting for a train home and realized that I hadn’t any photo for the day. I wandered back and forth on the platform a little, thinking maybe to frame the amber lot outside against the cool concrete of the station, and almost forgot my new book in the process.

The book is Sum by David Eagleman, a collection of very short stories about different possibilities for the afterlife. I read a few on the way home, each ending with some sad twist on the idea. It’s a good book to brainstorm over, I think, but I do hope that some of these little stories will end with an element of hope.

skulltula drums

Written by Umbrella Man

January 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Posted in books and movies, places

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Equipment of the Day #2031

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Equipment of the Day #2031

I hoped to capture the eclipse tonight, but as the moon was eaten away the clouds grew thicker, hiding the last crumbs. While I waited for a chance opening in the sky, I disappeared into some books, stopping intermittently to check on the moon.

No luck, but tea and stories make for a fine evening nonetheless, and now I’m ready for bed. The moon will blush another night; it’s fine that it was shy this time.

9-bit expedition

Written by Umbrella Man

April 15, 2014 at 1:49 am

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Night of the Day #1925

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Night of the Day #1925

I’ve seen so few films from the earlier years of the medium, and I tend to think of movies from that era as cheesy, simple things made for audiences who hadn’t learned the niceties of storytelling yet. We watched Night of the Living Dead tonight, and I was expecting something campy with laughable special effects, but it’s still a good film – progressive for its time, thoughtfully composed, with zombies that are perhaps much more frightening than anything we see in modern movies.

I’m falling asleep, but I don’t think I’ll meet any zombies tonight.

he juggles variables

Written by Umbrella Man

December 30, 2013 at 2:31 am

Library of the Day #1870

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Library of the Day #1870

I’ve finally moved in all my books, so now the place can really feel like a home. For almost a year now I’ve been reading almost exclusively from an ebook reader, but I’d forgotten all the unread books waiting here for me. Picking up each one and searching for its spot on the shelf felt much like handling intricate desserts, and I”m terribly excited to chew through each delectable story in the coming weeks.

Most of these I’ve already read, of course, and I keep them as a lending library so I can show friends the little worlds most important to me. As I shelved each book, I could feel little fragments of the stories I’d read – the floating islands of Perelandra, the view of the bay in Earth Abides, the gratuitous laser beams and the beautiful cosmic rivers of Hyperion, the ravens of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, the old biplane in Ubik, the well in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the quiet waters of Earthsea…

We’re made of the stories we love, and I keep so much of my mind sitting on these shelves.

high fives

Written by Umbrella Man

November 5, 2013 at 1:12 am

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Photo of the Day #1768

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Photo of the Day #1768

When I step back to take these shots, sometimes lose track of the conversation a little. Looking back over photos afterwards, I find myself unable to describe what was actually happening in the moment, which seems a bit counterproductive.

Here, though, we were talking about how stories have a certain feel to them when they’ve been adapted from one medium to another, like they’ve been reshaped into a frame they don’t comfortably fit. In this moment, I believe, Jacob was describing Dragon Ball Z’s adaptation from manga: five minutes in the story, in which the planet Kamek was about to explode, were stretched into seven episodes – an agonizing pace compared to the two chapters in comic form.

This was just after seeing Pacific Rim, which was fun and a little goofy and incredibly cliché. Every character in it was little more than an archetype; their first minutes of screen time tell you what to expect from them, and they never make an attempt to surprise or deviate from the norm. They’re still entertaining, perhaps even likable, but decidedly shallow. The story is the same way: mankind is threatened, heroes stand up, the Earth is saved, all told in an exciting but straightforward two hours. This seems to be a strategy most big films take now – an evolution of previous stories, careful refinement of how visuals and presentation, but without really telling anything new. Maybe that’s how it’s always been; maybe I’m just seeing it more now because I’m getting older, and I have so many stories to compare each new one to.

But, to be honest, I can never really complain about giant robot battles. Sometimes you just need to smash up monsters and save the world, and that’s okay.

hostile abduction

Written by Umbrella Man

July 26, 2013 at 3:15 am