Something about language

January 11, 2005 at 7:12 pm | In Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Nope, it’s gone. Driving back from UVic tonight, after choir drop-off for one of the offspring, I had a moment of clarity about language, about why it’s our first technology. But then I lost it. By the time the CD track changed from Slipping below the water line (which I love because, among other things, it provided succor during an attack of hate mail) to The world is full of crashing bores, it was gone. I was thinking of my brainstorm of several days ago, which (although I intended to keep this to myself) entailed my return to sculpture: I had this total brainstorm about a new series of 3-d work. (I used to be a sculptor, eh, just like I used to be an art historian.) Sculpture: not exactly a language technology, right? Or is it? And driving down the black and rainy streets from the heights of UVic to the knobs of Rockland, I had this picture (worth a thousand words?) of why language is a technology, even though we generally don’t treat it as one, preferring to slut and rut our way instead with tarted up gadgets and powerfully virile machines we think we understand.

Imagine if we actually managed to understand our (technological) proficiency in …language. Poets would make out like bandits — finally; and then bandits would be saints.

Better git hit in your soul

January 10, 2005 at 9:10 pm | In Uncategorized | 6 Comments

I need a solar panel on my sole. Unshoveled sidewalks have frozen over — joggers are hogging the street instead of staying on sidewalks, and one can only surmise that infirm elderly people are staying indoors. New mothers, off to a “new start” with the “new year,” dogged in their pursuit of “new figures,” put babies in joggers and careen, red-faced, parallel to sea-shore paths (now iced over), on snowy turf where their running shoe soles can gain traction. It’s a dismal scene, let me tell you. Rain is so much more civilised. I’ll be blogging lite here for a couple of weeks. Had a few brainstorms (ow, that hurt!) for projects which will take me away from the computer, and these will also be weeks in which I’ll be in full harness (not naughty, not what I had in mind): both kids are back in piano classes and music theory, which involves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, especially since one of them is, first, taking a supplemental exam at the end of this week and, second, registered for five competitions with a local performing arts festival in March. In addition, fencing is back on for both of them, currently two evenings per week, but soon perhaps going to three nights, and gosh, it’s so cold and dark out there and I’d rather stay home than drive them to class…. Oh yeah, and I guess I have to pick them up, too. And of course there’s choir for one of them one night of the week, and there’s swimming for both one afternoon a week. I was going to add, “thankfully, they’re not in school on top of this,” but it so happens that over the course of the next three weeks, their distance ed. school will engage them in 3 Renaissance Program workshops. Then there are the sundry medical appointments: braces are coming off (yay!), retainers are taking their place, and quacks of all manner (plastic surgeons, if you can credit that) need be consulted over the matter of the son’s trigger finger: will he hold a foil with ease, play Bartok with confidence, and (most importantly), keep that mousing hand moving deftly on the rolling trackball in the eternal quest to amass points in a computer game? “Will he turn the pages of a book” is another question, heh…. (Actually, in fairness, he reads tons of books.) I wonder whether “trigger finger” is related to what we do, how we use the hand. Our doctor seems to think it’s an inherited tendency, which I guess explains why I have to restrain myself from shooting some people… See this neat little movie of what happens in the finger joint to make it “lock.” But worst, certainly worst of all, yours truly has to get up really early this week to go to a day-long workshop for our local distance ed. school (“local distant”? is that an oxymoron? probably… or not at all, given the internet). There, in the role of PAC and SPC member, I and the rest of the stakeholder community, together with the service providers, will workshop in accordance with guidelines set out for improving student performance. We will come up with visions (I know I will, especially since I’d normally be sleeping at that time of day) for the school community represented by the school, and we will brainstorm (ow, there’s that word again) ways to improve student success. Knowing what happened last year, I just know that we will have “break-out groups,” and we’ll have to do all kinds of funky role-play exercises, free-associate, use coloured markers on the walls, and present findings from our break-out group to the rest of the participants. Dear reader, you have no idea how painful this sort of thing is for someone who would rather chew off their leg than stay trapped in the spotlight, and who doesn’t even really wake up until about 2pm…. After last year’s meeting — which must have taken place during mild spring weather, not in the middle of winter — I went to Government House, which has a beautiful garden, and I stood on my head on one of its lovely lawns. The blood rushed back to my head, the sunshine filled my eyes, the world was upside down in a pleasant invigorating way: I remember it vividly. I think if I try it this time around, my head will simply freeze to the grass, crows will occasionally perch on the soles of my boots, and my hair will eventually meld with the turf, roots mingling with roots. I’ll have to stay there until I compost into something else. That’s why I need solar panels on the soles of my shoes: for de-icing when my head gets stuck to the frozen lawn.

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