Snag the message as it's going by.
The desperation alternating with desolation.
I like to write letters to my friends.
You can have me
if you really want me.
That what we think of as our mind is such a tiny portion of our brain.
standing at your front door, your "mind" saying "I know I'm forgetting
something, but for the life of me I can't think what it is."
Later, when your "mind" remembers what it was, you realize that
your eyes were looking straight at it, your body was pointing
straight at it, your hands picked it up and tossed it back and forth
while your "mind" tried to remember.
You've got this incredible information processing machine. And
the part of it you think of as your mind is such a small module in such a
My ratiocination knows only such a little bit of what I know. And knowing
is what it is best at - it can do even less than it can know.
What therapy should do is open up the communication between the
ratiocinative faculty and all those more knowledgeable, more powerful
Do you feel that you're made of bad stuff?
No. I feel I'm made of not enough stuff.
Making and acting being different, art must be a matter of making, not of
The Nichomachean Ethics 1146
The smell of garlic means somebody lives here.
Elaine was at my house. She'd been sick in the night. I was playing
quietly with her to occupy the time until I could take her over to her
mother's and go to work. She asked to see the rose picture in her room. "I
want to look at the rose picture in my room." Kate gave me a Redoute
calender for Christmas. I hung the cover in Elaine's room, which is pretty
bare. She likes me to hold her up to look at things. She's pretty big now
and Kate is pretty little and can't really pick her up much, so Elaine
usually asks for it quite a bit from me.
She pointed out the buds. "Buds. And these ones are open." We'd talked
about that before, how the buds open up into flowers. "What those called?"
Those are thorns. They're sharp. They'd hurt if you touched them.
"They're just a picture." That's right. "They're not real." That's right.
Then she wanted to look at the calendar itself, hanging over the printer
next to my desk. And she observed how the thorns on different roses were
different. Some roses had lots of little thorns close together, some a few
big sharp thorns.
Then she wanted to sit down and read the rose book. I have three or four
flower books she likes to look at occasionally: "A Field Guide to Rocky
Mountain Wildflowers," "Roses of Yesterday and Today," and a British
photoessay entitled "Roses, a popular guide." We started with that one.
"Bud," she said. "Open." Then, immediately, looking at a full Adolph
Horstmann, "it has a bud INSIDE it." I was full of joy. Indeed, you could
see the beautiful bud shape at the center of the full flower. While my
reaction to her perceptive discovery was still flowing, she blew me away
with an analogical leap. "It's a baby in its mommy's arms."
I write it down here now for several reasons, but one of them is that it's
the sort of memory that parents fake. They rework the timing and the
dialogue until its falsity is obvious but its place in a family lorehoard is
permanent. This is what actually happened, and that was the actual
dialogue. She looked at the picture and saw the bud inside the rose. Then
she saw the baby in its mommy's arms.
The rest of the way through the book instead of the usual "red rose,"
"yellow rose," every page she'd say "mommies and babies," and we'd both
laugh and want to see the next one.
amotivational subliminal messages from your computer
It's easier to lose touch with anything than it is to keep in touch with
it. I've lived in this place for three months and just now discovered I
have no mustard.
All songs are country-western songs.
All fiction is science fiction.
Rx for a backache:
get up and dance.
What part of speech is peekaboo?
Otherwise it's just the emotional equivalent of the dry heaves.
American refugees in the U.S.A.
Test all your software at midnight.
Stole it then threw it away.
An old country song, called
"I Won't Lose (for Anyone Else's Reasons)"
Plead guilty. You are.
The real pity is that the revolution never overthrows the government. It
just becomes the government.
Where I live now:
eucalyptus, jacaranda, palm.
We must be getting somewhere; I feel like leaving.
Populated by sentry mechanisms each designed to recognize a specific
pattern. The primary survival skill, then, is learning how to discern the
pattern that the sentry mechanism will recognize, and then holding up an
image of that pattern.
Five addresses in less than a year.
First design the debugger.
It's not hard to find it. You just look for the hardest thing, the scariest
thing. That's where to go next.
The unease you feel coming off a long, straight stretch of "what needs to be
done next?" out onto the wide plain of "well what would you like to do now?"
Like my cooking - strange without being interesting.
The hogback evidence of tougher rock's resistance.
I use about a kilowatt all the time - about 25 kilowatt hours every day.
Every symbol is a child.
Down along the Kaw.
When, weeks later, you finally see what the author of the mathematics or
computer science text meant to communicate with his abstruse formalisms, and
you see how simple and straightforward and intuitive it is, and you're
really pissed at him for not just saying it, and then you think, "well, just
exactly how would you 'just say it'?" - then you realize something about
I think you think you know some things that you don't know.
Right up close to the surface, like water waiting to run through canvas as
soon as you touch it, the sadness, the tears. Right underneath afraid.
Okay, let's see how long you can keep it that way.
It's that as soon as there's a break in the action, whatever the action is,
I'm aware that I ought to be trying to write, and I just freak out until I
can get the next diversion under way.
And as you watch the prose style shift, and as you see the structure of the
chapters bend, you come to understand that the book itself is the hero.
It is a particularly American male disease to think that what you need to do
is make money when what you really need to do is make friends.
"Gil," I said, "when I tell my friends back home that I was sitting around
getting high with these right-wing businessmen in Orange County and one of
them told me that strip mining Colorado was a GOOD idea, they're not going
to believe me. They're going to think I made it up."
Gil laughed. Gil has a big, hearty voice and a big, hearty laugh. "I grew
up in a strip mine. Copper mine. Arizona. I have picked turquoise out of
the earth, with my own hands.
"Here, let me tell you. Imagine, watching a mountain exposed. Like
slices. Have you seen those cross-section slides of the human body in
anatomy books? Slice by slice, over the course of two generations,
families raised, mortgages paid off while you watch it unfold.
"It's beautiful, Larry. The inside of the earth is beautiful. Watching the
way the rain and the elements move it and change it. And you can say, we
shouldn't touch it, we should leave it the way it was, but life is change.
And if we just left it covered up with dirt, no one would ever see it, see
the strata, the colors.
"And the turqoise. I grew up there. My dad was road boss at the mines, so
I could have any job I wanted. Turqoise was, you could make more in an hour
picking turqoise than in two weeks of mining copper, so the company had all
these regulations about not picking turqoise. I smuggled it out in pickup
trucks. There would be these big veins of it, deep in the earth.
"I'd sell it to the Indians. It was almost religion to them. They loved it
very much. I was a good supplier - plenty of availability, good prices,
nice guy. They made, well, you've seen what they make, I'm sure. They
always had to make do with just pebbles, and when I'd walk in with these big
hunks of it, it was like the sky opening for them. They'd drool. They
thought I was the messenger of the gods. I can tell you how they felt about
"I picked hundreds of pounds of turqoise. I've got a hundred pounds of
turqoise at my apartment now. I've given it to people for birthdays,
Christmas: earrings, belt-buckles, statues.
"And there's no other way to get that turqoise. You can say that it should
just lie there, buried in dirt, forever and ever, but think of all the
beauty that would never be seen. Me, I've picked turqoise out of the earth
with my hands, reached into the earth and picked it out."
"Gil," I said. "If you can make a strip mine sound like poetry, it's no
wonder you can sell computers."
- It's hard to tell who's leading when you're going around in circles.
- When you're going around in circles, it doesn't matter who's leading.
Like very strong decaffeinated coffee.
A little lizard lying on a rock in the dawn, blood sludgy, barely able to
move, with a headache, waiting for the sun, wanting to dance on toes across
the sand, zipster, but the rock is so hard and the blood so thick.
Nah man, don't buy that. Buy yourself a savings account.
The moon as paramedic.