a few bits but mostly books

It’s still a week or so before I am finally on holidays. Something I should have added to my list of things to do was stop.

Stop.

Return to a state of rest. Exist in that moment.

Then re-engage.

That’s a bit of luxury to be honest but it does me the world of good.

ereader, a glass of wine. By the river. Perth.I was worried that my reading had died off but I seem to be steadying. I have recently read, and loved, Rotherweird, and will get its sequel soon. I have ordered nice editions of both but they haven’t arrived yet. I may buy the ebook version of the second as I can’t wait much longer to read it. I am currently reading Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Early stages but enjoyable. Shaping up in a sort of military SF sort of direction though basic so far. This is my first stab at Scalzi though I’ve occasionally read his blog and tweets. Scalzi keeps popping up with Subterranean Press releases too, all of which I’ve missed out on as I hadn’t read him. Following on from Scalzi, I have queued Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan as I really enjoyed the first season on Netflix and liked the ideas at play.

Speaking of Subterranean Press, a few years ago, they published a nice edition of Altered Carbon but it’s really hard to find…so hard that the only copy I have found is over USD$3,ooo! It originally sold for US$75. They’ve recently published the next book, Broken Angels, and I have chosen not to collect. On one hand, there is money to be made, on the other, I’m not interested in buying books to make money. But I like a complete set and that won’t be possible with these. I am however collecting complete sets of Subterranean’s editions of Malazan and The Expanse. So far so good.

I am collecting all of Subterranean’s releases by Greg Egan. Egan is an Australian writer from Perth who does fantastic, ideas driven, hard-SF. I haven’t read everything by him but I dip in occasionally with fascinating works like his early material: Permutation City, Quarantine, and Distress, + other bits and pieces.

There’s a new book, Time’s Convert, due out soon from Deborah Harkness. I have read multiple times, her All Souls trilogy and have even bought her guide to the World of All Souls… Funnily enough I have also read her non-fiction as she initially wrote in my own field of the history and philosophy of science. Somewhat ashamedly, many years ago, I bought a copy of her book, The Jewel House, fully intending to read it…and I haven’t quite got round to it. I must add that to the priority pile of books to be read.

Admittedly, the priority pile of books to be read is rather large.

things to do when there’s time

I haven’t had much time off this year and I’ve been feeling tired for a while. June-July tends to be a busy time for both work (end of financial year etc) and personal (filmfest, birthdays, etc) and it’s been hard to find spots to take a breather or get a few things done. My partner I do have a week planned for Tassie in mid August, and she’s taking the week before off to help Ms17 with exams. I’ve recently decided to take a week off after the Tassie trip and have it to myself though have offered to drive Ms17 around to print stuff for her HSC major work.

So I thought I’d make a list of things I’d like to get done as once I’m on holidays, any plans tend to go out the window and I fudge it day by day. Still, making a list has at least given me a useful list of things to do if I get stuck:

  • watch Twin Peaks – all of it. Despite loving David Lynch movies, I’ve never actually watched any of Twin Peaks. This is a distinct gap in my education.
  • Install internet mesh – I’ve been waiting for the NBN to be installed before going ahead with this project. We had the lawn dug up and cabling installed about a year ago but then it was put on hold forever…I think we’re now due end of this year or early next year. A mesh setup will improve connectivity within the house and reduce black spots while providing a single SSID for devices. That should also speed up access to stuff stored on the NAS and improve its usefulness.
  • Fix TV cabling – we’ve recently bought a smart TV but it seems to be competing at times with the PVR. At the moment both devices connect directly to the sound base and I suspect I should be connecting the PVR directly to the TV. It would also be nice to get the hearing aid loop working with the TV.
  • Enjoy life – this seems essential and shouldn’t be forgotten
  • Visit Bankstown Library – I worked there many years ago and still have friends there and I miss it. It was moved across the road to a new, fabulous building a couple of years ago and I still haven’t checked it out.
  • play some more with web archiving tools and analysis – haven’t touched it in a while and need to do some more. Plus I’m going to a conferenceThe path of the Kepler over a hill with blue sky peaking through the mist. in NZ in November on this stuff and hoping to learn lots more
  • Watch last Tomb Raider movie – missed it at the cinema…actually I miss quite a bit at the cinema these days.
  • Drive somewhere – ’cause random drives are fun
  • Re-watch some things eg Interview with a Vampire, Charlie’s Angels
  • watch a bunch of episodes of The Avengers – I bought the box last year and I would like to work my way through all the seasons
  • Sew buttons – my favourite shirt has lost a button, as has an old jacket. It’d be nice to sew them back on and be able to wear them
  • Listen to my ipod – sometimes it’s just nice to put the headphones on and bop around the house
  • do some reading – I would anyway but seemed odd not to include it in the list

I suspect I will keep adding to this list and not get most of it done. That’s ok.

on collections

A friend forwarded me details of a home gallery they visited, the Elliot Eyes Collection (tEEC), and I loved their taste and may visit one day myself. Looking through their site, I saw so many things I liked. I would love a colourful sculpture by John Nicholson, in fact I want that block of rainbows :-) I’d never heard of Euan Macleod, now I would love one of his pictures.

I am not in their league; they occupy spaces, a mental landscape far removed from my own; other worlds beyond my existence.

I liked this reference they made to collecting:

Allen Weiss in “The Grain of the Clay” (Reaction Books,2016) has described collecting, or a collection, as an autobiographical statement. Unencumbered by the boundaries, rules and bureaucracy of public galleries, the housemusem displays the passion of the collector – individualistic, subjective, imaginative and zany.

It resonates. The collection conveys a sense of the person, their past, perhaps an image of themselves that they want to present. A curated appearance.

books on shelves in a warehouseThe objects you have in your house tell a story about you.

Objects. Books.

I collect books. I used to collect books to read, to accumulate, to expand. I used to read more in the past: a voracious appetite. I read less now but still buy but I no longer buy as much. I hope.

Books can be objects
Books can be read
Books can be memory

I buy books now as objects, to have nice things. Objects that can be opened and read; the intent is that all should and will be read. I buy nice books, pretty books, well bound books.

On occasion, I browse my books, pulling out this or that, memories triggered, a life passed. My books are a map to my past: of place, of mind, of heart. I need to know where my books are. They are part of the story of who I am.

zip is gone…almost

For many, many years…decades even, my main email/ISP etc was hosted on an outfit called Zip, or even zipworld. It was progressively swallowed up by larger and companies, till in 2015 it ended up with Telstra. Telstra recently announced that they were shutting down the smaller networks though I could seek an account with them if I liked.

a shipping crane by the waterAdmittedly, the last few years I’ve been maintaining my zip account primarily as an email forwarder for sending/receiving email. At home, my partner has connectivity with another provider. My old website no longer works though I do have full backups (on my PC, external hard drive, and NAS), plus you can find it on the wayback machine.

Update: it’s not dead yet. Curiously, if I use “my.zipworld.com.au” instead of “www.zipworld.com.au”, my old site is still accessible :-) Of course, all the links I have that point to it are broken.

My primary email address (not zip) was pointing to my zip account now points to my gmail account. My old zip account is mostly used by a couple of elists, the odd family missive, and a lot of spam. The mail server hasn’t died yet though I expect that will happen one day but I’m still successfully using it to send email…and spammers continue to use it successfully to send me email.

Anyways, I am a little sad to say goodbye to dear old zip. The big advantage in the early days was the work they did in maintaining a local usenet server and it was why I signed up in the first place. Of course, it’s been a long since I used usenet either. Usenet was replaced by other things, and eventually there was twitter and facebook, which picked up some sense of community that I was missing.

bursts of inactivity

This was a comment elsewhere but I thought I might add it here as it’s a little bit meta and a little bit where I’m at.

Trampers on the Kepler Track

Where are we now? Some folk in the community are hitting a peak and I seem to be heading toward a trough, perhaps I am old…I am a decade or two older than quite a few that I am chatting to on twitter these days. I remember my uni days which stretched on forever…yes I was at uni for a decade or so. Every year or two, I needed to make new groups of friends to ensure I continued to have friends as others continued to graduate. I did finish eventually with a BA (Philosophy, History & Philosophy of Science) [and an unofficial major in Computer Science and a Master’s in Librarianship. So nerr…I finished and people didn’t really expect me to finish…professional student, years on the dole…yet here I am…a senior librarian at one of the top libraries in the country.

I am not a manager, I have no staff reporting to me. Somehow I keep finding interesting projects in odd nooks and crannies. Imbuing whatever job I’m doing with some extension of who I am. Allegedly, my primary role is to look after eresources, manage contracts and budgets, deal with suppliers…and stats for usage…always stats. Yet somehow I keep squeezing a little bit of me in…I do more tech stuff than most, I have managed to grab some tech support into my role…tech support seems to be a natural home of sorts.

Trampers on the Kepler TrackHowever, I manage to pull in other things..some years ago I was tasked with implementing a strategy to harvest web sites, which I did. I have, via my employer, been capturing  NSW government websites for several years. That’s several terabytes of data now and I continue to experiment with tools for exploring that content and looking at ways for making it publicly available. I’ve recently taken over the Library’s capturing of social media…so I’ve set up a working group to take some of the weight. Meanwhile I’m exploring policy and looking at what’s possible with other platforms.

I can see the shape of me developing…I turn 50 this year and am happy to say that I keep seeing endless possibilities, so many directions to head, so many things to try. At 50 I want to work forever, actually I think the government wants me to work forever too. However right now, I don’t want to stop. I want to keep pushing. I want to keep doing.

At 50 I have more hope than I did at 20. My horizon is larger.

Hmmm…this post has not been a regurgitation of my comments elsewhere…I might have to squeeze them in another day, or not, and continue ever on.

filmfest at last…almost

Sydney Film Festival gets underway tomorrow night. As I described last year, it was a fun time going through the programme working out everything I wanted to see. Followed by working out a schedule that was actually achievable. Even though I managed to get my act together earlier this year, we found that some things were selling out faster so we had to make a few last minute changes. On the other hand, because one film had sold out, I was able to get into another film that a friend was responsible for which I had very sadly passed on…bad friend am I. They changed the android app this year and it wasn’t available initially, then it wasn’t working at all, and they finally got it stable last Friday. Has improved some and is running faster.

Looks like I’m only seeing 26 fillums this year – I must be getting old:

Unbelievably, I’m not seeing any movies on the 14th! That night I’m going to a whisky tasting of new Australian whiskies :-)

braindead

The name of an awesome movie from the dude that later did the Lord of the Rings movies, and my current state of mind. Drove to Orange and back on the weekend, around 4 hours each way. Slept well last night but feeling fatigued. Speaking of Braindead, I recall many years ago, turning up on a Saturday to the Valhalla to see Peter Jackson’s first three films:

I think it was around the time that Braindead was released as Peter Jackson was there in person to introduce each movie and answer questions at the end, barefooted on stage. It was a fun, hilarious day. I’d originally seen the first two on VHS and that was my first screening of the third. It seems somewhat timely to think back to that as there’s a raunchier muppets movie coming out and there’s already comparisons to Meet the Feebles.