20th May 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
Working full time again, I find my time to be a precious commodity, which is forcing me to evaluate everything I do, including this blog. While I find it useful for organizing my thoughts, I’m not sure the blog is actually functional for getting them out into the world. Perhaps it will work again if/when I get published, but I now have at least something here, a set of things for people to read (should they find themselves so inclined), though that still doesn’t give the random visitor much to participate in. Should publication roll around again, I’ll really have to revisit the idea of how this site should work to invite readers (and potential readers) to engage with me. But for now, this blog isn’t quite functioning as I need, and even writing a post every other week, I find I’m only writing short, forgettable things. And mostly for myself, which is a bad habit to fall into. A professional writer needs to be focused on readers, but that’s just it, I don’t believe I have many (Hi, Mom!). Which is maybe why I haven’t fully engaged and sat down to take on topics that have recently come to mind for blogs (e.g. Paisley’s “Accidental Racist” should be “Casual Racist” AND regulation as something true religious conservatives should support since capitalism, by its very nature, is morally blind).
I’m not exactly sure what this means for how often I should continue to work this blog, for I would like to maintain it at least somewhat until another book is launched…but how and how much…?
5th May 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
The GOP has been making a lot of noise lately about how they’re going to reinvent themselves to not get smacked around next time, and I’m finding it hilarious. They’re doing the kind of soul-searching that someone without a soul would do, which is to say searching everything but. They’re going to get smacked down harder because they’re refusing to take the obvious lesson, and all their new ideas are actually just the same things they’ve been doing before, but they’re now certain they should work if they just try harder. In fact, the way they refuse to acknowledge the deep problems in the party mirrors their inability to face the nation’s problems on a rational basis.
22nd April 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
42 is simply an outstanding movie. Veteran screenwriter Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential) wrote and directed this sharp, well-paced biopic of Jackie Robinson, which really took me by surprise. I knew the basic story going in, but 42 managed to capture the context of the times, introduce the characters, and then mix in a deep sense of the romance of baseball. This last element is what Moneyball managed to catch only in glimpses (which were its best moments), what For Love of the Game tried to rely on too heavily, and what Robert Redford’s movie The Natural strove to invoke in a movie with far too little actual baseball. 42 is a level above all of them, stepping up to the realm touched only by Field of Dreams, yet it gets there not through the magic of spiritual possibility, but by way of the cold hard reality of the late 1940’s. More
8th April 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
The Gunman’s Prayer
Brethren, let us pray:
Our ammunition, which art in chamber…clip, & stockpile,
Hollow be thy spent rounds.
Those fascist-socialists will come,
But I’ve got my guns.
I’ll defend what I’ve got on Earth, and still go to heaven—
//See, because I’m one of the good guys,
So I can do unto others whatever evil they make me do—
Curse them, shoot ‘em in the face, torture ‘em without proof
under the guise of “in-ter-ro-ga-tion”
(contrary to the founding principles of America),
bomb them back to the stone age (which isn’t far for them—am I right?),
and did I mention shoot them, right in the face?
Because I’m numbered among the righteous! Uh, where was I?—//
24th March 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
The problem with being a writer isn’t getting ideas. People always want to tell me their great ideas that they’re willing to share with me if I’ll just do the actual writing of them, to which I say, “Ha. Ha, ha. Ahhhh, ha ha!” It’s not that I mean to laugh in people’s faces; it just happens sometimes. I have more ideas than I have time to work with on my own. If your idea’s that great, write it yourself.
No, what I don’t have is time (and perhaps energy) enough for everything I want to do. The real challenge of being a writer is putting off the many ideas you want to work with long enough to finish the project you’re working on first. I have lists of ideas I want to play with, and even a top 5 on a post-it note up above my computer. Often I can feel pieces connecting for one of the things I’m not working on, and the challenge is to make note of my new thoughts and then push that all aside and get back to project that’s already in front of me.
Working full-time again has only made this more difficult. Because now I absolutely can’t spare the extra time to indulge in a second or third project. It’s hard enough to keep up with the primary one every night. But here’s hoping I can use my desire to work on the new projects as motivation to finish up the one I’ve got going on now. It would be nice to write that one a little bit faster, and on that note…I think it’s time to get back to that.
14th March 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
Today at work a paperback copy of our book, The Great Typo Hunt, came through on a co-worker’s cart. Someone had, alas, sold it back to Powell’s, and now the downtown store will have a used copy (albeit only $3 cheaper than the new…so really, you might as well grab it new). This is just the latest in a series of recent incidents that’s let me know that The Great Typo Hunt’s run is over. The best (only?) thing Jeff or I could do for it now…would be to publish another book.
24th February 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
Look, I’ve been there. A good time is something you want to keep with you, a moment you can lean on when other things in life wear you down, but you can’t really keep them. You have to be there and move on; it’s the nature of time, and life. I’m not saying you can’t have photographers at your wedding, a video of graduation–that’s all fine. It obeys the rule. You get somebody who is there specifically because they’re standing outside of the moment to capture it. What you can’t do is simultaneously live and record a moment. Maybe someday we’ll all have constant video streams recording everything we see and do, in which case all bets are off. But right now, you have to take yourself out of a moment in order to record it. More
10th February 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
In Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku offers this thought as an almost offhand remark, but it’s one that I think could help shift the debate if people really understood it. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases. Entropy is the scientific term for disorder, but note that an increase in disorder does not mean a loss of complexity. (In fact, that’s a classic argument against evolution that displays the arguer’s lack of scientific background. In order to increase complexity, you need a diverse set of elements from which to build something more complex; disorder leads to greater complexity in a system through diversity. Nothing has less entropy than all matter packed into a single point, and there’s really no possibility of life there.) When you think about a system of energy generation (a power plant, a steam engine, et cetera), think of the pollution as a natural result of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. More
27th January 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
I’m troubled by Django. In fact, I’m troubled by Tarantino in general. He’s always “pushing the envelope” or whatever, but the end result seems to be his getting paid for making excessive violence “fun.”
My brother is a film guy. He tried to explain the technical brilliance of Pulp Fiction to me. There were expectation reversals like an inner-city shoot-out shot like a western. But I’m not a film guy. Before Dan explained the technical achievements, my impressions were these 1) it’s vaguely amusing that bad things always happen when Travolta goes to the bathroom, 2) I loved Samuel L. Jackson’s speech at the end, and 3) the movie is boring. It’s boring! I know it’s a classic now, but I found it to be nothing more than irrelevance interrupted by violence. After getting multiple recommendations that I had to see this movie, I did, and then wondered why even one of those people had recommended it, for I didn’t find it entertaining at all. I cared about one character, but only late in the movie, and I had insufficient context for getting into the stories. But in truth, Pulp Fiction was relatively harmless. I bring it up only to point out that technical proficiency does not a good movie make. It’s what he’s done since that troubles me. More
13th January 2013 | by Benjamin Herson
Well, for the first time since early 2009, I am back to work full time. I’m pretty ambivalent about this, but the long coasting on The Great Typo Hunt advance is at its end. This doesn’t mean the writing career’s over, or even on hold, just that I have to better mind the balance of things. I think I used my last year pretty well, building a new book and editing it to as near perfection as I can. Hopefully I’ll have news on that soon. In the mean time, I may be cutting back on the blogging activity. At least while I’m figuring out my new routine.
I expect there will be a LOT of changes in the 2013 year, and I’m excited about and ready for them.