arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Dragon kitten!)
McNally Jackson Bookstore is now printing books.

I am quite literally at this moment having a tea in front of what looks like what would result if Bane from Batman were actually a villainous xerox machine, and he's just bulked up to three times his muscle mass in blocky gray plastic and monitor screens on swivel arms.

There's a dude sitting on the floor opposite, fiddling with a screwdriver and occasionally hopping up to check one of the monitors. Boxes of recycled blank printing paper line the wall under the magazine racks. So clearly this is a brand new thing.

And it is, as I'm sure you're aware, super-exciting. This is it, the future is here! Print-On-Demand publishing is sitting right in front of me. It has a little sign hanging above it what says [For custom publishing, make an appointment with our editor.]

I can see the fantastic future, and it's right here now. As these clunky beasts get faster, cheaper, and easier to run, they get installed in bookstores the world over. Books in the public domain are now only as expensive as the paper they're printed on and the ink they use.

Too, [ profile] newsboyhat painted a corporate picture for this: a publishing world in which the companies sell the electronic file of a book like it's a song on iTunes. The bookstore sells a copy, pays the publisher, and prints the book all at once.

Less waste, more choice. Indie empowerment.

Feels good, you guys. Feels right.

Now if the tech guy can just get it up and running.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)
LJ Retrospective Meme: The first bit from the first post of each month this year.

January: Happy new year. New decade. New life.

Enjoy it.

Februrary: The Ninja Turtles are becoming a theme for this blag.

ps, Bacon chocolate was a religious experience.

March: Reading selection around me in the subway: Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead
Count of Monte Cristo
Some fashion mag that might then again be a photography journal
WW2 novel re: Korean emigres to Honolulu

April: " In July, when the eruption ceased, the people of Heimaey Island returned to assess the chances of rebuilding their homes and lives. They found tons of ash covering the ground. The Icelanders are a tough people, however, accustomed to the strange and violent nature of their Arctic land. " -- GRE Practice Module

May: May is gonna be my month.

I can feel it.

June: The Girl Who Played With Fire is somehow even better than the first book, and will undoubtedly make the better movie. Thank god it's over, though, I can sleep again.

July: And it's going to be okay (State of the Lina)

Amazing how much better I feel when I get shit done.

August: Book review: Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

September: Excerpt from diary, 7/4/2010.

Someone was screaming on the northbound F train from 21st St Qbridge. I didn't

October: Coming Soon To A Shelf Near You:
'Bloody Jane' - Jane Austen the vampire. 'And you thought her wit was biting!'
A marriage counseling book with Ted from Buffy season 2 holding an unsuspecing wife pictured on the cover. Really, it's him.
And a book with the subtitle 'Yet another troll-slaying eleven-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl'.

November: Voice Post, Auto-Transcribed:

"There's no into town. Only on Parking 58 or so but there's no and I'm in town. That's it."

December: Whirring buzzing roaring snapping never sleeping again

A drunk guy on the street addressed me as "fuckin' Mary Poppins". I knew there was a reason I liked this hat.
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)
The doctrine of Expedient Means in Buddhism is clearly one of the reasons this whole self-propagating meme complex (ie: religion) has lasted so long. It goes like this:

If you're a master you can lie to your students, or obscure the way to the Final Truth, or get away with a lot of shit that would normally be a no-no, IF your teaching methods are the best for advancing your particular student along their personal enlightenment path.

If the most expedient means to teaching your disciple is to punch him in the face, and as a result of said punch he gets this epiphany, then you did it right! Even though violence, as a general rule, is not cool. So under this doctrine, a whole lot of priests got a whole lot of flexibility in teaching their particular schools. Certain Zen Masters got to paint silly political cartoons for the masses in between their calligraphic masterpieces for their temples, because a little wry, well-directed humor in a public forum could nudge thousands along their way to a little real epiphany that they wouldn't otherwise get.

Or, as another - more classical - example: The Buddha is eternal. However, he allowed his followers to think he was dead, because his perceived absence inspired in them a longing for the Buddha, and so they pursued his teachings and advanced down their spiritual paths with great vigor.

That was the most expedient means towards the next stage of their enlightenment.

UNFORTUNATELY.... and this is a paper I could maybe write someday... with the advent of good record-keeping, good communication, and other accoutrement of the information age, Expedient Means might be losing its effectiveness as a tool for mass education. After all, us students can just go on the internet and find out, hey, SPOILER: Buddha's not really dead! Or even maybe trace the path some monk walked from koan to koan, riddle to riddle.

Then again, that might just mean that Expedient Means is most effective where it's always been: within a one-on-one education between master and disciple. The master can see the whole path, can indeed see multiple paths, and also perceive their essential unity. The disciple can only see the breadcrumbs laid before him by the master, and must follow them to the best of his ability. Even if they seem to lead him away from the final truth at first step.


Oct. 5th, 2010 06:56 pm
arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

So I was describing this job, to various people, back in about month 2 of jobhunting. I had a picture in my head of my ideal occupation, and I used this picture to explain, to myself and others, why I wasn't jumping to apply to freelance interpreting agencies.

Interpreting is about people, after all, and lots of them. And they'd all be counting on my three-second linguistic turnaround, and in the med jobs their health might depend on it, and on the tour gigs they'd all be entitled about it, and I'm not great at that crap. Hell, I don't like it.

So I had this picture of a translating job, instead: just sit me down at a desk and give me a laptop and a few dictionaries. Let me work through written copy; give me a thirty-minute turnaround instead of three freaking seconds.

I didn't expect this job to be that. Frankly it was advertised as more of a customer relations/interpreting gig, and it's been made clear that'll still be the most important - if infrequent - duty I have.

But I've spent the last two workdays at a quiet desk, with three dictionaries and a laptop. I'm up to a rate of six short translation edits an hour - though it took me two hours today for a single page of my own. Still, most of that was spent in background research, which I won't have to do twice.

It's not bad. Not bad atall.

arkster: Excited dragon is excited. (Default)

HA! yes.

I think I just gave about four dozen girls ages 9-13 the same truly positive life-altering experience I had when I was 12.

Best Laputa: Castle in the Sky viewing since the first. Hands down.

They were actually, honestly, oohing and aahing at the screen. Exclaiming how beautiful it was and crying out at the storms and the peril. An entire horde of preteen girls lost their selfconsciousness and sank into the story, and they all moaned in dismay when we had to stop it at their bedtime. They haven't even finished it yet.

I could cry for happiness. How do we turn into teachers, tutors, elders with wisdom that demands we pass it on? This is how, my friends. This is how we become our elder selves.

And I am still a child for this movie, my heart leaps and my breath stops and I cry, every time. This is how we grow, I think, and keep what's worth having yet.

Ps LJ is blocked here; phonepostin' ftw. See y'all when this gig's done.

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