Books and Code · A Miscellany

A Year of Melville


I’ve joked with a friend that if I were to ever seriously maintain a blog I would call it Loomings and fill it with rantings about one of my favorite books, Moby-Dick.

Well, today he pointed me to this interesting article with the following jibe:

If you are ever gonna start a Loomings blog, today is that day [ed. August 1st being Melville’s birthday]. In fact…if you want to do it right, you should start it as a daily blog and blog the next year until his 200th b-day.

I laughed, but goddamn him the idea has me intrigued! The sense of artificial urgency implied by those nice round numbers is keeping the wheels in my head turning. As it happens, I’ve recently made some life changes which will afford me some time to kill every day commuting by train anyway.

Now, if I were to do such a thing, what might the schedule look like? With 135 chapters (plus epilogue), one would have to average 2-3 chapters per week to cover the whole novel in a year. I would also like to take a closer look at the etymologies and extracts which I think few readers pay much attention to. There are 94 such items which implies a pace of 1-2 extracts per week. There is more than enough content here to fill a year of daily posts without even casting around for original ideas or timely news items…

Mythmoot V: The Composite Nature of Andreas video


The nicely edited version of my Mythmoot talk is online.

Slides are here.

Mythgard Movie Club, Solo: A Star Wars Story


My appearance as a panelist on the Mythgard Movie Club, episode 6 about Solo: A Star Wars Story.

John Perry Barlow Tribute


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

John Perry Barlow passed this week. Most here probably know him as a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, if they know of him at all.

I discovered him when I was in high school as a staunch defender of freedom on the internet. This short piece inspired me then and still does today. If you value the beautiful, transcendent anarchy that is the internet, then you owe a debt to Barlow for his tireless work defending it.

Barlow admonished those afraid of that anarchy: “You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits.”

Mythgard Movie Club, The Last Jedi


My appearance on the Mythgard Movie Club episode featuring The Last Jedi.