A Journal of the Irrepressible

Archive for July, 2008

Read More Jack Womack

leave a comment

cover of Jack Womack's novel Random Acts of Senseless ViolenceVisiting with writer Nisi Shawl a couple weeks ago, I asked her what she was working on. Among other projects, she mentioned she was working on a review of Neal Stephenson’s forthcoming novel, Anathem. That got my wild up, as I’m a big fan, so she let me peruse her advance copy. Tucked in was the usual PR stuff from the publisher, in this case a letter from Stephenson’s publicist, Jack Womack.

The Jack Womack?” I asked. “Yes,” said Nisi. “He’s Gibson’s publicist, too.”

I devoured Womack’s novels in the ’90s as they were published. I’ve been waiting for a new one for quite a while now. Nisi said she was afraid I might have to wait quite a while longer as, for some reason, his novels didn’t sell, so he wasn’t publishing. He’s publicizing. WTF? Read the rest of this entry »

  • Share/Bookmark

Written by Brian

July 25th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Tim Fowler’s Sculpture Haven


A gable on Tim Fowler's home in SeattleOut walking with my friend Nisi Shawl recently in Seattle, she took me by the home of Tim Fowler somewhere on East Howell Street. I was immediately gob-smacked by what I saw: a building that was more work of art than conventional dwelling.

“I saw Tim’s work well before I met him,” Nisi told me later. “I moved to this neighborhood the same year I moved to Seattle, 1996 or so. The Central District is one of the city’s ‘historically black’ areas. People had warned me against moving here, and yes there were crack hovels and mattresses on the lawn but also BBQ restaurants and beauty parlors and other signs–for me–of home.”

Tim was home, we saw, and Nisi called out, “Hi, Tim! Is it all right if my friend takes some pictures?” Read the rest of this entry »

  • Share/Bookmark

Written by Brian

July 22nd, 2008 at 6:42 pm

A Peaceful Solution

leave a comment

USA Hemp Museum presents great pictures of live cannabis plants over Willie and Amy Nelson’s song, “A Peaceful Solution,” performed by Amy Nelson and Rattlesnake Annie. The bill was introduced by Cong. Barney Frank. H.R. 5842 is the 2008 version of the medical marijuana bill. Support the congresspeople who support cannabis.

Related: The Lotus Eco Elise uses a host of sustainable materials to make up the body and trim, including hemp, “eco wool,” sisal and a new high-tech, water-based paint that can be applied by hand. It’s fitted with a set of flexible solar panels on the hard top to help power the electrical systems, reducing the drain on the engine and improving efficiency. There is a new green shift light on the instrument panel that assists drivers in maximizing fuel efficiency.

All of these elements reduce the Eco Elise’s footprint throughout its lifecycle, limit the amount of energy used during production. Lotus looked to reduce the car’s environmental impact by focusing on how it is made as well as how it performs. Link.

  • Share/Bookmark

Written by Brian

July 22nd, 2008 at 5:47 pm

The Harrowing Highway


Un-spun by DJ Skrotekkki

I boarded the bus in a slight hangover haze and sleep-deprivation daze, looking forward to snoring my way through the ride that awaited me. As soon as I settled into a seat next to the window, however, those hopes were lost. Between the seat’s build and my own, it was impossible to get comfortable enough to nod off. In retrospect, I should have given it a try and at least pretended I was sleeping, because by the end of the trip I would find out just how uncomfortable that particular seat could be.

I gazed out the window through the enormous sunglasses that were hiding more than my eyes until I couldn’t stand it any longer. The young man who had gotten on the bus at the last stop was half my age, but even so I was attracted and couldn’t help but entertain carnal fantasies about him. I decided to break the ice. “There’s no need to remain silent.” Read the rest of this entry »

  • Share/Bookmark

Written by Brian

July 21st, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Posted in contributors, memoir, travel

Joni Mitchell and the I Ching

one comment

essay by Brian Charles Clark and Nisi Shawl

In the Jan. 1994 issue of Acoustic Guitar, Rick Turner wrote,

Joni Mitchell's I Ching guitar was made by Steve KleinSteve Klein built this amazing and beautiful guitar in 1977.

This guitar was built for Joni Mitchell, and it is a great example of what can happen when a musical and visual artist teams up with a luthier. It was designed for Mitchell’s low open tunings, and the removable soundhole rosette/ring allows the guitar’s air resonance to be tuned accordingly for different amounts of bass. Mitchell collaborated on concepts for the inlays, which include I Ching symbols in the fingerboard and around the soundhole; the I Ching’s hexagram number 56, the Wanderer, graces the face and the upper bout. Don Juan’s crow flies on the peghead, and the wandering theme continues on with the mountains and the road.”

In fact, the eight trigrams run up the neck of the guitar, heaven at the nut and earth at the top of the neck. Heaven is bass! Hejira, one of Mitchell’s several masterpieces, was recorded and released in 1976, the year before this guitar was made. Lu, hexagram 56, pretty much describes the album’s mood of not staying together, of fire on the mountain that “does not tarry,” in Wilhelm/Baynes’ words, of a wanderlust that drives one onward toward the greener pasture on the other side of the hill. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Share/Bookmark

Written by Brian

July 6th, 2008 at 10:16 am

Viagra, Hallucinogens and Circadian Rhythms in Plants

leave a comment

Science Daily is a great site for weird stories. Here are some snips from the past few days.

In a follow-up to research showing that psilocybin, a substance contained in “sacred mushrooms,” produces substantial spiritual effects, a Johns Hopkins team reports that those beneficial effects appear to last more than a year.

Watermelon may have a viagra-like effect: Read the rest of this entry »

  • Share/Bookmark

Written by Brian

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:00 pm