Sunday, January 15, 2017

where to?

Looking for the latest busysmartypants?
Find BSP on The Facebook.
It's a 2017 experiment. See you there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Klee's pedagogical sketchbook

Senecio, Paul Klee
I've admired the modernist art of Paul Klee for some time. This week I've been reading about his pedagogical sketchbook. I was pleased to see that his instructions translate to writers, too.
1. Take a line for a walk. Repeat the same form in as many positions as possible.
2. Observe a fishtank. Create movement in your work.
3. Draw the circulatory system. Use nature as a model, theme, inspiration.
4. Weigh the colors. Combine scientific precision with mysticism; find the connection between color and music.
5. Study the greats. Break down a master to determine what makes their work successful (or not).
I've also been admiring the photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue. He and Klee were probably contemporaries of a sort. I'm quite taken with his casual, non-posed photographs of a certain class of young, slender, elegant European in the 1920's and 1930's, living life, running around in go-karts, sun-bathing, jumping off a staircase, going out. The women are rouged beauties, the men dashing and reckless. There's a sense of languor and mystery. Do yourself a favor. Click this Google search and immerse yourself.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

a nose by any other name

Welp, I'm 10 days into what appears to be an eternal bout of bronchitis; cheerless Dayquil days punctuated with coughing and and snorting into Kleenex, nose cracking and sore, mouth permanently coated with a slick of cherry cough drop, alleviated only by brief snatches of drugged, hallucinogenic sleep.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but I'm ready to start feeling good.
In the meantime, enjoy this article about linguistics and similarities across languages.
It brought to mind this video about the complexity of rhyme in rap lyrics.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

the seven tenets

I ran across these seven tenets this week and immediately felt "YES."
  • One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  • The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  • One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  • The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  • Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  • People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  • Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word
I was very surprised to learn of their origin. And what other things the group is doing to fight the regime.  As with so much of the shitstorm-dumpster-fire that has been 2016, I never imagined writing or saying these words but: thanks, Satanic Temple.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Stress about work, life, the state of the world all got me feeling like I'm carrying around a backpack full of wet towels. The little things seem big and the big things seem unbearable.
One little thing I'm taking pleasure from right now is being a regular.
I'm familiar at a few coffee shops around town. There's of course the undeniable pleasure of not having to place an order. But there's also the chit-chat, the confidences, the catching-up.
The day after the election shat out its final turd (or did it?), I limped into the coffee place near work. The barista proudly wore a t-shirt depicting her native Switzerland. She offered sympathy along with my coffee and bagel. The next guy in line said he was Canadian and would take any of us who wanted to leave.
Most weekends I pop into a Fremont spot, where the morning barista is also a video stylist for a major Seattle rapper. I look forward to her hairstyle, her clothes, her attitude, her stories--including rocking at a metal show in Tacoma with her brother, and how a colleague came in to work on no sleep and a lot of whisky (our conclusion: keep rolling with whisky, or complete hydration/catnap therapy).
I have good friends and family and this extended circle of welcoming establishments is a salve, a tonic, a haven. It feels good. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Scenes from election day

Boy what a tough week. I don't know what I think yet. I'm still feeling. A lot of feels. Disbelief, still. Anger. Disgust. Frustration.
I ain't leaving. I'm sticking around to fight.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I was afraid of this

I'm taking a 3-quarter writing course for work and between the homework and the class itself, I am neglecting my WRITING writing. The important stuff. I was afraid this would happen and it is.
Also this week:
On Thursday, the barista at the bagel place didn't give me my change. She's new. I'd given her $6 and the manager had to gently show her how to make 65 cents in change.
That same day, the server at Shultzy's managed to lose my debit card in the 2 minutes between me handing her the card, going to the ladies', and returning to sign the charge slip. 
Two people on the 49 bus were talking to themselves. Not each other. Just their own selves. It was beautiful and unbearably sad.
And, the geniuses at Amazon shipped me a toilet seat cover I did not order. So I had to print a label and go to the UPS store yesterday to return a shit cover I didn't even ask for.
It seems like a metaphor for the week.