July 25, 2016bestof_photos

Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.


The pier at the Ocean Grove NJ boardwalk. I think the fishing house at the end had been rebuilt after the Blizzard of '96, and then got destroyed again during Hurricane Sandy.


I guess the last photo of Mo in "Best of" is this one of her at Home Depot, as we got the house ready for sale.


I released JoustPong at Philly Classic that year (note the custom T-Shirt, a giveaway with the first batch of carts) and shared the AtariAge booth with Howard Scott Warshaw - creator of the Atari game Yar's Revenge and, more infamously, the rushed version of "E.T." that "caused" the Great Video Crash of 1983.


For some reason I had to stop by Mo's new apartment at Davis, and we took turns doing portraits with her new fancy Rebel camera. I feel like this is one of my best pre-beard portraits of me.


EB helping me patch the crumbling concrete of the front stairs of the house. (Actually it's funny how much time I'd spend waiting for him at Home Depot, as he enlisted me as unskilled labor getting his new place into shape.)


My favorite Professor at Tufts, Alva Couch, speaking at some department alumni thing.


EB and I went through a phase of playing darts at Flat Top Johnny's where we met this pair. Nothing more than goofy half-flirting happened, I just find this photo amusing. (Also I was amazed that one time when EB+I inadvertently skipped the check at FTJ's, the staff immediately told us when we came in next time. I think my face blindness would be a handicap in that kind of job.)


EB and I on a tandem ride of the "Skycoaster" at Six Flags.


Jane outside of work - we'd go toss a football in the parking lot sometimes.


And Jane at a restaurant, near work. She was a big supportive help that year, though her advice to get me out of the big jeans I would wear all the time kept me in nothing but khakis for the better part of a decade.


I visited Mike in Cleveland, and for his birthday his friends subjected him to a kind of prank mystery car ride.


Cousins in motion at the Family Reunion.


BONUS!

BONUS BONUS! Months after assembling the photos, I couldn't remember why this one didn't make the cut.


Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.
I just finished "Don Quixote" for a second time (living out some old maxim that just as a piece of architecture should be viewed in the morning, mid-day, and dusk, so should this book be read as a young person, a middle-aged guy, and an old man.)

I read Edith Grossman's 2003 translation. Some highlights I made to record here:

The one passage I remember from my first reading is from Marcella's defense, as she's being accused of a shepherd's death because of her failure to return his love:

Heaven made me, as all of you say, so beautiful that you cannot resist my beauty and are compelled to love me, and because of the love you show me, you claim that I am obliged to love you in return. I know, with the natural understanding that God has given me, that everything beautiful is lovable, but I cannot grasp why, simply because it is loved, the thing loved for its beauty is obliged to love the one who loves it.

(In the same way I sometimes dig the KJV version of the bible, this translation is nicely old school.)
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Another idea I saw cited in Jack Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" was "Comparisons are Odious":

'Stop right there, Señor Don Montesinos,' I said then. 'Your grace should recount this history in the proper manner, for you know that all comparisons are odious, and there is no reason to compare anyone to anyone else. The peerless Dulcinea of Toboso is who she is, and Señora Belerma is who she is, and who she was, and no more should be said about it.'

While here "Comparisons are Odious" mostly applies to people, I find it critical in my understanding of "Amor Fati", the love of one's fate; we spend so much effort comparing this world to all these other, slightly more pleasant alternative universes (just like this one, but I'm not stuck in traffic!, for instance) that it makes us miserable with very little return.
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Harold Bloom's Introduction to the work mentions: It remained for La Rochefoucauld to restate the other side of the paradox: some people would never have loved if they had not heard of love.
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The book cites verses from other source, such as Commander Escrivá's
Come, death, so secret,
so still I do not hear your approach,
so that the pleasure of dying
does not bring me back to life.


and there was also a reference (Sancho watched everything, and not one thing caused him sorrow) to
"Nero, on Tarpeian Rock, / watched as Rome went up in flames; / crying ancients, screaming infants, / and not one thing caused him sorrow."
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Of course, much of the joy of the book are the proverbs and quotes, famously by Sancho but also Don Quixote himself:
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At one point the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance says "Now you will see, said Agrajes" which Grossman footnotes "Agrajes, a character in Amadís of Gaul [One of the most established tales about knight errantry] would say these words before doing battle; it became a proverbial expression used at the beginning of a fight."
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Some passages still resonate today:
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I was interested in a view of the year that seems to put the year into five seasons, not four:
spring pursues summer, summer pursues estío, 1 estío pursues autumn, autumn pursues winter, and winter pursues spring, and in this way time turns around a continuous wheel;
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Finally, I loved this rant:
"Oh, base, lowborn, wretched, rude, ignorant, foul-mouthed, ill-spoken, slanderous, insolent varlet! You have dared to speak such words in my presence and in the presence of these distinguished ladies, dared to fill your befuddled imagination with such vileness and effrontery? Leave my presence, unholy monster, repository of lies, stronghold of falsehoods, storehouse of deceits, inventor of iniquities, promulgator of insolence, enemy of the decorum owed to these royal persons. Go, do not appear before me under pain of my wrath!"