A few of my favorite things

Kate Brubeck is my critique partner and the best editor I’ve ever had. And since she does this on a freelance basis for a living, she can be the best editor you’ve ever had, too! Or the best creative consultant, or dissertation coach, or ESL teacher, or whatever you might need to make your words work.

The Pikazo phone app takes a photo and an image of a painting, and then uses a neural net based computer machine learning algorithm to re-render the photo in the style of painting. It’s pretty amazing! I’m currently using the same basic algorithm to illustrate a haiku collection and create fine art nudes.

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is my favorite podcast, and the only science-based podcast I can listen to. All the others frankly just put me to sleep, but there’s something about the lively conversational energy among this group of siblings and friends that brings everything they talk about to life for me. I highly recommend not only the podcast, but the associated blogs.

I recently bought a new computer specifically to run the neural art software I’m using to create haiku illustrations and Neural Nudes, and could not have been happier with the service I received from Puget Systems. They not only engaged in a long email discussion of my needs, but agreed to install most of the software for me, before shipping me the new system, just to make sure it would all work. And since then, they’ve continued to respond promptly and in detail to followup questions I’ve had.

Books and Movies

The Dazzle of Day – My favorite sci-fi novel.

“Briggflatts” – My favorite long poem.

Coming To Jakarta – My favorite political book (and second favorite long poem — yes, this book combines the two!) about which I recorded a series of video discussions with the author.

The New World – The movie that works more like a poem than any other movie I know, and the inspiration for my current novel-in-progress.

Melancholia – Written and directed by Lars Von Trier, who’s often accused (rightly, in my opinion) of misogyny and who sometimes produces movies that are just unwatchably awful (again, imo) this is not only an profound portrayal of depression (which Von Trier himself suffers from)  that features two super strong female lead roles, but also happens to contain two of the most powerful sci-fi type special effects scenes I know of. (An image of the rogue planet Melancholia sharing the night sky with the moon, and the final scene involving Melancholia, which I won’t spoil.)

Jesus of Montreal – I watch this movie every year around Easter, each year with a different friend or combination of friends. i began this practice when I was Episcopalian, but now that I’m an atheist, I continue to get just as much out of the movie as I used to.