I’m going to be on the road for a few weeks, so won’t be blogging again till end of August, at which time I’ll have a buttload of new images and journal notes to post. Like when I went to Micronesia, not that this outing is likely to be so spectacular.
If you’re new to the blog and need summer reading, you can always enter Micronesia into the blog search bar to find the listings, starting with the Micronesia 1 to Micronesia 20.
Awkward thing about blogs: if you want to read a series of entries in correct time-order, you have to keep using the “Back” link at the page bottoms instead of “Next” and you have to read the page entries from the bottom entry up. Or you can just read backwards. Maybe blogs are helping us develop a looser sense of time.
I found a nice picture of Albert Einstein with young logic king Kurt Godel on John Brockman’s Edge ezine.
This week I’ve been working on Mathematicians in Love. As I mentioned earlier, I’m basing some aliens on mosaics I saw in a subway station in NYC.
Here’s two excerpts about these aliens, whom Bela encounters upon his second trip to La Hampa.
As I emerged, something bright and fast flew low over my head — a butterfly, a hummingbird? No, it was bigger than that, a meter long. It circled back towards me, a cartoony humanoid form with two bell-bottom legs, a lumpy ovoid bottom, a tapering torso chest with tear-drop arms, and a translucent bulb-head with a pair of antennae. Another alien.
The figure hovered above me, glowing in rich neon colors: seaweed-green legs, carroty-red bottom and arms, cobalt torso, robins-egg-blue head-bulb, and lilac antennae. I saw the alien as a female, like the cone shells. The more I looked at her, the brighter she shone. There was a smell of ozone, as near an electrical generator. I hoped she wasn’t about to sting me.
“So say something,” I said, treading water in the warm, clear sea. “I’m a human named Bela. What are you?”
The alien tweeted a word so fast that I couldn’t make it out.
“Come again?” I said.
“Jimbo,” chirped the little figure. “Jimbo, Jimbo, Jimbo.” She pooted four short-lived cannonballs of light from the funnel-bottoms of her legs, each with an image inside. It was a crystal-ball comic-strip explaining the origin of the Jimbos. Glowing magnetic tornados lifted free from a speckled Sun to float across space. The space-eddies touched down on a nearby planet’s atmosphere — hey, that was Earth. The magnetohydrodynamic swirls came alive with neon colors and took on playful forms: Jimbos. The Jimbos tagged after people like pet balloons, one per person. But I didn’t see the point.
“Jimbo, Jimbo, Jimbo!” said the alien again.
“Fine,” I said. “You can be my Jimbo, if you like.”
Vibrating with enthusiasm, the Jimbo flew right through my head; I grunted in fear, but all I felt was a brief tingle. Perhaps she’d harvested some thought patterns? Fine. I stopped worrying about the Jimbo for now.
Sensing my discomfort, the blonde woman kindly interrupted. “I’m Duxie,” she said, holding out her hand. She was so beautiful that it was hard for me to look directly at her. “Pips, other-Bela,” she continued. “I’m from a future Earth, your timeline, year 2204. Three friends and I hypertunneled to La Hampa using our Jimbos. The Jimbos have replaced what you called a Gobubble?” She extended a graceful hand and her Jimbo perched upon it, a two-legged figure with a pleated skirt, a taffy-twisted torso and a ball-head with a short, cylindrical nose.
“They’re symbiotes,” put in Paul. “The real deal. The Jimbos feed on our thought patterns, and in return they act as computers and cell phones. They like to gossip.”
Duxie’s Jimbo gave Paul’s a little kiss — for all the world as if the Jimbos were autonomous thought-balloons.
One last thing. Keep in mind that this fall I’ll be teaching a philosophy course late Thursday afternoons at SJSU this fall — based on my new book. If you’re interested in the course, you might want to make some plans now. The more the merrier. I do have hopes of putting some of the lectures online as video as well, though I'm not sure yet if that'll work out.
Oh, one last thing, thanks, dear readers, for all the useful comments about reading books online. We accumulated quite a thread.