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Midterm, Videogames, Ants, Sandow Birk

I was in San Ho yesterday to teach my “Philosophy and Computers” class. We had a midterm. I should have mentioned on problem 1 that you can imagine there being more blank cells to the left and right of the table.

While I was in town, I went to the “Game On” videogame exhibit at the Tech museum. The place was, as so often happens in San Jose, utterly deserted, with nobody there but the Tech staff, me, and a couple of Japanese tourists. The upside was that I could play the games to my heart’s content. Ms. Pac-Man, what a game. And what a great marketing idea that was, in the newly feminist early 80s to have her be MS Pac-Man simply by the addition of a bow to the missing-pizza-slice icon. I got nostalgic for the days when my kids were at home, as going to play arcade games was something we often did together. There was a Pac-Man machine about a block from our house in Lynchburg, VA, at a bar called T. C. Trotters, it was never quite clear if the kids were allowed in there, but many’s the game we played.

In the back of my mind I’m still thinking about my projected ant story with Bruce Sterling. Here’s a petrified giant ant egg that he gave me.

But for now I’m working on the revisions of Mathematicians In Love. I get a little anxious when I’m revising. Like, will there ever stop being things that I need to fix? Is there a danger of buffing/elaborating this bas-relief until the figures disappear entirely? Is this going to be the final fatal time when my final-draft plot problems and character inconsictencies will prove truly unfixable? This said, it feels so good when I do fix something.

Yesterday my wife swatted a large autumn fly in our bathroom, and left its body on the floor. Not that our house is untidy; she had to rush off to work, and carrying out dead insects is more my bailiwick, also, being a man, I didn't notice the fly for a day.

And now the ants have arrived, and are moving the fly somewhere, and I don't want to clean it up as I want to see the outcome.

It’s taken them about a day to move the fly three or four feet.

I wonder when they plan to dismantle the fly?

I love these pictures, the ants are like cops and reporters at a crime scene. The images also make me think of Goya’s etchings of the firing squads.

Where are the ants taking the fly? Perhaps the Garden of Eden in San Francisco on Broadway near Columbus. This is an image of a painting by fanatic California artist Sandow Birk, courtesy of the Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. After the Tech yesterday, I went to the San Jose Museum of Art as well (even more deserted than the Tech), where there’s a show of Birk’s version of Dante’s Divine Comedy, that is, the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradisio.

Birk and friends made a fresh translation of Dante. Birk made lots of etchings to go with the book (the detail above is from his picture of the lost souls in Limbo), and he also worked a number of his drawings into full-scale color paintings like the one of the Garden of Eden. It’s a very cool show, and you can even buy Birk’s three volumes as paperbacks. I got Inferno at the museum, the text is done with Marcus Sanders. Birk and Sanders are going to be doing an event at the museum at 2 PM this Sunday by the way, intervied by Michail Krasny, tickets $8, check it out.

3 Responses to “Midterm, Videogames, Ants, Sandow Birk”

  1. Efrem Says:

    Funny you mention deserted galleries. I got kicked out of the SJ MOMA art car exhibit last week for not wearing shoes.

  2. Alex McLaren Says:

    With your midterm test. q1.
    CA rule 30.
    I notice the first 4 boxes have a
    symmetrical nature to the last 4 boxes.
    I also noticed many of the other “gnarly” CAs from the Wolfram
    system have this. eg rule 225, which is the graphic
    opposite of rule 30.
    Funny how these CA rules with a symmetrical pattern in them,
    create CAs with randomness!
    – –
    I ordered Birk’s version of Dante’s Divine Comedy, that looks like great stuff.

  3. first resume Says:

    I wonder what happened to the fly in the end… 🙂


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