Amazon.com is playing host to the usual zaniness around a new Pynchon book. This time, we've seen a testimonial added to the then-unnamed-book's entry, outlining the subject matter, and purportedly signed by Pynchon himself. Then it was taken away.
How best to prepare for this advent? A rereading of Gravity's Rainbow? Starting up a blog, either pretending to be an FBI agent named Brock Vond, or perhaps exploring the mysteries of Vheissu? Installing a lightbulb named Byron in the town of Novi Pazar? Perhaps installing an old throw-switch in one arm, ready to go the other way.
Gwen is a new point-and-click game, from Taiwanese designers, despite the Welsh name. Like Samrost or Polyphonic Spree, you guide a little guy through bizarre landscapes, solving puzzles to get ahead.
It's very short, unfortunately. But the art is terrific, the sounds splendid, and the overall feel a nice change of pace. It has a series of cut scenes with more lovely art, and we see them go by with cruel speed. Each level's page has a hint button up on the top left, but don't use it, since the puzzles are very easy and short, getting easier with each step.
Gwen's one of the most pleasant games I've played in a while. More, guys, more!
IronMiners.com has gorgeous tours of abandoned American iron mines. These are gloomy, lovely, spooky places.
And I love the language of these underground zones. For example, about the entrance to a New York mine started before the Revolutionary War, I learn that "entrance" is the wrong word. Say "adit" instead:
After approximately 35 feet, the adit meets the stope. A water filled winze with log cribbing stands across from the adit within the stope. The mine is said to be as deep as 70 feet. This winze accesses a lower stope.
Today's bibliophilic note: a medieval Irish book gets turned up in a bog by a backhoe. It's an amazing find -
"There's two sets of odds that make this discovery really way out. First of all, it's unlikely that something this fragile could survive buried in a bog at all, and then for it to be unearthed and spotted before it was destroyed is incalculably more amazing."
And the book almost didn't survive discovery:
Crucially, [Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland] said, the bog owner covered up the book with damp soil. Had it been left exposed overnight, he said, "it could have dried out and just vanished, blown away."
The book was open to a Psalm, apparently, concerning Yahweh and nations against Israel. Naturally some deem this a portent.
And it did take me several times to understand that bog was meant in the American, not British, sense. The Yahoo pic copied here didn't help.
A Middle East conflict video archive is growing in YouTube, according to the Washington Post. Clips from professional journalists, agitation videos, machinima, webcam monologues, screeds, interviews, fragments appear under a group of tags: Hezbollah, Lebanon, Hamas, Israel. This popular video sharing complements the we noted a few days ago.
I've been enjoying the Tales of Horror podcasts, which resurrect some classic radio theater. That's a splendid use of podcasts. Tales of Horror covers various radio theater scary works, and has recently turned to a series called Dark Fantasy, which ran from 1941 through 1942. These are new to me. They're intense, spatially focused, and quite bleak, almost despairing. A drive for justice flails through each one, but destructively, often going awry. Dark Fantasy shifts Tales' tone quite a bit, after some comic, lighthearted, and more optimistic stories.
Radio Gothic in general is a splendid mechanism for exploring horror's sense of space. Isolation, secrecy, concentration, interiors psychological and architectural are evoked by the experience of listening, especially when alone. Yet hollow spaces, broad openings, holes, desolate fields can also be summoned up by the dissipation of sound around the listener.
I'm listening to Tales of Horror through my Odeo subscriptions, which is a handy way of getting a bunch of podcasts into one RSS feed.
One of the IWF's key points is archival. Reversing the usual preservation problem of the Web, wherein pages disappear and URLs break, the report finds pedophilic content stays alive for years. The Internet Archive is not mentioned.
Neither is Flickr, at least, not by name. But there's a tantalizing Web 2.0 probe here:
The first half of 2006 also showed online photo album services are being used for posting images of child abuse and an emerging trend for the distribution of child abuse videos online.
I haven't seen the IWF before. It sports a list of prominent businesses as members, including Google, AOL, and various mobile companies.