Building The Perfect Beast

Reading, Writing, Wanderlust, and Commentary

Archive for the ‘Asides’ Category

P. D. James, Novelist Known as ‘Queen of Crime,’ Dies at 94

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When she began writing, Ms. James chose the detective-story form because she enjoyed reading such novels and because she thought she would have a better chance of getting published if she wrote in a popular genre. She told The Paris Review in 1995 that she “thought writing a detective story would be a wonderful apprenticeship for a ‘serious’ novelist because a detective story is very easy to write badly but difficult to write well.”

I still think her novel, The Children of Men, and its resulting movie, is one of the best ever.

NY Times obit, here.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

November 27th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

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Let’s Talk About Margins

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Consider buildings. Although you may not be an architect, you can be touched by a graceful space. The kind of space where you close your eyes and feel the gentle hand of the architect reveal itself in the way sound and air moves around you. Try it sometime. Go to your favorite space. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and intuit the goodness.

A book with proper margins says a number of things. It says, we care about the page. It says, we care about the words. We care so much that we’re going to ensure the words and the page fall into harmony.—Craig Mod

I often think about design when it comes to buildings and open spaces, but before reading this I had never thought about it when touching or reading a book. I suspect that I’ve enjoyed a “good” book without really understanding why it was that I enjoyed it. From this point forward I can’t imagine not noticing the design and layout of a good book.

Let’s talk about margins —Craig Mod

Written by Jeffery Battersby

September 3rd, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Asides,Featured

Offstage He Is Boo Radley…

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At the intermission, we are in the green room, everyone jabbering a mile a minute because there is so much energy in the theater that night.

Except for Robin Williams.

He is standing quietly against a wall, a look of discomfort etched on his face. Onstage, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. He was relentless. It was impossible to not feel his impact.

Offstage, he is Boo Radley — hugging the corner, hidden, uncomfortable.

I have no idea who Chris Gethard is, but his remembrance of Robin Williams is pretty lovely.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 12th, 2014 at 1:14 pm

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Robin Williams

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How much more can you give? Other than, literally, open-heart surgery onstage? Not much. But the only cure you have right now is the honesty of going, this is who you are. I know who I am.

NY Times Obituary

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 12th, 2014 at 7:33 am

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Tony Gwynn

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Tony Gwynn died today.

Gwynn’s love for the low-key atmosphere in San Diego and his devotion to the Padres may have been costly. He shunned free agency in favor of multiyear contracts, and in April 1997, after having won seven batting championships, he signed a three-year contract extension for $12.6 million. In its final season, 104 players earned more than his $4.3 million salary, according to The Times.

But he told The Times during his final season: “Twenty years in one place, one city. It looks good.”

To my mind Gwynn was a player like Jeter is today; a humble, sweet, hard working, lover of the game.

Sad day…

Written by Jeffery Battersby

June 16th, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Asides,Featured

Beacon, N.Y.: Quaint City Rediscovered

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Beacon, N.Y.: Quaint City Rediscovered is a nice little article in the NY Times Real Estate section on the city I love and have been living in since the early 90’s.

Highly recommend it as a place to live and play. Great schools, wonderful people, excellent recreation programs, and access to amazing outdoor activities in town and in every direction.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

June 12th, 2014 at 11:29 am

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Who Pinched My Ride?

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Outside Online has an interesting article on one man’s quest to find the person who stole his bike. It’s a fun read. Kind of a pseudo-detective story, with no happy ending.

The futility of locking is shocking. We’re living in an age of surveillance and DNA swab kits; isn’t there a good all-American fix, a tool, gadget, or technology solution? Every technical panacea seems to have its own flaw. Victims of bike theft have created online registries for stolen bikes, but these are obituaries, not a way to preempt the crime.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

May 29th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

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