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: In Bakersfield for the weekend. This is one of those rambling entries I write when I'm in Bakersfield and I don't want to miss a day writing in NYCB. Current mood: tired but awake. Thinking about: Bayesian text analysis, capabilities and limits of. Reading: Infinite Jest, which I got for $6 at the used book store by Greens. That's a lot of words for not a lot of money, so merely on the books-by-the-pound scale my purchase was justified. The funny titles of in-book cultural artifacts are just a bonus.

Oh, today we went to a multifamily yard sale where they tried to sell me old Collier's Yearbooks on the pound-for-pound principle; rather the books-by-the-foot principle, claiming that I could impress my friends by filling up yards of empty bookcase space with these old instant-history books. Since this would require getting new, empty bookcases and new, easily impressed friends, I declined. I wonder why they were selling them? Did their friends tell them "You know, those books used to impress us, but the novelty is kind of wearing off."?

I bought two Ian Fleming James Bond novels, and they were kind of pushy about me buying more books. I compromised and bought their ugly 1970s copy of the card game "Pit" that you always find in some distant relative's shelf of games. I guess I'm going to be that distant relative for the next generation.

Oh, I should mention the awesome yard sale (I love yard sales!) Sumana and I went to last weekend. There were lots of antiques, including a player piano, a Polaroid Land Camera, and a lovely 1950s refrigerator ($350, due to its tiny freezer compartment not really practical as your only refrigerator). The woman holding the garage sale said that swarms of antique dealers had descended on her garage sale and that what we saw was merely the carcass they had left.

I bought a hand-made tablecloth and Sumana bought a folding chair. When I'm rich and have my own house I want to do my kitchen in that can-do 1950s industrial aesthetic. To me, "retro" will always mean the 1950s, the first style I can see someone wanting to get back as opposed to just liking because it's old. The same way "modern" art as a term of... art... is stuck in the 1920s.

[Comments] (4) : Oh, hey. Does anyone (like Kevan) remember a book or something that hypothesized wildly about what kinds of creatures would have evolved from current stock one billion years in the future? I mention Kevan because when people were talking about it a year or two ago, the canonical example everyone liked was the Paul Bunyan-esque giant forest squid.

I bring this up because in the odd "randomly placed bookcase" exhibit at the dinosaur museum in Utah, and then in the same used bookstore where I bought Infinite Jest, I found a 1981 book called After Man. It takes the relatively short view of 35 million years in the future, but it's a nice book because it's imaginative, illustrated with watercolored line drawings and written like any other zoological monograph. I can't find any information on this kindred spirit, but I know it exists and it's preventing me from doing a proper NYCB about After Man. Does anyone remember this?


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