Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

A Return

LispectorI’m not sure if it’s abandonment or neglect: I have not maintained this blog. It’s a funny thing, when and how we’re motivated to revisit things of the past. There was a time that I was extremely active here (I estimate in 2010, maybe, as I was nearing the end of my tenure teaching at Boston College, and fairly laissez-faire about my daily affairs and purpose). I found myself, then, posting my thoughts freely, sharing the particular nooks and crannies of my days, seeking solace where solace could be found in virtual, real time publishing. After I moved to New York this impulse to connect dissipated.

Perhaps it’s that enough time has passed, people come and gone, work life and daily life less crowded with diversions and preoccupations, that I am now desirous of this form. Blogging simply feels more substantial than Facebook. Think it, write it, publish it. Bam! Surely, Facebook has only contribute to my short attention span, fragmented thinking: FB posts have served as a poor cousin to the intermediary work of blogging, which strikes me as half-writing and half-entertaining. It may be that after three years in New York and the beginning of yet another stage of my life, I’m ready to return.

One closing thought, from Clarice Lispector, individualist and iconoclast. I’m reading her last book now, “A Hora de Estrela.” A real writer’s writer:

“My truest life is unrecognizable, extremely interior and there is not a single word to describe it. My heart has emptied itself of every desire and and been reduced to its own final or primary beat.”

Filed under: media, technology, writing

Lives of the iPhone Workers

I think it’s easy for us, as privileged Americans, to believe that our gadgets appear from God. iPhone broken? Well, I needed to upgrade to a G4 anyway. Plop down the credit card; like magic, the new technology appears.

Joel Johnson provides a more sobering view of where our technology comes from. In Shenzhen, China, more than 420,000 (nearly half a million!) workers manufacture the parts that power our iPhones, laptops, and a whole slew of gadgets. One of the more particularly sobering facts is the knowledge that 11 suicides took place at the factory earlier this year. Nets surrounding the dormitory buildings have curbed the suicides.

The facilities seem run-down but clean. Conditions for the workers in the factory aren’t visible–I guess we’ll have to wait for Johnson’s article in Wired later this month.

Filed under: china, consumerism, technology, work, , , , , , , ,

Robots in Love

Amazing what an indie soundtrack can do. That, and some fun special effects. All in the service of solid storytelling. “I’m Here” feels like the little movie that could.

I was particularly moved by this short film from Spike Jonze about a couple of robots who fall in love. Who says that a bunch of motherboards, some electrical wire, and a lot of plastic casing equals a soulless form? There’s more heart in this movie–and emanating from these mechanical characters–than many of us humans experience on any given day.

Seems like I’m not alone in my adoration. Take a look see.

Filed under: androids, film, technology, , , , ,

What to Make of Tao Lin?

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hqUWgoPdKwI%2Em4v%5D

The self-consciousness is a bit excruciating. At least for Emily Gould.

Gould interviews the Author of the Moment for her latest webisode of Cooking the Books, a short vodcast that incorporates book promotion, live cooking, and literary chit chat. Lin, perhaps the hippest of hipster authors right now with his teenage cybernauts with the screen names Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning in the novel Richard Yates, comes across in this interview as either completely affected or seriously introverted. Near the end of the interview, Gould says, “I do feel like we’ve tortured you.”

In his non-plussed way, Lin replies: “I had a good time.”

Filed under: innovation, literature, technology, , , , ,

Look Ma! No Hands!

Google revealed yesterday that it has been testing autonomous cars on California highways. Thought that guy behind the wheel was reading a book? You may have been right: these Priuses are driven by new technology including “video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to ‘see’ other traffic.”

According to The New York Times, these cars can “drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.”

Filed under: technology, transportation, , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
May 2017
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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