Derik Badman's Journal

2021-05-08 03:11

Continuing coding work, I keep making improvements to the RPG Table Randomizer and am making progress on the web version of Hadleyville. It does take a lot of extra time to learn how to do just about anything in Angular, but progress continues.

Read Natsume Soseki's The Gate this week. In its domestic setting and general lack of high drama it was quite reminiscent to me of Ozu films and Kawabata's Sound of the Mountain (both of which were of course later than Soseki and likely influenced by him), which is to say, I really enjoyed it. Even compared to Ozu there is a lack of drama in the novel. There is a lingering sense of tension over a few problems but interestingly none of them really go anywhere. An issue with the protagonist's younger brother and money problems is resolved quietly, as almost an afterthought. The wife seems very sick at one point and then gets better with no real drama. The protagonist is a very passive civil servant (though we hear almost nothing of his job) who most of the time can't seem to be bothered to do much of anything, though late in the book he takes a retreat to a Rinzai Zen monastery, a retreat which he seems to totally fail at, returning home feeling worse than when he left. Yet somehow, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I even pulled out another Soseki novel I have to reread.

I've been also reading this year's volume of The Complete Crepax, which also finds the protagonist in rather less dramatic situations than previous volumes. Crepax seems almost unconcerned with much in the way of plot in some of them, yet his drawings skills in these (from the mid-late 80s) are stupendous, at times scratchy, minimal, and fragmented. I continue to be a bit annoyed with Fantagraphics decision to not be completely chronological in the order of the Valentina stories. This one has stories and that both preceed and follow the longest/last episode from the previous volume which makes for a weird gap of a few years a few stories in. Someday I'll have to go back and try to reread them all in publication order (if I can figure that out, they don't always print that info, you just have to go by the year Crepax puts with his signature).

This paper has been floating around on my desk, notes for a poem that I never really wrote:

Sun on leaves lit up like a field of white flowers

I remember looking out my window into the park and the sun was shining down onto the greenery of the undergrowth. Maybe it was wet from some previous rain, or maybe it was just the way the light filtered through the leaves above, but it looked like the whole area was filled with white flowers. Only on a second look, with the light shifted, did I realize that was not at all the case.