December 23rd, 2007 by: joshua

The Crying of Lot 49. Thomas Pynchon. Page 34

If you thought we singled you out to ignore; don’t worry, it’s not you. We didn’t send a single postcard last trip. We were never very consistent to begin with but the blog put a stop to even that meager trickle. Personal emails suffer as well because we’ve already used our best material. They tend to be short and fishing. So… Tell me about yourself. It seems repetitive to email people stuff that is already in the blog. You want to know about me? rtfb!

Of course, not everything makes it into our posts. We tend to self censor a little to avoid alarming the mothers and certain things are too personal or incriminating to discus in a public forum. We always assume that anything we publish here will be read by potential employers and homeland security.

Keeping in touch with people is hard. This blog makes it easier for you to find us and for you to keep updated on our lives, but unless you take the time to comment you’re just stealing. Umm… well… not really. I was just channeling a record company executive for a second.

To make up for this lack of physical correspondence we’ve decided to send out new years cards. Next year. Sometime. If you’re not sure if we have your address send us an email and we’ll update our list. Everyone is eligible even if we don’t know you.

We miss you all and wish you were here, or we were there, more often.

4 Comments on “Postcards”

  1. Peg Bowden says:

    OK—I give up. What is the book you have posted above? Don’t recognize the excerpt. I can’t wait to see you both—er, all three of you. Love, Mom/Peg

  2. joshua says:

    It’s from The Crying of Lot 49. One of the major subplots involves an underground mail service (called WASTE) that the US Government (the least of which) has been actively trying to suppress for centuries. Thus the muted horn symbol. On the following page, Fallopian receives a totally banal message through WASTE calling into question the utility of setting up a super secret communications system when those who have access to the system don’t have anything important to communicate. As Oedipa becomes more deeply involved it becomes unclear (as if anything in a Pynchon novel is ever clear) if it is a counter force for the dispossessed or simply a product of a giant corporation waiting to institute its own system of control.

    Written in 1966 it explores ideas about the ramifications of information flow that mainstream culture doesn’t begin to grapple with until the internet age. Although it’s very oblique I’m trying to get at some of these same ideas in this post and discuss where we draw the line between public and private communication. As you point out, half of everything that comes out of my mouth (or in this case keyboard) alludes to something and only a small percentage of potential readers are culturally equipped to decode that allusion. This doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence or education but simply requires a shared cultural reference. Common cultural reference is becoming rarer in our balkanized society especially for people like Cheyenne and I whose circle of friends are spread thinly around the globe. So… This blog (maybe all blogs) is a transparent public medium for a exchanging information with a self-selected private audience. However, there are certain implied limitations to the content and there is a danger of neglecting other, sometimes more appropriate, channels.


    Also, this novel has one of the best first lines ever: “One summer afternoon Mrs Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps to much kirsch in the fondue…”

  3. me says:

    Enough of this touchy feely family stuff… Please give your best estimate (on a scale of 1 to 10), What is the likelihood of you cruising again within the next 20 years.

    Yep, factor in a boat, the kid (maybe more…because once it rains it pours).
    Factor in a continuing sinking US economy (sorry to be negative…but didn’t we all know this was overdue). Factor in everything…surely you two have enough experience to know what is involved with cruising and the sacrifices in life it entails. So, give your best (not pollyanna) estimate, for the benefit of all out there in cyberspace who aren’t (and don’t wish to be) parents…..or hell, even those who are.

    In a way it doesn’t really matter, after all, who says sail boat cruising is the best life has to offer. I certainly wouldn’t go that far.

    Having said that…if you were to seriously consider another boat….what would be the next compromise?

  4. joshua says:

    Well, we think it will probably be inconvenient to go cruising with a very young child, so we probably won’t go for at least a couple of years. We talked with a lot of people (mostly europeans) cruising with kids and the wisdom seems to be that they do well from 4 on, but younger kids are just too much work.

    The cruising kids are really great though. They seem really well adjusted and relate well to all age groups. In addition, they have an empathy for other cultures that cannot be gained without traveling and experiencing them first hand. It is also an invaluable lesson in freedom and responsibility. The freedom of sailing is real and the consequences of bad choices are just as real. In contrast, many Americans think freedom means choosing their brand loyalty to beer or soft drink companies.

    My first experience with cruising was when I was 6-7, we spent some time with my grandparents on their 30′ Choy Lee in the Bahamas. Those were among the best experiences of my childhood, so you can bet we’ll make sure our daughter gets to see it at least once.

    Unless we plan to spend less than 3 months at a time aboard, the next boat will be bigger. I will always be an advocate for small boats. However, they are only comfortable when you are on the move. As long as you are always moving on to the next adventure the small space doesn’t seem to be a problem. However, if you want to stay somewhere for more than a month a 30′ boat starts to feel really cramped. It’s hard to explain exactly, but think about tents. When you go on a long hike you generally choose the smallest lightest tent you can find. You want it to be is easy to carry and setup and the small space for sleeping never bothers you. However, if you plan to spend a couple of weeks at the same campground that backpacker tent doesn’t look so good anymore.

    We will also put less emphasis on performance for the next boat. A fast boat is great, but it really isn’t critical because we found that we move pretty slowly anyway.

    The economy won’t matter. We will always find a way to do what we want to do. The boat itself is the biggest expense and the used boat market will rise and fall with the economy. If anything, a bad economy will make it easier to find a good boat we can afford. I know that a lot of people hold back because they don’t feel like they can afford it. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them. In almost all cases they are just making different choices because they are unwilling to accept the risks and sacrifices it would take.

Leave a Comment

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell