The Room

“Stupid people don’t always know that they’re stupid. They might be aware that something is wrong, they might notice that things don’t usually turn out the way they imagined, but very few of them think it’s because of them. That they’re the root of their own problems, so to speak. And that sort of thing can be very difficult to explain.”
― Jonas Karlsson, The Room

Oblique Strategy: Get your neck massaged

Here’s some origami I did. I’m working on a story and I decided to origami my draft. The design is called, “This is a bunch of crap.”

Three down, ninety-seven to go.

A few days ago, while working on my goals for 2018 I decided to set a goal of reading a hundred books in the year. Thinking about it, I decided the only way to pull this off was to read short books. I made a list of 66 short novels and wrote about it. Thinking more about it, I was excited enough to jump the gun and start the 100 books immediately. The first one I read was Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The second was Zastrozzi, by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

I picked The Room by Jonas Karlsson by walking down the fiction aisle in the Library and looking for a thin book. There were two by the same author, the other was called The Invoice. I chose The Room because is was slightly smaller.

The book is a Kafkaesque tale, or at least it starts that way, of a worker bee in an antiseptic office (his boss keeps trying to get him to wear shoe covers to keep from tracking dirt) that discovers a secret room behind a door down the hall, between the lift and the toilets. He discovers that going there relaxes him and enables him to get through the day with a little less stress.

One thing about this room reminded me of one of my favorite tomes, House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. In House of Leaves, Will Navidson discovers his house is a few inches larger on the inside than it is on the outside. In The Room, Bjorn measures the hallway with leftover Christmas fairy lights and discovers there is no space for his room. He chalks it up to a trick of architecture.

The book starts out lighthearted but takes a darker turn as Bjorn’s officemates decide they don’t like him hanging out in his own special room. The book, told in the first person, like We Have Always Lived in the Castle, sports an unreliable narrator… an extremely unreliable narrator. The central question is “Is he nuts?” and there isn’t much doubt about the answer.

One question in my mind was who does Bjorn work for anyway? It is called The Authority and seems to be a quasi-government agency. It seems Orwellian as they take reports from investigators and process them in various ways. At any rate, their actual work seems to be easy enough – a lot of paper-pushing.

I enjoyed the book enough to think about reading The Invoice later. The author, Johas Karlsson is a popular Swedish Actor. A real Renaissance man.

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What I learned this week, May 16, 2014

Ink & Paper

As a small child I remember watching a linotype operator keying his machine and fascinated by his callused hands handling the hot lead slugs.


The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win


How to Deal With Negative Press


How does George R. R. Martin do his actual writing?

Using a separate computer for writing is brilliant. I wouldn’t go back to Wordstar – I’d use Wordperfect 5.0 – the best word processing program I’ve seen.

I like his rant against auto-correct – “If I had wanted a capital, I’d have typed a capital.”


Kaiju-a-go-go: Every Godzilla Monster, from Lamest to Coolest

I can’t argue with King Ghidorah at #1, but I would have ranked Mothra higher.


Rate of US bicycle commuters rises by 60%

The only thing better than biking to work is biking to somewhere other than work.


Mesquite steering away from groundbreaking DART pact

I have no sympathy for Mesquite in this deal. I lived there, years ago, when the DART vote went down. Mesquite voted no. The reason I heard was, “If we get a train and a bus system, poor people will move here.” Wrong. Young professionals that work downtown and are looking for affordable housing will live there and take the train to work. And when the young profesionals move to other suburbs (with dense, transit-oriented development) what do you have left?


Google Street View sleuth: help us identify our cities’ biggest failings

There are plenty of bad spots in Dallas. Here’s one that I particularly abhor. It would be a very useful route to get from Downtown/Cedars to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail… if it wasn’t a death trap. It looks like there are sidewalks and stairs too – don’t be fooled, they go nowhere… fast.

What I learned this week, December 30, 2011

This Writer’s 2012 New Years Blogging Resolutions

  • New Years Resolution #1: Post Regularly
  • New Years Resolution #2: Clean up Old Posts
  • New Years Resolution #3: Update Social Profiles and re-engage
  • New Years Resolution #4: My Topic


The Top Five Street Tacos of 2011 (in Dallas)

#1 The Lengua at El Guero (now Tacos La Banquenta: new name, same tacos)

#2 The Steak Tacos Nortenos at Pepe’s Y Mitos

#3 The Selection at Tortas de la Herchizera

#4 The Al Pastor at Chichen Itza

#5 The $1 Fish Taco at Lee Harvey’s


When does the sun rise, set, and in what direction?

This website, suncalc.net is great for figuring out places and times for sunset/sunrise photography. Want to catch the sun rising behind a certain building tomorrow? The site will tell you. More importantly, what date will the sun set behind a certain scene from a certain vantage point? suncalc.net will tell you.

Genius.