They also did a "Now & Then" pairing of an artist's old and new videos. They played Alanis Morissette's newest video, for "Precious Illusions". I don't think that that was one of the songs I particularly liked from "Under Rug Swept", but the video is interesting, with the side-by-side modern-day and fairy-tale romances. Then they played "Walk Away", from her first album in 1991, when she was still just "Alanis" and did teen dance-pop. The most interesting thing about the video for me, though, was that it had Matt Le Blanc in it--Joey from "Friends". I'm sure I saw the video around the time it came out, but of course didn't know who this "Matt" guy was. (He used his real name in the video.) And it's always a bit funny to look back at her early career, too. She was like Canada's answer to Debbie Gibson and Tiffany in the early 90's, but of course she's progressed a little farther than that now...
What I was turning on the TV and VCR for was to set it up to tape "Airheads", which was on MMM this afternoon(at least, according to the TV Guide). It was on last night when we finished watching "A Beautiful Mind", and they did turn out to be playing it again the next day. (Censored, though? Well, whatever.) I confess that I still really like that movie, brainless as it is. It was the first time I recall seeing any of the three leads--Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, and Steve Buscemi. And their careers have diverged a bit since then, haven't they? Fraser is second-string action hero and goofy comedy star, Sandler is big-box-office comedy-vehicle guy(I confess that I am curious about "Mr. Deeds"), and Buscemi is ubiquitous weird guy and frequent Coen Brothers star. I find the movie itself quite charming, anyway, and look forward to watching it again.
Since I didn't get to it yesterday, today I decided to go to the medical clinic again to see about my ear infection. It hasn't really been bothering me for a few days, so I think it's cleared up, but the doctor said last time that there was still some ear wax in the outer ear, and I should get it cleaned out. I confess that I actually like getting my earwax cleaned out, so I went in today.
Saturday afternoon, of course, the wait was extremely long, so I put my name down on the last and then, assured it would be at least an hour, went out to do some other things. Like taking "A Beautiful Mind" back to the video store. And visiting "Cash Converters".
"Cash Converters" is not, as one might think, a place where you can take your pesos and convert them into rubles. No, no. They're really just a pawnshop, as far as I can tell, but a little bit more reputable than that, perhaps. Nicole's mother apparently went there last week and said that they had a)an exercise bike on display outside, and b)cheap CD's. So I resolved that I would go there and see what they had. Which did not seem to be an exercise bike, today at least, though they had many other bicycles, and other exercise equipment. So it was really just the CDs, then.
The selection was not spectacular, and there were a lot of duplicates, but I was able to find a few that were, if not high on my wishlist, at least, well, on my wishlist. And considering that most of the CDs were 5 for $20, and some where even $2 or $3, I think I did pretty well.
I got "Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness" by Smashing Pumpkins for a mere $12.95, which is much lower than I'd seen anywhere else. I also got "Melt" by Artificial Joy Club, which apparently is substantially the same band as One To One, a Canadian group from the 80's, one of whom(Leslie Howe?)was a mentor of Alanis's early career and a good bet for the subject of "Hands Clean"; Corey Hart's self-titled album; "Come On Over" by Shania Twain(hey, I confess, I like it, though I'm not sure which version it is--there were two versions, one of which had a more dancy version of "That Don't Impress Me Much", which I liked better); "Now In A Minute" by Donna Lewis; and "The Presidents of The United States of America II", which doesn't seem to actually be on my wishlist, but I think I liked it well enough anyway.
I also got the soundtrack to "Threesome" and "Head Down" by Moev, a Canadian industrial-type band on Nettwerk Records, both for $3 or less, so more of a gamble. And "The 'Priest' They Called Him" by William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain, because I'm a sucker for anything by Burroughs these days. They had a 48-hour limit on exchanges if the CDs are unplayable, but most of them look in decent condition, few or no visible scratches, so I think I'll be okay. The cashier said there's a bit of leeway, especially for someone who, you know, just bought nine CDs. I know that I could, physically, listen to them in one day, but I think the odds of that happening are slim.
It took me forty-five minutes to get back to the clinic, and I had at least another half an hour to wait before they called me, during which I read Uncle Tungsten and tried to ignore the TV almost directly over my head, which was tuned, for some inscrutable reason, to APTN--the Aboriginal People's Television Network. That's a network devoted entirely to "First Nations", "Natives", "American Indians", or whatever the heck they're called these days. I think my friend Jeremy used to work for them up in the Northwest Territories. They're now on cable throughout Canada because the CRTC was powerless to resist them, even though their production values are often low to nonexistent. But at least I couldn't see the screen from where I was sitting.
There was probably another half an hour of waiting in various rooms for the doctor(there might, again, have been only one working today)before and after getting my ear wax cleared out. As I said, I quite like the process, but afterwards my eardrum is quite tender and itchy. Finally I got to leave, and then I went to Canadian Tire to buy windshield wipers.
The ones on the car right now are really quite tattered, and I have heard you're supposed to get them replaced once a year, but somehow we never manage it. That's probably because, for some reason, it was filed in my head under "tasks you have to pay mechanics to do for you". We were planning to get it done when we got our new tires, but we haven't done that yet either. But last week I was driving Sharna & Nick(to meet Nicole and her parents for supper), and it was raining, and I started complaining about my wipers, and Sharna told me that it was dead easy to replace wipers, and I could probably do it myself. So today I went to get them.
I walked into Canadian Tire knowing nothing about my wipers besides their approximate length, but was initially daunted by the aisle of wipers of different sizes and materials and styles. What kind did I want? How big were mine? Maybe I should go home and measure them and do this later. But then I saw a little book that listed the exact model number of wiper to buy for each material and each make & model, so then I was set, grabbed what I wanted, and left.
I haven't actually installed them yet, because by this point I was feeling guilty about having left Simon with Nicole for so long, but hopefully it will be a snap, and I will be victorious Tool-Man.
I had planned to finish The Telling of Lies at the doctor's office, but I ended up finishing it this morning instead, since I found myself closer to the end than I thought and felt like getting it done. It was good enough, with some interesting characters, but it wasn't really correct to call it a murder mystery. In a murder mystery, solving the mystery is the main plot, and the plot is advanced by the accumulation of clues. The middle of The Telling of Lies, was not concerned principally with finding the murderer, as much as it is trying to find out who is covering up the murder...which is not the same thing; it does lead to the eventual revelation of the identity of the murderer, but not directly. I'm not a mystery purist myself, so I didn't mind, but in case there are those who are, consider yourself warned.
I did read a lot of Uncle Tungsten at the doctor's office, though I didn't finish it until I came home. It was quite good, following Sacks himself pretty much to puberty(when his interest in chemistry apparently started to fade), and the history of chemistry from its beginnings as an actual science through to the discovery of the underlying quantum principles by Niels Bohr.
Now I guess I should go on to Karl Schroeder's Permanence before leaping into A Storm of Swords. I did want to finish my character list from A Clash of Kings first anyway. And besides, it's not quite July yet... But you can tell what I really want to read.
In the bookstore yesterday I ended up picking up Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David. I wasn't really planning on it, but they have this deal at Coles right now where if you buy three books you get a fourth one free... Nicole only really had two to buy, and I didn't have any, but then she found the latest Gordon Korman(the climax of his "Island" trilogy), so I picked up the Peter David. And then the cashier said that the Korman wasn't "pocket-sized" and didn't count, so I went back for David Feintuch's Children of Hope(even though Nicole still has three more books to read in the series before she gets to that one). Boy, they really scammed us that time, didn't they? Anyway, the Peter David book does look interesting, as a spoof of...well, picaresque novels, I guess. Perhaps not a hot topic, but it could still be fun.
We still haven't quite gotten things ready for the baby. The biggest task is moving Nicole's computer out of the room which has been heretofore "Nicole's Office" and will soon become "The Baby's Room". We really need a bigger house, there's no way around it, but it's not gonna happen for a few years yet. (I would always like, ideally, to be able to make a downpayment on a new house before selling the old one, to have lots of time to move, but I know that that often doesn't happen. Still, if Nicole gets a big book advance or something...)
Anyway, on Friday night we managed to raise the crib bottom up from the lower level to the higher one, suitable for a baby who can't stand up yet. Yesterday we did approximately zilch. Tonight, though, we were strong, and we almost finished clearing a space in our bedroom for Nicole's computer desk. ...But not quite. We picked up a bunch of junk off the floor, and managed to get rid of one of the boxes that has probably been traveling with us from move to move(sometimes with different contents)since I first left Grande Prairie to go to University. I remember getting it from the bottle depot. But then we decided that before we moved too much stuff into the room, we should vacuum...and that was the gumption trap. Work was done for the night.
I did find, while we were cleaning, an old chessboard which I assume is mine, though I don't really remember it. Simon's been having a lot of fun playing with a magnetic one that's a combination chess/checkers/backgammon, but this one has actual wood pieces that are a little bigger, and are a bit nicer, so I thought he might enjoy it a bit more. He seems to be, so far. I know he doesn't really need two chess sets, but hey, I'm sure I had two at some point, too.
458. Talking Heads: The Facts of Life, from Naked
On "Naked" it sometimes seemed like the Talking Heads abandoned a bit of the indirectness of some of their earlier lyrics and were a bit more direct and biting. This song is mostly about the true nature of love, and other emotions, as mere biological impulses, which really seems a little bit bitter, but David Byrne does have a bit of a point. It does seem likely that we share our emotions with animals, but our sense of reason is uniquely ours.
457. Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians: A Globe of Frogs, from Globe of Frogs
This is one of the few Robyn Hitchcock songs where I think his weird vision gels successfully with the musical accompaniment, which at times is only sparse percussion. The imagery throughout the song is surreal, but makes a bizarre sort of sense.
"Lloyd, you know how stupid I am about moves." --Frederick Fellowes, "Noises Off"
For, you see, Erik came to me a while ago with the suggestion that I "Barkeep" a game of YORL sometime. I was somewhat willing, but then he became busy and nothing much has happened on his end; so I have decided that maybe I should just go ahead and try to get something set up. I thought that doing it as a private collaborative blog would be ideal, so I've set one up. Any of my readers who are interested in participating, let me know. I envision the possibility of multiple games going on, if this catches on, because I wouldn't want more than, say, eight Bards in a game. But I'll settle for three.*
I have a big list of potential story-elements, but they are a fairly mixed bag of SF and fantasy and everything in between. I would be willing to consider proposals for different mixes as well, in case people wanted to play a serious mainstream game(and that could be enforced by the Barkeep).
So if you are interested, let me know, and I will send you an invitation to the YORL Blog, and when there's a few people interested, we can get started, because people can always join later. It'll be fun!
I have recently considered dipping my toe into Usenet again, though, reappearing on alt.callahans and alt.pub.coffeehouse.amethyst and talk.bizarre. Some of the writing exercises I've done for the Cult of Pain would make excellent posts for talk.bizarre. I rarely actually post first-person accounts like this on talk.bizarre, because my life is in general not bizarre enough to be worth putting there. But it is a great place to put story fragments and exercises I don't know what to do with.
At the very least, I'm considering trolling there for blog readers. I'm sure there are some people in each place who remember me and who would like to read more about what's up with me. I might get another couple of regular readers, anyway. At the moment I'm at about 13 hits a day, over half of those still Google searches.
One recent one was actually for "Den of Ubiquity" and "Peter Watts". That's pretty specific--who the heck was that? Those kind of searches always puzzle me, because the searchers don't come forward and identify themselves. Unless that's like the title of a Peter Watts story or something...
I spent a lot of time writing up that YORL thing, and researching the origin of the game. I ended up burning some stuff onto CD so I could unzip my Ackanomic stuff--well, I didn't need to, but now I have over a gigabyte free on that drive, so I feel better about decompressing things.
What else...oh, I'm reading The Bourne Ultimatum and actually enjoying it, more than I did the second book in the series. Still, I'm only about a third of the way through the book and a few too many things seem to be wrapped up...which makes me wonder which ones actually aren't yet... It'll take me a few more days, I imagine. It may also lose a bit of time to Uncle Tungsten, the Oliver Sacks book, which if nothing else might be easier to pick up and put down when I just need to kill thirty seconds while downloading my email or something.
And now it really is time for another installment of my countdown of my 750 favourite songs:
470. Talking Heads: Houses In Motion
"Remain In Light" might be the pinnacle of the Talking Heads' recording career, though there were certainly other high points. This is a fairly representative song from the album, at least the second half where the songs were more normal length, full of intricate African rhythms and surreal lyrics.
469. Was(Not Was): I Feel Better Than James Brown
I wish the Wases weren't so big into producing these days, because they turned out some great stuff while they were recording. I forget which one does the spoken bits, but this is his tour de force, totally bizarre and often humorous, with a little bit of funk in the background.
I'm actually reading a short story in the latest issue of OnSpec right now. I have a weird system for reading SF magazines. I used to treat them just like books, or at least a type of book, but I started to find that a little unsatisfying. At one point, during one of my many reorganizations of my reading system, I decided that I would read two stories from a magazine after every book I finished. That held up for a while, but eventually it fell by the wayside. I really just enjoy novels better than short stories, when it comes down to it. So sometimes after I finish a book I read a few stories, but lately I've been only managing to go through one issue of OnSpec every three months, which is coincidentally how often they come out. I have a few issues of Asimov's and F&SF that I may never get to, at this rate. It doesn't distress me unduly.
I'm still undecided on my next book, but unless I get a strong feeling otherwise I may just go into Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Ultimatum. I've read the other two books, though the second was far inferior to the first. I'm curious to see if Matt Damon can pull off Jason Bourne in the movie. But basically it is just the thickest book on the shelf, since we have it in hardcover for some reason(probably bought it remaindered), and I will have room for more books on my "to-be-read" shelf if I take it off. I will have less space in my backpack when I take it to work, though. It will be more exercise while I read it. Heh.
There's another couple of library books coming in, too, that I will want to read. Permanence, the latest from Karl Schroeder, is in, and so is Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks. The latter is nonfiction, so it doesn't go into my main stream of reading--it's only there to distract me from my fiction books. He's a bit hit-or-miss, but The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat was great, and An Anthropologist On Mars was pretty good, too. Awakenings was pretty dry, A Leg To Stand On was slight, and I didn't make it all the way through Migraine(sounds like it should be the setup for a joke, doesn't it?), though it did have some interesting information. And I still have the Peter Watts short story collection--and the Gene Brewer I just finished was a library book too. Sometimes I wonder why I still go to the library when I have so many books to read...but there are still books that I either want to read before the paperback and instead of shelling out for the hardcover, as well as authors that I am curious about but don't want to commit to. So I go.
I haven't been listening to much from the library this week, though I did listen to "Gedida" by Natacha Atlas. That was a good album; I do often like songs in other languages, and musically it was right in my comfort zone. Better than any of the Ofra Haza I've heard, anyway. One song in English and one in French, the rest in Arabic.
I actually found a CD I wanted to buy in a bargain bin at the grocery store today--"Miles From Our Home" by the Cowboy Junkies. I'm not always completely sold on them, and find some of their albums to be bland and undistinguishable, but this one did make it onto my wishlist, mostly based, I recall, on the title track, one of their most upbeat in years, and "Hollow As A Bone". Well, it was only $9, so it should be worth that much, at least. I was also briefly tempted by Shania Twain's self-titled album, but while I did like "Come On Over", I don't have that much confidence that I will like all her stuff. "The Woman In Me" didn't impress me overly, for instance. (Has she come out with anything new? I don't recall having heard anything about it... But it should be about time for a followup stumble.)
Steam levels low--signal countdown mode!
472. Terence Trent D'Arby: This Side of Love
I still haven't managed to reconcile myself to the first song I ever heard by Terence Trent D'Arby, "If You Let Me Stay", which I still find really annoying. But I liked most of the other songs I heard from his first album, and especially this one, from his second album, "Neither Fish Nor Flesh". (It's got a longer subtitle, but I will spare you it.) In general he's pretty uneven, and from what I gather unbearably pretentious, but this song will let me forgive him for a little while.
471. Double: Devil's Ball
I believe Double is either Dutch or Swiss, I can't remember which. Their biggest hit was probably "Captain of Her Heart", but I like this one, from their "Dou3le" album, better. Kurt Maloo has a disarmingly bland voice, which is kind of charming, but this song benefits most obviously from rich orchestration and some great solos on trumpet and violin. The trumpet player was, apparently, on checking the album credits, Herb Alpert! Cool. That may be the best music Herb Alpert made in the 80's...
Might as well go for a soda, nobody hurts, nobody cries. --Kim Mitchell, "Go For Soda"
1. Complete the following- I started blogging because:
...I needed somewhere to air my opinions, I guess. I feel like they are worth something, even if I don't necessarily have a special insight that nobody else in the world has. Or,
...I totally related to the urge to want to share something with the world, but not want to actually go to all the trouble of writing up an HTML file and uploading it to my web site. I am devoted to content over surface on the Web, and so I try to provide content.
Neither of those answers I find particularly satisfying. They sound more like "why I blog", not "why I started blogging". Sandra Kasturi first mentioned blogging(on the SF Canada mailing list), and several months later I got around to checking it out. From what she had described, it did satisfy my urge for easier expression on the Web. So I guess that's why I started.
2. Do you believe in love at first sight? Explain your answer.
This is a tough one, really, and it rests on the whole multiple overlapping definitions of "love". The Ancient Greeks wouldn't have the same problem with it, for instance.
I am willing to believe that two people can become instantly attracted to each other on first sight, and if they realize that it is a shared attraction then this will make it easier for them to reach a higher level of initial intimacy. But to say that this is "love" is going a bit far. It may very well lead to the passionate sort of love, where everything's very physical and their senses are heightened. But at first sight, how are you going to know if the other person has some deep emotional issues which will lead em to break your heart a year later? Or, more prosaically, if they have an incredibly annoying laugh which drives you away minutes later?
So, if you are willing to define "love at first sight" as "an initial, purely sight-based attraction which happens at the beginning of a long-term loving relationship", then sure. But if you want to include cases that have the attraction but don't go into the long term, then I'm not quite as sure.
By the way, I remember reading a theory that one's brain is, to some extent, hard-wired to find attractive people who are good genetic matches for you, as much as you can recognize it from surface appearance. It's an interesting theory, though difficult to prove.
3. What is the hardest decision you’ve had to make? What were the results of that decision? Would you make that same decision looking back on it now?
This is a tough one. Some decisions I now regret, for instance, seemed completely easy at the time, but in hindsight there were much better choices I wasn't even considering. The best I've been able to come up with was the decision to move back down to Edmonton to start working at Vectoron.
Nicole had a perfectly good job in Grande Prairie at the time, working full-time at the college library. I had been working part-time at Terranet doing some system administration, but it went under, so I started looking for other work. At the time I thought I wanted to keep doing system administration, so that's what I was mostly looking for, and I was looking in both Grande Prairie and Edmonton, because the job I wanted seemed more likely to surface in Edmonton.
So I applied to Vectoron, and I got an interview, and they offered me a job. It did, of course, entail moving down to Edmonton, which was a major decision but seemed inevitable at the time. I liked living in Grande Prairie, with my parents both close by, and Nicole's parents much closer; I was quite involved with the theatre scene, the city was small enough to not have big-city problems, but large enough to have a lot of amenities, and I'd grown up there so I knew it quite well. But Edmonton had more opportunities, and it was likely that whatever job I wanted would end up being in Edmonton. (I might well have gotten the Joseki job if I hadn't taken the Vectoron one, and I believe there was one offer that I had to turn down after I started at Vectoron.)
So it wasn't actually moving back to Edmonton that was the bad decision--it was the Vectoron job. We were really exchanging Nicole's income for mine, which was part of the bargain that I would try to provide for her to do her writing, and when she became a rich and famous author, she would support my laying about the house doing nothing. (Still waiting for that part, unfortunately...) And I have never been in a situation where I felt comfortable saying no to a job offer...but I should have in that case, because we did have an income at the time. But at the time it sounded like a good job, except for the having to move part.
Actually, it could have been harder; of the two(competing, I later realized)people who offered me jobs at Vectoron, the first one would have involved actually living in Fort McMurray, somewhat to the northeast of Edmonton, working on-site for one of Vectoron's customers. And that would have really sucked. So I'm glad I didn't have to make that decision, either.
4. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I'm presuming here that I am strictly changing myself, not my circumstances, so I can't say, "I'd like to be rich". Well, if I'm working within the bounds of everyday possibility, I would probably like to lose some weight. I used to be skinny before I got married. If I were able to choose anything, I'd certainly like to have Professor X's mind control powers, or failing that, to not have a need for sleep, like the Sleepless in Nancy Kress's Beggars In Spain, only without the social persecution.
5. Why haven’t you done so?
Losing weight? Well, I am doing so somewhat desultorily, but only because it's annoying have to look for pants at the upper edge of the department-store size range. I'm not particularly good at the dieting side of it, having apparently developed a bit of a sweet tooth through years of access to Nicole's baking. If she goes back on her carbohydrate-reduced diet after the baby's born, I might have a better chance. And exercising--well, that takes time I'd often rather spend sitting on my butt at the computer. And often it involves going outside, which I regard as an inferior option compared to inside. No bugs and better environmental control(to some extent--the house can get quite hot in summer, though, but if I spend my time in the nice cool basement...).
6. What public figure/celebrity would you have an intimate encounter with if given the chance?
If you mean by "intimate encounter" what I think you mean, there is absolutely no question in my mind that Jennifer Connelly tops the list.
7. Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life?
Throughout my adolescence I was inspired by Isaac Asimov. He had an amazing clear way of describing science which probably set me on the road to wanting to learn about it, and through him I got into reading science fiction as well. Though I think I got into fantasy more from Dungeons & Dragons...and into music partly through my brother, but mostly through MuchMusic(the Canadian video channel). As for writing, I got my original start through my Grade 6 Language Arts teacher, John Atkinson, and helping me throughout the years have been my wife, Candas Jane Dorsey, and of course the Cult of Pain.
8. Where do you want to see yourself a year from now?
Ideally, I would like to see myself taking a big long sabbatical after Nicole gets a nice high five-figure book advance. I'd maybe go back to doing some theatre, or look into volunteering at the university radio station. Or doing more writing. I would be spending a lot of time watching both children, of course--our second will probably be starting to walk by then, and Simon will be almost old enough to start playschool or something.
More reasonably, I'll probably still be working at Joseki, but maybe back to fewer hours. I'll be doing a lot of Java work, and a budding expert in refactoring. No theatre, though Nicole's dad may have retired by then(and my dad has made some hints as well), and if so there might be two grandparental babysitters nearby, and my dad has already said that in such a circumstance he'd be willing to babysit while I was in a play. But we'd have to see--my blogging would be curtailed as well.
Oh, and I hopefully will have done some revision on The Shadow & The Flame, and maybe even sent it out to an agent if it's any good. I will be putting off starting revision on this year's NaNoWriMo novel.
9. What completely repulses you in another person?
I don't think I'm that easily repulsed, but one former Joseki employee had this habit of chuckling to himself during conversations. I wasn't sorry to see him go. People who constantly interject cliches into their conversation and then laugh at their own wittiness(despite having said the exact same thing dozens of times before)can really get on my nerves, too.
Physically, I'm pretty open-minded, but really skinny women turn me off.
10. What's one thing you do when you think no one else is around or looking?
Pick my nose. I'm sorry, but I do. Sometimes I chew the skin off my cuticles, too, and give myself lots of hangnails that way. At least I don't chew my nails anymore.
I also sing along with my favourite-song tapes in the car, but I secretly hope that the person in front of me will like the same song, read my lips in the rear-view mirror, and instantly conceive an opinion of me as a Really Cool Person. So far it hasn't happened, or if it has they've never been able to find me to tell me so. (Especially because in Alberta cars don't have license plates on the front, only on the rear.)
Counting down again, what the heck:
474. Belinda Carlisle: Summer Rain
I confess, I like the drama and tragedy of this song(from her "Runaway Horses" album), and the harmony on the chorus. It can move me to tears if I'm in the right mood, and say what you will about emotional manipulation, that still counts for me.
473. ABBA: Gonna Sing You My Lovesong
This song, from their "Waterloo" album, is so incredibly 70s in some ways, but for some reason I really like the chorus. It seems to come just a little in advance of the beat, or something, and it lifts it above most of the silly pop on the album.
Tom wrote in a comment to the previous entry that he doubted that the monkeys I mention could ever produce Shakespeare.
Re: monkeys on typewriters . . .
I think that it would be impossible that one single monkey would actually be typing Shakespeare. I think it would actually be more likely that a given number of them may stumble upon a patter of letters that they each put together separately, and when put together could form Shakespeare's works. No. Wait. I think it's more likely that at some point in this infinity, each monkey will likely type at least one real word, and at some point all of the monkeys together will have produced every word known to man. The putting-together part is just too unfathomable - it's asking far too much of beings who can't comprehend the written language without being explicitly shown how to understand it. Now if these were trained monkeys who could read . . . all bets are off. But then it would render the original statement meaningless because they might as well be people. Therefore, I don't think monkeys could ever write Shakespeare. Some words, maybe. But no Shakespeare.
No, if there are actually an infinite number of monkeys, and they are typing random typewriter characters with equal probability(or at least with a non-zero probability of any given character at every stroke), then it is guaranteed that at least some of them will be typing any arbitrary string you would like to specify. Shakespeare, the Bible, Faulkner, Danielle Steel, "David Copperfield" backwards, and countless stories of such ineffable beauty as to make hardened souls weep.
The fact is that if there are an infinite number of tests taking place simultaneously, then any possible result of that test with a non-zero chance of occurring will, in fact, occur at that moment. Infinity does strange things to probability, which is why it's difficult to postulate infinity in the real universe. The only difficulty with finity, of course, is that you have to then postulate a reason for things to be finite, a discontinuity. Infinity can be explained as "always having existed". A finite amount is harder to explain away.
A much different question is how many, sub-infinite, monkeys would be required under certain conditions to give a certain probability of a certain string being generated. And I grant you that those numbers are likely quite high indeed.
Since it's so late here, I'll go straight into the countdown now. I will try to maybe answer my Blogger Insider questions tomorrow, to compensate my loyal and faithful readers for the perceived paucity of this entry.
476. Elvis Costello: Pills & Soap
I used to hate Elvis Costello, based almost entirely on the song "Everyday I Write The Book", which I thought was just, well, stupid. But I did like his version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", and my brother worked away on me for a while, and finally I gave the "Punch The Clock" album a try and got to like it. This was one of my early favourites on the album, a somber diatribe on the media done with mostly piano and vocals, and I still think it's a very strong arrangement. (And I could still swear that Tricky samples the piano line on the Nearly God album for the song "Black Coffee".)
475. Squeeze: Hits of The Year
I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to like "Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti", because I'd never heard of Squeeze at all until "Last Time Forever". This song, a quirky number about airline hijacking(which has taken on a whole new layer of meaning in the last nine months or so), convinced me to buy the album, and I still like it better than many of their others that I've heard(though admittedly I'm deficient on their early catalogue). I've seen it bashed by a lot of critics, though(one did agree with me that it was better than "Babylon And On", at least), but that never bothered me much.
The Klein bottle is half empty, which is why I take all those colourful pills.