Dream of the Dragon

Month: September, 2011

Atomic Speak (Kimota)

by Justin

This made every meal an ordeal for Dirac: he had no talent for languages, and his father was an unforgiving teacher. Whenever Dirac made a slip – a mispronunciation, a wrongly gendered noun, a botched subjunctive – his father made it a rule to refuse his next request. This caused the young Dirac terrible distress. Even at that time, he had digestive problems and often felt sick when he was eating, but his father would refuse him permission to leave the table if he made a linguistic error. Dirac would then have no option but to sit still and vomit. This did not happen just occasionally, but over and over again, for years.

-from The Strangest Man: The Secret Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

I was/am working on a piece about the final collisions at the Tevatron, the premiere atom smasher in this country. That sprawling beast of a story, about the history and legacy of the sprawling underground beast that is the Tevatron, dominated the past three months. Particle physics is a lovely and dangerous subject for writers. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Creatures

by Justin

TROI: So you like horses for the romance?

PICARD: It goes deeper than that. A fine war mare would sleep in a bedouin’s tent, carry him into battle, feed his children with her milk. There’s a bond which is created by mutual need. Hello, beautiful.

TROI: Now I understand. You don’t want the comfort of a pet, you want a companion.

(Picard hands her his riding crop while he tacks up) 

PICARD: Thank you. I don’t want to anthropomorphize anything. It seems that some creatures have the capacity to fill spaces you never knew were empty. Read the rest of this entry »


by Justin

A selection from Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” – this ought to be mandatory reading for all writers, artists, and humans.

You kept from thinking and it was all marvelous. You were equipped with good insides so that you did not go to pieces that way, the way most of them had, and you made an attitude that you cared nothing for the work you used to do, now that you could no longer do it. But, in yourself, you said that you would write about these people; about the very rich; that you were really not of them but a spy in their country; that you would leave it and write of it and for once it would be written by some one who knew what he was writing of. But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all. The people he knew now were all much more comfortable when he did not work. Africa was where he had been happiest in the good time of his life, so he had come here to start again. They had made this safari with the minimum of comfort. There was no hardship; but there was no luxury and he had thought that he could get back into training that way. That in some way he could work the fat off his soul in the way a fighter went into the mountains to work and train in order to burn it off of his body.

Really, it comes down to that last sentence and dreams of recreating the training sequence in Rocky IV – mountainsides vs. laboratories. Mountains are the dreams of the earth, you know. Read the rest of this entry »