Sign After the X ____ by Marina Roy

by Valerie MacEwan


The Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof of the Existence of X

To attempt to extract from a purely arbitrary idea the existence of an object corresponding to it is a quite unnatural procedure and a mere innovation of scholastic subtlety.
— Immanuel Kant

X lives the life. That x sure gets around: a poser, a kiss, a savior, a TV series, an abbreviation, a symbol. There’s nothing x can’t do. X provides us with a sense of recognition, almost approval, and stands for whatever we cannot know, and becomes the known. It’s the power of magnification, the demarcation of explicitedness in a sexual act represented in film and video, and strangely enough, x is the symbol for Amsterdam. Marina Roy, in Sign After the X ____, takes us on a journey to x, the land of graphemes, mathematical symbols, and subversive texts.

cover art

Sign After the X ____

Marina Roy

(Advance Editions, an imprint of Arsenal Pulp Press, and Artspeak)

The biography of X.

X is a junior high scamp. XYZ = examine your zipper. X mocks us. Hobos used to warn other hobos with an x meaning “Don’t knock here.” X-men have extraordinary powers and their mutant leader is Professor Xavier (Professor X).

There’s more to x than meets the eye. As Roy considers the implications of x as it supports the notion of itself in the television series The X-Files, we begin to understand the complexities of x, all the possibilities. This is the part where your head begins to spin uncontrollably.

In some ways, The X-Files does not seem to follow a postmodern formula. It avoids an overly cynical point of view. Its motto is “The truth is out there,” suspending disbelief in the name of a higher purpose, a hidden universe of transcendent meaning. It often leaves you hanging by a thread. The conclusions of a show never completely resolve the trouble surrounding the appearance of paranormal activity. Instead the thread is picked up in the next episode, the thin life-line of belief holding up to all scientific and rational pressure. Scully straddles the two worlds of the paranormal and scientific community (see xenobiology), acting as the bridge of suspended disbelief that the viewer tends to relate to. In some ways, however, the show is postmodern in terms of creating a serial universe of self-referentiality. No episode is ever quite self-sufficient, often alluding to previous episodes.

First you read Sign After the X____ . Then your brain explodes as you consider x. You start searching for it. Compelled to seek out its illusive presence, you are consumed with thoughts of x. Look for x. Mull over x. “Be” x. Roy gives us x and makes us think in x. But she warns us: “This book will disappoint anyone looking for rigorous research, a distinct category, or a fully developed subject. It is bricolage and the limits are x. But when one realizes that x also stands in for all that lies beyond the threshold of what is knowable, a pattern begins to emerge. This book finds its meaning at the point of intersection between all x-related terms within the realm of written and unwritten law.” So Roy is a wiley x-writer. She knows her x research is by no means complete. She adds: “But enough. Without further ado, I offer you, kind reader, the fruits of my whimsical and half-assed labour.”

Roy teaches Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia. In the book, she illustrates x with small drawings. Clever, insidious sidelights, the sketches reveal x in ways words cannot. Advance Editions, publisher of Sign After the X ____, is known for its “provocative genre-crossing literary and visual art books,” and copublishes the boook with Artspeak Gallery. Available in Canda, you’ll need to go to the Arsenal Pulp Press website to grab the book. It’s worth whatever route you have to traverse to secure a copy. Go to website x and buy x with x amount of dollars.

One small problem I encountered, which I remedied immediately. In publishing Sign After the X____, Roy left out an essential element. X = blank pages at the end of the book to add our own x. I bought an x notebook.

Some of my amazing x discoveries:

In Latte (computer program) you can find your x.

{def {foo x}
The value of x is x}

Invoking this as {foo 17} produced a group containing The, value, of, x, is, and 17.

The new behavior is for user-defined functions to evaluate all subexpressions but return only the last one. So the example function foo, above, produces only 17 with the new version of Latte.

Whenever there’s foo and X, I’m thinking there’s bound to be a good time.

Relative Indicators of Ecosystem Value
This section provides insights into how to value an environmental asset, such as a wetland or forested buffer, or a conservation practice, such as a proposed wetland restoration or reforestation project, in terms of their relative value. The question that was the focus of the previous section dealing with absolute measures of value was: What is the dollar value of X or Y? The question that is the focus in this section is: Is the value of X greater or less than the value of Y?

X is a wetland. X is a forested buffer. But my favorite personal x is from the American Physical Society Constitution, because if physical scientists don’t embrace x, who does?

American Physical Society Constitution
At its November 1996 meeting, the APS Council began the Constitutional process to change the way the variable “X” in the APS Constitution and Bylaws determines when a shrinking Division or Forum loses Council representation. These changes follow a report by the APS Committee on Constitution and Bylaws on how the X system has worked, and recommendations by the Committee on appropriate adjustments. Taking into account members’ comments, which are hereby invited, a final decision on the bylaws and on the wording of the proposed Constitutional amendments will be made at the Council meeting in April. The proposed amendments will be submitted to the entire membership for a vote in the next general election mail ballot.

So, go out there and find your x. Use Roy’s book as your guide. Follow your x. Leave a trail of bread crumbs so we can find you.

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