Friday, July 08, 2005
Unfortunate Greeting Cards
A letter to the local crackheads
Housekeeping Monthly's 'A Good Wife's Guide'
My personal favorite: "Don't ask him questions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him."
Changes come to Seasame Street
I have a very ambiguous relationship with art. See, I was an actor once upon a long while ago, and I like to think that I was at the very least a competent one. I lived the life of a denizen of the theater. I woke up, went to classes (later to a day job), rehearsals in the evening, shows at night, repeat daily. When I wasn’t in the cast, I would help out on the tech side: sound or lighting design or tech, set construction or destruction, whatever was needed on whatever show was going on at the time.
It was a completely different world. I remember with clarity the heated arguments about every last nuance of every last action, utterance or business. It was deadly serious that the person you were delivering a monologue to stood with her weight on the up or downstage foot. If the set couch were slightly angled, or otherwise not on its mark, this was a real problem.
The odd thing is that I’ve left that world. I haven’t been on stage in about a decade, and that was dinner theatre, so it probably doesn’t even count. So, I’m not in that world anymore. I look back at the effort that went into the minutiae of each production. Was it really crucial that I have a 30 minute discussion with the director about whether or not I should carry the pen for the scene, or put it down on the table half way through? I can say with certainty that, at the time, it was very important, not only to me, but to the director as well.
Not only were these things important to us, but they were important to the audience, or at least we saw it as so. If the ambient sound cue came in a split second to early or late, then the audience wouldn’t be in the right place emotionally when it came time for the lead character’s admission. If this didn’t happen, then we as artists wouldn’t have done our job well enough to affect the audience. We wanted our art to have an impact on them.
So now when I look at photographs for the photography class, I see a lot of things. I enjoy a technically precise image. I love thoughtful and even playful images. But there are some that I really don’t like. And the main reason that I find coming up again and again is that they look too pretentious. The artist that wants to cut to the core of what it means to be human generally ends up boring me. That’s not to say by any means that photography, or any form of art cannot do just that, it is just that I find myself irritated with those who fail at it(in my estimation).
There are artists who explain their photography and enlighten me. I can look again at their photographs and see something more, something deeper, but there are some pieces that I have enjoyed until I hear the artist describe the meaning behind the image. Then when I look again at the photo that I had enjoyed, I just think of what the artist said, and suddenly I don’t like the photo as much.
Have I distanced myself so far from the world of art that I can no longer appreciate the artists that want to change the world? Do I now exist in a world where the placement of a certain phrase is vital to me and irrelevant to those outside my sphere? Are the crucial arguments I have now only to be curious artifacts to a future me?
This is interesting to me mainly because I'm amused at the indignation that some have about it. I mean, lets face it, outside of Japan, Cuba and some US protecterates, baseball is not an international sport. Having it in the Olympics is just silly. It would be like putting American football in, or the Austrailian variety. Heck, even cricket is a more international game, not that I would want to see that in the Olympics (although some would dissagree with me on that).
Maybe it's time we cut back on the number of sports. I would be in favor of having a couple different versions of the Olympics. Number one would be the True Olympics. Only a few track and field events, but everyone competes nude. Number two would be what we've got now. Number three would be what we've got now plus steroids. That way all the impotent men could have their venues. Sure, they would only live to 40, and their time on earth after 30 would be a living hell, but that would be a small price to pay for a 2 minute mile, right?
Oh, yeah this needs to be in the olympics too. I mean, come on, just look at it!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
I feel like I should put something up about the
I've been working all day since then, so I haven't been in full CNN BBC saturation mode, which is probably for the best, but I'll get that when I go home. Maybe I'll be able to get it in perspective then.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
More proof that my brother the Fish rocks:
Are you sure you wanted that bootleg Star Wars DVD?
My personal favorite quote is when Anakin admits that he was made by the Presbyterian Church.
Propaganda just ain’t what it used to be. (movie)
HUGE STORMS ALWAYS HAPPEN!!!!
Coke and World of Warcraft team up in
Girl gamers who are also rock stars? Coke is really working that target market, aren’t they?
It seems as though my the Fish is attempting to turn Asian...
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Ack! I’m been memed!
Thanks to Stewgad for the dubious honor of being subjected to:
The Meme With No Name!
1. What are the three stupidest things you’ve done in your life?
a. Trying to get that girl to be interested in me even though I knew better. I already told her that I liked her and she had, quite kindly, turned me down. I thought if I just kept at it she would change her mind.
b. Hanging on to the hope that a different girl would come around and realize that I was better than him. I still, to this day, get floored when I smell the perfume that she wore.
c. Trying to build myself into a bar-hopping social butterfly. I’m not. I never was. And really, I never wanted to be, but there was a period when I tried to become that.
2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?
a. I realize that everyone idolizes their first big name advisor, but I’d probably still have to say Professor Advisor. He really represents a lot of what I hope to be able to do in academia. He is brilliant at a level that I don’t think I can reach, but what I’m more impressed with is how he handles himself. He never seems to be overly in awe of himself. He is one of the few people I know who seems to have no fear of admitting ignorance, even within his own field, although I admit this happens very rarely, simply because he is preternaturally aware of who is doing what research where and how . He constantly lets people know where they need to be improving, but without forgetting to tell them that he sees what they have been achieving. He is an extraordinarily kind man, and yet he gets things done.
3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?
a. I’m not sure I could answer this without making very clear what I study, but lets see if I can go vague enough…Mark Twain, Confucius, Jesus, Elizabeth I, and maybe…Michelangelo. That would be a nice group I think.
4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?
a. Hey, I’m not proud, how about a superball win? Aren’t wishes supernatural by nature?… I would have to go for excellent health and happiness for me and mine, you and yours (is that #2? Or #s 2-5?). Assuming I’ve got one wish left, how about… A government that puts education above all else. Nah, that's definately supernatural...
5. Someone is visiting your small town. Name two things you regret your city not having and two things people should avoid.
i. Functional, reliable and 24-hour public transportation
ii. Culture of the non-WASPish variety
i. All of the Chinese restaurants
ii. All the STDs over in the student’s quarter
6. Name one event that has changed your life.
a. Probably the most influential thing that ever happened to me was moving out of the small town where I grew up. I’m so glad that I did grow up there, but, at 16, I was already getting more than a little but antsy. If my mom’s company hadn’t moved her, I like to think that I would have gotten out anyway, but it would have taken me a lot longer, I think. The way it happened, I was able to move out into the big bad world, but not all at once. Being able to stay with my mom for the rest of high school in the major city where we moved was a great way to move out of the small town in my mind bit by bit.
After doing that, I think I might build a couple of those answers into a full-blown posts. I guess that’s what memes are supposed to do, right. Hmm... makes me think. Thank you very much Mrs. Stewgad
I think just about everyone I read has already done this one, so I’ll risk bad luck and let this meme-trail dry up here unless you read this and feel a great need to keep it going. In which case, please do, and enjoy!
I really think that good writers should be rewarded with sales. However, while I was waiting for the fireworks yesterday, I dropped by the local chain bookstore monstrosity and read this book, and then put it back on the shelf, so I’m trying to make myself feel better by telling you guys to go buy it.
If you have read any of David Sedaris’ other books (I can't recommed Me Talk Pretty One Day highly enough), then you certainly don’t need me telling you to go buy this book, just go do it. If you haven’t, I’m not sure what to tell you. Let’s see if this clears it up.
I saw his lecture a while back when he was on tour promoting a collection of short stories. The lecture series always provides a sign language interpreter. Ok, before I go on, this is pretty lurid, so hide the kids.
It’s a crime to paraphrase this man, but for the sake of praise, the basic story was that he is taking a taxi from the airport to his sister’s house and the driver figures out that Sedaris is gay. He tries to tell him that he needs to get a women, and hey, he’s got a wife and a woman on the side and that’s what a man needs, yadda yadda, ending with the suggestion that David needed to go home and watch some lesbian porn. Anyway, David kind of snaps at the driver, saying that no, he’s not going to do that. The conversation goes downhill.
When he gets to his sister’s house, she pulls out a great find from a garage sale or trash can or somewhere. It’s an old 70’s European porn magazine. They look though it, laughing like crazy. There’s a pictorial in it about, you guessed it, lesbians. But, there’s also a horse. And a blowjob. So, in the end, he actually went one better (or worse) than the driver’s suggestion.
Ok, so naturally, the story as he told it is infinitely funnier than my depiction, but here’s the best part of the whole thing. All the time he’s been telling the story, the sign language interpreter, as professional as she can be under the circumstances, is giving an account of the story.
In the beginning of the lecture, it seemed that she was trying to spell out the more explicit of Sedaris’ vocabulary, but when she got to the part with the horse, she was using broad gestures, that, well, I don’t know any sign language, but I think I understood what she was saying.
Looking back on that I’m not sure that that will sell anyone on Sedaris’ books. Maybe I should have written about the time he got a job at Macy’s as one of Santa’s elves. That was hilarious.
I liked this book a lot. Briefly, the concept behind this book is to use economic strategies to inform problems not immediately identified with economics by the general population. The most famous is the assertion that the legalization of abortion was one of the most influential causes of the dramatic drop in the crime rate of the mid-late eighties for which he make a pretty good argument. He also covers the effects of names on the success of children, cheating among high school teachers and several more.
I'm not going to get too deep into analysis of this book, but if you are interested in the least, it is written in a very readable style and is otherwise very friendly to the non-specialist. I recommend it. I only wish there were a bit more.
So, Mad Hot Ballroom.
I really did like it, but I will admit that it’s a bit obvious. All the clichés you could expect are there for a heart-warming feel-good movie – my apologies, I ran out of clichés myself. I think one of the things that keeps me happy going to movies is really low expectations, but for this one, I actually expected a great film, and maybe that’s why I’m not as blown away as a lot of other people have been. Again, that’s not to say it’s a bad film. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone at all.
For me, the most moving part of it all is watching the kids try to deal with the competition and fitting it into their world. Some of the funniest moments are in interviews where the kids talk about the opposite sex. Even then, though, they caught me off-guard a couple of times. One of the girls mentions that eleven year old girls are prime targets for kidnappings. Partly from the matter-of-fact way she says it, and partly because the girl next to her doesn’t seem to understand what she means, it was a very interesting moment.
A good flick with flashes of insight and depth
I forgot how I was rating these things. Was it out of ten? Then how about an 8 for this one? Ok? Ok.
Also, I forget where I found this link, but there was a tough fight to get the rights to the music used in the film. Take a look here.