It's Official...

Trailers are now infinitely cooler than movies. Sure those three-hour behemoths will still persist for a bit, but after seeing this I am convinced that their days are numbered. I spent the first thirty or forty minutes of the two-hour-plus Memoirs of a Geisha fixating on the minute long trailer for Sofia Coppola's new flick. Naysayers hush. It had everything to do with New Order, and (almost) nothing to do with Kirsten Dunst.



A Funny Thing Happened On My Way Downtown

Back in the goodol'days, before grad school, when I had both free time and disposable income, I watched a lot more movies than I do now. A LOT more. More than one should reasonably expect to see, or admit to seeing, in a given week/month/year. Not quite Cinemania-a-lot, but considerably more than a young, healthy, mentally fit and emotionally aware young person should be spending their time watching. So now that the semester is over, and I have a week off from work for holiday festivities and observances and the like... well, let the great movie binge begin!

I kicked things off with Must Love Dogs (surprised anyone?) partly because of an unepxpected reference to Say Anything by SeaMackey, and partly because of some unexpected seasonal something-or-other. Let's just say it was entertaining and leave it at that. Then it was The Chronicles of Narnia, aptly putting me in the Christmas spirit, baby-Jesus-style. It was fantastic in its not-so-subtle allegorical trajectory. Christmas Eve brought another long-standing Bernasek Family tradition: the annual viewing of A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre. I have witnessed the scared-straight reformation of one Ebenezer Scrooge over 25 times in this life, and it still doesn't fail to make me joyfully weepy. On Christmas it was another demonstrative offering: Opie-at-heart's Cinderella Man. One more Jersey-boy-makes-good story from Ron Howard. Keep em' coming. Monday was Imaginary Heroes, which was entertaining MST3K-style, but otherwise left a little to be desired. It was not sunny in any way at all, but if you like watching irredeemable @$$holes on-screen then by all means rush to your nearest Blockbuster.

And finally, yesterday I subjected myself to the three-hour mishmash that is King Kong. It goes without saying - but I'll say it anyway - that this "little" flick could benefit from some heavy editing (and a decent screenwriter - preferrably one without the predilections of a 13 year-old boy). Deep thoughts should not be wasted on this one - unless you're wondering how Peter Jackson could make better use of his CGI-obsessed "directorial" talent - still I'm wondering if this whole debacle wasn't an unintentional pitch for intelligent design. Perhaps what I mean to say is that it was really a convincing argument against evolution, or that this is my own brand of wishful thinking. I had a hard time watching all three hours of Kong and feeling comfortable with the "fact" that we're only a couple genetic steps away from our big fuzzy ape brothers.

Possibly my favorite scene: Adrien Brody risks life and limb in about a million preposterously CGI-laden ways to rescue the positively loopy Naomi Watts. As she wakes up from her blissful kitten-nap in the palm of Kong to see her recently forgotten flame eager to negotiate her rescue I could almost hear her thinking: You are more intelligent, more sensitive, and well... human, but... he's so strong.

Ugh. And double-ugh. It was only slightly more irritating to watch her fall into Brody's arms after her big fuzzy true-love had plummeted to his death from atop New York's famous phall... I mean, the Chrysler Building.

But no matter, these were all diversions. Sidelines from the main event. I've recently fallen into obsessive lust/like/love for a little tv show called House M.D. I don't have a tv at home, so I'm a little slow on the uptake for these things, but I'd rather gorge myself on an entire season of something in the space of a week or so, like I've been doing with House. [Besides that, now that I have access to cable at the 'rents' place, it keeps my off of the hard stuff: reality tv, and other shows with unforgivable boobs-to-plot ratios.] Like all obsessions, this one has some rather complicated ins-and-outs. After all, House can be irritatingly formulaic at times. It's not a great tv show, in the manner of Northern Exposure or The West Wing, but it's pretty entertaining, and I certainly have a soft spot for misanthropes with a heart of gold.

But really, the crux of the biscuit, so to speak, is in the show's semi-fictitious location: The Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, or some such nonsense. All of those swooping helicopter shots that they use to establish locale are images of the Princeton University campus, primarily the newly renovated student center, and well, that's home as far as I'm concerned. While driving up Washington Road on my way downtown the other day, I passed the student center - or should I say the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital - and worlds collided.

I could sit just about anywhere in Princeton - Palmer Square, for instance - and imagine an endless number of former selves walking and talking in past (and future) parallel universes. Memory being what it is, often mixing liberally with wishful thinking, these scenarios are rather untrustworthy at times, but now add a completely fictitious alternate plane to the mix... it wreaks havoc with my mental space. Though I knew better, I found myself thinking about House and his cohorts (oh, Dr. Cameron) walking around their imaginary turf, almost completely forgetting the always superior undergrads no doubt infesting the student center instead.

It can be rather daunting to have one's own personal mythology - which is really just a poetic way of saying you think the world revolves around you - but artifacts like House make it hard to deny that all-roads-lead-to-Princeton* in one way or another. After all, Bryan Singer is House's executive producer and sometimes director and guest star. Aside from being the director of The Usual Suspects both X-Men movies and the new Superman remake, this punk** went to my high school way back when. [Wikipedia article! Are you kidding!?] That could explain all of the sly references to Princeton locales and establishments that make their way into the show: episode #9 (DNR) prominently features one of those infamous yellow bags from the record store where I worked for a couple years after college.

Long story short, all of this contributes to my NEED to keep watching House.

12 episodes down, 9 to go in Season One. Season Two comes out on DVD... oh, jeez. Maybe I should be rationing these things out.

*Aside from Ron Howard's two NJ-epics (one actually taking place in Princeton), Imaginary Heroes sends up a shout out to Mr. Bryan Singer, and might as well take place in Princeton for all I know.
**For those of you keeping score at home, Ethan Hawke did a short stint at WW-P, too. My sister's ex-boyfriend used to ride with him to pop-warner football.


What The Hell!? Why Not?


The Red-Headed (Serbian) Step-Cousin Speaks Out!

Coturnix just posted a LONG write-up about BlogClass and his ruminations on blogs in schools/education. He also included a very comprehensive list of our final papers and where they're available on line. Thanks B!


Yes. Very much. Thank you.

Saw this on double-B today. Reminded me of a thought that use to plague me at traffic lights.

Red and yellow are commands. Green is a window of opportunity.

Most everyone takes it to mean "GO!", but what if I just want to sit this one out? I don't really like the look of things. I'm not in a hurry. I'll just wait for the next one, if that's ok.


An Irritating Realization:

BlogClass was the only thing keeping me from realizing how much I totally hate my job.


Other Holiday Traditions

I've lived in Hartford on-and-off since 1996 (ouch. that's, like, almost 10 years. ouch.). Whenever I'm around for the holidays I like to make an effort to take in one of the few things I actually love about this place. Cinestudio at Trinity College has an annual screening of Ron Fricke's Baraka. It can't really be adequately described, but the closest I can come (and still be nowhere near doing it justice) is to say that it's like Koyaanisqatsi, but good. Really good.

It's a curious thing that a movie dedicated to religious plurality and sometimes tainted with over-the-top new-agey-ness could put me in the Christmas spirit better than anything else - save the ghosts of Christmas past/present/future.

I'm going to Trinity to see it tonight, hoping that the seventh or eighth viewing will be as good as (or better) than the first. The first year I saw it I think I saw it three times (or more) in the week that Cinestudio was showing it. You should go, too (if you're close enough), but if you rent it and watch it on your tiny tv, don't blame me for any impending dissapointment. You really have to see it on this enormous screen (70mm ToddAO) that Cinestudio rolls out every year, and get washed away by soundn'vision.


Wisconsin Poet Laureate Orrell Coutts...

...and his tender ode to the cyclical nature of the artist's tactile perspicacity:

"Cashmere Bimestrial"


Screw You, Commerce-mas!

I haven't ventured out much this "holiday season". Not because I'm a curmudgeon, a misanthrope, or a humbug. Mostly because it's been work or school and not much else (except of course for all of that procrastinatin').

In the last week or so, I went to Stopn'Shop (out of necessity) and to Borders (to get a birthday present for my opo). These were not altogether unpleasant experiences, but they planted the seed for some seasonal unrest that I would very much like to expunge.

First it was Borders (where you are legally obligated to go on the weekends if you live in CT) and the oh-so-familiar strains of "Little Saint Nick". Hey, better Brian, Dennis and Carl (don't forget Mike Love and Al Jardine) than Manheim Steamroller, right? LSN is the Beach Boys' Christmas-flavored ode to Santa's woodie, best I can tell (get your minds out of the gutter! this is a Christmas story!), and as far as Christmas songs go... Hell, it's in a whole other category, like the Flaming Lips' "Christmas at the Zoo" or "Snowstorm" by Galaxie 500 (which I guess is not really a Christmas song per se, but...).

But then a few days later it was StopnShop (all the ingredientsTM!? for disaster!?) and "Merry Christmas Baby". Or maybe it was "The Man With All the Toys". I'm not sure, but it was definitely a choice cut from the Beach Boys' Christmas Album. My Beach Boys Christmas Album. That's right Commerce-mas, get your filthy blood-stained mits off of my Christmas memories!

I know, I know, Christmas With the Beach Boys (or the new expanded Beach Boys Ultimate Christmas, fer sure) does not spring from the pure fount of liturgical Christmas sentiment. You don't have to listen to the "very special Christmas message" from Dennis and the boys at the end of "Auld Lang Syne" to realize that there are one or two materialistic motives at play.
But up until recently, the Beach Boys Christmas Album was my Beach Boys Christmas Album. Every one else can have their faintly morbid "Carol of the Bells", and "Winter Wonderland" and the Barbara Streisand Christmas Album (for chrissakes), and whatever the hell else you're supposed to hear piped through the sound-system of establishments like StopnShop between Thanksgiving and New Years, but let's all just pretend that the Beach Boys Christmas Album is mine and mine alone. Ok?

Christmas With The Beach Boys has long been a part of the Bernasek family holiday festivities. At some point during the trimming of the tree Brian, Dennis, Carl, Mike and Al do their annual command performance. And somewhere around this time the noble patriarch makes his annual proclomation: Wow, we sure do have an eclectic collection of Christmas ornaments! And it is good. And it will be good, as long as you keep your sleazy paws off my Christmas you capitalist offender!

Oh, and by the way... when I say "album" I mean album, damn it! A vinyl rekkid' with snaps and pops and the hum of my dad's poorly grounded record player almost too loud to make it worth it. And two friggin' sides kiddies!

One of the only saving graces of this theft-of-Christmas has been that commercial enterprises haven't yet raped any of the selections from side-B. Side-A is all Christmas fare done up in sunny surf-tinged Beach Boys regalia - nothing to shake a long board at - but side-B? Oh, side-B! Here's the Christmas standards with schmaltzy studio orchestra arrangements ala Lawrence Welk, like the soundtrack to a Hallmark Holiday Special circa 1964 (however anachronistic that might be). Back when even you, Commerce-mas, had a twinkle in your eye.

That cloying, treacly sound is just what Christmas is all about, isn't it?

And here I admit to a fondness for a certain sacred/secular hybrid that will always be Cristmas in America. My Christmas is advent calendars and the smells-and-bells of Catholic High Holy Days, but it's also the unmistakable smell of an uprooted tree in the living room and claymation epics on the tube. It's all celuloid angels getting their wings and Dickensian skinflints getting their empathetic groove(s) on. It's quite possibly one of the only times of the year that emotionally guarded Northeasterners like myself can feel at one with the sentimental schlubs that they really are.


The other day my boss was eager to foist some folksy Christmas album on me, and though I relented - she is my boss, after all - I didn't try to hide my distaste. I'm sure she felt compelled by the something-or-other-of-the-holidays when she said "come on Eric, get in the Christmas Spirit!" To which I offhandedly replied "I don't want to be in the Christmas spirit... [and boil him in his own pudding and bury him with a stake of holly through his heart," said the grumble under my breath]. As the horrified gasps around me subsided, I realized I wasn't being entirely honest. I do want to be in the Christmas spirit. Just not yours, Commerce-mas.

"Nephew, keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine."


One Down. One To Go. *Hibernaculum, I've Got My Mind Set On You!

Linky, Link, Link.
is officially finito. Check out my obsession for the last several days. A semester well spent? I think so.

Now onto final paper/project/thiny #2...

(*Thanks to Jon for turning me on to this fantastic word.)


Spam Again

Wrap your minds around this. You MINDS, man!

"Re: material honey" by Mattie Kolb

Re-garding material honey. Dig that.


AudioBuzz, AudioSambot.

Sambot and I are inhabiting very similar psychic space right now, I think.

I am Sambot. Sambot I am. ...but probably not at all.


Are All The Good Poets Turning To Spam!?

digestion catamaran!? Cheers Merla Panther.

beefeater afflicted!? Kjellfrid Markie! Even your name is a lyrical gem.

Frankenstein nationality!? Haruko Weissman. That one actually makes a little sense now. Unburden yourself, Haruko.

And the simple, but elegant: ductless. (Anonymous)

I dropped my harmonica albert.


As If I Have Nothing Else To Do

Thought I'd change the layout one more time. Maybe this one will last more than a week. I think I like it. Except for the enormous comment count at the top of each post. Quantity = quality?

Btw, if anyone knows of a good blog-detox program I can check into some time next week, please let me know.


And Now, The Shocking Conclusion...

...to the John Seigenthaler (Sr.) saga. We were discussing this in class last week. It seems someone has "come clean", claiming that the false bio was only a joke.
Chase said he didn't know the free Internet encyclopedia called Wikipedia was used as a serious reference tool.


My Lunch With Andre

I've been watching one of my old favorites recently. A strict regimen of internet nonsense and peculiar movies to keep my mind limber.

The ghetto-DVD I'm watching doesn't (quite) have scene selections, so I'll have to put it this way: start at 46 minutes in or so to get an idea of just where I'm at today.

I think this one might be a good pick for next Thanksgiving at Marc's house.

Not wholly unrelated, here's a user's guide. Featuring this gem:
Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast."


For Those Of You Wondering...

I know I was. Check out some pics of coturnix/Bora on Flickr. Posted in response to Brett's template woes.


Linky, Link, Link. - Now Online

The original plan was to write my final paper/project/thing and then post it online in blog form (more or less all at once), but everything I learned in Blog Class suggested that would just be two steps backward. I wanted this thing to be a blog, so I'm blogging it damn it!

Trust the process.

Click on the link above to visit my final paper/project/thing/BLOG in progress.


Dear "Kizzie Hagopian"

Look, I know it's just spam, but if you keep using subject lines like "poignant kilometer" I'll just have to open it.


My John Lennon Anecdote

What with everyone reminiscing after the anniversary of Brother John's assassination it occurred to me that I have something to add, in a roundabout sort of way. Obviously I never met JL. Didn't know him personally. Actually the story is only peripherally about him, after all.

I'll get on with it now.

One of the better part time jobs I've had was acting as chauffeur and errand boy to one Gloria Emerson. Gloria had been in a car wreck shortly before I met her, and so I would shuttle her back in forth to physical therapy or the hairdresser, go grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning, mail letters (lots of letters) and other odds and ends.

Gloria was a very particular person. Not what one would consider "warm" or "friendly". At least not on the surface. She was, as I can best describe it, concerned. Deeply concerned about the people and the world around her.

Driving Gloria to and from physical therapy was always an intense experience. At the time she lived on Mercer Street - one of the busier two lane roads in downtown Princeton, NJ. She called the intersection of Mercer and Nassau Streets - where we had to make a rather "unprotected" left turn - "crash corner". I don't think we ever pulled up to that intersection without her exclaiming, rather excitedly, "be careful, here comes crash corner". I would try to focus on the task at hand, as best I could, ignoring her as much as possible without being rude. Any one of several Brian Eno albums would usually be on the car stereo, which I'm sure helped calm my frazzled nerves. I'm pretty sure Gloria appreciated it as well. I remember her being particularly fond of the Brian Eno/David Byrne album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts", and I can't listen to the Talking Heads song "Heaven" without hearing her say "Oh, I love it. It's so nihilistic."

I didn't really appreciate who Gloria Emerson was at that point. As far as I was concerned she was just a quirky lady who I ran errands for, who payed me generously, and who I was pretty fond of (mostly just after I'd dropped her off at home). It had been a year or so since I'd helped her pack up her things to move to Manhattan when I was up late watching Legends: John Lennon on VH1. Towards the end of the hour-long(?) run-down of JL's more noteworthy escapades I was roused from my sleepy stupor by a familiar voice. John and Yoko were the only ones on screen at first, but I could distinctly hear the concerned voice of Ms. Gloria Emerson coming from my TV. She was lecturing John and his companion on the ineffectiveness of their particular brand of social protest. One line stuck in my mind: "My dear boy, you're living in a never-never land!"

Instantly I was on any one of a hundred car rides with Gloria, cautiosly nearing crash corner, or parhaps walking the aisles of McCaffery's looking for margarine and Tabachnik's pea soup. I remember standing in the aisle in front of an entire wall of salad dressing, Gloria exclaiming "What is wrong with Americans! Why do they need so many varieties of salad dressing!?" I also remember, and will probably never forget, dropping her off one morning at the hair dresser. Just week's before a friend of mine had invited me to visit a Hare Krishna temple in north Jersey, and I'd taken home a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita. As I sat down in the lobby to read the Gita and wait for Glria to be done with her hair appointment, I heard her tell the receptionist and the hairdresser "It's very important that you don't disturb him. He's reading the Bhagavad-Gita!"

Though at the time I found Gloria's attention to be a bit of a nuisance, I consider it my great fortune to have been nagged by such a thoughtful (and yes, noteworthy) person. At that age (late teens? early twenties?) suffering through yet another inquisition of my plans for the rest of eternity... it was not a welcome occurrence. But somehow, hearing Brother John on the receiving end put things in a new light. Unlike most people inquiring about the details of my 80-year plan, there was a genuine interest and, yes, concern in Ms. Emerson's voice, as if anything could be a significant event in the unfolding of one's contribution to the rest of humanity.


Ohmygawdohmygawdohmygawd [or] I Guess The Answer To The Question: Will I Keep Blogging After Class Ends Is A Resounding YES!

(Snowed-in, I've been taking advantage of the unexpected gift of time to do research for my final project/paper/thing. Hence the numerous posts so far today.)

This thing makes the pop-music geek in me seize up with revelatory laughter. I have no doubt that this guy will appreciate it like few others can. It's his fault that I was able to "lose my shite" laughing at the whole "What A Fool Believes" epiphany scene.

Thank you Metafilter! Click here for the rest of the episodes.


Thought Where Thought Is Unrequired

The Real Paul Jones (w/ pic of Jonesy and other "Paul Jones" notables in his banner) tracks Spam Memes. There are only a handful of posts so far, but I'm glad to see that someone is paying attention. For my classmate(s) still bent out of shape re: Wikipedia v. Siegenthaler, this Jonesy features a couple posts.


BloggingOn x.o.x.o. - Post Class Regret

In putting together the footnotes for that last post, I stumbled onto Leon's "other blog". It's completely in Hungarian (I'm pretty sure), but chock full of personality and brimming over with great pictures. I'm dissapointed that I didn't find it sooner, and that I didn't make more of an effort to connect with its author. My apologies. Cheers Leon!


AudioClass (AudioSniffle) AudioBye.

Here's the footnotes (I hope this doesn't squash anyone's illusions of blogging anonymity, just my way of putting you all in the difital file drawer): Colin> Shante> JP> Erin> John> Bill> Mattyd> pangiuseppe> Chris> Brett> Holly> memey> Nile> Jeff> Transgenderedtrash> Gabor(?)> Leon> Joal> me.



Whoops! Delayed/Denied Gratification

I thought there was something a little stand-offish about this new layout. It wasn't accepting comments, but now it is (I hope). I had to turn off word-verification, so the comment spam may be in full effect again. Double-Grrr.


A Strange Request [or] Wake Me Up When Dinner Ends

I know millions of people have the same problem. Nobody seems to enjoy the holidays- everyone complains about how hard they are. But really most people are only playfully bummed out about the holidays, not really facing sheer and total anxiety. They claim they are very stressed during it, but I suspect most look forward to them.

For me, not so much.

Which is to say for the single guy in his 20's who has absolutely no family around where he lives and doesn't like traveling to see people. This past Thanksgiving I told everyone I was making tofurkey, mashed potatoes and stuff, which was a lie. It was ok thawed.

People always ask me if I want to visit their families. Aside from an akward offer from a casual acquaitance, I always am creeped out by this suggestion. Why the hell would I want to come to your house, where I know no one but you, and feel awkward? I'd rather put party hats on my potbellied pigs and sing the theme songs to my favorite sitcoms, which is weird since I'm vegetarian. I think I might actually spend the time this year teaching them how to spin webs.

Being vegetarian adds an entirely different level of anxiety to the holidays. Like many carnivorous cultures, we vegetarians are frustratingly forced into flesh-gobbling celebrations.

Recently I read a blog discussing the sour points of holiday gift giving, and in that blog Brett was willing to concede that this gift giving season is necessary for the economy. As it turns out, my concession was unnecessary. Just yesterday I read a bunch of interesting stuff on Adbusters. So therefore the holidays are messing up the economy by forcing this one time only spending spree where it's make or break for retailers. If we spread out our spending, retailers would probably be doing a heck of a lot better. There would also be a lot less panicking and anxiety.

It's feckin' cold, my skin has become pale and splotchy, resembling a poorly constructed candy cane, and the lack of sun makes me sad. So why exactly is this "the most wonderful time of the year?"


'Net Vittles

"YOU'RE LIVING IN FILTH!" There's a new episode of It's Jerry Time out there called "The Landlord" - featuring a heartbreaking case of the meerkat eyes.

Speaking of forlorn-itude, maybe we could all brush up on our emotive vocabularies before the cry-a-thon that will most likely ensue at class tonight. (Link courtesy of Bhaktin Anonymous, Thanks!)

Here's another link from my anonymous supplier, likely to assuage Brett's no-snow-day blues.



New Feckin' Layout!

Whaddya think of this new look? I admit, I was a little envious of Brett in his new digs. I wanted to try out a facelift myself. I think it might be a little X-Files, or something. Tweaking definitely in order.

Btw, any suggestions for a new name, too? "Pretentious musings by a cynical poseur"? "My over-inlated sense of so-called self"?


Other Diversions

I've had this idea kicking around for a few weeks, but now that the semester is almost over (and what with my overabundance of enthusiasm) I don't think it's going to come together. I wanted to put together a little mix-CD for our class - a goofy soundtrack for our travails in the blogosphere.

Here's a list of songs (in no particular order):

Affection - Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
Another Day of Living - Duf Davis and the Book Club
Zooropa - U2 ("Vorsprung durch technik")
So Many People In the Neighborhood - Ween
Just Anothe Day - Brian Eno
My Mind's Got A Mind of Its Own - Jimmy Dale Gilmore
Sound & Vision - David Bowie (the obligatory vlog track, read the lyrics, eh!?)
An Animated Description of Mr. Maps - the Books (with the refrain "I hear a collective rumbling in America")
Hard Drive Dub - Burnt Friedman
Come On My Selector - Squarepusher

Any other suggestions? Jeff? Camemb... I mean, Shante... any Coldplay songs I'm forgetting?


A Gift For The Person Who Has Everything (Except Good Taste Or Common Sense)

I get more emails from Target than just about anyone else. It being "holiday season" and all, they seem to be sending me close to one per day. This little item was advertised in today's communique. I'm not sure exactly what you're supposed to do with it (culinary? or decorative?), but it may be a sign of the nearing apocalypse.

Maybe it's just a fondue pot for the visually excitable.


Linky, Link, Link - Addendum

Sorry, that wasn't so clear, was it? My final paper/project/blog is going to examine the link as trope. So, what I'm looking for is anything that waxes philosophical on the realm of the link. What do they do? What are they for? Are there parallels in other media?

Of course, I'm always interested in random weird stuff as well.


BloggingOn 11.2 - A New Take On Authenticity: Plagiarism

This blog was mentioned by Heather Armstrong in her interview with Rebecca Blood. In this post, Sarah Brown gives us her personal account of blog plagiarism. An excerpt:
This girl didn’t just try to pass off my writing as her own; she actually took the past four years of my life, rearranged them into a new sequence, changed some names (but, inexplicably, kept some, including MY OWN in a few instances), and then turned it into some fake fucked-up love story beginning with an inheritance from a cold grandmother straight out of a Jackie Collins novel, and, currently, having her finally finding undying 19 year old love with some fake guy she’s been fake in love with all her fake life.
Reminds me of seeing Pulp Fiction at a theatre in Cairo. My sister was there for a semester abroad, and we decided to go for a lark, curious to see what scenes might have been deemed inappropriate for Egyptian audiences ("I'm-gonna-get-medieval-on-his-ass," anyone?). Believe it or not, there wasn't a single scene missing or edited. However, someone had decided that Tarrantino's unsual narrative style needed a little tweaking - they had resequenced the entire film so that everything was now in chronological order. Kind of like watching Memento from end to beginning, but somehow more disorienting.


BloggingOn 11.1 - What I Was Doing When I Should Have Been...

There's something about the end of the semester. As the tension mounts and responsibilities pile up, my motivation wanes and the only thing I really want to do is sleep and watch movies. As my good friend Lupus was fond of saying "the less time you have, the less time it takes." Sage advice from a seasoned procrastinateur. So, on Saturday when I should have been reading this book, writing a final paper, or culling the internet for juicy tidbits, I decided my time would be better spent going to see this play and this movie.

Trinty College's production of "S" was conceived as a "multi-media adaptation" of Richard Linklater's inexplicable film Slacker. As Colin is fond of saying, we are usually celebrating something at the same time it's being destroyed, which means that Linklater's tribute to Gen-X slacker culture was a minute too late when it moped onto the scene in 1991. That makes Trinity's "adaptation" over ten years late for the party (arguably in true slacker style, but I don't think purposefully so). I can't say that it wasn't enjoyable at times, but I couldn't help thinking how totally out-of-date the whole thing was. No doubt, lazy directionless yewts will be lingering about for years to come, but true slacker culture is of a very particular time and place, long since co-opted, repackaged and resold to new markets (due in part to Linklater's film I suppose). The "slacker's" of today are probably more educated and "upwardly mobile" than any of the characters from the film. "Recent college graduates" is probably a more fitting handle for ne-slackers. Not quite as catchy, I know , but certainly a more honest appraisal. Slacker culture was a do-or-die way of life, that I would argue is wholly incompatible with "conflict-averse, iPod-wearing metrosexual MBA’s from Planet Starbucks, who think podcasting is activism".

So what in the hell does any of this have to do with blogging? I'm afraid my diagnosis for "the future of blogging" has been colored a bit by viewing "S". As culture mutates more and more rapidly I can't imagine that blogs will retain their present influence or popularity. At least not in their present form. I believe there will always be a core of devoted bloggers, posting away in spite of impending cultural irrelavance, but in order for blogging to really become an unquestioned part of American life (with the ubiquity of cable tv or the internet) it will probably need to shake loose from its moorings. I think blogging will need to become easier to do and more immediate. Perhaps moblogging is a step in the right direction. Audioblogging (via cell phone) is an interesting variation, but without the interactivity (and searchability) of hypertext/hyperlinks... hypermedia, audioblogging is just a step backward (from tv to radio?).

If it doesn't become more accessible to the general public (and those not inclined or able to take a semester long college course) blogging will most likely be a cultural footnote (think: woefully underqualified pop-culture talking heads making quips about pajamas and laptops on shows like this). With more potency than the 8-track, but less mass appeal than disco will blogs really keep on truckin'?

So what about the other two and half hours that I threw away this weekend? Maybe more applicable to last week's discussion than this, early on in that Johnny Cash biopic, Cash's older brother Jack (looking forward to a future in the pulpit) says: "how can you help people if you can't tell them the right story?". Woohoo! That was about as much as my geeky little heart could take (keep in mind that this book about rabbits is one of my favorites), and so I hunkered down for a welcome lesson in the power of "myth".

To what avail? Other than trotting out that old indominatible-human-spirit trope, Walk the Line made me feel like being part of the human race isn't such a bad thing sometimes, but more because of everyone in the movie who wasn't Johnny Cash. At any rate, the film was beautiful to look at, it sounded great, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were phenomenal... time and money well spent (all neglected-responsibilities considered). If blogs are art, I want to start seeing stuff with this impact in the blogosphere. But Cash is the anti-blogger in a lot of ways (most of which I don't think I quite understand). It has to do with subtlety on the one hand, and sincerity on the other. These things just don't translate so well into the blogosphere. Welcome to our whiz-bang post-ironic times.


Linky, Link, Link.

Hey brother/sister-type person, can you spare a link? I'm looking to augment my "research" for this whole final paper thing. If anyone out there has happened upon interesting link-related stuff out there on the wacky internet, please send it my way. Comments are ok, or you can contact me directly.


BloggingOn 10.6 - Post Class Wrap-Up

Feeling a little something (wistful?), I recorded this little message.


Um, Uh, Yeah: A Cry For Help [and] Audioblogger Performance Anxiety

akward and superfluous audiopost.


Really Rosie

How did we miss this one for our blogs as literature discussion?

Part Prince. Part William Carlos Williams. All something.


BloggingOn 10.5 - Some Animals Share Visual Information

What is the purpose and function of style? Is it anything more than self-categorization? Mating ritual? To entice? Intrigue? To warn (or warm)?

Does a blog's visual presentation contain a similar type of information?

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  • From East Hartford, Connecticut, United States
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