Wednesday, October 31, 2007
In the meantime, I want to recommend the new TV show Pushing Daisies to anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to check it out yet. In short, Pushing Daisies is about a pie-maker named Ned who discovered as a boy that he can bring the dead back to life with a touch and also that a second touch will re-dead them permanently. Ned and partner PI Emerson use Ned's ability to solve murders and claim rewards. The thing gets complicated when Ned restores his now-grown childhood sweetheart. It is, of course, more complicated and delightful than that, but that's the gist of it.
While it has gotten several people I know to start using the word "twee," it's also really deserving of the attention of anyone who has even a passing interest in the following:
Dead Like Me
television shows actually doing something original, for once
The most common remark I've heard (and made myself) about Pushing Daisies is that in a lot of ways it feels more cinematic than TV show-like. While this can be taken as a criticism (the assumption being that it won't be able to keep up its energy and quirkiness for a season's worth of episodes), I think it speaks more to the originality of the product. It feels different than anything else on TV, and I like that about it. Plus, the fear of "where will they go from here?" hasn't been an issue at all; while there is a chance that the death-mystery per episode could get old, Pushing Daises has also used each episode to develop the main characters and their relations with each other (as Doctor Who shows us, even the monster-of-the-week formula of a show can avoid feeling like a rut when the writing is good).
And Pushing Daisies just looks and feels like candy! Delicious, pretty candy. The fact that most of the cast comes from Broadway really comes across, and in a way that gives life to what is, at heart, a fantasy (this is a point that must be remembered if we are to have any tolerance for this program).
Anyway, please just go check it out. It's been picked up for an entire season, so it's going to be around for awhile, and this delights me to no end.
Something else that's been on my mind lately is careers. Specifically, ones that I would enjoy having. Obviously, I would like to write, but that's not currently something I'm picturing as a full-time occupation. Below is a list of things that are or sound like careers that I am potentially interested in:
- copyright law (of the sort that Cory Doctorow discusses...think digital rights, blog law, stuff like that. Future-fast-becoming-the-present kind of stuff...or at least something having to do with creative people's rights)
- web programming/design
- movie reviews (so, journalism?)
- working for NPR (radio journalism or sound engineering...on a show like This American Life or Radio Lab)
- non-profit management (hey, look how this one moved down on my list...I'm still really vague about it, and my experience this summer was not especially beneficial in giving me any better idea)
- editing (also vague, but I do enjoy copy editing and imagine I'd like other sorts of editor duties)
- podcasting (specifically, running a site like Escapepod, Pseudopod, or Drabblecast...though I'm not sure this is really a full-time kind of option, either)
If anyone has any thoughts on this, suggestions, or places I can look to give myself more stuff to think about, let me know!
EDIT: I am definitely going to apply for an internship with The Onion! This one sounds just about right.
Monday, October 29, 2007
From our point of elevation, the water below took on the appearance of solidity and, at the same time, of translucence. The sunlight streaming through the clouds above, rather than glinting off the waves, dappled the surface of the water. As I looked out the window, it seemed that two cloudscapes met at the horizon.
A lone ship sailed through the midst of the illusionary clouds, an aerial voyager. I pondered this ship, its passengers and its destination.
As I watched, my own cloudship ascended, breaching the billowy white banks and obstructing my view of my traveling companions far below.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
For anyone not in the know, Vosges Chocolate is known for their rather unusual--I mean Exotic--selection of chocolates. This one particularly appealed to me, though (also for those not in the know, I love bacon).
So I purchased one of said bacon chocolate bars, and just now we had mini sampling party.
Immediately upon opening the packaging, the aromas of milk chocolate AND bacon flooded our nostrils. Mmm. Really, there is very little reason to think this wouldn't be delicious. Bacon is often prepared with different kinds of sugars.
Breaking off a piece allows one a glimpse of the bacon bits perforating the chocolate.
It's really nice blend of salty and sweet, and the bacon is a little crunchy.
So, how did our reviewers feel about Mo's Bacon Bar?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
CondolencesThe tinny melody of Frère Jacques issued from Lola’s coat pocket. Retrieving her phone, she checked the screen before answering.
“Hey, John! What’s new?”
There was a pause.
“John’s dead. I thought you should know.”
The disconnect tone still ringing in her head, Lola wondered if this was some sick joke. She hadn’t spoken to John in a year, not since they’d split up. Now this?
As I pressed “End,” a wave of satisfaction washed over me. I was doing a good thing. Not done yet, I reminded myself, and accessed John’s contacts. Going down the list, I dialed “Mom.”
"Only given certain background capacities and experiences is morally problematic experience sufficient for understanding."
(in relation to the question of whether moral reprehensible artworks can be aesthetically virtues and if, indeed, more virtuous because of their immorality)
From Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment:
"...a human being...could have much finer features and a more pleasing, softer outline to its facial structure is only it were not supposed to represent a man."
(in relation to the difference between pure beauties and adherent beauties when it comes to aesthetic judgment)
Monday, October 15, 2007
I have a couple ideas for stories, though. I also have a few older ones that I could brush up and get in presentable shape.
So, sorry for this dismal excuse for a post about excuses. I'll do better soon. =/
I was going to post a photo to make up for it, but the blogger picture-posting thingy is broken.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
And I'm really enjoying myself. I'm learning which streets I enjoy riding on, I'm comfortable taking the sidewalks and riding slowly around pedestrians. I'm still going to walk when I've got my computer, and I've discovered a new challenge: wind. That really wasn't an issue this summer, but I felt like I was almost blown over on the midway a couple times this week.
Anyway, I am a bicycle-rider now. Boo-yah.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
My major, in brief, is an interdisciplinary program focused on the study of philosophies of ethics, and how ethics can be explored through the mediums of literature and film. Now, that is a pretty broad question, so for my actual BA I am going to narrow it down. Therefore, I am currently planning on looking specifically at how morality functions within the framework of the horror genre.
OKAY. That said, I have a ton of work to do. I need to come up with a definition for horror. I need to read some carefully selected books/stories and movies (I'm thinking Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe, Psycho...but I need suggestions). And while doing these things will hopefully help with us, I'd like to form an idea of what I'm looking for (not in the sense that I want to go into the project with preformed notions, but I don't want to head in blindly, either, stumbling around, waiting for the ax-murderer to remove my head with one or two deft strokes).
Something I have been thinking about in general is, what is frightening/horrifying, and what does these things have to do morality. Most of what people think of as horror films seem to rely on things like gore, extreme violence, disfigurement, and darkness (and the things hiding in it) to frighten their audiences. There's another, less campy way to classify a few of these things, though: the category of "the unknown," which encompasses of course the darkness, as well as change and things that are just different (I suppose we can throw disfigurement in here, too). Monsters and demons are often a combination of all these things--they are ugly but just human-looking enough to grip us on the inside, and yet they are not human enough of us to understand.
I want to go in a slightly different direction, too, mostly because I want to see what I can do with it. Another thing I believe we, as humans, are afraid of is not knowing what to do (this too fits under the category of "the unknown"), of being out of control, or at least lacking any controlling force in our lives. I think something that goes along with this is a fear a moral ambiguity. In my philosophy studies it has become glaringly apparent that what we are always searching for is some kind of system or mechanism that will help us determine the correct course of action in a given situation. A machine where you input your situation, and the right way to act comes out the other side. Because knowing the difference between right wrong isn't always so simple, and which is which isn't always clear. Intense "moral" situations usually are so exactly because the "right" thing to do is unclear. And it seems to me that we never will uncover a system that can apply infallibly to every situation, and such a thought can be terrifying.
Of course, it isn't terrifying in the same way giant spiders crawling out of your toilet, or being buried alive are terrifying. But as frightening as evil is, isn't it worse when you can't tell who is evil and who is good (and never mind the thought that the dichotomy probably doesn't exist at all).
That's all for now, but I will certainly come back to this.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
In section 16 of the Analytic of the Beautiful, Kant describes the differences between "free beauty" and "adherent beauty," the first which "presupposes no concept of what the object ought to be" and the second which "does presuppose such a concept and the perfection of the object in accordance with it."
Examples of "free beauties" are things like flowers and "a host of marine crustaceans," which Kant sees as things that only a botanist or a biologist (if anyone) cognizes the true concept of and therefore our feeling that these things are beautiful cannot be derived from the concept, and also abstract things like non-lyrical music and "foliage for borders or on wallpaper" that are non-representational and "signify nothing by themselves."
Examples of "adherent beauties" are things like "the beauty of a human being...the beauty of a horse...[or] of a building" (I have some idea of why a horse is different from a crustacean, but we'll leave that aside)--objects that, Kant claims, "presuppose a concept of [their] perfection." And consequently these things are only as beautiful as they compare to their concepts of perfection.
Later, Kant says that "a human being...could have much finer features and more pleasing, softer outline to its facial structure is only it were not supposed to represent a man."
This part really struck me, and I paraphrased it for myself: "People could be more beautiful if they were not supposed to look like people." Essentially, because human beauty is held up to this concept of perfect human beauty (Hello, Plato!) but must always be attached to the human in question, it can never be as beautiful. If there were no ideal, no such concept, then our feelings on human beauty would be less restricted and we could appreciate it for just what it was and not what it was supposed to be.
I am not silly enough to claim that this is a valid excuse for the ridiculous media standards of beauty, and definitely not crazy enough to think that anyone in that industry read this and used it as a justification for such objectifications, but I think it is worth wondering if these standards of beauty are unrealistic by definition and that perhaps it is ridiculous for ANYONE to hold him or herself to them because you can never that ideal, by virtue of being human.
Man, that sounded more eloquent when I thought of it four hours ago. Ah well.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Shark Attack“Shark! Shark!”
The beach-goers fled in terror; I grabbed one by the arm as she passed me and demanded, “What’s going on?”
“Over there!” she sputtered and pointed back to where she’d come from. “A shark…that little boy…”
That was all I needed to hear. Releasing the woman I rushed to where she’d been pointing. As I approached the shore I could see blood in the water surrounding a small figure, and a shark fin bobbing just a foot away.
Hearing my footsteps, the child turned to look at me. He smiled, a big red smile.
I sighed. “Not again…”
This was inspired by a hilarious misreading I did of a sentence in my Film Art textbook.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I wrote this back in April, for a project called Postcard from Hell. That name explains the basic premise. I tried to take a unique route and also be a little humorous...but I ended up not doing anything with the story, and I stopped following the project, too. But it was fun to write and nothing else it happening with it, so here you go. (You get 125 words more than you usually get from me at once!)
I really shouldn't complain.
S'a thankless, dead-end job just like any other thankless, dead-end job. And hey, at least I know I ain't ever gonna get fired.
Haha, "fired." Laugh, it's a joke.
Don't get me wrong--it's not all cream and roses. I bet you'd have a hard time finding anyone who enjoyed being a janitor, and I'm certain it's worse here than a lotta places. For one thing, I never actually get the satisfaction of a job well-done, 'cause nothing ever really gets clean. You know how they say that police use Coca-Cola to clean blood off crime scenes? Doesn't work here; we only have off-brand cola and it doesn't do the trick. Besides, even if I did get it cleaned up, there would just be a bigger, grosser mess in the same place tomorrow. Blood, organs, vomit, fetuses—have you ever had to clean fetus off a wall? Try three walls—there's a continuous supply down here. And lemme tell you—you can never get the smell of sulfur out of anything. Sisyphus has his rock and me, I've got goat's blood, cat guts, and an eternity of backed up toilets.
Still, it's easier than washing away your sins--Bossman only knows I tried. Holy water ain't that much of a miracle solvent.
"Dead-end job," hehe. That's a pretty good one, too.
The HoleThe machine has been there for a week. Every morning they come and use it to dig a big hole in the ground and every evening they use it to fill the hole back in again.
I can see the machine from my window, and I watch them moving the dirt up and down. I don’t think they’re burying anything, and if they were trying to uncover something it wouldn’t make very much sense to cover it up again.
But tonight, the mystery ends. Tonight, I’m taking a shovel and I’m going to find out what’s down there for myself.
This story is dedicated to Emily Pelka.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
But no. This is the photo I receive:
Is my mother now a voyeuristic turtle pornographer? But more importantly, my parents will have baby box turtles in their garden!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
(The answer, if you need an answer, is "no," because beauty exists within the perceiver and not within the object; whether or not it would be beautiful if someone had seen it is an entirely different question.)
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Sapling“Why me,” he whispered, words that did not really form a question.
She began to answer him, but the moment she opened her mouth, something caught in her throat.
His eyes met hers and he saw terror bubbling up within them. He started—“Lucy?”
Again she tried to speak, but her skin had already begun to change, to become brittle and darken in color.
“WHY ME?” He screamed this time, but it did not matter for the bark was closing over her mouth. Her eyes winked out behind knot holes as he pounded her trunk with his fists in futility.
I was inspired by this Pseudopod story which I didn't actually like that much but which I must credit with getting my brains creaking.