Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Story of Stuff

Click the above image to see the Story of Stuff, a very creative way of explaining a pretty complicated cycle of problems.

  • concise, lighthearted, good animation, not too emotional, keeping with the basic facts
  • you probably already know all this stuff, but it's nice to be reminded, and it's also nice to see the "big picture" which it keeps in perspective here
  • links on the website show you things you can do to combat the problems
  • although I admire the initiative, the main problem is that we have a paradigm of consumption. The solution to this problem is not make people feel bad for consuming so much, not because it's not true, but because it's not gonna do any good. Though we ARE guilty, guilt (as an emotion and as a motivator) is not a good way to enact change; plenty of people feel guilty for eating fatty foods, but they still do it. Likewise, some of the solutions in this video are too reactionary and "easy".
  • every part of the "cycle" needs attacking, but how do we do it? "Change" still seems very out of reach other than those things we've all heard a million times... recycle, don't waste, etc. What can we actually do to reverse the process, to change the paradigm?
Unfortunately, I don't have any of the answers. This is still a good video and a good first step.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Spam of the Day

Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 07:46:31 +0000
From: ailbert rex
Subject: How are you?

I'm ok!!! (as usual), because I'm very funny person and I often have a good mood. My mood happens a different. Without in dependence good or bad it varies very quickly. I am very lovely and attractive girl. There were many pleasant moments in life which it will be pleasant for me to share with you. Yes it so. Certainly you also would like to see my appearance and appeal, all my merits and demerits:). I will be very glad to send you my photo in the next letter . Than you could see my appearance:). I have started to use the Internet recently and so I have a small experience. I am assured that you wish to find out where we could get acquainted with you. I know that the Internet very big and a lot of interesting it is possible to find in it. But I have not remembered all. But I know only one that you have
written the electronic address for me on a dating site. Forgive that I can not write you the site name. Because I looked many dating sites. But when you have written the electronic address than I was understood that I wish to correspond only with you
and you are very interesting to me.

Well, now i should finish my letter because I have to work again, I hope you'll answer my letter and I thing you are pleased to make friends with me. With a good-natured smile I wait your letter. And with the big pleasure I will be glad to write to you to the answer. bye. Here my e-mail address:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Word Collection #1

A while back, I started collecting words with two consecutive letter pairs. For example, balloon... two l's followed directly by two o's. Please let me know if you find any more. I'm not googling them or anything, cause that'll take all the fun out of finding them because I'm sure there is a comprehensive list somewhere on the web:

Van de Graaff generator

Words that I found in an old dictionary that may not be words anymore cause I can't find them in my other newer dictionary:

burreed (sometimes spelled as bur-reed)
raggee (alt. spelling of ragi)

Also, the only one with three consecutive letter pairs I've found so far: bookkeeping.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm Not There (Todd Haynes)

Dylan's not there--he doesn't appear in the movie (well, except for a small clip at the end, as a shadow of himself, almost). A series of actors who "weren't there" play him, a series of substitutions. The movie reproduces and quotes numerous other movies from other Dylan documentaries to Fellini's 8 1/2, and in a way, referencing these highlights the fact that we weren't there. A reference is an acknowledgement of existence, of knowledge, but also an acknowledgement of absence.

You start to realize that the actors playing him aren't all trying to act like him. Exact replication isn't the goal here (except for Cate Blanchett who does an excellent job). When you have a black boy play Dylan, it makes relating to him as Dylan, as "there", that much harder, and that is part of the point of the film. Richard Gere doesn't even TRY! He acts exactly like Richard Gere in all his other shitty movies. But it's this quality that makes the movie unique and much more interesting than other biopics.

It shuffles between reference points as well as styles. A black and white scene reminiscent of 8 1/2 is followed by an interview with Julianne Moore in full color, reminiscent of a mockumentary. Though the film is so restlessly shuffling, it manages, amazingly, to capture something about Dylan. The nonconventional storytelling style really benefits here in being enigmatic and revealing at the same time. Who is this person? We are asked to do the other half of the work, to place ourselves there in our minds.

It's not without fault. The performances were spotty. Some were amazing, like Cate Blanchett who was really great at her role about 90% of the time, Charlotte Gainsbourg, who gave a real standout performance here, even though she didn't really do anything that spectacular. She was just very convincing and lovable and real. There were bad performances too, Richard Gere was awful, the black boy was good when he was playing the charismatic Dylan, but he was awful when he tried to act meditative, David Cross as Allen Ginsberg was so much of a joke that it was hard to judge how well he played the role. But in a way it doesn't really matter, the format of the film absorbs the bad performances because the film itself draws attention to the fact that none of this is real, you're constantly aware of the fact that this is acting, and that's part of the point. It's almost like an exercise, but one in which there is a little bit of heart, which is what redeems it. The incredibly generous heart of Dylan, or part of it at least, comes through all the noise and makes the film that much more convincing. He's hiding in the film, even though he's not there.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Strawberry

after Francis Ponge, master poet of things

A morning fruit, the strawberry is adorned by dew. Like shy red bells with a down-turned tip, they shiver as you reach for one in your clumsy way. But deception. The two halves of the strawberry, so much like the unknowing heart, though it would be immodest for me to say so, is not a smooth object. In fact, it is covered with poppy seeds, almost imperceptible to the eye. Yet the tongue approves, for it is also not a homogeneous mass, but a sensitive beast fit through a tight hairnet, it senses the individual points, the crosshairs of taste and texture. The surface of a strawberry, likewise, has a map wrapped around it with longitudes and latitudes, points evenly spaced apart where they meet. These are like the far away figures dotting the country landscape. Who are they anyway, approaching now in pilgrim clothes?

(initially published in The Grove Review)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Armed Thus, God Could Only Make a Cabinet

Stiff armed boy, your hollow
body goes a long ways
over the surface of the lake,
bass over bass.
I am open in your presence,
then I am closed. Two reeds
of the same speech middling.
A vibration means a yes,
then silence, no. Clouds
scroll by. The water
returns my advances,
souvenir for souvenir. Boy,
if you love me
squeeze my hand. Move your eyes
something if indeed
I am here, deaf and filled
with water. I am yours, open
and so close.

* title taken from a line in Arcadia, a play by Tom Stoppard

Friday, November 9, 2007

Questions about Beetles

1. Are these even beetles? Why do they come out before it starts to rain? Do they live underground? Do they live in the trunks before trees? Do they have their own water supply or is that why they come out? What do they slave for with?

2. Do they have social patterns? Do they nest in the season? Why does it sound like that and then stops? What it like, a wind up toy or something? Is this even how one works?

3. How does one work? What do you drink of them? Do they only good for show or else wedged between the stones, an inkling of an apparition? Do they have eyes? What are their eyes? How come the skin-layer so winged?

4. Where are the aperture of the neck? The color of a beetle, is that fixed? What are the qualities of its light? Can somebody kill my beetle? Please? What is a beetle good for? What do we see in the lily-white? What should we call this one? Is a mating partner forever? Is nightwork long and tedious, without one click of light to calm the soul? Are these beige beetles? Why not? What is a little one called opposedly?

5. Does famine affect it? Does sitting do anything?

6. Is this a group or just one beetle? How can you tell? What is the sign for? In addition to any breakable parts, are there any other things? How does a beetle smell? How does a beetle feel? But how does a beetle feel when you do that? Are beetles in eternity?

7. Are beetles, after such bad weather, in seasonal display across the washway any blacker? How is my fingernail. What do you mean, “beetle”?

8. Does the desert they is friendly at? Careful the frontal lobes. What does a limb count say? What use, afterall, a beetle? Does a beetle have a body? Does a beetle have a physical location? Even so, is this also not a beetle?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Ummm apparently Wallace Steven's birthday was in October (so is mine, I'm 30 now). While I was googling a Steven's poem (the nougat poem, unfortunately, is not on the web in full text, I'll have to wait till I get home to type it out from the book) and found this most amusing of blogs... the whole month of October seems to be one Wallace-orgy-fest!

Emperor of Ice-Cream Cakes probably the most genius blog I've ever read in the last 5 minutes!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

a lone cricket
by the rush

of tall trucks

in the long dead

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

House and Mine

I lied. There will be no more pictures of my roadtrip or of Hong Kong posted here. I did not want to lie. I was forced to. They put me in a bad position, and the little yellow in me got up and wobbled on its knees. I could put pictures up here. It would be easy. But I will not, preferring to stick to my lying ways. I will not back down from this responsibility of lying, I will not deny any longer and on and on that I am indeed a liar. There will be no more hedging around the lie. There will be the lie and nothing else. The lie sits ribald in the center. In the very center of my lie. It is the lie that made me lie about the pictures. I wanted to lie but the lie won't let me. I have run out of truths to tell and all there is remains. Another thing. I have run out of good lies. There will only be bad lies from here on out, lies that have obviously not been thought over, no research-driven lies, no more fanning the lies until they are bigger lies eating up the pie. There will be dirt and dung and not much more, not even shamefulness. It wasn't a choice, as I said. They told me to, they told me if I didn't I would not even have the choice. So I did. I did but now what am I? What does it mean to live within the lie, to be the lie? Is it much different? Is it like a yellowing plant that sits by my window continuing to yellow despite daily nurturing? No. It's not like that at all. It's more bumbling and I don't want you to think there is any malice in the lie. No, not that at all, it is in fact a very innocent lie, one with good intentions only, but even good intentions can be taken to extremes. Even good intentions can leave a man eating lime jell-o in the middle of the courtyard while the head of the tornado bares itself. What I am trying to say is that the intention was there, and it was good intent that placed it there, straight in the path of the lie. The lie didn't have anything to do with it. The lie was innocent in this good intent, the lie was just minding its own business. The lie would've given all it had just to be left alone, about and about. There is a point in time in our lives where we have to ask ourselves what does it mean? How does it feel to be lied to and lied to and lied to. I was lied to once. I was continually lied to. There was a lot of spit involved, and then the process started all over again, organically. It was admirable in that way. It was very deserving of some major Pats. For in this process, the process that drives the process of the lie making machine, it is built -- what I am saying is that -- it is built on this trust. It is built on trust and encouragement from your peers, a network thus established that can continually support the lie like a flange. In the end what matters is the lie, and here we have it, sitting pretty pleasing, scolded out of its ribboned shell, organically produced and delivered with clipped nails, what you see is not any ordinary person, it's a manner of speaking, a mode of carrying on, a lurching every few inches away from a truth. What I'm trying to say is that it takes much courage.