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.