Snow Blood and Coal
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Yipes! It's been a few days since I've posted, and they've changed the entire posting interface. It's very bizarre and a little bit disorienting, but it seems to work better in Safari, so that's kind of nice. But anyway, on to the post...
In the past week, I think that I've read about 2000 pages of Harry Potter. I'm almost through the fourth book now, and what I said about the first one stands. It's good. It's not the best, but it's certainly not as bad as I had thought it would be going in. What it has going for it, mostly, I think is that it's a fast read. Rowlings is very good with the little details, coming up with clever character names and book titles, and that helps it to roll by very quickly. It's sort of like taking a hot bath. The most impressive thing, however, is that the characters change as they grow up. 14 year old Harry is not the same as 11 year old Harry, and I rather like that. Despite the fact that she falls into the trap of writing children who don't act like children because they know too much, she does a good job making them believable. This is because they change.
In other news, things are stagnating on the bicycle front. I tried to ride on the street for the first time a couple of days ago, and found that I was swerving too much and had to return. I'm really annoyed that I'm not learning faster, but frankly, I'm not putting THAT much effort into it. I'd like to be able to ride to school by the end of the summer, and I think that's a doable goal, so I'm not going to worry.
Finally, I'm leaving tomorrow to go to San Antonio for my Uncle's birthday. It'll be fun. Three days of sweltering in South Texas and all that. I have a stopover for a couple of hours in Houston. Maybe Sarah's brother will want to get lunch or something... Nah... I'll probably just finish The Goblet of Fire.
Sunday, June 22, 2003
Alright. So in the past two days, I've read one and a half Harry Potter books, and thus far, they're not the best books that I've ever read in the genre, but they're not bad. For so long, I've put off reading them because they've seemed to me to be a fad, but considering all of the spectical surrounding the release of the fifth book, I figured that it was about time I found out what everybody has been raving about. I do so enjoy the spectical after all. As far as the books go, though, I the first one reminds me a lot of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, except that Ender's Game is much much better. I think that I have a hard time believing that the Sorcerer's Stone, and keeping it away from Valdemort matters, whereas Ender's task most definitely does. That's not to say that I'm not enjoying the Harry Potter books, though. They are as Sarah said they would be: very compelling.
In other news, I went to go and get the lights in my car fixed today and the people at Firestone told me to return tomorrow. The people who installed the wiring for my U-haul must have screwed up a fuse or something, because the dashboard lights and the tail lights of my car don't work, and what's worse, I didn't even know about the tail lights until I got pulled over by a cop and warned about it. So I'm going to go back in the morning and get it all straightened out. I guess this means that Sarah will have to bike home, which I worry about because she's never biked in traffic before. She'll be okay though. Tired, I'm sure, but okay.
Saturday, June 21, 2003
So I saw The Hulk yesterday, and for the most part, I agree with Prosewitch about it. I thought that it was very well done -- that purely as far as the way the movie was constructed goes, it was the best of the comic book films. On the other hand, I've never found the Hulk quite so compelling as many other marvel superheroes and thus have never really seriously read the comic, so without the richness of knowing a whole comicbook world, I felt a little bit lost at points, and on the verge of bored. But I think that the comicbook world wasn't really the point of the movie, so I got over it. Especially considering that there are two really interesting discussions that could come out of this movie, and the relation between the two is brilliantly done.
First, there is the Hulk himself, who is not a hero at all in the sense of other marvel comics. In fact, he is simply a destructive force, and Bruce Banner hates to have him come out. On the other hand, though, as Bruce says in the movie, in some sense, he loves it too. And the reason he loves it, of course, is because when the Hulk comes out, he becomes the center of the universe. Everything stops and pays attention to him. The Hulk is an expression of pure ego. That is not so much unlike other superheros, except that the Hulk isn't out to save the world. To use the parlance of our time, Hulk Smash! But the thing with that is that it makes him a pathetic figure. Watching the Hulk smash is like watching an infant throw a tantrum. He wants his way and he wants it now. It's very sad really, and that's what sets him apart from other heroes.
The other point of interest in the movie, as Prosewitch points out, is the role of ideology. I hadn't even thought of this while I was watching, but Sarah told me of a speech that the screenwriter gave at the Berkeley English Department graduation this year, and it just fit. The speech was pretty much the same thing that Nick Nolte's character says at the end of the movie as he rants to Bruce, and it's the key to the movie. The movie is about the evil corporation, and the manner in which they have the government in their pocket. Nolte is the independant scientist in the movie, and because the Military and the big science corporation cannot appropriate what he has created, cannot control it and reproduce it, they try to destroy it. It's the same with the lab at the beginning of the movie. The evil corporate scientist insists over and over that he will take over the noble academic lab and appropriate it's work. That's how we know that the evil corporate scientist is evil, in fact -- because he establishes himself as evil and corporate.
The two points of interest do converge, and not only in that the hulk is subjected to military-corporate attempts to control him. Rather, they converge, because he is the subject in both senses. In his fit of ego, he attracts the attention of these evil corporate types who make him the center of their universe, but in tern try to subject him to their brand of control. Also, he is a product of a time when his father was working for the military, and so while his is the rage of the little man against big business, he is at the same time a product of that very big business. He is in some sense similar to our old friends, the college activists, who protest the WTO, and then go buy their clothes at The Gap and their make-up from Revlon. The Hulk fights against what is supposedly wrong, but he cannot escape it, because it is in him...
But I rant, and pprobably not so coherently anymore. The point is that I really liked the movie and I fully recommend it, so go out, see it, have a good time.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Aright! I am now a proud user of SBC-Yahoo DSL, the most craptastic DSL on earth... On the other hand, it's cheap and it's the only broadband that's really available in my area... There is Insight cable, but insight is definitely the greater of two evils here... And anyway, the only reason that I don't like SBC-Yahoo is that they do network authentication via PPPoE, which is more than a little bit crappy... but my wireless router handles all that stuff, so it's really no problem... It's just like having a real always on connection...
A great deal of interest has happened since I last posted.
For one thing, I saw Max's movie, Sword Swallowers and Thinmen, which was excellent. Also, I found another job, and then didn't actually get it. I called about an office worker position that was advertised in the Indiana Daily Student, but the woman who needed an office worker wanted me to stay, doing 20 hours a week, through the fall semester, and that's just not possible for me right now. Then there's the BMV (like a DMV) out here. I went over there to get an Indiana state ID card so that I can use the university library, and that turned out to be a barrel of laughs. There was no line at the BMV. Instead, they had us take numbers and had seats in which we could wait until we were called. It still took about an hour and a half in total, but it was a much more pleasant time than if we had been standing. Now if only they had a TV showing Simpson's episodes like at the Bank of America in Berkeley, I would be happy. Finally, I watched a Dodger game on TV last night. First I've actually watched this season. Man, it was fun. The Dodgers clobbered the Giants 8-2, with a whole bunch of doubles and some good base-running. Unfortunately, it was on ESPN, and the ESPN broadcast really sucks. The announcers are boring (Dave Campbell and David Justice, I think), and the director has no idea what he is doing. There were times when they stopped showing the game altogether and just stayed on shots of the announcers announcing. Also, they kept breaking in in the middle of innings with updates on other games, and not just reading the scores, but video highlights and everything. I miss Vin of course, but compared to these guys, I miss Rick and Ross too.
Monday, June 16, 2003
So the big news today is this:
I'm writing to tell you that your proposal for the AFS 2003 annual meeting has been accepted for the program.
So exciting. Now I have to go back and remember what exactly the paper was that I proposed, and then go and write it. I think that it won't be too big a deal. I think that it was just a basic reinterpretation of the Micky-Mouse LSD contemporary legend as a Barthesian myth... nothing too trying and something for which I already have an outline. So tomorrow I'm going to go to the DMV and get an ID so that I can get into the university library, and I'll start doing work. Go me!
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Alright. I need to find a job. All the moving in (at least my part of it) is done, and almost everything I need to go do research is done (I'm going monday to get an indiana state ID, which will allow me into the library), so I have a lot of time on my hands, and idle hands, as they say... So I'm going to go down to the public library and see what they have over there. If it's all volunteer then I'm not even going to bother with it. There are other places to work in this town. I know there are. On the other hand, if it's not all volunteer, then that's where I really want to work. I miss being around books all the time. There is another option, however. There's an icecream shop on kirkwood that's hiring. I told Sarah that I refused to work in food service, but if nothing else comes up, I think I'll apply there, since nobody else wants to work in food service either, I'm sure. I think that it won't come to that, though. Something will come up somewhere, and it will inevitably be better than scooping icecream, and so that something is what I shall do.
Friday, June 13, 2003
So hopefully I'll be able to start posting more regularly as life returns to normal and the moving process slowly winds down.
Yes, the moving process is winding down. I've gotten all my stuff together, and Sarah only has a few more boxes left to finish with. The apartment is beautiful, if a bit sparsely furnished, and I'm very much looking forward to entertaining here, as it is the kind of apartment where I'm not ashamed to have people over. The office (bigger bedroom) is coming along well, although Sarah is talking about putting her desk in the bedroom, which makes me a bit unhappy, because it would be a little bit like each of us having our own rooms. The living room is spacious and beautiful, as is the kitchen. The only complaint I have is about the bathroom, which looks like it may have belonged in my last apartment, although it does have a nice shower and a toilet that doesn't require special instructions to operate.
Sarah has already found a job here working at Barnes and Noble, and I'm still looking. I really wanted a job working as an assistant to Moira Smith, the folklore librarian at the university, but apparently, she gave the job away just before she saw my email, so I'm out of luck. On monday I'm going to go look for a job though, and I think that I won't have a terrible problem finding one. I have a B.A. from Berkeley after all...
Other than that, not much is going on. I'm going on a campus tour this afternoon, and then I'm going to go and check out the folklore library. So that will be fun. I'm feeling a bit deprived of people right now. Then tonight, I'm going to make a stock so that I can ween myself of that aweful Swanson's stuff I've been using. Yay! I feel so very productive...
Sunday, June 08, 2003
Alright people, after such a long break, I'm sure that nobody is looking at this, but you can't really blame me, I've been on the road... Actually, I got to Bloomington a couple of days ago, but I've not yet moved into my apartment (I'm writing from a motel room), so you still can't really blame me for updating sooner. Anyway, I have a lot to write, so here goes.
First, U-Haul is evil. I went to pick up my trailer the morning that I was supposed to move and found a line going out the door at their lot. I worked my way through the line and got to the front only to have them tell me that the trailer guy hadn't arrived yet and that they couldn't help me until he did. An hour went by, and when he got there, he began helping other people. I told him that I had been there since 7:30 in the morning, waiting for him, and when he finished what he was doing, he asked me what kind of trailer I had reserved. I said 5x8. He told me, "we don't have one." Well, I was furious. I went into the office and told them that I wasn't going anywhere until they told me where the trailer that they had garanteed me had gone. They told me that I could wait all day, and that they didn't care, at which point I called the regional office and filed a complaint. They were very nice to me and told me that there was a trailer about 10 miles away, and if I went and picked it up, I could have it. So I went and got it, went home, loaded everything, and by noon, Sarah and I were on our way.
It was a slow way, but it was a way none the less. The trailer is not supposed to go over 45mph apparently, and so we decided that we wouldn't go over 60 or 65, which was good, because that was the absolute fastest my car would go with the loaded trailer attatched. So we drove over the mountains and into Nevada, accross the country, and into Indiana in about 5 and a half days.
A few observations about the various states that we visited: Nevada sucks. The little towns in Nevada are like shanty-towns with slot machines. The food is bad, the people are unfriendly, and everybody smokes. Utah is very beautiful, but a little bit erie. The salt flats are very white and very very flat, and Salt Lake City is like any other big city, except with a moral edge. Wyoming is absolutely astounding. The Buttes are pretty, the landscape is green, and the sky is almost unimaginably big. Nebraska is pretty, but boring, as is Iowa. We didn't spend much time in Illinois, and I like Indiana a lot.
Getting to Bloomington is a bit of culture shock. They eat very differently out here, and there are all of two movie theaters playing all of six movies between them. That is disappointing, but the campus and the town are both pretty and the people are very friendly, so that makes up for it. What's more, I went to a folklore conference and met a lot of the IU folklore faculty, and they are all very nice too. So things are looking to be shaping up well.
Well tomorrow I move into my apartment, so I'll have more to say then. This should hold you over in the mean time, though... you blog vultures you...
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