Snow Blood and Coal
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
So I saw Ferenheit 9/11 yesterday, and thought that it was very good. I thought that it was a little bit tacky in parts (in that very Michael Moore way), but overall, very well done and far far better than Bowling for Columbine. In fact, unlike with the earlier movie, a bunch of the criticism that I've read of this one just doesn't stand up when you see what Moore is trying to do. One critic on Fox News said that if Moore thinks that the international political situation has anything to do with the Bush family's personal relationships, then he doesn't understand the way that nations interact. Watching Moore's look at the relationship between the Bushes and the Saudi families, however, it's clear that whether or not the relationships played a role in international politics, they definitely played a role in domestic policy in response to international conditions--that the perception of that connection in some fashion guided the hand of the administration. One other thing I liked: this movie had far less of Moore himself than other ones. He does the voice over and appears here and there, but the bulk of the movie is not him doing things. That, I think, gives him some credibility.
In other news, my computer seems to be working perfectly. It's nice to have it back.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Good news, people!
I'm back from Los Angeles to a pleasant surprise: I have a computer again.
So the wedding was really good (and mercifully short), then the reception was a lot of fun and the people very nice. The Dodger game the night before, unfortunately, was neither good nor mercifully short, but an unrelenting ass whooping. That really sucked. My flight to L.A. was pleasant and I managed to read half of Chimera by John Barth, which is really good. And my flight back was less pleasant, but I managed to sleep most of the way and not barf, both of which were small mercies. Have you every wanted to walk out on a flight in mid air? They started playing Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, and it was all I could do not to want to scream and make a dash for the parachutes. And I didn't even have head phones on. Imagine it with sound *shudder*.
Then I got my computer back this morning and it seems in ship shape, for which I am thankful, but I've really only had it for about an hour, so we'll see how it stands up to the course of the day. Yes, we'll see.
Anyway, I miss L.A., but while I was in L.A., I missed bloomington just a bit. That's scary. I am more determined than ever to end up back in california, I think, but living in indiana for a couple of years won't be so bad.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Welly welly welly...
The time has come, my things are packed, I'm totally ready to get out of here, and all that's standing in my way this morning is a long long hour of class. But I'm going to go to class, then dash for my car, drive up to Indy, park, and still have time enough to check in and eat lunch before my airplane leaves. I hope. If I don't get to eat lunch at the airport, I don't know when the chance will come around again. This is something I should have thought of while I was planning, but I never plan meals quite the way I should. Oh well. The point is that for something between 2 and 4 glorious days, it will be goodbye Bloomington and hello sunny-but-not-quite-so-hot southern california!
In other news, I went out and bought some new books yesterday. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, Chimera by John Barth, and You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. Can you guess which two of these are related to my folklore in literature project? I thought you could. But I'm really excited to read all three--especially Barth and Eggers, but really all three. I figure that I'll finish the Carter book on the way there, and we'll see what I feel like reading on my way home. Such is the way of things.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Things and stuff and some other things...
So I spent yesterday afternoon catching up with friends with whom I hadn't spoken in a long long time. That was really nice. I decided something: It's really good to have friends who don't live in your city.
I also got a notice from the AFS people yesterday that they had accepted my paper for the conference in Salt Lake City in October. That was pretty excited too. Not that I was worried about having my paper accepted, but it's nice to get those kinds of emails from them once in a while, considering that the standard email is something to the effect of "your membership is expiring. pay us more." So I suppose that I'm going to have to write this very tepid paper that I proposed sometime over the summer. Good thing that part of it is written as part of a paper that I turned in my first semester here. Otherwise, I don't think that I'd ever work up the determination to write it.
Then there is Los Angeles. I'm going back to California the day after tomorrow. I don't have a lot of time to stay, but I'm excited about any time I get. I arrive thursday night, I go to a Dodger game friday, I go to Chantal and Dustin's wedding in Santa Barbara saturday (I need directions to the place, I suppose), and then I leave to return to Bloomington on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. It's a sucky time to have to come back, but I need to get my german stuff done before class on Monday...
I guess that's everything new. Well, off to class.
Saturday, June 19, 2004
I don't usually do this...
I don't usually do "getting to know you" type things on my blog, but I found this list of categories on Strange_Victory's livejournal and thought that I'd pass it on. So I'm going to do it, and then I'd like anybody passing through to do it too. I have this comment system after all, so I figure that I ought to make use of it. So here goes:
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer - Philip K. Dick
Radio Free Albemuth - Philip K. Dick
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men - James Agee and Walker Evans
Another Roadside Attraction - Tom Robins
Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino
Mythologies - Roland Barthes
The Murder of Charles the Good - Galbert of Bruges
Confessions - Augustine of Hippo
Day of the Locust - Nathaniel West
American History X
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Third Man
The Big Lebowski
Insomnia (not the American remake)
Favorite Musical Artists:
The String Cheese Incident
The Grateful Dead
Great Big Sea!
Anything with white truffles (or white truffle oil)
Ahi Tuna Sashimi
Anything from Cafe de la Paz in Berkeley
Anything from Chef Jia's in San Franciso
Anything (and I mean anything) from Los Fuentes in Los Angeles
Wind through sailboat rigging
My own voice
terrified children (just kidding)
Favorite Holiday: Passover
Favorite Season: Winter
Favorite Bird: Not much on birds, but maybe the cardinal
Favorite TV Shows: Buffy, Futurama, Simpsons, The Critic, The State, Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, Flying Circus (ahh! Too many. Maybe I should have stuck to current TV)
Friday, June 18, 2004
At 4 in the morning, bloomington is a very surreal place. Taking Sarah to meet the airport shuttle, in our parking lot we spotted a very large, very muscular man (looked kind of like Rocky from Rocky Horror) in his underpants watching as his tiny toy-sized dog shat on the lawn. Then we went to Waffle House so that Sarah could get a bagel, and what did we find, but two people with mullets who were clearly... mentally challenged... throwing hush-puppies at one another. Bloomington, at 4 in the morning, is a very surreal place.
In other news, the mac guys here in bloomington haven't been able to reproduce the error, so I came in and spent fifteen minutes this morning trying myself. Still nothing. When I got it back from Apple, it took me all of two minutes to reproduce the thing, and now, good luck. The optimist in me says that maybe it fixed itself, but more likely, it's a loose connection, and so the error is just intermittant. Oh well.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Alright. I haven't updated in a couple of days because my computer came back from Apple monday morning, and I promptly took it to the local apple repair place to see if they could do better. I opened the package that DHL left me to find a note saying that they could not reproduce the problem with my computer, and thus did not repair it. Well needless to say, I was livid. First I turned the computer on and found the problem still persistent, and then I called apple and lectured the technical support people about how their continued ineptitude has caused me to lose a half a summer's worth of work. I explained the problem again among skeptical hems and haws, and what they told me was that I could either send it back AGAIN(!) or I could take it to the local authorized repair center to see if they could do better. I like the guys over at the local place, and so I chose that option. Well I brought it in monday morning, and I'm supposed to wait until tomorrow, then call them for an update. Basically what they say is that they'll probably be able to reproduce the problem, but then they'll have to send it to Apple. At least, they say, they can lend my story some credibility. So they'll probably end up sending it out sometime soon, and I should (hopefully) get it back before I leave for L.A. If the problem isn't solved, however, ths time I'm going to demand that they replace the computer. I bought this thing for a lot of money, and bought a $300+ extended warrenty with it, and so the least they can do is replace it if they can't fix it.
This really sucks.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Wheel of Time, turn turn turn...
So the deal with The Eye of the World is that there is little characterization, especially of side characters, no matter how important they are. He concentrates on the inner life of his main character at length, and he's kind of a neat character, but it's unclear what he sees in any of the other characters, as they are all entirely flat. And what's more, when the side-characters do do unexpected things, I don't really believe them because there is no precedent in their past actions, and no indication that they even have the potential to do unexpected things in them. This is why, after three hundred some-odd pages, when Jordan starts to change perspectives a little bit, it's so jarring and almost unreadable. It's really hard to view the world from the perspective of a character who is really not much of a character.
That said, I am enjoying The Eye of the World, and I'll probably end up reading one or two more books from the series. I don't see it as compelling enough to warrent a 10-12 book series, but I can see reading two or three of them...
One of these days, I'm going to stop criticizing fantasy books, I think, and write my own the correct way. On the other hand, I feel like thats already been done. Song of Fire and Ice, anyone?
Friday, June 11, 2004
Nerdy Fantasy Book Things...
So yesterday, I did a lot of things in the Nerdy Fantasy Book department. First, I found out that A Feast for Crows, the new George R. R. Martin book is coming out on June 24. June 24! This is the coolest thing in the world. It means that I can read it on the airplane on the way to Los Angeles. Something to read besides german will be really nice. I can't wait.
In the mean time, however, to tide me over (I've had a craving for a fantasy novel), I went against the advice of certain people whom I respect and bought the first book of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time--The Eye of The World. It's not bad. I'm only about 40 pages into it, but up until this point, I can say that it hasn't been great, but it hasn't been bad. I had kind of wanted to pick up some of R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms books instead, but that would have been just too nerdy. D&D? Come on.
Of course, I'm secretly trying to get a D&D group together to play in a campaign that I've been doing on and off for a while. It'd be a lot of fun and very exciting. The problem is that all the gamers that I know here are also folklore grad students, so there's a question of how much time we will have. No worries, though! We'll make time!
Thursday, June 10, 2004
So my computer came back to me on monday, and just as quickly, it's gone again. It had this problem where it would randomly turn itself off while I was moving it from place to place. After spending a day and a half trying to convince apple that yes, it was a problem, and yes, it was a hardware issue (that has only arisin since the last repair), they finally agreed to take it back and fix it again. I sent it in yesterday, they got it this morning, and hopefully it will return (actually fixed this time) by monday or tuesday. I know that sounds a bit overly optimistic, but if it's just a loose connection like they thought, that should be a quick turn-over, right? Right?!
In other news, the cat is really funny. When he gets upset and I chase him, he leaves a giant fur-ball behind when he starts to run. Kind of like a cartoon animal loosing all its feathers.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
The morning blues...
I was just reading Jeana's livejournal, and I'm reminded how sad it is that I never get to go anywhere. With the exception of last summer, every summer since I entered college has been occupied with school, and while I sometimes feel like enough is enough, I also feel like summer is the optimal time to do certain things--take certain classes like languages--that I would never have the time or the dedication to do during the school-year. And so I've come to this decision: next summer, if I can possibly get out of it, I am not going to take a language. I am going to desperately try to get the funding together to go to a conference and give a paper in Estonia (International Society for Folk Narrative Research), and then maybe spend a week or so afterwards traveling in Finland and Scandinavia. Really, what I'd like to do is make a longer trip out of it and take a train into Germany--maybe go to Berlin and one or two other cities--but that doesn't seem so likely. I think that a week is much more possible than two or three. But the point is, that I'd like to get out of Bloomington for a while. Hey, and who knows! Maybe I can figure out how to get a summer FLAS grant to go learn a language in another country. That might be cool... we'll see.
But anyway, I ramble, and I'm really not unhappy here, just feeling the need to travel. Next on the agenda is german vocabulary, class, and then with my brand new laptop fixed laptop, who knows?! The possibilities are endless.
Monday, June 07, 2004
Good news, people!
I got my computer back today. After driving halfway into the middle of nowhere to find the DHL office, I managed to retrieve the thing, and, much to my delight, I found that they didn't wipe the hard drive or corrupt my data or anything like that. So I've been running some tests and things like that, and momentarily, I'm going to set up a new external hard drive that I got and transfer all of my music over there. 160 GB. The perfect size for doing regular backups. Nice.
In other news, I ate at "Mickey-D's" for the first time in recent memory, and know what I got for it? The McRuns.
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