Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Animated Life (toons)

Toon In

The Animated Life is a series of short animated films by Jeff Scher. Hand-drawn, I believe, and quite impressive. I believe there may be a few subliminal messages embedded in them.

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


Are you sleeping, brother idiot?
Out on the abandoned highway,
your mind igniting a brush fire
in the October moonlight
dreaming there, little man,
miles from the pale concrete city,

finding comfort where you can
in a pile of leaves,
a bower of branches,
redolent of pine and pendulums,
conjuring a paradise of stuck clocks,
a moment of still water

you could live in forever.
But something dances in waves of wheat,
rises over rock jags,
a disturbance in the clouds
unsettling mirrors for miles around
and casting a searchlight for you.

Elements conspire beyond your eyelids:
a voice, a bell, a creaking.
The morning assembles.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Lots of Halloween decorations and candy at the drugstore. I can't get into the holiday spirit yet, though, what with these 85-degree days we're having.... I'm watching The War, off and on. I'm surprised that so much color footage of WWII was shot. I always think of it as a black-and-white war.... We are inundated by apples; the tree in the backyard is producing bushels of them. Unfortunately, about 90 percent of them are too full of holes or other imperfections to eat. The ones that are edible, though, are good. Macintoshes, I think.... Somebody was giving out free T-shirts today that say "I'm a good listener" across the chest. White letters on black. I took one. I wonder what will happen if I wear it in public. Will strangers tell me their problems?.... Why don't I...just cowboy up?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The World's Ugliest Cars

Style Note

Take a look at The World's Ugliest Cars, according to BusinessWeek. I disagree with some of the selections (Corvairs ugly?), and I would say that some of them are just strange looking (Edsels), or even kind of cute (Pacers), not "ugly". Most cars are so bland looking today -- at least these flivvers had personality.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Word of the Day: diegesis

Word of the Day

diegesis (n) diegetic (adj)

A narrative
In film studies, the fictional world, milieu, or universe in which the story takes place

"Non-diegetic music in dramatic (narrative-based) television thus has heightened purpose in the televisual apparatus."
--Kathryn Kalinak, from an essay in Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks.

Translation: music that the characters don't hear but the audience does hear serves a purpose in film and television. The purpose is to tell the viewers what they should be feeling or how they should interpret a scene on the emotional level.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Newspapers hostile to reading?

Quote of the Day

"'Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of American their hostility to reading in all forms.' This is the taboo that dares not speak its name."
--from "Goodbye to All That", in the Columbia Journalism Review, an article about the sad state of newspaper book reviews

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Towers: 9/11 and the World Trade Center

Nine Eleven

I was in those towers several times, and easily could have been there "that day." My wife was in the World Trade Center on 9/11, though luckily not in one of the two main buildings. Anyway, my day, six years ago: The Towers

Sunday, September 09, 2007

3D Auditory Illusions

You Are There

Put your headphones on and experience three-dimensional "holophonic" sounds at One Man's Blog. Some pretty impressive auditory illusions there, including a "virtual haircut".

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


The noon sky is perplexing.
Sun and moon might not exist

behind the cold
clouds that pass and blur,

a landscape of snow
in the stratosphere,

disguising time.
I'm upside down.

I can appreciate
bats and stalactites

hanging and pointing
at a cavern floor. I will interpret

the lying mirror of my face,
confusing my left and right,

hero with victim. It must mean:
my machinations are meaningless

as the sugar that dissolves
in my black coffee cup,

as a photo negative of a mannequin
mistaken for human--

bald and reticent as he is,
a man as hard as a billiard ball,

as hollow as a prop rock, empty
as a flask drained of whiskey.

You're the scientist! What is the specific
density of salt water,

squeezed from a sea urchin,
the range of monarch butterflies

from wasted childhoods?
I built a model out of matchsticks

of a perfect cabin on a sand mound.
One match put an end to all that.

Then I entered tomorrow. Or:
passed through a door to domesticity,

leaving behind the boy, the silver
snaking river, the tales of strong Germans

and farm people who found their pride
in gravel and milking machines.

Now I wander in brick canyons.
I edit everything endlessly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Word of the Day: cromulent

Word of the Day

cromulent (adj)

Authentic, valid, fine or excellent

"Whatever your French villa preference this cromulent resort in Dalat has you covered."

This word, which was coined by the writers (or a writer) of The Simpsons, seems to be seeping into the common language, and is already included in some online dictionaries. I'm not sure why we need it, but I like the sound of it. And one of the great things about the English language is that we have so many ways of saying the same thing.

By the way, what's your French villa preference?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Inland Empire

Quote of the Day

"There's a vast network, right? An ocean of possibilities. I like dogs. I used to raise rabbits. I've always loved animals. Their nature, how they think. I have seen dogs reason their way out of problems, watched them think through the trickiest situations. Do you have a couple of bucks I could borrow? I’ve got this damn landlord."
--"Freddie," a character in David Lynch's latest film, Inland Empire

Watched the DVD last night. It's a very confusing but generally mesmerizing film. I think Freddie's bit of dialog above (which is really Lynch speaking directly to the audience) "explains" it as much as words can.