Thursday, May 29, 2008

aren't. we all. LOST?

i. can't. wait.

monkeys, mind control

via Benedict Carey @ The New York Times Science section, i can't say it any better: "Monkeys Control a Robot Arm With Their Thoughts."

apparently, tiny implants @ the motor cortex guide the experimental monkeys as they manipulate a mechanical arm that brings them marshmallows and grapes. eventually, they adapt the arm's uses, going far beyond grab and move gestures, using the virtual appendage to push extra bits into their mouths and lick its fingers to get every delish morsel.

the technology could be used to aid humans suffering from brain and spinal cord injuries.

Monday, May 19, 2008

msn.com $#@@%#@!!

your "reset my password" instructions would might make sense if a.) the "reset my password" message could go to any other email account except the one for which i have, um, forgotten my password, and b.) my "secret question" were not so damn secret that i'd forgotten it's mysteriously suggestive power.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

happy birthday to me . . .


i tried to love mountain biking. had a diamondback but rarely rode it because i hated hunching over and cramping up my legs like a circus monkey. sold it on craig's list. now, *this* is my new bike, and i *love* it! when they say "cruising," they mean "cruising," with this bike. comfy? absolutely. you can sit up, even back! i couldn't wait until 5/27 (oh, is that me, obliquely dropping my birthday date?).

giant brand, "suede" model in baby blue.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

another reason to love sean penn

at the opening ceremony at Cannes, Penn did not so much appeal to the genius of those who would ultimately win prizes (as in a sort of valedictorian's HS speech, sending off the young "geniuses"). instead, he appealed to the distributors of the films that will not win prizes, arguing that by virtue of having been selected to screen at Cannes, the "losers" are deserving of the distributors' passion and care for the works. Penn urged distributors to leave the festival with the same excitement they brought to it. nice.

looking quite well (did he have work done?), speaking smartly and with ease, Penn also remains an unapologetic smoker, which seems oddly brave in today's media landscape (stilll, he's in France, so maybe "brave" is a reach. ha).

Friday, May 16, 2008

not. fair.


dear fellow acting students,

i'm sure that you are all very busy. i'm sure that it is difficult to say "no" to the many calls from your agents (surely for that upcoming booking), or to put off responding to that h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s text your bff sent to "keep you grounded," but, um, . . . even on "vibrate" your phone is making it difficult to concentrate and your texting during my scene is just plain rude.

Friday, May 9, 2008

style and "p.c."

over at The Moment, style editor Sandra Ballentine responds to a complaint regarding a layout featuring fur: "[...] I can’t profess to be anti-fur. It would be hypocritical to do so, as I own clothing that incorporates fur, and sometimes we feature it in the pages of T. I also don’t think it’s necessarily part of my job as a style editor to be politically correct" (emphasis mine).

first of all, the strange uses of the term "politically correct" . . . the dismissive moves, as though "p.c." concerns were so trivial as to be irrelevant, have always bothered me, but this is what happens when we sloganize important cultural work. still.

but so, a *style* editor -- someone who manages popular information flows (@ The NY Times) of mass communication -- does not see political correctness as "part of her job"? maybe it's part of your humane calling? but . . . oh right, it's *just* a job; i see this attitude a lot, and it's distressing. it's like saying, "it is what it is" (such a dumb, silencing expression; it says, "pleeeeeezzze take your issues somewhere else").

Thursday, May 8, 2008

and we need this . . .


... privet bloom, via Chandler Burr at The Moment, "smells, strikingly, like a raw, stripped-down spring bush — the leaves crushed between your fingers, the moist cut stem — with a bit of flower but (and this is impossible, of course) as if you were smelling the scent of the flower as a bud rather than a blossom."

i've become a fan of Burr's language. i now long for 2 of the scents he's reviewed (see other, here).

Monday, May 5, 2008

"manufactured landscapes"



what i so love about Jennifer Baichwal's beautifully tragic film and Edward Burtynsky's disturbing yet aesthetically engaging images of industrial "landscapes" is the way in which both privilege a minimalist aesthetic, enabling the photographer's soul-crunching images -- alone -- to say what they (need to) say. the film thereby avoids condescending to audiences (with overdone narrative voiceover or too many title cards); instead, it invites its audience to consider and discover what Burtynsky's burnt-out industrial "landscapes" mean (w/r/t globalization and industrializaion) and thus creates a space in which the images do their rhetorical work absent overt direction. in this seemingly ambivalent space, viewers are likely drawn in by the strange beauty of the images even as they are disturbed in ways that perhaps initiate productive reflection, possibly, change. essentially, the film performs the difficult task of maintaining, even nurturing a productive affective tension rather than flogging it mercilessly in the name of rhetorical efficacy (i.e., control). in this way, Manufactured Landscapes aligns, at least partially, with an argument i have been making for a couple of years now, an argument about the context-specific primacy (not a secondary or tertiary nature) of visual communication as language, as rhetoric, as far more than what i have heard one prominent linguist/rhetorician call "mere stimulus."

Sunday, May 4, 2008

certeau's "walking rhetoric"

i've reading to do, inspired by this, via Natalie Zemon Davis, by way of Jim Aune @ the blogora:

"Certeau wrote appreciatively of Foucault's close analysis of 'discipline' in his influential Discipline and Punish, where the philosopher tracked the shift from the old regime, in which torture was used as a public spectacle, to the modern prison, in which coercion was used behind closed doors to 'control' the body. But Certeau commented:

If it is true that the grid of "discipline" is everywhere becoming clearer and more extensive, it is all the more urgent to discover how an entire society resists being reduced to it, what popular procedures...manipulate the mechanisms of discipline and conform to them only in order to evade them.

Certeau examined commonplace activities over which control could in principle be maintained by the institutional organization of space and language and suggested how in fact control was ignored or bypassed. People walk their own way through the grid of city streets, zigzagging, slowing down, preferring streets with certain names, making turns and detours, their own 'walking rhetoric.' People read in ways that escape the social hierarchy and 'imposed system' of written texts: they read in all kinds of places from libraries to toilets. They read with their own rhythms and interruptions, thinking or daydreaming; they read making gestures and sounds, stretching, 'a wild orchestration of the body,' and end up with their own ideas about the book. 'These procedures and ruses...compose the network of an antidiscipline.'"

nice.

my book, part 1

i will be posting what are for me interesting thoughts on my book on film discourses in Composition. i have a rough introduction and a good deal of early review/analytical work underway, but for what i can share in bits, i'll post here.

so then, bit #1: i am seriously looking forward to reading Herbert Weiner's 1948 College English article, "The Motion Picture and the Teaching of English." just 5 pages! (gotta love the brevity of early scholarship).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

to do list, (refined)

1.) resume work on book(s).
2.) go back to acting class (new headshot, visit agency, etc.)
3.) collaborate with Mike on screenplay(s).
4.) get to San Fransisco to begin filming my doc on M. Dot Strange.
5.) keep up my 3 days/week (minimum) workout schedule.
6.) get up early enough to do yoga w/ "exercise tv."
7.) get in at the filmmaker labs (i'll extra; i'll haul ice to parties!).
8.) get more regular with my journal.
9.) go to more concerts and clubs.
10.) go to every new museum exhibit in my immediate vicinity.

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

It's awards show Sunday, so i'm giving Margot. I'm through with the wishfulness and angst and regret, and Margot, more than an...