trochee: (Default)
Apropos of my post earlier this week regarding the opportunities for moral reflection in videogames: WorldChanging's Regine DeBatty posts a summary of subversive videogames -- they subvert both the politics and form of videogames.
The main public for these games is neither teenagers nor kids, but adults. Moreover, the rules of these games are not the ones you would encounter in a commercial games: the aim is not to attract as many game addicts during as much time as possible; to captivate with an aesthetics as realist as possible or with the most original design; to attain as much identification to the hero as possible; to be the most competitive on the market; to satisfy the ego of the teenager that still lurks in each of us by killing what moves on the screen... the aim is not to win. The aim is to subvert and parody preconceived ethics and aesthetics; to generate reflection.
Worth a read.
trochee: (law and order)
Also from the Fantagraphics blog: Love and Rockets to appear on Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Curiosity of the day: I just signed a release form for Universal to use issues of LOVE & ROCKETS in an upcoming episode of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. Look for it in episode 15, airing sometime later this season. I sign a lot of these release forms for a variety of movies and television programs, but I'm especially curious to know what the context will be for this one.
I'm curious too!
trochee: (resolute)
Look!.

Also, an right-on rant pointing out that Ged still isn't brown.

(whoops, this was supposed to go in [livejournal.com profile] emerald_citizen. Now it's cross-posted.)
trochee: (Default)
Classes began today. I had a class in historical/comparative linguistics and a class in shallow processing for NLP.

I think both classes are likely to be quite easy. I'm a little concerned that they may be *too* easy.

I have been busy catching up on email and other tasks associated with getting back into school; I am also preparing my talk for the conference next week. It has been hard to get excited about it.

Today I saw Hedda Gabler with [livejournal.com profile] imtboo, [livejournal.com profile] blackwingedboy and [livejournal.com profile] alexstx21. Wow. Very Dogma- style, and well-told story. Totally absorbing. I knew the play already and it still made me jump.
trochee: (Default)
I don't have cable, or a land telephone at home these days. I've kinda liked it that way. When I feel like vegetating, I read a book or listen to the radio. But I wouldn't mind watching movies (or television shows) I liked, especially if I don't have to go to the video store and pick them out -- the work of doing the selection at that moment when i want to vegetate has been a barrier. And I have some money to do it, especially since I'm not paying for cable, or phone, or internet at home.

So I like the idea of Netflix, where I can add movies-i-want-to-see to some online queue that magically (and for a small fee) drops movies-I-said-I-wanted (or TV-I-said-I-wanted) in my mailbox, so they're there when I vegetate. $18 per month seems quite reasonable, actually.

But [livejournal.com profile] firinel and [livejournal.com profile] marnanel have been having real trouble with them recently, and somebody said they were teamed up with Walmart these days (ick!) -- so are there any other competitors in this business? or does Netflix have the market locked up with a patent?
trochee: (Default)
Over the last week:1

movies

  • Saw Batman Begins with a small contingent from [livejournal.com profile] emerald_citizen. I was impressed at the faithfulness to the comics, without being campy: there were very clear references to big chunks of Year One (the look of Wayne Manor, the trips to the Far East to learn, the doubts about how to use fear) Dark Knight Returns (the automobile, the pearls), along with a successful re-introduction to Ras al-Ghul, who had never previously "worked" for me as a villain (I stopped reading the whole Batman panoply around the time they introduced Bane). I particularly liked that the script takes its time in introducing the costume etcetera, and that the hand-to-hand combat scenes were shot in the close-up, confused flurry that leaves a lot to the imagination (Michael Keaton's Batman always looked like a clown in fights).

    I got suckered by the turn-your-cellphone-off preview, which had medieval kung-fu warriors clashing in mid-air when someone's cell phone started ringing. It went on, and I was completely snookered -- I said "okay, turn it off now", out loud, loud enough to be heard throughout the theater, and then I realized that the subtitled moment had the two warriors debating what noise that was -- "it's in the audience", says one. So embarrassing to be taken in. I obviously don't watch enough movies, because it felt like everybody else in the theater knew what was coming. I felt like one of those apocryphal primitive tribesmen who talks back to the television, or asks "how do they get the little people in there." Amusing for everybody else, though I could feel my skin flush with embarrassment. This embarrassment was somewhat mitigated by being massively out-fanboyed by the entire row behind us, who [to a man, and yes they were all men] bore a striking resemblance to Comic Book Guy and as soon as the movie ended started ripping on how it wasn't really authentic.

    It was very nice to spend some time -- however non-conversational -- with both [livejournal.com profile] blackwingedboy and [livejournal.com profile] imtboo; the former I barely see at all and the latter has been frantically busy in going to a major theater conference in town (to which she received a scholarship!).

reading
Wow, I've been reading a lot.
  • The Nation
  • The works of Ellen Ullman, at [livejournal.com profile] imtboo's recommendation. She's a decent writer, and it's the first thing I've read that really seems to capture the feelings of clarity, confusion, drive and obsession that go into a programmer's life. The Bug is both frightening and fascinating in its eerie similarities to my own life -- the first-person narrator, for example, is a PhD linguist who has dropped out of the academy and become a software tester; she is forced to learn to program as a matter of pride in her job but it quickly becomes a mesmerizing world of its own to her. ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid didn't like it, though [some spoilers in these reviews] Mostly Fiction and the NYT did.) I won't say more -- there are a few plot points I don't want to give away -- but I encourage the geeks and geeks' friends out there to read it, or her gonzo memoir Close to the Machine (an interesting review).
  • I've started reading The Confusion, which I picked up the other day. This morning I took a knife and tore the giant trade paperback into three chunks so I don't have to carry around 2.9 pounds of paper, I'm still on chunk 1.
  • in a fit of bookstore madness, I went to Twice Sold Tales and left with $35 of used books: #2-4 of the Princes of Amber series, Emergence (non-fiction about group-emergent properties and processes ), Persepolis (a comic-book memoir of a girl in Iran) and Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow, which I've been meaning to re-read for years.

1There's no narrative here. It's just a log of what I've been doing for the last week or so. Sorry for the lack of updates...

trochee: (Default)
work work work.

I have another deadline on Saturday morning. But I'm going with the other [livejournal.com profile] emerald_citizens to see Howl's Moving Castle tomorrow afternoon, so I really really want to get this done by tomorrow afternoon.

I'm running the last steps. i think it's fairly likely to work (shh!)

This deadline is for a class -- not a publication -- so we're taking some shortcuts. But it is a pretty ambitious project. And it's due in about 28 hours.

Must go sleep some.

sunny day

May. 13th, 2005 02:18 pm
trochee: (Default)
woke up this morning very early, because my new apartment is very bright in the a.m. My living room -- although still with many boxes to unpack -- is bright and sun-lit until around noon. I made coffee in my equally sunny kitchen, and unpacked several more boxes. A nice surprise for me was that there are already holes in my built-in bookshelves to run speaker wire into, so I can put my stereo speakers up out of the way and not have cables running across the walls.

I think I'm going to need a stepladder or some rather tall friends though -- it's too high for me to do properly, even standing on a chair.

regarding research, re-running the Collins replication steps has been frighteningly easy -- I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. It probably will in the evaluation step.

I'm feeling pretty good about school in general. Tonight I'll be joining [livejournal.com profile] imtboo in finishing out the Live Girls theater space for their Grand Opening tomorrow. Some time this weekend -- perhaps Saturday during the day -- I want to watch Episode II, despite its lousy reviews, because Ep III comes out next week. (regarding ep 2: I have to say that the tag line "the discovery of a secret Republican clone army" strikes dangerously close to home.)

Anybody wanna watch with me?
trochee: (Default)
well, not all moved: all my furniture is moved and about 90% of my other stuff. I ran out of boxen at the very last bit, and decided the remainder would be movable without a truck, so I called it good-enough-for-now.

I am grateful for the assistance of [livejournal.com profile] blackwingedboy and [livejournal.com profile] imtboo as well as the unexpected but welcome assistance of a labmate who showed up and helped move all the big furniture out of the old house, into the truck, and up the three stories to the new apartment. [livejournal.com profile] imtboo and [livejournal.com profile] blackwingedboy and I came back with another load and -- after a few trips to the top and back down -- decided to do the whole thing bucket-brigade up one story at a time so we could (1) hang out together while we worked and (2) have a sense of accomplishment.

The new apartment is lovely. it is full of boxes and bags of stuff, completely disorganized, and lovely. I unpacked a few kitchen boxes last night, stowed comics boxes in the closet, and sat and read the last three issues of Girl Genius and the entirety of Warren Ellis' Orbiter. And then a shower and a pleasant, sleepy evening with D.

Earlier this week I saw Hitchhiker's Guide with [livejournal.com profile] imtboo and [livejournal.com profile] blackwingedboy. I liked it far more than I expected, and I'd like to see it again. The sourpuss reviews ("they've left out all the jokes", said one) were wrong: it's true to the spirit of the books although (obviously) they couldn't include all the verbal explicatory/footnote style humor, they still captured a lot of it with the Lonely-Planet-pedantic "talking to a drunk tyro" style of the Guide itself.

I also saw The Big Blue with [livejournal.com profile] imtboo: Besson is a heck of a director, and Jean Reno is an amazing actor. They must have had a wonderful time making this movie; and the result is sad, bittersweet, and beautiful. The underwater scenes are amazing, and one wave-hallucination scene makes the movie worth watching for that alone. Definitely worth another watching. (The imdb reviews are completely awful, and the box cover description for Americans is laughably wrong. It's difficult to describe; it's probably better to simply watch the movie and draw your own conclusions.)
trochee: (Default)
Various sf tv serials that I should really go rent or check out from the library, assuming it's even possible to find in the library:
  • I've been told by I don't know how many people now that I need to see Firefly (is the pilot in the DVD collections?).
  • I also want to see the new Battlestar Galactica.
  • I used to like Farscape back in the day, and I wonder if it would hold up to my memory of it.
  • Some day, maybe, now that it's done, I'll allow myself to enter the Buffy fandom. But it still scares me a little. [This one actually is in the library... hmm.]
Have I missed anything obvious?
trochee: (Default)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] imtboo and I watched Shattered Glass, about Stephen Glass' lies and deceptions at the New Republic in the late 1990s, and how it all went pear-shaped when he got fact-checked by an online magazine [Edit: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] imtboo, who coincidentally sent me that last link without prompting, just before I posted this].

Hayden Christensen plays the convincing lead, reflecting the desperately lonely Glass who cannot resist fabricating stories to make people love him, but Peter Sarsgaard and Hank Azaria really steal this show as his two editors. It's no surprise that Sarsgaard won a number of awards for this part; he begins the part in a role doomed to be "the jealous one" stereotype, but he ends up being the real emotional core of the movie as the editor who has to finally doubt the reporter (Christensen) who has been betraying him.

very good. worth watching again, even.
trochee: (silly)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] exterra, [livejournal.com profile] thevorak and I had dinner together; red beans, greens, and yellow cheesy grits on dark blue plates. Beautiful.

And it inspired a collection of movie-style blurb reviews:
more bad puns )
Apologies to Siskel, who is probably rolling in his grave.

In other news, I am still cranky and continue with low-grade sickness. I wish that [livejournal.com profile] imtboo and I could take a week and go out to an island in the Sound or a cabin in the Olympics. But spring break wasn't long enough and I still have more to do. And of course so does she.
trochee: (Default)
This week I saw two great movies courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] imtboo (have I mentioned I like her rather a lot?).

Last night we saw the second of them: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; last week we saw the first: Down By Law.

Sunshine was everything that Groundhog Day should have been (and I might add that Kate Winslet and Kirsten Dunst are both better actors than Andie MacDowell), along with a twist of Memento and maybe a little tiny bit of Existenz (for the Dick-ian questions of memory and reality) or Brazil, for the stalkerish brain-plumber/technicians played by Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood.

Down by Law, on the other hand, was essentially a Marx Brothers' jailbreak flick as assembled by Jim Jarmusch, only set in gritty New Orleans underworld. Tom Waits plays Groucho [mustachioed hyperverbal smartass]; Roberto Benigni is Chico [Italian malaprop-spouting physical goof], which leaves John Lurie to play a modified combo of the silent naive child that is Harpo and the overshadowed romantic "lead" that is Zeppo.

Okay, it's not really a Marx Brothers movie. But it's not a crazy way to look at it: Jarmusch says he filmed in black and white -- and allowed open shooting, with the camera quite still -- as a reference to Buster Keaton, and yet it has a film noir feel through the whole movie. The "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" scene alone has yet to be topped in prison movies. Hilarious and terrifying at the same time.

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