Happy Halloween from Mipsy!

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on blog spam

Ok, so I think we all acknowledget the pure evil that is blog spam. While I seem to get regular crappy ones with embedded links to storm windows, penis enlargement, and loan consolidation services, this one is just amazing:
Keith Burdon said...

I thought I grunted on the boulevard. I would keep away from it is glass. You drive, and finished my hat brim low and winked at the work that wouldn't be before me, despite the boulevard. I'm a week from blogging for a fresh-ish start on Sunset. So long, figuring I thought I never married because I stared at. Well, here, you can't drink. I'm completely unable to l. Come in the clerk said. The minutes dragged by. The door swung open. Well, figuring I thought about nine carats of a large-ish project due a large-ish project due a bit, almost drooling with all over the boulevard. Well, it. I grinned at the time.
See it in context here. All that amazingness, and no rancid link? Ah, the mysteries of the internets...


mini-rant on grad school

  • Alright, I understand that there is a certain (large) degree of hoop-jumping to had at all stages of one's academic career.
  • I would also wager that for most who pursue post-secondary degrees, that amount of hoop-jumping grows proportionally with the cultural capital said degree program will get you.
  • This seems logical, at least in the sense that most educational programs follow analogous proportions of hoop-jumping to work-that-carries-any-semblance-of-meaning, regardless of how illogical that proportion may be.
  • However, at times the most illogical of hoop-jumping presents itself for a student's appreciation of the ludicrosity (go with it, people) of the entire enterprise.
  • These example of hoop-jumping must be mocked into submission, both publicly and privately, lest they be perpetuated under some banner of "well I suppose it could come in hand to have done this later..."
  • Just say no, people...just say no...



Five links (man, I love the internets...)

1) This video for Radiohead's "Creep" is AMAZING; you must watch it. link

2) A physics class has "recreated" the mythical many-mirror-bearers-defending-a-coastal-city-by-burning-ships (often called "Archimedes's Death Ray"): link (site seems up-and-down)

(pic from BoingBoing)
3) You can download the entired 11 CD Dylan Thomas Caedmon collection from Salon.com for free: link (you will need to click on the link near the top to get a "free pass", watch the video trailer/commercial, then click on the Thomas collection link again). Alternately, here's Thomas reading "Do Not Go Gentle": link

4) A brilliant "open letter" to President Bush about a practical move he could make to help America: link

5) Sweet Jesus, this rules: The Shining as a trailer for a Nora Ephron movie: link

now that's some MMOG humor...


on not blogging in a while

I thought I would keep away from blogging for a bit, figuring I would have a chance at the end of the summer to update my template and get a fresh-ish start on things. Well, that time passed, and then life kept moving. So, here it is, the beginning of October. I'm generally well. I'm completely unable to finish all the work that seems to be before me, despite the fact that I seem to think about it all the time. I have a large-ish project due a week from tomorrow that I'm barely even looked at. I wanted to hand back graded papers to my students tomorrow--got about 1/3 of them done this weekend.

I'm fairly sure nobody actually reads this any longer, so I figured I'd work on it for a bit, then send out a mass email anouncing that I've got a bloglet.com subscription on the sidebar there, so any interested parties can get emails when I post.

Finally, my second little pigeon is all grown up and seems to have flown. It's weird to get all Tony Soprano about such, but what are you gonna do?


wow...that's a lot of books

The Great DivorceOrdinary VictoriesIce HavenEverything Bad is Good for YouEverything Can be BeatenAEIOUWhy are You Doing This?Animerotics5 is the Perfect NumberFortune and GloryEscapist, vol 2Swamp Thing, v1Deathblow: Sinners & SaintsJust a quick catch-up post. I've been reading a lot of graphic novels that I've been able to get used. Not even going to summarize, just check out the strange sampling of the genre by clicking on the images above. I finished the summer teaching, the summer grading, and I think the summer prepping of incoming instructor orientation. Hopefully that means that this weekend is mostly off. My parents were here last weekend. My iPod "Nora" developed a folder/hard drive issue, but the nice folks at Best Buy replaced the B/W 4th gen 20GB iPod with a color 20GB one, now dubbed "Nora II". Beyond that, I've been working on my Fall syllabus--teaching an interesting mix of things:There's still another week and a half until the first day of teaching--plenty of time to get all this stuff done. :) In the final other news: hopefully, I'll have a new self-deisgned (rather than rearranged and half-ass edited) template up for this blog soon. Out.


if only I lived in Japan, and had some Yen...

now, I just need ¥36,750 (~$331)


yes, that's a pet hyena...wow...(click on pic for hyena/baboon-as-pet series)


Three cool things!

1) Went to see March of the Penguins (aka, La Marche de l'empereur) yesterday. The film is a must see--though those badass little penguins are anthropomorphized (hard work to type) like no one's business, the undertaking of filming a breeding ground's worth of penguins for a year in Antarctica, combined with amazing cinematography and Morgan Freeman narration makes it great. It's pengies, man...pengies...

2) I cut off the mane for the 4th time! Here's the foot or so of hair that goes to Locks of Love. It's now trimmed (with some help, as I apparently can cut others' hair, but not my own in the mirror...) and pretty slick. Trying to decide if I will need to get some "product" (which I'm kind of fundamentally against) or just let it spaz on its own--as it tends to do. Cheers to being a long-hair...

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3) My pigeon (whose sibling never made it past egg-form) is like half-a-pigeon, grey feathers on the wings and back, yellowish bristle on the head. He or she has learned to peck at the window in defiance when I try to take a picture, but I think the little one is coming along nicely:

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A lot of books, a little teaching, time at the DMV

PotentialWe3The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayThe Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceA lot of being out and about, teaching, and reading. On the graphic novel front, I read Ariel Schrag's Potential (less affecting than Craig Thompson's Blankets, but good) and Grant Morrison's We3, featuring a trio--dog, cat, and bunny--of pets abducted by the government and made into killing machines and images like this one (sorry Oday):

Now how can that go wrong?

I also finally read Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which is right up my alley, but I had been putting off due to length. An uneven, strangely paced and plotted book, it still remains an amazing accomplishment--a fictional but plausible account of two Jewish teens who in the late 1930s create a comic book character, the Escapist "Master of Elusion", who rivals them all. I cannot stress how enjoyable this book was for being such an impressive attempt. It goes near the top of my recommendation list. In the odd-but-awesome category, the Escapist mythology and comics from past ages (ones mentioned in Chabon's novel and ones that fill in the Escapist's role in the history of comics) are being "re-created" and presented in volumes by Dark Horse. The first one, The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 was a lot of fun, mixing styles, plots, and approaches (though it might have been even more clever had one of the artists tried to do bad 4-color separation on newsprint instead of contemporary digitally-editing color fills on gloss...but I digress).

Then, in keeping with the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which was surrrrrrrrreal...like two full movies--awesome visuals and script true-to-the-book with Johnny Depp's bizarre psychologically disturbed acting sitting at right angles), I decided to read the book, which I hadn't read in a good decade or more. I was surprised at the movie's cues from the text, though I could have sworn those damn kids died...guess that's just my malicious wishful thinking.

Finally, I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (for an online summary go here). The basic premise is that our intuition about social interactions and trends is most often wrong, mostly because we make assumptions about the nature how people really interact. Gladwell is a master of popular explanations of social phenomena, and while I don't necessarily buy into the causal relationships he establishes--though to be fair, one of his big theses is that in many situations, our thinking about causality is based on false assumptions--his conclusions and examples are persuasive. I'm always struck with how explanatory and clear many recent popular non-fiction books can be (good ones include Eric Schlosser's Reefer Madness, Anonymous' Imperial Hubris, and Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?), and my deep hope that people are actually reading them and thinking about social analysis. I worry that the active reading of books has somehow been socially sequestered into a few isolated places. It does do my heart a little good to see these books selling well.

So, on my deep-love-of-bureaucracy-that-only-increases-by-the-moment side of things, I hit the DMV today, which actually wasn't as bad as it could have been, but I did spend a good hour (after taking an unexpected written driving test (which I aced)) hanging out watching everybody kill time and watch each other. There's probably an awesome sociology study to be done in DMV lobbies, where 50+ people are just required to sit and be relatively attentive for someone to yell their name or number at any time. Let me just put it this way--I was the only person reading, but cell phones, muttering under your breath, coloring books, and knuckle-popping are all very popular. Thanks, DMV, what would I have don't with my time otherwise...?

The teaching is going really well this summer, about to finish the last 1/4 of the course. I've been surprised at how easy this one has gone (which is not being said to jinx anything, just to comment). In the last couple of weeks, I hope I can just stay on top of stuff, so I can finish grading and such without it lingering...as the teaching sometimes does...

And finally, for your linking pleasure. If you don't check del.icio.us out, someone has put up a feed that collects the most bookmarked sites every five minutes: Oishii's del.icio.us feed. This way, on top of BoingBoing and Fark, you can check out the crazy and best of the Internets...


oh, the genius of hotdog art...

with a hat-tip to Martha for the link...

on mis-using words

Recently, I've been quite amazed at some of the bad writing that is so pervasive all around. Here, I'm not even talking about mis-managed sentences, poorly placed adverbs, dangling participles, etc. I'm concerned more about the quick-fix, poorly-thought news articles, the shock-at-all-cost fiction, the appease-instead-of-decide-on-a-moral/ethical-standard version of politics, the blatant-disregard-for-jurisdiction actions of the Supreme Court, media, President, and Jude Law.

Am I asking too much of the profusion of words around me? My students acknowledge the idea of thinking about what the ideas behind expression in writing, but when it comes to the page, they tend to just babble in Times New Roman--which seems to somehow legitimate the ideas that they stopped considering. Have we transferred the print culture = respectability equation into some vague notion of "you write words, so they must be well-thought" tautology? It just leaves me frustrated to see the mangling of thinking/reason/ethics that passes for contemporary culture.

This, of course, being what I think just before I go teach... :/


The truth about school

Oh, the genius of Toothpaste for Dinner...


An Arab, a wedding, and a pigeon walk into a bar...

9-11, Artists RespondBatman: Year OneEmbroideriesCagesA number of graphic novels recently: the overly patriotic/snap-emotional tribute volume 9-11, Artists Respond, Frank Miller's restarting of the Batman saga in Batman: Year One, Marjane Satrapi's small mediation on the sex lives of women Embroideries, and Dave McKean's masterful long graphic novel Cages (which I know have an ex-Orange County Library perma-bound copy of!).

The last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy. After the camping, there was a hectic week of teaching, then Lisa and Alan's wedding, with it's various accoutrements. Here's the happy couple:

It turned out that a long-time friend of mine, Brad, was one of the groomsmen, which was a bit surreal. Good 'ol Oday was in town for the festivities, so I got to hang out with his eminence for almost a week, which rocked. He brought a couple of French graphic novels--on top of Sylvie Fontaine's surreal Cubik that he had gotten me earlier--Philippe Squarzoni's Torture Blanche and Alain Paillou's Parabellum. I'll get to those soon, dictionary in hand...

After all of the wedding fun and such, it was another week of teaching, and then somehow it was yesterday. I've been reading some longer novels, including Michael Chabon's mesmerizing The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and just generally getting stuff done. The other random news is that the pigeon that lives on the defunct air conditioner still attached to my bedroom has one healthy fuzzy yellow chick (are they "chicks", or something else) and one as-yet-unhatched egg. Said pigeon is apparently cool with me opening the blinds and looking, but gets a little agitated when I take pictures...

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(chick sticking head out on lower right)


Google Earth and FFVII

Through the wonder and glory that is the newly released Google Earth (download here), I found this awesome/bizarre industrial plant in Baghdad, Iraq:

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Now, this in and of it self is not remarkable, but imagine standing at ground level next to such a plant with that weird green glow oh-so-popular in video games, the X-files, and in Minas Morgul, and you might get:

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That's a screenshot from Final Fantasy VII, which leads me to believe that part of the underlying motives of global capitalism must be to recreate in real life all of the surreal locations that you could only once occupy as a spiky-haired man-boy named Cloud. Thanks global capital... :)


"Gotta debate the fundamental beliefs of 'em all!"

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