Thursday, August 31, 2006

Observation

Perfume smells wonderful, but tastes awful.

Notes Found in the Margins

Suicidal Art - Protest of Silence

Exhibition of World - Production of Earth

It was a sign, of course it was, it just was and that's true.

This art?

We're all recyclable.

Great Pun is Dead!

The only conspiracy is to make you beleive there's a conspiracy.

Spock/Kirk - Apollo/Dionysus

Hey, what's with the gravity?

hey-hey, ho-ho
this protest chant has got to go (repeat)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Coming of Age

When did you first start to notice that newspaper comics weren't really that funny?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Kill Bill - 5 minute review

One of my 5 minute reviews from 2003. These are reviews that I write in about 5 minutes, as soon as I get home from watching the movie.

Kill Bill is the best made, most technically skilled and most exciting action film that I have ever dis-liked. This is a film that is a step back for Tarantino as an artist. While it is true that he displays a very impressive mastery of the chosen genre it is also true that he disappoints in the paucity of any another dimension beyond style. This is a Bacchic feast of form but it lacks even a side dish of substance and what substantial content it offers is drowned out and made dysfunctional by the form.

After a brutally violent wedding murder scene, Uma Thurman's character wakes up after a lengthy coma to discover that her baby has been lost. A long and sympathetic camera lingers on her as her sorrow and rage pours out of her. The problem is that because of the onslaught that has just occurred we cannot really feel for her. Such an emotionally powerfull scene is reduced to being perceived as a drawn-out filler until more cartoonish action can be served up.

As it turns out, the actual cartoon segment in the film works really well. The Japanese style anime is very stylishly done, with excellent movement of perspective. Many of the other segments of the movie which can also be described as cartoonish also are technically successful. I understand that it is an exercise in referential filmmaking, an homage to various genres and it succeeds as a tour de force of an action martial arts film. There is however the odour of American over-acheivement. It is as if Tarantino is trying to prove that he can out-do the genre and bring it to some ultimate conclusion. The goal it seems is to make something that teenage boys can argue is the last word in a martial arts action film. It is as if we are to be awed and humbled and dared to make another film of this genre after seeing Kill Bill.

The intent itself seems unable to overcome the boyish fight fantasies it portrays. Tarantino throws down the gauntlet in some imagined competition to be crowned the uber-geek. He might win that contest and be awarded such laurels by the academy of cinema geeks but he has brought himself down a rung in the pantheon of auteur filmmakers. What has he really done that could not be achieved by countless other directors given enough time and budget to do so?

This work is not produced through the subtle insights of a talented director - and talented he surely is - the kinetic overabundance is mainly the result of having enough time and money to out-do other filmmakers. Perhaps Tarantino was stung or even ostracised by the members of that diaspora that I call the Academy of Cinema Geeks after he made Jackie Brown. Perhaps he felt that he had lost their respect and wowed to win them back. In many ways Jackie Brown is better at showcasing those more rarefied directorial talents. The ability to invent a sympathetic soul with whom the viewer can empathize is more difficult than throwing enough money at an action sequence to numb the senses. There are those who will say that my estimation of this film is really beside the point, that Tarantino intended it to be just such a movie. With this I would agree. He has indeed succeeded in his aim. My disappointment lies in the fact that he is capable of so much more and I wish he would draw again and re-aim.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Girls On A Beach... dude


While reading at the beach on Comox Lake, two young girls stepped out of a small jeep vehicle and set up their tanning towels in front of me. This is the conversation that was overheard:

Girl1: Oh Dude, I've had like the best summer ever.

Girl2: I know. It's been like so awesome.

Girl1: Dude, yeah just me and you, its been so Gong Show.

Girl2: Yeah, like sooo Gong Show.

Girl1: Just doing random shit.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Jakes On A Plane

I just landed in Northern BC for a couple of weeks.

I plan on continuing my research into the Bigfoot legend. Next week I have an interview lined up with someone who not only claims to have personaly known the famous Sasquatch but also claims to be related to him.

My results will follow soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crazy Cat Lady

Everyone has heard of those crazy cat ladies. They are those eccentric women who live in unkempt houses with their dozens of cats who can be seen eating and pooping all over the place. Well it turns out that she may have been made crazy by the poop.

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that lives in cat feces and can be transmitted to humans who come into contact with it. It can cause Toxoplasmosis that can make one ill or in rare cases be fatal. It is thought that about half of the world's population may be latently carrying it. What is interesting is that some studies seem to indicate that even when latent the parasite may have effects on human behaviour.

Could it be that the world is becoming ever more insane not because of any large social or economic developments but because of our affection for our feline friends?

Toxoplasmosis

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cuba Libre (Cuban Rum + Coca Cola + Lime)

Ever since Fidel was said to have passed on the leadership to Raul I have had the suspicion that he may have actually died. I don't find the photos very convincing. Regardless, the effect has been a greater affection for Fidel from the people.

But then again, I always thought that Coca Cola planned the New Coke fiasco to redouble the loyalty of Coke drinkers.

Meanwhile about 90 miles from the Florida Keys (where key lime is grown) Sheritt International is pumping about 20,000 barrells of crude oil.

The corporations have been licking their lips, waiting for a sip of a Cuba Libre, but they may go unquenched if the Cubans are able to pull off a smooth transition when Fidel passes on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random Musings

Bigfoot is a big-footed creature.

Bunker Palace

Kinder Fassbinder

Undemanding Slaveowner

Eat This Book

Out-Neil Neil

Abortion Distortion

Duotang

Monkey Scary

Where did the future go?

Tickle Me Emo

Spotted Leper

Mercury Headgear

Heidegga Ma Nigga

Monday, August 07, 2006

Wikimania

Last night I innocently read the featured article on Wikipedia:

I noticed that there was a dispute about the content so I clicked on the discussions and found myself again only several hours later.

Holy cow! I don't know what to think. I was impressed by the determination of the several contributors who seemed to have been carrying out a heated debate. It really brought home the amount of effort that goes into this open source project to build a comprehensive free encyclopedia. I'm thankful that so many people feel the spirit of voluntarism. I read about a guy last week who had contributed thousands of articles. This on top of his regular day job.

Traditional encyclopedias were written by people who we assumed were experts on the entries that they produced. We didn't really know who these contributors were but we knew that if their words were printed in the book then it must have had the authority of truth. Wikipedia allows you and I to write the entries and others to change them. There is still some notion of authority since we assume those contributing must know a great deal about the subject but the traditional power of the authority of knowledge is out the window. You are allowed to scrutinize the information, make suggestions, and ultimately rewrite the entry altogether.

Ideally, one would think that this process would bring us ever closer and closer to the truth. I will suggest that this is correct but not in the way one might suppose. The ideal of truth is an old Platonic notion that envisions truth as the ultimate reality that we only catch glimpses of in our progression towards it. If you subscribed to this approach then as long as all the contributors acted honestly then we would get closer and closer to the ideal of the truth of the matter. But I don't buy this approach to truth.

Truth can also be seen to be something less stable than a perfect ideal. It can be thought of as something that is more pliable, morphous, and temporal. It can change, be willed to change, and change over time. Truth can also be thought of as a social construct. Some things are true by consensus. If a group of people in a certain area of the world consider themselves to be of a certain ethnic variety then that is true for them by their social act of collectively saying that it is true. The notion of race is one of those ideas that are much more slippery, morphous and temporal than one would assume. I think if we think deeply about it, the idea of race seems to slip away perhaps entirely.

If you find yourself reading any Wikipedia entry at any time I would argue that you are always reading the truth... as it has been agreed upon by the consensus of those who can contribute to it. Since we can all contribute to it, that entry may be the closest thing we have to truth. It is a wonderful mix of authority and consensus.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Wisdom of Silenus

What occurred to me at the funeral of a young man who was to be married in two weeks:

Oh, wretched ephemeral race, children of chance and misery, why do you compel me to tell you what it would be most expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is -- to die soon. (BT:3 [Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1224ff])

Now it became possible to stand the wisdom of Silenus on its head and proclaim that it was the worst evil for man to die soon, and second worst for him to die at all. (Birth of Tragedy vi-xv, Nietzsche's 1887 preface)