"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


here, for the first time ever in my personal blogging history, i present to you the final product of many days of hard work with my trusty camera, interminable patience, and fortuitous sunsets...

read it as you would a film (that is, by reading the images, not the words):

for the curious: "GNOME..." was a huge hit in my media aesthetics class. when my professor went around asking us how many pictures we took to get our final products, my peers all said "oh about 20 pictures, and i only used 18." they got to me and i was like "oh well i took about 350 photos in total. i only used 34." everyone just kinda stared at me... my professor alerted everyone to the "Hitchcock" in the class. considering my influences, i'll take that as a HUGE compliment!

unfortunately, though, the project + a paper resulted in my first ever full-out all-nighter. that is, i didn't sleep a wink the entire night. as of 5 pm today, i was going on 44 straight hours without sleep. suffice it to say, i am literally collapsing.

so, adieu.
(who has decided she's going into the movies, to be a gaffer.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

my take on the kuleshov experiment, with gnomes

i spoke with my media aesthetics professor today and she said i could try creating an internal conflict. this, rather than an explicit narrative arc, is more appealing, but also more difficult. i'm not interested in crafting a dialogue, but am more concerned with providing the images that will elicit the dialogue themselves. i'm fairly laissez-faire in my own affairs, why not be that way with my art?

i'm so picky. is that the sign of an artiste? or mis-direction?
i've decided this gnome project could take a Lev Kuleshov historical turn. for those who don't know, the Kuleshov experiment took the same shot of a man with a neutral expression and juxtaposed it with images of different things: food, a woman, a funeral, and found that ppl read different emotions into his expression, based on their own associations.

see a short clip from the experiment here:

since i am working with a non-expressive, fixed/static subject (geoff), the responsibility for emotive effect lies solely on me and my ability to manipulate the images in just the right way.

only instead of intercutting images, i'm using lighting and camera angle to create my effects.

you see what i mean?

playfully sexed out

i just got back from an asobi seksu concert in covington, ky.

(asobi seksu = "playful sex" in japanese.)

it was sexy indeed.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

geoff is a window-gazer

i don't know what i'm doing with geoff any more.

is he a voyeur? a dreamer? is he staring out windows longingly awaiting something?

i'm really more interested in playing with angles and lighting than with narrative, but per usual, the emphasis for the assignment is not aligned with my heart's desires.

there's a residual Hitchcockian quality to some of these photos.

there's a REAR WINDOW-esque sense of isolation and confinement that i'm trying to incorporate into my development of geoff's character and his predicament. but where is it going to lead?

i need a conflict. someone pls help me!

i'm no good, i'm no good, i'm no good...
...at narrative.

p.s. i just had a minor flash of brilliance: what if i titled it "GNOME WINDOW" (get it? haha... erm...)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

call him geoff. but do not let him fool you...

my media aesthetics class is working on photographic storyboards, and i just began work on mine an hour ago.

allow me to introduce the star of my project...

his name is geoff. he is a gnome. he is small, but do not doubt him: he will beat ur ass.

he's beating mine.

b/c as photogenic as he seems right now, his lucid charm and stifling wit are quite difficult to capture on film. allow me to demonstrate in exhibits A, B, and C:

he's looking kinda blurry, isn't he?

anyway, i came home from a meeting with a living wage comrade, and the sunset was so beautiful -- this bright orange creamsicle strip floating above a blueberry horizon -- i just had to photograph it. and then i recalled my assignment, and how funny it must've looked to outsiders to see me pressed against my window, so intently documenting this transitory moment.

then i looked up at the window pane, where my gnomes reside, and thot, "well, this could be a compelling filmic opportunity."

and why not? Hitchcock used his actors as props, being of such strong directorial mind and firm vision that he didn't want them to interfere with his artistic vision of what the film should be. he crafted his story boards down to the last detail, and merely used his actors to bring them to life.

seeing as how i'm on a Hitchcock kick as of late, i thot it synthetic to try the Hitchcock method myself...

only problem is, i don't have a narrative as of yet. i'm still waiting for a flash of creative inspiration. unfortunately, my media aesthetics class will not permit non-narrative films. boo.

i only have fleeting ideas. some involving a gnome 10x his size. maybe some death. maybe some ghosts. maybe some use of exhibit B (above).

maybe you can help me? what should geoff do? what should happen to my tiny friend? what kind of things can happen to a contemplative gnome who enjoys watching sunsets? what happens when the sun disappears completely?

any ideas? any suggestions? what shld happen to geoff and how should that look?

perhaps i'm more of an Altman than a Hitchcock...

Friday, January 26, 2007

what would you do for love?

"i'd do anything for love...
but i won't do that."


i watched the korean film OLDBOY last night. i'd heard it was stylishly cool and excruciatingly vivid to watch.

and indeed it was.

be that as it may, here is what i liked most: it began as your typical revenge story (character is imprisoned. s/he is tortured. s/he doesn't know why. s/he escapes or is released. character is angry. s/he wants revenge. s/he spends remainder of film finding perpetrators. and perpetrating sweet vengeance...)

however, despite its violent beginnings as your typical revenge story, it ultimately ends up being about love. specifically, the violent nature of love.

about loving something or someone so hard that everything else becomes a distortion. everything else is pain, and everything/something/someone else should pay for the anguish you're suffering because of the intensity of your passion.

passion breeds insanity. pleasure and anguish are variations on a theme. bloodlust and lust for another person... are they really so different?


in all, OLDBOY is a postmodern film akin to FIGHT CLUB in style and dark pessimistic humanism. not the violent bloody romp i expected, which is, of course, a pleasant and welcome surprise.


o boo. i just found out there might be a remake coming out in 2008. i hope this is some cruel joke, b/c i am quite tired of the Americanized, highly Hollywood-ized remakes trying to outdo their Asian originals. why fuck with a good thing?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

early starts

hear here, here hear!

it's 9 am on an ice-tinged saturday, and i have begun official work on my thesis!

today, we shall flesh out the outline, determine which research will be necessary before i can begin writing the first chapters, and --i hope-- have a rough understanding of democratic educational history and philosophy.

the goals for this semester's research:
-history/philosophy of democratic ed
-timelines and maps and lists
-case studies (my educational autobio, Highlander School, Central Academy)
-field work (local school, local U, local community)

first nuggets of the day:
the language of education. education vs schooling. learners vs students. mentors vs teachers. finding ways to make language "work."
the pedagogy of the oppressed. schooling can be oppressive. teachers use grades as leverage against undesirable student behavior. grades and favoritism as ways to silence challengers. we become slaves to grades before we become wage slaves. (we're always slaves!)
"educational reform" = my death blow. i want to integrate theory and practice, toward a more empowering and effective (rather than efficient) system and method of education. but as long as i'm open about what i see as egregious flaws in the educational process, i will be met with heavy criticism and hostility. no one wants to admit they're doing things wrong, or concede to an undergraduate. no one can acknowledge that i have experience in the educational system enough to be a critic of it.
why split my experience in education into hierarchies, levels of understanding? why limit the study of higher education to the graduate level? this assumes an undergraduate cannot understand what they experience on a daily basis? must i really have all 4 yrs of undergrad under my belt before i can be a critical, conscious student of higher education?
why are we always looking back rather than simply looking? if i can examine it closely now, why wait until it's even further away?

and these thoughts from a classroom experience last thursday:
relationships of power - students become afraid to challenge/ to speak their mind
-they learn to love convention and obey rules. there's safety in rules. there's safety in passivity. to submit is to be safe and invisible in passivity. to speak one's mind is to challenge the teacher's authority, to make the banking method difficult, to interfere with the completion of the teacher's job. to be vocal is to be a terrorist.
-students sacrifice their intellectual freedom for safety, both in the classroom and in life

Thursday, January 18, 2007

awesome gif art

royal madness!

enjoy yr weekend,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the nature and nurture of blogging

school's been getting me down lately, because they (the administration, the bureaucracy, "them" who are not "me" or "us") won't let me take the classes i want and need to research my thesis.

basically, the line they give me has been some variation on "So... it sounds like you're interested in X. I recommend studying X before you write your thesis. But we don't have classes in X, and the ones that are necessary we won't let you take, so you'll have to independently work on it yourself. But you shouldn't work by yourself, because you could get lost. But I don't have time to help you. But you should study..."

since school can be so depressing, let's not think about it, and turn our attentions instead to an informal institution of education, the internet...

i've been asked by many friends and professors for my opinion on what i see blogs doing for democracy. on the one hand, we have (for us with internet access) unlimited opportunity to self-publish and voice our opinion. we have as much freedom and place in the great digital mesh of voices as big corporations and established news zines for our own work. this has potential for revolutions and subversions of established publishing powers and authorities. unfortunately, the blog has increasingly become less a medium of value and dependable journalism, and more a cheap and instant way to distribute porn, spam, and the mundane stories of extra ordinary individuals in their endearing self-assumed importance.

and don't get me wrong, i saw myself falling into the latter category too. that's why i dropped the other blogs and have been working hard to keep this blog about "significant" things (i.e. not my personal life or my day to day activities, but about breakthrus, however minor they may be, or nuances for my senior project).

= i'm a serious blogger now.

and rather than bore u with too many rantings about my institution of higher "learning," i shall wax philosophical about personal communication and the internet.

i've had too many relationships depend on email. i meet many ppl who insist on emailing as our only form of communication. which is fine, b/c i hate the phone, and there's a certain comfortable familiarity with our computers that i think enables us to email/IM/text one another so easily. in fact, most of my most meaningful relationships have been through email (i can think of at least 5 really good friends who i got to know and continue to know thru email).

is this not in a way sad? why are we so interpersonally starved that we must maintain barriers of metal and wires between us? why are we so comfortable to talk about ourselves to a nameless anonymous void called the blogosphere when we could easily step next door and sit down with a friend and talk face-to-face instead?

b/c we're scared of being intellectuals, of being thinking, feeling humans. we're robots, don't you know? and horrible exhibitionists. everyone's vying for a piece of that 15 minutes. even me. and a blog is such a quick dirty way to do it.

here's a conversation i had with my friend matt a while ago. we discussed this theory over, what else, an online chatting service. i think we came to some pretty revealing conclusions.

beep beep
blah blah

---> he has some thoughts on myspaciness too!

12:37 AM Matt: wow, you're pretty prolific with your blogging
me: how's that now?
12:38 AM Matt: you write a lot
me: oh. i guess.
12:39 AM i thot you were referring to my many blogs
i have like 5 now...
i have commitment issues
you want the perfect url name
and then maybe you don't like the username you chose or something
it's pretty ridiculous
12:44 AM Matt: it's like the slightly more mature older sibling of livejournal
me: i know
12:45 AM but i have more respect for bloggers than livejournalists
i mean, that's just so obviously narcissistic
Matt: true
me: this way we can at least be subtle egoists
Matt: haha, yeah
12:46 AM that's what's so great about it, you can write about yourself without feeling like you're forcing yourself on anyone, since its voluntary
me: exactly
and it's like being semi-published
12:47 AM there's at least some validity to it
12:50 AM Matt: there's something about this whole idea of personal blogging that's so interesting... the idea that you put your personal thoughts out there for the entire internet to see
me: yeah definitely
Matt: stuff that you wouldn't tell the people around you
me: i mean, you wouldnt' publish your diary, right?
i know1
12:51 AM Matt: you'd think not... but apparently we do
or would
me: i'm more honest on my blog than i am to my friends and family in person
what is it about the perceived anonymity of the internet that allows us to abandon our inhibitions
perhaps it's because we feel no one is watching and reading
but isn't that sad?
we're a generation that assumes no one cares
12:52 AM Matt: but on one hand, i think i kinda want someone to be reading
me: yeah but does anyone?
Matt: just someone i dont know
me: we all crave audiences, few of us get any
Matt: an anonymous admirer
me: yup
Matt: yeah, there's probably not
me: it's so narcissistic
Matt: but there could be
you never know
that's the genius of it, i guess
me: what self-absorbed bastards all of us are
12:53 AM Matt: haha, what else is there
me: right right
i think a lot of it is seeking validation too
you feel more real and alive when you see other ppl noticing you
Matt: yeah, definitely
12:54 AM me: how else are you sure you're not living a dream?
12:55 AM Matt: yeah, how else can you form/maintain a self-image
me: i know, we have to rely on others to help us shape our selves
how sad and pathetic we all are
Matt: i'd like to think it's at least endearing sad and pathetic
12:56 AM me: haha i guess it is
Matt: *endearingly
me: you have to work for the endearing tho
we've grown up not believing anyone cares about us
so what do we become?
whiny emo exhibitionists armed with liejournals and myspace accounts
or blogs and facebooks, if you're classy.
1:00 AM Matt: ha, exactly

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

laughing at life's absurdities

in coming back to school with the intentions of taking as few classes as possible, i somehow ended up taking 26 credit hours worth (twice what i had intended!) b/c i am trying to add grad-level classes, i have had to go to all my classes, both ones i've signed up for and those for which i am awaiting approval. but in running back and forth between classes, i have also managed to miss parts of most of my undergrad classes, causing me to need to drop them. so, in trying to take 26 credit hours, i may now be reduced to none at all. that's how yesterday's math makes sense.
in other news, i got an email from my school today announcing fellowships from the department of homeland security! obviously, i was all a-flutter with unspeakable joy and wonderment! how my heart doth beat with anticipation...

but i was all agape with disappointment when i looked only a little deeper into the situation:

the department of homeland security's fellowships are only offered to science and technology students who can help develop and implement "innovations that can be applied to the DHS mission." what mission you ask? well, this one of course:

let's take a closer look:

mmm, ok, yeah. i'm glad the department of homeland security could help me discern what it is they actually do. it's all so clear to me now!

and of course, i'm glad to see the security of our homeland is in the hands of such conscientious and non-colorblind individuals.
i was glad, as you should be, to note that our nation's level of security can be defined so succinctly, so poignantly, so colorfully. it gives a whole new meaning to terror when i can see it on a sliding scale of high energy visible light.

so when speaking with visitors to our strange homeland, and the question of national security comes up (as it inevitably will) in conversation, you can reply coolly and knowingly, "why, dear sir/madam, it is currently ORANGE. you're lucky: a few years ago, we were in a horrible state of an utterly unflattering, unappetizing, unwelcoming MUSTARD YELLOW. welcome to America!"

clever people. always thinking...

Monday, January 08, 2007

back at school

had my first day of classes today and now i'm tired.

bureaucracy in education is a useless fumbling hairy beast. if i want to take a grad level class, should anyone really be allowed to deny it to me?

is it bad that one of the considerations keeping me in a class is that the professor has cancer and i'm worried that if i don't take it now, i may never?

all i want to do is watch movies and be happy. is that too much to ask?

now that i'm more grown up than ever, i'm wanting more and more to be a child.

it's only monday. wednesday will be even worse! class from 9 am to 10 PM! + a meeting for my tutoring gig. (= don't wake up on wednesdays. you will regret it.)

i will either be taking 26 total credit hours, or none at all. how that math makes sense is beyond my mathematical ability...

the boys who live above me don't realize that when they jump around above my head, it sometimes feels like they are actually jumping on my head.

sleep now. cogent thots later.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


stephanie has cleaned house for the new year!

how do you like the makeover?

let's compare, shall we?



i kinda like it myself. the blog was becoming more whimsical and serious at the same time, and it needed something... more polished.

i think this did the trick.

it's my last day at home tomorrow. i think it fair if i spend it away from the computer.

see you again in oxford,

Friday, January 05, 2007

where did young stephanie go?

growing-up stephanie is brooding at home, wistfully remembering the past, anxiously dreading the future. particularly the immediate future, which holds much packing, re-sorting, reorganizing, and reordering of her life. and much driving, which she despises.

so let's take a comfy seat in the past instead.

stephanie lee, the famous writer:
playing with my dad:
working with my mom:
in the kitchen with baby Cal:
the young parents:

with such a beautiful family, is it any wonder i resist going back to school?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

time travel is easy

yesterday, i showed you pictures from travel books i found from my childhood.

today, i share more intimate glimpses into the past.

first, pictures from this book i made in Montessori school*:
the scribbled "copyright" on the inside cover indicates that i made this in 1995. that was a full 12 years ago. the book is a delicate creation titled "Grown-ups always do everything!" and features 20 unique pages of pencil drawings paired with different privileges of the older class i envied as a 9-year-old imprisoned in the educational system.
it is handbound: as i remember, i drew the pictures in sequence in a booklet of salvaged computer paper, then folded the pages together, made holes in the crease and threaded them together. i then glued the end pages to the covers, which were cardboard pieces i covered in a soft fabric (you can see this detail in the photo).
(for those interested in the art of self-binding, this is a simplified version of case-binding.)

what i find most interesting was the "about the author" on the back inside cover:
notice how i mis-typed my own birthday (Dec 26, not 29) and how my goal "is to someday be a famous writer." where did that young girl go?


finding this treasure brings back fond memories of elementary school, and being left to my own devices, i recall spending recesses and afterschools playing with paper materials, making countless notebooks and sketchbooks of various sizes and colors, giving them to friends and family, keeping some for myself for later writing. i determined to use every book i made for a story or novel (as i said, i had dreams of being a writer. and evidently, a self-published one.)

i once gave a boyfriend a hand-bound book i made in 8th grade, a unique gift because i had marbleized paper for the covers, and bound it in japanese style, with a beaded tassle bookmark.


seriously, where did that young dreamer go?

finding these relics from childhood makes me feel sad for dreams i've let go. but it also gives me renewed faith in the person i am. and a sense of duty to the past.

but the past is merely a distant present. and the future is the present is the past. why leave book-binding in the past? why allow self-publication to be a left-behind childhood dream. i'm self-binding my senior thesis. let's call it a tribute to the dreamers.

tomorrow: more pictures from the past.

to the past, and its presents,

*note to self: research the Montessori method for your senior project. according to Webster's, the Montessori method emphasizes developing children's "natural" interests, rather than following a strict formal curriculum. this has interesting developmental implications, and is as close a method to facilitated autodidacticism that i can think of in an extant institutional setting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

treasures from the past

while looking for a book earlier tonight, i rediscovered these hidden gifts from the past:

picture books my family got in our travels to western europe! they are, clockwise from top left: a picture guide to Stockholm, Sweden; Madurodam in pictures; a map/guide of the Hohensalzburg Fortress; guide book for Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau; sightseeing in Vienna; and a biography of King Ludwig II ("His Life - His End").

my favorites are the first two:
Stockholm b/c of my fond memories of living in endless swedish summer sunlight and holding my mother's dress hem in one hand, and my brother's stroller in the other, walking to the markets for smoked hams/cheeses and apples, then going to ancient magistrate buildings and museums. and the hot-air balloons that festooned the sky. i remember the boats and the endless water, and stone lions.
and Madurodam, because my dad remembers how my brother and i spent the whole day chasing the toy trains around and around, screaming and laughing, like miniature godzillas terrorizing even more miniature cityscapes around us. the thought of my brother and i being so small, that we delighted in an hour or so in being "big kids" made me smile.

tomorrow, some real snapshots of my childhood.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

senior (project) moments

i've theorized myself into a wall!

i've been thinking constantly about my senior project since i got home from school, and i've been jotting little post-it notes to myself all over my room, with little "nuggets" of theories and ideas to further research, little blurbs i will probably use in my thesis in some capacity. it's exciting, but it's also very exhausting work. i want to do it all at once, but i don't have the proper resources yet. i have so many ideas and energy, i don't know what to do with it all. i spent hours today sorting thru old books, articles, literature i've compiled since i began my studies at school, looking for readings to support my spontaneously generated theories, but merely tire myself out in the search.

i'm going to the library tomorrow to do some much-needed mulling away from my computer, and to read a book. i've made an effort to read a book about every week since i've been home, and so far, i've surprised myself with my results: i finished IN COLD BLOOD in 4 days, finished EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED in 2, and read EINSTEIN'S DREAMS on the insistence of a friend in about a week. now, i'm reading fragments from ANIMAL FARM, DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM, and various senior project books on language, metaphors, and psychogeography, including an ex-boyfriend's senior thesis. and trying to decide between starting CAT'S CRADLE or THE BELL JAR before school.

sweet dreams,

p.s. this is what the senior project is known to do to good people. let's say i'm willing to spend extra time stressing out if that means protecting my sanity next year.