"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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

what is love?

i wondered that tonight as i sipped a glass of wine at my open window, staring out at the twinkling crisp of night, listening to an album from last summer, on the speakers from an old computer, glancing over the books and movies cluttered on a rickety old shelf i scrounged up in my Chicago apartment, an old black n white film playing silently in the corner of my mind.

i don't think about love a lot these days. there's enough in trying to keep up with the daily realities and physical burdens of life at Miami to fret about love. i'd say i'm a non-believer, i distrust it, hate its power, would rather look than touch it.

the only reason i think about it now is b/c my literary theory professor defined love as "free will" and that has been troubling me ever since. it seems that were love to be defined that way, it would make for a lot of ppl in unrequited love, quite possibly the most ripping agony imaginable. i would know, i'm quite the expert on unrequited love. but aren't we all? how often do 2 ppl fall in love equally with one another at precisely the same time, to say that they are both freely in love with one another? it's hardly probable that love happens that way, more likely it's a game of courtship rituals played out until one side dominates over the other and the losing side relinquishes and gives in.

thus finding this "free will" definition rather odd, i searched the dictionary, and found this:
-an intense feeling of deep affection
-a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone
-a formula for ending an affectionate letter

it was the latter i was most intrigued by. apparently, love can be reduced to no more than the word on the page, a courtesy extended out of formality or social pressure. yet, at the same time, an intense feeling. deep affection. the most intimate of physical contacts. one and the same, it seems...

somewhere in here i could insert some Foucauldian analysis of devotion conventions, the culturally structured conception of love that gives it such irreducible power, its dominance of the individual and the recurrent agony suffered by those who refuse or fail to explode this system of thought. i could employ a Derridean deconstruction of the words and expectations surrounding "love."

but instead, i will leave you with the words of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who said that love is the thing we don't have that we are trying to give to someone who doesn't exist. in other words, a null set between the self and a nonexistent other....so sad...but canonical post-freudian psychology!

i think i like the Taoist phraseing better, when Lao Tzu wrote that "tao called tao is not tao."


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

their beats kick back like death

all this rawkin hath lulled her into a catatonic state... glad the oven's still awake! slam ur door in her karate face!

i apologize for the lack of riting lately, but it seems that in wanting to keep this a fairly serious sight, i am much more discerning with what i write.

regardless, for lack of interesting writing of my own to share, and in lieu of my own video work (including a small docu-style film project i'm waiting to debut), i offer some amusing video finds.

the following videos are bizarre, beautiful, ridiculous. ostensibly sensual delights, particularly in their use of music to abhor, inspire, and stir ur soul.



click on image to go to vid.

Tantrum Dance // Tantric Trance

this makes Michael Jackson in Thriller look like such a faker.

Claire de Lune

if you ever wanted to know how an 80s music video for Debussy would look, here you have it.


watch his eyes. then watch his eyes in the last five seconds. then watch his eyes in this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


sorry for the lack of posts, but lately i've been working on my thesis.

in fact, i'm making some impressive progress in gathering my resources. though no actual research has commenced yet (i haven't read a lot of the information i've found due to the sheer volume of it), i have some very interesting plans for the future, once the motivation strikes me.

allow yrself a small peek into my world, if you dare...

my recent research, as bookmarked on del.icio.us, includes some interesting theoretical discussion of Situationist, anarchist, and Marxist applications in daily life and practice.

-> has inspired much fevered and passionate writing, the makings of the beginning of a chapter of my thesis! sample below:

"Students for Staff [has] created an educational grassroots movement from the ground up, cemented with bonds of friendship and respect. We learn by doing together. Students for Staff (re)writes its text every day, and preserves/sustains itself through the passing down of histories of experience through individual relationships. The content of these experiences are found in the web of interactions extant among the members of this community. Because of the lack of a hierarchical power structure (as in the capitalist model), every individual has responsibilities and potentialities, multiplied by their roles in the community, and their commitments to its individual members. The potential for growth within such a community is thus exponential; as each member interacts and forms relationships with every other member, the strength of the connecting fibers mushrooms. The power in grassroots organizing is its rhizomatic potential: lateral roots whose blossoms continually reappear, never able to be stomped out."

--> this inspired by the philosophy of the rhizomatic:

[from Wikipedia:] The term rhizome has been used by Carl Jung as a metaphor, and by Gilles Deleuze as a concept, and refers to the botanical rhizome.

Carl Jung used the word "rhizome", also calling it a "myzel", to emphasize the invisible and underground nature of life:

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above the ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost the sense of something that lives and endures beneath the eternal flux. What we see is blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains. (Prologue from "Memories, Dreams, Reflections")

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari used the term "rhizome" to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation. In A Thousand Plateaus, they opposed it to an arborescent conception of knowledge, which worked with dualist categories and binary choices. A rhizome works with horizontal and trans-species connections, while an arborescent model works with vertical and linear connections.

so, as you can see, i'm keeping busy.

back to the grindstone,

Friday, March 16, 2007

dreaming in vibrant film

o man i had the most intensely vivid dream last night! it's not very often i get a dream so vividly violent, that it causes me to wake up at 5 am wondering if i had just prophesied an action movie...

it was set in a very large flower shop/ boutique, with a hard gray smooth concrete floor, like you'd see in a factory. there were large windows in the front, and a metal staircase cutting diagonally across your view of the outside. there was a counter perpindicular to the windows, cutting the huge floor in half (maybe it was a dry cleaner?)

there was a woman, who looked something like Christopher Walken, very tall with an angular face, wearing a long (flowered maybe?) dress with high heels. she had a degree of feminine sophistication, while still possessing the immediate threat of an unconscionable strength. there was something very unright about her... something otherworldly (if this were a movie and i were casting for the part, i would ASK Christopher Walken (CW) to play it. i would want no one else. he has the right amount of unsettling creepiness to pull it off)

perhaps i'm characterizing her thus only in afterthought, because the dream consisted of her ripping apart and destroying the store and everyone in it, her two assistants mutilated by the crude use of various accoutrements in the room. the first, a pretty redhead, slapped upside the head with a stiletto heel, then stabbed in the heart with it. another, an older woman (this one a customer) bowled over the counter after being folded in half like a garment by CW's freak strength. another woman's blood splattered all over the walls as she tried to stop it.

i don't remember quite how the dream started out, but i remember one thing that struck me about it (and this is why i felt i had just watched a movie, rather than seen it in my dreams) was that i was watching these events happen from a third perspective! that is, despite the threat of physical danger, i was not directly involved. was i hidden from view? i remember watching as if from a fourth wall (which, as we know, is a filmic convention), no way of CW reaching me or even finding me.

near the end, all this carnage strewn about the room, CW lumbering about, hair a little misplaced, no one left. i think the lady who was thrown over the counter got up, a little shaken, and managed to surprise CW, somehow overthrowing her into a large vat of some kind. she found a rake or a pitchfork of sorts, and (perhaps too lightly) stabbed CW in the stomach with it, pinning her to the inside of this tub. bubbles of purple-red liquid came up to the surface, the pitchfork handle protruding upright from the floating body. the other lady stumbled off. the camera then pans to the vat, where there's movement now, as if the bubbles are stimulating her back to life (though she probably never died in the first place).

of course, like all action/horror movies, she jolts back to life, pulling the rake handle suddenly from her stomach, and proceeds to hunt down others.

on second thought, it's a pretty average thriller/action movie. but the way it played in my dream was just all too surreal, i had to share. (and the color pallette was amazing! blues, reds, deep purples and light lavenders, very dark and dank, but crisp somehow at the same time)

p.s. i tried looking up any extant movies that might fit this bill, thinking there was no way my imagination came up with this on its own. i found nothing close. hmm... do i see a possible Hollywood pitch?


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

enjoying Spring into Summer

listening to some experimental sound poetry*
+ reading Dharma Bums by Kerouac (my favorite book from a past summer)

= it's already summer in my head.


*on Michael Snow's "Sinoms" [mp3 for download]:
"In the 50-minute Sinoms, Snow has multi-tracked some 20 voices, with as many different French and English accents, reading a complete list of the mayors of Quebec City, at some points making a simple juxtaposition of pronunciation and at others creating the effect of a choir." - U B U W E B

i was first familiar with Michael Snow and his work Wavelength, an experimental non-narrative film. but i learnt today that he was first and foremost a jazz musician, in addition to a photographer, a sculptor, an artist.

some of his photographic work, quite compelling and filmic:

Authorization (1969) - currently my laptop desktop

Venetian Blind (1970)

Monday, March 12, 2007

net neutrality!

i just spent near to my entire day trying to
1) reorganize my hefty harddrive (so many folders! goddam it, how did i get so many folders?! i can't find anything! wot a flippin' mess!) and
2) revamping my original net neutrality video.

this new version is FAR better, and MUCH improved. (the music is actually synced now!–no small feat, but a result, funnily enough, of knowledge gleaned in my current Media Aesthetics class*)

so take a look, won't you, and justify my time...

i hope it's still relevant now. (oh, who am i kidding?! OF COURSE it's still relevant! net neutrality is the blogger's battle of the decade!)

carry on, wayward suns.

*sound travels slower than light. so, soundtracks must follow the film footage by at least a couple frames in order to "sync." now, how's that for applied learnin'?!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"i think we can all agree..."

...the Miami administration is not being straight with us.

as a previous post indicated, Miami University is paying its FULL-TIME employees SUB-POVERTY wages. (that is, the wages paid by MU are not sufficient to keep employees and their dependents above the federally-defined poverty line.)

furthermore, research done by social workers and non-profit organizations in Butler County indicates that 200% (twice) the federally-defined poverty line is actually the more accurate representation of financial independence in Oxford and its vicinity.

Students for Staff (the Miami University students' living wage movement) requested the 200% data after a meeting with Human Resources director Car0l Hauser indicated 32 staff members are possibly living below the poverty line, and 112 are eligible for food stamps.

the low numbers indicated to Ms. Hauser that there was no problem at Miami, and that Students for Staff (SFS) should "reconsider what [we] are supporting." (we, of course, strongly disagree...)

that was in early December. we just got the 200% data, after much persistence on the part of my friend Dylan (see email correspondence below).

-----Original Message-----
From: [my friend Dylan]
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2007 9:56 PM
To: [Car0l Hauser]
Subject: re: data

Dr. Hauser,

I still have not received any word on the data I requested last month. Should I make an appointment? We really want to know the 200% number. If the issue is the number of calculations you have to make let me know. As I suggested before if you want to give us a computer file we could perhaps figure it out on our own.


Dylan Daney

------------------- Original Message -------------------
Subject: RE: data
From: "Car0l Hauser"
Date: Thu, March 8, 2007 9:48 am
To: [my friend Dylan]

There are 0 employees with no dependents who make less than 200% of the poverty level. There are 127 employees with 1 dependent who make below $26,400, 200% of the poverty level for 1 dependent.

With 2 dependents, 200% of the poverty level is $33,200. Our numbers go all the way up to 9 dependents. In that case 200% of the poverty level is $80,800. From your past work, I think we can all agree that we don't need to go beyond one dependent.

Thanks, Car0l

Car0l Hauser, SPHR
Senior Director Human Resources
15 Roudebush Hall
Miami University
Oxford OH 45056


Ms. Hauser suddenly seems to believe that only staff members with one dependent are relevant, refusing even to state how many workers with 2 dependents are not making sufficient wages to support their families. in our last meeting, we received data on ALL staff, regardless of the number of dependents they claimed. the current data is thus incomplete, as 32 is the total number from ALL classified staff who are possibly living in poverty, and 127 is only the total from among the workers with only one dependent. thus, there are certainly many many more workers than just the 127 they are willing to identify.

recap! ...
last meeting:
(all workers, those with 1 to 9 dependents)

recent data:
(only those workers with 1 dependent)

*note that the total numbers for those values in ()'s are totally different, with the denominator of the latter being far smaller than the first, but the numerator in the latter being larger than the first.
= the problem is MUCH larger than Miami administration are willing to explicity admit. but no less evident, based on simple math.

after all, 127 > 32 anyway you cut it.


Friday, March 09, 2007

the horror

home for the holiday.

i'm spending some time reading, writing, and catching up on films.

and i'm seeing this guy tomorrow:

i like the David Lynch-like film-making. tho the music could match it a little better (be more pounding, more industrial, less crisp, and more flakey / scrapey)


Saturday, March 03, 2007

living wage discourse

hey all -
i wanted to share a brief exchange that's been occuring on the western listserv (in response to my last post) that has helped me to clarify my stance on the living wage campaign on campus.

sometimes criticism can help you redefine your purpose, so i encourage all of you to go out and engage others in similar discussions. stir people up, get in debates, create a little friction. their discomfort and uncertainty is what stimulates breakthroughs!



> Stephanie:
> Please define sub-poverty wages. How much are these
> people making, what work
> do they do, what hours do they work, etc.? Are they
> primary jobs, or second
> incomes for people whose primary work is done
> somewhere else? If they are
> eligible for food stamps, do they get them?
> This is quite an inflammatory claim to make, and as
> someone hearing it for
> the first time I would like to know the specifics.
> I realize that I don't have the stats -- I don't
> know who makes what on the
> Miami staff, or what the average wage is. But if 98%
> of Miami workers make
> above poverty wages, then that doesn't sound much
> like oppression to me.
> [name removed]

[name removed] and others:

"Sub-poverty wages" means exactly what it implies: the wages paid by Miami for FULL-TIME work are below the federally defined poverty line. That is, assuming Miami wages are the primary source of income for these workers, they would be living in poverty. Furthermore, as research and opinion from Butler County social workers indicates, the federally defined poverty lines are grossly inappropriate for predicting poverty in Butler Co. because the cost of living is much higher than national averages. The more accurate estimate of poverty in Butler Co. would be 200% (twice) the federally defined wage.

What this says to me is that Miami does not respect the work or dedication of our staff members. Anyone who gives 40+ hours a week for our PUBLIC university should not be in a position where they qualify for government assistance.

It's not a matter of "if they get food stamps" or not. What matters is what these wages symbolize, which is respect and gratitude for work done, and time and energy spent. The current wage situation suggests to me that Miami does not value its staff. And this is a huge injustice that affects, and should offend, all of us in the university community.

You said "But if 98% of Miami workers make above poverty wages, then that doesn't sound much like oppression to me."

I ask you to reconsider that statement. For though it seems like a small number, it is no less significant. These are 32 individual employees who are potentially living in poverty, DESPITE the fact that they are working FULL-TIME. There are 112 full-time staff who might be needing food stamps to feed their families.

Yes, 98% is an overwhelming majority. But why should we accept that 2% are still potentially living in poverty? Is it acceptable for poverty to exist at all in our community?

Instead of thinking 32 ppl in poverty is not that bad, think of it this way: if it is such a small number of ppl potentially in poverty, then it would take even less effort from the university to make a change. For a university that continues to raise tuition and that has $47+ million in net assets, this should not be an impossible change to make.

We should not continue to sanction poverty and, yes, oppression when it affects those in our own community.