"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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

happy 25th

birthday present to myself this year: seeing Jens Lekman perform solo in a posh bar overlooking the LA skyline.

who wants to be my date?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

history of photography

i love learning stuff! and i love looking at pictures. seriously, that is not a childish thing to say at all, so don't scoff. literature with fantastically-chosen images and photographs makes for succulent learning! i love when a writer can illustrate what they mean with their words, but sometimes words just aren't enough, you know? [ there is a reason for certain platitudes. . . ]

i sat in on a history of film and photography class at Miami, trying to force-add into a brimming class full of com majors, and it was the best week and a half of class i've ever had. i learned so much, i felt like that one hour of class every day did so much to open my mind and eyes to new things, it was a highly concentrated wealth of stimulation, and it was all from looking at photos and art! i gotta rummage thru my undergrad notebooks some time and see if i can find my notes from those classes, i remember scrawling endlessly about the Lumiere brothers and Michael Snow and diagraming how a camera obscura works and trying to sketch replicas of all the amazing things before my eyes, in order to try to preserve and save something on the paper to refer back to (if only i'd had a camera!)

anyway, i'm fascinated by the history of photography, and was delighted when i came upon this blog, which so generously shares hi-res historic (and historically important!) photographs with the general blogosphere. very exciting! did i mention it's hi-res? which is great, because if there's one thing you'll definitely want to do, it's click on every one of those suckers and check all the glorious details out!

like this one:
[Alexander Gardner / Gettysburg / Dead Confederate soldier in Devil's Den / wet collodion / July 1863]

if you click and blow this picture up, you can see all the amazing details, from the buttons on the soldier's uniform, to the cracks and moss in the rock. but beyond that stone wall, just empty whiteness, the hazy blur of a line of trees, nothing. it's so poignant. so much in the immediate before our eyes, and nothing beyond. transfixing!

also, looking thru historic photographs helps us to appreciate the clarity and detail in which modern life is preserved. the past has become a mythic blur in fuzzy bygone daguerrotypes. take, for example, a photo of Abe Lincoln from the Civil War:
his face lacks detail, stability, you can make out a rockin' beard and a kindness in his face, but it's mostly hidden in shadow. mysterious, beguiling, regrettable.

finally! be sure to also check out this article from NPR about photographs of atomic bomb explosions. way cool, way creepy and way way unbelievable (i could not, for the life of me, see the explosions. i kept thinking they were microbes. until i saw the trees in the bottom. whoaa!)

[Photograph taken by Harold Edgerton with a rapatronic camera, from the Smithsonian Museum of American History]

Thursday, September 23, 2010

do the best you can

Tolstoy once gave a lecture about the need for pure passive nonresistance and nonviolence to all living creatures, which is a very Buddhist concept. A member of the audience asked what he should do if a tiger were to attack him in the woods. “Do the best you can,” replied Tolstoy. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

american ethos and modern loneliness, but what's it got to do with Facebook?

since becoming unemployed and moving to a locale with lack of excellent weather, proliferation of mosquitoes and other blood-sucking bugs, and a lack of attractions, i've spent most mornings (into nights) reading articles on the internet and learning a lot. although i abhorred being unemployed for the good part of my summer, i have recently (read: as of JUST NOW) come to LOVE it. thank god for the internet and Wikipedia. i can spend literally DAYS opening millions of tabs and consuming them voraciously. gobble gobble!

i spent this morning reading a long list of terrific articles online, nytimes and newsweek and gizmodo and mostly, and thought i'd share this really great article, a review less about the upcoming Facebook movie than a consideration of modern loneliness and social debilitation as a result of / exacerbated by / evidenced by technologies such as Facebook. extremely extremely fascinating (consider: debilitation caused not by lack of access but by TOO much availability, social disability as a result of excess of mediums). great, great stuff!

some highlights from the article, in case you do actually have a day job and need to be on your way:
Fifty years before Mark Zuckerberg arrived at Harvard—back when facebooks were actually books, back when poking a friend had a whole different set of connotations—Thornton Wilder came to campus to deliver the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures. He devoted one of them to “the loneliness that accompanies independence and the uneasiness that accompanies freedom.” Raising such difficult subjects made him uncomfortable, he recalled later, but he felt better knowing that all of his listeners were American. It meant that “these experiences are not foreign to anyone here.”
The film turns out to have less in common with other campus caper flicks than with Freedom, Jonathan Franzen’s masterful new novel about an imploding family. Nobody comes right out and says that Zuckerberg and his associates (I almost said friends) don’t know how to live, as someone says of the Berglunds early in Franzen’s book, but the trouble appears to be the same. And the reason why both the book and the film resonate—why they stick with you afterward—is that plenty of the rest of us have that trouble too. By suggesting that a modern kind of loneliness led an obnoxious hacker to start Facebook, the film helps pinpoint our own loneliness—the feelings of aimlessness and isolation that make us do things like sign up for Facebook.
Zuckerberg and his employees spend enormous time and energy trying to make people connect to each other via their online social network, but they’ve got the situation backward. The route to a happy life, let alone a meaningful one, doesn’t lie in escaping loneliness. As Wilder tried to tell his audience, it is an inescapable part of living in a country as big and free and unencumbered as this one. The trick for us, and for the people around the world living as we do, lies in using our loneliness. Wilder stated the challenge best and for all time when he described “the typical American battle of trying to convert a loneliness into an enriched and fruitful solitude.” Like the Berglunds—or another touchstone of contemporary culture, Don Draper—these characters can’t get along with each other because they haven’t learned to get along with, and don’t even really know, themselves.

When you log into Facebook after the film—and you know you will—you might find that it feels a little different. On one hand, hanging around the site begins to seem like a bad idea. In a world that’s ever noisier and more demanding, it only gets harder to develop a “fruitful solitude” when dozens or hundreds of friends are constantly a click away. This round-the-clock aspect of Facebook, the perpetual presence of somebody to distract you from your anxieties and fears, begins to feel like being stuck in college.

The bigger shift, though, lies in how poignant Facebook suddenly seems. A site that began as a response to modern loneliness looks, after the film, like a record of our own struggle with that condition. The insistent connecting can’t fix what really ails us, but we go on doing it anyway.


enjoy it, as i did.

a resurrection is in order!

hello again, it is so good to be back!

apologies, explanations, and updates can delay another day; i am brought back to this happy medium to report a resurgence of happy feelings and an eager wish to write again!

for those who have followed my writing diligently and have persevered to this moment, i give my humblest gratitude. i am honored for your company and patience.

for those lost along the way, i can say that i understand, for i too, was lost for a long time. hopefully, they will return one day as i have.

the future brings many stories and exciting things to share! so let's not delay another moment!

starting with, what i find achingly appropriate, this live version of The Boss singing "Atlantic City" in Paris. so many things about this make me happy.

"everything dies, baby, that's a fact. but baby everything that dies, some day comes back..."

it is a fantastic day to be alive, my friends!!