Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I used to be


[Note: Poem in progress. I know that if I never post it, I will just forget to. I start some poems that I never finish, but I am inspired to make this three stanzas long (I already have ideas), with each stanza as long as this first one.]


I used to be the pathetic
    kid whose parent appealed to her gullible
co-workers for purchases of

chocolates
    cheesecakes
                   onions
used to fuel a trip to Hickstown, U.S.A. or else the nation's capital
    with the sweetest intents for the local high school band or dance troupe,
whose potential for first-rate tooting or routines speckled
                   with pliĆ©s could only be fulfilled by my generous
decision to submit myself to be the indignant victim
    of highway robbery in the form of three-dollar industrial sweets
that cost less than half the price at the locally owned
                   candy store on the corner.

Their intentions may be sweet, I think to myself with a self-satisfying chuckle,
    but their trips will be sultry

Monday, April 28, 2008

War of the Js.

How common is it to confuse "Justin" with "Jason"?

I only ask because three separate professors I work with have done it.

It makes sense, because the two share three letters and an ending rime, [In]. Additionally, even though the "t" is missing in Jason, both have the stresses on the first syllable, and so the last part is sort of rushed out anyway.

And you would think that "a" and "u" would have distinct enough sounds, but in actuality, if you test it out, with the initial "J", both vowels are created with a lower front tongue and high back tongue. The only (slight) difference in the vowels are the result of a shifted middle part of the tongue. Try it out!

Jay

Juh

This is where I would include more specialized terms from Linguistics to impress my legion of dedicated readers, however I've gone blank on some of the jargon associated with vowels, so I will stop while I'm ahead.

I guess my conclusion from all of this is that words may be closer in sound than they may seem from how they are written. Which I already knew. So this is just another anecdote to support that conclusion.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Summer 2008 Movie Preview (short version).

[Note: I started this post a couple of days ago and ran out of steam. I don't think I'll get around to viewing/reviewing any more previews right now, so here you go...]

I'm looking to kill some time, so I'll view all the trailers for the summer movies coming out and give you a one word description, and an indication of whether it will be worth your time/money based on a snap judgment. Props to this site for help with this.



MovieRelease DateIn One WordYes/No
Iron ManMay 2SteelyYes
Made of HonorMay 2GayNo
Son of RambowMay 2CuteYes
Speed RacerMay 9OverblownNo
What Happens In VegasMay 9CrapbombNo
Chronic(what?)-culz of Narnia 2May 16CGI-rificYes
Indiana Jones 4May 22SextagenarianYes
Sex and the CityMay 30GayerNo
The StrangersMay 30Heebity-JeebitiesYes
Kung Fu PangaJune 6UghNo
MongolJune 6RehashNo

Monday, April 21, 2008

Got the Bends.

It's not fair sometimes when I try to figure out some guitar stuff and it ends up that the whole thing's in a unique tuning or played with a capo or played with an effect. This is what just happened when I was plucking out the intro to "My Iron Lung" only to research on YouTube and elsewhere that an octave pedal or some other pitch shifter was used so that you could just play it with mostly open strings.

Then I got to looking up live Radiohead videos, just to get me stoked up about the show in May. Check out Jonny doing something appropriate on "The Bends":



I gotta practice more.

Everyone I talk to says Ohio's a dump.

This is where I grew up, I guess. I don't remember much of anything from my first five years, but this was cool enough to watch.

Our Town (Lorain, Ohio)


I suspect the information in the email I got from my mom about this video is correct:

LORAIN - A Lorain resident has created a video tribute to the city that can be viewed online.

Tim Stewart, the webmaster for the Black River Historical Society,
originally created the video for Frank and Carolyn Sipkovsky,
friends of his as well as trustees of the historical society and long-time volunteers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shine dat Light.

I've already been beaten by a few of my contemporaries writing about this, so just a few short notes. First, the links:

Shine a Light - Sharkdog style

Shine a Light: A Running Diary (uncut) - BadScooter

The Stones still got it. For all my love of music, I'm sort of embarrassed that I don't know more about the group or their legacy, but I enjoyed Scorsese's Shine a Light nonetheless. It didn't try to shove a lot of stuff in there -- just the concert footage raw and simple.

Some 12-string action on "As Tears Go By" (I think) | MovieWeb - Movie Photos, Videos & More

But what about the sound, man? Every time they cut to a different person, that person's part in the mix would go up twice as loud. We will already hear their part better just because we're seeing them play it onscreen -- you don't have to boost up parts, because that's just disorienting. I don't know why this happened.

The cuts were also pretty frantic. I can barely remember any single, wide shots of everyone doing their thing at once. I guess this was supposed to imitate the intimate nature of attending a concert first row (complete with everyone and their mom holding up their cell phones to grab a crappy, blurry picture of Mick as he struts by). And it worked for the most part -- I even started clapping after one of the songs. But seriously, sometimes I want to know what everyone's doing in response to Mick or Keith.

Finally, Charlie Watts was spot on. It was kind of rough keeping it together for the others at times, but Charlie was there on the beat the whole time. There was nothing stopping him. He put to shame the commonly held notion that a "rock drumbeat" is a simple, translucent thing.

I Wish I Hadn't Been There Either.

Todd Haynes' I'm Not There blows.

I saw it last night for free and I felt robbed. I wanted to leave halfway through but Jessica was determined to sit it out for some reason. It would have been the first movie I would have walked out of. And I should have.

Haynes presents various dull caricatures of Bob Dylan. There are numerous talented actors doing flaccid renditions of Dylan as a young troubadour, a lost soul, a rebel, a poet, a drifter who doesn't fit in. None of them showcase a young man caught in a spotlight that he didn't want, not wanting to (not mature enough to) shoulder responsibility for anything.

I'm Not There. Nor was I an actual screenshot from the film.  |  MovieWeb - Movie Photos, Videos & More


The film highlights a couple of central components of the Dylan legacy. YES, he DID sing about things that were before his time. He loved John Henry and all those other folk-type things because they were legendary. YES, he WAS ALSO well read. He did in fact name himself after poet Dylan Thomas. YES, someone DID yell "JUDAS!" at him when he played an electric set and YES, he DID respond with "I don't believe you...".

But who gives half a crap?

Haynes has consumed all of Dylan's legacy and steamrolled it out into one major dump of a movie, assuming that if you put interpretative things on the screen, if you fade in and out of storylines, it will all make cosmic sense. It didn't. Which isn't to say I didn't understand it. I know about Dylan, so I did understand most of it. And YES, I did get the occasional chuckle out of seeing Christian Bale and others in classic photos (or album covers) of Dylan. But people who don't know anything about Dylan will not be entertained at all.

I'm Not There should have spent one week in an off-Broadway production and then should have slipped through the cracks of the entertainment industry into the realm of failure and embarrassment.

Zero stars. (Seriously.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nightmare.

I had a dream the other night that I had forgotten my password to Gmail. It was horrible.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Me and Bobby.



FSU staff were invited to an open house at the president's house, and we managed to show up the hour that Bobby Bowden was there. This was a few months ago, and my boss just sent me the picture she took from her camera phone today.

We both overlooked the fact that our phones have bluetooth, and we could have transferred the file right then and there. (But I don't have an adapter for my computer, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Someone dropped the A-Bomb.

4/3/2008 12:51 PM

*FSU ALERT!* Suspicious Package in parking garage #1 - Woodward Avenue. Building evacuated. Officials are on scene investigating. Avoid the area. See website, www.fsu.edu for details.

***

4/3/2008 2:05 PM

At 1:30 p.m., the FSU Police Department issued an "all clear" and said they had resolved the incident at Parking Garage No. 1. A local 17-year-old high school student returned to his car and accompanied police as they searched the briefcase that had aroused suspicion. There was nothing inside. He told them that a message that seemed to suggest a destructive device was inside was actually his nickname, "A-Bomb." Officers allowed those who work in the building to return to their offices and held traffic so that drivers parked in the garage could quickly exit. Surrounding streets were cleared, and the campus returned to normal status.

Defeating the HTML BUTTONS!

Hoo-rah. I realized my mistake in my HTML that allowed it to work in Firefox and not in IE. In the end, it wasn't because IE is retarded (which I still think it is) it was because my HTML writing was shit. (Note: I am a HTML novice.)

And so I can have a post if I need to remember, and for those wondering themselves (and for those computer programmers wanting to scoff at me while they push up their spectacles):

I had previously written an < a href > < / a > tag around a < button > < / button > command because I wanted the HTML push button (the appropriate term for this) to send visitors to another part of my site. This worked in Firefox for whatever reason, but IE recognized my stupidity and just said "No!"

I found a site that listed all the attributes one could include in the < button > command: http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_button.asp.

From there, I simply added the "onclick" attribute in the following format, with much success:

< button onclick="parent.location='LINK'" >Welcome! (About Me)< /button >

...with the "LINK" replaced with the desired URL. (There's another thing you can put instead of "parent.location" but I don't know what it is or what the difference is...)


So in IE, it did this:



...which is to say, nothing.

But now (well, I'm still working on updating all the pages), it will do this:



...which is to say, awesome.

Lyrical Interpretations: "Skull and Crossbones"

Have you ever had that feeling that makes you want to scrutinize lyrics ridiculously beyond the realm of believability? The following email correspondence is for you.

* * * * *

[For reference, here are the full lyrics from the song,
as printed in the band's liner notes]

skull and crossbones by Fine China

somebody said I'm "nice"
it tweaked me cause they're right
kept me up all night
then I thought about that word
and all the things I've heard
I can't help but be hurt

in the morning I wake up with the sun
and my hands toil until the day is done

I can't keep up with Jones
can't skull and crossbones
I ain't Andy Warhol
I'm not thunderstruck

my baby thinks I'm tired
but I feel like I'm wired
let's go out, spin our tires
play records that we love
see countrysides because
that's what I'm thinking of


From: Sharkdog

Ok, can you help me analyze this?

I can't keep up with Jones
can't skull and crossbones
I ain't Andy Warhol
I'm not thunderstruck

The first line makes sense to me, I like the reduction of syllables, like he's too exhausted to even say the cliche properly. I don't get the second line. I thought it was "I got a skull and crossbones", which makes sense. The third line, ok, and the fourth line is obviously either a straight or ironic reference to AC/DC. Maybe both.

From: Me

I didn't really understand it either. You might want to listen to it again, because there were a few obvious typos in the [printed] lyrics that I corrected along the way [when I was typing them up from the booklet] and this might be one.

Otherwise, I think you're spot on with the first (Jones) line. That interpretation is consistent with the previous line about "hands toil[ing] until the day is done".

For the second line, if it's not a typo, I looked into alternative meanings of the skull and crossbones:

http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefsskullbones.htm

In addition to the "poison" meaning, there is a Masonry association about "transience of the material world". This would sort of fit into the general feel of the lyrics -- he works all day, but for nothing since he can't even keep up with "the Jones" and later in the song he wants to "spin our tires". This transience feel might also tie in with Andy Warhol, who pushed mundane, everyday life (e.g., the Campbell's soup can) into pop culture. This is the interpretation I think fits best, is the strongest, and the one I would pick.

Alternatively, there's also a hint that it might have something to do with pirates, or at least vicious-type people in general (another strong association for the phrase "skull and crossbones"). This might be supported with a comparison of this verse to the first verse. In the first verse, he is just complaining about how people think he's nice and how he really is nice and doesn't want that demeaning label.

But in the second verse, he "can't keep up with the Jones" despite all his hard work ("hands toil"), and he "can't skull and crossbones", or be mean to people because he's labeled as being "nice". I don't really know how this would tie into Warhol.

The fourth line may indeed be an AC/DC reference, and if it is, it might tie in with the transience interpretation. If SING365 is to be trusted, here are sample lyrics from "Thunderstruck":

"Went through to Texas, yeah Texas
And we had some fun
We met some gals,
Some dancers who gave us good times
Broke all the rules, played all the fools"

Hedonistic debauchery. While the narrator in "Skull and Crossbones" may be aware of the "transience of the material world", the narrator of "Thunderstruck" may be reveling in it without a clue.

Who is better off?

I'm going to blog most of this email conversation, BTW.

P.S., I was going to say -- if it is in fact the interpretation dealing with pirates, I would have made a play on the words "Jolly Roger" because of the content of the first verse (being labeled "nice").

From: Sharkdog

That's a good one. I prefer the idea that he is reinforcing the image of being nice, which he also tackles in "My Worst Nightmare". Although whether "skull and crossbones" refers to piracy, the act of poisoning/killing someone, or just plain nastiness, I can't tell.

The lyrics are correct as far as I can tell.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fuck Buttons.

My freaking html buttons are NOT working in freaking Internet Explorer and I don't feel like figuring out how to fix it right now.

Site

I'm using a simple < button > < / button > command and evidently Internet Explorer isn't buying it, even though it's working fine in Firefox.

Maybe that's too simple and I have to put in an "input" or "form" command, which I don't know anything about.

Any nerds out there want to help?

(Also, I have an interview with the band Fuck Buttons coming up... I think.)