walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (sga: culture shock)
walkingshadow ([personal profile] walkingshadow) wrote2006-10-31 11:12 am

i'll be crooked in eighteen days

a. youtube link: finite simple group (of order two).

b. this month i managed to 1) have an anxiety attack over taking the fucking GRE1, 2) WRESTLE THE FUCKING GRE TO THE MOTHERFUCKING GROUND AND MAKE IT WISH IT HAD NEVER BEEN BORN IN A LOVELESS, FAUX-ACADEMIC ETS FACTORY2, 3) fall off my step at the gym and sprain my wrist3, and 4) drive into a tree.4 omgwtf OCTOBER.

c. as of last week, i'm officially done with studio 60. prospects were slightly brighter after "the long lead story," bright enough for me to draft a good news/bad news review that contained actual good news, but "the wrap party" was so exceedingly bad and boring that the show is now dead to me. the flist as a whole continues to be widely divided, and i find it fascinating: after the last episode aired, reactions ranged from "well, that was unspeakably offensive. guess i don't need to watch that anymore" to "this, this is good tv." interestingly, i'm seeing a lot of "please don't harsh our vibe" appeals from the fans, and i'd get irritated about that5, but i hear the show is dead to a growing majority of the general viewing audience and soon to be dead to the network, so whatever.

for anyone who's wondered either what the big deal about sorkin is in the first place, or why studio 60 is such a trainwreck, this is a great read.

d. let's talk about good television now!

  • heroes. just as awesome as people have been saying. [livejournal.com profile] mimesere talks very excitedly about how very like a comic book it is, which i can just barely appreciate, because i'm just not very familiar with comic book tropes; but i know it's beautifully done. i love the way their shots are framed, i love the meta comic book that isaac drew and that hiro is toting around the country on his cheerful little roadtrip to save the world, and i love seeing their heroes and villians emerge. the other day someone called the voiceovers "pretentious," but i think they're just . . . part and parcel. one of the things i like best about the whole show is their subtitles. it's not text that's just slapped up there, and it's not even your standard bottom-of-the-screen centered lines; they're placed, and they're placed beautifully. i was a little perplexed by mr. bennet's glasses at first, because they're so ugly—they really change his face, which i suspect is quite attractive under them—but i realized why he wore them when mohinder referred to him as the man in the horn-rimmed glasses.

    my favorites are nathan petrelli (who looks so much like superman, it's uncanny), claire, mohinder, and hiro. hiro took a little time to grow on me, but i'm on board now, baby. i find parkman's story booooring so far (telepathy is way too common in visual and print media to support such a boiler plate handling of it; or maybe i've just read this story in four billion pieces of fanfic, where it was done a lot better, with less candlelit dinner and more graphic porn); peter has very shiny hair—gosh, i wish i had hair that shiny—but lacks gravitas; simone has gravitas to spare but needs a third dimension; ditto for isaac. niki's "power" is hands-down the creepiest, but between her doppelgänger's tattoo, the petrellis' ties to linderman, and claire's father, there's a verrry interesting bigger picture emerging. mohinder goes on and on about evolution, but he also keeps referring to a patient zero, and i'm pretty sure that's a lot closer to the truth.

    so i think it's fantastic, but i'm zero percent fannish about it; i don't even have any great desire to speculate on conspiracy theories, i just like watching.

  • farscape. i've now watched the first two seasons (and the first episode of season three, since DVDs mean never having to wait for a cliffhanger resolution, thank christ) and MY LOVE CANNOT BE TEXTUALLY RENDERED. oh, i've tried—i have two thousand words on the first season alone that i will one day unleash on the unsuspecting internet populace—but basically i love it with a love that is more than love and it has very possibly ruined me for all future television.

  • entourage. i'm in it entirely for jeremy piven, but isn't that's a good enough reason for anyone?

  • battlestar galactica. i'm almost finished with BSG 2.0, and i have mixed feelings about it. when my epic email correspondence with [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker hasn't been in re: angsty oh-my-god,-what-are-we-going-to-do-with-our-LIVES introspection, it's mostly consisted of extensive meta about our favorite episodic television series, and i found a lot to complain about in early season two, though i feel a whole lot better after "home" than i did after, say, "fragged." i keep hearing season three is going to blow my mind.

  • etc. to be completely caught up with television, i'll have to start watching friday night lights, then get through the rest of the BSG DVDs, plus entourage, deadwood, weeds, the traders discs [livejournal.com profile] ciderpress sent me ages ago, the green wing i downloaded from [livejournal.com profile] iamsab a while back; and i also bought the first seasons of veronica mars, nip/tuck, and MI-5 when amazon had its DVD sale the other week, because i have a DISEASE that i like to call CONSUMPTION. *cough*

e. when i haven't been watching television, i've been shopping endlessly for a professional winter wardrobe oh god. not only is spending all this money making me twitchy, shopping in general is making me twitchy. questions i lie awake at night wondering about include: what to buy? what look to go for? where to go? how much to spend? how many black sweaters can i really justify owning? what about black skirts? i've been buying piecemeal from ann taylor loft and banana republic, and kansas pointed me to loehmann's—their stuff looks great, but until i get a bead on sizing, i'd like to get to a physical store and actually try things on first, rather than trial-and-error through the mail (see: the great zappos.com failure of the summer of 2006).

i have never in my life owned BOOTS, but this could be my year.

f. further on the subject of spending large sums of money, i've been pining after the apple macbooks and macbook pros, obsessively comparing and contrasting and building my dream models. in conclusion: i desperately want the macbook pro, for its faster processor, larger cache, bigger hard drive (though m. suggested buying one at 7200 rpm separately anyway), superior graphics card, and general all-around SHININESS6, but it's, you know, significantly more expensive, so it'll depend on how much my parents are willing to contribute as a belated graduation gift to make up the difference. but just wait till i get my paws on final cut express and subject you all to the vid ideas i've been hoarding for years!

g. i finished guns, germs, and steel a while ago, \o/; it only took three months of lunches. right now i'm working steadily through the world is flat, which is FASCINATING. i recommend them both very, very highly; more to come at some to-be-determined time in the future.

h. in between those books i made an aborted attempt to get through gödel, escher, bach, which is supposed to be about the manifestation of consciousness through what the author has dubbed "strange loops"—recursive paradoxes leading a system to become aware of itself—and it sounded awesome, but it was in fact NOT AWESOME, because of how fucking pretentious and self-indulgent the author was, i.e. so pretentious, i kept rolling my eyes so hard i was giving myself headaches; after his third dialogue cum monument to his own brilliance, i had to take it out back and shoot it. now i really want a t-shirt that says, "the first rule of the theory of linguistic types is you do not talk about the theory of linguistic types."7 fucking bertrand russell.

i. geoffrey pullum needs to calm down and possibly shut the hell up about linguification.

j. holy socially interactive events, batman: tabernacle EXTRAVAGANZA last weekend.8 on friday we saw the decemeberists—who were awesome, and all i asked was that they play sons and daughters, which they DID; and saturday we saw louis black, who was hilarious, and then followed him up with mind-meltingly good food at rathbun's asdkfjasl;dfj.

k. still putting pieces of paper in alphabetical order for a living. still no plan.

1. i swear i can't remember ever getting so worked up about something, but i couldn't tell whether i was five seconds away from throwing up or hyperventilating; i was very glad i ended up taking the morning off (i sat the test at one p.m.), because i would have been USELESS at the office. more useless even than usual!

2. oh god, i hate ETS thiiiiiiiiiiiiis much. they make me incoherent. i hate that on the one hand, a high score on the GRE is not indicative of any kind of higher intellectual ability; and on the other hand, if you do badly on the GRE, you are an idiot. however! i take comfort in the fact that our abusive relationship might finally have come to a close, and i shouldn't ever have to sit down for a three-hour multiple-choice standardized test EVER AGAIN, unless i come down with insanity one day and decide law school/business school/med school is a great idea after all.

3. *facepalm* also, ow.

4. i drove into the tree at idle speed around the corner from my house in the middle of the day, so i was FINE. the car is also fine, except for the bumper, the left headlight, and the accelerator that STICKS, which was the reason the car wouldn't stop at the stop sign and i had to swerve out of the way of a car coming down the street and ended up driving into the tree in the first place. the guy i almost hit was fine too; he came back to make sure i was okay and talked to me until m. and a. and l. and k. (k. home from college for a short weekend!) ran over from the house to assess the situation. he delivers pizzas and designs websites. the tree was, um. not fine.

5. no, seriously, i'm not usually one of those people who thinks i'm being oppressed when the call goes out for fannish mores like spoiler cuts or whatever, but somehow i'm really pissed off at the idea of people pleading for the sorkin critics to just keep it under their hats, because they're full of love and their hearts just can't take it. i hope they're just talking about negative comments to their positive posts; is that what's going on? because that at least i can understand. you want to declare your journal a sorkin hate-free zone, go ahead. you can get into a whole meta thing about your journal as proprietary space, and your right to control what happens within it (as others have done). but basically, while it's rude to crash the weekly fan club meeting and streak through their discussion group and tear their posters off the wall, there's nothing stopping me from setting up my own clubhouse across the street, where i hang my own posters and then throw darts at them.

6. also because my perceived and actual needs for speed and storage capacity are only going to be increasing, at the same time as improvements to the hardware are going to be coming quickly on the heels of each other; today's professional-grade, top-of-the-line laptop is going to be the basic model in three or six or eighteen months, so why would i purposely start out behind the curve when i'm looking to keep my investment from becoming obsolete for as long as possible?

Now in set theory, which deals with abstractions that we don't use all the time, a stratification like the theory of types seems acceptable, even if a little strange—but when it comes to language, an all-pervading part of life, such stratification appears absurd. We don't think of ourselves as jumping up and down a hierarchy of languages when we speak about various things. A rather matter-of-fact sentence such as, "In this book, I criticize the theory of types" would be doubly forbidden in the system we are discussing. Firstly, it mentions "this book" which should only be mentionable in a "metabook", and secondly, it mentiones me—a person whom I should not be able to speak of at all! This example points out how silly the theory of types seems, when you import it into a familiar context. The remedy it adopts for paradoxes—total banishment of self-reference in any form—is a real case of overkill, branding many perfectly good constructions as meaningless. The adjective "meaningless" by the way, would have to apply to all discussions of the theory of linguistic types (such as that of this very paragraph) for they clearly could not occur on any of the levels—neither object language, nor metalanguage, nor metametalanguage, etc. So the very act of discussing the theory would be the most blatant possible violation of it! (22)

8. when kansas and i were standing outside the tabernacle after the show friday night, waiting for m. et al., i asked her, "do you ever worry that one night everyone will be here ready for a show, and someone'll come out and say, 'surprise! prayer meeting!'?" kansas: well, i never did before.

[identity profile] ciderpress.livejournal.com 2006-10-31 05:38 pm (UTC)(link)
yay for a lot of things in this post but especially farscape. because FARSCAPE \o/!!!! sometimes, i think i'm remembering things wrong and that it can't possibly be as good as i think it was and then, and then. \o/

the thing with s60 is that i can barely take the bullying condescension and "me intellectual white man, hear me roar!" shtick but the out and out hostility that sorkin shows for what he must know is his core audience (smrt enough to tune in, dumbass enough to dare have an opinion and write about it in our blogs while feeding our thousands of cats! smrt people don't watch reality tv, smrt people watch plays about pericles!) is really stunning. did he hate us this much during sports night? the west wing? i'm not sure anymore.

i'll be sorry when it's gone because jack rudolph! the self loathing on his face while he was pushing for the reality show was kind of awes. plus, at least matthew perry has a chance for a career now as something other than chandler bing v 9.0.

[identity profile] walkingshadow.livejournal.com 2006-10-31 09:05 pm (UTC)(link)
FARSCAPE ALKSDJFL:S!! i can't EVEN. it's so, so beautiful, i love it so MUCH. and it's so hilariously funny, and the season two finale made me CRY, and there is SO MUCH ABOUT IT to love, i try to talk about it, but i just end up gibbering and flopping around like a fish. it bowled me over, and then my brother was like, yeah, it doesn't really get good until season two, and season three is EVEN BETTER, and i thought if that were true i wouldn't survive to get there, but here i am. i'm one episode in, and all set to go charging through the discs, but we're trying to watch them all together, and he gets pouty if i watch ahead ahahaha!

i'm mostly frustrated about studio 60 because it could have been so good—a fresh start, ultimate power, sorkin's writing, that cast—sorkin can be so good, and instead he went INSANE and made a one-dimensional show about proving himself right and other people wrong, instead of what was entertaining and powerful and true.

his contempt for us, his audience, and the way he's lashing out with high-handed exposition and terrifically offensive (not to mention TRANSPARENT) metaphors, it's such a contrast to the tone of sports night and the west wing; i don't think he hated us then, i think we made him this way. i mean, not *us*, and i don't think anyone anywhere should feel bad about it, but he was one of those super-arrogant, super-talented, super-idealistic characters he loves creating, and he got slapped around by the networks and the ratings and he had an audience that loved him, but not *everybody* loved him, and even the people who loved him wouldn't roll over and beg. i think he can't take criticism, and he feels persecuted, and he thinks he's earned his disillusionment, which he of course pours into the next-gen super-arrogant, super-talented avatar he creates. he IS matt albie. of course, maybe he was always this much of a SNOB, i don't know. he used to be able to write smart television, just television that was smart, that had smart themes and a sophisticated dialogue and made references to classic or obscure books and films, and had a good vocabulary that it didn't apologize for—but a) it also didn't flaunt it (i mean, studio 60 is the kid who won't stop bragging about his effing test scores), and b) it didn't imply that everyone else was stupid by comparison, and then mock them for it. he doesn't want to raise the level of debate in this country anymore, he wants us to see the error of our ways, turn our backs to the evils of reality TV and go out and buy our own copies of the collected works of august strindberg. whatever, aaron sorkin!

ahahha i adore jack rudolph! drunk jack rudolph singing and ready to murder danny at the wrap party was beautiful, i'm gonna miss jack. and god help me, jordan was one of my favorite things about that whole clusterfuck of an episode, which by process of elimination is no very great accomplishment, but she was so charming in her awkwardness. i'm sure that given enough time we'd discover more of the ways she was just like dana, not just how she could be so competent at her male-dominated job and yet so incompetent at traditionally female relationships—though it can't be the brothers, harriet already has the brothers. (you know, i can't remember who said the other day that they wished sorkin would just write for shows instead of creating them, and i think that should be, like, his halfway house right now. he took all his cred and banked it on a flop, and now i want to see him doing penance in a room of writers, one of many writers working in an established world of somebody else's characters, and just let him write for them without his own fucking agenda being able to get out. i want him to say, "what if in this episode we reveal that character A was responsible for the death of a sibling in their childhood or early adolescence?!" and then the rest of the room could say, YES BECAUSE WE'VE NEVER SEEN *THAT* BEFORE, and otherwise shoot it down like a hot air balloon at a skeet-shooting range.) i wish matthew perry all the best, and i want to see him again, he's so damn talented. god, this show could have been so good.

[identity profile] ciderpress.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 10:20 am (UTC)(link)
aklsjdkflj FARSCAPE! season 3, oh man. it's going to KILL you dead with awesomeness. seriously, i can't even think of it without getting tears in my eyes; it's a conditioned response. it's inventive, it's heartbreaking, it goes places that i didn't think a sci-fi channel show had the ability to go.
(even though i have made my peace with farscape getting cancelled in favour of sg-1, i still can't watch it. ben and claudia, they were JOHN and AERYN and as awesome as sg-1 might be for people who love it, in my heart i feel that they're wasted as cameron and vala. JEEZ.)

studio 60. they say it's not cancelled now, did you hear? i mean, i think that the problem is that aaron sorkin comes across as the kind of person that might do everything to excess. love to excess, hope to excess, crash to excess, talk to excess. maybe it's that he needs to go write in a medium that he has no time and space to *tell* every single thing he wants to tell. i wish he'd go back to writing plays or movie scripts for a while; one of the things that i think he's lost the third time round in telling the exact same story is that he's lost subtlety in the showing and telling. when it's deja vu all over again, he can't wow us with the story anymore, the delivery of the story has to develop. i guess it's hard when you peak as early and as well as aaron sorkin? there is no doubting his talent, it's just... his inability to let things go and his lack of heart this time round. there's not very much heart in studio 60 and sport night and tww seasons 1 and 2 were about *heart*. i don't know, it's like he's exhausted, like the only reason he came back was because he needed 18 months of clean living before he could get insured for his big movie.

which is to say, i'm not done with studio 60, not yet. there are things that i think could still turn it around, the big three relationship, jack rudolph and jordan mcdeer's working relationship (commercial success vs. quality of entertainment, the bottom line vs. the price of idealism), matt and danny coming back and not saving american popculture but restoring a corner that needs to coexist with reality shows and game shows and janet jackson showing her breasts on television, the very shallowness and fierceness of hollywood and l.a., these are things i want to watch on this show.

[identity profile] walkingshadow.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 04:22 pm (UTC)(link)
see, i didn't realize it was canceled *in favor of* sg-1 asdkjfhsjkf. i mean, i can see a whole bunch of reasons why farscape didn't catch on mainstream (too different, too bawdy, too dark, too gross, too complex to watch casually) and why it was eventually canceled (i heard it just ran out of money; though with more support, obviously it would have had more money), but WOW is that heartbreaking. i mean, it's like downgrading from the mansion overlooking the ocean to a studio on the edge of the sketchy part of town. yeah, you've still got running water and electricity and you're not going to get wet when it rains, but you can't help remembering hardwood floors and too many bedrooms to count and that view, the view was amazing.

(if i were ben and claudia i think i would go out and get drunk all the time and "remember when we used to be on a sci-fi show that was kind of like the one we're on right now, in that it was also a sci-fi show, but instead of being sg-1, it was AWESOME? yeah, i don't miss it either" and then cry. or maybe that's just what i do when i think about ben and claudia.)

i heard about the un-cancellation (http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=50417), but do shows that aren't worried about being canceled get ordered in three-episode increments? and is it that they've ordered three more, or they ordered thirteen, so there are three more left that have already been made? i found it interesting that last week's ratings (for ep 1.06) were up over the week before's (1.05), because i would like to know what next week's numbers are going to be in comparison; i think people watch based on the week before, and i know that just on the flist, 1.06 got a lot of people to throw in the towel.

excess! excess! i think he calls it PASSIONATE. heh. there's no subtlety at all, just zero, and i don't particularly want to be hit between the eyes with a sledgehammer every five minutes and be told that there should be a black writer in the room! and reality television is stupid! and matt albie is a creative GENIUS! one of my friends who adores the show listened to all my complaints about it, and she was like, "i hear all that, but i agree with him, i think he's *right*"—and you know, part of the problem is i disagree not just with his execution, but with some of his premises. his handling of simon and matt and the black stand-ups the other week says to me that as an intellectual white man he's heard of all these issues and disapproves and thinks he's in a position to be a shining example of the simple solution, but he doesn't have any real understanding of the fundamental problems, or how to solve them for the bigger picture, for the longer haul. same for harriet and her christianity. *his* issues take precedence over reality and shades of gray, and in pursuit of that agenda he's lots his heart and his sense of humor. and those are the two things that i would have said were the absolute hallmarks of sorkin television.

all those things you're hoping he'll explore, i would LOVE to see those, those are all the things that made sports night so beautiful and solid—he made a third-rate show on a third-rate network seem BIG, it was the stuff of life they were talking about and implementing every week; i just don't know if he's going in that direction (for one thing, he's taking a zero-tolerance approach to reality TV et al. that says he's less interested in exalting pop culture than making his ideas of entertainment popular), or if i'm going to enjoy any of the methods he takes to get there. wherever he's going.

[identity profile] leksa.livejournal.com 2006-10-31 05:53 pm (UTC)(link)
it was in fact NOT AWESOME, because of how fucking pretentious and self-indulgent the author was, i.e. so pretentious

ahahaah, purfik - I mean, isn't the central use of that book supposed to be sitting around in a coffee shop with it, pretending to read, and looking rilly intellekshual?

Which is to say, I haven't tried it yet, but now I really want to. *g*

Um. That is to say, really, nice to see you posting!

[identity profile] walkingshadow.livejournal.com 2006-10-31 09:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Which is to say, I haven't tried it yet, but now I really want to. *g*

ahaha! yeah, um. see, the fact that i was pretentious for reading it wasn't the problem, because i am ALL ABOUT casually brandishing the book i am reading at anyone passing by, so they can see how SMART i am; it's that the author was so pretentious himself that i couldn't stand to be around him. his premise sounded great, it sounded interesting, but he spent waaaay too much time talking about how awesome it was, like he was a whole lot more excited about having come up with the idea than he was about the idea itself. he spent very little time actually getting to the point, it was just the textual equivalent of hugging yourself in congratulations. it was boring. it could greatly benefit by being a tenth of its current size. maybe one day when i finish what i'm reading now, i'll go back and skim it. if you pick it up, let me know what you think!

omg, i am WORKING on this posting thing. i swear, i start writing up an entry and then i wander away and i wander back, and it's three weeks later. *scratches head*

[identity profile] leksa.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 02:42 pm (UTC)(link)
it was just the textual equivalent of hugging yourself in congratulations

Hee! - What I meant, though, was that it's lovely to find out that every once and again a book actually matches its most likely purpose - that is, you can also sit around pretending to read Gravity's Rainbow or Foucault in the original French (or is that, like, so 1999? I'm not quite up with what exactly the hip kids are pretending to read these days, alas), but with stuff like that, the risk is you'll eventually feel guilty about not actually reading - whereas is v. charming to think that Mr. Author of G,E,B Whatever Your Name Was and the little aspiring pseudo-intellectual totally deserve each other. Round of self-congratulatory hugs for everybody!

Or something!

[identity profile] walkingshadow.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 03:12 pm (UTC)(link)
whereas is v. charming to think that Mr. Author of G,E,B Whatever Your Name Was and the little aspiring pseudo-intellectual totally deserve each other

*dies* that is IT. they can totally sit in their coffeehouse and gaze adoringly into their own mirrors in perfect synchronicity!

*hugs self in congratulations*
isilya: (Default)

[personal profile] isilya 2006-11-01 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
Re: MacBook/MacBook Pro -- whatever you decide, it would be smart to defer your actual purchase for six months--Mac OS 10.5 will be coming out next year, probably along with new iLife apps, and you'll get them for free if you hold off for a bit.

I myself am waiting to upgrade until the big applications (Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, my database application) are released as universal applications: at the moment, your choices are either booting into Windows if you have a Windows copy of the applications, or running them in Mac OS X over a layer of emulation (Rosetta).

[identity profile] walkingshadow.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 02:51 pm (UTC)(link)
i am very, very excited about the 10.5 preview, and i know i'm much better off holding out until the laptops start shipping with it, i just don't know if i can wait that long. i mean, obviously i *can*, i just hope i don't chew my arm off in the meantime. if i didn't know what a good idea it was to wait for the second-gen macbooks (and if they hadn't been having overheating issues), i would have bought one back in july, when k. got one for college and l. replaced her defunct ibook, and laptop-buying was the thing to be doing around the house. i would go out and buy one TODAY. i'm just this mess of want and frustration, but i keep reminding myself that fanvidding and DVD-burning and portability (i'm dying for some portability here) aren't necessities of life, however much it feels like it.

do you have a weigh-in on the macbook/pro issue? i think it just comes down to a) how much video editing and big-software running (your point about the adobe suite is a very good one), etc. i'm going to end up doing, and b) how much i'm willing to spend. but if you have any thoughts or advice, i always love to hear them. :)

[identity profile] hetrez.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 03:38 am (UTC)(link)
I totally didn't notice how the subtitles were placed. But, thinking back at what it does to those scenes, to have dialogue between Hiro and Ando, or above them -- that's really lovely.

[identity profile] walkingshadow.livejournal.com 2006-11-01 03:07 pm (UTC)(link)
they've taken such thought with it, it makes it so beautiful. there's such a focus on the visual with this show, with color and with framing shots and with the content of those shots; and instead of just plastering over it with the subtitles, they treat them like another layer of visual element, it just gets worked into the frame—in the space between hiro and ando, off to the side, over their shoulders. and i never bothered to consider the deeper interpretation of what it means to have the text in a particular place, only how it looked when it was there, but that is indeed very cool, so i have something else to take into account when i watch next time.