Monday, December 29, 2008
As is the case with most things I don't understand, I did a bit of research on exceptional intelligence. It turns out there are kids who teach themselves to read around age 2, just like Matilda (however, they do not have her telekinetic powers). They get bored in school and have trouble making friends (but then again, doesn't everyone?). Learning comes easily, so studying music theory and writing a symphony in a few months is just another hobby to them.
Learning doesn't always come easily to me. I have to really work at vocabulary in Russian (and English, for that matter). However, I do have a love for learning, and while I'm not quite in that upper 1%, IQ-wise, I'm still up there (despite having gotten dumber since high school, not sure how that happened). So I think I can understand wanting to study lots of different things, and feeling dread at the thought of doing the same thing for the rest of my life. And when it comes down to it, even improbably intelligent people have the same existential dilemmas as regularly intelligent people. Still, I should define myself in a way unrelated to my intellect, and then I wouldn't have these issues.
Okay, I'm going to go read a book to make myself feel smarter.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It's of some interest that the lively arts of the millennial U.S.A. treat anhedonia and internal emptiness as hip and cool. It's maybe the vestiges of the Romantic glorification of Weltschmerz, which means world-weariness or hip ennui. Maybe it's the fact that most of the arts here are produced by world-weary and sophisticated older people and then consumed by younger people who not only consume art but study it for clues on how to be cool, hip - and keep in mind that, for kids and younger people, to be hip and cool is the same as to be admired and accepted and included and so Unalone. Forget so-called peer-pressure. It's more like peer-hunger. No? We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we've hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are out guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it's stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naiveté. ... Hal, who's empty but not dumb, theorizes privately that what passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as he conceptualizes is) is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naive and goo-prone and gerenally pathetic, is to be in some basic interior way forever infantile... (694)So there I was, reading this passage, and I realized that it very well could be describing me. I know, I know, part of the cool thing about reading fiction is identifying with a character and then feeling good when this character succeeds, but I try to avoid that and be objective and all. And me trying to be objective says I strongly identify with this passage. So now my cynicism and jaded irony is merely a generational fad? I thought I was being real. I feel as disappointed as a child who has been promised a pony and gets a plastic idol instead. As disappointed as a rat formerly on a variable-ratio schedule but switched to extinction mode and has a really long stint of pressing that little bar without any reward (this was me trying to describe my disappointment instead of saying "words fail me"). My self-concept is ruined! ...oh well.
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Monday, December 08, 2008
Perhaps surprisingly, the momentary pain of being teased can lead to pleasure. During their 15 seconds of humiliation, the targets of teasing displayed common signs of embarrassment — gaze aversion; a coy, nervous smile; a hand touching the face; a head bowed submissively so as to expose the neck; and blushing. These gestures are ancient signs of appeasement that trigger a reconciliation response in most mammals, as they did in our study. The more targets showed these evanescent signs of embarrassment, the more the teasers liked them.-NYT Times article, In Defense of Teasing (page 3)
This probably explains why I'm so endearing.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I'm becoming more conscious of my wardrobe: I have gotten to the point where I know some of my clothes are just ugly, now I need to find replacements for them, which will probably take a while considering that a) I don't go shopping a lot and b) I'm not just full of money right now (also my weight is in a state of flux? My job is seriously horrible for me controlling what I eat). But I think if I were to say I was going for a certain style, it would be European (that sounds better than old-manish or geriatric). Speaking of being like an old person - I have been sleeping like 10-12 hours every night this break. No wonder I'm like, "where did my day go?" I'm not sure if that qualifies for hypersomnia or not (especially if I can wake up earlier if I want to). Sleeping just seems more fun than most of the things I do.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
See youtube for gameplay shots.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I recently re-watched "Fight Club." Unfortunately Provo fight clubs have been outlawed, so I can't go watch it live (however consusual fighting is not against the honor code, in case you were wondering). Besides the psychological contortionism that the plot requires, I'm intrigued by, well, the anarchism. I think it's one of those things (breaking rules, petty vandalism, blowing things up) that feels so cool and fun in the moment but never accomplishes things. So the thing I need to do is find something that feels cool and accomplishes something. Perhaps - anarchistic service? Oh wait, I already write for the Board! I guess I'll just continue in my poor consumerism. Why am I such a tool?
Also, I wonder if Palahaniuk (author of the book Fight Club) had some inspiration, say, from all the existentialist philosophers that preceded him? Beckett's "Ohio Impromptu" also uses a hallucination character.
Friday, November 07, 2008
So being tired for unknown reasons I've had a lot more of those moments when I suddenly feel like, unreal, that I'm just a pair of eyes and my hands don't even belong to me. You know what I'm talking about - minor, everyday dissociation kind of thing. I wonder how paralyzed people feel about their bodies? I mean, I can move my hands and sometimes they feel like they're not me but my little slaves.
Also, I've decided that some day I want to learn contact juggling, or at least some slight-of-hand. It would be so useful. Do you know of any good primers? I should spend some time on youtube. Or maybe I could figure it out myself?
Sunday, November 02, 2008
But is it the moment's joy that matters, or how I'll feel looking back on it? Will I remember how important I thought these things are?
Monday, October 27, 2008
I feel like there's a lot of hero-worship that goes along with Nabokov, and I want to be less an idolator and more of an idol (now that's religiously sound). What I mean is, I don't think any author is perfect, and I want to keep my perspective even while reading things like "only Nabokov could have written this!"
If you're interested in Bend Sinister, let me know and maybe you can help me edit the paper I'm going to write about it (currently I want to do something with personification, but I might end up doing something with windows).
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Lately I've been noticing that I'm really insecure about my individuality, because I know I'm probably more like other people than I'd like to admit. Maybe that's why I get a kick out of being so nerdy, it shows how I'm different. I mean - maybe not everyone likes modern literature (I can't really imagine why not)? And that's why it bothers me to hear Keane on the radio, because I thought they were this indie band last.fm was recommending to me, but it turns out they're in the same boat with Coldplay (by the way, I downloaded their new album, which was on sale from Amazon today only, and it wasn't half bad, although I still think bands should write their own music).
One of my only recently conscious goals is to become a polymath. I think that's why I like House and Nabokov's novels so much. The thing is, I'm not sure if I like knowing things for the sake of knowing them, or if I like knowing things because someone else doesn't know it. 'Ya know?
Also, I've taken to being annoyed by people in high-paying jobs who think their time is more important than anyone else's. But really, the rest of the world doesn't care! Examples: doctors, lawyers, therapists. I think that's a big reason I don't want to be a therapist - I'd end up being all self-important and used to clients worshiping me, and then I wouldn't be able to interact normally anymore (assuming that I ever interacted normally). Professors can get that way too, but I think they need to protect themselves sometimes from students who don't know how to read (hey look, I'm already on the way to being a self-justified prof). I'd rather be a professor though, because no one actually cares about them (besides you know, creepy students like me), and they get to just do their own thing most of the time.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Me (carrying a backpack full of groceries, unlocking my bike): Yep... pretty much
MwB: Where'd you get yours?
Me: I don't know, somewhere on sale for a buck.
Suddenly I feel insecure not having some kind of story to go with my beret! Perhaps next time I can make one up. I feel like such a poser.
Also, my firefox crashed and now the built-in spellcheck no longer works. Help?
Monday, October 06, 2008
I watched Lolita over the weekend - the Kubrick 1962 version. It's weird, but I found Quilty (center in this snapshot) to be really hilarious, despite his implied depravity. It's strange because I didn't find the actor nearly as funny in Dr. Strangelove or The Pink Panther. I think I liked that he was fooling Humbert all along... I like knowing what others don't know, I appreciate it when I can be smug with someone once in a while. How horrible!
I feel like I'm constantly doing things yet accomplishing nothing. I'm not sure how this is happening, but I dislike it. I feel like I'm missing something but I don't know what it is. Like a vanishing point, my nebulous goals seem constantly out of reach. I feel like giving up on achieving anything - that the cult of achievement has led me astray, but that I have no where else to go and that I'm stuck with creating goals and falling short of them. Progress is an illusion.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Does this remind anyone of Bad Movie Night?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I've been to the Provo library a bit more than usual this week (our router got fried), and it's interesting to see the types of people who use the computers there: the married girl who used to be in my ward, probably checking her e-mail, the teenager commenting on a friend's myspace, the high school hopeful applying to jobs, and the creepy guy listing "missed connections" on craigslist. It's also educational to see the difference between a university library and a city library... the Provo library definitely has a higher percentage of self-help books and kind of trashy pseudo-science books. It kind of makes me sad, because I used to think that if something was good enough to be published, it was probably worth reading, but I've recently found I was mistaken.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Did you know that Boston Harbor Light station is the only lighthouse in America with a keeper? So much for my dream of becoming a lighthouse keeper (source).
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The Leecher pirate - downloads torrents of stuff without uploading it back. Will download special software to achieve this purpose. Never uploads his own stuff and downloads movies and albums before they're out. Has a couple of terabytes of stuff. Basically shameless.
Upstanding pirate - usually uploads as much as he downloads, downloads CDs and movies he can't find anywhere else, and buys what he downloads when it's available, because he feels guilty about his piracy.
Benevolent pirate - Creates new torrent uploads of highly-sought material; converts LPs to mp3s, has a friend in the academy he can get quality DVD rips from; basically internet piracy depends on these people.
Special-interest pirate - continually uploads a certain film or computer game. People like this keep older downloads alive.
Casual pirate - downloads every once in a while. He doesn't think much of it, this is pretty much the largest portion of internet pirates (people-wise, not bandwidth-wise). Usually has a disorganized music collection.
Old-Fashioned pirate - Doesn't know about or doesn't use torrents. May use P2P, but more commonly borrows friends' CDs (or the library's) and rips them. May record songs directly from the radio into an mp3 format or onto a tape deck. May taperecord or transfer from DVR to DVD favorite movies and shows. He has a direct, nearly anonymous, and quick way to get pirated media, but his selection may be limited, depending on his friends. Technically an old-fashioned pirate shouldn't be in a list of internet pirates... so maybe the list should be "media pirates"... your grandma could be an old-fashioned pirate...
Completely unrelated, but I got my hair cut a little like that picture I posted last month. I like it.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Strong and spirited. You're no one's girly girl; actually you are very determined person with a strong sense of self. Never let go of that! The only thing that equals your sense of self is your family, but the traditions of society can always be bent to protect something or someone you love.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The ironic processes of mental control (Wegner 1994) suggest that there are times when it might be good to stop planning and striving. It is often possible to try too hard. The initiation of plans for action and for thought is normally a useful enterprise, of course, as it typically leads to the exercise of successful operations of mental control. We plan to stand up and we do so, we intend to concentrate and we do so, we intend to relax, to sleep, to eat, to go outside, or to write a letter, and we do so. However, sometimes the formation of a conscious plan leads to a paradoxical effect - the implementation of the plan creates the opposite of what was planned. ...when we try not to think of something, we seem to create an automatic and ironic tendency to think of that very thing. The usual usefulness of our planning and intention procedures makes us go ahead and try to do many things, even those that have inherent ironies.
-Daniel M. Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
He was a strong supporter of learning as an eternal principle, which, upon examining my own beliefs, is one I've adopted myself. I am beginning to think of my learning as part of my religion, as strange as that sounds. I think that explains why I get so annoyed at students who don't appreciate that they have a great opportunity to learn, students who don't milk their classes for all their worth. I'll admit I'm guilty of it sometimes, but most of the time I'd do the assigned reading, ask tons of questions in class, and seek out professors who I felt had more to offer than the small share of information imparted in class. I'm also getting increasingly frustrated with how stagnant most professors are in their way of teaching. So all this contemplation about education made me think that I should look into graduate school in education, not just literature or psychology. But I think in some ways it would make me more unhappy to study education...
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I'm not too worried about this, because what child is happy every single minute of his life? But it brings up a good point - different moods are useful and we shouldn't say one is better than another just because it's more pleasant.
Now playing: We Are Scientists - The Great Escape
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Okay, recently I joined pmog.com after my brother mentioned it to me. I'm not very interested in the role-playing part, but I am interested in how I'm learning about internet sites I had never heard of before but are still interesting to me. The "missions" you can go on are basically guided tours of different sites, and some are very informative. I recently took one about Last.fm applets, and was introduced to the recommended artists generator (although lots of things can recommend artists to you), as well as the music "openness" test (I scored 121, the graph is to the left; "fractured disco" was the least listened to at .09%, haha). I also revisited the great freeware database of games in some retro-gaming mission I went on (and have been happily playing an adventure game from it).
The spaghetti didn't stick to the chili+sauce as well as it does to the sauce alone, and the chili beans had this habit of falling off my spaghetti-laden fork, so I ended up eating them seperately most of the time (but when I got the right combination it tasted almost identical to the rice and chili). I think rice is a superior partner here, as it combines more evenly.
Friday, June 27, 2008
*like that construction of "share"? I thought that I made it myself, but it turns out there are 92,000 Google hits for "share me some."
Friday, June 20, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
With the whole universe. I know
There is no medicine for my woe.
Believe me, it is called Despair.
It runs in all my veins. I pray:
It cries in all my words. I am
The very glass where what I damn
Leers and admires itself all day.
I am the wound - I am the knife
The deep wound scabbards; the outdrawn
Rack, and the writhing thereupon;
The lifeless, and the taker of life.
I murder what I most adore,
Laughing: I am indeed of those
Condemned for ever without repose
To laugh - but who can smile no more.
-Heauton Timoroumenos from Flowers of Evil by Baudelaire, trans. by George Dillon
Monday, June 16, 2008
The Stuff of Thought is a good book. But don't read Psychology Today. Even Scientific American: Mind would be better, or Seed (granted, the Provo library doesn't hold those titles). Also, nice shoes. That's all.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
- Rautavaara: for people who like the modern side of Shostakovich
- Radio Department: for people who like The Postal Service.
- The Foals: a music child of Of Montreal and Philip Glass? Dude, rad.
- Ladytron: think a modern Depeche Mode with a female vocalist. Also, more existential lyrics.
- Origa: Kind of along the Ladytron line, only more Russian and Japanese. She did the opening song for Ghost in Shell... so she's cool.
- Laura Veirs: way way cool, think The Decemberists but with a female vocalist (and not as gritty)
- A Hawk and a Hacksaw: Classical folk music? I'm excited to somehow get ahold of their albums. That guy from Beirut has sung with them.
- Devics: I have one of their albums. Great dream-pop (I still don't know what that genre means). It sounds kind of singer-songwriter, but cooler.
- Morcheeba: I found their album Antidote in the BYU library (not to be confused with the Foals's Antidotes). It's... it's got some nightclub-style vocals (not sure what the correct term is, wikipedia says they have blues, pop, rock, and trip hop influences. GREAT). I like their song "Everybody Loves a Loser."
- Gregory Page: He's written some nice ballads and came up on my Beirut Pandora station. His record sounds a little unpolished, but it's a charming sort of unpolished. I'm also amazed at how much of the production he did himself. Let me know if you want to borrow his album Love Made Me Drunk. The only thing I didn't like was the use of flute in one of the tracks. I'm a flutist myself, but I find that a lot of times flute just sounds lame in pop or folk music (sorry... it was a good thought?). Morcheeba used piccolo very effectively on one of their tracks though (it was more of a musical effect than a meldoic part).
Friday, May 23, 2008
Scientific American has an article on blogging: "As social creatures, humans have a range of pain-related behaviors, such as complaining, which acts as a “placebo for getting satisfied,” Flaherty says. Blogging about stressful experiences might work similarly."
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Lately I've been trying to get rid of clothes that don't fit me... I had all these shirts that were too wide and the sleeves were too short, and I was very glad to purge myself of them. Unfortunately I'm still having difficulty replacing them, probably because I never go shopping for clothes unless I'm at DI. Speaking of which, I recently bought a bunch of cool books at DI for way cheap. Yeats for $1! I am so excited.
I recently finished downloading the docudrama "The Doctor Who Hears Voices." I haven't seen it yet, and I'm afraid it will be really cheesy. I mean, docudrama, come on! It sounds like it's in the same genre as mockumentary or soap opera.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
My neighbor friend, Jeff, had a house that smelled like cinnamon, and his mom made great sugar cookies. We played this board game, I think it was called Labyrinth, and it had pictures of little monsters. In the summer sometimes we'd go outside, and once I had a cherry tomato, although I was disappointed that it didn't taste like a cherry. After Christmas one year, Jeff got a lego castle set. It had a drawbridge you could open and close. There were copper dough molds on the walls, and they had a copper-colored dog named Rusty.
Summer afternoons, we would eat macaroni and cheese out on the patio (this is a different friend). They had a picnic bench with an umbrella, for shade, and it was always in the wrong spot. After lunch we would get otter pops from the freezer in the garage. There was a kid's table that had a scratch n' sniff sticker on each corner. I was always trying to sniff the pizza-flavored one. We made miniature golf courses in the sandbox. It was cool when we could make an arch that the ball could go over and under. There was a large bush on the hill, and we would play in it and on it. It was kind of prickly though. Their computer was in his parent's room, and it was right next to a window, so his mom could see from the backyard if we were still playing a game.
At Lisa's we would often play super Nintendo together. We played Super Mario Bros. 3 and Donkey Kong 2. We also played Aladdin. I was never very good at the games, probably due to my lack of practice time. She had lots of Barbie dolls that we would play with, and we would trade Sailor Moon cards from the quarter machine in Toys R Us. Her mom had a collection of elephant figurines that we would look at sometimes. There was one made of pewter, supposedly cursed, that looked like it might steal your soul. Once I started eating a huge bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, but my mom came over before I could finish it. I felt really bad about that. During one of Lisa's sleepovers we did a play of the movie "Chucky," which I had never seen. I was a very good actress and screamed quite convincingly.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
"Back in the day, books only had to have an interesting first five pages. Now readers expect an interesting first 100 pages." Sharpe says this increasing demand from books is the result of our fast-paced electronic era. Steven Bloom, a used bookstore owner from Lehardia, agrees: "You can now find book reviews in a few seconds using the Interweb. It makes it much more difficult to sell a book that might be more difficult to read."
However, the advent of the Internet has also allowed book buyers to find more books they want to read, with GoodReads, online book groups, and Amazon's "if you liked that you will like this" feature. Time can only tell what the future of the novel holds.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
-Mel Brooks, Mel Gibson, and Garth Brooks
-"onomastic" and "onanistic"
-Kuragin and Karagin in War and Peace
-Bob Marley and Bob Dylan... until you realize that one is totally reggae and the other is folk rock!
-Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix (they both have... rare letters in their names!)
-All The King's Men and All The President's Men
-Dr. Zhivago and Dr. Strangelove (people? books?)
-"Cat's Cradle" the Cat Stevens song and Cat's Cradle the Vonnegut book
-Virgil, vigil, and virginal
-etymology and entymology
-Guns and Roses and Iron and Wine
-philandering and philanthropy
-Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas
-fornication and formication
-other things that I will think of and add later
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Why am I having such a hard time with this paper? My last research paper practically birthed itself, although then I was mostly summing up research rather than analyzing a text with the analysis supported by research. The two epistemologies are so different! Writing this paper is like trying to explain why we like apples by putting a slice under a microscope and describing its structure. It's just so much easier and makes so much more sense to be superficial... the apple tastes good because it's sweet, there. Granted, it doesn't take up 12 pages...
Monday, March 24, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
So, I recovered, but I had some other crappy health problems (literally crappy... bowel problems). I didn't really do anything about it for a month or so, because hey, sometimes bowels are just irregular! Then in December my doctor says I have a staph infection and refers me to a specialist, who, just yesterday, told me that my infection is gone! Yay. Unfortunately my symptoms are not gone, and I am the proud sufferer of post-infectious irritable bowel. FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! So, if you ever take antibiotics, remember to eat yogurt or something while you're taking it so you don't get an intestinal infection and then irritable bowels for the rest of your life, like what happened to me.
On the bright side, I will always have an excuse to be irritable!
This pity party is over!