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Murmurings to the Masses, Volume II

Tue - August 22, 2006

Moving Day

I'd imagined not inviting you to my new new internet home until it was fully furnished and I was entirely unpacked. Of course, art imitates life, and so that means you'll be traipsing around the new place while there is a sense of disarray, furniture being reassembled, and boxes all over the place.

(Um, there's a new home for this weblogging enthusiasm of mine: here)

Posted at 11:49 PM     DirectLink   |

Tue - August 15, 2006

The 12 Disciples of Nelson Mandela

I caught "The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela" at the Black Harvest Film Festival last week.

It'll be on PBS in September.

A good film for anyone with an interest in contemporary South African history.

If you're not keen on SA History, aspects of the filmmaking might annoy you. The movie is at once a exposition about the Bloemfontein 12 and their journey into exile for the ANC, and a step-son's eulogy for his stepfather (one of the Bloemfontein 12). In delivering this eulogy, the film begins to become an autobiography of the filmmaker, which is minorly distracting (but certainly annoyed many of the reviewers).

I was able to meet the filmmaker at the screening.

Posted at 07:52 AM     DirectLink   |

Mon - August 14, 2006

It's Complicated (What I liked about Syriana)

I finally watched Syriana on Saturday night. I've had it out from netflix for at least a month.

I liked what Syriana stood for. It captured the essence of the contemporary clusterfuck that results from the competing interests and flawed characters/entities attached to the modern middle east. When Clooney can't give simple answers to seemingly straight-forward questions, without the preface "it's complicated, but...", I feel like the essence of the situation is somehow captured.

Now, this essence might have been captured to a fault, as the movie might have been rendered unwatchable because of the slippery characters, the uncertainty of the heroes and villains, and general spastic nature of the narrative, but (again) I think this is as evocative a reification of the situation as you'll see in film.

I liked the flawed characters that are the underpinnings of generally understood entities/concepts like "reformer", "terrorist", "soldier", "government official", "lawyer", "businessman", "economist", "man of faith", etcetera.

I tend not to watch films about that region of the world (or this nexus of issues) because the gross oversimplifications that you can somehow let slide in everyday speech can't be ignored on the big screen. That said, Syriana didn't bother me in the end, because, well, it was complicated.

Posted at 07:58 PM     DirectLink   |

Excerpts from emails

In the spirit of repurposing, here are excerpts from emails that I have sent today. Most of it is nonsense.

Let me congratulate you on getting out of california.

It's fascinating work that you do.  I hope you realize that.

would it be possible to go back to the burrito place that features "the triple-threat"?  I've been thinking about that burrito for over a year now.

I should add, if you think that I hold a grudge then that guy's a real piece of work.

this has got too much of an absurdist quality for me to be able to take today.
i'm sure i'll be back to blithely accepting the absurd soon enough

we encouraged some people to apply and sent some suggestions to [...] before they made this process public

I'll warn [...] about the pitfalls of this sort of thing today on the phone or in person tomorrow, but brace yourself for them signing on as test site for the new product.

I hope that things have been going better for you lately.

We were encouraged to post the job long before we were anywhere near ready to start the interview process.  I understand that this may mean some of you have taken other opportunities

It's a bit of a maze to actually find us.

I'm willing to take those two steps, but I'm not willing to spend any more of our resources on [...]until october.

are you back from your expedition yet?

The thing I should tell you is that the peace corps is a transformative experience, so I'd caution against programming/predicting too far ahead into the post-peace corps life.

After all your priorities might be rethought as a result of your experience and you should leave some flexibility in your future planning to allow the experience to effect you.

Posted at 07:23 PM     DirectLink   |

Sat - August 12, 2006

Days Past

I believe the window to write about my 4 days off sandwiched around lollapalooza has passed. Suffice it to say that I took 4 days off, and mostly managed to keep TS (who was in town for lollapalooza) sufficiently entertained with a music-themed tour of chicago. I had myself a break of sorts from the normal routine, but it was just a different kind of busy in chicago, which leaves me still needing a series of do-nothing days.

I should publicly thank flavorpill for my free tickets to lollapalooza. I answered a trivia question correctly in their weekly chicago newsletter. Besides the opportunity to win free things, they tend to recommend an interesting batch of events and happenings in the home city. I look forward to reading their recommendations every tuesday. You should subscribe to their weekly chicago email newsletter (hint, hint).

Posted at 11:16 PM     DirectLink   |

Mon - August 7, 2006

Lolla Day 3

On the last day of Lollapalooza:

Mucca Pazza
Nickel Creek
Hot Chip
Andrew Bird
Reverend Horton Heat
Broken Social Scene
Red Hot Chili Peppers

The "plus" category: Mucca Pazza, Sparta, Andrew Bird, Matisyahu, Wilco

Best Acts of the Day: Wilco and Andrew Bird

Other things: The worst thing about concerts has always been concert-goers. There's a startling lack of concert etiquette in general in our contemporary society, and "easy" music festivals like lollapalooza seem to exacerbate them. Beyond that, it was a fun time. I enjoyed the variety of the lineup and the ability of different people to construct different experiences for themselves. That's freedom.

Posted at 11:10 AM     DirectLink   |

Sun - August 6, 2006

Lolla Day 2

Today I saw:

Rainier Maria
Cold War Kids
The Go! Team
Coheed & Cambria
Gnarls Barkley
The Flaming Lips
Kanye West

Bands that were in the "plus" category: Rainier Maria, The Go! Team, Coheed & Cambria, Gnarls Barkley, Blackalicious, The Flaming Lips, Kanye West.

Best act of the day (tie): The Flaming Lips and Gnarls Barkley. The Lips played a greatest hits type of set in a short time without compromising any of their flair for the dramatic. Gnarls Barkley had tremendous stage presence.

Self-Realization: While I'm not too old for any of the music, I am well past the point where I have much patience for crowd antics. The crowd surfing at Coheed and Cambria was particularly galling.

Other things: Kanye suffered through some sound issues during the first 1/4 of his set. Not good. Blackalicious drew a great crowd, which is bodes well for them.

Next up the final day.

Posted at 03:04 AM     DirectLink   |