I guess this proves that I am really in college?

January 31, 2008

blog readability test

Or rather that I am wasting my time before going to sleep.

What does this mean to you?

Test your own blog here.


Catching up and going places

January 31, 2008

My last semester of college has begun and I have been busy actually writing my thesis and working for classes that this little blog has been somewhat neglected. I promise that soon i will post some of the work I have done for the thesis itself but until then I would like to engage the blogosphere in a discussion of some of the other discussions being had around the digital world.

First I came across a post today regarding blogs and their ability to be critical. Kassia over at Booksquare has suggested in a recent post that blogs do not have the abilities print does to be critical and therefor are not a threat to print. I have posted a response to this suggestion and would encourage everyone out there to join in. What is important is that we identify where critical work is being done online and see how the blog is functioning to support or hinder that work.

Through technorati I found this post commenting on the rather long NY times article on the books on blogs. The author is giving a roundup of the Review of Books essay. This essay should prove very helpful in looking at the publication world’s response to blogs. A huge component of the thesis will focus on the literary community that exists between blogs and books.

Another blog has picked up the same article for review. Writing for the Web, has submitted a response to the tone of the article along with correcting a few of the gross generalities presented.  In general this author’s blog is very thoughtful and insightful when it comes to writing and the web 3.0.

The Blog Herald, a metablogging site that has proven very helpful with this thesis has just announced the expansion of Google’s Blogger into the Arabic World. Let the tools of the internet tear down the walls blocking communication.

Another post at The Blog Herald is in regards to blogging anonymously. It is a very good article and provides links to some very interesting posts where the authors describe their own struggles to be public about their online identity. It would appear as if the age old American debate of free speech has found a new forum in the blog world. Can someone be critical of their employer, professor, government and be honest and open about who they are as well? It would seem as though the answer to that is leaning towards the “no” with those fighting for it to be a “yes”. As being one who was personally effected by this fight when I decided to leave a class due to the professors misgivings about the blog world, I would like to see it lean towards the yes and end the days of digital silence.

if:book again provides us with updates on the progress of Grand Text Auto by announcing the completion of part 1, Expressive Processing. A meta-discussion is to follow in the next phase, check it out. Here is the meta of Grand Text Auto.

Another post on the if:book blog proved to take me back a few years, and I only mean a few as I find myself one who is pretty well in tune with my inner child. I love discussions of creativity, especially when the discussions themselves are creative. After all it is one thing to talk about the futurizer, it’s another to believe it, or believe in believing in it. For myself I am looking to one day invent my timechangeizerfying machine, perhaps I’ll do it for this blog, who knows.


Metablogging

January 28, 2008

this is metablogging.


What would you be?

January 23, 2008

As one of my favorite questions for getting a little insight into a personality, and I do mean just a little.

Pirate or Cowboy?


An afternoon cup

January 23, 2008

While this is a little off topic I do believe the attention given to this device as well as the culture around the perfection of the product can and does constitute an artistic endeavor. What am I talking about? Coffee!

My friend Mark, who has commented here a few times, has introduced me to a NY times article on the newest machines designed for coffee brewing. The article outlines two new approaches to coffee brewing, the first and more expensive one ($20,000) hails from Japan and is called Siphon brewing while the second and less expansive option ($11,000) was designed here in the states and is called Clover.

This video taken from youtube demonstrates how Clover works:

Described in the video is the brewing process and we are informed about the specificity this machine can get to when dealing with a cup to cup process. The article adds in addition to this that the machine has the ability to go online and catalog specific orders and styles for different beans and roasts.The second machine uses a much more involved process and appears to be much more complicated to master.

First for anyone who fins this post I must ask if you have tried either of these machines and what is this experience like?

But more importantly and what allows me to place it in the category of artistic discussion is that I am one to believe and argue that there is an art to this. An art that is extremely temporary and fleeting yet requires an intense amount of patience to master. A film that best describes this sensational euphoria achieved with good culinary work would be Ratatouille. The scenes and visuals used when Remy, the main rat chief character, describes eating are so perfect. Anyway as you all know I love looking at the art in things that aren’t necessarily artistic and so have arrived here.

What I see here is a process for preparing a beverage that is widely enjoyed here and abroad taken to the level of expression. These devices allow the berristas to really find their special brew, their expression of coffee.

Hail to the cup as I go get another and dive back into the thesis.

Huysmans


what is cloverfield? (spoiler)

January 23, 2008

I feel it is now time to address this cinematic disaster officially and publicly. Let me start from the beginning. As most movie goers who followed in anticipation the viral campaign that lead up to January 18th, 2008, or as I used to call the film: 1/18/08, I first saw it at Transformers opening day (great film by the way).

Cloverfield had a very enticing teaser trailer.

In this teaser they revealed nothing in regards to the plot, scenario, or even the name. A very clever ploy putting it in front of one of the most anticipated films from the summer. So as to be expected the internet community came together to solve the puzzle that was the untitled J.J. Abrams project.

Now I’ll be honest somewhere down the line I did lose interest in the film, probably as the semester started and I had other things to focus on other than anticipating this film but still I did happen to attend the midnight showing here in St. Louis. Going into the film I had this idea that it was Blair Witch (which I never saw) combined with Godzilla, but actually good. Well it was that last part that was mostly not true. The premise is that combination however, we are given the entire story through the lens of a hand-held camera that conveniently is turned on only at the good parts, so we skip all that boring walking around and figuring out what to do stuff that one would normally focus on in such a crisis situation. But what we are most lucky for is that they actually decided to bring the camera with them, I mean could you imagine how bad this movie would be if they just left the camera behind, or if the first character to die was the one with the camera, I mean man are they lucky that he happened to die in the last scene.

Anyway it was a disappointment and why, you ask? Because it was exactly what you would expect from the trailer except in the movie you actually see the monster.

But let me list some pros first.

Pros:

They don’t waste time explaining where this creature comes from, I like that.

We aren’t seeing it from the point of view of the president or the hero who blows up the alien ship with a nuke at the end with the fat lady. (Though I do love that movie I was happy to see a monster attack from solely the point of view of the everyday person.)

The monster picked my city. (One saving grace to this film was seeing the Time Warner Center and watching them defy gravity and scale one tower to get to the other)

The prerelease hype. scavenging the internet for information was not a boring task.

Last pro: with an uncritical, no expectation attitude this is a fun ride, well that is if you aren’t like my friend and don’t get sick from the shaking, and I mean shaking, camera.

The cons:

So as is expected the dialog is shitty and unrealistic for people who’d really be in this situation. And the only reason I compare it to reality, which is not something I’d typically do with a monster movie, is that I feel that is what they were going for. They were trying to make this as real as possible where from the moment it starts attacking we are seeing the attack from a point of view that scares us because it is supposed to be realistic and close to home. I know that the Guardian has suggested that this film represents America’s coming to terms with 9/11. While I strongly disagree with that I do see the connection, it is very probable that Abrams is looking to profit off our new found fear of sudden chaos. Does this film represent our coming to terms with the lessons from 9/11, that we need to be vigilant against such chaotic abrupt forces? Well I don’t want to engage in a political debate but I don’t see 9/11 that way. I see it much more reflective of a unique situation between America’s perceived involvement in the Middle East and our actual intent. This move has not convinced me that I when throwing parties in my apartment I need to have ready the emergency plan. But then again, I know many people who went out and bought duck tape and plastic to seal themselves in should a chemical attack occur. The problem with this analogy is that it makes the attackers inhuman, and so by doing removing the act from the human realm, something I hear far too much about Nazi Germany. 9/11 was not a monster attack, it was a human attack. That fact cannot be ignored, when it is it allows us to believe it is unavoidable, now don’t mistake me I don’t mean to say that we could have prevented 9/11, perhaps we could have, but that is all together irrelevant now that it has happened. By unavoidable I mean to say that it removes us from thinking about it in human terms, and thus allows us to forgo that crucial step of trying to understand why it occurred. Why did an entire nation rally behind the idea of exterminating an entire culture? This was a human act as is 9/11, as such we need to understand the why, and not brush it off as some sort of crazy fundamentalist action, even if it is just that. That crazy action can occur again, we can commit it, and in fact one could argue that the death toll we have procured in Iraq of Iraqi civilians is equivalent. Like I said I have no interest in getting in a political debate here, the only reason I bring this up is because Cloverfield shouldn’t be a political message.

In all I was expecting more from this film, to me it was all too sudden and frankly their actions were too unrealistic. No New Yorker would seek refuge in the subway as a means to go to the monster and with such explosions occurring due to a monster on the loose would we really be using the Brooklyn Bridge to escape? And WHY did that monster go after them? There are millions of people in New York and yet it singled them out at least twice if not multiple times.

But again this is me being critical, I guess my biggest problem with it was that we knew it was a giant monster right away which to me just seems too fake to accept, I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t be another Godzilla in the end. But like I said without a critical view this was one hell of a ride and I did enjoy the suspense and special effects. I do not believe this to be some sort of analogy for 9/11 as I don’t see my interest in it being increased since the time Godzilla or Independence Day came out.

The ending note is this: When a big monster attacks, don’t take a bridge, the water is swim-able and that is what you should do. If you choose to stay on the island, then don’t go in the subway or in any big buildings that look attractive for knocking down. And what ever you do, do not get bit by one of the little ones.

Huysman out.


Posts from around the blogosphere

January 22, 2008

Something I want to start doing weekly is publishing a post on some of the other very interesting work going on int eh blogosphere in regards to digital literature. So this will be the first of that sort of post:

if:book has a very interesting post on a relatively new blog with a very new idea,  blog reviewing before publication of a new text on digital media. the post can be found here and outlines the program along with comparing it to other blogs with similar goals. This could prove to be a very exciting project which could take us one step closer to finding a path for publishers in this digital age. The blog itself, Grand Text Auto can be found here.

Over at Pinky’s Paperhaus, there is a discussion on new, contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare. Can Shakespeare be re-imagined as a Manga? It is an interesting idea and I do enjoy when we get to see what makes each medium unique in its narrative interpretations but will this harm the classic? You can check out the mangas here. 

Not too much time this morning, more to come this afternoon.

Huysmans