Thursday, November 29, 2007



i watched 'control room' last night--the documentary about al jazeera.

i thought it was totally great. i learned a lot, and i gained some new perspective on the war. i'd say this is the best piece of filmmaking i've seen yet about the situation in iraq, in terms of what it brought to light and what it focused on (more myth dispellation, more philosophy, less bush-bashing).

more importantly: i feel like this is the first documentary i've seen in a while that's held my interest, kept me engaged, and had enough substance to ACTUALLY FILL the whole running time of the movie.

i'm quite tired of documentaries that consist of two hours of point reiteration and visual fluff. i'm equally tired of progressive tirades that preach to the choir. (and omg i am REALLY tired of conspiracy theory. bleah.) i'm glad they're being made, i guess, but i sure hope they're being shown to some people out there who actually need long lectures on how things are all f'd up in corporate america.

examples rolling around in my head--none of which i actually think are *bad* films or anything--include:

'the corporation',
'who killed the electric car',
'fahrenheit 9/11',
'maxed out',
'an inconvenient truth',
and even 'what would jesus buy'.

all of these were useful to me, but i generally could've stopped watching any of them after 20-30 minutes and gotten the same results as if i'd watched the whole length. (ahem, confession: i couldn't even get through 45 minutes of fahrenheit 9/11. michael moore's pompous, flamboyant ass was pissing me off. i promise i'll try again soon.)

so. hooray for 'control room'! it was really well done. and look--it was so tight and cohesive, it didn't even need a narrator! *gasp!* nor did it have gratuituous pans across cultural wastelands of any sort! amazing!

in conclusion: tighten that shit up, filmmakers. i want to support these efforts, but i want to be NOT BORED and i want to feel like i'm being educated the whole time, not just for the first 10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


a wee tiny bit of (self-righteous, unfortunately) indignation

i've been meaning to write up a post to summarize a sprawling debate about whole foods that i've been listening to and participating in, but in the meantime, a concrete example of the Bad that has resulted from the new store in potrero hill:

saturday mid-day. really nice out. sunny and warm. i'm walking home from rainbow grocery, with a bag in each hand. it's about 4.5 blocks from my house to the store. and i'm still a block from my house when i walk by a woman getting out of her car, removing two bags of groceries with 'whole foods' emblazoned on the sides, and walking up her front steps.

bah and boo. man, do i love me some rainbow. i fervently hope that this stupid turn of events doesn't affect them too much.


carmina burana

the other night, i went to san jose with tammy, chris, and ben m. to see carmina burana. the performance of carmina burana in all its splendor involves a ballet troupe, an orchestra, and a mixed-voice chorus. it's a ballet set to the music of carl orff, which in turn was created based on a set of medieval poems on the oh-so-secular subjects of love, wine, and general excess in the face of shifting fortune.

i really enjoyed the performance. i don't know anything about ballet, but i didn't get the impression that the dancing was impeccable. (although maybe if i'd been more impressed by the costumes i wouldn't have been as critical.) and the chorus seemed a little small and non-loud. (although as chris pointed out, our eardrums are used to slightly higher decibel levels during our normal forays into musical showcasing.) but it was wonderful to take in classical singing and dancing performance at the same time. i'm pretty familiar with the whole of the choral work, so i was able to revel in listening to sounds that i like while watching an art form that i hardly ever see.

what i want to get at is: it was a great way to be exposed to some New.

i have a hard time enjoying classical music, opera, and dance performances without having at least a little knowledge of the piece(s) i'm going to see. without prior knowledge, i end up sitting there in a vast sea of unfamiliar and overwhelming soundscape. and even if there's dance or operatic acting to supplement the sound, i have a hard time appreciating the movement because i'm trying to follow the sound at the same time. if i already know the music, i have two advantages: 1. i can tell if the version i'm hearing is good or bad or mediocre, and appreciate all the best aspects of the performance; 2. i can anticipate upcoming sounds and focus more on how the dance or acting is utilizing those sounds.

this is a known thing, i would assume, for most people, and fairly simplistic. so i shall just finish with a request to my friends and my self: that i be informed of other like-formed/multidisciplinary classical works of music, song, and dance, so that i might learn more about them and go see them when they're up for staging.

[all the better if the subject matter is raucus or risque. a few quotes from our program last night, which was an excellently amusing bit of reading for the intermission...]

Part I - Primo Vere

4. Omnia sol temperat - exols the essence of lie-giving force, love--or sex.

5. Ecce gratum - by contrast, depects how sad Springtime can be without the opportunity for love and urges the 'have nots' to rectify the matter.

10. Were diu werit alle min - offers a winsome invitation to love-making.

Part II - In Taberna

11. Extuans interius - salutes the efficacy of the bottle. A drunken gambler muses about the personal use to which he has put the bottle.

Friday, November 16, 2007


pleasant self-congratulatory notes on california's greening

moderately interesting post in Green Wombat today. apparently, california is innovative when it comes to environmental efforts! who knew?!

a couple neat bits from the post and the full report:

"If California’s annual statewide electricity bill was the same fraction of GDP as Texas... Californians would be paying almost $25 billion more for electricity."

"California utility efficiency programs....reduced the need for 24 power plants between 1975 and 2003... The California Energy Commission estimates that building and appliance standards alone have saved residents and businesses $56 billion through 2003 and are projected to save another $23 billion by 2013."

"More Californians recycle than vote" (More than 50 percent of Californians recycle.)

"Per capita CO2 emissions in Texas are double those of California. Per capita emissions levels in California today are slightly lower than they were 15 years ago."

California has about 90 percent of the market for energy-efficient dishwasher and about 50 percent of the market for energy-efficient refrigerators and washing machines.

blah blah blah we're awesome... whatever. i don't think the current state of affairs in california is particularly advanced or cutting edge or forward-thinking, in comparison to what we're capable of. it's *maybe* a decent start...maybe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Triumvirate of Awesome

there are three things hovering around the edges of possibility in my life right now, each of which would cause significant change and each of which i think would be very positive. i have no interest in posting any details about these things, but i wanted to create a record of the presence of these weighty maybes. in practical terms, i readily admit that none of them are terribly likely to occur. but i'm feeling quite exhilerated at the thought of how much change could leap out at me within the next few weeks, if all my various stars align just so... it's a good feeling, even if there's a lot of anxiety tied into the uncertainty and anticipation. there's nothing i can do about any of them except Wait and here's hoping.

(and the hoping, if nothing else happens, is undoubtedly a tonic in and of itself.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007


what 'weary' is not:

it is not a portmanteau of wary and leery.

it is not another word for cautious.

it is not intended for use as anything other than a word that means TIRED.

please make a note of it. and reread the note often. and stop misusing the word. thanks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


serendipity at work

i found a good thing:

i googled the word 'awkward', and this came up second.

you'll notice that xkcd is listed first on the blogger's 'things i read' list. which leads me to believe that:
a) i probably should've found this blog sooner;
b) someone i know (like maybe YOU) indubitably already reads this blog and has been holding out on me; and
c) xkcd continues to be the undisputed greatest thing on the interwebs.

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