25 July 2005

birthing? the book

so the book is off my desk as of noon today!! this accounts for my lack of posting the last week (very restrained, very little procrastinating). when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's all about the light. go toward the light, man! so Duke University Press now has the manuscript in its hands, and I'll update you on the various turns this process will take. here's hoping there aren't too many.

there's relief, no euphoria yet, not a little panic and anxiety thinking about the fact that others get to read it now. others that I haven't chosen and approved of. arg. as Katie posted a few weeks ago, I think we all feel like hacks a little over 50% of the time, and we're all in mortal fear that we'll be found out. this could be the moment, no? hopefully not. as I wrote on Liz's blog a few days ago, staying in school is somehow cowardly, and so as I haven't left (current unemployment aside) it does seem like "they" will now inform me that yes, indeed, it has all been a sham, and we were kidding when you got whatever affirmation you got on a piece of paper that one time. like the PhD.

the robes are lovely, however.

bottom line: the book's off my desk! yay! hee hee.

16 July 2005

hermeneutic circle time

The audience for a piece of writing emerges in response to the writing; indeed, ideally the piece helps to form the audience, to bring it into existence. But one cannot write (well, I cannot) without, to some extent, imaginging who the audience for whom one writes; a good piece of writing needs to know its audience beforehand. The audience comes after; the audience comes before. I'd call the whole thing untimely, but it might bore you.

But where and how to enter the circle? I ask the question, specifically, because I'm currently writing two pieces on what I might call 'the political theory of television' (PTTV). Of course, PTTV doesn't really exist – I made it up. It just happens to encapsulate my own particular intersection of political theory and cultural politics of TV. Thus, if I want to write for someone other than myself (I do), then I must consider two (or more) previously consolidated audiences: 1) political theorists, and 2) cultural studies folks who do TV. Problem is, the first group doesn't like to take TV seriously, and the latter group seems to get edgy if I do too much theory (and that's what I do).

Luckily, the deadlines on these piece creep up on me so quickly that I cannot be bothered to let this dilemma paralyze me. Yet, I think the topic is intrinsically interesting, and I wonder what others think about it. Perhaps some comments?

15 July 2005

to market to market

I must rant a bit about the hassle that shopping for food has become.

the olde-tyme method of shopping, wherein one went to the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer, all along the same road, and your milk was delivered to your door bi-weekly was certainly a bit of a hassle. enter the supermarket, fabulous time-saving invention in which one could do all of this in one stop! so efficient! so lovely!

except that now we go to the natural supermarket, the cheap supermarket, the farmer's market, the local meat farmer for organic meat, the big "regular" supermarket and perhaps a few ethnic markets in between. and if we're lucky enough to live near Trader Joe's, that's one more. not to mention the inevitable Target run. oh-oh- and Costco, of course! at each place, one must navigate the hugeness of the parking lot followed by the hugeness of the interior of the store, followed by the check out process.

self check out? 15 items? cash only? endless lines with slow checkers—a few stores have been better than others in my experience, with Wegman's and Trader Joe's having the best customer service and Food Lion dead last. but this isn't about individual store experiences, this is about the aggregate moving around. we've come full circle from olde-tyme days, and now we long for the individual small-scale local folks where you can walk down the street on your way home and be done with it.

My potential future landlady assures me, quite happily: you never have to go to the supermarket! best butcher in Wales down the street from the place! music to my bacon-craving ears.

12 July 2005

whistler wedding

I've uploaded the pics from the weekend, centered, natch, on L & P's wedding. thus most of the pics involve green grass, beautiful views, and a white dress. don't tell Laurie.

click on the link above to access. to view them in time order (rather than most recent first), view as slideshow. feel free to add comments, and if anyone wants copies of anything in larger format, let me know.

cream cheese coulis

On KB's blog, you may have noticed the sidebar information: "The only thing we have planned about the wedding is the reception music" followed by a list of songs. Having been asked to prepare a one hour playlist for the reception at Paul and Laurie's wedding this past weekend, we have spent far too much time philosophizing the reception music playlist strategy. Everyone has a must-have, must include song, usually something you can dance to, and of course something from the 70s and a few power ballads from the 80s. Feel free to list yours in the comments.

we of course differed in our strategy from the two other groups asked to prepare a list, and then in addition differed between the two of us as to what was acceptable. and then there were those we told (you know who you are) who demanded certain bands, genres, and the like. bottom line: it's fun to put together a playlist in order to attempt to either

  1. make people dance, including those who may be reluctant. I'm thinking here of the scene in 13 Going on 30 (yes, and I'm not embarrassed about it, okay!?!) in which Jennifer Garner as a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old's body leads a group of New York hoity-toity partiers in a re-creation of Michael Jackson's Thriller video dance sequence. [note: you must imbibe much alcohol during dinner/reception in order to transform the guests and their dancing into this type of thing. worth it.]

  2. make people happy, including those who may dislike your absolutely favorite songs. in some ways this is about making the bride and groom happy by playing their faves, but really it's also about making multiple generations happy and willing to dance or at least stay at the reception.

  3. make a statement about lurv or weddings or your friends themselves, something ostensibly woven into the lyrics that, like a runny chocolate sauce on ice cream or the cream cheese coulis on our unagi sushi last night, will permeate the brains of all those attending. osmosis works, by the way.

this is why we began our playlist with White Trash Wedding from the Dixie Chicks.

back in the USA

we are back stateside, after spending a glorious weekend in Whistler BC to see our dear friends Paul and Laurie get married. so pretty. so lovely. we hiked, okay, well, it was on a paved bike path for some of it, but there was gravel too! and enjoyed the fab people watching at the Whistler resort. a good time had by all. pics up soon. watch this space.

06 July 2005

hiding under the bed

I suppose I don't really understand fireworks. in Vancouver, WA you can purchase crazy levels of fireworks including something called an "M-1000" and set them off during the week before and the week after July 4th. what this means is that everyone in a 50 mile radius interested in pyrotechnics moves to Vancouver for the 10 days around the 4th and sets off fireworks starting in early evening until about midnight. The guy who sells the fireworks gives 250K to the city every year, which they use to fund the big fireworks show downtown on the 4th. with this graft in place—oops, sorry, I meant respectable capitalist exchange there, not graft—the practice will likely continue for many years.

so there are three guys who hang out, shirtless, setting off huge bangs and firecrackers literally on the pavement outside our front door every night. Luke is not amused. he is, however, smart, and thus realizes that the safest place in the house is in the basement underneath the bed. we haven't seen him much the past few nights. I hear his reaction is similar to Adam's on the 4th—when one hears large bangs, one should scream and get as far away from them as possible. this is smart. rules to live by. hide under the bed.

03 July 2005

narrative and wotw

we finished our midsummer blockbusterfest by seeing war of the worlds yesterday. and rediscovered, of course, how Spielberg really just should have stopped after Raiders. really. as I have not read or heard wotw in Wells' original, I do not know where the narrative holes come from, but origins aren't my issue here. the inability to tell a story is.

Spoiler alert: do not read if you haven't seen the film yet!

  • the lightning takes out all electrical machines and yet guy on street can film the attack with a camcorder, allowing spielberg to do the meta film of the filming shot through its viewfinder

  • why didn't the aliens take over the world when they initially buried the killing machines? why wait until humans had evolved into folks with armies?

  • microorganisms: haven't aliens heard of bacteria?

  • aliens painstakingly check the basement of a remote farm and yet somehow the rich folks in the brownstone in Boston are unscathed, and it seems that their top concern might be that the brie got a little warm, what with the fridge not working...

  • if the goal is extermination, why do it one by one?

  • first the son wants to fight (patriotism, revenge) then he just wants to see: I gotta see this! (voyeurism)

  • the son lives???? what?????

  • and couldn't they have given him a shower or something in their unscathed brownstone? or did he just arrive 15 minutes before Tom and the kid?

  • what's the blood for anyway? just the gross-out factor? sheesh

merely problematic
  • Tom Cruise knows more about cars than the mechanic down the street

  • Tom Cruise is the only one who figured out how to fix a car in the entire northeastern seaboard

  • don't they have to stop for gas?

  • as the world falls apart, and your kid has just seen dead bodies floating down the river you still attempt to cover your kid's eyes??

  • why kill Tim Robbins' character? okay, moral quandry, but it turned out to be completely unnecessary

  • morgan freeman. say no more.

finally, could they time the "I gotta pee dad" moment more perfectly? and set it next to a rushing river? yikes.

01 July 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

They literally blew up the suburban family household! What more does one need to say? Well, just this: Brad and Angelina were, indeed, great together, but I thought that what made the movie was their comic timing, not the sex.

stuff, stuffity stuff, and more stuff

so we have now made the decision to keep all of our personal possessions in storage for another unspecified number of months. some of our things were stolen back in October, reminding me of the moment all my film was stolen in India on my first trip over there. all of my spent film, that is, along with my good friend Debby's film. And of course, as murphy's law would have it, we were a few days away from finishing our multi-week trip. a lesson in what's important—not stuff, not records of stuff, but doing things, hanging out, people, good food, and not stuff.

then I dropped my powerbook while on my dissertation research in Patna, India. dropped it on a concrete floor from four feet. needless to say, it did not bounce, and broke into many pieces, but I mashed it back together, crossed my fingers, and pressed the power key, and miraculously it worked. many many many people have written dissertations without computers, and I kept envisioning that yellow legal pad upon which my research could be recorded. either way, just stuff.

then Bekins destroyed all our things by "professionally" packing them, and proceeded to pay us next to nothing for the privilege. opening each box when unpacking was a lesson in separation from material goods and also a lesson in how to control a nervous breakdown.

and so when we got the call and the horrifying, out-of-focus, almost psychopath-like polaroid (you know, like the ones they staple to the wall in multiples in the small dark room that the hero stumbles on just before getting killed?) of our storage unit, we were disturbed, but consoled ourselves that it was unlikely they took anything fully irreplaceable, as those things tend not to fence well. we were right, so that's good, and I'm gradually coming to terms with the fuller no-stuff existence. on a side note, I was sort of hoping that the thieves had taken everything—a picture of a completely empty storage unit. The upside: no stuff to move. The downside: fairly obvious.

All this to say, we have sealed up our possessions again, neatly packing them in case we do find a place to settle for more than a year and can call movers to bring it to us. Jackie's kitchen packing came through the theft beautifully, and the antique furniture is all there. And of course, waaay too many books. stuffity stuff stuff.