Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: January 2012

An idea came to me earlier today. Many film companies are now bundling downloads of digital copies of their movies along with the DVD and BluRay releases. They’ve been doing this for several years (since 2007), and it seems to be decently effective. If you can get a portable copy of your movie free with the physical copy, why not do so? I have digital copies of several movies, including perennial favorite, The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

What about this, publishing industry? What happens if you include an eBook copy of a text (or a download code for said copy) with every purchase of a physical book? Personally, it would make me more inclined to get the digital copy of a book, because I’d have a physical copy for my library and a digital version of it for portability. I could read on either format, and I wouldn’t have to buy my favorite books twice. Food for thought.

Woody Allen has had a long, very…um…interesting career. I’m normally a little bit wary of his films in general, though the last one I saw was for class, and that was involving Gene Wilder and his less-than-typical affection for a sheep. That was back in the 70s, though. He’s come a long way since then. Allen’s latest offering is Midnight in Paris, a tribute to the titular city during what some would consider its best age: the 1920s.

Owen Wilson stars as Gil, a successful screenwriter who desires more than the typical Malibu life that his fiance has in mind for them. He wants to live la vie de bohème, and write the great American novel, as so many of his heroes did before. One night, while visiting Paris with his fiance and her parents, Gil goes for a walk in the middle of the night. After finding himself invited into a passing car for champagne, Gil arrives at a party where a young woman introduces herself as Zelda. The two discuss Gil’s career as a writer, and Zelda says that he should meet her husband, who is a writer as well. Gil is introduced to Zelda’s husband, Scott, and realizes that somehow, he has found himself in a club with the Fitzgeralds, watching Cole Porter playing the piano in the 1920s.

Gil returns to the past several nights in a row, discussing his manuscript with Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, meeting the great surrealists, and musing over his own happiness with his upcoming wedding. Throughout the film, exceptional performances from a stellar ensemble ensue, and Allen’s love for Paris is evident. All in all, I’d have to give the film 5 out of 5 stars, and rank it very high on my list of personal favorites. It has a romantic charm that I’ve not seen since Moulin Rouge. It may very well have supplanted Moulin Rouge as my all-time favorite movie. There’s something irresistible about films about writers. I can’t wait to see how Midnight in Paris performs at the Academy Awards next month, when it goes up for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Art Direction.

Pick it up, if you have the chance. If you have any fondness for the Lost Generation, you owe it to them to see this movie.

My ears are sensitive. Not super-sensitive, like to the point where loud noises cause me pain or anything (thankfully, since I love metal/rock, and my poor girlfriend can’t take the volume at the concerts we’ve attended since we started dating), but just sensitive enough that I can usually hear people from a lot farther away than is expected. So sometimes, I just can’t help listening in on a friend when they’re talking on the phone. This is less common now than it used to be, since most of my friends are more fond of texting than talking, but it still happens from time to time. Every once in a while, when this situation comes up, there’s something said that’s absolutely brilliant. I had a couple of these gems pop up a couple of weeks ago:

“Oh, so it’s totally cool when a cat does that to a person, but when a person does it to a wall it’s creepy.”

“You have more of a passion for shih tzu’s than anyone I know.”

Now, I have no idea what was happening on the other end of the line, and I’m quite content with that. It’s more amusing that way. Sometimes, though, I think that when I’m writing, I’m listening to these one-sided conversations within my own head. It’s, as E.L. Doctorow put it, a “socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” I found this via stumbleupon a few weeks ago, and decided that I had to write something about the concept of the world around you being filled with voices that you can hear, if only you listen carefully enough. There’s something amazing about the writing process, because it lets you have those kind of talks with yourself (and/or your characters, if you so choose), and I love the idea that those voices actually have something behind them. I feel like those whispering voices are the kind of thing that you would hear when you’re wandering around inside this place. Named for a story by Jorge Luis Borges (which is sadly NOT in the copy of The Aleph and Other Stories that I’ve been borrowing from V), this library is reminiscent of things that I’ve been writing about in the past, and it makes me very happy that I’ve been crafting similar stories to those written by Borges, a man who died the year before I was born, and whose writing I’d regrettably never read until last year. I want to visit The Library of Babel, because it sounds like a place where I’d be able to get lots of writing done, as long as I was quiet and didn’t upset the librarian.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go listen to nothing for a while. Cheers!

Dear readers, as many of you are quite familiar with the internet (and for those of you who aren’t, there’s the wikipedia link for it, go get some education about this tool that you’re somehow, inexplicably using), I’m sure that you’ve heard of piracy. No, not that kind of piracy.  The kind that results in lawsuits because of something you downloaded from a totally legitimate and completely not illegal site. Online piracy is a huge issue, because the nature of the internet allows for people to transfer files via channels that aren’t accessible to your typical user. Most users aren’t even entirely certain of how things work, and don’t care, as long as the internet button brings them the research or the music or the porn. Seriously. They just don’t care. If someone threw an unopened carton of Oreos at your feet, would you question the legality of how those Oreos were obtained? Or would you just grab a glass of milk and chow down? With the internet, most people don’t question where content comes from. When you have what is essentially the combined knowledge of all of humanity at your fingertips, you use it.

That accessibility could change drastically. Some of our lawmakers have determined that the best way to fight piracy and protect the people who produce the content we find is to exert control over what can be viewed. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill that was introduced in October of last year, and is threatening to end the internet as we know it. Yes, that may sound dramatic, but this bill is overkill and then some. Let’s start with the full title of the bill: “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” —H.R. 3261. You know what scares me about that title? Those last four words, “and for other purposes.” That’s way too vague, and way too Big Brother-y for my tastes. I’m not going to hand the government the ability to filter what I’m going to look for online.

There’s plenty of information on SOPA out there. Get out and access it while you can, and learn the truth.

Wikipedia will be going dark for 24 hours, in protest of SOPA. If you can’t access the majority of the links in my posts, now you know why. I support internet freedom. If you do too, and you live in an area represented by one of these individuals, please contact them and ask them to reconsider their position. If your representatives are against SOPA, call them up too, and thank them for protecting you.

Yes, internet piracy is bad, but the current wording of SOPA and the associated bill, PIPA, is not conducive to maintaining freedoms that we are promised as Americans. As it stands, SOPA will hurt everyday web users far more than it will hurt the pirates. It’s far more likely to incite a “worldwide arms race of unprecedented ‘censorship’ of the Web,” according to Vint Cerf. This isn’t the way to stop the piracy. This is the way to stop progress. Fuck censorship. Stop SOPA.

It’s all the fault of my literature professors. I fell in love with the beat generation several years ago. I was introduced to people like Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and their numerous contemporaries. When I first read “Howl” in my American Literature class, it didn’t really click with me. Then we listened to Ginsberg reading it. It was a lightbulb moment. My entire concept of what poetry was and what it could be was completely inverted. I’d never heard anything with that kind of, well, beat, to it before, and I’d certainly never heard any poetry that was willing to take on the subject matter it did in such a bold fashion. I couldn’t believe it had been published in the 50s, and that was before I learned that Ginsberg stood trial for obscenity for the poem. Not that he was the only author who’d ever faced that kind of censorship. No. Like so many others, Ginsberg was merely ahead of his time. Want to see something amazing? Check out the movie “Howl,” which stars James Franco as Ginsberg, and discusses Ginsberg’s life at the time of his trial.

Some people would say that beat poetry died, or at least was phased out, in the 60s. I would disagree, thanks to the various poetry slams I’ve attended in the last few years, and also thanks to things like Tim Minchin‘s “Storm.” A good friend of mine showed me this the other day, and I can’t help being impressed by the brilliance of the writing and the tone of the poet as he reads it. Looks to me like the Beat Generation is still alive and well.

Yes, I have Lovecraft on the brain. GET IT OFF!

Whew. So, Miss Sonia’s latest writing challenge is this: fifty words from one word. Mine was Euclidean. Enjoy.

Non-Euclidean geometry, they called it. It’s a mind screw. I think that’s kind of the idea. I’m not too sure how long I’ve been here now, and I have no way of knowing if there’s any way out of these damned Escher staircases. Too late. I can hear them coming.

Well, my New Year is off to a great start, with a day spent helping put away Christmas decorations and (finally) finishing Skyward Sword. That’s right, I’ve finished yet another Zelda game (you know, aside from the side quests, item hunting, and the new, more challenging “Hero Mode” that I unlocked).

It’s been nearly a year since I started this blog, thanks to V‘s influence. Through her, I’ve made contact with some pretty awesome people out there in the internet. I just want to take this time to say thank you to everyone who reads these, however infrequently. You make me feel like I might be able to make a difference.