Otherwise Occupied

March 27, 2007 at 6:40 pm (Computers, Dissertation, General)

To all five of my readers:  Sorry that I haven’t been posting lately.  A combination of finals week, working on my dissertation proposal, our PC’s power supply melting twice, and getting a new Macbook laptop with which I want to play, has kept me from posting lately.  Of course, it also helps that, with the play over, I’ve nothing interesting to talk about!  There could be worse fates…

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Josh, This One’s For You

March 20, 2007 at 10:11 pm (Computers, Horror, Humor, Movies)

Right as I was about to go to bed, I headed over to Infocult and discovered A Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead. I’m thinking of subtitling it, The Beatles vs. the Zombie Army: The Greatest Movie That Never Was. I love the Internet.

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Urban Ninja

March 20, 2007 at 8:34 pm (Humor, Movies, Sports)

I like ninjas. I like gymnastics. I like watching apparently impossible athletic feats performed and made to look easy. Ergo, my head nearly exploded when I saw this video. Now, if only I’d gotten into gymnastics when I was five years old, I could be cool, too…

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A Dramatic (and Surprising) Week

March 19, 2007 at 8:37 pm (Arts, Comics, Family, Horror, Languages, Music)

In case you haven’t figured this out, I love being the center of attention. When I was a child, I was involved in musical theater; once I hit junior high school, I dropped out of that and got into Speech and Debate instead. And, one of my first acts upon arriving at UCSB to start my MA in Classics was to join the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, which was a rocking good time if there ever was one. However, since coming back to LA, my opportunities to perform have been rather limited. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that, when given the opportunity to participate in a play with a budget that might possibly include negative numbers, and in German, no less, I leapt at the chance. Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s Montana’s Problem, Really?

March 14, 2007 at 11:27 am (Comics, Humor)

Is it rampant drug addiction, as current hype suggests? Or is it something more… sinister? Luckily, in these trying times, we can count on NPR to cut to the truth of the matter: The Midwest is suffering from an invasion of magical fairy creatures, ruining innocent people’s lives with their mischevious tricks. How could this happen here? Is it life imitating art? Perhaps the result of our criminally open borders, letting those pesky sprites sneak in from Canada? Only time will tell…

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Jane Is Definitely Raining

March 13, 2007 at 10:21 am (Music)

Last night, Elyse and I caught Raining Jane at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, and I would like to start off this post by declaring, in no uncertain terms, that they rocked the house, which is not a phrase that I use lightly. Elyse and I have followed Raining Jane for a while; I first saw them play a show here at UCLA (was it in 2003?) during lunch outside of the bookstore, and I dragged her and Gerrald (my former roommate) to their next concert at a Borders in Santa Monica, and we’ve been hooked pretty much ever since. I’ve always had trouble describing current music in terms of genres, perhaps because one of the features in a lot of current music that I like is that it actively blends styles, thereby defying categorization. Ergo, I will resort to a comparison, which I strongly advise you to take with a grain of salt if it doesn’t sound appealling to you: Raining Jane is, to my mind, like a mashup of the Indigo Girls (for their stunning lyrical and instrumental harmonies, and the thoughtfulness of their songs) and the Bangles (for their incredible girl-rock-energy, which will knock you off your feet). And last night’s show, as I may have intimated above, was no exception. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haunting Celtic Airs

March 11, 2007 at 8:53 pm (History, Horror, Languages, Music)

NPR today did a segment on Navan, an a capella Celtic group hailing from Madison, WI. The only word that I can find to adequately describe their music is ‘primal.’ It’s a bit like Dead Can Dance, but without the bizarre melodies and obscure instruments (in other words, it’s actually quite accessible). If you want, NPR has three of their songs linked from the article’s webpage.

The most intriguing part for me, however, is a song that was described and partially demoed in the article itself (starting at around the 4:30 mark). Called “Thig an t-Eathar” (if I’m understanding the Scotch from the interview correctly), it is formally a lullaby, but it is at the same time a story of jealousy, murder and justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Religion, Science and the Development of Society

March 10, 2007 at 3:23 pm (Books, Dissertation, Economics, Education, History, Languages)

I’m finding Goody’s book exciting not just for the ideas contained within, but also because he is giving me a whole new vocabulary with which it explore ideas of my own, ideas that I’ve been playing with in my head for months and years but have never had the words to properly express before now. For example, as part of my research over the last few weeks, I’ve been repeatedly encountering the question of the distinction (if any) between the magic, religion and science in human societies. It is clear to any observer that there are dramatic differences in this aspect (as in others) between different societies, both contemporaneous and not (e.g., the difference between religion and technology in Sumerian Mesopotamia in 2500 BC and American Los Angeles in AD 2007). The real questions are, how do we describe those differences, and why do they exist? Read the rest of this entry »

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An Amazing Book

March 10, 2007 at 3:21 pm (Books, Dissertation, Education, History, Languages, Writing)

I’m reading a new book. And it’s blowing my mind. In a good way.

No, honey, it’s not a comic book. And it doesn’t have any zombies in it (at least, not yet). In fact, it is an academic book that I’m reading as part of researching my dissertation proposal. Despite all of those shortcomings, however, the ideas that it presents, and the arguments that it uses to defend them, are echoing around in my skull like atomic poolballs. I’m only two chapters into it, and its already changed the way that I look at world history and human behavior dramatically. Not bad for 35 pages, huh? Read the rest of this entry »

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