I have other posts in various stages of writing and thinking, but this one deserves its own:


No assistantship or funding, but I’m crossing that bridge when I get to it. Right now, after two previous years of applying to grad school and not getting accepted, I’m just ecstatic that I actually got in somewhere, and not just somewhere, but my top choice.

Now, do I take it immediately, or do I wait and see if I get funding from the other schools? Or do I want to go to Baylor enough more (which I sort of do) that I’d rather work my butt off to go there than to go to the other places? What’s the protocol here? I don’t have the official acceptance from the school yet, just the e-mail acceptance from the program director, so I guess I could wait until I get that, but I feel like I ought to acknowledge his e-mail in some way… I’m so green at all of this!

Green, but excited.

Brain dump

Sunday School thoughts: I’m incredibly hard to offend, so I tend not to think about causing offense in others. So if I ever, you know, offend you, let me know. Because I probably won’t think about it unless you do. In my egocentrism I assume that people will react to things the way I would, and often that’s just not true. Of course, everybody should react just like I would. ;) Just kidding.

Programming thoughts: *smacks MySQL* When I follow the directions just like it says in the book and type in the code just like it is in the book, it’s supposed to work, dang it. After a few hours of fiddling, I finally got Apache set up properly (after rolling back a version), but the test code to make sure PHP is connecting to MySQL properly isn’t working. (I’ve had this issue with JavaScript tutorials, too.) Grrr. How am I supposed to learn if even copying code by rote doesn’t work, much less making up my own?

TV network thoughts: *smacks CBS* Just when I was all grateful that CBS replayed The Unit pilot, since I missed it the first time, it gets started late due to basketball and preempted for a weather alert. Sometimes being a TV addict just isn’t worth it.

Oscar thoughts: I’m amused by Brokeback fan reactions to the Oscar loss. Firstly, that it matters that much. I mean, the Oscars have been an accurate standard of film excellence since…never. They’re high-profile, yes, but I don’t know anyone who actually thinks they mean anything as far as choosing the actual best films of the year. (BBM fans should be glad that they won the Golden Globe, which I think is more trustworthy.) I haven’t seen either BBM or Crash, so I probably shouldn’t say this next thing, but I’m going to anyway. Secondly, as if BBM isn’t as much a politically-charged Oscar choice as Crash. The choice between BBM and Crash was never a question of which film is better–just which political animal the Academy voters were willing to back. Not that the nominees this year weren’t pretty much all political choices. This whole Oscar race was just depressing from a movie standpoint, because all it came down to was homophobia vs. racism vs. McCarthyism vs. terrorism.

Research/Film-Crit thoughts: Because I should be writing about In a Lonely Place and Nicholas Ray right now instead of blogging. I’d forgotten how much I loved researching things until I started seriously writing again. I haven’t done research since my Arthurian lit class last spring. Then I started writing about In a Lonely Place (which, incidentally, is an amazing film; get it from the library sometime if you get the chance), and realized that I didn’t know very much about Nicholas Ray except that he had also directed Rebel Without a Cause, and thought I should find out more. Turns out he was a favorite of the Cahiers du Cinema critics, which puts him pretty high in my estimation because those Cahiers critics were pretty smart. Anyway, I spent a total of five or six hours across two days reading Cahiers articles about him and other stuff, as well as the BFI Classics book on In a Lonely Place (which are also highly recommended–a complete set needs to go on my wishlist), and looking up contemporary reviews on microfilm at the WashU library. I *heart* the WashU library. I think I could live there. Went home happier than I have for ages. But what I found the most interesting was comparing the pre-Cahiers reviews–that is, the ones from American newspapers and magazines from the original release of the film in 1950–with later perspectives on the film. The contemporary American reviews are either negative–Time said it took forever to make its point, and once it finally wrapped up the ending, the audience would be too turned off by the main characters to care–or casually positive–The NYTimes liked it, but in a very star-driven, formulaic genre sort of way…much like people today enjoy a film like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. (Part of it is that In a Lonely Place is ahead of its time in some ways…that Time critic obviously missed several of the ambiguities that today’s viewers would pick up on immediately; also there are things about the making of the film, such as that Ray changed the ending from the original screenplay, that weren’t known to the original reviewers.) You can count Pauline Kael in with them, too, even though her review is later–she felt it was hollow and unsatisfying. In a side note, I do not understand why people think so highly of Kael. I find her reviews condescending, negative, unredeeming, and usually, missing-of-the-point. But that’s by-the-by. Most interestingly, the NYTimes gives almost sole credit for everything in the film to the screenwriter. I’m so used to credit for nearly everything in film going to the director that it shocked me. But really, in 1950, the auteur theory, giving credit for a film to the director, didn’t exist. Directors were considered craftsmen, not artists. It was Cahiers, writing about people exactly like Nicholas Ray, who created the cult of the director that has gotten a little out of hand now, but the auteur theory is still very helpful. Almost all reviews of In a Lonely Place now speak about Ray, and how the film fits into his oevre. It really makes one wonder which films would be remembered now if Cahiers hadn’t existed. I never really thought about it before, but a study of film criticism itself would be fascinating. I’m sure other people have done a lot of work in this area already, because it’s really sort of obvious, but comparing and contrasting reactions to films when they’re first released vs. reactions from years later is very illuminating. What’s really fascinating is thinking about what films that are coming out now will be remembered fifty years from now. Will it be the ones that are critically acclaimed upon release? What new theories will move criticism in different directions? Is it possible that another complete shift of perspective will take place, as it did when Cahiers started enthusiastically applauding post-war American genre films and their directors? I’m getting tingly just thinking about it.

Work thoughts: Two of my coworkers were out sick today, the two that sit closest to me. I love my coworkers, but it was really nice to have the peace and quiet. I need a job where I just sit in my own little world and don’t have to interact with other people at all. It occurs to me…this could be…research! Heh. Except with research, you eventually have to publish your findings, and I don’t have a burning desire to publish and come up with new ideas or new perspectives. I just want to learn it all. Too bad no one will pay me for just internalizing information.


Mark liked the version of this that I posted on my livejournal better, so I copied that one over here. He’s right, this one is more “me”. I was tired last night when I wrote the shorter one; plus I’m not totally comfortable here yet. My persona on LJ is pretty well-defined, but it’s still sorting itself out here.

Okay, I’ve now checked out the iTunes downloadable TV shows (Desperate Housewives ep my DVR missed). *shakes head in disappointment* iTunes!! Come on!! What are you doing, offering this horrendous file quality? Here I was expecting pristine prints, all set to watch HD-quality entertainment on my PC, because that’s what I expect from a service I generally respect, like iTunes, and I get files that look like tenth-generation VHS copies with some nice pixelization added into the mix. The hell? Why would I pay for this crap? Well, I did this time because I wasn’t expecting it to be crap, but I don’t know that I will again. Why is iTunes doing this? I mean, their market has grown up with DVD/digital cable/satellite/HD, and we’ve come to expect that sort of quality. And it’s not impossible…I tried out one of MovieLink’s downloadable movie rentals, and it was surprisingly high quality. Very impressive.

I don’t know what they’re thinking. The torrents I’ve downloaded are twice this quality. If the industry wants to reduce illegal downloading, they’ve got to step up to the plate and offer something worth buying. This isn’t it. Granted, I suppose if you’re dl’ing it for your iPod, the quality is probably good enough (anyone want to verify this? I don’t have a video iPod to test it…), but in that case, they should offer multiple versions, like they have multiple versions of movie trailers. Because these files are almost impossible to watch on my computer screen, and forget about hooking up the computer to my TV and trying to watch them.

Reasons Today Rocked

Reasons today rocked:

  • Hot wings at Culpeppers
  • As a related item, eating lunch outside for the first time this year
  • Walking in Forest Park, in an area I don’t usually go to (I’m a Grand Basin junkie, but I thought I’d check out some of the other park areas)
  • Getting an article I’m writing for a webzine about half-finished (major breakthrough, as I’ve been procrastinating through research for a week and a half)
  • Being highly amused by a couple trying to unload a very heavy motorcycle off the back of their pickup–their “ramp” (aka a two-by-four) kept falling off
  • Belle and Sebastian CD on the way home
  • The rain not starting until after I got home, and after dark
  • Catching up on 24, House, and How I Met Your Mother
  • Finding a book that I think will finally help me understand PHP and MySQL…maybe
  • Finding an FTP extension for Firefox that seems to work better than the Dreamweaver one, which has been crashing DW constantly lately
  • Beating a boss level on XIII that’s kept me stuck for a few weeks (I won’t let myself buy any more games until I finish this one–my “stuck in the middle of” stack is getting astronomical)

So, yeah. Successful day. Tomorrow: church, sheperding groups fellowship, delving past installing PHP into actually using it, and possibly the last four eps of Arrested Development, which I’ve been saving, but really, it may be time to let go.

AI Top Twelve Results

Okay, I know I’m not going to like the American Idol results show this week. I like seven of the eight girls (I don’t care for Kinnik, and I just saw before I backed my DVR up to the beginning that she’s off, as I knew she would be). And I like five or six of the guys, but I’m by no means sure that the ones I like will be the ones that stay. I think the other girl off will be either Kellie or Melissa. Kellie was an early favorite of mine, and I still like her, but I don’t think she’s got the voice to keep up with the top three or four. Melissa has been growing on me every week, so now I’d be sorry to see her go as well. And I was fairly sure Ayla was going to make it into the top twelve, but this week’s song was really weak, so I don’t know anymore. I agree with Simon on her…I like her somewhat, and last week she was very good, but she’s almost too perfect. If that makes sense. There’s no thrill.

On the guys side, I *heart* Kevin Covais. Especially when he does Josh Groban songs. Chills. Up. And. Down. My. Spine. But my coworker hates him, so if there are many in America like her, I fear for my Kevin. If I were voting off, I’d probably vote off Bucky and…geez. Either Ace or Gedeon. I like Gedeon’s singing, but his video clips where he’s talking are annoying me to death. Overenunciate much? And I liked Ace at first, but the last two weeks have just been…meh. And he’s kinda smarmy. As in, there’s part of me that says, yes, he’s hot in a way, especially his eyes, but there’s a much larger part of me that wouldn’t let him touch me, ever.

Now. Back to the beginning of the show. I love DVR.