Monday, January 23, 2012


Hey guys, check this out!

My buddy @GrecianDelight_ is one of the smartest chefs I know. He's very--in the moment, I guess you could say. Despite his sometimes-terrible spelling, he's a pretty sharp guy.

And now he's opened a blog over at, where apparently he'll be passing on little schniblets of knowledge about baking, cooking, basting, sauteeing, and occasionally animal husbandry. (I made one of those up.) (Yep, you caught me, he doesn't know jack about basting.)

So I'd encourage all of you to check out his inaugural post, available here. Some interesting factoids, and I actually chuckled a few times.

Long live circles! (Not the Google+ kind,, I've gone and ruined the effect of my sign-off once again.)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Really Admire My Brother

He's 17. I think...yeah. Turning 17 this year.

And he's a really smart kid.

Now, I'm a bit older, and I know it's kind of--not done for the older brother to say stuff like this, but I really do admire my younger brother.

He and I exchanged emails this week. He mentioned Lionsgate Studios negatively, and I asked why. Here's his response:

Ahh, well, technically there isn’t anything wrong with Lionsgate, they make some really good movies...but their logo is really annoying. None of the gears match up to the other gears they are supposed to be turning!

He's referring to this:

Now, I don't think he's entirely correct: I think I see at least two sets of gears that actually do turn other gears. But examining it closely, I do see the source of his frustration: it's a facade.

Perhaps I'm tetched in the head, overwhelmed by positive familial bias, but what kind of 17-year-old notices something like that? I certainly didn't. He's a smart kid. Should be an engineer or something.

Long live family ties.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop South American Desserts

You know all of those annoying Facebook "chain status" updates? Like this:

Every 5 seconds a poor sad tiny baby turtle dies because a 
tern eats it. Repost this status if you hate terns and think they're
big old idiots.

Or this:

Rabies kills nearly 39 billion people per year. 99.991% 
of my friends don't give a [expletive deleted] about rabies.
If your part of the .001% that actually hates rabies and
wants rabies to die, repost this! Lets see if we can stomp
out rabies one's and for all!

The problem with these sorts of delightful little attempts at social consciousness is that their purpose is ambiguous. Those who go ahead and repost (let's call them the .001%)--do they believe that merely changing their status will actually contribute to research on a cure for rabies? Do they believe that there's a kindly, grandfatherly billionaire who gives a dollar to medical research every time his minions find another status update?
"What's that, Mortimer? You found another one? Well then, another dollar for rabies research!"

More likely, I believe, is that the .001% think they're contributing to awareness of the horrible thing they're chain-statusing about, whether it be turtlecidal terns or a rabies pandemic. Unfortunately, most chain-statuses don't induce sympathy and compassion in the reader. Rather, they induce feelings of "bah, another chain status, keep on scrolling down".

Either way, those chain-statuses fail because nobody really understands what's going on. Is it a sop for lazy consciences, a magic money fund, a flashlight shined into the dark corners of human suffering...?

The point of all this is that the furor over the Internet Laws, or as I prefer to call them, the South American Dessert Laws, is working. It's working because it's focused. And it's working because people are working together, because they care about the issue.

I just checked Facebook. Out of the first 25 posts in my news feed, 14 were related to the SOPA/PIPA controversy. Nearly 60% of the posts that Facebook deems "most important" were related to this battle. Even more telling, not all of those posts were unique: many of them were multiple postings by different people of the same links.

And the result? Well, sponsors of the bills are already backing down.

See, this is chain-posting actually working. The goals of posting about SOPA/PIPA are:
  1. to raise awareness about the issues, and
  2. to inspire people to act by providing them a solution.
And most of those posts on Facebook do just that. Bully for us. This is going very well.

So let me leave you, dear readers, with a status update.

██ █████ love █████ ███████ ███ the government! █████ ██ they █ ██████ want █████ █████ what's ███████best ███ █████ for ██ █ us ███! ███ █████ █████ really! ███████ ███ █████ ██ █ ███!

{Parts of this comment have been found in violation of H.R. 3261, S.O.P.A and has been censored for your protection.

Freedom! Forever!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Futility of Argument?

Perhaps the new year has awakened my pugilistic instincts, but I've been arguing more recently. Why, just this past week, I involved myself in a political discussion that became a whirlwind of ad hominem before my very eyes. And so, once again, I find myself vowing to eschew argument as much as possible.

It's happened before. My habits seem to cycle: first I find myself paying more attention to debate. Then, in my mind, I begin to participate in discussion. Then I open my mouth, and I involve myself. And that's it. I decide afresh that argument is an exercise in futility.

That's just my opinion, of course. And I don't refer to argument as an educational tool: debate, discourse, rhetoric, dialectics, for the purpose of sharpening the mind. I refer to the arguments of people who care deeply about their position, people who want to share the good news of OWS or the "I Hate Religion/I Love Jesus" video.

Here's the nub of this cogitation: what good does arguing (as defined above) do?

When have you, O my ecstatic and adoring readers, used argument to convince someone to change their beliefs?

I don't think it's ever happened to me. Perhaps it's because I'm terrible at arguing. I've never argued with someone about an important topic and had them say, "You know what? You're right. I was mistaken--I was wrong. You've convinced me." Thing is, people tend to be pretty prideful, and being told they're wrong will (usually) just entrench them further in their position.

As I type that, I realize that yes, it's probably happened. At some point in the past, some impeccably humble souls have most likely mustered the courage to say those words.. Perhaps even to some of you reading this blog. I've never heard those words because I'm bad at debate.

If you've had this experience--if you have convinced someone that their views are wrong--leave a comment, please. If you share my frustration, if you seem to find argument futile, leave a comment, please.

This isn't so much my uninformed opinion as an appeal to those few who read this.

Long live equivocation!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

UNSPOOLING: YellowBrickRoad

The other night I watched a film I've been interested in for a while: YellowBrickRoad. I'd seen the trailers and read some about the filming. Independent, low-budget, off-the-wall, all seemed to be right up my alley.

So when I saw it was available for streaming on Netflix, I was mildly overjoyed. I watched it. It wasn't what I was expecting--and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

See, I expected some sort of payoff: some sort of explanation. I'm an American consumer. As much as I try to shake the cultural strictures with which I have been saddled, I remain a product of my environment. When I experience narrative that develops a mystery, I want to have that mystery solved. It's a conflict, and conflicts are made to be resolved.

Now, I don't want the answer spoon-fed to me. But I do want to have the feeling that I can be confident in my interpretation. YellowBrickRoad, unfortunately, gives me no such sense of confidence. The confusing resolution to the film, if it can indeed be called such, is a significant letdown.

I must say, though, that I am partial to experiential communication. That's my term for any form of communication that shows instead of tells. Poems that immerse the reader, photography that communicates emotion rather than image, films that force the viewer into the narrative. YellowBrickRoad, in my uninformed opinion, is an experiential film. If indeed it is a tale of mass psychosis, it almost forces the viewer to become a character in the film. The path of the narrative, and the way it's communicated, makes the viewer feel a sense of disorientation, confusion, and irrational annoyance.

Much has been made of the ending of YellowBrickRoad; most of that much has been negative. I won't address that issue, because I am still lost in the woods of understanding this film. I haven't gotten to the end of my thinking yet. I will say this: this movie ends with the devil you don't know. Philosophically speaking, then, the horror climaxes at the end; my confusion, my lack of understanding, is worse than any imaginable explanation.

I give YellowBrickRoad 3 Reels on Ian's Totally Subjective Film Rating System.

Long live division!