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In one of my classes this week, my professor posed a question for discussion: “to whom are we responsible?”  My professor probably had a number of other questions in mind to tie together our readings due that day, but we all got stuck on that one.  The question consumed us for the entire class, and it has been at the back of my mind ever since.

Perhaps it was because of this that I was so struck by something that happened to me on Chicago Ave. yesterday.  I was walking with my friend, when I see an elderly man standing right in the road.  He was standing right-of-center in the right lane, and he was staring blankly into the distance.  I was kind of taken aback by this sight, but I tried to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.  I rationalized his behavior.  Maybe he was waiting for someone, or taking a break while he crossed the street.

But the scene was just too bizarre.  And I knew I would end up obsessing over it if I didn’t go back and at least check that he was okay.  So I ran back, leaving my friend dumbfounded, and approached the man.  I asked him if he was alright.  He responded that he was fine.  I explained that I wanted to make sure since he was standing in the road that everything was okay.  And he repeated that he was fine, and thanked me with a smile.

At this point, I felt that there was nothing I could do but trust that he was really okay.  He was far enough to the side of the lane that I was sure he wasn’t in any terrible danger. But he was close enough to oncoming traffic that I felt a twinge of guilt letting him stay there like that.

Both my class and this story have left me thinking a lot about responsibility.  How responsible are we supposed to feel in instances like this?  Should I have done more for the elderly man I saw?  Could I have?


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A Fine Frenzy

Last year, I happened to stumble upon “Almost Lover” and I fell in love with the song and a Fine Frenzy, because her voice is amazing and she’s able to capture emotions so beautiful in her songs. Despite, claiming to be a fan of her, I had never really viewed her videos until this week, in desperate search of something to get my mind off school mode, and I found myself noticing how essayist they are and though they use some special effects, for the most part, they are simple videos, that try to tell simple stories without the Hollywood commotion of some other videos, that are praised for their visual effects. Visual effects are nice, but sometimes simple  story telling in a genuine way is all one needs to make a masterpiece.

For some reason I love this one, maybe because it reminds me of Chaucer and Up at the same time.

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Missing Sleep

This intense crazy week of papers, projects, and work is finally coming to an end.  By five today, good or bad, I’ll be almost done with stress. I’ll have one more paper due Monday. But that gives me three solid days to worry about it. Unlike the last few days, where I’ve slept no more than 4 hours a night. And tonight I had about a half an hour of sleep where I passed out and managed to be 5 minutes late for class-A big taboo in my book. Why complain one might ask? I don’t know it’s all I can really do until I’m done! Then I’ll get to play catch up on these post….just noticed I’m basically talking to myself in this post-first sign you need sleep-you write post like these.

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The happier I am, the less I want to write.

Thats sad, isn’t it?

When I was >10 years old, it was quite the opposite. I wrote stories about a recurring cast of characters featuring Stara, Princess of the Stars – and I wrote out of a place of enormous joy. I wrote and illustrated a series of projective autobiographies, most of which featured me winning an Emmy before I knew what an Emmy was – and again I was tragically optimistic and happy.

Perhaps it was a learned behavior transition, but in my early adolescence writing became much more about working through the issue du jour. But at least I stayed in comedic genre – creating a series of comic strips about the Yap Yap family (I made no attempt to veil their true identities). Finally, probably after “goth” was in and before “emo” was a word, I became one of those, kids. The ones that let their guts spill out in diaries that they hid under their bed and who only record all the misadventures of their tremblingly hormonal life. I hope I’m not there anymore, but who knows…

Since I’ve been at college the impulse to creative write or journal has ebbed and flowed with the tides of fortune and misfortune. As I said before, the happier I am, the less I want to write. In a lot of ways this class and particularly the blogging assignment has sent a breath of fresh air through the writer corner of my brain; for most of this quarter I have looked forward to writing “whatever’s on my mind,” to paraphrase the instructions we were given.

I don’t think I’ve been particularly dower this winter (hey, its been pretty warm), but in the last week or so an increasing sense of fun in my life has really made it difficult to want to blog, even if the topic is perscribed or easy to formulate. I know this seems problematic, and I would blame no one for concluding that “if I were a true writer, I wouldn’t have so many mood contingencies to write (or so many spelling and punctuation errors!)” I enormously enjoy the consumption and production of the written word but I am not married to the idea of being a writer – at least not in the identity sub-heading sort of way. If my happiness means I would never write again… well I would probably want just a little misery, but not much.

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Speaking of Commercials

I find this commercial to be both politically sound and visually enticing.  The philosophical implications of such a contrast between the black and white images and the lyrics linger in the very depths of the soul pronouncing its profound capacity for truth, knowledge and dignity.

Who let the dogs out??

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Save the Newspaper

Just picked this up from BoingBoing:

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Let me tell you about The Flawless Nonbitch.

The Flawless Nonbitch and I met in a CS class last fall, back when I was trudging semi-miserably down that pitiable path to backend programming. We worked on our final project together, a ridiculously buggy one-person shooter in which Darth Vader eggs on the user (a hapless pawn of the Empire) in shooting Rebel X-wings while avoiding the Tie-fighters that zoom by.

Don’t give me that look, I mentioned the geekery.

Anyway, we bonded over Star Wars love and a uncannily communal knowledge of zombie movies, the late Triassic period, and the dinosaurs existent therein. Again, point being: geek. Her. Me. Geek. Geek geek geek.

Since that ill-fated program, the Flawless Nonbitch and I have had the chance to collaborate on various projects. One being a script for a zombie mockumentary (oh come on, at this point you had to have been expecting it), and another being a few short comedy sketches.

The reason The Flawless Nonbitch is named as such is because that is what she is. The Flawless Nonbitch possesses the following talents and is actively involved in some project or other requiring each of them:

1) artistic (painting, drawing, writing)

2) cinematographic (photography, film)

3) comedic (improv, standup, impressions, sketch comedy)

4) music (flute, banjo, guitar, music composition)

5) performance (acting)

and oh yeah: she’s also pretty to the point that it’s almost offensive.

Yeah. Bitch.

But the thing is, she’s a Nonbitch. As I pointed out, she’s a mutual geekoid (to the max! in geekspeech). She’s very funny and sweet. So I can’t hate her as I do all other Perfect people. I adamantly believe that Perfect people should all go live in a house together somewhere and let the rest of us fend on a level playing ground.

But alack, alack-a-day, The Flawless is not a Bitch, and so is referred to as The Flawless Nonbitch.

The advantage of keeping The Flawless Nonbitch around, despite her actively (albeit unintentionally) making me look bad, is that we work well together creatively, apart from being terrible programmers. So of course she’s the one I approached to score an animated project that I am working on this quarter. We met to talk about the piece today, so that she could see my storyboards and concept sketches, and get a sense for what would visually accompany the “sailor’s ditty” and “octopus theme” I’m having her write. This is my first time collaborating with a composer, and I have no idea of how to go about it. Generally, in the few film projects I’ve done as of yet, I very meticulously attempt to marry editing to sound. I’ve tried to make image movement reflect various crescendos and cuts match the sound’s rhythms. But this is always with sound that I have had in mind before even beginning to shoot.

This project, obviously, is much different. Not only do I have no idea what the music is going to sound like, but I know beforehand how each and every moment of each and every scene is going to look. Which means that none of it will be cut, as I have complete and utter control over each “shot”–things like lighting and outside blips and factors can’t sully my animation. Which means that the music will have to be written to match the pacing of the images, not the other way around. Thus, when I met with The Flawless Nonbitch, it seemed almost natural to Koyaanisqatsi it. At present, her most detailed instruction is to “write something sailor-y but not too jolly. otherwise you have pretty free rein.” I figure, The Flawless Nonbitch has lived up to her name thus far–I trust her judgement, as in the past our creative vision has been fairly congruous. The process we’re going to approach this with is similar to how Glass and Reggio approached their project–every week we’re going to meet and exchange sound and images so that each can be tweaked to match the other. Visual-aural collaboration.

It’s exciting, it makes me finally feel like a real filmmaker.

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