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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2005-08-13 - 9:04 a.m.

"I'll have a maple scone and a small coffee."

"The maple scone, that's your favorite, isn't it?"

Aw. I have achieved a satisfying barista-customer intimacy here at my local coffee shop.

I have been really busy at work, starting a new job (at the same company) which will provide much less downtime and therefore less globbin' time.

But to sum, here are my latest obsessions:

[OK, this is cosmic, I was just about to tell you I read a Dylan bio on my vacation and that I am currently writing my own Blood on the Tracks (except the working title is Chimp Haven), and what song should come on the coffee shop stereo but "Buckets of Rain"!]

  • Third Rock from the Sun. The first season is out on DVD and I just finished watching all the episodes within a very short period of time. Oh, how I love this show. What stands out for me is the balance between the almost vaudevillian broadness of the performances and the subtle, sly social commentary.

    I think the best example of this show's brilliance is the episode called Dick Like Me, wherein the aliens finally notice that the planet is divided into races and ethnicities, and they realize that they'll have to pick out some nationalities for themselves.

    In describing the various ethnicities at his high school, teenage alien Tommy notes "everybody is something: Italian American, African American...Audio Visual American..." Haw!

  • Primer, a movie that'll make your head explode. It's science fiction in the truest sense--it's about two engineers and seemingly amateur scientists who unwittingly construct a time machine and now have the responsibility of both exploring its uses and making sure they don't completely screw up the planet by altering the course of history.

    But what's enjoyable about Primer is that nothing is obvious, the plot itself is hard to follow, it's more like an impressionistic portrait of morbid curiosity and the anxiety of living outside of time and conventional morality.

    The dialogue is almost all nervous, staccato questions volleyed back and forth between the two lead actors ("OK, did we do something wrong? Why is such-and-such happening, did you leave your cell phone on in the 'box'?") with the very occasional light moment ("Are you hungry? I haven't eaten since later this afternoon.")

  • I have decided once and for all that the concept of "self esteem" is bogus and misleading. If we accept that "low self esteem" is what you have when you act in ways that are self-sabotaging, then what happens when you behave in ways that are self-supporting and positive? Do you suddenly have "high self esteem"? How do you measure it? Where do you keep it? Could it be that there are just behaviors and consequences, behaviors and consequences, and they don't fit into any pattern at all?

    It seems like the whole "self esteem" concept is just one more way to rationalize ineffectual behavior without experimenting and finding new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking, that will take you where you want to go.

    I am agog that someone called their band The Jessica Fletchers. "The Lansburys" was on my short list for my next band. Hrmph! No one deserves that name more than me, I've actually put in the time with Jessica Fletcher. what do these boys know about Murder She Wrote?

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