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World War Three or “Z?”

When Brad Pitt jumps on the zombie band-wagon, I suppose it’s time to say the genre is played-out. By lending his name to the film adaptation of World War Z, Mr. Pitt is letting us know that zombies are now legitimate. Or he’s cashing-in on a trend just like he did with vampires, old men turning into babies, and underground street-fighting.

Whether you believe that zombies are a pop-culture social barometer (spoiler alert: they are) or a cheap thrills, gore-fest, it is important to at least consider why zombies have made a resurgence in the last few years. Read more »

Writing the Hard Poem

The number of douche bag comments that come out of my mouth has gone up exponentially since I graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing. Or, maybe, I am increasingly more self-aware. Cathie suggested that, maybe, I am still in workshop mode. This is why we we are friends. But really, I’ve been a bit of a jerk.

When, after inspiration struck me, I explained to my dinner companion an idea I had for a poem, he suggested how the poem could end. It was a perfectly good ending to a poem but not for me.

“No, no, no,” I said, waving an emphatic finger, “That is the easy poem. You must always try to write the hard poem.” Read more »

Why Tumblr is a Happy, Shiny Place (for People Who Like Cats and Equality)

I’ve never made it a secret that I love the hell out of Tumblr. Originally, I was incredibly resistant to getting involved with it. First of all, it’s a bit confusing to learn the layout, you can be crucified for screwing up the difference between a post and a reblog, and trying to respond to people who comment on your posts (or reblogs) sometimes involves voodoo. But after the learning curve, I find that I really enjoy this social media platform, mostly because it’s full of warm fuzzies, based, at least, on the people I follow.

Aw, you thought I was going to actually link you to my Tumblr? Haha, you're adorable. I defend my Tumblr territory with my life and typing fingers.

My main experience with the wonder that is Tumblr is all fandom-related, whether it’s the TV show Supernatural (with whom I have a love/hate relationship), Avengers (if you haven’t seen Avengers, who even are you), or other things I associate with stuff I like, such as: funny gifs where tiny turtles can’t eat cherry tomatoes, tasty bacon and brown sugar recipes, memes, one-liner GPOYs (Gratuitous Picture of Yourself, typically used when something said or seen represents how you see yourself), and stick-figure comic strips. Tumblr is heavily gif-based and generally a fast-paced, fun place to be, as long as you don’t insult someone’s OTP or ship, as seen in Dan Howell’s YouTube vlog. Read more »

sorkin strikes again (and again)(and again)

if aaron sorkin’s new show on hbo, “the newsroom,” was a new version of the iPhone, people would’ve been waiting around the block for days in advance of its release.  if it were a major SCOTUS decision, excitable mobs would camp on the capitol steps demanding things of it before they’d even seen it.  if it were a new star wars or harry potter movie, people might’ve dressed up like sam seaborn and re-enacted scenes from the steam pipe trunk distribution venue while gilbert&sullivan songs played in the background.  turns out, some of those comparisons might be more appropriate than i anticipated while just sitting here trying to think of ridiculous things i could compare “newsroom” anticipation to.

despite pulling in an admirable number of viewers for it’s first episode (2.1 million), and some critical appreciation, there’s been a healthy significant amount of negative criticism for the show this week. and then there was this—a seven minute(!) collection of trademark sorkin writing:

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i was (briefly) perturbed but (ultimately) amused by this “sorkin supercuts” video.  at first it felt lazy on sorkin’s part, recycling all those lines.  didadtic, too, with talking points sometimes masquerading as dialogue.  but consider that there were 45 episodes of “sports night,” 89 episodes of “west wing,” and 22 episodes of “studio 60 on the sunset strip.”  plus sorkin’s screenplays and stage plays.  i think he can be forgiven for having a distinctive style, and for trying to communicate an idea (or several ideas) through his collective work.  especially when the main medium is television—inherently more passive than reading, and thus much harder to engage an audience through with complex ideas.

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Minimum Fear/Loathing By Volume

I spent two hours in Vegas last week on the way to a connecting flight. I hate flying,  but I also kind of love it. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and you get groped by security and crammed in a metal box with a singing man for two hours and bombarded by cosmic radiation from the sky and bombarded by terrestrial radiation from the full body scanners in the Spokane airport (relatively painless but god are they picky about how you pose for your x-rayed nudes). Going East is the worst; I lost three hours I won’t be getting back until August. Cross country travel consumes a whole day of your life, and enough life out of your day to ensure that even if there are any hours left, you’ll be in no shape to spend them on anything but a shower.

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“Dear Esther”: A Long Walk Into a Very Bleak Sunset

"I have begun my ascent on the windless slope of the western side. The setting sun, an inflamed eye squeezing shut against the light shone in by the doctors." (Image credit: thechineseroom)

The screen above comes from a little experiment by University of Portsmouth developers thechineseroom, created in conjunction with writer Dan Pinchbeck and Mirror’s Edge level designer Robert Briscoe. Is it a computer game? Is it a visual novel? It’s both really. It’s titled Dear Esther, and regardless of whether you write or game, you should absolutely experience it. Read more »

The Bush Incinerated My Homework

A recent web poll conducted by my alma mater asked students the following question: “If one day a burning bush spoke to you, what would you do?” Possible responses were “Run away,” “Seek counseling,” “Put out the fire,” and “Do whatever it told me.” 2,438 votes are in so far, and the results are…

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The Reality vs. Fantasy of My Summer

You know that scene in (500) Days of Summer where Tom’s fantasy of how his night will go plays alongside the reality of what actually happens? In case you haven’t seen it (and shame on you), let me give you a brief summary: Boy knows he will be seeing old girlfriend at a party that night and imagines how he will woo her back, make her laugh, and how they’ll fall into a passionate embrace at the end of the night. And then there’s reality, where exactly none of those things happen. It’s the same scene any teenager or early 20-something  or any single person with even a smidge of imagination has played out in their heads before the fantasy comes crashing down around them and they’re left (alone) with reality.

Oh harsh, harsh reality. Why you gotta be so cruel?

This is a fairly accurate description of how I’ve felt waking up every morning so far this summer, with my yet-to-be-written-thesis playing the role of old flame who I’ve already planned my wedding to, despite the fact that we haven’t seen each other in months and maybe we never had anything substantial to begin with. I think about all the things I told myself I was going to accomplish, and then think about all the things that have actually been accomplished, which so far consists of cleaning my bathroom and paying my parking ticket. Oh but surely you must do more than you realize, you might say. Unfortunately, you are wrong. Please see below for a day-in-the-life of an MFA student stuck in the limbo between their first & second years. Read more »

Getting Your Kicks for Free

In the latest installment of People Shouting About Things Online, this blog post on NPR last week caused quite the hullabaloo (so much so, in fact, that I posted about this on my Facebook too. I’m not recycling material, I am integrating my social media. It’s different). The gist: an intern at NPR admitted that in her entire life, she has bought maybe 15 CDs, yet her MP3 collection reaches nearly 11,000. She doesn’t miss liner notes. She borrows, downloads, rips and takes. To paraphrase, she wants what she wants when she wants it, and then takes it.

Holy moly, was there a backlash. NPR even wrote a defense/explanation of Ms. White after the initial comment blow-out. One of the most visible examples is this response from musician David Lowery, which at its peak challenges to Emily to repay all the money she took from downloading. Quite a chunk of change.  The comments on all these posts  are a combination of vitriolic ad hominem attacks (apparently, if you are a young woman going to a decent college who scored an internship at NPR, you better not have an opinion on anything ever, because your life is clearly too charmed) and lamentations on the state of the artist’s life today.

I have to say, I’m surprised at the negative reaction — for two reasons.

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Wrestling with the Will

The Way

Where there’s a will there’s a way to trample wild grass and wake with your feet in the muck at the bottom of the river.

Where there’s a will there’s a way to sink your boots in the moon.

Where there’s a will there’s a way to Nirvana’s stage, though it’s over and also within.

Where there’s a will there’s a way to get lost while walking your very own palm.

Where there’s a will there’s a way to escape your inner Denver and find yourself in Denver seven times removed. Read more »

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