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January 2008 Archives

January 7, 2008

Pop Art Fun...

This is a picture of me and my friend Gina. Very Andy Warhol.

Winter Break Pain-Fest...

On most breaks from school I try to concentrate on my painting. This is my most recent one. strip_paint.jpg

January 8, 2008

Blood Lust v.s. Brain Lust...

It has become very apparent to me that the motivation behind both zombie and vampire attacks is based on primal instinct. Though calling this phenomenon the need to feed would simply be an oversimplification. In order to understand these animal motivations it is important to examine each monster separately and then compare and contrast them. I attempted to begin doing this in some notes that I made on 12/20/07.

Vampires “need” blood to survive. This is what we are led to believe in most fables and stories about these creatures. Does it have to be human blood? In many films and televisions shows we see the non-murdering vampire types drinking pig’s blood or other animal blood that is obtained at a butcher shop (ex: Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Drawing on this statement it appears that one difference between vampires and zombies is the need for human flesh and blood opposed to being able to use animals as substitute. In regard to vampires this also brings up the issue of freshness as well the idea of draining a victim versus siring them.

Zombies. Do they eat solely brains? Must they eat fresh brains or flesh to survive? Would a zombie ever resort to cannibalism? Or is it about a need for living flesh? In the movie Resident Evil Extinction we learn that they are feeding because of a natural inclination and primitive nature to do so. They don’t need food to survive because they aren’t supporting any human functions. If zombies did eat only brains, rather than flesh…how could they continue to function and pro-create/multiply. Do zombies sire victims? Is there a thought process that they go through? Are they selective or non-selective? It appears that I am leaning more towards non-selective reckless feeding frenzies to answer this part.

Zombies that eat solely brains are strategically easier to kill and force into extinction. Technically brains are much harder to extract and zombies generally move rather slow. Starvation is a possibility for dealing with the epidemic demonstrated in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. A counter issue with starvation is that some zombies will actually remain functional without food, but only become more enraged and violent because there needs have not been met. Following standard zombie eating habits; the only way a person could escape and attack would also lead to them actually being turned. Escape from attack = escape into the zombie life. The unfortunate thing here is that it is better to let them eat you because your demise may be more appealing than “life” after survival.

Usually the bites from zombies are on the upper body from the waste up. They tend to bite the arms and neck. I always found it interesting that in older zombie films like the original Night of the Living Dead the zombies went around chanting “brains, brains, brains” but in modern films the creature’s ability to speak, reason, and communicate is completely absent.

Side Notes: It can be humiliating to a vampire when he attempts to enter a house and does not have an invitation. When I was watching Adult Swim last week on Cartoon Network there was a parody of American Idol called Zombie Idol on Robot Chicken. After Robot Chicken Moral Oral came on and they had a zombie episode as well because Oral was bringing the dead back to life like Jesus did to Lazarus. These were strange coincidences.

"I'm going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge." -Planet Terror

Zombies began to evolve when they went from eating only brains to eating all types of flesh in the more general sense. This makes their chances of reproduction and survival much greater and makes them essentially harder to kill. Nowadays all it takes is one small bite in order to turn someone. It must also be noted that in the beginningpopulation control was kept smaller because they only ate brains. Brain eating zombies left no one to reach their undead fate. These brain eaters simply killed with no thoughts intention of making other people into zombies. Flesh eating zombies which are seen in most modern films re-populate much quicker than brain eaters of the past.

Theories about what happens to the unfed undead? Stages of death...do the dead progress of simply deteriorate more? Is being a zombie in a place with no more live humans the same as being immortal? In a crowd how can you possibly distinguish between the living and the dead? "Shoot everything that is moving." - 28 Weeks Later. The most basic of motor functions with little or no intelligence.

January 15, 2008

Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Charlie...

The joke is in the fact that my cat is named Charlie and my sister's cat is named Tiger. And hence the sleeping Charlie in the picture. char.jpg

January 28, 2008

Writing Material: Plato Agenda Item...

From Plato's Phaedrus

Agenda Item: "I cannot help feeling, Phaedrus, that writing is unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence," - Socrates, pg 362.

I thought this was an interesting quote comparing writing to painting because technically they are both very visual things. One reads writing and interprets words/knowledge very similarly to the way they look at a painting and absorb/learn the image. We are also living in such as visual age that it is hard to imagine a time when this was looked upon unfavorably.

Assignment Link

Writing Material: Plato Informal Reflection...

It has always been my understanding that Plato acted as a scribe for Socrates. The text supported my thoughts by noting that Plato's early dialogues were closer to the teachings of Socrates. Plato would write down the things that Socrates was saying. This reading dealt largely with the art of rhetoric and the transition from oral to written culture.

According to the Egyptians letters would make them wiser and give them stronger memories. Letters were specific and sharpened memory and wit. I gather that Theuth was the father of writing and of letters. He believed writing would improve our memories because facts would be solidified on paper forever.

In contrast Thamus believed writing would create forgetfulness in the learners because they would stop using their memories. He argued that truth becomes a semblance of truth and memory became reminiscence. Theuth thought writing was better than spoken knowledge. Writing also seen partly as a way of preserving memorials. I don't know how I feel about this text overall because it seems like Socrates is a hypocrite. He is against writing yet sits there and lets Plato take down everything he is saying and set it in stone through writing.

This entire text is a little bit confusing because it imitates an actual conversation as well as tells a story. I am not sure how I feel at this point about the statement from Socrates that writing is dead, because if that is the case then all art forms that are non-verbal must be dead as well.

I thought that Rachel Prichard's agenda item was something worth discussion. I commented that I agreed that this particular quote summed up much of Socrates' argument. Though I was conflicted by his strong feelings against writing, especially because of the nature of the work that he was doing with Plato. I feel like halting the progression of writing would not make us lazy, but rather stifle our progress as far as literary evolution is concerned.

I also enjoyed reading Chris Ulicne's agenda item. On his blog I commented that the comparison of memory to reminiscence and truth to semblance was also something that I found intriguing about the reading. The key link is that reminiscence is not an accurate reflection, but rather an interpretation. The same goes for the truth comparison. I also agree with you that there is more to wisdom than knowing facts and a lot of that has to do with the application of wisdom.

After reading Stormy Knight's agenda item I went back to debating art and words as one. I wrote: Do you think it is right to compare paintings and words? I wrote a little about this on my blog and it was really puzzling. I think of myself as a visual learner, but then again I hate reading books for the sheer joy of it. So does my lack of an affinity to like reading books make me any less of a visual or kinesthetic learner?

Brookfield (1-22) Book Agenda Item...

What is a book?

"In China and Japan, many written texts take the form of a roll like this one. (book has a picture to refer to) The Chinese script is written in vertical columns starting at the top right hand corner. In the West, books have a totally different form, and the writing goes from left to right in horizontal lines,” - Brookfield, pg 6.

I always wondered about the origin of books and texts in each part of the world. When I think of the Chinese and Japanese scrolls that are mentioned above I also think of the Greeks. It is amazing to think that Chinese characters can be made up of as many as 26 strokes. I was also shocked that there were a total of 50,000 signs in the true Chinese language (pg 10).

Assignment Link

Brookfield (1-22) Book Informal Reflection...

What is writing?

Though this book was strictly a picture book with captions I found it rather enjoyable and informative for the most part. As we touched upon in the Plato reading people kept information in their heads before writing was highly popularized. We can't remember everything in our heads so it was a natural progression from oral to written culture. Pictograms, the earliest forms of writing really intrigued me the most when reading this text. The idea that writing began as a pictorially based practice blows my mind at times.

Early writing was made up of pictures of people, animals, symbols and objects. I also always found Hieroglyphics to be very interesting. I could not believe that the Egyptians were actually the first people to come up with the idea of toe tags (pg 12). That is really cool as well! Kudos to Egypt! I gather from the text that the development of writing and ways to write had a lot to do with resources that were available in different parts of the world.

It was neat to learn that at the end of Egyptian civilization the Greeks ruled Egypt and all the scribes had to master writing in a new way by using the Greek alphabet rather than hieroglyphics. This lead me to think about the changes in other early societies and the development of new communication form based upon conquest. Once any language was developed it was then a matter of having a constant supply of materials in any given area to record the information.

Kayla Sawyer's agenda item for this section of the text was something worth commenting on. On her blog she mentioned Greeks writing in a spiral and I noted that perhaps they were trying out new methods of writing in order to utilize all of the paper that they had. The book mentioned a constant supply and demand surge for writing materials once writing caught on.

Daniella Choynowski blogged an agenda item that I believe really went well with her personality. She wrote that "music is a language in its own right" which I thought was a really cool part of the text. Music being described as a language is a brave statement to make. To many people it is just a bunch of symbols on a page, but to a musician it is a language that they know and understand. I think again of Chinese being foreign to me as music would be as well.

In response to his agenda item, I asked Chris Ulicne the question: do you think with the growth of technology that some day the manuscript will be phased out completely?

Ex 1: Of Books and Me...

Most people generally think that books are the foundation of any English major’s life. In my personal experience this is not the case by a long shot. I don’t seek solace or comfort in books, nor do I choose to read them on a leisurely basis. My interest in books has changed drastically over the past 15 years as I have matured as well as learned about the harsh realities of time constraints. At this point in my life it is not a matter of carrying around a harbored disdain for books. It seems to be more about making a time management oriented choice. Rather than read a book I consciously choose to watch a television show or movie that will consume hours of my life rather than the days and even weeks that a book could take away from me.

I wasn’t always such an opponent of the book as a means of time passing enjoyment. When I was five years old I learned how to read by watching the show Sesame Street. At this point in my existence I couldn’t put a book down to save my life. I was a reading machine and couldn’t be stopped. Looking back I realize now that this may have also been an indicator that in later years I would rather learn by watching television than by reading books. Reading was necessary to function in the world and therefore I learned how to read. It was just never set in stone that if you read than you automatically had to read books. I am a product of a generation that has relied on digital entertainment and learning tools from the beginning.

In my childhood I was exposed to books in a multitude of facets. My parents would take me to the public library regularly and weekly inter-school library trips were also a mandated part of my elementary education. Part of elementary school that I fondly remember was an event known as the book fair. This was a week that the school would bring in an outside vendor to sell books, poster, and other school supplies to students. I spent countless hours and my parent’s dollars at the book fair. In middle school the book fair was not popular and they rarely hosted them. I can distinctively remember owning all the Animorphs and Goosebumps books that I could get my little hands on. There was not an R.L Stein book that I hadn’t read twice by the time I was in seventh grade. Of course once the Goosebumps television show was released on FOX in the early 90s I was glued to it every Saturday morning. During my middle school years I also had the opportunity to read the classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies. I recall enjoying each of these books thoroughly, but never really having the desire to read them over again when I was done.

It was in high school that I believe my relationship with books was drawing near a fatal end. As a requirement for all advanced English classes we had to read all of the classic academic texts such as The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet. The issue was not reading the actual texts, but rather finding the time in my newly filled high school schedule. At this time I became highly involved in extracurricular activities that included the dramatic arts, soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Most of the time after practice at night it was a struggle to manage all of my school work. I will say that my newly acquired awareness of both community theatre and school dramatic arts also brought forth a new interest in play reading.

For the most part the passion that I once had for books had fizzled out in high school and so had my energy to actually read them. I don’t think that I grew out of books, but rather away from them at this point in my life. As I went on to college I seldom read books unless it was a required text for the class and I have kept in the rhythm ever since. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I am still as highly involved with extracurricular activities now as I was in high school. I have also adapted to this digitally driven visual culture that leads to my preference for movies and television shows rather than books. I am not sure if I will ever pick up a book for leisure again in my life or if that was some sort of innocence lost upon reaching adulthood. Perhaps someday when I have a little more time on my hands I will give books a try once again.

January 29, 2008

Di Renzo Agenda Item...

"He also would have familiarized himself with the tools of his future trade: the iron stylus and wax diptych for rough drafts and ephemera, the goose quill and the different grades of papyri for permanent documents," - Di Renzo, pg 4.

It is amazing to read about all the different types of tools that a scribe had to use in Roman times. Today it seems like a pen/pencil and notebook paper are such archaic forms of writing notes etc. I only make notations on hard copies of work and then end up typing up most of my assignments. Before the age of computers there was the pen and ink method of writing and long before that the Roman scribe method. It has literally been years since I have written a rough draft of anything on paper. I always type one up and then edit it from there. I also probably have a lot less patience then Tiro. He was raised to master a trade that we take for granted every day. Writing by hand is something that people are less prone do now that we are becoming more and more lazy.

Assignment Link

January 31, 2008

Writing Material: Ong Agenda Item...

"-since literacy is regarded as so unquestionably normative and normal, the deviancy of illiterates tends to be thought of as lack of a simple mechanical skill," - Ong, pg 316.

I would have to agree that those who are literate will have an upper hand in society. It does seem abnormal in this day and age when someone is no literate. It is hard to believe that anyone could survive in today's world without being able to read and write. There is only so much that one could do and then they would be outed as illiterate. Literacy is no doubt a simple and mechanical skill that people are expected to aquire at a young age.

Assignment Link

About January 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in January 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.