Apparently the UK is considering Alternative Voting (or Instant Runoff Voting) which is exciting to me because San Francisco has that kind of voting and it mitigates a lot of that feeling of strategic voting, which never makes anyone happy. But my favorite thing about this is this video:
I promised I wouldn't have a blog full of cat macros, but apparently I was wrong.
Posted on 10:48 PM by Cristen Blanding
Still avoiding work. But I have a reason!
This is Why I'll Never Be An Adult. It's like she knows my soul.
Posted on 12:22 PM by Cristen Blanding
I am not avoiding work. But here's another link: TV Binge by Michael Newman in Flow.
I am guilty of TV bingeing. Newman discusses how serial television becomes better when you binge, because you can see the connections and the flow of the narrative better. But I think non-serialized television shows, like procedurals, also become better. Shows that I would think have no narrative continuity suddenly show themes and storylines that are impossible to follow if you watch once a week, because they are subtle.
My main example of this is Criminal Minds, which has done things like tell the story of one of the main character's drug addiction over two seasons without mentioning it explicitly until one episode in the end of the arc where we see the character at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. A lot of this is due to the acting, where the actor made subtle changes to his demeanor and the other characters reacted to those changes, also subtly, so that it is only clear upon a rewatch of the show as a binge that you even notice all the ways they communicate to the audience that something is wrong.
I've long been a fan of TV over movies, because of the possibility of telling a story over a long period of time, the ability to create character arcs that let the audience bond with the character over years, and the complexity of serialized shows that expect the audience to pay attention and keep up. (Not to mention that if you're an actress over the age of 30, television is going to have a lot more opportunities for you than movies will.) Binges show the best of TV, letting the audience understand the possibility of the medium.
Cable dramas are generally made as serials, so here are some major network shows that become better when you binge:
the first few seasons of Law and Order
Also, watch Rubicon. That's my tip for the day.
Posted on 11:23 AM by Cristen Blanding
The Bregenz Festival Opera on the Lake Tosca is endlessly interesting to me.
My two other favorite stages:
ETA: edited because I shouldn't post before I'm awake.
Posted on 8:34 AM by Cristen Blanding
I have so much distaste for Dreyfus' On the Internet. I need the gif of Madeline Kahn doing the "flames on the side of my face" bit from Clue.
In better news, Michael Messner's Politics of Masculinities is awesome and will probably be helpful with my dissertation.
Ooh, just found the clip from Clue!
Posted on 9:48 PM by Cristen Blanding
Posted on 2:14 PM by Cristen Blanding
So, I was looking at my well-worn copy of The Annotated Pride and Prejudice and thinking about how much I love Regency stories and how problematic that is. Basically, I grew up on Austen and romance novels, in which no one ever talks about where the money is coming from. No one ever says, "and then I slaughtered a hundred people in India so I could come home to you, my darling."
The hypocrisy of my position was really brought home to me when my sister-in-law told me that her favorite movie is Gone With the Wind. My initial reaction was, "Really? You live in a house full of black people, how does that work for you?" But then I thought about how I couldn't exactly be bothered by her love of a romanticized story of a society built on torture and oppression when one of my favorite hobbies is reading romanticized stories of a society built on torture and oppression. So I bought her the movie for Christmas and then went back to reading Julia Quinn and Jo Beverley.
Posted on 10:23 PM by Cristen Blanding
I watch a lot of buddy cop shows. Lately I've been watching NCIS:LA and Hawaii Five-0. It's interesting because they're fundamentally not buddy cop shows. Buddy cop shows involve two guys who depend on each other to the exclusion of everyone, except possibly their surly boss. There's generally a love interest of the week, who disappears quickly after her single episode storyline is over.
The difference here is that the new buddy cop shows are ensembles. It creates a weird dynamic because there's a double focus between the relationship between the two leads and the Greek chorus of the rest of the cast.
The trend of putting the two buddy cops in an ensemble mitigates the homoeroticism to a large extent, but it's still there in joking form. It's interesting because early buddy cop shows had no real mitigation of the homoeroticism, since homosexuality couldn't be spoken about, leaving open a queer option. Now the queer option is more clearly closed off, with the understanding on the audience's part that if they were gay, the show would state it. It makes me sad, because I'm always up for homoeroticism. (I guess I could just go watch The Eagle again.)
Posted on 9:21 AM by Cristen Blanding
I like to post this once very few years or so on whatever blog I'm currently using, because it's interesting and kind of hilarious.
Two artists conducted a multinational survey of what art people enjoyed and what kind they didn't, and then created paintings to reflect that.
Komar and Melamid: Most Wanted Paintings on the Web
They also did it with music. That's the link to the most unwanted, and there's a link in there to the most wanted.
I wish I had more commentary than that, but I don't.
Posted on 12:16 PM by Cristen Blanding
Why, SFO? Why must you cancel three flights in a row when I have class tomorrow morning? At least I don't have any presentations or anything due.
And one day I will make a post about commuting and how weird it is and the things I've learned from it, but today is not that day because I'm just cranky now.
Posted on 7:01 PM by Cristen Blanding
Long, long ago (like, a year and a half ago), two neuroscientists thought it would be a really good idea to study sex on the internet and write a book about it. They came up with some idea about subcortical modeling and how it could be measured by looking at Google searches, and, since they didn't have any affiliation with an IRB or any research institution, no one said, "hey, that's kind of pure crap."
But then they decided to study fandom. Specifically, livejournal-based, female-centered, fanfic fandom, which is full of feminists and humanities scholars, and thus not the place you want to take your evolutionary psychology research that takes gender essentialism for granted.
Fandom didn't realize that they were dealing with evo psych at first, but once they did, it was all cat macros, and calling universities to see if people had human research approval, and actual neuroscientists calling people phrenologists.
Beyond the amusement factor, this is interesting because they got paid a good deal of money to write this book (check out the tags!), and it's a fabulous example of how to make your research subjects mistrust and hate you.
Some relevant links:
From scientists -
Sex, Lies and IRB Tape: Netporn to SurveyFail
WEARING THE JUICE: A CASE STUDY IN RESEARCH IMPLOSION
From fandom -
Posted on 10:18 AM by Cristen Blanding
Whenever I'm sick, I watch the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand. I understand how weird that is, but the combination of love of apocalypse movies and sympathy with massive fictional influenza suffering is really comforting.
Also, the continuing appeal of Rob Lowe.
I have a whole rant about my love for Stephen King and popular fiction and it dovetails with my rant about my hatred of a lot of the lauding of literary fiction and my specific thing about Ian McEwan, but I'm sick, so it will come later.
Posted on 10:01 AM by Cristen Blanding
So, a friend of mine recently mentioned that the best of all the episodes of Masters of Horror was Incident On and Off A Mountain Road, which is true. But it is not only the best of that series, it is one of the best horror movies I've seen. It plays with notions of horror vs. terror, the role of the feminine in horror movies, and the audience's expectation of what genre of movie they're watching. I just love it to death.
And it's on YouTube (behind an age filtering wall). Which is surprising to me, because YouTube is so easy to rip content from. It seems like Anchor Bay, the production company, would want to put recent material somewhere less prone to easy manipulation.
Posted on 12:06 PM by Cristen Blanding
The problem with starting a new blog, or a new phase of an old blog, is that sudden feeling of, "what the hell do I talk about?" Especially if one generally has little to say. There's the issue of performance, and presenting oneself accurately (or inaccurately, but appealingly), and in all of the many blogs I have had over the years, rarely have I felt that I struck that balance of vapid/pretentious that truly reflects who I am as a person. I think I'm planning to lean towards vapid in this blog.
Not that it'll be all cat macros, but I make no other promises.
Posted on 12:03 PM by Cristen Blanding
This blog is being slightly repurposed for a new class. The updates will be a lot more frequent and, consequently, probably a little less thoughtful overall. (Not that they were brilliant in the past.)
There will still be a lot about TV, though.
To new readers, welcome! And my preemptive apologies.
Posted on 10:26 AM by Cristen Blanding