Polly says "Flickr Rocks!"

Polly says "Flickr Rocks!"

Originally uploaded by inkblurt.

I took this with my camera phone while hanging out in a pet store with my daughter. It’s a baby macaw (yeah, just a baby, but still its head is bigger than a softball)
And I sent it to Flickr with my phone, where it was added to the inkblurt album. And now, from there, I hit “blog this” and type this entry, and it goes straight into my blog!
I know a bunch of people already know about this, but some don’t. (And I just now used it for the first time — and I’m easily amused.)

Where's Memekitchen?!?

I’m slowly migrating over to a new name here. Memekitchen will still work for email and for getting people to the blog, etc, but the new name is…


Yeah it feels a little weird in the mouth. But I like it. It’s a little less high-concept than “memekitchen” and people will probably know how to pronounce it and not have to be familiar with meme theory to get the reference. Plus there are about a zillion other “meme-something” sites on the web now.

I was a little shocked nobody had this domain yet. Maybe I’m alone in thinking it’s a cool name?? S’ok … it’s mine and I loves it.

Postcards from the Edge

You may or may not have already heard of PostSecret, but I only just learned of it.

It’s fascinating to me both because of its function and its format. The function isn’t that different from many blogs where people post their secret thoughts, exhibiting them anonymously… some journal communities do this on LiveJournal and elsewhere.

But this place has rules about how things get posted. People have to take the time to make a physical artifact and mail it in. It strikes me as almost religious — an enforced ritual around confession. The artifact created and mailed and then displayed — is it a kind of penance? Does it cleanse? I wonder if the people who make them come back and look at it on occasion once it’s posted, the way they might visit a loved one’s grave?

They range from the humorous to the devastating.

Blather about the movie, I will.

Yeah. I’m gonna ramble about SW3.

First of all, at one point in the movie (SW III) Obi-Wan actually addresses a clone commander whose name is “Cody” (at least it sounded that way). So yeah, at one point he actually says, “Commander Cody, blah blah blah blah…” well, there’s some orders and stuff there, not blahs, but you get my drift. “Commander Cody” is (or was…hell maybe I’m just old, even though it was before my time) the name of a space-hero from movies in the 50’s. See here:

This, to me, is a key for understanding why SWIII is a mess. (A glorious mess, but I’ll get to that.) Lucas is full of pieces and parts of things he wants to do all at once, but not especially adept at cramming them all together so that they work dramatically. Tons of what he does amounts to little homages to things he loved growing up and since. So this bit of dialogue is cute, in that sense. He would’ve seen the movie linked above when he was about the age I was when I saw the first SW movie. The problem is that it’s stuck in a spot where there’s a lot of action and tension, a sense of deep foreboding in the threads of the movie. It’s just misplaced, and ends up sounding like pastiche. (Another misfire is when Darth learns of a tragedy and holds his arms out and yells “Noooooooo!!!” — and it sounds and looks so much like a parody, that it’s hard not to burst out laughing.)

Basically what I’m getting at is that there are tons of things going on at once — political and philosophical introspection, incredible design, a “love” story written by a third-grader (which is like that, I think, because Lucas *had* to tell that story but would prefer to skip it altogether — he’s said before that he prefers designing things to writing scripts), Campbell “hero of a thousand faces” mythmaking, wicked cool and fast spaceships and things that are essentially floating racecars (another of his obsessions), excellent swashbuckling, etc etc.

He manages to put it *all* in this movie, and somehow, amazingly, I wasn’t completely appalled. I was actually touched at certain moments — mainly because of Ewan MacGregor’s superb acting (his swashbuckler twinkle-eyed pluck is fun as hell, and such a lovely throwback to Errol Flynn and the like, and his reaction to Anakin’s deceit and defeat sort of jut out of the movie to say “look this is what acting looks like”). But the clutter means that some scenes feel amazing, others feel like they’re from a wholly different movie.

I’m more impressed with the actor (forgot his name and no time to look it up) who played Anakin now — though with the dialogue he had to work with, it’s interesting how he’s more convincing as an actor when he’s silent than when he’s trying to say anything Lucas wrote. But when he is silent and smouldering, it’s *very* convincing, chilling even.

One fun part was seeing how the ‘look’ of the older star wars movies gets gradually folded into the sets and costumes in this one. It still doesn’t make sense — all that elegant and rich design evolved into duplo-block widgets?? Whatever… but still, because I saw the first movie at the age of 10, seeing it brought kid-feelings up that overwhelmed any 90% of my adult jadedness.

And off to my meeting …

Why Star Wars really does kinda matter.

Anthony Lane on SWIII

The general opinion of Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.

I honestly think I’ll enjoy the movie. But I’m there for different reasons, and I’m not carrying a grudge against Lucas like so many uppity folk seem to be. That’s not to say I didn’t giggle at Lane’s review.

He makes some interesting comments about the puritanical, “fascist” undercarriage of the film, and honestly I think he’s barking up the wrong tree.

One complaint goes like so:

Did Lucas learn nothing from Alien and Blade Runner — the suggestion that other times and places might be no less rusted and septic than ours, and that the creation of a disinfected galaxy, where even the storm troopers wear bright-white outfits, looks not so much fantastical as dated? What Lucas has devised, over six movies, is a terrible puritan dream: a morality tale in which both sides are bent on moral cleansing, and where their differences can be assuaged only by a triumphant circus of violence.

This is just ignorant. If anything, those movies were inspired by Lucas’ idea that science fiction worldscapes should feel used and like a hodgepodge of real stuff from different designs and eras just like the real world. (They were also inspired by French sci-fi comics, especialy “Metal Hurlant,” which inspired the “Heavy Metal” magazine in the US) but those movies weren’t up to the same stuff Lucas was in Star Wars. His first SW film was a sincere (i.e. not outwardly ironic) combination of Buck Rogers, dogfight movies, Japanese samurai/buddy flicks, and homebrew mythmaking. The ‘used future’ idea that Lane mentions was a major reason for a lot of the design decisions in the episodes 4-6 (as proven in old films from the 60’s showing Lucas discussing the idea with Murch and others — see the extras disc for the new THX 1138 release).

Star Wars’ original agenda wasn’t to cast a shadow of interpretation over current events, but to look backward and try to construct something that did all the stuff going on in Lucas’ head — basically to cram all his favorite stuff into a movie that felt like the serials he loved as a kid. He’d already done dystopian SF (see THX 1138) and it’s still devastating, bleak stuff, complete with the ‘blue’ stuff Lane wants more of. So it’s not like Lucas never had that a thought in his head about making that kind of film. It’s just that Star Wars is something that, holding to its heritage, isn’t an “adult” film series (… although the new movies put in a twist, more on that in a bit).
Continue reading “Why Star Wars really does kinda matter.”