6 comments Sunday, July 30, 2006

Guess what I did this weekend? That's right! I studied and researched paper topics for my summer classes. Talk about one hell of a party with search engines and databases! They were all over me; and I, them.

At least I got something good out of my in-depth efforts. Great information for stellar citations. Jeez! I might as well get that shirt that says "Talk Nerdy To Me." It's seriously the story of my life.

On the plus side of this geekiness, one of my favorite movies of all time comes out on August 1st: V for Vendetta! Fsck yeah! You'd better bet I'll be buying it on that day and the special two-disc edition no less! "Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vichi" (Faust). If you haven't seen it I recommend you do!

0 comments Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I will be changing my blog name and address in the near future, probably during the week of August 13th. I'll have more free time to implement the changes that I want including a new template, new subdomain (new address), new about section, and a reformed link section. I can't wait to do it.

Of course I'll have an auto redirect and link posted so that, when I do change the address, you'll be able to get to my blog and update your links. Again, this isn't happening for a while. In the meantime I will give you the new name of my blog as I begin working on its new structure. It will be called "Better By Nightfall" for a variety of reasons including my circadian rhythm and, possibly, my caffeine addiction to name a few. I'll have a more in-depth description on my new blog. That's it for now, though. So, what do you think?

0 comments Sunday, July 23, 2006

I think I finally thought of a great name for my blog besides "blog" or "thister." Now all I need to do is implement it into a new layout and maybe a new address (don't worry, it won't be complicated or a big change if I do it) and it will rock. Or maybe the heat is just going to my head. Heh!


The stagnant summer air and the hot hot heat of the sun have been borderline unbearable as of late, but the atmosphere of here has been agreeable and relaxing. The motion of the city seems to progress effortlessly from day to night, still thriving with life on every corner; content to contend with the crazy conditions. It's seems almost strange and perhaps even cliche to say, but it's been nice.

The stirrings of this summer have been a great change from my last and I can easily say that it has also contributed to my growing love of this city. While school and work are similar from day to day, nothing is exactly the same. There's something new or different every week and it's been slightly hectic at times but worthwhile in the end. Previous summers haven't really been like this one. It's not that they were dull or uneventful (being with family isn't boring, after all!), but rather that they weren't as random and spontaneous as this one has been. It's been an aberration from what I was used to doing with my summertime, but I've enjoyed most of it (even the bad, afterwards of course). Part of me feels even feels like I could stay around here even longer and keep going on like this, but the other part of me realizes that I've got to keep moving on with the seasons and semesters. Still, this summer has been awesome with all of its ups, downs, loops, and turnarounds. I don't think there could be a better precursor to the fall and the beginning of my last year of undergraduate studies!

2 comments Friday, July 21, 2006

Word has it that Joss Whedon, writer of Serenity, Firefly, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is going to produce and write the next wonder of superhero movies: Wonder Woman. Casting hasn't officially begun as Whedon is rumored to be writing the script, but it looks like Morena Baccarin, Inara from Firefly and Serenity, will be Diana of the Amazons, Wonder Woman!

While I'm not crazy about the comic, character, or movie itself. I am glad to see Whedon working on another movie. Personally it'd be nice to see another movie similar to Serenity, but this will work. Still, I wonder how Whedon will construct Wonder Woman? Will she be depicted with her patriotic spanky pants and matching breast plate or something more modern and less jingoistic. She's Amazonian, after all.

0 comments Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A while ago a friend of mine asked me if there was a particular book that changed the way I looked at the world, that shattered my preconceived notions about something fundamental or "inherent" to my persona. My initial response was World On Fire by Yale professor Amy Chua due in part to it's breadth of topics under one carefully constructed theme of the "buzzword" globalization. Chua's book itself focuses on "marketization" and democratization as two of the many contributing factors to globalization and its aftereffects--political backlash, economic backlash, and, of course, violence--that continue to shape the world with potentially devastating effects for American society (the world's non-ethnic minority) in particular.

While World On Fire is arguably my favorite on multiple levels, I have recently found another one to add to that short list insofar as I've only read half of it. (Of course I'll be reading the whole thing for one of my classes!) Indeed it is rare that I stumble upon a book that makes me rethink fundamental notions either set in place or previously taught as a form of rules or grounding. "Bring 'Em On: Media and Politics in the Iraq War" edited by Lee Artz accomplishes that deconstruction of preconceived notions. Artz's amalgamation of articles examines the rhetoric from the President and the media leading up to, during, and following the Iraq invasion and exposes the truths and flaws behind each particular piece of rhetoric. One of the articles I enjoyed thoroughly addresses metaphors and analyzes the dehumanizing factors of visual rhetoric produced by cartoonists using metaphors, both discursive and nondiscursive, to convey public opinion. The article goes on to prove that metaphors simplify expansive information at the cost of disguising the real costs of such rhetoric--the loss of human value and the potential and likely loss of human life. There are other chapters within the book that set out to prove or disabuse notions and conceptions of the media and how they shape public opinion, but the overriding theme of the book is the difficult task of interpreting the public rhetoric that shapes those conceptions and notions that effect public decision and democracy.

While the book itself focuses on Iraq, the themes apply today with the conflicts occurring in the Middle East, North Korea, and Africa. We must examine the rhetoric of today and juxtapose it to the recent rhetoric of our previous engagements and current affairs if we wish to stay informed and make proper decisions about the world around us.


Summer classes have been going well albeit with the burden of much to read and reproduce in the following weeks. I'm glad that I decided to stay in both of these classes, especially since it means that I'll be able to relax a lot more during my last semester of my undergraduate. I'm also ebullient about the fact that these classes are fun and highly pertinent, Mass Media and Democracy (MMD) more so than Film Styles and genres (FSG).

In MMD we've been learning about the rhetoric disseminated by both the President and the media and how it affected democracy and the American public. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the class is how similar rhetoric is emerging in light of the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. While the direct conflict is different, the rhetoric behind it is shockingly similar. We've been taking note of certain patterns and actions taken by the United States and foreign nations while waiting for (and predicting) what will happen next.

As for FSG, it has been educational in delving into American values as expressed through the genre of baseball movies. I used to watch a lot of them as a kid, but that was purely for entertainment purposes. Watching them now has illuminated the fact that baseball movies do represent an idealized view of America and what America values. Inherent in each movie are cultural shifts as well, the most notable of such shifts being exposed during the urbanization of America. That's not to say that all of the movies are good though. One word: Hardball. That movie reaffirmed the notion that Keanu Reeves could be replaced by a board of wood or a mannequin in any movie he's in and you probably wouldn't know the difference. Honestly, do you think I'm wrong?

I suppose I should get back to reading so that I'll be prepared for my exams on Monday. I'm almost caught up to where I should be in my extensive multitude of readings, but not quite. Until then everything else is kind of on the backburner with a light boil. Hopefully nothing spills over.

6 comments Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Two weeks ago I ordered two of my summer books from Amazon.com because the prices were brilliantly cheaper than anywhere else online, including half.com. As part of a trial "prime membership" with Amazon, I utilized the "free" two day shipping option in hopes that I would get my books by Friday, June 7th (figuring, of course, that the 4th would throw off the original date of the 6th by just a day). Apparently both Amazon's and the UPS' estimate were highly flawed, mainly do in part to the UPS. However, Amazon is still somewhat to blame as well.

When my book hadn't arrived on Monday I decided to check into what exactly happened to them. It's not like a shipment with tracking disappears; quite the contrary, it doesn't appear at all unless you track it down yourself. Apparently Amazon shipped the package via UPS under the impression that UPS would deliver the package properly to my residence. However, deliveries to this location go to a mailbox that I can't readily access 24:7. As such, the UPS delivery person cannot drop the package off at my door or my mailbox. Instead, they're supposed to leave it in the hands of the local staff here to take care of it. Apparently that's too difficult for this unnamed UPS delivery person in part because it would actually mean walking a few steps and talking to the local staff. It also appears to be tenuous for this particular driver because he or she has a record of trying to deliver stuff after the close of business at 7:30 P.M. Honestly, who does that? Of course no one is going to be around to pick up or sign for the package when business hours ended two hours ago.

Perhaps what's worse is the fact that I've called the local UPS Store and the UPS General Offices in hopes of rectifying the situation only to be told that it was my fault for not picking up the package or not being around to receive it. Yes, UPS, you totally nailed the situation! Oh! But did you consider the fact that there is a simple but different process you must go through to deliver packages to houses, apartments, condos, and businesses. Apparently not. So I retorted that UPS had, in fact, been the cause of the problem due to their lack of education and their severe lack of good business practices. If someone orders something for two day shipment and gets their package within the time a ground shipment would've arrived, that's BAD. Why should I even bother to waste the money on "expedited" shipping when it isn't even going to arrive at the time I need it?

Thanks to this UPS delivery person my books are late and I've had to pay for extra copies in the hopes that the original ones that I ordered will arrive on time so that I may exchange them with the bookstore and get my refund. Pending, of course, I receive my books before the last day to get a full refund.

I suppose it's not so bad, especially since this particular driver has tried to deliver the package three times (when they usually only try two times); however, it's a situation that needs to be rectified before it causes me financial strain because of their untimely practices. Let's see if they get it right tonight.

1 comments Sunday, July 09, 2006

My summer classes begin tomorrow and while I'm more confident about taking them now, I'm still uncertain. I'm not entirely sure what was running through my mind when I signed up for these two classes that happen to be with the same professor, but obviously I wasn't thinking too clearly. Apparently I completely ditched my recently proclaimed cardinal rule of not taking two or more classes with the same professor.

Last semester I was taking two classes from the same professor and, although she was nice, she drove me insane. In the end I got two A's, but the replicated schedule for both of her classes annoyed me and kept me up many a night. I ended up doing double the assignments, quizzes, tests, and reading for the same day. I suppose I should be used to it as I head into these two classes, but I'm slightly worried only because two classes with this professor could be more than I bargained for. Yet, as I look back at that last sentence I realize I'm freaking out when I shouldn't be. After all, there are other students out there that bust through way more classes or credits than I do at any given time, so this shouldn't be that big a deal.

Two classes, four books, a couple of tests, a few papers and essays. Five weeks. Count it down!

UPDATE: I think I've found another favorite fundamentally shattering book comparable to Amy Chua's "World On Fire" thanks to one of my summer classes. Honestly, where was this book when Hill and I debated the Iraq War? It's seriously AMAZING!

2 comments Saturday, July 08, 2006

There really isn't a better term to describe where I've been and what I've been doing the last two weeks. I've been out and about trying to enjoy the ephemeral bits of summer I have before my two classes start on Monday. I've also been trying to get my financial items taken care of for these two summer classes, but my school has been a bit difficult with financial aid and disbursement. Hopefully it's something that a quick drop-in meeting or phone call can fix. If not, well, I guess I won't be taking those classes.

It's funny and interesting to me because after all of the crazy stuff that happened over the last month or so I finally feel like I'm back on track with things. I think stepping outside of school, work, and Boise for a few days around the 4th of July gave me the chance to look at everything around me and breathe. I realized that I needed to relax, get organized (OCD STYLE!), and quit worrying over stupid little items or events that will amount to nothing in the long run. Talking to a mentor also helped me out. I realized that, due to that "crazy stuff" that happened earlier in the summer, I had began to doubt myself. I had dug myself into a rut that I wasn't allowing myself to overcome by continually dumping more dirt over my head with each worry. I'm out of that rut now and I feel revitalized and invigorated, aligned with a renewed belief in myself.

Looking back at the last two months of summer I can honestly say that I've come a long way from my mundane and scripted days. I've been through such a great amount of uncertainty unexpectedly that I don't think too much else would be a surprise. Yet, it is the fact that I have gotten through all of it, good, bad, but mostly strange; that makes me feel that much more inured to whatever may come my way in this my final year as an undergraduate. There is no slowing down nor holding back. I'm ready.