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Subject:The Deaths of Important People
Time:06:20 pm
J-hizzle often posts about the deaths of celebrities, a habit I find somewhat unusual. But she seems to have missed the recent death of a great man:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

Per wikipedia:

Norman Ernest Borlaug (March 25, 1914 - September 12, 2009) was an American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate, and has been called the father of the Green Revolution. Borlaug was one of only five people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He was also a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honor.

Borlaug's discoveries have been estimated to have saved over 245 million lives worldwide.





Rest in peace, Dr Borlaug. What a world it would be if there were more like you.

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Current Music:Pink Floyd - See Emily Play
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Subject:Capote rules, Hemingway drools
Time:12:43 am
I've been reading some short stories by Truman Capote and, wow, the man had a simply wonderful sense of rhythm and aesthetics in prose. His sentences just seem to flow so perfectly. This, this is the model that wannabe writers should be striving for! Our current literary landscape would be a much richer if more writers had tried to emulate Capote rather than the undisputed "most influential American writer of the 20th century," Ernest Hemingway. I guess it's a lot harder to learn to write truly elegant paragraphs, with real sentence variety and a creative use of punctuation and dialogue, than to take a crack at choppy, dry minimalism. "We went to see the bulls. The bulls were good. Then we drank wine. The wine was good too." Yeah, fuck that.
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Time:07:53 pm
Man, earlier today my sibs and I were chilling in the living room, reading for leisure. My brother was reading some George Eliot, my sister was reading some Gaston Leroux, and I was reading some Tolstoy. Man, we're such nerds. A Literature teacher's wet dream.
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Subject:WTF, Mark Zuckerberg?
Time:01:20 pm
You know, I rarely talk about facebook here, but wow, the recent change they made has to be the stupidest design decision I've seen from them and perhaps any website. They removed the Recent Status Updates and Recently Updated Profiles parts of the Friends page! That was perhaps the part of facebook I used the most! Now it's absolutely atrocious. Inane quizzes and top 5 lists and obnoxious twitter updates cluttering the home page, and the friends page crippled to uselessness. What made them think this was a good idea?
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Time:03:02 pm
You know what I like? When you're reading a book, or watching a movie or tv show or whatever, and you actually have to stop to say to yourself "Man, whoever wrote this is a damn good writer!" But you know what I like even more? When you stop and say yourself, "Man, whoever wrote this is a damn good writer and must be a sort of kindred mind/spirit!"

That's how I feel right now watching an anime series called Planetes. I was afraid I was "over" anime because over the last few months I'd started watching a number of highly-rated series... only to be disappointed and quit midway time and time again. It seemed there was nothing new under the anime sun, nothing that would be creatively stimulating to me, at any rate. Gladly I was wrong! I had to stop about 2/3 of the way through the first episode of Planetes just to jot down 3 or 4 really nifty things that I noticed they were doing in terms of storytelling and presentation. I knew even right then I'd hit upon a special one.

Since then (I'm up to episode 8 of 26), every episode has been a joy to watch. Interestingly enough, I was looking at some comments on the internet, and many "typical anime fans" found this show meandering and boring. Not terribly surprising, though. Planetes doesn't have much in terms of fast-paced action scenes or female characters with huge boobs and outlandish hair. What it does have is the most well thought-out setting I've ever seen in a science-fiction show, great characterization and storytelling, and heart. Unlike most sci-fi anime, which tend to be about the glamorous, the royal, the beautiful, and the strong, Planetes is a story about the lowly and marginalized, about blue collar space workers with dreams and hopes and ideals that seem unattainable in the face of their meager pay, low standing in society, and stratified socio-economic structure of the space age. Does that sound too heavy? No worries, those are the recurring underlying themes, but the episodes I've seen are dominated by a sometimes zany, but always honest sit-commy feel, reminiscent of stuff like The Office or Chalk.

I'm pretty certain by the time it's all said and done this will be one of my favorite anime of all time.

Top 10 animeCollapse )

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Subject:Nostalgia
Time:05:15 pm
Man, when did Disney decide to stop making cartoons as genuinely awesome as these?

and

The 80s were a good time to be a kid.

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Subject:Love thee Notre Dame
Time:01:53 pm
Yesterday I turned in the final version of my dissertation, along with paperwork, to the Graduate School. I walked from Fitzpatrick, down God Quad, through the narrow path leading up to the Main Building. As I approached the building, I looked up at the Golden Dome, glowing bright in the spring sunshine. It got closer and closer with every step, until I was close enough to the stairs that I couldn't see it anymore. I climbed the stairs and pushed the massive doors and went in.

And it felt oh so very much like the final scene in a movie. The glorious culmination of years of effort and struggle. Sublime triumph and liberation!

Unfortunately, it would've probably been a pretty cliche movie. My friend also turned in his paperwork and stuff yesterday, and I told him about my walk to the Main Building and the thoughts that were going on through my mind. And he's like, "Ha, I did the exact same thing!" And here I thought I was original, haha.

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Current Music:Inga Liljestrom - Film Noir
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Subject:This Film is Not Worth Watching (...but others are)
Time:02:33 am
Movies I've seen recently:

The Film is Not Yet Rated - What a disappointment! The subject matter is quite interesting to me, so I was looking forward to it, but rather than investigate fundamental social and financial issues at play here, this unbalanced, uninsightful documentary gets lost on irrelevant tangents and serves as a vehicle for smug directors to rant about how their crappy movies don't make enough money. Avoid.

Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) - A really fun Argentinian heist movie, full of twists and turns. Reminded me a bit of The Usual Suspects in terms of how it keeps surprising you. Interestingly enough, a victim of questionable MPAA ratings... this movie got an R-rating on language alone, even though there's hardly anything else that's objectionable (and let's face it, how threatening are Argentinian cuss words to US audiences?). Again, contrast with this with The Dark Knight, an extremely violent PG-13.

Turtles Can Fly - Holy shit, this is a heavy, emotionally haunting movie. It's a movie about a group of Kurdish children whose life was already messed up under Saddam's regime and now await the impending arrival of the US army. I really liked the blend of naturailsm and subtle touches of surrealism to depict how fucked up life is for these kids. It's very human, very touching, and will test your ability to keep your eyes dry. Highly recommended.

Chalk - Highly reminisicent of "The Office" in terms of style and form, Chalk is an interesting mockumentary about a group of high school teachers in Texas. It's not as hilarious or as polished as "The Office", but I still enjoyed it a lot. It's got honesty and heart, a fresh break from the cliched inspirational teacher stories and teen-targeted high school comedies. Plus, there's lots of really cute moments where you can't help but smile. Recommended.
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Time:04:32 am
Rock Band needs a higher difficulty setting than Expert on vocals.
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Current Music:Megadeth - Trust
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Time:04:00 pm
Every now and then there's a little something that reminds me that English isn't my first language after all. Case in point: I don't get this whole "cents/sense" thing I've been hearing about all my life. I say them differently. One has a t, the other doesn't! Is the t in cents supposed to be completely silent, or is there an implied t-like sound in the ns part of sense? Inquiring minds want to know.
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