Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Joseph Smith Quote

"I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled."
- Joseph Smith

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Personal Branding

I found this image on a blog today. I think it's interesting for semiotics, although I'm not as interested in the marketing aspects of it. Nonetheless, cool stuff. Click here for the complete blog post. Click on the image to enlarge.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bangkok on Burma

You can't buy our souls for 20 bucks

I ran across this article, written by Justin Monjo, today. I liked it. I thought I'd post it here. Here ya go:

I want my politicians to think like a mountain. I'm not joking. Aldo Leopold, the noted American ecologist who died fighting a bushfire in 1948, wrote an essay called Thinking Like a Mountain. He remembered back to his youth, when everyone killed wolves. So did he.

He felt, like everyone did, that immediate safety was the most important thing. And fewer wolves meant more deer. But after Leopold saw the fierce green fire die in the eyes of a wolf, he sensed that the mountain did not agree with such a view.

Over the next generation, deer ran wild and denuded the ranges. The mountains took years to recover. Leopold learned that "just as a deer lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in fear of its deer".

The short-term answer was worse than the original problem.

"We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life and dullness," Leopold wrote. "The deer strives with its supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes and dollars - but it all comes down to the same thing: peace in our time. A measure of success in this is all well enough - but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run. Perhaps this is behind Thoreau's dictum: in wildness is the salvation of the world."

And to me, in thinking long-term, wildness is the salvation of our society.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rejected Again

So, once again, I didn't get in :( I'm not sure exactly what they are looking for. I feel like everyone tells me they like my stuff, but whenever I've tried to get published (only three times so far. I guess I have ten or seventeen more times before I'll give up. Well, I probably won't until I really believe that I suck) I get turned down. I think I'm good. But, then again, Horace said that friends and family make bad critics :) With that said, I feel like my family and friends are all pretty honest. Anyhow, I'm trying (successfully or unsuccessfully) not to let this get me down. I did think I was a sure bet this year. However, this has instilled a desire in me to self-publish a book of poems. I've thought about writing a poem each day, starting today, and seeing all the thoughts, feelings, and emotions, I experienced within a month. Here is the one I wrote today:

Sometimes, I would rather punch you
Than have you read my poem
Communication can be so difficult

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Burma Cont'd

To me, this extremely disturbing image from says everything about the current situation in Burma:

The above linked website also gave this description of the photograph (although, I'm not sure it's entirely needed):

"Picture shows blood stain from an injured monk (not pictured) next to broken bricks after Myanmar security forces stormed a monastery in the eastern part of Yangon, early 26 September 2007. Myanmar security forces raided a monastery and arrested at least 100 Buddhist monks, tightening their grip after a violent crackdown on mass protests that left at least four people dead."

Monday, October 08, 2007


Ok, I'll admit it. I'm pretty sure I'm a secret voyeur. I've checked out the weekly updated secrets on the website Postsecret every week, like clockwork, for probably a year or so (and I know I'm not the only one. Plenty of my friends have told me that they read it weekly too). I'm fascinated by people. I'm interested in what makes them tick. I'm interested in what makes me tick. I like the idea of providing a safe venue for people to express the seemingly inexpressible. However, I wish, for the many postcard senders, that they had someone to tell. When I find a secret that particularly interests me, I download it. Here are some from my collection:
Also, here is a video I found on YouTube with some more secrets:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Ira Glass, This American Life

This great interview was posted on the popular New York City blog, Gothamist, today. I'm an avid fan of This American Life and will continue to post anything I stumble across revolving around the show on this blog. There is a lot to learn about narrative from Ira Glass.

Ira Glass is the brains, heart and larynx behind the wildly popular program This American Life; each show employs a theatrical, multiple-act structure to carve strange slices of life out of a unique thematic pie. The show began almost 12 years ago as a Chicago public radio program but has since mutated into an Emmy-nominated TV series on Showtime – a leap that prompted Glass and his team to relocate to New York City, bringing the radio version in tow. But Glass still keeps one foot in Chicago; he’s compiled a new book whose proceeds benefit 826CHI, the free writing program open to all students in Chicago. He’ll be appearing at Town Hall Monday night with Susan Orlean, Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman, who have each contributed to the book, called The New Kings of Nonfiction. (Tickets cost $30; all proceeds benefit 826CHI.)

Did you have any dreams of working in radio as a child? No, like most people I had no interest in radio. I only got interested in radio once I talked my way into an internship at NPR’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 1978, never having heard the network on the air.

You and Todd Haynes both majored in semiotics at Brown. Were you there at the same time? I think we were there at the same time but I didn’t know him.

Perhaps not everyone is familiar with what a degree in semiotics involves. Can you please sum it up for us? Yes. Semiotics is an unfortunately pretentious body of mostly French literary theory. What I liked about it was that it gives you a toolbox of ways to think about how to make a story. Semiotics is uninterested in questions like, “What did the author intend?” Or “What does this story say about the author’s era?” Semiotics is interested in how a story gives us pleasure, how it draws us in, why is it satisfying for there to be suspense and for a story to resolve. It’s all about what makes narrative engage us. And so there are things that I learned as a semiotics major that I use every day on my job.

Can you give us an example of that? One simple thing has to do with something the writer Roland Barthes writes about in his book S/Z. He talks about this thing called the proairetic code, which he cops from Aristotle. It’s a sequence of motions that creates suspense no matter how banal it is. You simply get the action moving. This thing happened, and then this thing and then that led to this next thing and then that next thing. And we inevitably wonder what will happen next. It’s like a striptease; we feel like things are going to be revealed. And we use that in every episode of the show. The reason why this show starts with action instead of starting with a theme song and listing what’s going to come up in this hour is because I think starting with action can just pull you into the show more deeply and then you’re inside the show and inside the story before you have a reason to wonder why.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

What's the Matter With College?

By Rick Perlstein

When Ronald Reagan ran against Pat Brown in 1966 for the governorship of California, the defining issue was college. Governor Brown was completing the biggest university expansion in modern history - nine new campuses. California's colleges and universities had been instrumental in turning the nation's biggest state into the world's seventh-biggest economy and an international cultural mecca - and they formed the heart, Brown presumed, of his re-election appeal. Ronald Reagan's advisers agreed and sought to neutralize the higher-ed issue by having the actor announce his candidacy flanked by two Nobel Prize winners. Reagan had other ideas. For months he told campaign-trail audiences horror stories about the building takeovers, antiwar demonstrations and sexual orgies ''so vile that I cannot describe it to you'' at Berkeley, the University of California's flagship campus. Reagan's advisers warned him that disparaging the jewel of California civilization was political suicide. The candidate snapped back, ''Look, I don't care if I'm in the mountains, the desert, the biggest cities of this state, the first question: 'What are you going to do about Berkeley?' And each time the question itself would get applause.''

It's unimaginable now that a gubernatorial race in the nation's largest state would come down to a debate about what was happening on campus. But it seemed perfectly natural then. The nation was obsessed with college and college students. It wasn't just the building takeovers and the generation gap; the obsession was well in gear by the presidency of John F. Kennedy. (In October 1961, Harper's devoted an issue to the subject.) The fascination was rooted in reasons as fresh as yesterday's op-ed pages: in an increasingly knowledge-based economy, good colleges were a social-mobility prerequisite, and between 1957 and 1967, the number of college students doubled. Reagan actually cast himself as this new class's savior, asking whether Californians would allow ''a great university to be brought to its knees by a noisy, dissident minority.'' To that, liberals responded that these communities' unique ability to tolerate noisy, dissident minorities was why universities were great.


The Posteverything Generation

I never expected to gain any new insight into the nature of my generation, or the changing landscape of American colleges, in Lit Theory. Lit Theory is supposed to be the class where you sit at the back of the room with every other jaded sophomore wearing skinny jeans, thick-framed glasses, an ironic tee-shirt and over-sized retro headphones, just waiting for lecture to be over so you can light up a Turkish Gold and walk to lunch while listening to Wilco. That’s pretty much the way I spent the course, too: through structuralism, formalism, gender theory, and post-colonialism, I was far too busy shuffling through my iPod to see what the patriarchal world order of capitalist oppression had to do with Ethan Frome. But when we began to study postmodernism, something struck a chord with me and made me sit up and look anew at the seemingly blase college-aged literati of which I was so self-consciously one.

According to my textbook, the problem with defining postmodernism is that it’s impossible. The difficulty is that it is so …. post. It defines itself so negatively against what came before it– naturalism, romanticism and the wild revolution of modernism–that it’s sometimes hard to see what it actually is. It denies that anything can be explained neatly or even at all. It is parodic, detached, strange, and sometimes menacing to traditionalists who do not understand it. Although it arose in the post-war west (the term was coined in 1949), the generation that has witnessed its ascendance has yet to come up with an explanation of what postmodern attitudes mean for the future of culture or society. The subject intrigued me because, in a class otherwise consumed by dead-letter theories, postmodernism remained an open book, tempting to the young and curious. But it also intrigued me because the question of what postmodernism–what a movement so post-everything, so reticent to define itself–is spoke to a larger question about the political and popular culture of today, of the other jaded sophomores sitting around me who had grown up in a postmodern world.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pandora Radio

I stumbled upon this site today. I think this is a fantastic idea --- a radio show that is constructed around your music taste. I typed in the artist named Common and instantly a playlist was generated for me full of similar performers, such as The Roots, The Digable Planets, and Gang Starr. Click on the above image to check it out.

Free films from far, far away

Here's an excerpt from a recent UVSC newspaper article about the international cinema I run (please excuse the font, I was too lazy to change it in the html):

If you've been interested in exploring international cinema, but haven't known where to begin, hang this article on your fridge.

Beginning its second year, the Utah Valley International Cinema is cordially inviting students to attend free monthly screenings of foreign films.

Sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa and Reel Film Series, UVIC's primary purpose is to enable students to experience and enjoy international cinema.

Torben Bernhard, the president of UVIC, explained his motivation for launching the program: "At the time I started the cinema, I was probably watching five to 10 foreign films per week. I suppose I initially just wanted people to see the beautiful things I was seeing, and experience the films in the same way I was experiencing them."

Bernhard said that foreign films have a way of transporting us to a new culture that we know nothing about.


Tea and Language

It's about 2:30 in the morning right now. Can't sleep. I'm drinking mint tea and thinking about language. Actually, I've been thinking about language non-stop for the last month or so. I'm in a class right now called "Language, most dangerous of possessions." To perpetuate my obsessions further, I also created a language blog called languagescraps with eight other guys. The blog has been great at bringing up a myriad of topics to get us thinking about language. I'm happy it's been so successful... it's one of the few blogs I've created that has been. Of course, my blogs are always broad, making it difficult for readers to get in to. Mint tea is good. I should start a tea party club.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Submissions to English Journal

I entered some poems for submission in an English journal on campus today. This will be my third time. I have never got anything in. I feel a little more anxious this time, mainly because I didn't turn anything of real worth in the last two times, so I didn't really care when they didn't get in. I keep reminding myself how subjective the whole process is, and that how a group of college students feel about my writing doesn't necessarily say anything about my ability. Nonetheless, it feels good to feel validated. I'll probably put a little book together for Christmas regardless. Here are some of the poems I submitted this time around:


Saddam and a rope
hollow symbols
we try to strangle ideas
but pull up
an empty


I wish I could punc,tu;ate my thoughts
Give myself a br;eak;
From madness


I'm sick of seeking inspiration in nature
I want to seek inspiration in my own nature
Find the valleys within me
Climb the mountains in my chest
Dig out truth from the corners
Of a being less known

Ode To The Beat

I never felt patriotic until I discovered the beat --
My hips possessed, gyrating to its rhythm
The melody could have birthed in my spirit
Fireworks and tired independence celebrations fail to move me --
Nauseated by insincere flag waving and shallow ribbons
Traditions of the past feel awkward
But the beat --
Driving my mind into the center of Miles' trumpet
Climbing out at the end of the 'I have a dream' speech
With enough time to hitchhike with Kerouac to a road of perceived freedom
Speeding on countless highways with jazz and intermissions of crappy rock n' roll blaring
Finding beauty in the grime
Discovering truth in the overlooked crevices of existence
Revealing --
An American spirit; raw and unique in form.