I headed to George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) and got a chance to see Alexis Gerard speak on Going Visual: How Imaging Technology is Reshaping Culture, Society, and Business. I really wasn't all that impressed with his lecture, mostly because I didn't buy into the premise.
The gist is that a because the nerves that make up our sense of sight vastly outnumber those for hearing, and that we have the capacity in our bodies to produce sounds, that we are left with a yearning to similarly create images. I disagree right away because I think that our capacity to create sound is about as lacking as our ability to create imagery with our bodies (i.e. without outside tools) when you compare either to its respective sensory capabilities. For instance, our ability to pantomime the shape of a tree is as accurate as our ability to mimic the sound of a roaring fire.
Gerard's argument then is to imply that the ability to capture an accurate representation of the world has been an underlying desire of man. He notes that the ability to create realistic paintings required a lot of skill, it cost a lot, and the resulting product must be seen in person; compare that to a camera phone where the skill to produce an image is very low, the cost is negligible, and the capacity to share the image is huge.
But I say that the ability to record images is as boring as the ability to record sounds. The meat-and-potatoes of my own desire to stimulate my senses revolves around creating new things: sights and sounds of things as yet unseen. It is more about creating tools to manipulate my world than it is to play parlor tricks with my senses. For isn't that what a photograph is — a way to trick your senses into believing you're seeing something that is not in front of you?
So to say that this "empowers" people is flawed. It only gives people a very specific tool that is really only for a very specific purpose.
Today I did my usual Saturday running around — groceries, lunch, hanging out with friends, and other miscellaneous errands. Everything seemed to go pretty well.
But in talking with my friends, we got on the topic of politics and the war and that was kind of upsetting — the old "Where's Osama?" game … all the lives and money lost on (both affecting generations to come) … the power grabbed in the midst of it all. Then there was some tangential notes about the police: someone I knew a little was arrested; my friend got pulled over for not signaling when he's sure he did (and right in front of his house); and the new surprise "no left turn" from westbound East Avenue onto southbound South Goodman (allegedly — I could swear they just installed a left-turn arrow for that turn).
I also observed people driving strangely in the last couple days. There are a lot of near-misses and generally poor form out there. It's like people are … well … scurrying. Like it's the day before the hurricane hits and everyone is running around trying to get those last survival essentials.
All these things combined and I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of dread — the knot-in-your-stomach kind of feeling just before you get into a car accident. Only it's lasting for the better part of an hour.
I hope it's nothing … maybe it's just me noticing things I hadn't noticed before — having my senses more open than I have in years. Maybe it's just some recent snarls in my own life. Or maybe it's that I'm noticing everyone else (including myself) having a generally dour attitude — a chronic kind of thing that just won't abate, but that you kind of get used to.
Ali and I decided to take the train to my parents' house for Easter. We boarded at the Amtrak Station (320 Central Ave.) around 9:45 a.m. and made our way east. It was amusing to see all the familiar places and try to figure out what's next: the Public Market, the train yard, 590, Linden Avenue, East Rochester, the middle of Fairport … and then it got more sparse: Baird Road … Macedon … and the last marker was in Palmyra when we passed my friend Sondra's old house. It was a beautiful sunny day although the scenery was that dreary brown-and-gray post-winter blah.
Around 1:30 we were in Schenectady and got to spend some time with my parents.
The return train was the same run I took to Denver in 2005 — we boarded around 7:30 p.m. and … well … waited. Apparently we were waiting for the tracks to clear ahead for the late-arriving eastbound train. And then it was to allow passengers to transfer from the Saratoga Springs train. So we finally left around 8.
Then in Syracuse, the U.S. Customs agents boarded (they did on the way east as well but it was uneventful) and they had some discussion with some people who happened to be sitting near us. One guy got all his luggage and left with them, and the other — well, I think it was just a language barrier and he got to stay. In any case, the time we made up with extra speed on the way was lost again and we arrived in Rochester around 11:45 — 45 minutes late.
Now the funny thing is that on the train it's kind of unique experience to be delayed. As long as you are on the train and it's on the main tracks, it will start going again. It may take a while but it'll go.
On a plane, ship, or bus, there's a sense that you might get stuck somewhere and have to figure out what to do. But on the train it's missing that element and I find myself having faith in the inertia of the voyage. Like the sheer mass of the train itself while it's moving, it requires very unusual circumstances to cancel a run. It may be slow-going, and there may be delays, but never a cancellation.
Just a brief update from the running file: I went out for a 15-minute run and did about half of it with water-shoes on then the other half barefoot. It was about 27°F outside and a light snow had made the ground damp. When I got home, the coldest part of my toes were still only around 50°F. It felt good to get back out there again after a wintry hiatus.
I just noticed the other day that the JayceLand Archive was not working right. It would show only the last two weeks (March 20 and March 13) but then stopped and didn't show any until November of last year. I thought it had to do with there being no entries on March 6.
Here's what really happened:
The archive is just a bunch of files named according to the date. To automatically generate the "new" part of the archive, the software makes a note of the most recently published date (i.e. the most recent Thursday before today). It scans through the blog entries in reverse-chronological order and assembles a list of the short descriptions until it gets to an entry that's older than the week it's working on. If there's a file for the Thursday it's on, it displays the link and list of short descriptions as seen in the archive, subtracts 7 days from its marker, and starts accumulating the next list of short descriptions; repeat until there's no more blog entries.
The devil is in the details and, like all annoying computer bugs, it's to do with an incorrect assumption on the part of the programmer (me). When I calculate the most recent Thursday's date, I set the time portion of the day to midnight — dates are represented by the number of seconds since midnight, January 1, 1970. Then, when I need to go back a week, I just subtract 7 * 86,400 (the number of seconds in one day).
Did you get the bug yet?
The incorrect assumption is that all days are 24 hours. There are two that are not: the days when we change in and out of Daylight Saving Time. So March 9 was 23 hours. When my "Thursday" marker passed that Sunday, it was not "Thursday at midnight" but rather "Wednesday at 11 p.m." Since there were no files marked with a Wednesday date, no lines were displayed. At least until it got past November 4, 2007 when we had a 25-hour day and the marker was back to Thursdays again, allowing it to correctly show the entry for November 1, 2007 (when I started the blog).
I gotta say that programming is pretty weird sometimes.
So Atonement took me a while to get into. I had thoughts of the day swimming around and couldn't get into it fully. I noticed that the foleying was performed louder and more stylistically than in other movies — obviously for artistic effect but, to my ear, deliberate to the point of distraction.
The story is not particularly unusual: Briony — a young girl — misinterprets the passionate love between her sister, Cecilia, and her beau Robbie as some bad thing in her sexually-budding mind. Through a lie of serendipitously important placement, she gets them separated. The World War II intensifies, and Robbie leaves to fight, able to see Cecilia only briefly.
As the emotions intensified — from the sterile complacency of the aristocratic life to the ragged edges of human existence — I became much more engaged in the film. And then was absolutely surprised to find it has a bit of a twist ending — one that looks squarely at what is real and what is not, unraveling the tapestry laid before me.
Penelope, on the other hand, was brutally terrible.
The story is that Penelope was affected by a curse of her father's lineage such that she was born with the appearance of a pig. To break the curse, she must wed one of her own — another "blue-blood" aristocrat. Unfortunately, her appearance is so hideous that all suitors literally run away from her at first sight, never getting to know the kind person she is inside. So does she finally find her prince? Will the curse actually be broken?
Let me save you 102 minutes of your life: yes, but it's the down-to-earth guy who actually likes her and he's not really a blue-blood, and yes, but the curse is edited partway into the film so that it's when she finds the one who loves her truly — and it is she that finally loves herself that breaks the curse, turning her back into regular-old Christina Ricci.
The fundamental flaw of the film is that it attempts to hit the exact middle-ground of all aspects. It's a cartoonish fairy-tale set in realistic modern-day England. Penelope is so hideous that she drives suitors away, but she's not bad looking at all. The chemistry between the designated couple is vaguely lukewarm — more like cooked pasta than a roaring fire. The resolution is absolutely insipid — that the curse forged in vengeance against a whole bloodline is really just a way for a girl to get through her issues and the evil witch was a big-hearted softie after all.
And then there's the script — oy. The fundamental message is that superficially loving mothers end up smothering their children's sense of self and must be shut the hell up. Or at least that may be on the mind of the scriptwriter. Then again, I guess if you love Everybody Loves Raymond, then — as this is the same writer — you'll probably love this script too. And apparently so do hundreds of commentators on Internet Movie Database. And I find that to be more disturbing than the fact that this movie got made at all.
The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting great chaotic/attention-deficit funk-ish rock band Gaylord (in what may be among their last Rochester performances for a while), Razor Wire Shrine, and Fledgling Death starting around 10:30 p.m.
Bug Jar calendar][21+]
Tonight probably starting around 7 p.m. at
The Storefront Anti-War Crisis Center
(658 Monroe Ave.)
Subversive Komedy Fest.
the proverbial grapevine]
This afternoon at 2 p.m. at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) is the first Members' Annual Meeting with director Anthony Bannon giving the "State of the Museum" address, Alison Nordström presenting a preview of upcoming photographic exhibitions, and Caroline Yeager demonstrating recent upgrades in the Dryden Theatre. Note that Eastman House indicates this as a "members only" event.
Eastman House calendar][all ages]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Kiss Me Kate this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Straight from the Eastman House Calendar: "Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson lead a stellar cast in this film version of Cole Porter's classic musical adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew."
Eastman House calendar][all ages]
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, March 27, 2008 (Thu, Mar 27, 2008, 3/27/2008, or 3/27/08) Friday, March 28, 2008 (Fri, Mar 28, 2008, 3/28/2008, or 3/28/08) Saturday, March 29, 2008 (Sat, Mar 29, 2008, 3/29/2008, or 3/29/08) Sunday, March 30, 2008 (Sun, Mar 30, 2008, 3/30/2008, or 3/30/08) Monday, March 31, 2008 (Mon, Mar 31, 2008, 3/31/2008, or 3/31/08) Tuesday, April 1, 2008 (Tue, Apr 1, 2008, 4/1/2008, or 4/1/08) and Wednesday, April 2, 2008 (Wed, Apr 2, 2008, 4/2/2008, or 4/2/08).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.