Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Joker (movie review)

I've noticed the drop-off in the frequency of my movie reviews, and in my blog posts more generally. In part that's explained by my shifting a lot of weight to Youtube in the interim.  I'm developing skills in a different medium.  My first impulse, after seeing The Joker, was to talk to Youtube about it.

What to single out about Gotham is Gotham itself.  This is a living breathing archetype, so familiar, and so recent past.  Some middle aged might not be used to seeing their adulthood reality cast in such a steely, otherworldly light, as the flickering dream of some past, as seen from a dark ride (like boats floating by dioramas). VCRs, VHS, answering machines... a lot of us are still using that stuff.

The Joker is again all stereotypes and archetypes.  Yes, of course he works as a clown, where as a tragic figure he struggles to stay comic.  The viewer is meanwhile seeking to get the genre.  Is this even a batman film?  In my Youtube review, I keep saying it isn't, while referring to it as the batman film.  It's a film about how Gotham could only have a crazy core, given the despair of urban misery.

The Joker (Arthur) can't help but laugh.  He has a rare form of mental illness that makes him laugh uncontrollably, a kind of turrets.  Or so they say.  We see and hear an animal suffering, and he comes to realize too, that he is so much more a victim than he thought at first.

In Gotham, everything goes from bad to worse, if you're the clown people kick when they're down.

Didn't Salvador Dali report something similar?  He suffered from uncontrollable laughing fits for at least a week or two in his autobiography, which I recall studying in a coffee shop, over a sequence of visits.

The Joker's reality is likewise surreal, but not enjoyable (Dali seemed to be having some fun at least). The twists in this Oedipal Story are twisted, but that's the whole point with Oedipus (that it's twisted).  We're not really going against the grain of Western Culture; we're near its screwed up center.

Are we in the Matrix, or is this Zion?  Is there a difference?  The marriage of heaven and hell.

The class consciousness uprising that the Joker inadvertently sparks, is what brings the Joker himself to higher self awareness.  He does exist, after all.

He's going to break the fourth wall and burst onto the public stage he sees on television.  However it's likewise television that lures him in, Through the Looking Glass style.

In my Youtube I'm raising the dead, one might put it, in bringing up Marshall McLuhan.  What would he say about "hot" versus "cold"?  That Gotham is chill?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Quaker Alchemy

Yes, of course I'm watching to see if humans escalate the direness of their situation, by continuing to attack themselves.  In the Gnostic tradition, a lesser god makes a boo boo, and we're it.

More seriously, there's a chaos factor in play, wherein everyone tries to spin things their way, regardless of what might eventually emerge as the facts of the matter.  Extended forensic analysis is supposedly underway, regarding the origins of these latest attacks on Aramco.

The oil wars have been going on a long time, back burner for some, life destroying for many others.

The only weapons that matter are psychological, and the best ones of all have a healing purpose.

So how are they weapons then, if their intent is to heal?

Anything that presents itself as an obstacle to the will or agenda of some agent or actor in an altercation, is likely to be considered a weapon and/or "weaponized" (as we say today), even if it's rhetorical in nature.

Put another way, if the agenda is outward war (hot), then those aiming to keep it inward (cold) might be considered weapons-wielding, even if their instruments are metaphysical (psychological).

Women healers were accused of witchcraft, for undermining the authority of those with "authorized" status (high priests, church-ordained).  The old folkways would be stamped out, if at all possible.

Physical weapons matter in their physical plane, of blood and guts, bones and muscle.  Human bodies may die in this space, but not so much ideologies.  "You can't kill the devil with a gun or a sword" say the Quakers, paraphrasing their founder George Fox.

However that's not a level at which the most sense gets made. War that holds meaning -- if that's not an oxymoron -- has a psychological side.

Transmuting war from the meaningless physical to a more meaningful level, might be considered both a calling and a skill.  Quaker alchemy?


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Graphing Out Loud


The one above is the wind up.

Then comes the pitch.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Islam in Oregon

She Made It Herself

By the end of the Oregon Trail, many had shown their true colors, out of necessity, which need not mean anything bad.

By WW2, the idea of women in the workplace, including in factories, was widely accepted, but not without assistance from a propaganda barrage, explaining why such gender bending was necessary.

However Oregon's colonial pioneers had in many cases already discovered the extent to which women could manage farms, run factories, govern towns.

One may counter that I exaggerate about the power of women in the early days of Oregon Territory -- the days of calling it that (before statehood) -- and one is correct for so doing.  I'm anticipating, with the benefit of hindsight.

Rolling forward, to 2019, yesterday I was in the company of a farm-owning, science-lab-running, manager woman, one of the Wanderers.

The seeds had been planted in the culture somewhat earlier.  I was feeling proud of our ability to adapt to grow.

I could branch out here, into anthropology around indigenous cultures, exploring stereotypes.  Gender bending is not a new theme.  The way in which genders relate to one another is indeed part of the tension-compression morphology that goes on, with respect to the many stresses and strains that challenge homeostasis at every turn.

However what's on my mind is the future of the manager woman, the farm owner and tractor driver, in the namespace we call Islam.

Many women come to Oregon to start a business and gain for themselves a level of autonomy taken for granted by business owning men.  Some of these women may speak Arabic, others do not.  Some may come from local families wherein Islam has been a practice.  Others have newly adopted the Muslim faith.  Skin color varies.

I've commented on these themes before.  I suppose what triggered me this time (in a good way) was riding around with a farm-owning science lab manager, listening to her talk about her plans to get a motorcycle.

She was driving a powerful new kind of Volkswagen, hardly a Dead Header micro-bus.  She has no fear of machines or hardware.  She makes big plans for the future.  Praise Allah.

Taking Pet for Walk (Star Wars)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Aristotle's Kiln

Per my comment to CJ today on Facebook, in response to a thread on Martin Heidegger, and bridges to the Bucky stuff, we could take Aristotle's four causes, and integrate MH's observation that they all stick together like a single glue-ball (or glass bead):  materials, design, maker, purpose.

Make that a Tetrahedron next time.

I then thought of calling this a "kiln" in the sense of an oven or cooker, the alchemist's crucible.  We're following the "silver chalice" theme to some extent.  What pops out of the oven is thereby unconcealed, a new truth of some kind.

With modern technology comes the possibility of mass production, or mass reproducibility, which becomes our way of optimizing distribution in the coming digital age (MH was prescient).

The open source free software world (terminology) already includes a lot of baking and cooking metaphors.  We also go through iterations or versions.  Our creations evolve.  The design may be somewhat fluid, and melt with new purpose, without sacrificing all the materials.

Recycling happens.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Futzing Around


I present this as a tribute to the MacBrook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009), on which I live install mplayer using Homebrew, and run a Python script to control it, all the while recording in Camtasia.

The work I'm doing is rather inconsequential we might say, but helps orient a School of Tomorrow student in the world of laptops, with their many surfaces (or "windows" as some call them).

While mplayer compiles from source, I pip install the Python package mplayer.py, Darwin M. Bautista's work (GPL) and tweek a script already tested on Windows.  Here we're on OSX.

Although it looks like the Calculator of Tomorrow (i.e. a laptop) is all about "programming" in the coding sense, this video goes out of its way to draw attention to the "programming" going on in the TV editing sense.  

The contemporary desktop features talking heads, both synchronous and asynchronous, thanks to video and audio recording and playback capabilities, and public repos (repositories).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Observing Multitasking


We'll see if I get to show Uncle Bill around the lattice works gallery, during one of his future trips to Union Station, which is really nearby.  I'm going to suggest a Sunday schedule next time he calls, for traffic reasons.  I think everything we'd want to do, is doing business on Sunday.

In one of my recent videos, I encourage watching oneself through task switching, which continues the observer pattern as "one who watches the attention span".  I'm not saying to judge or immediately set out to redesign.  I'm only saying that "scheduling" is an important responsibility of an operating system.

When I first got to Princeton, our role, as undergrads learning to program, was to submit batches of cards through a card reader, with some JCL (job control language) to start and end the deck.  We were queuing work to be done, not immediately, but whenever the computer had time of undergrad, and grad, projects.  Other jobs had priority.

That was an IBM 360 / 370 mainframe.  I watched it through glass in the basement of the computer center, where monitors also displayed the jobs queue.  We could read in our cards from one of several locations as I recall.  I usually frequented the Equad.  I was from the other side of the C.P. Snow chasm, some might say, however I didn't mind lurking and learning.  I'd always wanted to know about computers.

Nowadays a lot of us have personal computers meaning they're not shared with others in real time.  However, we still want to run numerous apps in the foreground and background, and switch between processes.  The OS (operating system) is just as busy as if a lot of people were using it, or might be.  Single users have the capacity to be resource hogs and max out memory and CPU cycles.

Accepting the finitude of throughput is akin to trusting others to also be interested in problem solving.  I go to use FORTRAN and other languages (APL interactively, at the terminal, more like Logo) on these mainframes, but by the time I arrived at the university, the machines were already well thought out and had been through several editions.

I accepted that world without a lot of benchmarks as to the speed with which it was changing.  Looking back, I have a somewhat better appreciation for how the technology is morphing, but I'd still say my window is limited, which is more accepting of finitude, likewise an innate curiosity to discover more.

Monday, August 05, 2019

About Town


Given my Quaker ethnicity, I keep up a brave talk about how we're able to get along well enough, at least as Quakers, to not let differences in nationality or language get to us (divide us).  How true this is has to connect to my experience, if I'm not to just spout empty statistics.

I'll say about my network in Portland that I'm pretty pleased with it, but like with electricity, the flow of current is a function of the network continuing to change.  I see new polyhedrons (graphs) drifting into view.  For example, yesterday I saw myself in relationship to a native Chinese population in a new way.

On the east side, I do a lot of shopping at El Mercado, which has its own politics.  I get into that source of short stories in some of my Youtubes.  I also show a lot of slides from that location.  In the movie of my life that I'm chronicling (and directing to some extent), I have some settings to which I frequently return.  Most movies are like this, inheriting from theater.

What's my relationship to the Russians?  Johan Maurer comes to mind.  I think of the Russian River near Sebastopol, the one near the Charles Schultz airport in Santa Rosa.  I'm wearing an O'Reilly School of Technology T-shirt right now.  I'm still in touch with some of my students.  One of them was in Afghanistan.  He learned some Python from me.  Fluent in Russian.

My point is any one of us can play these games, do these exercises.  Recast your image of your own network exploring for connections to some random ethnicity, take your pick.

In my postings about CUE (Center for Urban Education), I get more into my ties to Asian-Pacific and Latino communities.  However, as I say above, a static image from a past chapter is not a source of electricity so much as is reinventing (recasting) said image.  Reinvention is still invention.

I'm not saying to throw away the past, as if you could, just respect it has momentum going forward.