Ardour Report

I have advice. I spent some time with the native version of ardour yesterday, and, of course, a lot of time previous to that with the X11 version. If I were on OS X 10.4, I would run the X11 version because it’s very reliable and it’s pretty easy to install. The only drawback is that you have to first install X11, but that’s worth doing anyway.
On Intel 10.5, I’m going to run the native version. While using it, I encountered a crash bug, (which I reported). It crashed very reliably, but, unlike Audacity, crashes do not result in the loss of saved data. The way I work with audio software is that whenever I make a change to a project, I save. Record audio. Save. Adjust panning. Save. To use the native version of Ardour, you must work this way, but you should be working this way anyway. Save early and often!
(I’ve worked in higher education as a lab assistant and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve comforted weeping students who’ve just lost hours of work. Every program crashes occasionally. My sad students were all using commercial software and lost their data. Save. And backup!)

Getting Started

First do all the configuration and whatnot in my previous post. Then

  1. Start Jack Pilot
  2. Click it’s start button
  3. Start Ardour

That’s either version, native or X11. (The other issue I encountered with Ardour is that I keep forgetting to turn on Jack. This is not a big deal, as the friendly GUI will altert you and you can go do it. I’m forgetful enough that I created an Automator script to do it for me. If there is demand, I will distribute some version of the script.) After you start it, Ardour will open a dialog box in which it asks you to eiahter make a new session or open a previous one. Then, a large window opens which should look familiar to you if you’ve used other audio software before.

A Wee Bit More Configuration

Go to the Options menu, then go to Autoconnect. Put a checkmark next to “Auto-connect inputs to physical inputs”. Then, again in Autoconnect, put a checkmark next to “Auto-connect outputs to physical outputs”. Finally, still in the Options menu, go to Monitoring and select “Software Monitoring”.
These options are what I think most users will need. If you have fancy hardware or whatever, you may need to do something different.

Why I Recommend Ardour

  • Quality of product – Ok, the version I’m using has a crash bug, which sucks, but it’s beta. However, this is software does everything I need it to do and does so well. It might crash occasionally, but it doesn’t glitch. And let’s face it, protools has bugs too (what version is it where sometimes, inexplicably, it wouldn’t bounce to disk?). Ardour’s bugs are less annoying than the bugs I’ve faced with protools. And the developers tend to respond to bug reports.
  • Economic – This is a fully-featured audio workstation and it’s free. The developers would like it if you donate, but if you’re an impoverished student and you can’t, that’s ok. And if you’re an impoverished non-profit/NGO and you can’t, that’s ok. Or if you’re just impovershed and you can’t, that’s ok. Sliding-scale software means access for everybody. (The corollary is that if you’re not impoverished, you should make a donation.)
  • Support – Help is always available via IRC or the forums on the Ardour website. Also, unlike certain other software companies (grr), the developers of Ardour aren’t going to suddenly drop support for you to force you to purchase an upgrade.

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Book Review: Female Masculinity by Judith Halberstam

I just finished reading Female Masculinity by Judith Halberstam. This book explores masculinity as embodied by women. She notes that most studies of masculinity talk exclusively about men – often specifically about white, middle class men, as if they have sole claim to masculinity. Halberstam notes that this is extremely incomplete. She focuses her study on dykes, inverts and other queers, making the dubious claim that straight female masculinity is more tolerated. I think she just wanted to focus on lesbians because she is one, and that’s fine, but I wish she hadn’t justified her focus by pretending that manly straight women don’t face many of the same oppressions that manly dykes do.
She starts, in her introduction, talking about public bathrooms. She had me right there. She talked about having security called on her several times when she tried to pee in airports on some trip. Man, I thought I got bathroom grief, but I’ve never gotten security called.
Much later in the book, she talked some about FTMs and specifically about the Butch / FTM “Border Wars.” I don’t know if she coined that term, but it’s one I’ve seen other places and I think her writings on the topic have been influential. Alas, as of this book, which is now ten years old, I think she furthers misunderstandings more than clears them up.
The so-called border war has to do with suspicion and mistrust which can exist between butch dykes and FTMs. Some dykes fel threatened and or betrayed when folks they know as dykes decide to transition. Maintaining a butch dyke identity is often difficult, given the invisibility in popular culture. Every other butch dyke that disappears can make this seem more difficult. Butch dykes can also resent the privilege that (white) FTMs acquire and may get pissed off by media articles which appear to favorably contrast FTMs to lesbians. On the other side, many FTMs are eager to establish themselves as male and don’t want to be seen as a butch dyke and thus take some efforts to distinguish themselves. Many FTMs get annoyed when they perceive butch dykes as refusing to accept them as men.
Halberstam’s chapter on this is somewhat undermined because she doesn’t really address the issue of passing. Passing, in this case, means being taken for male and can happen to both butch dykes and to FTMs. She notes in the introduction that passing can be life or death for people using the men’s room and indeed, even acknowledges elsewhere that some butches need to pass to survive. More than survival, though, passing is directly integral to the identity of some FTMs. They need to embody their masculinity as men. Failure to pass, for them, can mean psychic harm in addition to physical. So when Halberstam makes hay about a FTM passing guide which specifically addresses how to avoid being taken for a butch woman, she is failing to account how extremely important it is for some FTMs to pass. Not wanting to be perceived as a butch woman doesn’t necessarily indicate hostility, just a need to pass and not to be taken for any kind of woman.
Halberstam questions whether FTMs would also want to avoid being mistaken for a Republican or for a gay man and notes the conservative style of dress recommended. Many FTMs actually do worry about being taken for a gay man – they don’t want a second look. They don’t want to stand out. They don’t want to take on additional risk when visiting the men’s room or walking down the street or just trying to live. Some FTMs are homophobic. Some are just very aware of the risk of violence which can surround them. Some are gay.
Being trans can include a lot of worry – about passing, about violence, about coming out, etc. Some FTMs retreat to misogyny to underline the differences between themselves and women, but most (I hope) do not. The FTMs that are “jumping ship” from being butch also tend to try to maintain ties to the dyke community. Maybe that’s just a San Francisco Bay Area thing.
Finally, most FTMs that worry about passing are either no-ho or haven’t yet started hormones or have started very recently (or are stealth in a conservative area and have reason to be concerned for their safety). They’re a part of the trans community, but not the biggest part and don’t yet feel secure in their transition.
Halberstam goes on from passing guides to an unfortunate article in The New Yorker in which Amy Bloom interviews some trans men and finds out *gasp* that they’re men. Halberstam points out a few phrases from the article which positively compare FTMs to butch dykes and seems to conclude that the mainstream press is more ok with FTMs. I think this conclusion is largely in error. The mere existence of the article speaks to a discomfort with FTMs. Why would an investigative journalist need to do field research to discover that men are, indeed, men? Halbertsam writes, “Would Bloom, in a smilar article on butch lesbians, comment so approvingly on their masculinity?” (p. 157) Given how Bloom feels the need to point out that one of her interview subjects – a man – eats “like a man” (ibid), I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison. Bloom is condescending in the extreme. Halbertsam quotes a longer passage from Bloom:

I expected to find psychologically disturbed, male-identified women so filled with self-loathing that it had even spilled into their physical selves, leading them to self-mutilating, self-punishing surgery. Maybe I would meet some very butch lesbians, in ties and jackets and chest binders, who could not, would not accept their female bodies. I didn’t meet these people. I met men. (p. 158)

Before I go on to Halberstam’s response to such drivel, I want to take a moment to give a big “fuck you” to Bloom. What is she saying here? ‘Oh my gosh, they actually passed! Passing is everything! I thought I’d see a man in a dress woman in a binder and be forced to deny his identity, but I’ve decided that these individuals actually might deserve to have their identities accepted by ME. And I certainly am the gateway for normativity and passing!’ Fuck you Bloom.
Halberstam is justifiably pissed at that passage. She writes, “What a relief for Bloom that she was spared interaction with those self-hating masculine women and graced instead by the dignified presence of men!” and goes on to note that many FTMs ID as straight, which Bloom approves of. But while Halberstam catches the queerphobia and butch phobia, she seems to miss the transphobia. Bloom’s article there is hardly tans-positive but just notes what should already be obvious: some FTMs pass.
Unfortunately, a lot of this chapter is about MTFs and their narratives which are assumed to mirror the narratives of FTMs. This book is from 1998, so I think this more speaks to a lack of published material by and about FTMs more than a real assertion by Halberstam that the cases are mirror. I’m going to look into whether she has published more recently on the topic. That chapter talked largely about a previous essay on the topic and what she had learned from that, so while she sometimes misses things, she seems eager to learn and I imagine that the problems I’ve noted have certainly been addressed in the last 10 years.
Part of what was most fascinating for me about this book is the way labels have shifted over time. Inverts would not have IDed with lesbians. Butches of the 1950’s were excluded from the definition of ‘lesbian’ that was current through the 1970’s – 1980’s. (Indeed, being butch was still controversial when I came out). FTM is emerging as a new label. People like me, with more ambiguos/ complicated views on their own gender would have been excluded from transitioning until recently. Past FTMs have IDed as “men.” The idea that “trans” would form a more permanent part of a label is new and is being picked up by trasgender or genderqueer IDed persons.
There used to be the idea of a passing woman. That’s a woman who looked like a man and passed for one. I don’t know how different a passing woman is than a genderqueer ftm, but I can say that the label “passing woman” has always made me nervous. I like the label “dyke.” Not ‘lesbian,’ which for a while was specifically defined to exclude me and not ‘woman’ passing or no. What does that make me? A transdyke? A FTM/dyke? It makes me feel better to have a label, I think. It also makes me feel better to be able to place myself within a history. I don’t want to reject the label ‘dyke,’ as I’ve been attached to it for so long. When I watch a movie like Go Fish, I’m watching something that impacted my life. Dyke culture has shaped me, formed me. I felt at home in it and I feel at home in it. At the same time, I really like taking T. I like what it’s doing to my body. I like how I feel to see myself in the mirror, looking gradually more manly. And I really like that I don’t need to choose. There might be some sort of border war going on, but I like being parked right in the middle of it and I have no intention of moving.
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Back Online

I’ve been mostly offline recently. My laptop had some issues when I tried to upgrade to OS X 10.5. The install DVD couldn’t mount my hard drive. After some kung-fu, I got it to notice that my drive existed. It said things were bad. Bad indeed. (The more technical version (non-tech continues in the next paragraph): I booted single user mode off the DVD and ran fsck and the third try, it finally found my disk. It said I have a bad Master Boot Record. However, the installed operating system (10.4) still booted fine and it’s version of fsck reported no problems. So I went on my merry way until my concert, when the damn thing really didn’t want to boot. I briefly got a question mark on my splash screen. Gah)

But things still seemed fine with the previous system, so I resolved to ignore the issue until after my concert, which could have been a disastrous move, but wasn’t. Anyway, it’s almost certainly a software problem, fixable with disk warrior. So, a few days after the concert, when some audio software I was trying to use wouldn’t go, I finally tried Disk Warrior. It gave me some cryptic error messages, which it’s website revealed to mean that I should buy a new disk because the problems were physical. Ack!
Physical disk problems ALWAYS get worse! Or at least, you should assume that they will. Because one little free particle of disk that got rattled loose and is lurking there – that particle will eventually get hit by the read arm. Hard disks are a lot like records. The read/write arm is like the needle. And the bit of junk is like dust on the surface of the record. But instead of just making a popping noise, it’s much worse, because the disk is spinning much faster. The read/write head doesn’t just bounce over the debris in a friendly manner. When it bounces back down, that impact is at high speed, so it breaks lose another little bit of junk, which is then waiting to get in the way. So you start getting all these little bald spots around your disk where pieces have been knocked out and all of those pieces are waiting to get in the way and cause further damage. This process starts slowly, but once it gets going – yikes!
That was the second disk in that laptop! Grr. I speculate that it probably had it’s initial damage when I ran it into a pole on my bike over the summer. It’s generally bad for laptops to crash them into fixed objects.
Anyway, the laptop is 4 years old. I just replaced the power adaptor all of a month ago, but in addition to a new disk, it could really use a new battery and soon it will not want to run the latest and greatest software and it seemed like the most reasonable course of action was to replace it. So I waited until after the start of Macworld in case Apple wanted to announce price reductions. They didn’t. In the mean time, I read the His Dark Materials trilogy, of which The Golden Compass is the first book. The last two books are even more heavy-handed than C.S. Lewis. And the charges of it’s being anti-Catholic are true, alas. The first book is completely charming. But the other books seem more rushed and can’t stand alone as the first one can. They rely much more on cliche. I just don’t understand British atheists. They have a state religion, which they could be completely justified in railing against. But they never seem to pick the state religion. Instead they choose religions which their state is persecuting. They pick on Catholics, I guess because they support oppression in Northern Ireland. They pick Muslims, I guess because they support racism. Aside from them being colonialist asses, I can’t imagine what their reasoning could be. It really doesn’t seem like they take on very much risk by attacking the official church of their country. Is it misplaced patriotism? I don’t get it.
Finally, I want to declare a moratorium on non-programmers trying to write fantasy that involves computers. “She typed and words appeared on the screen. How could this be! She had no text editor open and was bypassing most of the operating system. The keyboard wasn’t even plugged in! the computer wasn’t even turned on! It was a cardboard display computer from a furniture store! It must be the aliens feeding it data directly from the USB cable that they helpfully brought with them from the Jupiter branch of CompUSA. What a lucky coincidence that they use exactly the same completely arbitrary sequence of voltage pulses to indicate different letters of the alphabet!” It’s also a lucky break that our alien heros brought with them a cardboard install disk with device drivers for their alien USB hardware – while bypassing most of the operating system. Maybe I’m too intolerant of extremely sloppy, ignorant writing, but really, if I’m going to read something, I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my time – time that the author didn’t bother to spend doing an iota of research.
Um, anyway. I got a new mac. I’m kind of concerned about how much 3 months of dog kenneling is going to cost, and plane tickets and at least I didn’t have to pay British prices for a new computer. I just sent email to the passport service again to ask what’s up with the consulate and my visa. I have a theory that they’ve written to ask my university for more information and the British postal service has inexplicably routed the mail through Poland via Nepal.
Um, anyway, reports of what software doesn’t want to work with 10.5 (Ardour, Gimp, etc) will be forthcoming.

Book Review: Strong Imagination

Before I begin, I want to share that the reason that I have time to type a book review is that my mixing board is not broken at all. You may recall that I mentioned earlier that my synth got battered in shipping. This caused some of the jacks to get bent so they weren’t making good contact, which is easily fixable. So all is well.

Last spring, when I was whining about being on a really long waiting list to see a shrink, my friend Vivian gave me a book called Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature by David Nettle, which explores a link between insanity and creativity, just as the name implies. Nettle makes a convincing case regarding the nature and cause of madness. To briefly summarize: madness of all forms has both a genetic and an environmental component. In cases where of identical twins, when one becomes schizophrenic, the other has a 50% of becoming so also. This is a much higher risk than the general population, but still only half. Factors that can push people over the edge include divorce, death of a family member, social isolation (say, from moving far away) and basically everything else in my life that’s happened to me since 2002. I really like this part of the book because it makes me feel like I’m super together for not being more crazy.
Ok, since going mad is a huge problem, why do these genes persist in the population? Well, that twin who doesn’t go mad is likely to do very well in life. People who have increased risk for insanity tend to excel, especially in creative persuits. He then broke down mental illness by profession. Poets are just nuts. Alas, for poets. Next in line are musicians, especially composers. And it goes through all the creative fields and then into more practical ones.
The author sees two primary classes of mental illness. One is schizophrenia, and the other is a polar disorder. What he means by polar disorder is people whose emotions tend to run out of balance. So he’s grouping depressives and bipolar people together and argues how they’re related on a neurotransmitter level. He claims that depressives also have periods of peaks, but they don’t get as out of control as people who are bipolar. While schizoid personality types are good for creative thinking, the periods of peaks (short of mania) for people with polar disorders tend to be good for getting work done. He specifically mentions composers here. Especially in the old days of ensemble writing, before MIDI realizations, composers would have to write things and then wait months or years to hear it. A sane person doesn’t go into work that’s so thankless and so short of rewards. Most people need positive stimuli more often to keep working on something.
He never mentions anxiety disorder, aside from in his list of mental illness by profession, but from other reading, I know it’s strongly linked to depression and the same drugs are used to treat it. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced the highs of creative energy that he described. I do know that I tend to be overly pleased with myself. I always thought of this as some sort of personality flaw, but I guess it’s essential to my line of work. Also, the way I approach composition is more praise-seeking than the old way. What better way to get positive feedback than through commissions? I get a vote of confidence when people ask for one and then (so far) specific praise for the output that I deliver. And while I hate performing, I do it anyway because I like the attention. I’ve written pieces of music performed by others and then sat in the audience and listened. Fewer people come up to talk to me afterwards. And, most importantly, this does not get me chicks like performing does. But more on that last part in a bit.
So Nettle makes a convincing case that the genes associated with certain types of mental illness are also correlated with creative output, which explains why they persist in the population despite their huge liability. Appreciation of creative endeavors is a human universal. In every society that has ever existed, poetry and music have been considered important. Anthropologists have never found a group of people without music and without poetry. Even in societies where survival is difficult and everyone works at acquiring food (ie, no specialization of labor), poetry and music are valued. And people who are good at poetry or music get high prestige. Even if they have a bad time of it for a while, people will donate food. Creative output is essentially human, much more so than using tools or the other ways we’ve sought to set ourselves apart form other animals.
Nettle then goes on to ask a much deeper question: why do humans value creativity? Here, he turns to evolutionary theory. Male peacocks have crazy tails. You’ve seen them. It requires a huge number of extra resources to keep those tails looking good. A male with an especially nice looking tail has to be able to get a lot more food. One with a scraggly looking tail is not faring as well nutritionally. And that’s why, the theory goes, peahens (aka, the female of the species) find the tail so sexy. this male is really good at feeding himself and staying healthy. She thinks, if I breed with him, there’s a good chance my offspring will be healthy and able to feed themselves too. Therefore, the tail is sexy because it’s a drag on the bird. It’s inefficiency is what makes it such a great indicator of success. And it shows off values that are important to the survival needs of peacocks.
Humans don’t have much in the way of plumage, but we do have really big brains compared to other animals. And big brains are very important to us as a species. So somebody who is creative not only has a really big brain, but they have excess to waste on poetry and music or other creative output. Somebody who can tell a good story is thus not only smart enough to survive, but they’ve got brains to spare. I’m not explaining this as well as Nettle did, and, indeed, it’s a little slippery and weird, inherently. Animals find excess to be sexy, specifically excess that’s tied to some essential part of their species. So for humans, this is thinking power. It’s important to remember that this is statistical. You might find your pulse increase for accountants (yes, I know, it’s a stereotype – Charles Ives invented the actuary table), but statistically, creative output is one of the things that people consider when looking for a mate.
I say “people.” Nettle says “women.” Going back to peacocks – they don’t mate for life. A male can go after as many peahens as will have him. His investment in the next generation is very small, so he doesn’t have to be picky. People, though, invest quite a bit more in the next generation. Most people in the world practice monogamy. (Even in societies that allow polygamy, most people in it have only one mate.) I read several years ago a theory that early humans tended to mate for about two years if they didn’t have a kid. after that, they tend to move on. this was valuable behavior as they seemed to be infertile with each other. If they had a kid, they would tend to stay together until the kid was 7 years old. At that point, a kid doesn’t require as many resources. Giving birth is a much higher investment on the part of a woman than men’s part in conception, but 7 years of monogamy means that they’re both very strongly invested in the child. So the mother invests more resources, but not that much more.
Think of that movie March of the Penguins. the males and females look pretty much alike. The males didn’t have any special plumage. But both parents had a nearly equal part in taking care of the kid. Both of them had to be extremely strong to reproduce and both of them had to be completely dedicated to their one offspring. A female could only lay one egg and a male could only keep one egg warm. therefore, their contribution was more or less equal. So when they were searching for mates, they’re both looking for somebody strong and healthy. Any plumage that the males developed would be equally important on the females. they both need to be able to march out, find food, march back, feed the kid, etc.
But, alas, Nettle is trapped in the male plumage theory. As dubious proof of the essenitaly male nature of creativity, he has a graph of gallery shows for male and female painters in the first half of the 20th century. I wish this was a joke, but it’s actually in the book and he appears to be serious about it. He does acknowledge the role of sexism, but brushes it aside. However, he would have been hard pressed to find a graph more influenced by sexism. For an example, Frieda Kahlo, who was awesome and had an incredible amount of output, didn’t get a solo show until near the end of her life. She was an international celebrity before anybody even thought to give her a solo show. Her work now is considered iconic and is extremely popular, but the sale price of her painting is still much lower than other male artists with less fame and popular appeal, and she’s on display in fewer museums than one would expect. She is not at all an isolated case, but rather just one of the most blatant. If Nettle had looked up a graph for white vs African American shows, he would have found similar data. Having established creativity as a human universal, it would be stupid and incorrect to argue racial difference based on such a graph. But here he does it with sex differences.
Ok, fine, there are sex differences in other species and there are some sex differences in humans too. But humans have nearly equal fertility investments in child rearing, so sex differences should be much less. Furthermore, peahens don’t have fancy tails. If it were the case that creativity was an essentially male persuit, there would be no genetic advantage in giving women the dangerous personality types associated with creativity. They would get none of the reward and bear none of the burden. Indeed, since personality types and creativity are so closely associated, the rate of male vs female insanity should indicate the rate of creative potential. And it’s very near the same. (Women are more likely than men to have a polar disorder.)
Quick, name a female sex symbol! Madonna! What does she do? She sings! How many female sex symbols are creative? Singers, dancers, actors! It should be completely obvious that male heterosexuals are as captivated by creative talent as straight women. (And queer folks having kids value this also.) Only blinding levels of sexism could obscure this.
I’m really tired of folks trying to say that composing is inherently, biologically male. The arts are human. Any attempt to assign them to gender is misguided and silly – or it would be silly if it weren’t so dangerous. And the lengths that women go to in order to create, fighting systems specifically put in place to keep them out, should emphasize the universality of creativity. Given the obstacles preventing women from getting gallery shows in the first half of the 20th century, the fact that there are any at all seems to imply a possibility that women have more creative capacity than men. I don’t think this is the case. I think the higher rate of depression in women is environmental, caused by things like barriers to creative recognition. I think the struggles past women have gone through to get their work out in the world is testament to the human spirit.
So, all in all, Nettle makes a pretty good argument, despite being a sexist ass who needs to revise some of the last chapters. He also gives advice to folks to try to stay sane. A personality type at risk to insanity can be helpful, but actual insanity is not. People who tend to succeed are organized and hard working (alas for me). Hard work is a greater part of creative success than other factors. So don’t feel bad about your mental illness. Work hard, get help if and when you need it. Poets are sexy.

Organ Concert Review

The Organ
The Grote Kerk in The Hague is having an organ festival right now, which explains why I keep hearing organ music while walking the dog. Last night, I saw a very small flyer for it posted to the church door and decided to check it out. I really like organ concerts and I can name one organ composer off the top of my head (Henry Brant), but I’ve never written for the organ and don’t know too much about the instrument. As a former resident of the Bay Area, though, I was pretty lucky as there are two Mighty Wurlitzer organs installed in local movie theatres. One is in the Grand Lake in Oakland and the other is in the Castro. Also, Wesleyan University, where I was in 2003-5, has a pretty nifty organ which was brand new when I was a student, so I got to hear a lot of organ music, including a new piece by Christian Wolff. This whole paragraph is a long way of saying: I don’t know much about the organ (factoid: invented by ancient Romans), but I dig it.

The performer last night was Leo Van Doeselaar of Amsterdam / Leiden. There was a pre-concert talk of which I understood nothing and then he went up to the organ loft to play. Church organs are often located in the back of churches, which is the case in Den Haag’s Grote Kerk or sometimes on the side. Almost never does a listener actually face the organ (Wesleyan is an exception to this). However, the chairs were arranged, so the audience sat facing the back of the church and hence the organ. Also, it’s often the case that the organist can’t be seen. They had set up a screen and a projector so that there was a camera pointing at the organist and the image was projected where we could see it. Kind of strange, but also interesting.
This particular organ has two panels of stops on either side of three manuals (keyboards). the stops control which pipes are getting air in them and they’re a bunch of knobs which can be pulled out or in (hence the expression, “pulling out all the stops.”). The organist had an assistant who was a page turner, but also did a lot of stop manipulation. The music would switch manuals without a break and while one manual was being played, the busy assistant would re-set the stops for the return to the original manual. Interesting to watch.
The first two pieces were from the 17th century. Which, alas, is not my favorite century. Also, note in the first paragraph that most of my organ listening has been with theatre organs, which often play a more popular repertoire. So the music just seemed kind of . . . sedate. The organ was not punching through and not filling the space. I could see the performer and I could tell he was playing is heart out, but it just wasn’t translating for me. So I wondered if it was the music or the organ. “Well, they can’t all be Bach’s Toccata in d.” (You know the piece. It’s a very dramatic and cliche organ piece. Nicole associates it with horror movies.)
Even as my mind wandered, certain sonic effects were occasionally interesting and I wondered if I might want to exploit them by writing an organ piece. (Well, why not?) Then, the organist started on the third piece, Gioco by Peter-Jan Wagemans (wikipedia). I do not need to write an organ piece, as Wagemans used all the cool bits that I had noticed and several I hadn’t. The piece was astoundingly amazing. The composer is an organist himself, so he is able to write as somebody who really, really knows the instrument. And as he’s a local guy, it’s very well-suited to the sort of organ they tend to have in Holland. It played off the reverb in the cathedral very well, using short notes played quickly to create textures. There was a section where a certain flourish was repeated a few times and each time there was a note repeated afterwards like an echo. The stops for that note were really mushy sounding, not cutting through at all, so it was hard to tell when it started and stopped. It was more of a presence. And I swear, it sounded like a real echo. One that boldly defied physics: believable and slightly disorienting!
There was no clapping between pieces, but the audience was all abuzz after that one. Organists, take note: you can make people very happy if you depart from the 17th century. There are composers alive today and some of their work is amazing.
Then, alas, we returned to the dusty past. But, much to my delight, the last piece actually was Bach’s Toccata in d. Man, I love that piece. It’s great. So unapologetically dramatic! And it’s got these huge parts that should just, imo, shake the fillings out of your teeth. There’s a piece for an organ, something that fills a space! A gigantic installed behemoth, an ancient roman excess! Crashing and pounding like the ocean! Huge! but. It just wasn’t. Ok sure, it was dramatic. And it had a couple of moments that were kind of big. but. Maybe I’ve been conditioned by Mighty Wurlitzers to expect something too big, too much. Maybe what I expect is gauche and ostentatious and not what Bach had in mind at all. Maybe I’m crass. But crass is great fun but this was restrained and smallish.
I think the organ is just too small. It’s also kind of recessed, which can’t help.
I also think that I just must be crass, because the audience gave the organist a standing ovation and then rushed to the CD table. I do think he was a really good performer (especially the new piece was fantastic), so maybe they’re used to the organ and I’m not? I’m probably going to skip the rest of the series, however it also includes carillon recitals (no wonder the bells have been so interesting lately), so I will definitely listen for those.

Lake Woebegone

I just started getting the podcast to the American radio show “A Prarie Home Companion”. It’s patriotic Americana for the left wing. Or rather, the slightly less right wing. People who theoretically favor rights for gay people and women and immigrants, but want to dream of the midwestern heartland, populated by lonely Norweigan farmers and their foibles and aren’t we all struggling in this together, all of us straight, white, christian liberals?

I remember listening to a christmas episode and they were talking about the town Christmas pageant and the kids dressed as Mary and Joseph and the lights and the feeling of community and it made me feel terribly lonely. Because this community was not for me. I didn’t know the word “heteronormative” yet then, but I knew this imperfect paradise of essentialist americanism was not for me.
And my patience for it and longing for it has since been replaced by annoyance. What makes white, heterosxual christians more american than black people or gay people or atheists or costal people or queer, atheist costal black people?
I’m really tired of Americannes being defined regionally such that minority populations are more likely to be excluded. If we stop and think for a moment, we know that Lake Woebegone is not only inhabitted by white, straight christians. People migrate within the US. Even people born to Christian families drop the ID. 10% of the kids will be queer. But the continuing refernces to Norweigan farmers implicitly excludes atheists and queers and explicitly excludes jews, latinos, black people etc. Garrison Keeler’s America is not so different than Rush Limbaugh’s America. Except in Rush’s America, the enemies are at the gate. In Keeler’s, the same people Rush calls enemies just don’t exist at all.
And this is the choice for us in America. We can be normative and blend in, we can be invisible or we can be reviled. This kind of “choice” eats into you (and by “you” I mean “me”) even if you try to reject it. Square peg, round hole. Trying to make your identity fit into the grid provided for it. Being a queer alone is suxxor, because you just don’t exist. You have no mirror to reflect your existance. Affinity groups are essential for maintaining sanity, imo. Also, NPR sucks. Can we stop calling essentialist erasism “liberal?” Because it’s not, and I’m tired of it.

Book Review (relatively spoiler free)

So I just finished the latest novel, Harry Potter and the Title that Gives Away a Major Plot Point. Um, what can I say? That book is powered by hype. It was hype that made me go to a book store at 12:20 at night so that I could be among the first to purchase it. It was hype that made me sit and read it all at once. It was hype that first got me into the series.

Let’s face it, the writing is not all that great and the plots are all pretty predictable, although I’ll admit once in a while she throws in a good twist. That said, this book is much tighter written than some of the previous ones in the series. It’s a reasonable length and extraneous bits were mostly left out. There were no quiddich matches, for instance. Returning characters appeared without any backstory, which has it’s good points, but I found it kind of confusing when a red shirt not heard of except in passing for many books suddenly appears. The book makes most sense when the other books are fresh.
After sprawling across six previous books, some of them far too long, there are a lot of characters in the Harry Potter universe. Who could keep track of all of them? The teacher of Muggle Studies? Has she even been mentioned since an aside when the kids got old enough to take electives? So when the red shirts start dropping left and right, with no re-introduction, well, wait, who just got killed?
Anyway, off to a promising start with a focused plot, the book eventually gets . . . melodramatic. I won’t quote any words from it, but the writing gets to be completely over-wrought. Unsupportably so.
In a book about magic, it’s silly to complain about a deus-ex-machina, because, well . . .. Anyway, you’ve probably already made up your mind about whether or not you’re going to read it. Perhaps, like me, it’s already too late for you. But I will give a your of caution: just skip the epilogue.
What’s with the British tacking these stupid epilogues on to things? It’s just like the last chapter of Clockwork Orange. Why do they think we can’t handle just letting the damn thing end? No, several years in the future when the pain of all the dead red shirts had subsided, the surviving characters maintained the friendships that they had built and went on to breed. “All was well.” Yeah, it actually ends with “all was well.” Gah, what bullshit. All that melodrama with an inane epilogue . . . the combinations is too much. The book has a promising beginning but doesn’t pay off in the end.
Or maybe I’m grumpy because I stayed up until 6 AM reading and then woke up a few hours later and finished it. I need a nap.

Gear Review: Nokia N800

I just got the tablet PC recommended by the Linux Journal. Although Nokia makes it, it’s not a phone. Also, it runs a different OS than Nokia phones. It’s been a while since I had such a phone, but I recall an excellent interface design and great reliability. They must have hired a different team to do the N800. Or maybe it’s the same team, but morale is low since management sent the tablet team to do a “fun” exercize in aligator wrestling and the team lead was tragically eaten. (It was a sad day for Nokia’s Elbonian devision. Most of the team stayed on, but they burn with silent resentment.)

I want to make a large, blanket statement right now. Computers are crap right now. All of them. The Mac is pretty good, but it keeps getting more and more closed. Want to hook up a bluetooth GPS to your shiny, new iphone? Too bad, Jobs says you can’t. The 21st century Henry Ford knows what you want to do and offers you only that, even if it’s not what you want to do. Also, you can get any color iphone you want as long as it’s black. All their devices get more and more closed. Their (consumer) tools are more and more closed. Want to make a web page? Hope you like the “made with a mac” look.
Windows? Don’t get me started. My jaw drops with fresh horror every time I hear what windows users are forced to put up with. I don’t understand why they use computers at all, given such provocation.
Fortunately, Linux is here to save the day! Well, maybe just Ubuntu linux, but anyway. Yay for saving the day. Too bad it won’t really run on my existing hardware.
The N800 runs a flavor of Debian linux. Did that sentence have any meaning for you? Then you’re a geek. Sorry. If it didn’t, don’t surf away yet! It shouldn’t have to make sense. This is a freaking consumer device. I just want a GPS thingee (via a seperate wireless little black platic thing) to help keep me from getting lost on bike trips and something that I can use to do some mobile blogging while on the road. I don’t want to risk my laptop being in another crash, so I got a little web device. It’s reasonable to expect a consumer to know they need software (and possibly extra hardware) for their device to do GPS stuff. It’s reasonable to expect a consumer buying a web device to have some familiarity with cruising around on the internet. I think that’s nearing the end of what’s reasonable.
It’s not reasonable that it ships with a broken operating system. Asking folks to flash a brand new device is not reasonable. (Sorry for the jargon. Notive how it’s confusing? Not reasonable! It means to use a different computer or a special program to change the device’s software to do an upgrade.) Not providing a CD with said flash program (for all common consumer OSes) is not reasonable. Requiring the use of another computer to flash it, is on the borderline of reasonability. And not having any kind of flasher for Mac users is not at all reasonable. They’re all linux-y, but they don’t release the source for the flasher. So they don’t have it, I can’t get it, I can’t build it myself.
The N800’s “killer app” for GPS map stuff looks really nice when it isn’t crashed, not working, or not talking to the GPS. Let’s be fair, it might be because I’m running a broken OS. The web browser is doing something wrong with cookies, so I cannot figure out how to update my blog. Err, since basically, I got it for blogging and map stuff, it’s 0 for 2 right now.
But it’s got mini usb, so at least I can plug in my camera, right? Hahahaha, no. The miniusb is useful for when you want to flash the device (don’t do that on the subway or you risk fines) and for when you want to use it as a memory card reader for your regular computer and for nothing else. It can’t charge the device. It can’t take a keyboard, a mouse, a joystick, my phone, my camera, nada. Ok, but the N800 takes memory cards. This strongly implies that I can take a picture, pop the card out of my camera, pop it into the N800 and post it to the internets. If my camera uses MiniSD cards. It doesn’t. It takes a sony memory stick.
Ok, so possible work arounds involve: 1. Buying a new camera (not a terrible idea since mine has not been so healthy since I dropped it a week or so ago). 2. Finding some sort of USB-> bluetooth converter. (Would be hot! want one anyway! Any usb keyboard becomes wireless! sexy! (Does this device even exist?)) 3. Inventing a sony memory stick -> miniSD converter. Notice that I used the word “invent.”
Yeah, so the N800 is pretty much useless to me unless I sink even more money into this or spend a bunch of time trying to find work-arounds. The whole point of it was to be cheaper than replacing a dead laptop after a crash. But it has to really be cheaper. I mean, I don’t want my laptop to die (ever, yikes. Live forever!) but a new laptop would be faster and better and I’ll probably buy one eventually anyway. So the maximum cost of the PDA thing needs to be based on a complicated equation involving the likelyhood of a fatal (to laptop, not me) crash, the cost or laptop replacement and the length of pre-upgrade life remaining in said laptop.
People really love these things. Fair enough. But it’s not a consumer device! I wanted a consumer device! I wanted something that I could turn on, double click something and see a pretty map of my neighborhood! I wanted something that would deal with my google logins the right way, so I could just post to my blog. I wanted something that could transfer data from my camera to flickr, that could copy data to and from my bluetooth phone and to and from my bluetooth computer without having to use wires. I wanted to plug in a home-brew keyboard. I wanted something that could just use the same USB-based charger as my phone and ipod and other devices. These are all things that consumer web device should be able to do. Right out of the box. Without requring google searches of forums dedicated to hacking the damn thing.
Sadly, my free software ideology and stubbornness is going to cause me to keep pounding on the damn thing until it WORKS damn it. I’m a hacker after all. These problems have solutions. Non-consumer-level solutions. If you’re not a hacker, don’t buy this tablet.

Thanksgiving in Paris

Air France is a much nicer airline than US airlines. Rmemeber the old days before everyone was terrified that the person next to them had a shoe bomb and you could stand up and stretch without being eyed nervously and people did crazy things like walk around and stand in line for the bathrooms? Air France is like that and the stewards are polite. Downsides were that they kept waking me up for things like food or to warn me that airturbulence might break my neck is I sleep with me head pitched forward on my tray table. I’ve never heard of that before. Is it because US-based airlines don’t care if I break my neck? Is it a special feature of french airplanes?

Arrived v. tired in Paris. Took a nap. then went out to see the world Priemere of a LaMont Young piece. I don’t know the name of the piece. Christi insisited that we arrive one hour early to listen to the talk. The talk was in French, of course, so I didn’t understand a word of it. “Blah blah blah John Cage blah blah serialism blah blah.” Well, I got a few words. I didn’t mind because I know Christi has extensive experience listenign to and understanding lectures in French about music. But then she slipped out and went to a bar without telling anyone, while I and her mom (who also doesn’t understand French) stood respectfully and listened to the lecture.
The piece was three hours long and seemed to involve a few different tuning schemes, but I couldn’t tell you more than that, as I didn’t understand the lecture. There were drony MAX-based electronic sounds, I think samples of cello and a solo cello player with a couple of pedals. The auditorium was about 90 degrees Farenheit (I come to France and I can’t speak the language and I don’t do metric…) and there was inscence burning and just-intoned drone-y sounds. I fell asleep twice in the first twenty minutes. then was awake for a while, then out for about 40 minutes where I had a dream that I was on an airplane and instead of the big TV screen at the front of the cabin, they had a solo cello performer. There was a while where I had my eyes closed but was not alseep. Eventually, the cellist was playing fast rythms in the sort of the same mode as the piece started out in. The same kinds of gestures were being made, but they were all ornamented with fast notes, also in the same sort of gesture. It was sort of fractal that way. It was exciting, but then it was drony again and I’m afraid I dozed off again. Finally, the peice was over and the cellist just sat at the front and looked stressed and beat. He didn’t do the full relaxing thing that’s a clue that the piece is over. There were tentative claps here and there. People waited. Clapped quietly once, sort of testing if anyone else would join in. For four or five minutes.
Spent yesterday working on SuperCollider project. It crashes the server. Christi and her momed cooked and I coded. Now they’re out doing something interesting and I’m working on my Joan of Arc paper (and updating my blog, of course). Two French folks that Christi is friends with came over for Thanksgiving dinner. They were dubious about the holiday and about American food. But all went well. Christi ran out to get extra tomatoes (ah the convience of celebrating a holiday in a country that doesn’t recognize it) and found a computer out at the curb which has a DVD player and a CD burner, so she dragged upstairs.
I must get back to work

Drama Free Zone

I’ve decided, as of this morning, as my mind was clearing from the smoky haze and beer of the biker bar I was at last night, to avoid people that make me feel stressed. I can keep my own stress in check by not thinking about it. Two giant papers due at the end of the term that I haven’t yet started or even know how to begin? not thinking about it. those books I’m reading about medieval drama? they’re pleasure reading of course. no need to stress. no need to panic. deep breaths.

But then when someone else starts ranting and ranting and ranting about how they have no idea what to write and there’s not that much time left in the term and they’re going to flunk out, etc, etc, etc, then I get all keyed up too. this works for other ranting subjects, as well. so I’m going to hang arund mellow people instead.

Biker Bar? Did you say “biker bar?”

What’s new?

As friday was a total wash anyway, what with having an all-day long gamelan gig, I decided to not worry about working in the evening, so some folks and I went to see Love Acually, a romatic comedy staring Hugh Grant. What was I thinking? I’ll never have those two hours and eight minutes back in my life. (Before anyone accuses me of a lack of accuracy, let me make it clear that I don’t actually know how long the film was, but two hours and eight minutes seems like a reasonable number, any anyway, you have to factor in things like previews, leaving before the credits are finished, arriving late, etc, and it could well have been two hours and eight minutes. Anyway, you don’t read my blog to find out how long movies are right? but I can give an accurate review.) What made the film even worse is that I’ve sat for two weeks of lectures about film scores. So the always-terrible movie of romantic comedies was especially evident. There was an unruly number of simultaneous plots in the film, something like 12. there were three main musical themes: one was the romantic angst theme, one was the triumphal theme and one was the much more rarely used dark theme. there was also a liet motif mostly attached to a comic relief cahrecter, but also present in the rest of the film. the dark theme was so rarely used, that I have forgotten everything about it except for it’s existance.
the romatic angst theme was played on the clarinet. It was most certainly not in major. The clarinet, historically is used as a signifier of sexual experience. Here, it retains a connection to it’s early 20th century predecessors by signifying sexual tension. In the middle part of the movie, this theme was often used as the story switched from plot to plot. So there would be some development in one of the plots, a sexual tension would develop or be made more evident, the clarinet theme would come in as the actors mimed an approximation of angst, and then the scene would switch to another set of chracters.
the trimphal theme was mostly present at the end of the movie, as all of the plots but two (more on those two later), came to a triumphal conclusion. It also appeared however, earlier in the film. For example, as the Prime Minister of the UK was calling the US a bully and otherwise dissin the President of the US in an unplanned moment in a press confrence, the triumphal theme swelled majestically. Almost all of the emotional information theme is encoded in the romatic triumphal theme. the PM’s speech was controversial enough that using the darker theme would have shown it to be an unmittigated failure. The lack of a theme altogether would have been so ambigious that the audience would have been unable to gauge the PM’s sucess or failure until later scenes where characters discuss the speech. The triumphal theme was the equivalent of having the press corps burst into cheers and appluase, the kind of rediculous movie contrivance that we are spared at least until the last quarter of the film.
Near the end of the film there actually is a scene where a croud bursts into applause, but it is not for something so boring as poltics, but rather when the writer asks his former maid to marry him. the entire Portugese quarter of some unnamed French city has followed him to the restaurant where the woman, with whom he has never had a convesation in a mutually-understandable language, is waitressing. the incidental music drops out. he asks her in broken Portugese to marry her. She says yes in broken english. the restaurant bursts into applause as she decends a staircase to his arms. the triumphal music swells. Interrestingly, the restaurant contained a band playing source music (source music refers to music that the characters as well as the audience can hear), who had fallen silent for the proposal. When the woman accepted, the band immediatly struck up again, but the sound track only contained the triumphal theme in it’s orchestral scoring. the scoring of the triumphal theme, as well as the dark theme and the calirnet theme, never varied in scoring.
the triumphal theme is unrelentingly cheesy. More romantic than the romatics would have wirtten. It saturates the sound track at the end. Assaulting the audience, and informing them of the very happy endings.
Not all the endings are happy, however. for instance, one of the plots contains an agressive female. this plot, like all the other plots, aside from the other unhappy ending, is told from the male’s point of view (the movie contains only heterosexual pairings). a woman in his office is trying to seduce him, despite his having an exceptionally wonderful wife. the other woman, like all the other characters is entirely one dminesional. One of the advantages to squeezing in so many plots is that virtually no character development is required and there is opportunity to use every romantic comedy cliche that exists. however, the other woman is even more one-dimensional than anyone else in the movie. Her motivation appears to be evil. For example, her male target is talking to his wife at the office Christmas party. his wife goes to get him a drink or perform some other small favor. the man calls his wife either a saint or an angel. then the other woman appears, wearing devil horns and a red dress. This level of (un)subtlety is used throughout the film. his story ends unhappily as his disabused wife painfully smiles at him, miming being happy at his return while the evil temptress is pictured looking evilly happy in her apartment, standing in front of her mirror in her sexy underwear, putting on the necklace that the husband bought for her.
the story of the cheating husband (who never went further than buying a necklace) is contrasted with the story of the cheating wife. this story, also told from a male perspective, involves, like all the stories except the Other Woman plot, involves an agressive male. It begins with two men in formal wear discussing the regretablity of them having recently frequented prostitutes who turned out to be men. the camera pans out and we see that one of them is getting married. the best man is angsty at the reception and iirc, someone asks him if he is in love with the groom (at least, I think that’s what I heard). the man acts alarmed, but not homophobic at the question and then changes the subject. Later in the movie, the wife views the wedding video shot by the best man and discovers it is all of her, thus indicating that he loves her. he storms out of his apartment, deliberating for a while whether to go back in and speak with her, while a score (“score” refers to music not heard by the characters) pop song plays in the background. finally, he zips up his jacket and the pop song becomes louder, thus providing a stinger and signaling that he has made up his mind to leave. Near the end of the film, he goes to her house and she kisses him. At the very end of the film, he, she and the husband are pictured together whiel the triumphal music swells, thus indicating approval for him persuing her. thus a male homewrecker is acceptable, while a female one is trouble.
however, some of the conversations earlier in the film may have ben intended to convey a much more complicated relationship. In the old days, a converstaion about male prostitutes (and the shared sexual experience) and a question about his relationship woth the groom would have been enough to signify the best man as a bisexual. As romantic comedies do not tend to be on the cutting edge of film convention, it may have been the intended implication here as well. Perhaps playing triumphal music for the three of them is designed to show that they all manage to live happily ever after.
the other unhappy ending is the sole one told from the female point of view. All of the other stories end at the arrival gate of Heathrow airport, while the triumphal music swells for all but the cheating husband. this story doesn’t even get to the airport. A woman, working at the same office as the cheating man, has a crush on one of her colleagues. Junior high-style, they slow dance at the office Christmas party and thus are then dating, or something. He asks her to dance, so she is passive during their plot. they go back to her apartment and are making out (his idea) when her phone rings. Her phone rings constantly throughout the movie. In this scene, it is revealed that the person she talks to is her brother, who is insane. the male is annoyed at the interruption. they resume making out when the brother calls again and she agrees to go see him. the male love interest objects. this may be one of the scenes where the dark theme is employed.
near the start of the film, the woman is encouraged by her boss, the cheating husband, to make a pass at her colleague and told that the colleague is aware of her interest in him. Despite this, she continues to act entirely passivle until she goes to visit her brother in the mental hospital, rather than have sex with her colleague. when she become active, she annoys her potential partner and their relationship is ended. During her second to last scene, she is seated, at her computer, working late, while he, the second to last person to leave the office walks by and they awkwardly wish each other a merry christmas. In the last scene, she is wrapping a scarf around the neck of her brother in the mental hospital.
the theme that plays in the mental hospital is the leitmotif theme, a major theme in the movie, but also attached to an aging rockstar, one of the few people not persuing anyone. He has re-recorded a version of his old hit song, which used to go “Love is all around us./ I can feel in my fingers./I can feel it in my toes.” the new version has been changed to “christams is all around us.” the movie open with him in the recording studio accidentally singing the wrong version several times before getting the right one. the song thus functions both as a love theme and a holiday theme, thus reminding us that it is a christams (and christian, really) movie.
the christmas/love theme is often source music, as the rock star frequently appears either on a television watched by one of the other characters or on the radio, however it also occurs in the score, but possibly with a different scoring in that case. It has been stuck in my head for days. the theme acts as intermediate theme, signifying love, but not sucess or angst. the 11 year old boy, while running through the airport to tell a departing classmate that he loves her, pauses for a minute to watch a television with the rocks star on it. after his pause, he runs past the final security barrier to talk to his classmate. the pause thus reaffirmed somehow his love for her and thus was worth the possibility of the persuing secrity gaurds catching him.
there are a few instances where the music is ambigious in regards to being source or score. For example, characters will be at a party where source music is playing, but then they are shown in a car with no cut in the soundtrack, so the pop song has changed from source to score. In one scene, a radio station plays a love song in honor of the Prime Minister and in movie cliche fashion, he dances all over his house until someone walks in on him. the music is assumed to be source, except that it cuts off suddenly as he is discovered, thus showing that it must be score. this is such a movie cliche, that the audience does not pause for a moment to wonder why the prime minister would be dancing around his silent house.
The last elemnt of the movie worthy of discussion involves body image. All of the women are exttremely skinny except for the Prime Ministers’ love interest who is an average weight. Most of the other women look emaciated. the chaeting wife weights about 10 pounds, for example (this is an exagerration, please don’t raise issues of accuracy). This normal-looking woman is discussed several times, being described as having huge thighs and giant butt. In my opion, she was one of the most attractive women in the movie, and she does get her love interest in the end (the Prime minister, at that), but her weight is criticized several times.
the other character to have her weight discussed it the Portugese maid’s sister. the maid first brings her up as she declines an offored pastry. then the sister later appears in the film as comic relief. the writer appears at the door of the maid’s father to ask for the maid’s hand in marriage. the sister appears and the father orders her to marry the writer, despite never having met him, as nobody else would want to marry someone so fat. the writer asks for the other daughter. the father takes the writer to the restaurant where the maid works while more and more people follow along to see what will happen. the conversation along the way is half people wondering what will happen and half the father insulting the daughter for her weight. He calls her “Miss Dunking donuts 2003,” for example. the musical cues, the comic setup inherent in the cliche of the confused follwing crowd and the predjudices fo the audience solicitted a laugh from the theatre that I attended. Other fat jokes along the way were also laughingly approved by the audience.
In conclusion, I have written far too many papers and I can’t make it stop. Also, this movie, like many romantic comedies, is hetero-normative and essentially conservative, urging women to adopt conventional social roles and to be passive in relationships. Non-passive women are either evil or alone. It may even be dangerous to have a story told from your own point of view. The anti-feminist viewpoint is most prevelant in romatic comedies, a genre of films made for women viewers. why some women enjoy cheesy movie cliches, being assaulted by triumphal themes that Wagner or even Bruckner would have been ashamed to write, and being programmed to be helpless and undernourished is a mystery to me, but somehow it seems to work finacially for the studios. I’m not seeing anymore films unless they’re somehow art films or the last section of the lord of the rings trilogy.

what about the damn biker bar

We decided to go bowling with angela last night, but we got lost and we called to ask for directions, the alley told us they weren’t going to have any free lanes. So we went to a billard hall that we had passed along the way, but they had a cover. So we decided to go to the Red Dog Saloon. Tiffany loved it. it’s a real biker bar. Jessica arrived later and was given a hard time by the bartender. She has nothing of a biker bar about her and is entirely out of place in such an establishment. Angsty conversation ensued, which was widely overheard by interested eavesdropping males. Yesterday, I also gave Xena a bath, so she smells much less offensive. And I wrote the introduction to my Joan of Arc aper. Today, I’m supossed to be creaing 12 sounds for some john cage thing, but i’m posting to my blog instead. alas.