Thursday, May 31, 2007

Charges Dropped on Kid Who Wrote "Violent" Essay

If you haven't been keeping up with the story about the kid who was charged with a misdeamonour for writing an assigned spontaneous essay, albeit on violent topics, check out the following entries Student Charged With Misdemeanor and More Information & Opinions on the Kid Who Got Arrested for an Essay.

I don't have a link to an article, but last week on q101's The Morning Fix, I heard the charges on the kid were dropped! Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Week. . .Same Old Crap

I miss that spurt of writing everyday I did here, even if some of it was just posting articles. Sadly, I've started dedicating myself more at work (and feeling less fulfilled). On top of that, tons of wedding stuff to do.

And the ADHD doesn't help. Not having an easy time at prioritizing things, other than "work on wedding because if this crap doesn't get done, the fiancee won't be happy and the people around me will be disappointed." Also have done lots of thinking about having a family in the future, how to bring up a kid healthy and safe and just a whole bunch of that "lame" stuff.

Reading Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls probably has encouraged this type of thinking, even though I started reading it more as research for my bachelors project. It has provided some interesting insight there, but I still have a meta-social/individual identity question still hankering me. . .essentially, why do some people choose to buck the society and what's so good about doing so?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Let's Explore "Show, Don't Tell"

In response to the Heroes finale and the following from Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People: I Guess There are Some Things a Hero Can't Save:

I wondered why Peter didn't fly himself, but then figured maybe he couldn't, but I do wish they had some sort of explanation. ("Nathan, I can't do two things at once! You're gonna have to fly me up!" Something like that...)

I voiced my frustration about hearing the now stereotypical advice "Show, don't tell" over at Dead Things ON Sticks: Thursday Morning Yes/No. When I finally get my ass into writing here again (like that's going to happen before the wedding -- just spent the whole evening clearing out e-mails from my "compulsory" mailbox and my mind feels like it's going to explode from everything that needs to get done, not just for the wedding but for life), I'd like to post a rant about "Show, don't tell."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Heroes Time(lines) and Season Finale

I completely appreciate the finale of Heroes last night, especially with the Chapter 2 act out/cliffhanger.

Nonetheless, I still find myself trying to work through the logic of the timelines, of how the original timeline was changed to the corrected one. I get the Nathan Petrelli being influenced by Claire Bennett/Petrelli, but I haven't totally bought into Nicki's involvement or even the mind reading cop's involvement in the final confrontation.

I have the feeling that it all may have something to do with details that we haven't seen or somehow saving the cheerleader really has saved the world, but I can't see how things happened in the original timeline without trying to save the cheerleader in the first place. And at the same time, the cheerleader in the original timeline (or at least the time line in which Hiro most recently traveled into the future of) WAS saved.

Emotionally, I totally got into the episode last night except for the final confrontation. I probably would have if I felt that the narrative timeline logic had been addressed. At the same time, though, knowing that Hiro will continue to be a character in the show -- and that, more than likely, Micah and can-find-anyone-just-by-thinking-about-them girlwill have something to do with future chapters -- I'm willing to give the show some leeway.

After all, we don't know, for certain, if anyone has died, not even Hana Gitelman. With that last scene of the manhole cover, Sylar could still be alive!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Intoducing the Amazing Fiancee!!!!

The "natives" of the fiancee's Creative Writing program at her college inspired me to write a fun 3-sentence intro for the fiancee:

[The fiancee] has miraculously survived her second semester in the Creative Nonfiction Program. Inventor of the wheel, employed as an assistant editor at Crain Communications, she established the Antarctic penguin civilization and is getting married to the most handsome man in the universe who lies, lies and lies even more at the end of next month. She's overjoyed to get up in front of everyone and reveal her soul to this fine audience.

People, this is what you get when you arrive late to an event in which you're supposed to perform when your guest, a good friend or intimate, shows up very early or on time. You, of course, need to mix in the mischeviousness of other friends and acquaintances, but nonetheless, this is what happens. How much do you enjoy being the butt of a good-natured joke that elevates you to greatness?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Coping with Writing Burnout

Dealing with burnout? I might be soon. . .and that's why I'm linking to Get Paid To Write: How To Cope With Writing Burnout now.

Haven't read the articles yet, but I may need to.

Anyone have any tips not mentioned in the articles? Or maybe they're mentioned, but you could elaborate on them more.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Reasoned Rumbling Rant Against Fan Fiction

Miffed at both the argument and the rhetoric made not by the blogger at Dead Things ON Sticks: Top Gun: The Musical, And The Photocopy, and the Parody, and the High Horse, I made a reasoned out rant against fanfic.

I'm pretty proud of it. It starts:

My initial reaction to Alison: You're making a philosophical argument whereas the situation that inspired the recent dialogue and why writers don't read a spec or fan fic about their show is legal argument.

Essentially, the legal side addresses issues of who owns the rights to the characters and the execution of those ideas. . .


Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Crazy Week

The title says it for this week so far.

Had something of a crazy weekend visiting Chicago's Chinatown then dancing to BT for free on Saturday. More on BT later.

Monday night, saw Frozen at the Next Theatre in Evanston. Good play and nice to get out of the city. More on that one later, too.

Tonight, had dinner with a friend and pitched them on some individual health insurance. People in Chicagoland, if you're looking for health insurance, e-mail me at dummiester@gmail.com. Feel free to e-mail there with thoughts directly to me that you don't want posted on the blog, too.

Tomorrow, dinner with the dramaturg of Frozen at the Next Theatre in Evanston. Even though it's my fault for buying an expensive ticket, he wants to buy me dinner to make up for it. Makes for a good excuse to see a friend, but I'm happy he acknowledges that it's my mistake.

I have, in the meantime, seen this week's Heroes and been doing my crazy hyperfocused research. Other than the three pages I wrote on Sunday, haven't done any writing. On Friday, get to attend the fiancee's end of the semester reading. Saturday, get suit for the wedding tailored and birthday festivities. Sunday, go to see Spiderman on IMAX with Chicago-SF group.

Next week, two writing workshops then heading to the Northeast for a couple weddings.

Great to see friends, but sucks that I don't have the time to write/really research and also that I don't have the money to pay for book to research. Ugh.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Returning to the Source

As might be obvious from recent blog entries, I've faced something of an existential crisis. The bachelor's project, as I wrote about yesterday regarding my research issues, acted as the switch that made it happen. I feel, happily, like I'm returning to the source that has pushed me toward my attraction and studies into utopianism.

A part of me frowns at the feeling that I will essentially approach utopianism from a mysticism for the layperson, but the facts and my intuition refute that frown. The more and more I delve deeper into utopianism and trying to find a non-reductive way to explore the field in an analytical way, I find the need to go into the direction of mysticism.

During high school, I had some fascination in mysticism, but I also had an interest in psychoactive drugs. I think I was looking for some kind of transcendental meaning to life, my existence and so on and so forth. That probably also explains my interest in The Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac. I want IT, the IT that Dean Moriarity (Neal Cassady) talked about in On The Road. On some level, I think I felt utopia could help people get that much closer to IT!

Will have to think and ruminate more about this one. I'm sure you readers will see more of these revelations. . ..

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In a Sour, Sour Research Pickle

(Wow. Let's all take a second to recongize the passing of the Charlie Jade official website. I'm going to hope that means bigger and better things await it. . .like getting broadcast on US TV.)

Is that what's important?
To know what to do. . .
or the fact that you're even trying?

- Blues Paddock (Rolanda Marais),
Charlie Jade, "Episode 1.18: A Bedtime Story"


On to the main topic of this entry:

I've gotten myself into a minor pickle when it comes to research for the bachelor's project. Many months ago, I made a great breakthrough by reading up on "living traditions" and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. I had such a breakthrough that I finished up a paper I had been working on for two years or so, having gotten stuck in the conceptualization and development stages.

Since I started working at a small insurance agency in January, I browsed the Web a lot more randomly. While doing so, I stumbled on the concepts of stereotypical behavior and enrichment. Essentially, animals in featureless spaces engage in the unhealthy stereotypical behavior, such as pacing, rocking, swimming in circles, excessive sleeping, self-mutilation (including feather picking and excessive grooming), and mouthing cage bars. Enrichment involves the practice of creating a more stimulating and "natural" environment for animal to prevent stereotypical behavior.

When it comes to enrichment, people commonly use the word to refer to education. We all feel boredom, pace, fidget, chew our fingernails, worry, ruminate obsessively and get involved in our own stereotypical behavior while in an unstimulating environment and situation. At some point after discovering these concepts, I thought they could be applied to humans and utopianism easily. After all, Brave New World comes off as something of a bland environment, which requires drugs to distract people from the blandness. Fahrenheit 451 criticizes unstimulating environments, on some level, too. Frankly, my novel does.

Sadly, making the connections hasn't proved so easy. I should take some blame for it, though, as I took a somewhat long way about before finding a bit of direction. Going back to Viktor Frankl, I saw connection to existential therapy. Unfortunately, after researching both the therapy and some more about existentialism and the various philosophers of that "school," I didn't really get anywhere. Their theories felt way too subjective, metaphysical and didn't really shed any light on the interplay between individuals and society.

Going back to Frankl again, I learned that his main influence was Alfred Adler, who was an associate with Sigmund Freud for some time. Adler has influenced psychology and pop psychology quite a bit. He introduced the inferiority complex and the idea that child order, from oldest to youngest to only child, influences the personality of the children. As something of a paraphrase of the relationship between Adler and Freud: Freud took a negative, romantic view toward society -- people developed neuroses because society warped them -- Adler took a postive view -- people developed neuroses because they didn't adapt to society.

I've gotten into doing some preliminary reading of Adler on the Web because I don't want to purchase another book only to find that his theory doesn't work for me. The material on the Web that focuses on Adler is vast and doesn't necessarily focus on the aspect that interests me so much: the interplay and interdependence between individuals and society. Supposedly, he says that individuals should have social interest in taking part in society but they should also have their own individual subjective goals that, I'm guessing, they can only accomplish while in society. Furthermore, once an individual has accomplished some of their goals, they will develop new ones and so on and so forth. Of course, individuals can have maladaptive relationships with society because of their environment, situations and how other people treat them. A person who adapts to society will generally thrive. . .and I'm starting to have a feeling that Brave New World and stories of that ilk criticize hedonistic and distracting societies by intentionally or unintentionally (can't say which. . .) based on the fact that even though individuals are "happy," they don't have individual goals, don't really have meaning, thus they're not really psychologically healthy. Still a lot of details to work out on this one.

The fiancee and other people who know me well probably groan while reading this entry. They will wonder if this tangential research will lead me on an unproductive detour over the next year or so. I don't plan to let it do so. After all, I don't have to write any papers on Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 or that kind of dystopia. I'm just writing that kind. I think I have enough theory to finish the project without Adler. Nonetheless, I think with his help, I can write a better novel and provide better insight into utopianism.

Nonetheless, still in a pickle. I really do need to get better at this research thing if I hope to become a freelance writer or, at the least, write novels and stories faster than I do already. Ah well. . .guess that will have to be my next goal that society will help me accomplish.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ballsy Heroes

You have to really give the writers for Heroes a lot of credit. Catch up on show through streaming video and the online novel. Our heroes have really been put into a corner, of which I have a hard time seeing a solution. Whether the time line goes the way they've shown us already or the heroes stop the explosion, these writers really have balls.