Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Toes on the Shore

A look at the best-selling films in the US and in Continental Europe show, I hold, that European society leads one to better taste in films. Part of this is due to the strength of conservative Catholicism and other puritan factions in the US - the Hays Code and culture that grew around it ensured that our films would have happy endings and uphold the moral order. Once established, a prudishness in society lingers even if largely abandoned (curiosity: could different prudishness pulling people in different directions coexist, or would they displace each other in ways that the mainstream could not replace any of them?). The Catholics may have played a central role in making our society more childlike through this type of media control, but does that carry over directly into other forms of media? Film is a multilayered medium, where the surface content is easy to read and possibly to censor, and the metaphorical layers progressively more difficult (they're more difficult to read as well, eventually approaching disagreement as deep as Jung's reading of dream-metaphors). Music is similar, but only in music that includes lyrics is there an obvious and (possibly) highly accessible surface layer that might meet the censor's brush. Has music suffered as much from legislative prudishness as film has? I would guess not - controls on music are inherently more difficult to formulate, and while there have been some controls on it (including the irritating bleeping of some words on radio and television), those changes are not as pervasive as reworking of film plots. That said, we can imagine any prudishness already inherent in American society, enhanced through film censorship (both during the Hayes era and in remnants afterwards) might lead us towards the superficial (although probably in a milder form than in our taste in films). To return to the main point, I am curious whether one, given information on relative popularity of songs in different nations (easily available), would find significant differences in taste between nations that somehow corrispond to national culture (and likewise with regions and regional culture). What could we learn about Bavarian culture by their tastes in music? French? Are there correlations we could draw with their taste in films? I imagine we'd want to try to correct for the effects of music promotion industry, which would be pretty difficult.

The last few days have been full of terrible migraines and misadventures. Yesterday I was trying to go to Bloomfield but boarded (bärde?) the bus going southwestbound rather than northbound, and so I rode it out of curiosity until I reached a bus garage a ways south of the Southside and a long layover. I always chuckle a bit whenever I get the 「Where the heck are you trying to go?」 from a bus driver. I was going to stay on on the reverse trip through Oakland to Bloomfield but my previous mild migraine began to spike so I went home and passed out. I probably would not have gone in to work today were I not reassembling the machine room - all the bending over and sitting and standing to connect things is not that fun when my head and eyes are pounding is not that great. Still, the move is going pretty well, no hardware died during the move of the systems I've connected so far (and only one developed disk problems), which is a pleasant surprise. Tomorrow I bring up the beast (our local installation of Emulab), which will be unpleasant, labourious, and difficult. Fortunately, my migraine seems to be waning, and mood is holding steady at "blah" so far.

Roger Ebert has provided the world an intimidating list of films to see, making me wish I had some artsy friends.

I find it interesting to compare the work done by past high political leaders across the world by party. In the US, we note that Democrats traditionally involve themselves with humanitarian causes, while the same pattern holds true for Labour in Britain.

Continued sketching, doodling, and comicking, but signs of skill are still rather distant. Oh well. I do have some excellent models, although if I focus on them I might end up only drawing things for furries. Only slightly related: It is bizarrely difficult to find an affordable flatbed scanner that works under Linux. Newegg has nice deals on cheap scanners that won't work, and looking through the SANE hardware compatibility list against everything suggests that it might be cheaper to get a MacMini plus a bargain flatbed scanner than to buy a scanner that works on Linux. I don't know if I'm quite interested enough to get one, although for about $60 it was kind of tempting before I saw that scanner wouldn't work. This is in the context of having lost access to okay flatbed scanners that used to be in my office. Maybe this should go on the very large pile of things that I would be interested in if I were feeling better. It's kinda sad looking at the snowboard, rollerblades, artstuffs, games, and the rest going mostly unused.

I've been wondering wondering about the trainability of cats - my two seem to really like cavelike areas, fashioning them out of the covers to my bed, clothes (much to my irritation, as my clothes are sometimes covered by fur before I get to wear them), cabinets, and whatever else they can find. I'm under the impression that cats were last in their premutualism EEA as desert cats, creatures that probably have little experience with caves (I may not be thinking of the right kinds of deserts - Yemen and Oman, for example, have some really fantastic cave structures, I understand). What is the appeal of caves to such a creature? Maybe caves are the only safe place to hide when the rare rain floods the deserts? I also am interested in how they treat humans differently than other cats - my cats do cuddle with each other a lot (even as their cleaning of each other usually leads into a fight), but they cuddle differently with me - my two like climbing on my back or chest when I'm lying down, something largely impossible with other cats. What's the social meaning of that? Did they have enough time in their period of mutualism with humanity to generate new social behaviour? I always guessed that we became surrogate parents to them, surrogate parents with magical powers that are extentions to how parent cats feed their young. I don't know how their different way to act around us versus each other fits, as it doesn't fit into that dynamic. As for dogs, things always felt more clear - we're the natural alphas of the pack, with few things not fitting in. Perhaps the shorter time of mutualism between cats and humans versus dogs and humans means that our social role is less clear.

I have long been confused as to scallions and scallops. As of recent, I know that these are two different words that reference different things. Eventually I will remember which is which (fortunately, I can say that I don't want either in anything I eat). I've also had terrible cravings for fondue recently.

That new Netgear router is pretty awesome. It has some nice QoS features I'm playing with to moderately throttle filesharing (both mine and the neighbours) to keep the network responsive for other things. I probably should consider upgrading the connection too, and maybe laying gigabit through my apartment - the cost would be very affordable for the latter, and it would probably be worth it for the former. I don't really like spending money on improving a situation I really should be getting myself out of, but I guess taking that too far is kind of silly.


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