Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why do I even have Insurance

So three years ago I was in a car accident (not my fault) and my insurance carrier put me through the ringer. It took 3 months to finally get a settlement. 3 MONTHS!! Without the claim going through I couldn't buy another car so it was all public rides and mooching off friends. So I ended up dropping Mecury and going with AAA. We'll 3 years later and I get into another accident, once again not my fault, and it looks like I'm about to go through the same stupid hoopla again. I'm over a month and half into the claim and the insurance company is once again dragging their feet, requesting additional information for the umpteenth time and everything else they can do to delay payment. So why even pay for insurance if this is the crap I have to go through in order to get these situations worked out. I've been paying every year for auto coverage for what 16 years now? How much have they made off me? Yet they can't facilitate an easy transition when its their turn. Sucks that it's illegal to drive w/o coverage yet they can drag their responsibilities out ridiculously long. But what can you do. Them's the breaks right?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Han's Carbon argument

So I got into a weird discussion with my friend the other day about carbon and subsequently Han solo.  My friend, who will remain devoid of a name, is chem major and a star wars geek and he decided that it would be fun to link Han solo's carbonite jail with molecular bond co-valence equations.  I lost most of what he said later on in the conversation but I've never seen anyone able to scientifically analyze sci fi like my friend.  Apparently the carbonite jail in star wars would have exploded in reality if it was based on a standard carbon molecular structure.  The base structure would actually create an unstable flux similar to carbonite explosives which (and I'm gonna quote from wiki cause I can't remember the specifics) is  "consisting essentially of nitroglycerin, wood meal, and some nitrate, as that of sodium."  Thus Han Solo would have gone boom the second he was jostled the wrong way or a random laser gun discharge.  I laughed and told him that star wars carbon and our earth carbon are probably different and don't work the same way.  He couldn't disprove this so that was the end of that.  I just find how interesting some people are and the connections they make to random things.  Gotta love perspectives.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Simulacra and Surrogates


Simulacra and Surrogates

The issue of Simulacra seems to be multifaceted and dense almost to a point where it disseminates into an ambiguous state that the idea itself seems to create. Yet breaking it down filters out what can be viewed as 'additional' components. To do this, the simplest way would be to start with a basic question: what is simulacrum? Hyperreal. Too easy? But then what is the core importance of it? To Baudrillard it is truth. But the issue of hyperreal vs mimetic blurs that line of "truth". The clip for Surrogates and the movie itself exemplifies this issue. The first place to start would be by understanding how Jean Baudrillard views the separation of real from hyperreal and follow the line of thinking from there.

First, it is viewed that "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality" (Baudrillard) is the hyperreal; at its basic is the replacing of real with the simulacrum. But the hyperreal takes it one step further, it by having "the territory no longer preced[ing] the map, nor survives it" (Baudrillard). In the case of Surrogates, people are replaced by their robot selves who go out and experience life for/with the controller. The 'real' human is replaced by the 'hyperreal' robotic counterpart. Yet the simplicity of this is re-ambiguated through the idea of simulation vs mimetic, where mimetic is 'feigning' realness wherein simulation "produces 'true' symptoms" (Baudrillard). This, interlaced with the idea of replacing the real, leads to the question of 'truth'. If simulation is all but producing the source, then is it still 'true'? The controllers lead true lives and experience real situation in so much that their Surrogate is the direct gateway, yet since they themselves are not there in flesh and blood, does this negate these experiences as being 'true' experiences? Baudrillard would say that simulation decays truth and that the "lack of distinction is the worst for of subversion" (Baudrillard).

In the movie further truth is distorted by the fact that this hyperreal preceding the real creates built in reactions that aren't original since they wouldn't have existed without the preceding simulacrum. The idea that Surrogates come free of risk so that the controller may experience what they wish without fear creates a built in unnatural reaction that would not normaly occur without this simulacra present. Likewise if the simulacra is removed, as with Bruce's character at a certain point, the overwhelming reaction of fear and negative emotions are in direct relation once again to the source or hyperreal. The final point is realized [spoiler alert for those who have not seen the movie] in what he coins as his fourth phase of hyperreal when the controllers are severed from their Surrogates. The cycle of simulation breaks down with the drive to return to the authentic, real truth.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Really?? The "WM3"

Gotta love the American Judicial system. Apparently it's okay for people to kill children and then have their conviction (yes they were convicted) repealed by a judge who plea bargains with child killers. The 'West memphis 3" My part of the msnbc's report was "The three were placed on 10 years' probation and if they re-offend they could be sent back to prison for 21 years, Prosecutor Scott Ellington said." Really?? They should be killed not put back in prison. I just hope that their 18 years in jail were filled with lots of Big Bubba's special time. What really gets me is the fact that they agreed to a deal that allows them to basically plead innocent yet acknowledge at the same time that there is enough evidence to convict them... What?! Isn't that guilty? Just another travesty of our failing legal system.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


One of the biggest element that stands out with Maus is transition that takes place between book I and Book II. Maus I contains two frames of reference; one of the relationship between arty and his father (external frame) and then the story that his father tells of his experience in WWII (internal frame). Book II maintains this dual frame work yet introduces a third almost metacognitive frame in which Arty directly discusses his difficulty in writing the story. Another interesting moment happens on the opening page of book II where this meta fictive element comes into play. Art Spiegelman uses a visual metaphor by making his humans appear with animalistic elements. On page 11 there is a discussion between Arty and Francoise about which animal he will draw her as yet she appears already as a mouse on the page. This metaphor comes back to the forefront a few more times cognitively throughout Book II. On page 41 where Art's third frame presents itself, the characters are drawn all wearing appropriate masks. Then on page 50, an overlap of a character as a mouse/cat plays into the discussion of whether he was a Jew or a German non Jew. Even though these two conscious decisions, that of frames and visual metaphor, are used in his first book, the differences of these two elements in the second book become very interesting to analyze and compare to one another.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Best American Comics

Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian is probably one of my favorite selections from Best American Comics 2008. It uses a base tonal quality of black and white however it shifts the gray to a brown hue. This gives the comic a more round feel where in black and white has a tendency to have more of a flat effect. This effect adds a whole new dimension to the comic that it would otherwise lack. Even though the drawing is still a relatively simplistic non realistic style, this added hue brings a depth and dimension to it while still keeping the mood somber and dark. What really adds to this comic is the panel transition variation. Malkasian uses almost all the different kinds other than non-sequitur. This along with the varied ways she breaks up the panels themselves, using transitions other then box to box, adds a surrealistic fluid feel to the pacing. Lastly I enjoyed the use of “motion lines” throughout. She uses both subtle and overt multiple images in order to create the various motion effects throughout yet the reader never feels brow beaten by the amount used. All these various techniques blended to create an aesthetically pleasing read.

First Blog

Just testing out what this is going to look like before I start posting.  I'll be using this blog to consolidate multiple school blogs for archiving and discussion purposes.