This is the flier that advertised the performance of my play, Street Preacher.
Yearly Archives: 2004
Today, I stepped foot outside of my very last literature class. I have turned in the last papers. I have read my last assignments. I’m not quite finished with my studies, but I hae completed my major. Tonight, I’m faced with what steps to take next.
I remember being a prolific writer before all those required readings and written assignments. Now, I am a critical reader, or so I should be if I’ve got my tuition’s worth. I have time now, to read what I want, to write what I want. What do I want?
I tried asking one of my favorite professors, “what should I read now?” He told me that a seedling that stays inside the starter pot for too long ends up with a knotted root ball, and it never grows.
Perhaps it would be nice to read some new poetry. I mean “new poetry” that was written in this decade. In undergraduate school, nothing worth consideration has occured during the present decade.
Reading Anders Fagerjord’s blog I am reminded of a poorly articulated idea I had, that I called “levels of text.” As it turns out, the idea has been articulated elsewhere as “stretchtext. You know, a text that will be longer or shorter on demand, as suggested by Ted Nelson in 1967.”
Here’s what I’m thinking: I’ll have three, maybe four set lengths, what I call “levels.” The top level will be a longish abstract, about 200 words. The second level will be of short-paper length, and the third level will be as long as a full paper.
Food for thought…
Waypath will probably be best remembered, if at all, for its “topic streams.” Topic streams are syndicated feeds that gather related content from a variety of sources and spit them out into one place. I discovered them when one of my own posts showed up in their feed about computer animation. I added several of the interesting feeds to my Kinja digest.
Anyway, Waypath served another purpose for me.
The results I got from Waypath were very search-engine like, with very search-engine like relevance. (how much easier would the internet be if not for “manual relevance determination”)
I found jus gladii, which was probably on the list because I had posted a comment there a few days ago, on a post that I felt I could personally identify with. Then, on closer inspection of the writings there, I found this little bit of hot air
“the crucial problem of feminism, as it exists today–it doesn’t struggle for equality, as it claims, but rather for social dominance. “
All I can say in response is “Dude, you are listening to the wrong feminists!” (or “listening to the feminists wrong”) His intended point– that any kind of gender-ism really ought to strive for equality — its a well-meaning point, but it is made with none of the indications of a well-read argument.
I wonder, can anything “different” ever be truly “equal”– perhaps a complete lack of oppression is preferable to “equality” which may be irrelevant in the absence of oppression anyway.
Waypath also suggested that the website”Accidental Nomad” is similar to mine. Wow. It sure is colorful. According to the sidebar, “The Accidental Nomad is the blog/portal/diary of a mom, writer, future librarian, military brat. ”
As a point of comparison with the previous item on Waypath’s list, I found this quote from Accidental Nomad’s author:
I’m from the first generation of moms that grew up expecting to work outside the home. My mother’s generation fought for that to be accepted, but I just don’t think it’s universally and unconditionally better than staying home.
Argh! call me a freak, but is it possible to read books and also to agree with those bra-burning radicals! I think I’ve been “educated” in the bible belt for too long. get me the hell out of here!
(I should note that, for the sake of venting my own personal frustrations, I have taked the previous quote slightly out of its original context.)
The front page was mostly personal stuff, but I found a book-blog, and I think, dammit I should be keeping one of those. All I have that’s comperable is this lousy piece of shit, and that isn’t even half of what I have read in the semester since I started that list!
Anyway, Accidental Nomad’s 50 books is worth reading. Here’s an example:
While I think Lolita is a phenomenal book, I am disturbed that Vanity Fair would call it “the only convincing love story of our century.” I’m not surprised, though, that they would confuse self-gratification for love. Nabokov did a brilliant job getting into HH’s deluded, justifying head, but what HH felt for that child bore no resemblance to love. It’s sick and sad that VF thought a 40-year-old man psychologically imprisoning and abusing a child (who cried every night) was love.
As for the book itself, it was creepy, disturbing, and very, very good. Nabokov writes beautifully, even when discussing unspeakable things.
Right after cursing Waypath for somehow sending me a wave of un-feminists who are “similar” to me., I found Eventually Clever, another one with a good name. The very first sentence reads “Dina and I met our Unitarian chaplain last night. Lynne Beaudoin is as excited to perform the ceremony at the Biosphere” Alright, well getting married by unitarians at the biosphere sounds a bit more like its my cup of tea, although I probably wouldn’t actually do it myself.
But then I found something that actually is very interesting. The post is titled Game Preview: RPG Maker
I think I may have found the perfect Playstation game for my personality: RPG Maker isn’t really a game–it’s a game-building utility that lets me construct a top-down RPG game similar to the original Phantasy Star of Sega Master System fame. The game provides the raw material, and then I customize it to suit my needs/interests. If I want to create my own images, I can use the Anime Maker utility and paint my own meagre attempts at goblin representation. This game is going to keep me busy for ages….
that looks like fun.
well, the library’s about to close, so I might contine this endeavor to find likeminded blogs later.
I saw something exciting happen online, and it taught me a little something about what its like to write in this medium. It happened over there in the realm of hypertext theory, in what I take to be the upper eschelon of it, but its important to note that this kind of thing can and should happen anywhere.
I am reminded of the epigraph in Howard’s End that says “Only Connect”.
In one, qualified, paragraph Mark Bernstein called all of his “blogsphere” to task for not trading links and ideas the way he feels they had in the past.
But when was the last time Jill reviewed a hypertext, and Torill wrote a day later that she’d missed a vital point? How long has it been since Adrian proposed a new theory, Lis probed it, Anders elaborated it, and Elin puzzled over it? When did Anja last tell us how we were wrong, to be rebutted by Noah, refined by Diane, and replayed by Gonzalo?
Some of those on the recieving end of that calling out (it was a classy one, constructive) were quick to further qualify Mr. Bernstein’s observation about the state of his network of peers. There seems to be an interesting tension at play here between a scientific
“publish or perish” mentality and a preference in the humanities for face-to-face dissemination of information in the form of conversations or lectures. As a student of writing, I am personally interested in this tension because it exists inside of me.
Me, I’m not commenting on this exchange in order to further my own ambitious stance at the very edge of this kind of a community. I’m interested in it because I’m trying to find a place of my own. Maybe its like that one, maybe it isn’t.
I crave, more than anything, a “sphere”. For me, this particular “blogsphere” is giving me an insight into just what it is to be in an educated group of peers. Until recently, my only expereince with such a thing has been with “the faculty” but it need not take that kind of a form. Maybe its the Beatles, or the kind of thing that existed between Vincent Vangough and Paul Gauguin, or the community that gave rise to chemistry as we know it, but whatever it is, there’s something out there for me, even if I have to make it.
I crave a sphere because I like to share ideas, however not everybody close to me needs to care about those ideas. Near the aforementioned post, Mark Bernstein mentioned “I’ve been thinking lots about the people who don’t read this page.” I can relate.
My mother doesn’t read this. (I wish she did) … old school friends… only one of them reads this. My little sister doesn’t read this.
Maybe, for me, those people just don’t happen to be interested, and that’s probably okay. The point is that other people out there might be. Well, I’m going “out there.” I hope I find them.
The sphere for me might not be a “blogshpere” and it might not be one that blogs about blogs, of all things, but that comment coming out of the metablogshphere has given me some insight into the way spheres come to be, the way they ebb and flow, etc.
Shall I conjecture about what kind of shpere I would have? What about how I would find it?
Filed in an entire category of blog posts called “Introspection” I found what probably qualifies as the steryotypical blog post.It is introspective, more than that it considers its own introspection. Contrary to the stereotype, it somehow held my attention. Perhaps this is because I can relate to it. This entry, entitled Trying to figure out who I am considers a personal history of self-identification, part of a blog called Through A Glass Darkly. if this is any indication of the content, the blog is well named.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine about identity, and how, when things change and you can no longer identify yourself in certain ways, it can be difficult to forge your new “identity.” That got me thinking about the different ways I have identified myself over my life.
The SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre Electronic Theatre stands alone in curating and showcasing the very best of computer animation since its inception. Every year, highly respected jurors choose from among hundreds of submissions to curate select the year’s best, to be shown at the annual conference.
Siggraph and the Internet Archive have collaborated to bring online those pieces in the 2001 collection whose owners agreed to include in Siggraph’s web archive. We hope it provides an enjoyable and useful tool for scientists, engineers, mathematicians, artists, filmmakers, other computer graphics professionals, and just plain animaniacs.
If you’d like to see the other 20+ years, help us make that happen with a small donation.
Browse the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre
Step this way folks, into a carnival atmosphere of human oddity and depravity, inexplicable beauty in the strangest places, ironic affections, and betrayal. Thrill to to sight of some of the world’s most exquisite dolls. Chills to the very bone!
The world is full of unlikely monsters and unbelievable saints, and stories, like this one, that are as hard to hear as they are to believe, but worth telling anyway.
Finally, I can give you a complete list of all the poems I have, in one place. So, here it is: Poems by Dylan Kinnett
An interesting conversation began in response to last week’s entry entitled Geodesic Hypertext. The top commenter was Nathan Matais, that author of the aforementioned hypertext passed on a link to a very interesting hypertext, Galatea. Galetea was awarded “best of show” at the 2000 Interactive Fiction Art Show. Curiously, it is the story of the experience of an art show. It is also a work in such a show. In the story, you converse with Galatea, who is a work of art. From the introduction:
Much traditional Interactive Fiction offers exploration and interaction with an imagined environment. Galatea offers a conversation. The title character has moods, background, and memory; how she treats you will depend on how you choose to treat her. There is no single plot, and no one pathway through the story. The endings are numerous. Galatea accepts imperative commands in natural language. You can order your character to LOOK, EXAMINE THE PEDESTAL, or TOUCH an item. Assorted other verbs are implemented as well.
(I wonder if “To Win, Simply Play” would do well in this kind of storytelling envionment? Right now, I am converting the thing into a more blog-like interface, in order to make the sections easier to edit)
It is this kind of interface that Nathan has suggested can provide what I was wondering about as an “implied line” in writing. If I am playing the story game to you, and I say to you. “There is a sponge in front of you” You can respond by saying “I’ll squeeze the water out of it!” because my statement that there is a cup of coffee draws an implied line to the fact that it is important, or at least that it can be explored further in some way.
A few months ago, I took an interest in what it would take to make a composition like this one. I discovered this kind of interactive fiction all over again. I was thinking about ways to “finish” my own hypertext in a way that would employ all the stuff I had learned. Inform From the Beginning is an excellent jumping-off point for anyone who would begin writing an interactive fiction like Galatea.
Galatea is the exception to a general rule, for me anyway, that many of these kinds of interactive fictions lose their appeal by drowning the reader in a series of GO WEST and GO NORTH until complete disorientation and confusion is accheived. I almost always end up using a walkthrough, even in games like Myst, because the kind of problem solving skills that a reader uses are not exactly the same as the ones used with a puzzle. I am terrible with puzzles, but I like to read.
How can an interactive fiction use “implied lines” so that the thing reads less like a puzzle? How can this be done while avoiding a completely predictable story?
The links page is now a lot better. Links are now described, so you can decide whether you are interested in them or not, before you follow the links.
The archive page is also a lot better. There are several different ways you can search or browse the content of codex: alphabetically by title date or by category and from the top down or from the bottom up. That’s a lot of exercize! This is a good page to read if you want the kind of general overview that a table of contents or an index can provide.
There’s now a “What’s New” page. It is a good place to check if you are a regular reader, and want to keep up with conversations etc.
Permalinks have been upgraded. They work like this: address of codex, followed by the title of the category that the post is in, followed by the (abbreviated) title of the post. If you’re looking at an address like this, and you want to get to the whole category, the address for that is simply codex/category. This just makes the most sense to me, and hopefully to you also.
I was looking through a book called “The Early Illustrators” (by Richard “Dick” Sutphen). Look what I found!
Whoever manages to come up with the funniest caption for this image gets a prize. Its a real prize. I promise. I also promise you’ll like it. You can call it your xmas gift. And don’t say I never gave you nothin!
Use the comments link for this post to try your luck.
The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
Now, it is a pretty bold claim to say that anything could ever be an alternative to Photoshop. I’ve been using the damn thing since I was 12. I know my way around it, and I would miss certain features, features that are always frustratingly absent from almost every other image processor out there. GIMP looks good, so far. And its free.
A site whose author is “teaching a small course in media aesthetics next term, “Jerz’s Literacy Weblog has posted a link to a very interesting article by George Landow, who is one of the key thinkers in the field of hypertext theory.
What is quality in hypertext? How, in other words, do we judge a hypertext collection of documents (or web) to be successful or unsuccessful, to be good or bad as hypertext? How can we judge if a particular hypertext achieves elegance or just mediocrity? Those questions lead to another: what in particular is good about hypertext? What qualities does hypertext have in addition to those possessed by non-hypertextual forms of writing, which at their best can boast clarity, energy, rhythm, force, complexity, and nuance? What qualities, in other words, derive from a form of writing that is defined to a large extent by electronic linking. What good things, what desirable qualities, come with linking, since the link is the defining characteristic of hypertext?
The article is entitled, simply, Is this hypertext any good?
Evaluating quality in hypermedia
My friend Trent has written an insightful critique of America’s use of nuclear weapons. Here’s an exerpt:
A South Asian critic once stated that the major industrial societies, in particular the United States, are addicted to nuclear weapons. Such a statement not only illustrates America’s desire to possess nuclear weapons but also correctly defines the mindset behind American officials who claim that society cannot continue without such nuclear weapons.
Speaking of J. Nathan Matias, I should take a moment to point his newest hypertext, Philadelphia Fullerene. The author describes the work as a:
geodesic narrative montage showing people, events, and themes of ethnic life in mid-19th century Philadelphia. [...] A multidisciplinary project, it pulls together skills in art, engineering, history, writing, performance, and recording.
Nathan was kind enough to mention my work in his description of the piece, so I won’t argue with him, but I would like to point something out in response to one of his paragraphs:
I may be wrong, but I believe that Philadelphia Fullerine is the first (let’s hope of many) hypertext sculptures. Because it’s a hypertext, it encourages readers to explore the history and connections for themselves, in whatever order or manner they choose.
What about quilts? A quilt is not exactly a sculpture, which leaves plenty of room for Nathan’s to be the first of its kind (my dad the art professor might argue more thatn I would). It seems like things like quilts, and like this geodesic hypertext, they have something in common…