Friday
Jul162010

School is on, blog is off

Looks like this will be a busy quarter. I know all you thousands of avid readers will be disappointed, but I think this site will be taking a back seat for a bit

Thursday
Jul082010

Lazy

I just realized I'm a lazy linker.  I was looking at the site, trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to change, and I noticed that I rarely link to anything.  This isn't intentional, I just don't think about it.  I'll have to try a bit harder on that in the future.  It just seems like good etiquette (not netiquette).

Wednesday
Jul072010

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I've been thinking about the structure of this blog and I think I need to change some things. The biggest change will likely be splitting up the professional/school/projects stuff and the personal stuff. I don't know yet if I will clearly link the two together or just rely on obscurity to separate them. I don't think I'm saying anything terrible on the personal side, but it makes sense to me to make some kind of demarcation between the two facets of this site. I also want to change the look a bit. I've started taking an HTML course, so I might try poking around a bit at the internals of the site, or I might just use the Squarespace built in tools. More on the HTML course to follow

Tuesday
Jul062010

Unfulfilled Expectations

My plan when starting this blog was to have a place to dump my thoughts and ideas, to document my various projects, whether mundane or no, and establish myself online. Unfortunately, I do t seem to be living up to it. I want things to be polished, and that means thinking about wording and editing and that's not conducive to the brain dump format I was originally thinking about. It's frustrating, but I'm not sure how else to do it. I don't want to represent myself sloppily, but at the same time I'm not updating this blog regularly. It's a conundrum. Maybe I need to compromise a bit. We'll see. More to come

Monday
Jun282010

The Joys of Horror, part 2

A while ago I wrote a post about one of the reasons I like horror stories, and the short version is the really good ones seem almost real. Specifically, that they're affording a glimpse of how things really are that you never normally would see.

Writing that post got me thinking, and I think I'm on to something. I think that's why I enjoy David Lynch's work. Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks are perfect examples of this, where the settings couldn't be more banal, but under the surface there's depravity and horror at every turn. The idea of the otherwise normal protagonist getting sucked into this world, having the veil thrown aside as it were, is a common enough trope in horror.

I wonder if part of it is that people live strange lives. This crops up in news stories all the time, where a report of some crime is so bizarre that it becomes news worthy, or an otherwise normal story or crime report is punctuated by a few seeming non sequiturs that seem to throw the circumstances of the whole incident into question.

I think for me, this idea of people living in these strange circumstances gives the horror stories some small credence, or at least something to attach to. To me, Poe was a master at telling these types of stories, and I think that's why I enjoy his work as much as I do.

The other thing this reminded me of was a part in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. I believe it's somewhere around the middle or maybe 2/3rds in. It's when Mike finally learns how to laugh. He's at the zoo, and he sees a monkey get hit by a bigger monkey, or maybe the bigger monkey takes his food away. That monkey then immediately charges over and attacks an even smaller monkey because he can't retaliate against the bigger one. Mike bursts into hysterical laughter and can't stop.

If my memory serves me, Mike sees in that act the cruelty and savagery that are inside people, and he realizes laughter is a safety mechanism, a pressure valve. I might be wrong, but I believe one of his quotes was "You have to laugh, because otherwise it's all too terrine". That image and Mike's interpretation of it really stuck with me. I think it also reinforces that idea of normal life being a facade built to hide and protect us from the darkness lurking underneath. I think good horror gives you a window to look through, lets you see what is really going on.

Of course, I don't really believe there are monsters or demons walking among us that I can't see because the veil of normal life is over my eyes, but I do believe that there is a hint of our primal ancestral beginnings in us still. Traits that helped us survive when we were huddled in caves, but damage us now. I think it's the act of exploring that darkness that I find so compelling, of letting it take strange forms. Show me some dark and horrible alternate reality so that I can enjoy the real one all the more.