ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms

April 2007

Movies29 Apr 2007

We went to see Hot Fuzz the other night. It’s a British movie about a London policeman who is so good, he makes the rest of the force look bad, and they quickly reassign him to a sleepy town in the country. But, just as he’s resigned himself to a quiet life in the with a cadre of bumbling village policemen, a series of suspicious accidents lead him to believe not all is as it seems in the so-called “perfect village”.

It’s pretty goofy, but works quite well, with the main character basically functioning as a straight-man for all the comedy around him. My only complaint is that it became increasingly surreal as it went along, which actually weakened it. In the early going it’s easy to believe that the main character really is a straight-laced London cop trying to confront the quirkiness that surrounds him, but as things spiral off into craziness, the movie loses some of the energy that made it compelling, and it just becomes silly.

Still, it’s got plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and the jokes come pretty rapid-fire at times. It was pretty entertaining.

Links and Musings12 Apr 2007

This fascinating article concludes that “context matters”, but I think there is a larger point to be made about education.

“Context” is really someone else’s valuation. If you hear a violinist in a concert hall, it is because someone decided he is worth booking. If you find a painting in the trash, it is because someone decided it is rubbish.

My supervisor would say that an essential part of education is developing taste, so that you need not rely on judgements of others and can decide the merits of a thing for yourself. If you have taste in music, you aren’t fooled by the context, and don’t walk obliviously past Joshua Bell busking in the subway.

Food and Musings04 Apr 2007

“It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious”

Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World”

Despite my lack of recent blogging, I’m not dead, though I am slightly closer to death than usual on account of a cold that won’t go away (before you accuse me of being a wuss, notice that I did say “slightly”).

Anyhow, enough on my health, let’s talk about my dietary quirks. I don’t like breakfast cereal. I haven’t consumed cereal for breakfast on a regular basis since I lived at home. For me, breakfast is usually orange juice, yogurt, and maybe a banana or a bagel.

In the morning, when my systems are still coming online and I am shaking off that feeling of dying that goes along with waking from sleep (I understand most people drink coffee, but in my case the hyperactive cure is worse than the disease), I am picky about what I eat. The idea of sitting down to a bowl of wheaty blobs slowly turing to paste in a pool of milk made increasingly lumpy by little cereal fragments first thing in the morning is enough to turn my stomach inside out and make me want to crawl back under the covers.

Other people eat cereal, and apparently derive some benefit from the experience. At least, that’s what I was thinking while I detoured down the cereal aisle at the grocery store the other day. By the time I’d reached the end I’d picked up a box of brown sugar frosted mini wheats and resolved to give them a try. Try them I did, that evening before bed. They still dissolved in the milk in that awful way cereal does, but I found, with my body awake and thus my constitution fully up to the task, I didn’t mind as much. I was able to ignore the texture and focus on the taste. I think I might make a habit of eating breakfast in the evening when I am able to enjoy it. I wonder why they market cereal as a breakfast food…

I wonder if, with this blog post about breakfast, I have strayed into that murky realm of blogging about the mundane details of my life that no one cares about. If so, dear reader, I apologize.

Reminds me of one of those New Online Trends(tm) that Ric Romero will be reporting on in a few years: video blogging. I’m not talking about polished efforts like Ze Frank’s, but rather the semi-stream of consciousness 10 minute webcam soliloquy popularized by YouTube. Apparently there is a vibrant community of people on YouTube discussing all sorts of interesting topics by posting monologues to each-other. I say apparently because I’ve never really managed to sit through one, they are far too painful. People speak much more slowly than I can read. If you think reading drivel is bad, try listening to it word… by… word… with… ah… none… of…. the… ah… ums… and… ah’s… removed.

What is interesting about this phenomenon is that people aren’t really talking to each other, they are making short speeches to each other. The format is more like a debate than a conversation. Perhaps, even as YouTube and its ilk bring about the death of the written word, there will be a corresponding resurgence of oratory?

In the mean time, here’s an appropriate episode of the comic called “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal”.