It’s hard to complete a performance self-evaluation when not actually at work. I can’t think of all the things I need to make note of because I’m not sitting at my desk, looking in my work email, surrounded by the trimmings and trappings of office life (which I truly don’t mind.) I tried to do it at home last year, too, but this is just proving that it doesn’t fly. I think I might stay at the office a bit later than usual tomorrow night to finish up that type of work. I’ll just take that out of the running for Sunday night entertainment.

Without further ado, some interesting stuff:

♦ A solid review/analysis of “There Will Be Blood” from /Film (spoiler-filled, so don’t read if you haven’t seen). I liked this bit:

Many have compared the film’s start to silent films, as they should, but Anderson uses them to blatantly rev up the intensity that will come to characterize his entire film long after dialogue is instated. He’s also leashing us to his new, fiery craft. So heavy-handed and quiet is the symbolism here that the scenes seem crafted while incredibly stoned; they are like a sinister moon walk. Such scenes shouldn’t work because this is the type of blatant tripe that desperately screams to the Academy, but Anderson knows this, and he is proving a point. When a hand aggressively marks the fresh face of an infant with oil above his eyes, the comparisons to the Catholic tradition of Ash Wednesday are grotesquely clear. Anderson is setting up the world in TWBB as a place where humans merely survive, a No Country for Old Gods: just men, the Earth and nothingness.

♦ Have you ever wondered how exactly a GPS works? Other than “it uses satellites”? There’s a clear and interesting explanation of the workings of GPS receivers on HowStuffWorks.com.

♦ The somewhat controversial blog, Stuff White People Like. I’ve looked through many of the posts and, apparently, I am quite stereotypically caucasian. I like musical comedy, modern furniture, Michel Gondry, standing still at concerts, recycling, expensive sandwiches, kitchen gadgets, Sarah Silverman, public radio, plays, sushi, indie music, Netflix, Arrested Development, The Daily Show/Colbert Report, wine, traveling, gifted children, tea and Wes Anderson movies – among many other things. On recycling:

Recycling is a part of a larger theme of stuff white people like: saving the earth without having to do that much.

Recycling is fantastic! You can still buy all the stuff you like (bottled water, beer, wine, organic iced tea, and cans of all varieties) and then when you’re done you just put it in a DIFFERENT bin than where you would throw your other garbage. And boom! Environment saved! Everyone feels great, it’s so easy!

This is important because all white feel guilty about producing waste. It doesn’t stop them from doing it, but they feel guilty about it. Deep down, they believe they should be like the Native Americans and use every part of the product or beast they have consumed. Though for many white people, this simply means putting plastic bags into a special drawer where they will accumulate until they are eventually used to carry some gym clothes or bathing suit. Ultimately this drawer will get full and only be emptied when the person moves to a new house. Advanced white recyclers will uses [sic] these grocery bags as garbage bags.

♦ I want to bake these cookies. Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Oatmeal Cookies. I mean, look at them!

choccherrycookies.jpg

♦  Yesterday morning on NPR, I listened to a bit of “Speaking of Faith.” The show yesterday was called “The Inner Landscape of Beauty”, an interview with John O’Donohue, who died on January 3 of this year. I caught it about 15 minutes from the end and the host then mentioned that the entire recording was available on their website – so I’ve downloaded it to my iPod and can listen to the full thing on the train tomorrow because what I did hear was actually quite engaging. While it’s been clearly established that I’m not a religious person, I can appreciate a general sense of spirituality – not tied into any all-powerful divine being, but just appreciating our lives as being worthy of reverence because they are fleeting and short. I might listen to the full thing and find myself turned off completely by god-talk, but I’ve transcribed a bit from the end that really struck me. He was speaking about how our world/society/external factors don’t really support the recognition and encouragement of beauty – and how we can recognize it ourselves:

When is the last time that you had a great conversation? A conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture, but when [you] had your last great conversation in which you overheard yourself saying things you never knew you knew. That you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost. And a sense of an event of a conversation that brought the two of you on a different plane and then, fourthly, a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards, you know? And I’ve had some of them recently and it’s just absolutely amazing. They’re like, as we would say at home, food and drink for the soul.

He continued to talk about how what you’re reading is also important to your experience of the world – and that you need to stretch your boundaries that way, too.

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