October 2002 Archives

The Edie Singleton Project

Edie Singleton created two personal ads on Nerve to find out if men really do all of their thinking with the little head.

Early returns would suggest that the answer is yes.

To Date or Not To Date


Over at Microcontent News, John Hiler has been pondering the whys and wherefores of dating blogs.

Thing is, says he, dating blogs of people who are happy are no fun. There's no drama, no angst, no zing.

I'd write a dating blog, but it'd be really, really boring. It'd go something like this:

Monday: had dinner with parental units.
Tuesday: watched the Nets game on TV.
Wednesday: watched four hours of Law & Order on TNT.
Thursday: had dinner with parental units.
Friday: Got a response to a personal ad.
Saturday: personal ad responder stopped returning emails.
Sunday: had dinner with parental units.

And really, that's not very fun to read about, is it?

The People Ride In A Hole In The Ground

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The C Train

The downtown C train.

It Would Figure

The very day that I install a brand-new copy of MT on, they release a bug fix.

Wish me luck.

Update: It works.

It's Alive!


And I didn't even need a thunderstorm or an antique castle.


I'd like to thank Michelle, Mike, Martin, Matt, Peter, and the Fish for helping test the site and beat it up.

It's About Time


Finally done importing all my old archives into MT.

And paulfrankenstein.org will go live any day now...

Anyone want to check the archives for internal 404s?

Worm Redux

Allan Baruz calls me out. So I really didn't have any choice, did I (click on the thumbnail to see the full screenshot)?

(for all of you wondering, the game is called Bookworm, and it's highly addictive, even if the words it allows or disallows are sometimes a little odd).

Does Orwell Matter If You Can't Get In?

I tried going to the Great Hitchens/Sullivan Orwell discussion at NYU last Thursday; alas, it was completely packed and NYU security was not letting anyone into the room (not just into the building, but into the room; I was turned away even after I'd snuck into the building proper). Elizabeth Spiers and John Hiler both have extensive blow-by-blows.

As for me, after wandering around the building for a while, I made my way over to Tower and picked up Saint Etienne's latest, Finisterre, and the remastered version of Peter Gabriel's Shaking the Tree. Reviews coming soon (though I will say that the remastering does sound very nice in a side-by-side listening)...

50,000 To Go


Official NaNoWriMo 2002 ParticipantI've signed up for National Novel Writing Month (link via Liz Maryland).

The idea to take one month (November) and try to crank out a 50,000 word novel between the first and the 30th. It shouldn't be that hard; according to my trusty calculator, that works out to only 1,667 words per day. Which I can do (I think my daily target will actually be 2,000; this way I'll have a little buffer in the event that I have to miss a day, for something like, say, making Thanksgiving dinner). The only problem is making sure that I set aside the hour or two each day I'll need to crank it out. That, and I'll have to resist the urge to constantly revise my work (like I'm doing now)...

Incidentally, a writing tip I read about recently was to always leave the last sentence of the day unfinished. This makes a lot of sense to me, as I'm one of these sorts of writers who always has trouble getting started. So I think that I'll try it.

8 Fille

Went to the movies yesterday afternoon with Solly.

We ended up seeing, after some consideration of Bowling For Columbine, 8 Women.

It's a very French film about a man named Marcel who is found dead in bed in a snow-bound house, and the eight women of the household who each have a reason for finding him dead...


As the film (adapted from a play) unfolds, the various characters (who all dislike each other to varying degrees) all probe and poke each other; family secrets come tumbling out; and everyone thinks that everyone else did it. It's a lot of fun to watch 8 of France's greatest actresses get their claws into each other; even though the plot sounds rather soapy, that's not really the point. This is a frothy, fun, funny piece of a film.

It is also a design-driven film -- from the costuming, to the set design, all the way through to the cinematography.

Oh yeah, and it's a musical too.

I say check it out.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag


Happy Birthday, Tony Pierce. May the Cubs make it to the series next year.

Not Just Watching Baseball


Does it mean anything to anyone that I’m sending resumes to LA and San Francisco, but have yet to get around to checking out the New York job listings?

Well, at least I’m wasting my time in an appropriate manner.

I was trying for 20,000 but couldn’t quite get there…

In other news, the sniper has been caught. Maybe. Well maybe not.

In other news...

I have updated a few of the items in my CafePress store (including some, uh, rather unique items). So go out there and buy stuff already!

. . .

In other news, I've posted my first review up at Blogcritics.org, a lightly edited version of my Spirited Away post from earlier this month....

For your consideration:


For The Foodies

Ok, now I'm hungry.

The Swanktuary


Went to a very pleasant social gathering last night that was hosted by Sparky and Glenn; not only were they elegant and pleasant hosts, but the Swanktuary truly does live up to its name.

That, and I got to watch most of the Star Wars Holiday Special again.

Calling All Beta Testers


OK, who wants to be a beta tester for the new site? If you do, then email me.

And this morning, I...

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Interview With Frankenstein's Monster. Funny stuff.

Cream With Your Coffee? YAMPC.

In other news, I've been busy working on my long-outdated resume and I've been doing battle with MovableType.

Yes, We Have T-Shirts In Your Size

Two more:

It's a funny thing, but there's a sale on there right now, so get on over and make me rich grab some goodies at a reduced price!

Hmmm... I have this irrational urge to launch another contest.

That would be a Bad Idea, I think.


(first link from Jeff Jarvis; the other ones from the hardest working man in blogdom, InstaDonk)

V.V.V. PO'd.

Well, it looks like the Hong Kong gig has fallen through.

Yes, I'm v.v.v. PO'd.


David Weinberger presents Your Brain On The Internet.

. . .

An old friend is no longer with us. So now where am I going to get my daily dose of high-end academic back-biting and Orwell worship?

. . .

When the French do Fusion, they do it different. An excellent excuse reason to go back to Paris soon.

. . .

Elizabeth Spiers (and her wholly-owned subsidiary, Capital Influx Industries) is gettin' jiggy wid it.

Oh Canada!

The Truth About Canadians. Hey, I found it on the internet, so it must be true, eh? (from Davezilla)

Spirited Away


Saw the movie Spirited Away last Friday. It's the latest film by Hayao Miyazaki, the genius who also created Princess Mononoke.

It's a beautiful film, and it's highly recommended to anyone who's interested in Anime at all (or to anyone who enjoyed Mononoke). The computer animated sequences are seamlessly integrated into the traditionally animated sequences, and there are simply some astonishing visuals.

The plot is neatly summed up by the trailer; for those of you disinclined to download the trailer, a young girl gets separated from her parents and gets sucked into a parallel world of spirits, and, with the help of assorted characters she befriends, has to find her way back to the "real" world.

The character design is amazing; from a spidery old man to assorted spirits to a gigantic spoiled baby, there's a tremendous amount of creativity and care in the creation of the characters who populate the film. They contribute tremendously to the familar-yet-utterly-alien feel that the spirit world has; Miyazaki has taken familar types and expanded, contorted, and elongated them to the point of grotesqueness, then cast them in his movie.

More interesting is how the spirit world is presented: it's a huge, massive, independent universe with its own history and infrastructure that we only see a small part of. There's a train (don't ask) that runs through the spirit world; at one point, before the little girl gets on the train, a character tells her that she'll have to get off at a particular stop, then adds, with a sigh, "you'll have to find your own way back; the train used to run in both directions but doesn't anymore." And from that point on, the matter is dropped.

That's a huge departure from your average American (or western) fantasy movie (or novel, for that matter), where everything is explicated and fully explained. A western fantasy would have made something like the one-way train a major plot point; Miyazaki simply treats it as a detail of a larger world that we never get to explore. The movie is full of things like that, little details and gracenotes that create a fuller, larger world.

The voice acting is nicely done; someone spent a lot of time making sure that the English translation actually matched up with the characters' mouth movements.

The film isn't as thematically complex as Mononoke, and it's more episodic; but one suspects that Miayazaki wasn't trying to make a statement movie. It works on many levels; it is at once an adventure movie, a meditiation on identity, and a sly, subtle comment about industrialization and the environment.

Note: this really isn't a children's movie. Maybe for older children, 10 and up, but I suspect that anyone younger will be bored.

Times Square

James Lileks on Times Square. (via Jeff Jarvis)


Celebrity sighting of the day: Adam Sandler walking down Columbus Avenue, just having exited the Reebok Health Club, high-fiving some extremely excited fans.

Round 'em up!

It's round-up time, folks...


Had a dream last night where I was riding on a motorcycle, but I couldn't open my right eye because the wind was keeping it shut.

I woke up and discovered that I was sleeping on my right side, with my hand pushed into my eye.

Bad Poetry

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Don't Bomb Iraq!A not ignoble sentiment that,
yet the writer skips o'er known fact;
in part because of our blockade,
bombs have been laid for the past decade.

Yeah, it's a terrible thing when I try to write poetry.*

It's a cute sticker, and it's very well executed (in the dim light of the subway station, it's impossible to tell that it's a sticker and not part of the sign); however, it's about 10 years out of date. Not that the general media has made much noise about the story (probably because it's an old story), but we have been dropping bombs on bits of Iraq pretty much ever since the end of the Gulf War, on and off. Mostly the bits that had radar installations pointed at our aircraft. Note the use of the past tense.

Of course, the whole Iraq scenario is an excellent smoke screen for what really matters, at least domestically.

Offhand, it looks like the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 22% on the year; the S&P 500 looks like it's down about 27%; and the Nasdaq has dropped a whopping 39%.

Stock Market ChartWhat was that line from the first Clinton campaign? It's the economy, stupid!

Now I'm not an economist, but IIRC, one of the major causes of the 1991/92 recession (the very recession that forced George Herbert Walker Bush into unemployment) was the Gulf War. OK, let's think about this for a second...

Enough political punditry. Don't forget that all of last month's exciting blogging (including a very special guest post by This Fish) can be found at last month's archive page.

*Be glad I couldn't work in a line about "ancient Sumer"