I’ve begun reading “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson out of preparation for the movie release.  It’s hard not to say that what the book is about seems to be nothing like what the previews I’ve seen portray.  True, you have the “last man on earth” thing going, and there were references to a disease, something involving martial law imposed on what looked like NYC… but zero about vampires.  It’s a little irritating when producers or directors or whoever is responsible for making the decisions doesn’t trust that the actual story will be enough to draw an audience, and so lie (mostly by omision) about the plot, leaving enough interpretation space open to allow for other possibilities.  Had Jeff from class not turned me on to the novel that the movie (presumably) is based on – published in 1954 no less – I don’t know if I would have had to opportunity to investigate this direction.

There’s a question swirling in my head involving the possibility of allegory.  But it hasn’t grown into anything yet.

I was at work the other day and noticed a display case for M&M candies that looked like this:

Yellow M&M

He stood about 3-4′ tall and was all hollow inside, where the candy would be put. It’s a nice, eye catching display, and something other than a big carboard oragami set up. The thing that made me stop and take another looks was that the first thing that came to my mind was “this is my body, broken for you. Take and eat,” (found in chapter 14 of the Gospel of Mark).

What is this saying about M&Ms and the act of eating them?

It’s hard to see the line between just creative marketing and religious inspired (even if unknowingly) imagery that seeks purchase with deeper threads of meaning than just “mmm, candy”. With the personification of M&M’s in their ads there is the space to wonder. Even more so, when you go to the M&M’s website they claim “there’s an M&M in everyone” and has an application to transform yourself into an M&M! Interesting possibilities.

Strange title. I’m not sure it means what I was thinking. However, that is exactly the point was hoping to hit on. Language as an inprecise tool.

I’m taking part in a symposium at MALS that deals mostly with the concept of prison and incarceration within the larger system of democracy. However, that doesn’t matter very much right now. What I’m concerned with is a technical aspect of how this class runs. We have to respond to or create questions involving the weekly readings online. It’s an academic version of this thing with a whole bunch of users actually. Interesting. Anyway, when you’re writing these things, there isn’t a lot of emphasis on writing the way you would for an actual paper (though we all try to write properly). What sometimes (often) happens is that we use the wrong word. All the more so when we’re trying to describe obscure aspects of raw ideas without a lot of concrete references.

It is important to note that when I talk about anything, the words themselves (unfortunately) aren’t my top concern. Any given word I use isn’t chosen out of the technical definition. Rather, I’m passing through the cloud that is the idea of the word and taking with me some aspect of it. Maybe the whole thing, maybe just the feeling the word invokes, maybe some part of it. I don’t mean to be inprecise, but at the same time I’m not going to worry about the meaning of every word so that if you didn’t know English but had a dictionary you could get my exact meaning. I’m much more quantum mechanical than that.

Final words that might help anyone having to deal with me and my ideas. Quantum, rhizome, monad. Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and interdisciplinary thought. Gadfly.

It seems my life is a never ending of chain of beginnings followed less by conclusions and more by more beginnings.

So from the first day in July I’ve moved from a third floor 2+ bedroom apartment in Manchester to a first floor one bedroom with a porch in Exeter. I love it, even though it’s so much smaller than my old place. I get to make all the rules and decide what gets dirty, what gets cleaned, and when. Well, Zero likes to make his own rules but for the most part it’s a sweet deal. The problems now are practical ones like not having a cutting board or enough bookcases and the like. All will come in time.

Dartmouth became another beginning (again) last month as well. I’m taking the symposium titled “Prisonhouses of Democracy” and reading some interesting but obscure stuff. We began with Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. That man was a bloody genius. Amazing stuff and I wish I had been into him earlier.

All is in flux. Hopefully this will settle down soon.

Global influence | How others see you | Economist.com

How sad that America has this role. Of course, I don’t know anything about the sample, but Economist has a left slant without being obnoxious. Take it as you will.

I’m wrapping up the second week of training for my new job. It’s not difficult, but it definitely is taxing. Beyond all the walking and lifting, the hardest part to get used to is waking up and leaving by 5:30am at the latest. At Margarita’s I didn’t have to be there until 9am at the earliest and I could walk. Now I’m driving down deep into Massachusetts every day and buying gas every other day. Breakfast is hard to come by so early in the morning, so I’m reduced to eating either whatever is in the bakery at Stop&Shop or DDs. I need to work on myself, but I get the impression that my youthful irresponsibility isn’t long lived at this point. While I still try to be invincible, my body doesn’t agree all the time.

On top of this, both for the better and for the worse, is Zero. He’s an adorable dog, and more so when he’s being lazy or sleeping (i.e. not often). His biting is getting worse and his house-training is far from going *well*. Alongside my failure to house-train him, he has taken to eating the compressed paper sticks that make up his litter-box. Not sure how to handle that one yet.

It’s sad, I have no more time for reading. I was cruising along through CS Lewis’s “Space Trilogy” but starting the last book “That Hideous Strength” coincided with starting my new job and I haven’t gone much further than 20 some odd pages in. And I was moving so well too. After that I’ve got Milorad Pavic’s “The Inner Side of the Wind” which should show some parallels to Mark Z Danielewski’s “Only Revolutions” in terms of structure and even content to some degree. We’ll see soon I hope and from there I’ll report back to any reader I might still have.

Oh, more on the play I wanted to go see… “The Outlier Effect”. It’s not amazing, but it is good and well worth my time. To be a high-school original play based on mirror neurons that also focuses on mimetic behavior and mob dynamics is quite interesting. It takes me back beyond Rene Girard to that book on crowd psychology. I’ll have to go find it and let you know what it was. Very interesting and written around 1900.  Good stuff.

PS. Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” is available in May!

There are so many surfaces on which to write. I’ve got a journal for my more intellectual ideas. I’ve got a half-hearted (but with some meaningful entries) diary for the more personal stuff no one wants to hear about.  And then there’s all the online spaces that range from email to Facebook/MySpace to this blog. All of which makes writing in any one place difficult or at least riddled with obstacles.

Living – Ben, brother of Aaron, moved out. Ryan, cousin, moved in. This should be a good change. I’m looking forward to having someone who is interested in cooking and having a clean apartment to live with. And he’s bringing the mother of tvs with him. A huge-ass flat screen tv with all the surround sound and other gizmos to make it all worth while.

Also, I now have a 3 month old Papillon puppy named Zero. He’s got all the common puppy problems but is wicked cute, affectionate, fearless (except when really big dogs run him over), and small.

School – Lastest update for Dartmouth is the summer. I was hoping for the spring term, but I’m trying to be realistic there. I don’t even know what classes are being offered at present. As soon as the old health-insurance deal is settled, I’m back.

Job – I just got hired for a new job involving non-food items and a couple grocery stores. Lots of work but good pay and room to grow. I want this.

Reading – Almost done with “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, finally. I finished Nabokov’s “The Gift” and CS Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet”… moving quickly into “Perelandra” and to finish the trilogy off with “That Hideous Strength”. Side readings are “In Search of the Miraculous”, Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”, and Girard’s “Oedipus Unbound”.