So this guy Charles Taylor summarizes 3 main problems in Malaises of Modernity, and the first is the problem with individualism. Basically, as the world is demystified, people lose their sense of purpose, and things lose their meaning. And that leads into the second problem, which I won't discuss until I've finished reading about the first...

I ended up showing Catch Me If You Can, and it was pretty disorienting unless you concentrated on only one of the televisions (difficult to do). Fortunately, the audience had all seen the show before, so they knew the story line. If we hadn't seen it, the multiple perspectives would have been quite challenging. I'd decided on 30 second and 90 second intervals for the second and third screens, which were 19" and 32" (the first screen was 14").


The video art experiment (loosely, an installation) is going well. So far I need one more VCR and two TVs. Unfortunately, the RCA-1/4" conversion did not work as planned, and the audio effects warped the images beyond recognition, so I'll won't be able to manipulate the images as planned. However, it occured to me that I could use one television with 3 VCRs, using a video mixer, then I could get that ghosting effect. Anyways, for now I'll be using about 30 second intervals, so the 3rd video should start one minute behind the 1st video. I got the video camera, but without a fourth TV, I'll probably just use it for documentation.


Good news: I have the top mark in my philosophy class.
Bad news: It's only an A-, less than I expected.
Good news/Bad news: The professor left off a couple of quiz marks, bringing my grade down by a point or two. Once that's fixed I should be coronated as philos-king.

I wrote a very silly computer game "review" for my college paper. Thought I'd share it:

Minesweeper: The Little Masterpiece

Since Tetris, few games have successfully been reduced to their most abstract elements. While video and computer games increase in design complexity and graphic detail, the tendency to be predictable has remained essentially the same. The magic mushrooms are always hidden in the same blocks, and the aliens are always hiding behind the same steel doors. With increasingly narrative (and linear) game design, replay value seems to diminish. In fact, replaying a finished game becomes a mere test of memory. However, by reducing games to their most abstract elements, random mathematical properties could mean endless replay value. Doesn’t this sound revolutionary?
No, this is nothing new. Actually, the older the game, the more abstract it tends to be. One of the first arcade games, Pong, was an abstract tennis game (Nolan Bushnell is given credit for the 70’s game, but the concept had been around for several years prior). An even more abstract game came along with Tetris (1985), Alexey Pajitnov’s magnum opus. Nevertheless, few people give much thought to Microsoft’s little Windows pack-in, Minesweeper. Forget Halo. I contest that Minesweeper is the greatest game ever invented!
It comes down to this: you have a grid containing a number of mines. Your goal is to uncover all the squares without mines. If you uncover a square containing a mine, it is game over for you. First off, this is much more realistic than most first-person shooters, in which you can survive hand-grenades, machine guns, and rock launchers. But the real joy is the pure, abstract strategy that Minesweeper demands. By determining probabilities and finding patterns, as in Tetris, you can race the clock to find all the mines. You are not inhibited by a contrived walking speed of some military avatar, because you have no on-screen presence. Mind versus math, and perhaps a little dexterity. How much more abstract can you get?
If you’ve never played, you might be confused by all the little numbers and symbols. The numbers refer to how many mines are in the surrounding squares. Since there are no uncovered squares to begin with, you will have to take a few wild guesses. Once you have a small area, you will begin to notice patterns. Many patterns are obvious giveaways where a mine is. For example, if a square says “3” and there are only three adjacent squares, those must contain mines. Mark the squares with a flag (by right clicking on them) and continue.
I could provide a comprehensive strategy guide for Minesweeper, but wouldn’t that spoil your fun? Try it for yourself; this little masterpiece may surprise you!

Malaise of Modernity (1991) by Charles Taylor -- Current reading. Very interesting dissertation on modern disparity. The funny thing that always happens with these kinds of books is that I find the authors ideas congruent with my own musings, which I thought original. C'est la vie.


Oh, I should probably make mention that this week has been one of the most bizarre of my life. It has been full of incidentals, surprises, and delights. First of all, several people from my past (none of whom know each other) suddenly contacted me out of the blue. All in a short time frame! Also, my impulse of checking out musician classifieds led me to find a really interesting project that I might join as guitarist. And today, fortunes were bright as I got out of a stressful car situation (the loud knocking was just a loose bracket) and got some extra work done on my teeth for free!
[Okay maybe free dental work isn't something to jump for joy about]
I set up an appointment for an art program, for which I have no intention of registering, just to show off my portfolio. Then my creative juices started going haywire, and I came up with an interactive video installation. It involves playing a movie at different intervals on three screens, with a fourth screen hooked up to a video camera that is facing the audience. The second part of the project involves some video synchronizing, but I'll go into that another time.

Filled with musings of a madman, I dare not reveal my true nature. So instead, I thought it might be fun to start recording my readings. Recently I started Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I'm reading a few others that I'll post later.

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