Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blogging with The Other Journal

We at Mars Hill Graduate School are fortunate to have in residence, The Other Journal, an an online academic journal about the intersection of theology and culture, often tag-lined as being more enteratinging than most academic journals, and more intellectually rigourous than mainstream magazines. Some fellow MHGS friends are interning there, and as part of that, are curating an "Other Journal" blog to showcase MHGS students' writing.
Shannon Presler was awesome enough to invite me to write about a favorite book- and I ate that assignment up like candy- like a box of Runts. Yum. He also was sweet enough to come up with my post's title and my bio as well (which, if I'd written it myself, would be ickily self-aggrandizing, but from him, makes me smile)


"Jane Behind Me, Jane Before Me, Jane Beside Me, Jane Within Me" by Kj Swanson

Thanks Shannon, and um, why aren't you blogging, fool?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hearing Mark's Endings: Listening to Ancient Popular Texts Through Speech Act Theory (Biblical Interpretation Series) (Biblical Interpretation Series) Hearing Mark's Endings: Listening to Ancient Popular Texts Through Speech Act Theory by Bridget Gilfillan Upton

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good academic treatment comparing/contrasting Mark's gospel with ancient Greek popular literature, focusing on the "aural type setting" of texts from oral/rhetorical culture: how written texts are shaped when they're meant to be heard, rather than read. It's a fine intro to approaching Mark's gospel as ancient popular text, and serves as a good entry place for wondering about how Mark's audience listened to and followed narrative, particularly in regards to the multiple possible endings to Mark's gospel.

View all my reviews.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Perfectly Timed for my BDay...

...the arrival of a check from these folks for whom I've had the honor to do some project help the last two years. Having left New York in 2006, I can't help feeling warm and fuzzy to still be depositing Off-Broadway paychecks. All my love to the Public crew! Say hello to the largest Starbucks in Manhattan for me.
Also in the mail, my voting ballot. Here's hoping third times the charm with presidential elections- the last two had address snafus that left my votes uncounted. I could have changed history...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Music to Fall By

Most recent ITunes purchases: keeping me warm, cozy and studious:

Erik Friedlander's
Block Ice & Propane

An album of original cello compositions inspired by the great American Family tradition: driving cross country in a station wagon. Friedlander's sometime folk, sometimes avant garde pieces make amazing use of pizzicato that often sounds more like acoustic guitar travis picking than cello. Making great use of silence and quiet repetition, Block Ice & Propane can't help but make you feel you're in a scored documentary about the loneliness and also camaraderie that come with the open road.

Dog Daze
May I Kiss Your Hand

A good source of hammer dulcimer, fiddle, Hungarian folk tunes and some crazy Romanian vocals. I love these guys and can't help feeling happy every time a song comes up in my Playlist rotation. The lead vocalist often sounds like a mischievous child, or is he a mischievous old crazy man? I can't tell, but I fully enjoy him, his band and their wild gypsy music!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Friend Who Puts Up With My Nicknames For Him...

The "Existentialist's Essentials" Scarf for:

Name: Chase Williams

Occupation: Barista, Theatre Concessions

Locale: Seattle

My Favorite City is: Seattle

I Wish I Spent More Time: not regretting the things I haven't done.

Best After Dinner Treat: No food after dinner is a greater treat than a great dinner . . . but hot apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream comes pretty close.

Frisbees are Great Because: : ) they allow me to fly with them. to leave the ground and soar as they bend and turn and coast through the air, as my imagination becomes their reality.

Why Don't More People: get it?

You Know I'm Happy When: I can't stop myself from smiling.

Something I'd Like to Say is: ? . . . hard to tell

Kj and I: don't like people who need us to pretend that we're their friends while we sell them candy or coffee.

The Making of: This scarf has a complicated history- as complicated as the man himself. Back in March or so, Chase let me knit him a scarf. I was sort of stumped as to what colors to work with and what would best suit him while also expressing something about him. Chase is a complex, deep-thinking, ruminating sort who tends to have A LOT going on under the surface that will blow your mind once he gets talking. This guy can make poetry out of tossing frisbees (see above) and crack you up with his uncanny comic timing- like a frying pan suddenly hitting you over the head. Chase is always asking tough questions of himself and bristles under requirements to be anything that he is not (aka shallow). As such, I wanted his scarf to reflect that, and admittedly (to him and to myself) I kind of jumped overboard first time round. I tried, with a 5 color spectrum, to capture some of the Chase dynamic. But when it came to actually wearing it, Chase felt there was just too much going on.

(the rejected "Enigma" scarf)

So this time round, I met Chase at the yarn store and let him pick out the yarns (still a collaborative process) and what we ended up with were some nice wood, rust and steel colors. Once I knit it up, I realized that this made more sense. Don't give more complexity to a contemplative, give him the basics. So here's the Existentialist's Essentials, for my favorite Chasey-Pooh! I hope this one works out for you.

Also, the return of the "reject" scarf solved my own problem of being totally stumped as to what kind of scarf to knit for myself. Turns out its easier to just wear something you made for someone else than to figure what you'd like. Me and reject scarf are feeling pretty happy about each other so far.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chained To My Desk...

...pulling what could turn out to be my first true all-nighter of Grad school, an obliging roommate ran me down to grocery store at 11:30 for supplies. You need a variety of bite-sized snack foods to sustain you over long periods of time as well as a few "break time" foods. I got:

Baby Carrots (large bag)
Ranch flavored veggie dip
Sourdough Bread
Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar
Haagen Dazs Mango and Strawberry Sorbet
Annie's Organic Macaroni & Cheese
3 boxes of Everlasting Gobstoppers

Wish me luck, I need to be done by bedtime tomorrow night, and I have to work 6 hours somewhere in there as well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The "Prince Charming" Scarf For:

Name: Richard Morrison

Occupation: Transitioning from Stage Manager to Musician

Locale: About to move from NYC to San Diego

Childhood Dream Job: Gemologist

My Favorite Lunch: Anything on a patio

I Always Say Yes to: Lunch

Something I'd Like to do by the End of this Year: Find a place to live in San Diego

When it Comes to Singing in the Car, I Need: To focus more on the driving

The Oscar Should Have Gone to: "Babe"

Here's Something I'd Like to Say: Vote NO on California Prop 8

Kj and I: Never seem to tire of each other

The Making of: Richard's scarf was the last I knit before my summer hiatus and also my first long distance scarfing. But though we were states apart, I wasn't lacking in info or inspiration for Richard, since we've been acting like childish adults together since we were 11. However, the key to this one was a comment my NYC roommate Kiko made about Richard (he magicly moved to NYC while I was there too) when she said he reminded her of Snow White's Prince. We all concurred. Hence my yarn reinterpretation of Disney's primary-coloured Prince for one of my most dashing (and simulatneously absurd) friends. As a San Diegan, its hard to know when Richard will ever get to where this, but I loved the chance to make it for him. What better way to show your love for someone who's let you call them Spmulragus (Sugar Lumps spelled backwards) for the last eighteen years?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yarn Season...

is back- which means not only are my fingers ready to knit again, they're actually a bit frosty from the October weather. This led to my Saturday decision to knit myself some handwarmers. And voila! toasty little mits!

I used a favorite pattern from Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts (feauting designs and modelling by this best friend of mine).

Joelle is an amzing artist, entrepreneur, human being and owner of Purl Soho where I spent many an hour sitting and knitting at the big table in the coziest spot on Sullivan Street.

Not only am I gearing up for some PeopleProfileKjScarves, but I'm gonna experiment with being some outsourced knitting labor for KIM in New York. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Textual Poaching, Intertextuality and the Action Figures They Produce

So I'm enjoying my full immersion into the Joss Whedon Universe (or more properly, Whedonverse) as I do research for a paper on Firefly (in collboration with This Guy) and work my way through Whedon's original Buffy and its spin-off/parrallel show Angel. Spending time in all three 'verses at once really brings Whedon's core themes to the surface, and he just keeps blowing my mind.

Most recently I watched the Angel episode "Are You Now or Have you Ever Been..." (nodding to the Mcarthyism themes throughout the episode) which is a largely a flashback to the 1950's wherein Angel, (the vampire with a soul) is keeping a low profile in LA. When a scene opened on the LA Observatory, I immediately said "Okay- how are they going to reference "Rebel Without A Cause"? You really can't shoot anything involoving the Griffith Observatory without evoking the climactic scenes from the James Dean classic.

Well, the camera pulls back to reveal David Boreanaz as Angel wearing the iconic red windbreaker, white T-shirt and dark jeans of James Dean's Rebel character Jim. Going further, we hear the female character introduce herself as Judy- also the name of Natalie Wood's character in Rebel. Judy (who looks strikingly like Natalie Wood as well) goes on to talk about the planetarium show about the end of the world, which is also the show the students in Rebel watch at the beginning of the film. So no question about it- Whedon is unabashedly underlining Rebel Without a Cause.

But the intertextual detective in me started wondering why? If one text references another, then the intertext must have some significance of shared or contrasted meaning. But other than both stories having to do with people rejected by or rejecting society, the intertext just didn't make sense to me, not to the extent of its prominence. That's when I had to reflect on the idea of textual poaching, which Ian introduced to me in his paper on Fandom and the works of Joss Whedon. With textual poaching, it's not so much about drawing parallels between the two texts, but in sparking recognition for the viewer. Therefore, using the imagery, costumes and names from Rebel Without A Cause is really just paying honor to the iconic film and James Dean, and inviting the viewer to do the same.

It's an opportunity for the viewer to recongize something and feel included in the storytelling, moreso than adding to the story being told. It's kind of post-modern intertextuality I guess. For me, seeing the observatory and anticipating James Dean references then having them ready and waiting for me, was the best part of watching the episode. Yeah, it was a smart and moving story, but the moment where I recognized "James Dean" and "Judy" made me feel like I was on the same page with Joss Whedon- like I was in on the inside joke, or at least the inside homage to great filmmaking. It didn't have to mean anything more than that.

What I'm not-so-on-the-same-page with is the action figures Fandom can lead to- this is the Angel figure made specifically from this episode. He's got the James Dean jacket on and comes with an ax, a noose and a liter of blood. You can make your toy Angel textually poach your GI Joes I guess.