So recently I went to a couple Broadway shows and a spoken word show. Here’s the skinny:
Great show! It’s about this hip New York teenager who moves to Appleton, Indiana due to his parents’ divorce and the interactions he has with his peers in high school. Nothing deep in terms of plot, but flawless performance by an all-teen cast. Go see it.
Knew the story from the torn, dog-eared Charles Dickens classic I had to endure in middle school. Hence the reason I was unmoved by Sydney Carton’s (James Barbour) heart-wrenching act of ultimate sacrifice (wanna know more? download the (e)book at Project Gutenberg
) when everyone around me were sobbing like a 5-year old lost in the city.
The show was an effervescent, skeletal adaptation of Dickens’ epic novel of unrequited love, bloody revolution and sacrifice. Oh, and there is at least three movie adaptations, so plenty of choices there for you. I’d read the book, though, at least before going to see the show.
Went to see the Rollins himself at The Town Hall
. After 2 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop spoken word combat with Hank hopping from one topic to the next like a kangaroo on speed, you mentally reaffirm the fact that Rollins is the man. The intensity with which he delivers his shows is amazing.
Overheard at Times Square: Comedy show tickets! It makes you laugh and stuff.
This time (as opposed to last time) I actually spelled it out, letter by letter…
She decided to add an extra N and inflect an E to my name. Whom am I to object?
The flight from Minneapolis (where I had a one hour layover) to San Fransisco was full to the brim. I took my seat in 22E and watched in awe as the coach class inmate in the seat in front of me tried in vain to wedge a full-sized chello between the seat next to his and the back of the one in front of it (he actually bought a seat for his chello, now that’s love), repeatedly banging the head of the woman in said seat with the neck of the chello case in the process. My eyes were diverted from this thoroughly amusing spectacle to the seat row to my left, where a long line of passengers waited on a short, bald man in a really bad mood as he battled against futility trying to stash a duffel the size of a ballistic missile in the overhead luggage compartment, muttering various expletives under is breath.
Who the hell said onboard entertainment in coach class was bad?!
Last weekend I flew across the country from NYC to Berkeley, CA to participate in the Free Culture 2008 conference. Students for Free Culture was founded in 2004 by students at Swarthmore College, with its mission being to promote a bottom-up, more participatory culture by focusing on activism and advocacy in the realms of balanced intellectual property rights, communication and free expression, creativity and innovation, and public access to knowledge. I founded the SFC chapter at my university about a year ago.
The conference was full of as much free culture goodness as you can possibly cram in 48 hours. Following is a an uber-ultra-condensed account of the happenings at FC2008:
Day 1, Sat Oct 11:
Lots of great panels, talks and keynotes by people like Lawrence Lessig (Stanford law professor and founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, author of Free Culture and Remix), UC Berkeley iSchool’s Pam Samuelson and Mozilla Foundation’s John Lilly. See the full schedule (PDF)
Day 2, Sunday Oct 12:
Unconference day: At UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall. Student-focused sessions hashing out a multitude of issues. Some excellent discussions took place, and I highly encourage you check out the notes for the sessions on the UC Berkeley chapter’s wiki. What was incredible is that the day remained unprogrammed until the end of the first day! The energy and enthusiasm of everyone was simply amazing. A strong emphasis was put intochanelling this energy into tangible action (what Lessig called for and termed “picking fights”), in addition to globally expand the shpere of advocacy and activism through localizing causes and contextualizing relavant issues.
Thanks to the organizing team for putting together such an awesome conference. I am sure that the momentum for action formed at FC2008 will be carried forward and further built upon to solidify the focus and objectives of the free culture movement.
Ever feel like your brain is going on overload?
By that I do not mean your garden-variety, generic onslaught of information we are mercilessly assaulted with from every direction on a daily basis. Your brain instinctively prioritizes and sorts through the random distractions as you go about your usual business, without any real “conscious” effort from you. Not the pop culture slag deposited in your mind as you watch most TV shows and the drone-like mentality you experience as you receive the daily dose of news from the usual sources. No, I am not talking about the rotten shoal that has become what we call “entertainment” today (yes, I do realize this is a blatant generalization), which infuses a constant stream of serious idiocy into culture- any culture, that is.
What I am talking about is the unrelenting excess of your own thoughts. The mental supermassive black hole into which a convoluted jumble of randomness writhes wildly in the grip of reason. The more you try to extricate an ore of logic from the mess, the more it becomes intractably entangled and further coils onto itself, smothering any sliver of sanity.
So, does that ever happen to you?
P.S. No, I am not going crazy, if that’s what you’re wondering right now. Well, maybe a few screws have come a little loose lately, but nothing a shot of espresso can’t fix.
Seriously folks, how difficult can getting my name right be?
During the three weeks I’ve been here, my name has been repeatedly modified, mispronounced, and played with at will. Its mention triggered random interesting but unsolicited inquisitiveness (which, to be fair, is merely well-intentioned small talk), such as (and this is a non-comprehensive list):
- “Isn’t that a girl’s name?
- “Is it Japanese?”
- “Did you say Mannie or Annie?”
- “Can I call you Honey?”
Recently at a local gym, and despite futile attempts at polite correction, someone decided my name didn’t really fit me and kept calling me Mannie. This morning the Starbucks employee taking orders from a long line of caffeine addicts asked what my name was (to mark my order). In what sounded to me as clear, phonetically correct speech, I answered her question. She then barked my order into her walkie talkie:
“One grande Americano for Andy (looking back at me)...It’s Andy, right?”
The SG stands for Secretary General (of the UN, that is). And yes, I have to use acronyms because I’ve been ODing on a gazillion of them over the past three weeks, half of which I either forgot or don’t even know what they stand for yet, but nod enthusiatically at their mention in any conversation at UNHQ. Speaking of conversations at the UN: I noticed they’re mostly pol sci textbook, manual-dictated vocabulary, peppered generously with said nebulous acronyms. Not that there is anything bad with that, but rather just an observation. But I digress.
Back to my new buddy, the SG. For the uninitiated (or people from other planets), the SG is the Big Kahuna at the UN, and I met him becuase he came down to our department to congratualate everyone on a job well done during the GA (that’s another acronym for you. Go look it up. Hint: see earlier posts on this awesome blog). I would’ve liked to tell you we conversed heartily, exchanged jokes and high-fived. But none of that happened. Still, I shook hands with the Secretary general of the United Nations and you didn’t. So there you go. (I know you probably expected something a bit more profound, maybe like a brief psychoanalysis of the guy as garnered from the vibes he induced in the room as he walked in, but I am not into that right now. Sorry)
One a side note, almost everyone here just seems so stiff. Not stiff as in unfriendly – I’ve actually me some really cool people here. Rather, things are in an uber-formal sort of way that makes you think something is about to snap if these people do so much as lean back in their cubicle chairs. Maybe it is something about the work environment in a place like the UN (and understandably so). This morning on the subway I entertained thoughts of how cool would it be to chill things out – just a tad – at the UN. Maybe have the high level delegates discuss world affairs over ramen noodles and coke in a camp somewhere in Africa in the spirit of “keeping it real. The General Debate would be renamed the Big Awesome Jam Session, and the delegates would be required to attend in their pajamas and flip flops. Maybe then things start clearing up – if just a little bit- inside the minds of the powers that be, and world leaders become more flinty-eyed and focus on what really needs to be done. Maybe then change would start happening. No tectonic ideological shifts necessary or expected. Just a different outlook on things can sometimes make things happen.
Then a big dude with what seemed to be massive subwoofers attached to his ears tapped on my shoulder; I was blocking the subway door. I was back to the real world.
What do I know anyway? I am just an intern.