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“Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time. A long time.” A long time is how long I spent in the department today, even though my goal was to get in, get out, and get work done. I got in, but the roach motel kept me trapped until after 6pm, though along the way I thought, communicated, learned, and got a few things done.
South Park Studio: create your own little South Park style avatar. Accessorize. Go hog-wild.
Speaking of hogs, it appears that a Dukes of Hazzard movie (“starring” Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson, Seann William Scott, and Burt Reynolds, and featuring Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse) will be coming out this summer. To quote dTheater: “Looks as if the Dukes flick is indeed going to be as dumb as you'd think it might be given the limp director and cast. Granted, it is the Dukes of Hazzard movie.” It is difficult to imagine it being any other way. I came across the trailer while looking at other trailers today; a teaser for the next Harry Potter film is available. I am more interested in seeing Night Watch (aka Nochnoj Dozor), a rather hyped Russian fantasy-horror flick ... it has the visual style of the Matrix and Underworld wixed with a little Tim Burton, but the main thing is to see whether there is actually any story.
“It’s kind of like dating a German chick”—so said Bill Bob Thorton in the trailer for the upcoming remake of The Bad News Bears. That Richard Linklater is making it speaks for it, but the rash of remakes and such in recent years is rather annoying. We watched the trailer for this movie while waiting for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to begin Saturday afternoon. As for the latter, I was pleasantly surprised. It had its moments, though it was not a non-stop-laughfest. The humor went between mostly dry (damp?), laugh-out-loud physical comedy, and not-too-subtle-but-not-too-developed references to/from the books, radio drama, etc. The plot also worked relatively well as a cohesive movie; naturally they left open threads for a sequel and at the same time it was almost tied up too nicely ... but in general I considered it a thoughtful and amusing treatment of the material. I liked Marvin and his voice; Zooey Deschanel was a bit weak at first, I thought, but the acting and character improved as the show went on; Mos Def aquitted himself well as Ford; and Stephen Fry was the only possible narrator.
In addition to remakes it has also been a good several years for zombie movies. In addition to both Resident Evil films, we have had a Dawn of the Dead remake, the hilarious Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and this year we are getting Undead and Land of the Dead. In addition, in the realm of silly and almost crappy Asian films, there is the somewhat recent Stacy, as well as zombie-points for Bruce in Bubba Ho-tep.
In non-movie-related-news I made sure to email Prof. Dr. Hartmut Böhme (or rather: his secretary) about my arrival in Berlin, I got the rest of the photos from “Der Vogelkopp” put up, I collected a dozen final essays from my students, provided one of Corina’s students with extensive travel advice for central and eastern Europe, and did my best to introduce Adam (a very tired Adam, at that) and Andrea to the wonders of Gödel, Escher, Bach, a book that humanities folks read when it came out well over 20 years ago, but which seems to have experienced a renaissance primarily with math and science folks since then. Most of my humanities colleagues (those of my generation, that is) do not know it or Hofstadter’s other works, whereas many of the more technically and mathematically inclined folks I know are at least familiar with it.
The important work for me—in addition to G.E.B.—is Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies (1995). The best part about it is that although it covers much of the theoretical material that I find so interesting, such as analogy as a heuristic and key to perceptual and cognitive development as well as to creativity, the only nod he gives to aesthetics is with regard to beauty, and the only reference the 18th century are a few pages on Kant and the division of the sensible and the understandable. Thus it is a work that will play a role in my first chapter (an introduction primarily), but little in later ones (except, perhaps in the third, dealing with cognition and pyschology).
In the process of looking for an image of the cover to G.E.B. I cam across the website of John Bethencourt, a UW student ... several emacs tips are provided, among other things. Hillbilly Covers provides another kind of book cover, as does Babes in Space.
I also decided to add a left-column site-wide menu, recreating most of the content I had in the footer already. I figured this would make it a bit easier to navigate the site, though I had gotten rid of such a menu before because I think such things often clutter a page ... thus, it might not last.
—May 9, 2005