Monthly Archives: September 2008

questions on the loo, issue #2: Push-button culture and thinking

In “Media in Ancient Empires,” Harold Innis says that the transition from tablet to papyrus writing, due to the mechanical differences between writing in stone and writing on paper, led to a “lightness” of thought⎯an increase in eloquence, observation, and reflection.  For the first time, writing was not only used to keep factual records, but also to philosophize.  Then what i’d like to know is, how is the current transition from handwriting to typing changing thought?  How do the mechanical differences between the two forms of writing translate into cognitive differences?  And how are those cognitive differences changing the way we communicate?

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Filed under communication, culture, philosophy, questions on the loo, technology

the yogurt series, i

I hated yogurt until i went to Paris this January and lived there for five months. Every major supermarket there has at least two aisles of yogurt selections, and most of those selections are amazing. France is particularly famous for its “pure” yogurt, in all its thick and fresh goodness:

Google Images

I’m talking about the yogurt in the center of the pile, in the terra cotta pots (the lovely terra cotta pots that are perfect for storing all kinds of ingredients!). It’s made by La Fermière. I wish i had a close-up shot of the yogurt itself. It’s surprisingly firm that you can literally cut it with your spoon; it’s nothing like the runny yogurt we have in the States. It’s not as tart as American yogurt; it tastes creamier, but not at all fatty. It is full fat, but you know what, that’s how yogurt was meant to be. But it’s not like Greek yogurt at all; Greek yogurt is strained, so it’s got a “sticky” consistency–the consistency of acrylic paint. (Pardon the rather unappetizing metaphor. Not hatin’ on Greek yogurt, folks–i actually swear by FAGE when cooking.) Anyway, here’s a pic i found of the yogurt itself; although it’s tiny, you can get a feel for the yogurt’s consistency:

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Filed under food, products, the yogurt series

My annual soundtracks

This is a personal tradition i started in 2007.  I decided to make a soundtrack for every year of my life with a song for each month.  Here is my 2007 soundtrack:

2007: My year in music

Pre. Zero 7 – “In the Waiting Line”
Jan. Radiohead – “Up On the Ladder”
Feb. Republika – “Poranna Wiadomość”
Mar. Mackenzie Phillips – “Another World”
Apr. Tori Amos & Ani DiFranco – “Silent All These Years”
May. Duncan Sheik – “Half-Life”
Jun. Imogen Heap – “Hide and Seek”
Jul. Joe Purdy – “Isn’t Love”
Aug. Cat Power – “Evolution”
Sep. KT Tunstall – “Universe & U”
Oct.
week 1. The Doors – “The End”
week 2. Neil Young – “After the Gold Rush”
week 3. Aqualung – “Garden of Love”
week 4. The Poems – “Ballad of a Bitter End”
week 5. Ingrid Michaelson – “Keep Breathing”
Nov. Brandi Carlile – “That Year” (live in Birmingham)
Dec. Nick Drake – “Time Has Told Me”
Fin. Simon & Garfunkel – “The Only Living Boy in New York”

I know, there’s a prelude and finale, and October has five(!) songs.  I’ve got a lot of explaining to do.

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Filed under academics, art, college, depression, love, new york, personal

Philosophy or Communications?

[edited 11/01/08, scroll down for the edit]

I’m currently a junior in NYU Steinhardt’s Media, Culture, and Communication department.  I hate it.  I used to be in NYU GSP (General Studies Program, now called Liberal Studies), had thought about transferring to CAS for Cinema Studies (GSP used to be a two-year program that required an internal transfer to a school of your choice in NYU), but upon taking two core courses in Steinhardt’s MCC (Media, Culture, and Communication) department, i decided to do an off-track transfer (i was on-track to CAS) to the latter department instead.  And now that i am officially majoring in MCC, i’m beginning to realize that the academics aren’t as strong and inspiring as i initially thought they were.  Also, i’m paying a lot of money for this education, so i’d rather major in something that would really allow me to experience and ponder humanity at its fullest, and a good major for that kind of education would be Philosophy (which is in CAS).  I do have a bit of a background in Philosophy as i was required to take two core courses in it while in GSP, and most of my MCC courses included (and currently include) philosophical texts as well.  

The thing is, if i were to double-major in MCC and Philosophy, i might have to stay an extra semester or two, which costs even more money.  But if i major only in Philosophy, my degree may not be as marketable (as much as i don’t want to, i need to think about how i’m going to make a living).  So, my question to you all is, would a minor in Communications suffice to make up for the practical education part of my degree, or is it true that employers don’t even consider applicants’ minors?  Also, which U.S. universities are well-known for their Philosophy departments?  Because if i am to do this, i might as well do it right and consider transferring to other schools as well, especially if i’ll have to spend extra semesters either way.  As for my career aspirations?  Anything, really, as long as i can help people and be creative at the same time.  Anything in the arts would be especially appealing.  I’d also like to be able to afford a roof over my head, sufficient food to stay healthy, and clothes to keep me civilly dressed.  

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Hug Me Pillows, both male and female

The Hug Me Pillow

The Hug Me Pillow

http://boyfriendpillow.net/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6141895/

I think that the whole “replace your boyfriend with a pillow” concept is dumb, naturally, but the product itself is a smart one.  It’s true that the body is more comfortable when supported from both sides.  I remember, as a little kid, i would build “fortresses” with spare pillows and snuggle between them.  But why don’t they make right-armed pillows?  What if you can only sleep on the right side of the bed?  Believe me, i’ve tried to sleep on the left side, and i had to switch over to the right to fall asleep.

Also, i searched for Girlfriend pillows, and gee, look what came up:

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Frozen blueberries are so addictive

 

beautiful, aren't they?

beautiful, aren't they?

(photo credit: Carl Zacharias Mellin)

Frozen blueberries are so much more delicious than you’d imagine.  I’m not talking about a bag of freezer-burnt, ice-crusted frozen blueberries from the frozen foods section of the supermarket.  I’m talking freshly picked, hand-washed with love, thoroughly drained, frozen individually on a sheet pan, and transferred to a zipbag to last you through the winter blueberries.  Oh.  My.  Fucking.  God.  They are out of this world!  I’ve always been a blueberry fanatic, but i never imagined rock-hard home-frozen blueberries to be this good.  Eating fresh blueberries is always a heavenly pleasure, of course, but there are advantages to eating them frozen instead:

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questions on the loo, issue #1: Epistemology, anthropocentrism, conscience, and life

This will be a regular feature of questions that pop up in my head.  They will most likely be philosophical in nature.  They’re more for me to keep track of, but discussion is always, under whatever circumstances, welcome and desperately wanted!  

 

How do we know what we know?  That’s a loaded question, but one that’s simple in concept.  How do we even know that we know?  

How do we know we’re “human beings”?  What if there are beings out there with more knowledge than us?  Beings that we have no knowledge of?  What is the definition of a “human being”?  The “greatest” creature?  The only species that has a conscience?  Are we really the only creatures with a conscience?  How would we even know that if we cannot think the way a different creature thinks?  Maybe our concept of conscience…doesn’t even matter.  Maybe what we think or what we think we think does not matter.  

What exactly is “life”?  Is it simply existence?  Is it existence with a timeline?  Existence with a beginning and an end?  Existence with a mortality?  Do immortal beings (whether they exist or not is not important here) even live?

 

p.s. i find it very difficult to get philosophical in words, because language is already an ideology–a convention, a system, a code.  words in a language are completely arbitrary, yet at the same time, so…biased. each word has so much baggage.

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