Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stupid cars

I'm pretty depressed right now about vehicular transportation, especially automobiles.

This week, the local Toyota dealer called us asking us to come in. They were low on used cars, Yarises in particular, so they invited us to bring it in, and they would "give us a deal" for bringing it in early (we're leasing). Well, after a tiring 2 hour debacle, we signed a contract to purchase a 2010 Yaris sedan that was coming from somewhere else. Immediately after leaving the showroom, we began to second guess ourselves. Not 14 hours after signing the contract, we asked to get out of the deal. We were able to, but the dealer insisted that we pay for the transportation of the car from one dealer to another.

Then, this morning, coming out of the driveway, the front end of the car "brushed" with the snowbank and made a big noise. I wasn't very worried. After church, we noticed that the bumper was damaged and coming off on one side. We snapped it back as best we could, but you could imagine how I felt after that.

Right now, we are considering finishing up the lease and not getting a car at all. With this latest bumper incident, perhaps we will not even buy this current car. I don't know.

I just don't get it. I know that for many, this would not be a big deal. But to me, this is just such a downer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Investing in Providence

Please considering supporting Christian higher education in Canada. Providence College provides excellent university-level education from a Christian perspective. I am the program coordinator for the Communications and Media major at Providence, and have done so for the last 2 years. I also teach most of the courses in the major. It is a great place to learn about the media that we invest in, and the highly visual world around us. For more information on how to give to Providence, go here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Roland Barthes

It's no secret that the work of French theorist Roland Barthes is at the core of much of my academic work. I enjoy reading him, and I think that his ideas concerning pleasure and desire are quite useful in the study of celebrity. I find, also, that when I read Barthes, I am carried away by the prose (perhaps I lose subjectivity because of being assaulted by Barthes' "grain" within the "voice" of his writing?).

I was quite happy to hear that there is a new book by Barthes coming out in the next few weeks, called Mourning Diary, which is comprised of notes that Barthes made after the death of his mother (this is a subject that he speaks of in his wonderful Camera Lucida as well - students taking my course on photography next semester, take note). The New Yorker website happened to publish some of these cards (and their translations) recently, and I have decided to post one of the cards here.

—”Never again, never again!”
—And yet there’s a contradiction: “never again” isn’t eternal, since you yourself will die one day.
“Never again” is the expression of an immortal.

I was also looking at Advanced Book Exchange and found this:

$300 USD is a bit out of my budget, but it would be a nice thing to have. I will be buying Mourning Diary, though.

(You can see the other cards, and read more at the New Yorker website.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some random thoughts

I watched My Neighbours The Yamadas (Isao Takahata, dir., 1999) today. Of course, the version I was watching was dubbed in English, with Jim Belushi as Takashi (the father Yamada) and Molly Shannon as Matsuko (the mother). Though I own the DVD (released by Disney somewhere around 2005 or 2006), I've only watched the film once. Watching it today was a great experience. First of all, it is a funny movie. There isn't so much a consistent narrative, but there is a kind of bookend sequence: it opens with an older relative giving the newly married Yamadas some advice on how to weather the storms of life, and ends with Takashi giving some unscripted advice to another young couple. I found some sequences actually quite touching (especially one part where Takashi is asked to tell some local hoodlums to stop racing around the neighbourhood on their motorcycles - he attempts to confront them but ultimately fails to be a "hero"). If you haven't yet seen it, I would recommend it. It is not a normal North American cartoon (nor is it in the regular Studio Ghibli style that one might expect), but it is worth the time to watch.

In other news, I bought a new Douglas Coupland book today, called Player One. I was under the impression that the book came out in November, but alas the local bookstore had 31 copies. I picked mine up, and will start reading it tonight. I am currently slogging through William Gibson's Spook Country (second attempt). I love his stuff, but I'm having trouble with this one. His new book came out last week.

I am also reading through the old 1990s comic book run of Starman (from DC Comics). I am enjoying it, though perhaps not as much as I thought I would. A few days ago, I rewatched Watchmen (Zack Snyder, dir., 2009) and really enjoyed it. I am tempted to pick up the "Ultimate Edition" of the movie, but I probably won't. It is one of those movies that no one in my household enjoys, except for me.

On that note, I saw that Clerks 2 and Zack & Miri (both directed by Kevin Smith) were on sale at the local HMV for $6 a piece. I didn't particularly mind those movies last time I saw them, though I think I've grown out of that style of humour. In any case, I might pick them up - I think I would rather pick up Watchmen, though.

Thanks for reading. Good night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

that pesky book

It's now in the hands of the people at McFarland.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gaga and Moz!

From Morrissey-Solo (who got it from Rolling Stone):

"The Fame Moz-sters
Lady Gaga, Morrissey and Justin Tranter of Semi-Precious Weapons hang out backstage in Manchester, England after Gaga's June 3rd show."

(I don't know who Justin Tranter is, and I don't care. Gaga and Morrissey!!)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Christians and Music

A great quote I came across today, from Lee Bozeman:
Music and Christianity. Has there ever been a more misunderstood and terribly unhealthy relationship than between these two? The evangelical mentality has so pervaded and manipulated the modern western Christian that he is unable to see that Christianity is not a product to be bought and sold, nor is it a message to be propagandized, but rather, it is a completely counter-culture existential lifestyle. Contemporary Christian Music is nothing more than a musical version of McDonald's. They offer little in the way of true sustenance and appeal to our lowest common desire: our desire to be entertained. A true artist seeks to find peace with himself, and we, as onlookers, see something that is real and we cling to and believe in it. The truest Christian artist is the most human artist.
You can find the original interview here, and listen to Bozeman's music through here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Morrissey and death

From a recent posting by singer Morrissey, reflecting upon the death of a "super-fan" Melinda Hsu, a.k.a. Mel Torment:
The only way to deal with Mel's death is to accept it. There is no other way. We all have a certain unbreakable appointment and we are all helpless targets in that regard. Life's only promise is its final deadline. When Mel, and others who are dear to us, depart, we should at least realize as we shuffle along living our small and persecuted lives, how absolutely ridiculous it is to be afraid of anything or anyone on this unhappy planet. Most people are standardized and unoriginal, which is useful, because it makes the Mels of the world stand out even more. Rich in ideas, her self-made calendars and t-shirts were always very funny. You will catch up with her in the afterlife, where I'm sure she will be as creative and busy and as Mel Torment as ever.
The whole post is worth reading. This is an interesting window into Morrissey, a rare view of a different side of him. I should mention that I never met Hsu, either online or at any concerts (of course, I've only seen Moz twice). Hsu was a scholar, though, and I cite her Master's thesis in my doctoral dissertation.

You can read the rest of Morrissey's post here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Great Quote

"Don't let the guy with the broom decide how many elephants are going to be in the parade." - Merlin Mann

(From MacBreak Weekly episode 191. Listen to it here.)

Monday, March 22, 2010


For my first ever post-Ph.D. publication (besides book reviews), take a look at:

Greco, Nicholas. "The Companion as a Doll: The Female Enigma in Whedon’s Firefly and Dollhouse." Sexual Rhetoric in the Works of Joss Whedon: New Essays. Edited by Erin B. Waggoner. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2010. 239-247.

You can take a look at the book here:

You can also find it on Amazon. Yay me!!