Stirke Up the Band

I am not quite sure that words can describe quite how awesome this is:

Make sure you make it to at least 3:50.


Wiimote Already Obsolete?

I'm starting tag a lot of stuff like the following video lately. I'm real interested in the digital sandbox that video games are becoming. More and more your seeing games inviting prosuming, including advanced, yet accessible, level editors. Game companies are encouraging users to make modifications, and services such as X-Box live are making it easy to exchange stuff online. Now, it seems, we're on the verge of homemade controllers?

The Wiimote is not obsolete. Its still quite cool. But I'm really beginning to wonder if any of these user modifications will go mainstream. I could see a SimCity / Starcraft type of game built around the hand interface (nevermind if you could create a glove for a baseball game or Manhunt 3: Choker's Delight).


Complexity Theory and Authorship as Plurality

There was a discussion on a listserv today regarding why the individual author has become a myth. I cranked out a short response and figured I'd share. The original poster referred to the Emersonian (right?) "nothing is original" mantra. While I find that interesting, that's not what I identify as the problem. Its not so much that the individual author is a myth, as much as our postmodern ethics are skeptical of the egoist control and assurance that such a perspective purports. I can't help thinking of Mark C. Taylor's discussion his own sense of authorship in _The Moment of Complexity_:

I, Mark C. Taylor, am not writing this book. Yet the book is being written. It is as if I were the screen through which the words of others flow and on which they are displayed. Words, thoughts, ideas, are never precisely my own; they are always borrowed rather than possessed. I am, as it were, their vehicle. Though seeming to use language, symbols, and images, they use me to promote their circulation and extend their lives. The flux of information rushing through my mind as well as my body (I am not sure where one ends and the other begins) existed before me and will continue to flow long after I am gone. "My" thought--indeed "myself"--appears to be a transient eddy in a river whose banks are difficult to discern. [...] One of the few things that is clear even if not obvious is that all writing is ghostwriting. This work, like all others, is haunted by countless specters. Some I know, others I do not; some I name, others remain unnamed. The unknown and unnamed are not, of course, absent--nor are they present. Their silence speaks through my words in ways that remain cryptic to author as well as the reader. (196)

I think Taylor presents us with something more complicated than anti-originality. The constitutive debt to language stems beyond the ability of any individual consciousness' comprehension. Resisting the myth of the individual writer is a recognition of just how much of our reality is built up through nothing more than our symbol systems (and our ghosts-thnx KB). Even at our keyboards, though perhaps the only ones biologically present, we are never alone.


Romantic Rinse Cycle

The all-consuming job search, coupled with adorable baby daughter, doesn't leave much time for blogging (or anything else, for that matter). But I did want to take a few minutes to explain how parenthood has alerted my wife and I to how gender identity is constructed through toys. Yes, that's right, toys.

Here we are, enjoying an episode of House (if memory serves), when a commercial for the PlaySkool Rose Petal Cottage comes on. Seems innocent enough at first--think detailed play house. Now imagine the look of horror that grows on my wife's face as the advertisement shows a happy little girl learning how to: cook, clean, arrange the furniture, and put laundry in the washing machine. That's the real clincher: just as the add says something like: "watch your little girl's imagination grow" it shows the little girl stuffing clothes into the Rose Petal Washer (sold separately, of course).


As ideologically disturbing as the ad was, I must admit some enjoyment at watching my wife's face turn from disinterest, to awe, to moral outrage (for those who don't know, my wife won't allow anything Disney in the house since in their moives women are allowed only two courses: death or finding a man). I think, as the years roll on, Christmas is going to be fun, if only because I can totally see my dad thinking this would be a great present...