Saturday, June 30, 2007
I'm technically on vacation for a week, starting today, though I expect I'll be checking in and posting from time to time while I'm "away." Don't mess things up too much in my absence.
True Star Wars fans hate Star Wars
Or so Andrey Summers writes in this excellent essay from JIVEmagazine.com, entitled The Complete and Terrifying Reality of Star Wars fandom:
My girlfriend doesn’t understand what I see in Star Wars. We’ve had several soul-crushing arguments about what exactly makes this series so important to me, and every time I have found it more and more difficult to argue my case. As the maddening years have wound on, I think I finally understand the reason for this crippling handicap.
There is a diabolical twist to Star Wars fandom, you see, that defies comprehension, and yet is the life-blood of all Star Wars fans. It is this:
Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.
If you run into somebody who tells you they thought the franchise was quite enjoyable, and they very-much liked the originals as well as the prequels, and even own everything on DVD, and a few of the books, these imposters are not Star Wars Fans.
What's to hate? Naturally, he elaborates:
Star Wars fans also hate the original Star Wars trilogy. We think Mark Hamill’s acting was whiny, the pacing was flawed, and Empire was better than Jedi, making the end of the series a let-down. We hate the way Boba Fett died, and we hate the cantankerous, arthritic duel between Vader and Obi-wan. We don’t understand why the storm-troopers can’t shoot worth a damn, and we don’t get why “an entire legion of [the Emperor’s] best troops”(ROTJ, Palpatine) can be overpowered by a tribal society of midget teddy-bears armed largely with rocks and twigs. Star Wars fans hate omnipotent war-machines that get their legs tangled in strings, or slip on logs. They hate Darth Vader’s face and that stupid harmonica thing he was playing. Star Wars fans hate the original Star Wars trilogy.
I should probably be embarrassed by how much I connect with this essay, but I'm not. As a true Star Wars fan, I, too, hate Star Wars in the same way.
Thank you, Bill.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Vermont YouTube of the Day
I know, I know, you've grown tired of yet another story about those 802 rapper kids. Or at least, I've grown tired.
But hey, guess what, they made a new video, and it's definitely worth watching. It's cleverly called the "CO2 Music Video," and it's about global warming.
Let's see if the governor is "down with it." Ha! The kids call on legislators to override Douglas' veto on the energy bill, H.520. Not often you see kids rapping about needing a 2/3 vote.
Colin Arisman, one of the X10 crew, is an intern at VPIRG.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Vermont YouTube strawberry follow-up
Last week, I posted a video in which a guy named Paul announces that he's found the World's Biggest Strawberry.
Seven Days food writer Suzanne Podhaizer interviewed him this week as part of her story, Ruby Fruit Jungle. Turns out he's Paul Reynolds of Montpelier, a violist who teaches at Middlebury and plays in the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
From the interview:
SEVEN DAYS: Do you plan to preserve the strawberry for posterity? Maybe you could varnish it or something.
PAUL REYNOLDS: My plan was to preserve it . . . I thought about selling it on eBay, and I told my wife about that. But we agreed that, in transit, it probably wouldn't last.
SD: What did you ultimately decide? Did you carve it up like a Thanksgiving turkey?
PR: My 2-year-old daughter's eyes were so big when she saw it that I couldn't resist giving it to her . . . she ate the whole thing.
SD: That must have taken a while.
PR: About 20 minutes. She had it all over her face and she just kept saying how good it was.
200th Vermont blog
Hey, I just added the 200th Vermont blog to my blogroll. Congratulations, Vermont 251 Club! Sadly, there are no prizes involved.
I will definitely be categorizing the blogs soon. I'm on vacation next week, so it probably won't happen until mid-July.
Keep sending the blogs my way!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
In lieu of the iPhone...
The iPhone debuts this Friday, but you can't buy one in Vermont (unless you have friends or family in other states who will order one for you and send it up).
We don't have AT&T wireless here, and though you can supposedly use the iPhone here, you can't actually purchase it here (this is according to the sales guy I talked with at Small Dog).
In lieu of writing about the iPhone, I interviewed Burlington designer Jerry Manock on Friday. He lead the Industrial Design Team that produced the original Mac.
I've known of Jerry Manock for years. Until March, his consulting business was located in the office next to Seven Days in the Indepedent Block on South Champlain Street. In March, he moved out, and our office expanded into his old space. Plus, his talented daughter Abby has long been a 7D illustrator.
But I didn't know anything about Manock's Mac connections until Meghan D. forwarded me an email about a talk he gave earlier this month.
Luckily he was in town and agreed to a hastily scheduled interview.
We talked for over an hour, and I had to cut our talk down to just 1800 words or so. Sadly I had to leave out the story he told about Joan Baez visiting the top-secret Mac offices. But you can find it here.
Here's my story, with a PC or Mac poll. (Photo by Matthew Thorsen).
City Mouse, Country Mouse
There's always a certain adjustment when you leave Vermont and travel to a more urban environment. Jessamyn West sums up the disconnect nicely in this post from yesterday.
The longer I stay in Vermont, the more I'm a gawking slack-jawed tourist when I'm in the city. Look at these PEOPLE. Look how TALL that BUILDING is. I got to do a lot of late night subway riding. Look how LATE these people are AWAKE. I had tacos out in Redhook while watching a soccer game. OMG how TASTY is this food?! I paid equal amounts for a taxi ride and a fancy cocktail. Twelve DOLLARS. I got to hang out with ten friends at once and it wasn't even a holiday. It sure was fun.
Then I got in my (unlocked all weekend — you know how this part goes) car to drive home from the train station. When I was just a few miles from home, driving along a road (yes it's called notown, I know I know) that is bordered on one side by a river and one side by a pretty steep hill. I saw what I thought was a horse in the road and slammed on the brakes, skidded a little and came to a stop next to a moose. We regarded each other for a while in the light of my headlights on the totally-abandoned-at-10-pm route 107 and then he trundled off. I've never been that close to a moose in my life.
Good thing she was able to stop. We wouldn't want to lose our internet folk-hero.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Vermont YouTube of the Day
The other day, we got a phone call about a military counter-recruitment protest at Algebars, the video gaming center on Church Street. The call came after the fact, so there wasn't much we could do about it.
But just now I was looking around on YouTube, and I think I found a video of the action.
This clip shows an Army recruiter demonstrating how to play a military video game. Looks like his audience is a bunch of teenage boys. Things start to get interesting when the protestors show up about six and a half minutes in.
They only appear for a couple minutes, but they seem to cause quite a stir. The owner definitely gets worked up.
After the protestors get kicked out, (minus the cameraperson, who must have been a plant), the recruiter calmly tells the kids not to get riled up about the disruption. "I deal with stuff like that on a daily basis," he says. "I come down to Church Street, I get called a murderer every other week."
He tells the kids that it's the protestors' right to object to his presentation, and that they can do it because people like him fight for their rights. Which sounds really magnanimous, and makes you feel for the guy.
But then he says... "Could I probably have taken them out? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows."
Here's another interesting bit of dialogue. These guys are standing in a darkened room, diagrams of a machine gun, a human target silhoutte, and a soldier crouching to shoot displaying on the wall. They're listening to an Army recruiter tell them how to fire a gun.
One of the protestors says, "What do you guys think you're going to get by going to Iraq and killing people?"
The guy who responds, you can almost hear the "well duh," in his voice. He says, "We're not going to Iraq man, we're playing a game."
Here's the write-up of the event, from the Algebars website:
Vermont's Staff Sergeant Philip Thomas will be introducing the America's Army game as well as provide a realistic shooting experience with the America's Army Laser Shot system this Friday, June 22, from 7pm to approximately midnight. He'll teach participants how to fire an M4 Carbine and a 9mm pistol (obviously without ammunition) like a real soldier (NOTE: must be 16 years and older to handle the weapons).
Vermont Blog Roundup
I found some new blogs recently. Let's start there.
• Clamzilla's Fabulous Adventures in the Dark: Reviews of movies that show at the Essex Outlet Cinemas. By Clam Who? Says her bio:
I'm a child of the 70s who actually believed we would all grow up to embrace a Utopian society in which all the races, genders, political parties, and religions of the world would embrace a respectful, equal and supportive attitude towards one another. Boy, was I naive. Now I'm a beleagered middle-aged cynic who rarely leaves the darkness of a movie theater except to watch "my stories" each day and feed my cats, who I like a whole lot more than most people.
• My Graphics About Murray Bookchin, by Janet Biehl. The late social ecologist Murray Bookchin's editor and companion is creating comics about him and publishing them on her blog. It's worth your time to have a look.
• My Himalayan cat "Goma" blog: Cute cat blogging.
• The Waterfall Hunter: a photo blog by Sam.
• Elaine Young: A Champlain Professor: She teaches online marketing at Champlain College.
• Montpelier Pillow Fight: The name says it all.
• Just Thinkin': This dude's in Vermont:
I’m an ex-Cold War submariner in my late forties who spent most of his life in computers, peripherals, R&D and anything else technical that they could throw at me. The rest of the time was spent writing, working my own small, mobile sound production studio and riding around on Harley Davidsons.
Other items of interest:
• Boingo's new flat-rate wireless plan is a huge threat to mobile operators, says Tom Evslin of Stowe.
• Summer travel horror story from UVM's Richard Parent.
• An Ubuntu update from Jessamyn, Vermont's own Internet folk hero.
• Morgan Brown is on the move again.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Win Sicko tix
Here's something you might have missed — you can win a pair of tickets to see Michael Moore's new movie Sicko at Merrill's Roxy by sharing your own medical horror story. Deadline to get tickets is Wednesday at noon.