January 29, 2004
Note to self(Fu crew)
I(you) need to see Zatoichi by Takeshi Kitano. This is a remake of a classic martial arts movie about a blind samurai.
I've already put the original series of movies in my netflix account. As soon as the remake is available we'll have to schedule a screening.
And you all need to check Broog: Alien Film Critic. Thank you Broog for raising my martial arts movie awareness.
Two posts in twelve hours, now that's what I'm talking about.
So its been a long time since my last post...
If you were wondering whether this log was going to be a one a done, its not, I promise. I just haven't been able to justify making time to work on the website and write to the log. I have been forming a list of posts that I hope will come on fast and furious in a few days. The list includes:
Notes from a musical concert of Boston subway performers, including musings on creating a soundtrack of these performers than writing a movie about Harvard Square for the music.
Continuing with the music to movie theme, some ideas for awesome Kung Fu battle scenes.
My reading lists and a series of notes on recent books read. First up, Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin.
and more cool stuff!
I have managed to get the booklists started at the website. Go here to see what I'm currently reading.
And Kenj now has authoring privileges, so please, badger her with requests to write. She's found the site to "austere" so now she's gonna help me lighten it up. I'm still working on the animated puppies.
January 26, 2004
Ladiez in da Haus!
Once there was this lady, she lived there too.
Oh, look at me, I'm making blog! Ooh la la, la la, la la, la la!
January 13, 2004
On Reading the Preface and Introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth
So enough with the Tolkien posts already, but here's another one, and more good stuff on the website proper. I was in Pandemonium Books and Games today obtaining a copy of The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay when I came across the book by Bradley J. Birzer named above. Naturally, it was added to the purchase.
This is the sort of exegesis that makes the LotR special to me. Tolkien had two ultimate purposes in crafting the world of Middle-Earth. 1. To provide the United Kingdom with a myth cycle to rival its germanic and scandanavian neighbors. 2. To provide a blueprint and a "hope for a renewal of Christendom and an end to the ideologically inspired terror of the twentieth century." (Birzer, xxv)
Tolkien was a Christian Humanist.
If you really want to understand how Tolkien reconciles myth and Christianity, and puts forth his vision of a humanistic world, read Birzer's book. For those disinclined to scholarship, you can find the same thing straight from the horses mouth, the way J.R.R. Tolkien knew to say it best, in legend. Just read the last story of his to be published before his death, Smith of Wootton Major.
For the non-christians who can't find an easy entrance into the bible, just look to the five major heroes of the LotR as exemplars of Western Christendom. Each of the five show how one answers the Christian Humanists two questions, "(1) What is the role of the human person within God's creation? and (2) how does man order himself within God's creation?" (Birzer, xxv) The heroes are Gandalf, Aragorn, Faramir, Frodo and Sam, for those of you scoring at home.
I am not willing to follow Tolkien all the way back to his Catholicism, but I do follow him in rejecting the direction of modern thought. I am going to paraphrase and sometimes downright copy Bircher's words in providing that direction and Tolkien's rejection.
Myth is treated historically as a way (often the best way) to interpret, explain and provide meaning to a world that is immediately experienced by the community that makes the myth.
Secular modernity has removed itself from this immediate interaction with a "richly felt and imagined reality." (Birzer, xxiii) Paradoxically, pragmatism takes us further from an understanding of and an existence in the world than myth. When we disallow as "real" all knowledge not gained through the operation of the senses, we're not left with enough to produce a viable interpretation. Birzer quotes Romano Guardini's, Letters from Lake Como: Explorations in Technology and the Human Race, page 20: "In this new sphere things are no longer directly detected, seen, grasped, formed or enjoyed; rather they are mediated by signs and substitutes."
This leads the modernist to reject myth (and religion) as a lie. The postmodernist looks on myth as one subjective narrative among many with no inherent truth. Both relationships reject that myth contains anything that might help us transcend our limited data and make right sense of the world. This seems to many folks a wrong or false interaction with the world.
Neither viewpoint is ready to answer the question that seems an appropriate end of human inquiry to most of us, which of the many narratives we have to choose from are true(transcendent)? This question, is in my eyes, the dilemma of the postpostmodernist. How does one sift throught the nuggets and find out what's really going on? Evidence of a continuing human need to find these truths might be found in recognition that the fact that we have rejected so many of our past belief structures is a likely causal culprit for the sudden explosion of UFO cults in our communities.
Tolkien's sieve was Christianity, hence the need to sanctify the myths he wrote, to make them acceptably christian in message and method. In this pursuit he follows a long tradition of monks and priests incorporating pagan rituals and beliefs into the Christian Ideology to make the religion more palatable.
The rest of us who don't agree with the full message of Christianity are left to our own devices, but we can still appreciate the effort and the artistry, the genius of Tolkien's project and his product.
I've added some other nice quotes I culled from Birzer to the <language> section of the website. Check 'em out.
January 12, 2004
Where is Tom Bombadill?
So Peter Jackson, the esteemed Director of the recent movie version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, when asked why he cut out completely Tom Bombadill, the most important character in the trilogy, "Well, because I've always found Tom Bombadill fans to be very boring."
I'm sorry, but this is inexcusable, call me boring if you must. And all of my friends out there who haven't read the books, you must read these five articles immediately. If you got a notification of this post, you know who you are! If you want a notification, I'll soon be putting in some script so you can add yourself to the list. I'm not messing around, read!
- Michael Martinez, "If I Only had a Bombadil..."
- Gene Hargrove's essay "Who is Tom Bombadil"
- What is Tom Bombadil? by Steuard Jensen.
- The discussion of Tom Bombadil at The Encyclopedia of Arda
- J.R.R. Tolkien's Tom Bombadil, an essay by Blake Bolinger
Now you must comment on this post and pledge your acceptance to a weekly story hour during which I will read the books to you if I must.
And at the result of getting brickbats tossed my way, I think Guy Gavriel Kay outdid Tolkein on Tolkein's own ground with his Fionavar tapestry (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Longest Road).
So guess what's next on my reading list.
Okay, so the site is created using a big table, which isn't ideal. Ideally instead of faking the xml, each bit of content would just be an xml file, or better yet rdf. Then I'd just use an xslt to render the page in xhtml, but that's in phase two.
But that's enough about the site. If you want to see how a proper personal weblog/website is done by a professional librarian, check out rawbrick.
January 11, 2004
So I've redone the site, here's the link. It's still a work in progress, but already it's gimmicky, geeky and it breaks every rule of good user-oriented design (well maybe not every rule).
I hope at least, that you all have a chuckle at the use of xml tags as a display mechanism.
January 08, 2004
One day I too will be counted among the wise
I don't think that you could pay anyone a nicer compliment than these words, which Tom Bombadil had to say of Farmer Maggot:
There's earth under his old feet, and clay on his fingers; wisdoms in his bones, and both his eyes are open.
To state the painfully obvious, this is the first entry of this journal and a test of its functionality.
It is still very much a work in progress
My goal in writing here is to record, admittedly for myself, interesting bits of data that I encounter. By interesting I mean those bits that seem to want to cohere into things called information. I intend for this space to supplement and organize the notes I keep in a Moleskine.
I call this log metametadata because I am a digital librarian and a metadata specialist. I provide data about data every waking minute of my life. Hence, the Moleskine, then www.metametadata.net. It seems appropriate to me that I at least attempt to make use of the latest telecommunications technology in my lifelong pursuit of that most elusive of objects, knowledge.
In other words I am trying to find out what the hell is really going on.
I hope that librarians get the joke in this log's title. There is a widely used metadata scheme for educational materials, appropriately called the Learning Object Metadata (LOM) Standard (IEEE standard 1484.12.1). This scheme consists of metadata elements in nine categories, the third of which is "Metametadata" and has the following explanation in the standard:
This category describes this metadata record itself (rather than the learning object that this record describes).
This category describes how the metadata instance can be identified, who created this metadata instance, how, when, and with what references.
NOTE:--This is not the information that describes the learning object itself.