February 2006 Archives

"The New Adventures of Old Christine"--which number of failed sitcoms is Julia on now?

My first paper for English E303: Literatures from 1600-1700 is up now.

I wrote it on Charles Dickens's "To be Taken with a Grain of Salt."

Just for proof:

C:\Documents and Settings\Owner>tracert www.nbc.com

Tracing route to a1669.g.akamai.net []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
2 29 ms 23 ms 23 ms L100.DSL-01.SBNDIN.verizon-gni.net []

3 36 ms 37 ms 36 ms at-1-0-0-133.CORE-RTR2.CHI01.verizon-gni.net [13]
4 43 ms 36 ms 38 ms
5 36 ms 37 ms 39 ms
6 36 ms 37 ms 37 ms so-3-3-0-0.e2.Chicago1.Level3.net []
7 37 ms 37 ms 37 ms ae-13-51.car3.Chicago1.Level3.net []
8 64 ms 73 ms * chi-bb1-geth6-3-1-0.telia.net []
9 39 ms 37 ms 37 ms

Normally, NBC.com is hosted by ATT.

This is going to be a fun week.

Monday: Spanish Quiz (over subjunctive, past perfect/indicative, vocab, etc.) and also Intro to American Government Mid-Term.
Tuesday: Literatures in English 1600-1700 (Victorian) Mid-Term
Wednesday: Spanish Test
Thursday: 5-page English paper due (thankfully, I have a mostly completed draft)

"Stroke Care Quicker When Victims Go to ER"

Who are they paying to make landmark studies such as this? Genuises!

Next thing you know, they'll tell you, "Gunshot and stabbing victims are treated with more urgency and care than migraine sufferers."

I give Lost two more years after this season ends before its ratings will no longer sustain it.

Naturally, ABC will try its hardest to milk the series for as long as they can, but I'd hope the creative team will have the smarts to "throw us a bone"--on the internet, perhaps--long before the series dies of atrophy.

I'm upset because the show now has, on an even greater level than before, some of the most ridiculous dialog I've ever run across in a TV show, fictional or not. Everything is so uneven, especially the confrontations between Jack and Mr. Friendly (as the writers like to call him). An example, you ask? Watch the show closely. When some asks a key question, the questionee will more often than not just let the question hang in the air.

Essentially, the questions are of the sort "What in the world are you doing here?" "Who the heck are you?" "Do any of us know each other?" etc. The point is, the writers are pulling a cop-out. Granted, the answers--if truthful--would be damaging to the mythology of the series, as they would likely spoil key elements too early. But you should have the characters answer with something other than a protracted silent glare. This unnatural dialog calls out, in my mind at least, that 1) the writers are conscious of where the fans' latest curiousities are (reasonable), but more important (and glaring) that 2) they can't frame a response (whether it be a lie or a simple "I don't know" or "That's for me to know and for you to find out."

Friday night I saw a triple header concert: L.A. Guns, Firehouse, and Warrant, here at Club Fever in South Bend.

Yeah! This really lame band called Mercy Sanction opened up, then the Guns tore into their set. I only recognized one of their songs, but in general they rocked (for an 80s hair band).

Firehouse was the crowd favorite, and (surprisingly) mine as well. They played Love of a Lifetime twice, and both times the crowd responded with the same intense appreciation and accolade.

The show started at 6:30pm, with too much time in-between sets (and it wasn't due to stage alterations, either). As a result, by 12:30am Warrant was still rocking their set, but Eric Settles and I decided our old-foginess had gotten to us, and so we left. (6 hours of standing without much movement will do terrible things for your knees and back).

I thought Warrant would rock the most, but I enjoyed Firehouse more. Warrant didn't work the crowd as well as Firehouse, and though the crowd was by then noticeably reduced in numbers and tired, Warrant made little attempt to get us involved.

This past Sunday's Grey's Anatomy was nothing short of breathtaking, but then that show has been amazing since its inception.

(Katherine Heigl is very, very easy on the eyes, too!)

The episode wasn't plausible, mind you, but who said that even purpotedly realistic television has to be totally believable?

While I've never personally played the games, the Silent Hill series has long been hailed as one of the preeminent "survivor-horror" games, and the newly minted movie looks to be more of the atmospheric, immersing same:


Lost needs to seriously inject some more mythology, Stat! The last two episodes have been so out of character and so lame.

Also, they're milking flashbacks ad nauseam. This show is on the downturn if they continue in this recent trend. In reality, though many argue otherwise, the only thing keeping folks watching in droves is the mythology. You can only go so far without a serious external danger element.

And honestly, the writers (by themselves or at the behest of the producers) are exhuding way too much childish glee at the creative power they now hold. Instance: connections ad-nauseam with the characters' past interactions with each other, but even worse is the necessity they feel to sprinkle none-too-lightly the numbers' presence _everywhere_.

If, in the grand revelation of this show they do not have a cogent reason for the "coincidences," I will forever mark with disdain the writers and producers, chalking it all up to sophomoric behavior.

Stephen Donner
Dr. R. Brittenham
English E303
Close Reading Four
February 7, 2006

As the editors of The Victorian Supernatural have interpreted Eve Lynch�s examination of Mary Elizabeth Braddon�s ghost stories of the 1860 and 1870s, they remark that, �The world in which apparitions make themselves known is the world below stairs from where servants also function as ghostly presences in the respectable Victorian home� (14). Although in Rhoda Broughton�s �The Truth ... and Nothing but the Truth� the location is upstairs rather than downstairs (this �world below stairs� being likely more figurative than an absolute location,) this being the �respectable Victorian home,� it is then naturally the housemaid who is the first witness to the manifestation of some ghostly apparition in that upstairs room, and whose credibility is severely doubted.

Bessy�s missive to Cecilia dismissing the housemaid�s reaction as a fit or insanity serves as the �enlightened�, upper-class British response. Although not believing in ghosts herself, she claims, her rhetorical question of ghosts� existence to Cecilia speaks volumes, �is it likely that there should be anything to be seen so horribly fear-inspiring, as to send a perfectly sane person in one instant raving mad� (80). Although Bessy never makes a directly class-based remark, I feel Broughton utilizes her character type to ultimately represent stereotypically British sentiments towards the mental/emotional stability of servants, as the ending�s framing appears to denote. Furthermore, although Cecilia�s letter only mentions the housemaid entering the room to prepare for Adela�s arrival, Bessy responds with flawed logic by insinuating instead that if there were a malevolent force in the house, �your whole household ought, by this time, to be stark, staring mad� (80). It seems, then, that Bessy relies on that flawed logic and trite phrases rather than intuition.

Ralph Gordon�s death I feel speaks to the fulfillment of Broughton�s possible intention. Specifically, servants are the objects upon which to displace undesirable supernatural superstitions under the umbrella of their fits or worse, claims of their insanity. The death of Ralph�the logical, debunking, foolhardy Victorian�portends an ominous warning to those who might be quick to discount the valid experiences of even �the world below the stairs,� as it were. As Cecilia herself realizes and concedes, �Yes, dead. Not in a swoon or in a fit, but dead� (82). The finality of Ralph�s death means that he cannot act as an intermediary; the gateway between the British logical and the supernatural is closed. Furthermore, none who witness his death would be able to merely shrug off its supernatural implications any longer, as Bessy had previously done. Instead, now affecting an upper-class, logical, British male, it moves from the superstitious, unreasonable madness into a malevolent force which cannot be effectively debunked and explained by rational, enlightened thought.

Esto es un buen Web site para encontrar todas las palabras y qu� las significan.


This page is the best Spanish-summary page I've seen, bar none.

I simply must remember to print it out next time I'm at school.

Stephen Donner
Dr. R. Brittenham
English E303
Close Reading Three
January 31, 2006

In stories which involve the supernatural, the element of the supernatural phenomenon�indeed that which makes it frightening�is often easily recognized as terrifying because it exhibits characteristics that are �other-wordly;� in other words, something which should not be. A critical moment in storytelling for tales such as these is not simply then how the supernatural phenomenon itself is purportedly revealed, but rather the moment and means by which it is in fact confirmed to be of a supernatural origin (at least as it works to confirm this within the character�s mind).

Elizabeth Gaskell�s �The Old Nurse�s Story� has a particularly well-crafted example of such a confirmation. Hester, the protagonist nurse of the story, has been noticing late-night organ playing, and has asked the reticent Dorothy just who it is that is playing the organ. Not receiving a response from Dorothy, Hester moves on and inquires of Bessy, who, demanding confidentiality of Hester, divulges that in fact the organ is played by the late Mr. Furnivall. But in her own words, Hester is not too deeply concerned about this revelation: �I had a brave heart; and I thought it was rather pleasant to have that grand music rolling about the house, let who would be the player�� (7, italics mine). Going on about the music in great length, she praises its form and content saying of it that it was �always music and tunes, so it was nonsense to call it the wind� (7). Somehow, then, although revealed by Bessy to be supposedly supernatural in nature, nonetheless the semi-nightly experience does not yet trouble her, because she does not believe the story. If she did believe it, she would not then suppose �I thought at first that it might be Miss Furnivall who played, unknown to Bessy� (7).

Upon Hester�s own investigation of the source, however, the important moment of revelation and confirmation takes place: she finds the organ �all broken and destroyed inside,� which now irrefutably confirms to Hester that the music�s source must be derived from the supernatural (7).
Hester�s perspective and the naturally ensuing reaction to that newly gained perspective have now, in fact, changed dramatically. Before, the organ playing�though said to be supernatural�was relegated to Bessy�s hearsay. Now, unmistakably of a supernatural origin (confirmed for herself), it moves from merely the supposed �revealed� to the actual confirmed, and that is when the terror �I did not like hearing the music for some time after that� now takes hold within her mind (7).

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