Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Thursday Quiz X

Ach du leiber Himmel! It's

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is, as always, a "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always the universal constant:

No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will lose their power of speech.
This Week's Category is tongue-tied!


Clarification, hopefully: What we are looking for here is, is the writing sample really an example of the language?

1. Amharic.
2. Chinese

3. Finnish

4. Hebrew
5. Hindi
6. Japanese

7. Russian

8. Serbo-Croatian

9. Somali
10. Urdu
11. Vietnamese

12. Welsh

Submit your answers, in any language you're confident I'll know the words for yes and no, in the form of a comment.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Michael5000's Internet Funhouse!!

As anyone who bought airline tickets before 1997 knows, the internet has made life better. The malstrom of information that is the web has improved our standards of living in uncountable ways. Never again, thanks to our new media, need a bar bet be left unsettled, an original term paper be written, or a passing urge to purchase something from a catalog go unindulged.

But for all of those practical applications, the highest use of the internet lies elsewhere. I speak, of course, of goofing off. Where once goofing off was an activity sadly confined to homes and schools, the modern computer owner can goof off nearly anyplace and, with only the sacrifice of a good night's sleep, any time.

Perhaps you, dear reader, are wondering "But how could ~I~ use the internet to goof off?" Or maybe you are an experienced internet goofoff, but still on the lookout for fresh ways to sacrifice your valuable time. Well, you're in luck. Today, the L&TM5K is proud to bring you:

Michael5000's Favorite Internet Wastes of Time

I: Video

Since YouTube by now probably hosts more videos than there are atoms in the universe, it would be sheer folly to pick out two for special note. But nevertheless, these are the two that have made me, as we say here on the internet, "LMAO" this week.

1. Here's a new take on U2's classic anthem "Sunday Bloody Sunday," as rendered through the unmistakeable vocal stylings of our 43rd President.

2. And here's a new take on Sir Mix-a-lot's classic paeon to the female buttocks, "Baby Got Back," except retooled for the higher moral good.

(#1 recommended by extremely occasional reader DrSchnell, #2 stolen off of Kadonkadonk's blog without so much as a how-do-you-do.)

Or, if you're feeling more intellectual-like, you could check out these animations of the poetry of Billy Collins. They're pretty cool, too.

II: Games!

Dicewars: If you've ever accidentally stayed up all night playing Civilization, Alpha Centauri, or Masters of Orion, you'll be happy with this game. It distills the basic logic of the "4x" game to about 10 minutes of mouse clicking. Easy to learn, easy to master, but great replayability. You'll spend many happy minutes conquering the world for the purple team, and you are actually saving time, in that you aren't playing Civ.

Mindfields or especially Launchball: Well-designed puzzle solving games. Mindfields has a tank-combat theme, but that's window-dressing pure and simple. Launchball is sweet sweet mind candy for engineer wannabe geeks, and suffers only from having too few levels.

Zeta Flow is pure adrenilin shoot-em-up, if you're into that kind of thing.

Boomshine is a soporific little jewel of a game with no particular element of skill. It's very gentle and lulling, although you can pretend you are the kid from Ender's Game destroying an entire alien civilization, if you want to.

And finally, the computer game meets the alternative arts scene in gamegame6, the only (non-)game that I've ever managed to interest Mrs.5000 in for even a moment. Come on and meet your maker!

III: Internet Toys!

Ah, internet toys. You see them, you think they're really cool, you play with them for 25 seconds, you are ready to move on. But it was a good 25 seconds.

Spell with Flickr!

Jackson Pollack!


Pattern Game!

A flower garden!

Allright, enough of that.

IV. And then there's Blogs

Careful readers may have noticed that I updated the blogroll last week, dividing it into The Greater L&TM5K Community, the blogs of my "readers" (inclusively defined as anyone that I have reason to believe has ever visited this blog even once) and Other Worthy Bloggage, which is just that. Needless to say, pretty much any link you hit in either list will bring you hours of potential diversion and enlightenment.

(I really shouldn't point anybody out individually here, but Vice Dork fingerstothebone has certainly been doing some strange things with her food.)

V. Your Turn

So, those were MY suggestions. What are YOUR suggestions?

The Always Problematic Monday Quiz

Several people including Mark Witteman, highest-rating male dork in the L&TM5K community, correctly identified the states of the Confederacy thus:

1. Arkansas -- is
2. Florida -- is
3. Illinois -- isn't
4. Maryland -- isn't
5. West Virginia -- isn't
However, Mark studied History in college, which is kind of cheating.

But then my dawg MyDogIsChelsea made the excellent point that Wouldn't the correct answer be that none of them are states of the confederacy? Maybe some of them were, but no longer. So maybe she wins.

On the other hand, both Rebel and Jennifer invoked the excellent concept "Go Ducks!" which is a highly persuasive sentiment.

But then, my older brother -- who did not technically participate in the Monday quiz, but who did once look at my blog and comment favorably that "you've got a glib sort of deal going on there" -- emailed this afternoon to offer me a spare ticket to the Arizona State game this weekend, so maybe HE wins.

Just kidding, of course.

Really, the most impressive achievement of the day was from Chance, who successfully identified my obscure Tom Waits quotation, which is from the spoken introduction to (I believe) "Train Song" on the Big Time album:

A lot of people come up to me and they say, 'Tom, is it possible for a woman to get pregnant without intercourse?' And my answer is always the same. I say, 'Well, listen. We're gonna have to go all the way back to the Civil War.' Apparently, a stray bullet actually pierced the testicle of a Union soldier, and then lodged itself in the ovaries of an eighteen year old girl, who was actually a hundred feet from him at the time. Well, the baby was fine. She was very happy, guilt free and... Of course, the soldier was a little pissed off. When you think about it, it's actually a FORM of intercourse, but... not for everyone. Those who love action maybe.

This is why, whenever I'm asked a question that is going to require a lengthy answer, I always say "to answer that question, we're going to have to go all the way back to the Civil War." No one ever gets what I'm talking about, but I'm never one to let a little thing like that spoil my fun.

What I'm Saying Is...

Friends, the Monday Quiz isn't really working. It's too much like the Thursday Quiz, except with only five questions it can't work up a proper head of steam. And it's hard to get the difficulty level right. I keep forgetting it's supposed to be easy, because it's much more fun to throw curveballs, and people feel bad when they get thumped by an "easy" quiz.

So, starting next week, the Monday Quiz will have an all-new format. Don't let the anticipation ruin your weekend or anything, but there you go.

Meanwhile, the executives here at L&TM5K have "greenlighted" a second "season" of the Thursday Quiz, and have ordered ten more episodes. So, if you enjoy difficult pop quizzes, you're in luck. If you don't, well, it won't hurt my feelings.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Monday Quiz

Well, hey. It's a new week, and time for the

The Monday Quiz

To respond to this quiz, if I may paraphrase Tom Waits, you're going to have to go all the way back to the Civil War.

States of the Confederacy

Is it, or isn't it?

1. Arkansas
2. Florida
3. Illinois
4. Maryland
5. West Virginia

Quite a few extra points for knowing the question that, in order to answer, Tom Waits had to go "all the way back to the Civil War."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why, It's Friday!

Thursday Quiz Roundup

It has been the season of the upset in college football, and apparently some of that mojo has leaked into the Thursday Quiz this week. Some of the stalwarts, apparently not civics enthusiasts, were scared off by the subject matter. Perennial Quiz stud Rex Parker ended a run of eight straight top three places, falling short of a star by a mere one point.

Keeping it all in the family, however, Sandy -- who if memory serves is in fact Mrs. Parker -- brings home her first star. It's a silver one.

Another first-time winner, Kadonkadonk, grabs the blue.

The gold star stays here at Castle5000 this week, the first finish higher than a green star for a woman several felt was underrated in DorkFest. In her entry, she wrote: If, in evaluating these qualifications, you have any lingering doubts as to my preeminent Dorkiness, please peruse the photo you took of me last winter conducting optical experiments with a pinhole camera.

Well, you be the judge:

Congratulations to the winner of The Thursday Quiz IX, the lovely and brilliant Mrs.5000!

(I'm sure Sandy and Kadonkadonk are lovely and brilliant, too.)

Surreal Detail of the Week

Last weekend, I met a guy and started to introduce myself.

"Oh, I know who you are," he said. "You're michael5000. I recognize you from the picture on your blog."


You know who I am! I'm michael5000!

That's right, y'all! I'm michael5000! And I'm not happy about the imposters and the faquers and the haters that, a leading search engine tells me, have been messin' with my name.

Dude on ""! You're not michael5000! I'm michael5000! And by the way, nobody wants to let you make them happy!

Shit, man!

I've got a brand to protect, here.

Houston area DJ! You're not michael5000 either! Heard of East Coast rap? Sure you have! Heard of West Coast rap? Damn straight! Gulf Coast rap? I don't think so!!!

Listen up!! I'm michael5000! And nobody lays down beats about the bitches like me, yo! Cease and desist, dawg!

Dorky Weekend Football Preview

The #5 Oregon Ducks? The #4 Oklahoma Sooners? Man, I'd be an idiot not to stop following football right now and just to coast on the memories. Unfortunately, as the previous paragraph illustrates, I'm kind of an idiot.

The Ducks take on USC in a game that threatens to be very exciting. I'm guessing it will be within a score, but I honestly don't know which way it will swing.

What of the Beavs? They host Stanford, and will win by, let's say, 39 - 21.

The Sooners will take advantage of a nice weekend off to catch up on their studies.

It's the weekend, people! Enjoy it in good health! I'll expect some good stories out of you next week!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Thursday Quiz IX

Oyez, Oyez! It's

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is, as always, a "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always the rule of law:

No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will be cast forth from the tribe.
This Week's Category will read you your rights!

Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Note: this one might be kinda hard. Onward!

1. The Third Amendment: Soldiers can't be quartered in private homes.
2. The Fourth Amendment: The right to hold slaves. (repealed 1865)
3. The Seventh Amendment: The right to trial by jury.
4. The Eighth Amendment: The right to privacy.
5. The Ninth Amendment: Rights specified in the Constitution don't rule out the existance of other, unspecified rights.
6. The Eleventh Amendment: Gives Supreme Court the power to rule on Constitutionality of laws.
7. The Fourteenth Amendment: Specifies Washington, D.C., as capital city.
8. The Sixteenth Amendment: Gives Congress the power to regulate child labor.
9. The Seventeenth Amendment: Requires direct election of U.S. Senators.
10. The Twentieth Amendment: Specifies dates for the beginning of the term for President and Congress.
11. The Twenty-Third Amendment: Washington, D.C., represented in electoral college.
12. The Twenty-Eighth Amendment: Creates Department of Homeland Security.

Submit your answers to the legislatures of the several states, in the form of a comment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What I Saw This Weekend, by Michael5000, age 39.

'Black Crocs'

On Saturday, to take a break from the pressure-cooker of DorkFest, Mrs.5000 & I went out on an art date.

It was fab. Here's what we saw.

First Stop: Marylhurst Art Gym
Artist: Dianne Kornberg

The "Art Gym" is a former school gymnasium on the campus of Marylhurst University, south of town here in the City of Roses. It's a great space. The exhibit was photographs by Dianne Kornberg, who does a lot of work with botanical and zoological specimans that she has dug up in the biology departments of various colleges.

The photographs in this show fell into three groups: remarkably evocative color images of seaweed, black and white photographs of insect specimens, and large-scale composed images of animal bones. My favorite were the bones. They are pure luminosity. Macabrilicious.

If you want to see this show, by the way, you better call in sick. Wednesday the 24th is the final day. The price is right: free.

'Twelve Cats'
Third Stop: B. Rogers Gallery
Artist: Dave Meeker

B. Rogers is a small gallery operating out of half a duplex at 734 N.E. 19th Ave (East Side, yo!). It's mellow, cozy, and informal. My kind of gallery.

Dave Meeker makes strange and funny and wonderful things out of ordinary objects. I'll just show you some pictures, then you can visit his website, then you can go visit the gallery if you happen to live in, uh, the 503.

Convex and concave arrays of pennies.....

One of a series of "hurtballs" made from bristling clusters of screws and nails. Handle with care.

One of a series of oddly beautiful serving bowls made from melted and shaped plastic cutlery.

Second Stop: Portland Open Studios Location #68 or something
Artist: fingerstothebone!

It's been a big month for frequent L&TM5K commenter fingerstothebone. Not only was she Vice Dork of DorkFest '07, she was also featured prominently in a story in the Portland Tribune! Also, another one in the New York Times, which we're told is an East Coast newspaper with a good reputation.

In addition to her extremely groovy book arts work, which I've mentioned in the past, we got to ogle such paintings as this one:

as well as "gocco" screenprints like so:

Her website is chockablock with enough images to keep you entertained and aesthitically pleased for as long as you like. And I'm sure she wouldn't feel cheapened if you bought something, either. Tell her michael5000 sent you! She'll tack on another five bucks for "shipping"!

Monday, October 22, 2007

DorkFest '07 -- The Awards Ceremony

Well, I’d have to say that Dorkfest ’07 exceeded expectations. Congratulations to all of the dorks who participated. You did yourselves proud. You lurker dorks who didn’t participate – you guys were awesome, too.


Anyone who has looked at the entries knows that there’s no way I could simply “pick the dorkiest dork.” No way. The range of dork styles and genres on parade here defies simplistic selection. A sophisticated problem demands sophisticated tools. I would be remiss in not availing myself of quantitative methods.

We begin, as we must, with a simple subjective judgment of each entrant’s overall dorky impression, impact, essence, je ne sais quoi. Each submission was assigned a score of 3 to 8 on an implied scale of 1 to 10, wherein the extremes of the scale would represent truly neurotic or, worse, truly boring behavior. This score was the entrant’s Subjective Score, or Ss.

The Subjective Score then receives content-based adjustments according to the following criteria:
  • Online material submitted as evidence = +2
  • Making unnecessary correction to one’s own trivial grammatical errors = +2
  • Citation of scary computer code = +3
  • Cats = +2
  • Use of any of the following words or phrases = +1
“giggle with glee”
“They Might Be Giants”
“My fondness for keystroke commands”
“fan fiction”

  • Use of ostensibly dorky characteristics in successful pickup of member of opposite sex = -3 penalty
Thus modified, the Ss becomes the Gross Adjusted Score, or Sg.

An attitudinal index, A, is compiled by adding any of the following that apply:
  • Going on and on and on in one’s entry in a clearly compulsive fashion = 3 points
  • Returning after one’s original entry to produce supplemental evidence = 1 point/instance
  • Claiming not to be qualified, then showing up later with an entry = 1 point
  • Questioning or contesting the definition of “dork” or “dorky” = 3 points

A demonstrative index, D, compiles surrogate measures of eagerness/willingness to demonstrate dorky elements of ones personality; it is the sum of any of the following that apply:
  • Talking trash to/about other contestants, or the host = 2 points
  • Showing awe or admiration of other contestants = 1 point
  • Attempting to appropriate the dorkyness of one’s life partner = 1 point
  • Claiming, but electing not to elucidate, additional unspecified dorkyness = -2 points

A final Net Dorkyness Score, Sn, is derived by multiplying the Gross Adjusted Score, plus a constant, by the square root of the product of double the attitudinal index plus the demonstrative index plus one.The Dorky Winners!

First of all, a nod to Chance, who stumbled into this thing more or less accidentally, and escaped as the Least Dorky L&TM5K reader with a NDS of only 5.0.

#5 Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a tie for 5th. The first of them ululates, collects old bric-a-brac, and can usually be found with her nose in the latest copy of Professional Door Dealer: my own beloved Mrs.5000! The second grasps a pencil in one hand to fill out the Word Jumble, and a Q-Tip in the other hand for, whatever. Karin!

They share an NDS of 33.941, ahead of Heatherbee by less than .3 of a point.

#4 In the mysterious, shadowy world of X-files fandom, we may never really understand "The Truth" about who was the dorkiest fan. But MyDogIsChelsea, working with one hundred Derek Jeeters and David Duchovnys gazing beatifically down from her bedroom walls, made her case with panache. She scored an NDS of 36.000.

#3 I've known him for twenty years, thinking of him as a relatively sane and straightforward sort of guy. But today we've learned that Mark Witteman is skilled is some strange and mystical ways. Dorky ways. And frankly, I'm frightened. But impressed. His NDS is 37.041.

The Runner-Up

The second dorkiest L&TM5K reader in all of DorkFest '07 can check the her database of hours and tell you exactly when, on any day of her life, she was sorting her CDs by region, grooving with the editorial board of the New York Times, or brushing her cat's teeth. It's not the greatest distinction she's had this week -- more on that soon -- but I'm sure that, with her NDS of 37.417, fingerstothebone will be happy to be the Vice Dork of DorkFest '07!!!

And the Winner is.....

Ghost Blogger for Learned Claw and Erik the Red, connoisseur of Harry Potter fan fiction, seductress of the guidebook, the Dork of DorkFest '07 is a level 66 human mage from the city of New York, New York. Maybe she didn't get into Brown. So what. This is better. She is our winner, and will soon be the proud holder of the Mr. Shain Memorial Starbucks Card! Yes, with a whopping NDS of 39.799, the #1 Dork of the L&TM5K Readership is: g!
Get me your address, g. $15.60 in delicious coffee beverages are yours for the drinking.
{long, sustained applause}

The Monday Quiz

My apologies for being late with the quiz this morning. I had an early appointment with Dr. Flaming. Which sounds totally dirty, but isn't. Dr. Flaming is an ear, nose, and throat man! He checked me out, did his thing, told me I was good, and said not to come back again.


Dorkfest '07 was a runaway success. You people are nuts! In a very, very good way! The judges (me) are sequestered even as we speak, and will be rendering a verdict tonight, from the home computer.

In the meantime, we better get our

Monday Quiz

on. This week's quiz is inspired by MyDogIsChelsea, and covers the challenging topic of


Is it, or isn't it?
1. argent
2. cerise
3. cerulean
4. incarnadine
5. smalt

Yeah, a little boost there for you recovering X-Files freaks.

Knock yourself out!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dorkfest '07!!

This weekend, L&TM5K brings you Dorkfest '07!! It's an opportunity for all of us to celebrate our inner dork together, in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere. And win a prize! Really!

Now, in a few minutes, I'll be inviting you all to share your own dorkiness. But just to break the ice, I'll start by sharing some of my own.

Exhibit A

This is part of my classical music collection.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Aw, michael5000, classical music is OK. I've always thought it would be cool to learn more about it."

Sure. But see those little stickers? The red, green, yellow, and blue stickers at the bottoms of the CD case spines? Those are where I put the year of composition of the main piece on the CD.

That's right. I file my classical CDs chronologically.

And now, for the big, dazzlingly dorky finish:

red = baroque
green = true classical
yellow = 19th century romantic
blue = 20th/21st century

I expect extra credit for owning 21st century classical compositions.

Exhibit B

You see me running in the park with my headphones, and think "he must be spurring himself on with some vigorous, hard-driving rock music," right? Well, sometimes. But it's more likely I'm listening to recorded lectures. Right now, for instance, I'm working my way through the 14-lecture series on Epochs of European Civilization: Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Why? Because I'm a dork, that's why.

Exhibit C

Need more? I've got more.

I, a grown man, wrote and placed online a sentimental poem about my cat.

Let Your Dork Flag Fly!

But enough about me. Let's talk about you! It's time for you to confess your dorky streak -- and you wouldn't be here if you didn't have one -- to the greater L&TM5K commmunity.

There's a prize! You might recall that I won Mr. Shain's challenge a few weeks ago, and with a virtuoso display of dorky erudition I might add. The prize for Mr. Shain's contest was a $20 Starbucks card, which arrived at Castle5000 via the U.S. Post a few weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoyed a "grande" mocha frappicino -- dork drink! -- and there are now roughly $15 bucks left on the card. It travels on to the biggest dork, as revealed by your comments here. You've got until Sunday night.

Entries can be either in the form of a narrative, or in a link to direct evidence. Rebel, for instance, might want to offer the link to her post about the X-files. Not to single anyone out or anything.

Dorky Weekend Football Preview

Oregon will win big. Oklahoma will win huge. Oregon State won't even play.

The Thursday Quiz VIII: Results

Wow! Best Thursday Quiz ever! Lots of people threw their easels into the ring, and everybody did very well indeed.

In fact -- and this kind of blows, from my perspective -- a couple of people missed just one answer, and still had to go home without a star. Yep, the field was so strong this time that a perfect score wasn't good enough. You had to be the first one to a perfect score.

Sidebar: Blythe, you know that guessing is better than leaving an answer blank, don't you? Sure you do. Also, you should check Brueghel out. He's the bomb.


So, with no further ado:

The Gold Star goes to quiz legend Rex Parker, the 166th greatest crossword solver in the universe, who now has eight stars in his trophy case after eight quizzes. It is his second gold.

The Silver Star goes to Jessica, representin' the Pennsylvania contingent with panache.

The Blue Star is the second of its hue to end up in Korea, in Heatherbee's trophy case.

Two Green Stars stay in beautiful Portland, Oregon, City of Roses. One goes down the hall to the delightful Mrs. 5000, and the other across the river to quiz stalwart Rebel.

Via cross-country satellite hookup, we were able to obtain this image of Rex (left, back to camera) celebrating his win:

It's lonely at the top.

Thanks for playing,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Thursday Quiz VIII

Resistance is futile! It's

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is, as always, a "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T in the week's category.

Remember always your manners:
No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will be cast forth from the tribe.

This Week's Category has mastery of both color and composition!

Great Paintings

Clarification: In the labels, the artists are all accurately matched with their paintings. But, does the label match the image of the painting below it? Aye, there's the rub.

1. Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Artist's Mother, by James Whistler

2. The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli

3. Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

4. Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Jan Vermeer

5. Hunters in the Snow, by Pieter Bruegel

6. The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

7. Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper

8. Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), by Jackson Pollock

9. The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali

10. The Scream, by Edvard Munch

11. Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh

12. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat

Submit your answers, either in words or in the form of a masterfully painted canvas, as a comment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Great Movies: The 400 Blows

At the Movies with Michael5000

The 400 Blows
Francois Truffaut (1959)

As a general rule, I resist European coming-of-age movies. There are just so damn many of them, and there's only so much you can do with fondly remembered uncles, harsh schoolteachers, the crass naiveté of adolescent sexuality, and the innocence of childhood interrupted by the harsh realities of war, poverty, or family disaster. Everybody idealizes the landscapes of their youth, and because filmmakers are no exception and moreover have the tools at their disposal to recreate those landscapes, the market in soft-focus nostalgia gets glutted pretty quickly.

I needn't have worried about The 400 Blows. Not only is it innocent of the coming-of-age clichés on a technicality -- it was made before the clichés became clichés -- but it is also bracingly free of sentimentality. There's no family dog in this boy's story; in fact, there's precious little family. He shares an apartment the size of a modest travel trailer with a mother who actively dislikes him and a stepfather who likes him well enough, but could really care less.

Plot: Autobiographical, and simple as can be. A bright young boy finds himself unsupported and in increasing trouble with the dominant social institutions. A series of incidents at school, motivated less by malice than by naiveté, nudge him into vagrancy, petty crime, a police record, and juvenile detention.

The presentation is not without humor and pathos, but it feels as much sociological as dramatic. The movie shows a keen understanding, or maybe a keen memory, of why children make the decisions they do. Even someone like me, who was an obnoxiously obedient child, can recognize the logic of Truffaut's juvenile downward spiral. There but for the grace of luck and a stable household, went I.

The power of the movie is in the details -- how the young protagonist interacts with peers and adults, how adults take advantage of children, how children take advantage of adults, how life in picturesque Paris might not be equally romantic for everyone.

Visuals: Shot in black and white, with a real command of the monochromatic scale. There's a minor scene in which our hero steals a bottle of milk after having been on the street all night; the white milk glows in the dark alley like treasure. (Freudian commentary on this scene, by the way, is not only unnecessary, it's shooting fish in a barrel.)

Dialogue: Always hard to tell with a movie 45 years old, not to mention in another language. The dialogue sometimes seems unrealistically expository -- would a mother really be so frank about not liking her son? -- but maybe people really talked that way. Hell, they probably still do. I'm kind of sheltered.

Prognosis: Recommended for anyone who likes movies. If you can handle black and white, subtitles, and subtlety -- and if you can't, why are you reading a movie review? -- you should enjoy this one.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Looking for a Sign

So, I'm looking for a symbol.

This is for a quilt project that is going to feature just one single very bold symbol on a relatively neutral background.

I am hoping for something that will be at a level of complexity a little less than this, the Arabic word for "peace"....
But a little more than this, the "thorn" letter of the Old English alphabet. This symbol, of unknown provenence, is about right in terms of complexity.

As is the Chinese word for "dragon." Except, I don't want the symbol to really MEAN anything. Or if it does mean something, it needs to be pretty abstruse in isolation.

Some other possibilities I'm thinking about include....

Some of the letters in the Glagolitsa alphabet:

Some Hebrew letters (although these might be too familiar):

Some words in Japanese script... Or Korean script (although these might be too, I don't know, "Orientalist").

Amharic letters?

I don't know. I'm hoping for ideas. Anybody have suggestions for me?

Not this one, though: