Friday, March 14, 2014

PhD's as Fashion Models?

This is an interesting bit. 

The article states:

"When you look beyond the ranks of the professionally beautiful, photography becomes a lot more fun. Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?"

Not necessarily a new idea but good to see it revisited. Content needs to be accompanied by the right form. Aesthetics is never inconsequential. And I reckon it makes sense that the setting be in California. After all the UC system has enough campuses throughout the state to provide the talent pool.

Here's one example of a dress worthy of a PhD-er, I suppose:

You can read more here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why I Love Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well: "Guy Plays Guitar the Way You Talk."

I love the music of an Alt Rock British band called A Silent Film. I love their music. Love, love, love it! Their pace of sound makes me want to move even faster than I'm compelled to. And I feel at ease. I feel aligned with something else. Their music does that to me.

The other night, one of my best friends called me to catch up on the week. And then we got to talking about music as we always do and he brought up A Silent Film.

He said: "Guy plays guitar the way you talk." I got a kick out of his sentence. But then I got curious. So, I checked out the track. Closely. For some reason, I'd lavished other tracks from this band with attention and this one had somehow fallen through the cracks. The one that got away.... Well, not for long. That's why I got the friends I do. 

For years now I've written here about how much music informs anything and everything of substance and levity that I've ever done. And every time that statement rings true. I used to be puzzled, annoyed even, at the fact that I'd not approach the day with the same exuberance as I would when I knew I had a great new album to check out or a new live show to see. You know that feeling of waking up filled with excitement because you're doing something special that day? Yes, that's the feeling.

And I always think of Nietzsche's brilliant point about the blind, music-loving Socrates' notion of music being the most perfect 'language' of them all. And how right he was. Is.

A great track can make a day. The lack of a great track can make one lose perspective. Ergo, there's nothing trivial about music. Not to me.

Because without it, I make no sense. And as measured and analytical and focused my daily existence is, without a great track or a few minutes of music, nothing makes sense. It can all go out of focus. Very quickly.

Another older track of theirs: You Will Leave a Mark is something I've heard thousands of time as well. Especially while living out West and driving along the ocean. Those were the days. It's funny how you never think of "ah, those were the days" when you're actually in them, living them. Nostalgia is never a picture of accuracy. But the current days I'm living could very well be "the days' as well. I do have some good music today. That's a good first step.

Let's look at a live version of Danny, Dakota, and The Wishing Well:

I know why I am attracted to this. It's fast. It's full of motion. The sound is vibrant and it matches a fast walker's natural pace. You will see the same pace on You Will Leave a Mark. It speeds up beautifully.

So, enjoy the music of A Silent Film as you explore them as well.

And if you have not seen them live, find a way to do so. My friend is right. He does play guitar like I talk. A fast pace is a good thing. It better be. It's all some of us know.

Monday, February 17, 2014

House of Cards, Season II: A Review - All about Claire

Seasons Two of House of Cards was released on the 14th of February.

If you're not finding some time to watch, you are missing out. But, word of warning, if you find yourself watching the first episode, you will be hooked.

I have an unforgiving schedule, but I found time to watch it: start to finish. I was compelled to. This is the sort of season one needs to plan for and make time for.

Yes, it is that good!

At the end of the first episode of Season Two, Frank turns his gaze on us, the viewers, reminding us that he's not forgotten about our all-watching eye. Coldly and sentiment-free, he says (Hint: the quote will contain a spoiler alert.):

"Did you think that I'd forgotten you? Perhaps you hoped I had. Don't waste a breath mourning Miss Barnes, every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so harmless, at first, small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk. But once their claws get long enough, they draw blood. Sometimes from the hand that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: Hunt or be hunted. Welcome back!"

And one is compelled to obey and jump on the subsequent episode.

After completing the second season, it becomes clearer that Frank cannot be Frank without Claire. Claire, in all of her Lady Macbeth-like froideur, is the reason why Frank seems to always be two steps ahead of everyone. Devoid of sentimentality, and fully subservient to pragmatism and calculation, the really scary force in this narrative is not Frank. He's very much puppeteered by Claire. Claire's emotion-free delivery, her utter detachment from her former lover, Adam, whom she doesn't think twice to throw under the bus when it comes to protecting her own path, her disgust of conventional human attachment make her a dangerous force to be reckoned with. Impeccably dressed, well-spoken, and free of aesthetic blemish, she is unapproachable and rightly so. 

When Frank says about Claire: "I love that woman. I lover her more than sharks love blood," one should understand one thing about Claire. That she is substantive. That she dictates Frank's own path. She can match whatever he brings to the table and she even surpasses his ruthlessness.

Whatever Frank has to say, Claire can say it better.  While standing on some killer Louboutins and rocking impeccable Burberry. She's not just a privileged Texas-born girl who's moneyed and a product of a privileged background. Claire is flawlessly educated, aesthetically superior, calculatingly fit, held in high regard, and admired. First and foremost, she is feared. Frank fears her. This is why he concedes to her as easily as he does. After all, Frank knows his limits. And he knows that someone else, besides him, knows his limits. And this is why he is smart. This is why he works. He succeeds, fundamentally, because of this. He is skilled at surviving. because of Claire.