Wednesday, October 31, 2007

i heart halloween

i have been thinking a lot lately about the significance of halloween, mainly because it has been taking over my life for the past week and a half. in recent years i have discovered that i LOVE halloween. it is such a silly thing. it's not like i'm goth (or ever was), like death, or enjoy hanging out in cemeteries (even though i did take a ambulating tour of mountainview cemetery lately and it was pretty freakin' cool). i've decided, as much as one can, that the significance for halloween for me is the transformative effect it has on - wait for it - everyone. i know, i know - ohhhhhh - everyone gets to be someone/thing else - isn't that liberatory (reminiscent of Turkle's Life on the Screen which i am currently reading). but seriously, there is something cool about the transformative effects of change, no? while the internet may be a hasty receptacle to pour all of society's hopes and dreams for liberatory change, empowerment, and utopian je ne sais quoi, this tendency does beg some interesting questions about the human desire for transformation, growth, change and something "other." we could chalk it up to consumerism, as we could everything, including my precious halloween, or we could think of it as an exercise in the technological imaginary a la de Lauretis. the combination of anxiety and desire around technology (and other transformation objects, effects, and affects) is a compelling and powerful, if not heady, experience. someone recently told me that they think people like scary movies in order to feel something, to feel alive. to be scared into your own humanity is a interesting proposition. to remind ourselves that we are alive, have the capacity for change, and the desire to seek it out makes every other day (other than halloween, that is) seem lacking. my tenuous halloween-as-a-metaphor-for-technologies-of-the-internet thing might be lacking as well in that both produce fear, anxiety, and a certain amount of pleasure but one happens only once a year and the other pervades our everyday, every minute, every second. maybe the desire for transformation and change does as well but we are "programmed" to ignore it, push it down, hide it in the recesses of our mind until we are allowed, enabled to set our difference out into the night of all hallow's eve - the simultaneous celebration of life and death. do we not seek to say something about ourselves, whether blogging or dressing up as something clever? is it not all about us on some level. the work on the self. the identification with the other to become more, different, better. anyhoo. monster mash just came on. must go do the twist. another imperative on halloween.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

on hate

i know what you are thinking. hate is such a strong word. therefore we need some clarity in this endeavour. i don't actually HATE this blog but i'll let you in on a little secret: i hated my last blog. it was painful and "professional" and horrible. i needed to get rid of it. so i dumped it for this sweet new glossy one. all pretty and easy to use. so hate is a misnomer. so there. on my last blog i felt compelled to be confessional, professional, and...well, that was just boring. but this is a whole new story. as someone who has always loved to write and who now studies new media technologies, i decided that i NEEDED a blog. what makes me so needful of a blog? i guess the advice of another recently morphed phd student come doctor who recommended a blog for procrastination purposes (find her fabulous blog here). and a conference where another phd student tracks the pedagogical importance of blogging for other phd students (find her personal blog here - it links to her phd research blog). so i'm putting a lot of eggs in this basket. i am hoping for catharsis for sure. so maybe hate isn't really a misnomer. i hate the compulsion to narcissistically write about oneself. but hate stills sounds so harsh. i also hate the compulsion i feel to outline the uses and abuses of my blogging. like an outline for an essay, i feel i need a plan. i have been watching way too much of the Showtime series Dexter and feel that this prefatory blog entry is inspired by the painful articulation of his innermost thoughts which acts as the narration of the show. maybe that is what this blog will be: a narration of my writing-up "process." a friend recently encouraged me to join his ten-year plan for the (un)completion of his phd process. wittily, he explained that people immediately stop listening as soon as you tell them that you are writing your dissertation. he has been effectively hedging people off and doing his phd swimmingly for ten years now. as envious of his procrastination as i am, i still want to be finished in a year. so while the time starts ticking, the hate stops here. until, of course, i begin to hate my dissertation which is TOTALLY gonna happen. fer sure. it's coming. wait for it...