Thursday, October 28, 2010

I feel the season

"So the days, the last days, blow about in a memory, hazy autumnal, all alike as leaves: until a day unlike any other I've lived"
- Truman Capote

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." 
- Albert Camus

"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colours, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death"
- Yutang Lin

I've resisted Autumn for so long, my whole life really. I just love the summer so much. But I really have fallen in love with Autumn this year.

I'm also bursting to begin this again.

mmmmm knitting.

another thing to make you say: huh what?

My mom desperately wants me to understand, and never believes that I do, that just because a man holds the priesthood and can take me to the temple, it does not mean that he is nice or going to be good for me in other ways. I have never given her reason to worry that I do not know this obvious-to-all-of-humanity fact. I told her that I get it, and that she should stop assuming that all LDS people are like the ones she does not like.

Someone please let me know if any sense can possibly be gleaned from this latest text fun from the mama.

Mom: What do you mean lds are not the same?
Me: Like I just said, they aren't, and I don't know if you are being sarcastic or not right now.
Mom (much later): Eating now.
Me: Well that's just great.
Mom: Hi hony what you eat for dinner.
Me: quesadillas, is your night going well?
Mom (again much later): What do you think, LDS should be one like Zion Zion homo like because their belief is the same. you with us or you not is like you with us or you out.
Me: No?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome Fall

Ode To Autumn by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,---
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 
Wishblows are for making all your dreams come true.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So strange are we

I finally downloaded all the pictures off my camera. I had the rest of my stay in Hawaii on there all the way up to now. The pictures will be dribbling in here as the week goes along I guess. For tonight, here are some of the funny and/or shameful ones.

Sandwich AND Vietnamese food? But of course. 

I don't exactly know how we found this.

Rosie was bored and decided crazy hair was in order late at night.

I gladly obliged.

PJ really does have a knack for capturing me at my most pleasant.

PJ as a tourist.

Again, I don't know how we find these things.

Onjana and PJ. This is how we eat.

Dear reader, I hope these only entertain you, and do not incriminate me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

From the mom again.

Background: Today I told my mom about my plans to apply to BYU's grad school. She immediately started a raving lecture on me not being well rounded, being a brainwashed religious fanatic, being unsuccessful and unmarketable, and how getting more schooling is NOT going to guarantee that anything good will ever come into my life and I am "obsessed like a crazy person with getting too smart". She then screamed something about how I'm getting too old and hung up.
Hours later this lovely text exchange happened:

Mom: Why we can never talk without fighting?

Me: I was simply calling to say hi and to tell you some good news about my life and then you blew up. Everyone else in the whole world believes I am doing good except you. Really, even everyone YOU want me to become: businesses, companies, professionals, schools, leaders. They all know I am making a good decision. Why can't you see that?

I am going to name my dog...EMY.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deconstruction is the bomb...a bomb?

I don't think posting my weird 452 midterm essay is cheating or anything, as no one who could use this for cheating reads this. Here's hoping. Anyway, this is, in my humble opinion, a pretty good/readable/approachable introduction to deconstruction. Excuse the occasional snarkyness, it was written under time constraints.

 In which I die over Derrida

    Structuralism depends on having, or searching for, a center or presence. Presence is the grounding, first principle that is the center or base of a system of meanings and values. Structuralists see this center as the truth which allows for a system in the first place. The search for the truth of a system (or in literature, the meaning of a novel; in criticism, the grounding theory etc) is the point of a structuralists’ work. Logocentrism is the system’s attempt to establish the justification of its meanings and values through pointing to its “center” as having an original, preexisting presence. We can see that the search turns into one of continual change. Each new theory about what the “center” of a system is was being replaced over and over by the next theory. Derrida says that this “must be thought of as a series of substitutions of center for center”(279). This realization calls into question the idea of a “center” at all, which is why “it was necessary to begin thinking that there was no center”(280). So, Derrida starts to deal with this issue of no center.

    He comes down on Levi-Strauss to illustrate his argument against structuralism. Levi-Strauss does a study on the nature versus culture. The basis of his study is depends on this distinction between human practices. The incest prohibition is a law that is both natural, occurring in all groups and peoples, and cultural, each culture has its own and varying way of dealing with it. This law cuts across the nature/culture binary, a binary that “has always been assumed to be self evident”(283). This cutting across proves that the binary is not only not the original presence that Levi-Strauss says it is, but that it does not exist at all.  Derrida goes on to explain what it is that Levi-Strauss does in the face of this. Levi-Strauss’s decision is to go on as if the center was still there, even while having proof that it is not. Doing this is bricolage. Bricolage is to use and “preserve as an instrument something whose value he criticizes”, tools to be used even when there is “no longer an truth value attributed to them”, and a bricoleur is the person who “uses the means at hand”, those tools (285). In this specific case, Levi-Strauss is a bricoleur who continues his work, and in a broader sense, we can see all and “every discourse as a bricoleur”. All studies that function in a system or try to find  a center, or work with the assumption of a center, have to use bricolage, inevitably. Though inevitable, this very endeavor is what confines, restricts, “closes off the play” (play - which I hope will be coming right up) (179).

  If we see the center as absent, we have the option of filling it in with something if we wish to. The example with Levi-Strauss is when he encounters totalization, well, nontotalization in his study of myths. When comparing myth to speech, Levi-Strauss explains that he would not “feel constrained to accept the arbitrary demand for a total mythological pattern, since, as has been shown, such a requirement has no meaning” (289).  It is not that they system’s center is too big to completely understand or fill, but because there is no center at all. We can replace it with a “sign”, we supplement the absent center with a sign. This “movement of the supplementary” is the idea of “play” (289). This idea of “play” leads to what we now call “trace”( I am already so sick of using “quotes”).  Trace is how we simultaneously produce and defer meaning by outlining the appearance of meaning by marking the gaps and pointing out differences, and by following the movement of the “centered” signifier pointing to a signifier and so on.

So, Levi-Strauss, and structuralism along with him, is caught in this weird world of tension between “play and presence” (292). For Levi-Strauss we have this rather uncomfortable place of existence where “play is the disruption of presence,” yet “one no less perceives in his work a sort of ethic of presence, and ethic of nostalgia for origins”(292). He does his work with bricolage guiltily, asserting a presence while at the same time proving it isn’t even there. This is one of the two interpretations of interpretation, the more depressing one for sure. The other interpretation being the “Nietzschean affirmation” that “determines the noncenter otherwise than as the loss of center. And it plays without security”, and is the “seminal adventure of the trace”. Here, we are able to live in a world without a center, but still with purpose, the purpose being to create concepts ourselves. These two options are “absolutely irreconcilable”. The Nietzschean one is surely more appealing, “joyous” if you will, but Derrida does not let us end with that. He says that he does “not believe that today there is any question of choosing” between them and that leaves us with a “terrifying form of monstrosity” (293). Well, cool. Now what? Enter deconstructionism.

    “Structure, Sign, and Play” is our starting example of deconstruction. Derrida pointed out (or created, or found, or whatever it is that he would let me say here) the binary that was at the “center” of structuralism. He them basically blew it up, proved it was a construct and not a truth. This very action is what deconstruction is, the way that Derrida has decided to get beyond binaries, to show them as binaries to destroy them. I have to say before I further explain deconstruction that I still see it as an assumption on the deconstructionist’s part to even claim that the center is a binary in the first place. The deconstructionist says that a center is created by the system making a hierarchal binary, but that binary is actually in itself  a construct of the deconstructionist, not necessarily the system.  I feel sometimes like it is like someone making a sandcastle next to me, saying it is mine, then knocking it down, all while I am sitting there just making my own sandcastle. Anyway, deconstruction works by pointing out the hierarchical binaries that is the supposed “center”, then reverses them - often by use of supplementation, which I won’t explain right now as I am most likely already off topic - to disrupt the binary. Then hopefully the deconstructionist inscribes a new and better binary in place of the one he shot down, or at least has successfully pointed out the need to replace the binary with something better. In this case the sandcastle destroyer has successfully reached my sandcastle, shown me its faults, smashed it, and built up a better, stronger one with which to make more friends and control the stretch of beach, or whatever, with.  I hope that made sense, as I feel a bit punchy now.

    There you have it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Something happened, I don't know what

I literally woke up after three hours of sleep with this running over and over in a very fast voice in my head:

"I am a site within which codes flow. I am only part of a greater textual product."

(I'm pretty sure this is a conglomeration and slight misinterpretation of Roland Barthes mixed in with Derrida. I don't know why my sleeping mind would put works together quite like this.)

I was writing lit theory papers till five AM and do not remember taking off my jacket before sleeping, but I awoke with cold shoulders and a mantra.  I think I was drugged, kidnapped, and brainwashed without knowing it.
Help me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Welcome to your family Ivy Rae!

My dearest friend Erin and her lovely husband Steven are now parents of a baby girl, Ivy Rae Talley.

I want to write something beautiful and poetic and somehow fitting to this occasion, but that will just have to come later because my mind isn't working fully tonight.

For now I will just say that today I was initially expecting to cry sadly from dumb stressful school stuff, but instead ended up crying out of complete joy and happiness for the new life that is now here, and for the lives of my wonderful friends that made it happen.
I love you all. 

Ivy Rae, I am so glad you are here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A roadtrip rife with Radiohead

But I'm a creep,
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here

I don't belong here...

  - "Creep", by Radiohead

When I am the driver, I get to pick the music. I probably over fueled my Radiohead obsession. Thats ok.

I liked getting out of Provo.
Even if it was just for the weekend.

Someday, it will be for longer. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sounds about right

On the phone today:

Me: Hi mom.
Mom: Hi Emy, this is your mom.
Me: Yes, I know. Hi mom.
Mom: I'm not near a computer and I need you to look up plane tickets for me, from Nashville to Dallas.
Me: Sure...Wait, are you in Nashville? Right now?
Mom: Yes, I'm in Nashville and I want to get back to Texas.
Me: Why the hell are you there?
Mom: Business.
Me: You aren't in a business.
Mom: That's Ok.
Me: ...What?