Friday, June 3, 2011

How Research Works: 38


Did you sign your work study form?

Yep.  I now owe the department 88 hours of office service.  Which they will demand when I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown I'm sure.

Funny how that works.  We aren't allowed to enroll in summer classes, which prevents us from applying for loans, which means we end up owing the department time served.

I think we can enroll in summer classes.  We'd just have to pay tuition... thus eliminating the point of the loans.  Its a catch-22.  Just not the good, literary, kind.

Its like we're indentured servants or something.

You say as you pay for a candy bar sold by the University with a debit card supplied by the University attached to an account that contains money given to you by the University.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rebooting DC Comics #1

DC is rebooting every comic.  I'm not sure if this means they'll be starting every single comic with a new #1, or just the majority.  In either case, supposedly every comic coming out in September will feature stories designed for new readers along with new(ish) creative teams.  In conjunction with all this creative upheaval every will also, for the first time, be available for purchase digitally on the same day as they are released brick and mortar comic stores.

Predictably, this has led to an implosion of the comics-centric spaces of the internet (humorously illustrated here).  A lot of the worry seems to stem from fans losing "their" stories or from concern that the books they're collecting will suddenly "no longer count."  As I've previously mentioned, I think the whole notion these arguments are pretty silly, so I'm not really concerned about that aspect of all this.  I'm sure the amount of actual change will be relatively minimal.  But even if everything changes, the old stories will still exist to be read.  I'm also mostly unconcerned that DC is going to restart Action Comics and/or Detective Comics.  Action Comics is only a few years from 1000 continuously published issues, and Detective Comics isn't that far behind. Even if they do get renumbered, DC as a company seems far too focused on the past to ignore these numbers for very long.

Though few details have been released so far, I think this could actually be a pretty good move.  A lot depends on how everything is executed of course, but the decision to start releasing everything digitally is about 10 years overdue.  If the stories are good, and I'm sure some of them will be, then I think the creative shakeup is worth it.  If going digital actually gets people to read comics again, then almost any change is probably worth it.  Frankly, catering to new fans is what both major publishers should be focused on all the time.  Maybe if this works, they'll finally realize it.

Comic Book Art: We3

I complain a lot about poor writing and mediocre art in comics, but only because the medium is capable of so much.  Check out this sequence from the outstanding We3.  There is very little context provided in the actual issue, but the action is very engaging even without dialogue or panel captions.  Just look at it.  The entire narrative is conveyed with still images placed in sequence.  This is the type of storytelling comics are uniquely capable of.  I wish there was more of this type of thing and less money grabbing crossover nonsense.

Though the writing of these panels deserves mention, the art along with a substantial portion of the credit should go to the great Frank Quitely.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas

So far, I'm more interested in the trailer for this than the actual movie.

A more explicit version of this trailer popped up over the weekend, supposedly filmed in a theatre in Europe.  Now, I've seen my fair share of bootleg video, and this was either the best bootleg ever or something fishy is going on.

Though the camera did move obviously at the beginning of the video, there was none of the typical theatre sounds or signs of people moving around.  Add to that the absurdly good sound quality, the presence of an MPAA label in front of a trailer ostensibly shown in Europe, and Sony's apparent tolerance for someone leaking their top-secret trailer a few days early, and it seems to me that the whole thing was a bit of clever viral marketing. 

How Research Works: 37


I'm so glad its summer!  I can run around outside and not worry about classes!

Summer?  Outside?

I think I'm going to go to the beach tomorrow!  Want to come?


If I give you some flyers, will you hang them up around the outside world?  I need participants for my study?

Don't you think of other things besides research?

Other things?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Education Bubble: The High Cost of Higher Education

This has come up a lot recently, so I think its worth discussing in some depth. There is a notion that the next big economic bubble to burst will be in higher education.

To adequately discuss the issue, I think its important to first talk delineate the difference between the common conceptions of what higher education is and what it does and the reality on the ground. For the purposes of this post I'll try to define everything operationally. When I talk about "success" and "outcomes" I'm talking principally in financial terms. The picture is obviously much more complicated than just finances, but its much more difficult to quantify quality of life than dollars.

The Wolverine Trailer

So it turns out Darren Aronofsky won't be directing The Wolverine after all.  Marvel and Fox have just put out their short list of possible directors.  Some interesting choices on there, with Mark Romanek being the standout choice.  The rest of the list is made up of decent directors, though no one save Romanek has made anything I've been a particular fan of.

Gary Shore is probably the least known name on the list.  He has, however, already directed a trailer for the film.  I should note that no part of the movie has started production, so the trailer was probably made on spec as part of a campaign for the job.  Its interesting and may just be a preview for what the movie will ultimately be like.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Star Wars- The Great Unknown

Arguments about the canonicity of various Star Wars stories are stupid.  Who cares if the novels officially account for what happens to Luke Skywalker and buddies after Return of the Jedi.  Most of the audience chooses not to believe that half the films don't count anyway, so I don't really understand the point over arguing about whether or not Han Solo and Princess Leia get married (spoiler?) or whatever.

With all that said, despite being published in a licensed Star Wars magazine, this story is probably not considered canon by anyone.  This, of course, does not matter at all.  The story is awesome and you should read it.  Is it the official fate of Han Solo and Chewbacca?  No, probably not.  Is it awesome?  Extremely.   Its also sort of depressing, so be prepared for that.

How Research Works: 36


Question.  Why are the prices so much lower in the summer?  

Its simple supply and demand really.  There is less demand over the summer we have to adjust the price accordingly.  We also have less overhead because we have to employ less people and buy less ingredients when we're not serving 15,000 people 3 times a day.

...That actually makes sense.   A very good answer to my sarcastic question.  Thank You.

No problem.  My post-doctoral work was in the economics of universities.  Turns out this job is significantly less soul crushing than academia.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Danny Trejo vs The Muppets

I'm curious to see what sort of Google searches bring people to this post...

Anyway, I think this is the last preview of this I'll post for awhile.  I really like all of these pseudo-trailers and everything, but really I think anyone who is going to a Muppet movie doesn't really need to be convinced by a trailer.  I do like the newfound ubiquity of Danny Trejo though.

Pigs in Space

This is a bunch of indie rock thats come out recently.  I think Beige isn't actually signed to a label... once they get signed though, I think they're going to be huge.  The rest of the mix is relatively well known indie rock.  The more I listen to The Antlers, the more I like the new album.  They played at Stony Brook last year, as much as I'd like to see them I think they're getting too big to come back.

The title, of course, refers to the best skit on The Muppet Show.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, shame on you.  The particular episode pictured below is featured behind the cut.

Space Creatures

1.  Beige- Folds
2. Benediction- Thurston Moore
3.  Little Cup- Thao and Mirah
4. Calgary- Bon Iver
5. I Don't Want Love- The Antlers
6. Waves- Holly Miranda
7. I Get Nervous- Lower Dens
8. We need a Myth- Okkervil River
9. Will Do- TV on the Radio