At the bookstore, ordering my
cap hood and gown. Am I the only one who thinks it's cool that, since we're getting Juris Doctor degrees, we get to wear the doctoral robes? Because I think it's really freakin' cool. :)
SI’s Luke Winn puts out an extremely early preseason Top 10 for the 2007-08 basketball season. He has USC at #8, and both Notre Dame and Gonzaga in his list of 11 teams “on the fringe.” North Carolina is #1.
Meanwhile, Michael David Smith on AOL Fanhouse says Memphis should be #1. Come on now, Jay’s already had enough excitement for one 24-hour period with the Lady Vols winning last night… this is getting to be a little much. :)
The chaotic fall tradition of multiple trips to Notre Dame Stadium to buy football ticket booklets is being replaced by an online-based ticket system the Ticket Office hopes is more convenient for students and employees alike.
Incidentally, if any 2Ls or 3Ls anticipate being out-of-town during the USC game (first weekend of Fall Break) and are looking for someone to buy their (exchanged) ticket, I’m definitely interested. At your request, I won’t reveal your identity, lest you be lynched for selling your ticket to a Trojan. :) Also, in addition to paying for the ticket, I’ll let you write a post on the blog, which will be published (anonymously or otherwise, your choice) during the week prior to the game, making fun of USC, saying they suck, etc. C’mon, you know the glory of an anti-USC post on the Irish Trojan’s Blog during Game Week is worth a single student-section seat filled by an ‘SC fan…
The defending NHL champion
Hartford Whalers of Raleigh Carolina Hurricanes were eliminated from playoff contention last night, while the Buffalo Sabres — who lost to the ‘Canes in a thrilling 7-game Eastern Conference Finals last year — clinched the #1 seed.
With college basketball season over (yes, I’ll be revamping my blogrolls shortly), you’ll soon be seeing my blog turn its sports attention to the Sabres’ playoff run. Let the bandwagon jokes begin. :) GO SABRES!!
Er, Becky and I totally forgot to watch Idol last night, and as a result, I also forgot to put up a post asking people for their picks for who will be eliminated. But here it is. Cast your votes in comments! Deadline is 9:00 PM.
Incidentally, starting soon, maybe next week, I’m going to devise a new system (other than public voting in comments) for the Idol pool, because otherwise we are going to get into some serious problems with strategic voting and vote-timing once the field of contestants gets small enough. But more on that later.
P.S. Current standings after the jump.
I am, at my core, a very nostalgic person — sometimes to a fault. It isn’t that I think my past is better than my present or my future; on the contrary, I’m very happy in the here and now, and I think the future has a great deal in store. Yet I’m always acutely aware that the present becomes the past the instant after it happens, and that the future will only be the present for a fleeting moment before it becomes the past. I sometimes formulate plans with the specifically articulated goal of “making new memories,” which is to say that I have a somewhat backward-looking of looking forward, if that makes any sense. There’s a reason I take pictures of everything, document everything, save lots of little momentos of everything. There’s a reason I jump at any opportunity to visit places I used to live, to attend the Thanksgiving football game at NHS or make a 24-hour whirlwind visit to USC. There’s a reason I love nothing more than sitting down with an old friend and chatting for hours about things that happened years ago. It’s all part of a (largely subconscious) effort, always ultimately doomed, to reanimate the past, then cling to it tightly in the vain hope that maybe this time it won’t slip away and recede into memory, as the past has an inexorable tendency to do. But at least it recedes into memory, not into oblivion. Within the confines of memory, the past is, as Elrond would say, evergreen.
Hopefully that introduction will give you some context for understanding why I was so profoundly disturbed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which Becky and I watched on DVD yesterday. One of my greatest fears in life — and I’m talking here about truly terrifying, soul-crushing, silent-scream-inducing fears — is the fear of losing my memories. In the realm of intellectual fears, it’s right up there with uncontrollable hallucinations (i.e., losing the ability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined) and the isolation of knowing something is true but being unable to convince anyone of it. These aren’t fears that I think about very often, as there’s no particular reason to believe any of them will ever happen to me, but whenever I encounter a story, show or movie that revolves centrally around one or more of these themes, I have a very hard time enjoying it, because I imagine the same thing happening to me would be so utterly unbearable.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes the concept of losing one’s memories to a whole new level, going beyond such conventional memory-erasing plot devices as Alzheimer’s, early-onset dementia or conventional amnesia, and positing the existence of a fanciful scientific procedure that can erase specific unwanted memories on demand. People can simply walk into a doctor’s office and request to have certain memories erased — generally, their memories of bad relationships. (The doctor says Valentine’s Day is always a particularly busy time.) The doctor and his colleagues proceed to make a “map” of the patient’s brain, showing where the specified memories are, and then basically zap all the relevant brain cells. The patient wakes up totally unaware that he had the procedure or that any of the erased memories ever occurred.
This is, of course, all nonsense, and if the storyline were presented in a more science-fiction-ish way, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much. But Eternal Sunshine is a character-driven drama, and it has good actors (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) who manage quite effortlessly to make you really care about the characters. Then the memory-erasing machine comes swooping in and erases the characters’ memories of each other, at their own respective requests, because their relationship has gone sour. The movie (which is told in a weird backwards way that’s very effective) takes us inside the mind of Jim Carrey’s character, Joel, as he becomes acutely aware — during the procedure — that, no, he doesn’t want to lose these memories. But he’s powerless to stop the procedure in mid-erasure (he’s asleep), so he vainly runs around inside his own head, dragging Winslet’s character, Clementine, with him into the darkest corners of his own memories, trying to “hide” from the “erasers.” This effort is doomed to fail, and ultimately Joel realizes that all he has left to do is cling desperately, and hopelessly, to his last lingering mental images of Clementine before they, too, disappear.
If that sounds similar to what I described in the first paragraph of this post, talking about my own nostalgic tendencies, well, it is. Except in Joel’s case, he isn’t trying to reanimate or relive the past, only to watch sadly as it inevitably recedes into memory. He’s trying desperately to hold onto his memories themselves before they disappear into oblivion. His efforts are utterly hopeless, and both he and we know it. He’ll wake up, and the memories will be gone forever.
This is, for me, a horror film. I can scarcely imagine anything more terrifying or awful than what Joel goes through. That he willingly subjected himself to it, only to realize he wants to stop it but can’t, only makes it worse. And there is nothing that can fix or redeem his mistake, nothing that can set things right. The memories are gone forever, and memories are, by their nature, irreplaceable. That Joel and Clementine meet again after their respective procedures, fall back in love, and decide to start again (even after ultimately finding out about their respective erasure procedures, but without getting any of their memories back), provides me with absolutely no comfort. There is no happy ending to a story in which all memory of a two-year romance is permanently wiped out.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he has pardoned the 15 British sailors and marines detained last month and will set them free.
Visit CNN for the latest.
Five years ago today, at this very hour, I blogged the fateful words: “This is a test.”
Okay, maybe the words themselves weren’t so fateful. But that was my first-ever blog post, and it’s hard to believe it’s been half a decade. Yet here we are, on my fifth blogaversary.
Excessive amounts of navel-gazing — and a nifty colorful chart! — after the jump.
Alabama and Tennessee fans don’t usually get along too well, but Scott Fort might just be heard uttering something sacriligeous like “Roll Tide, Rocky Top” this morning, after Tennessee’s seventh national championship propelled him to victory in the 10th annual Living Room Times women’s basketball pool.
Fort, a Birmingham resident and former UAB student who considers Alabama his second-favorite team, correctly predicted the title run by Pat Summitt’s squad, and thus surged ahead of former leader Josh Krause when the Lady Vols beat Rutgers, 59-46 last night.
He finishes with 347 out of a possible 477 points. P.J. Wanecski is a close second with 345 points. Krause, who would have won the pool if Rutgers had won, finished third with 337.