2009 in lists

Things of which I keep track:

In 2009, I

visited 35 museums
unique ones, that is, and this includes non-musuem interpreted tours.

read 50 books
(most of my reading is in the form or scholarly articles (too numerable to count) so i was quite happy to have 50 actual complete whole books for the year.

went to 5 unique travel destinations
some of them near, some of them far.

watched 5 theatrical productions.
if i counted repeats, this figure would be in the hundreds. two drama, three comedies.

watched 141 movies
but only 53 of them would i recommend to a friend.

watched 36 television series.
i only counted series that i finished watching within the year, this doesn't count in-progress series.

volunteered for 40 hours.
this is probably the lowest this number has been in many years. what a lazy bum.

ate at 13 restaurants
fast food and delis didn't count AND it had to involve sitting at a table and/or receiving some kind of service.

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andy k stopped by my workplace yesterday as he is in town for a week long thing. we will actually get to hang out when his week long thing is over and he swings back through boston on his way home.

the week prior to this one, as some of you know, was a jam-packed week of awesomeness in minnesota in which camping, parties, friends, relatives, and whathaveyou was enjoyed with impunity- even to excess if my lack of sleep is any indication.

it is time to cross some things off of the page long list of things-to-do. if only it were not so incredibly hot and humid whilst doing them. blech. maybe more lemonaded is the correct motivational tool for this evening.

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hear, hear:


an article about how good cooking (and in my opinion, good experiments whether they turn out tasty or not) come from good ratios not following every little amount outlined in a recipe. when i worked at the kelley farm, i learned a lot about how to cook with recipes that gave nothing but relative amounts, general temperatures, and imprecise measurements and i've been all the better for it since.

however! the recipes attached to this article don't give ratios, they give recipes (FAIL!). read the short little article and pay no attention to the overly explained and pre-measured lists of the ingredients that follow.


Nicholay and Thetrustmeguy are throwing a party in their backyard just so I can go to a party in their backyard and hang out with all of YOU, yes, you!

Wednesday! July 22! Anytime after 6pm! Standard backyard party with backyard type activities and other sundry summer party things like kiddie pools and lawn chairs and enjoying the weather. Bring your alcohol, bring other stuff if you want, too.

If you don't know where Nicholay and Thetrustmeguy's house is located, I will be happy to tell you.

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this fourth of july weekend my neighborhood, usually bustling and traffic-riddled, was a veritable ghost town on saturday and sunday. when i left for work in the morning i saw no moving cars and not a single person until i got down into the subway. it was like living in a small town!

i saw a woman at the gym wearing a t-shirt:
and i found that i was greatly offended by it. i get that its a stupid hipster joke shirt but the social and political implications of this joke was as offensive to me as a racial slur. do people really think that the moon is "ours" or that getting to the moon first negates the soviet space programs triumphs (in every single "first" except the moon, really). how could anyone wear such a ridiculous shirt! how could someone see this sentiment expressed on a shirt and think "wow! i need to pay twenty dollars to emblazon this on MY chest!" if one of my friends wore this shirt, i would seriously ask them to change.

some recent movies i've seen (june and july) that i would recommend ( i will spare you the ones that i wouldn't):
- The River
an early 80s Mel Gibson movie that was gripping and that portrayed farm life very well.

- Son of Rambow
a recent indie movie that was hilarious and awesome and that everyone should see. highly recommended

- Away We Go
i went into this movie thinking it would be a lighthearted comedy without a whole lot of substance. it was actually very thought provoking on how my generation lives and plans and imagines how their life is supposed to be. highly recommended.

- Recycle
a documentary about a man in Jordan, his life and his politics. the filmmaker did an excellent job presenting the story of the man in an honest and artistic way.

- Black Book
a Paul Verhoeven movie of a WWII story in the Hague. if you liked A Very Long Engagement, you might like this, too.

- The Boston Strangler
1968 based-on-a-true-story movie that was incredibly well directed and uses split screen techniques to a very good end.

- What a Way to Go
a 1964 comedy with campy fun and silliness and a lot of big hollywood names playing shirley maclaine's character's husbands.

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i don't post nearly enough.
an homage to hexagonalcarbon's recent update that reads like hemingway's dayplanner (everyday activities in short sentences) as well as an homage to samuel sewall:

got up today after 2 snooze-button indulgences. showered and did sundry other morning things. wore clearance rack dress that looks awesome. rode subway to work under threat of rain. met for breakfast with 75% of coworkers (compliment on dress). laughed uproariously and ate egg+mushroom. continued to work in a pack, opened museum. first hour was a walking errand to NPS-HQ and state house museum. dropped off poster, disseminated schedules, begged for maps, stopped at CVS, visited post office. mailed package to nieces and nephews (NOLA souvenirs, music on a thumbdrive, and ?) and this months cd club packets. interpreted museum and had early lunch of nuts and lemonade. studied house tour notes for impending practice tour. interpreted house and served in ticket booth. successful practice tour resulted in approval and confidence. interpreted house and chatted with coworkers. did not get to watch any of the silversmithing demonstration (but i saw it last fall). crush of people in the late afternoon. inconsequential rain. walked with coworker to the red line at park street. disembarked at porter to meet at grocery store. took the stairs at porter station (12 stories?). ate salad bar and talked of work(s) with z. walked home via mass ave and stopped for apples at co-op grocery. sunny and humid day with 1000 tourists catches up and immediate relaxation is sought. clicking. zipcar reserved for imminent air conditioner pickup/ goodbye dinner tomorrow. emailed friend. made tentative plans for tuesday and wednesday. passively read various social networking sites. contemplated a job application but slated that until day off tomorrow. have scratchy throat- drank lemonade. humidity continues in week two of rain-every-day extravaganza.

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Three albums that I don't currently own and can't for the life of me figure out why:

3) Bjork, Post.
This album came out in the late 90s and had some great songs on it. Now, I'm not a huge Bjork fan, per se, but the deal with this album is that I did actually own it at one point. Then Nichole gave it to me. Then Nichole gave it to me again because this album seems to slip through my fingers like water. Maybe it is cursed. Maybe I'm just an ungrateful friend. Maybe I now own 3 copies of this CD somewhere and this is payback for being disorganized and irresponsible. I don't really need to own this album as I have the songs from it to which I would listen but the sheer power of it to disappear needs to be noted.

2) The White Album.
When things like this come up I can usually say, "...but I own(ed) it on vinyl..." but in this case I've never owned a copy of this Beatles album. At one point in my life, I acquired a smoke-damaged copy of the CD version of the second disc and may still have those files in my computer but that is no substitute for the full version. There are a lot of bands that I like more than the Beatles so it might not seem like a big deal but I can testify that this album is so ubiquitous that I can actually notice the cultural holes from not being familiar enough with its contents.

1) Tom Wait's Heart of Saturday Night
A decade or more ago, I had this album on a cassette. Since this album is so excellent that the cassette was played over and over again until the tape got stretched out and slightly slowed down. I once drove from the Twin Cities to Wall, South Dakota with only this cassette playing. Nichole can attest to many many hours logged listening to it on the drive to or from Duluth. Unlike the Post album, which I really don't need anymore and the White album to which I am simply culturally obligated to listen, this is an album I actively desire. This is one of the few albums I can and would listen to in its entirety as a whole album -- a rare thing for me. It can still affect me as deeply now as it did then (and to find something capable of such a powerful calming effect when in the midst of my not-so-calm 20s makes me doubly appreciative of its substance). How on earth did this one slip by me?

Media Consumption: The First Third

This year I had decided to keep track of the movies that I watch and the TV that I consume and the books that read and etc, etc. The list is growing so I am taking this opportunity at the one-third mark to list what the spring has wrought thus far. What I've learned is that I need to read more books that don't have to do with research, that I watch a lot of junky movies when i am surfing the internet (embarrassingly junky), that we rarely go out to eat, and that I would only recommend about a third of the movies on my list to others:


Burning Bright
And Only to Deceive
Rhode Island Red
Flour Babies
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Colonial Soapmaking: It's History and Techniques
The Diary of Samuel Sewall, Volume I
The Diary of Samuel Sewall, Volume II: 1709-1729
The Children Who Stayed Alone
The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover
The Holyoke Diaries, 1706-1856
A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution
Another Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover
The American Journal of Ambrose Serle
A Colonial Quaker Girl, The Diary of Sally Wister 1777-1778
The Puritan Family
Diary of A common Soldier in the American Revolution, 1775-1783...
Visible Saints: The History of the Puritan Idea
Under Copp's Hill
Coming of Age in Mississippi
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Lorna Doone
Walt Disney's Paul Revere


Wedding Crashers
Good Will Hunting
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Role Models
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Central Station
After the Fall
On Valentine's Day
The Tailor of Panama
Mystic River
Star Trek: The Movie
Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Bride Wars
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
He's Just Not That Into You
Petey Greene: Adjust Your Color
The Powder and the Glory
Cadillac Records
Gran Torino
The Wrestler
Steelyard Blues
Separate But Unequal
Picture Perfect
The Accused
The Lost Coast
Iron Man
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Working Girl
Color Adjustment
Slapshot 2
The Pacifier
El Norte
The Inheritance
A Year of Living Dangerously
Places in the Heart
When the Levee Broke
In Bruges
Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice


Lark Rise to Candleford (season 1)
Mad Men (season 1)
Mad Men (season 2)
Arrested Development (season 1)
Sons of Anarchy (season 1)
Ugly Betty (season 1)
Arrested Development (season 2)
Ugly Betty (season 2)
Make 'Em Laugh (parts 1-6)
Arrested Development (season 3)


Shear madness


Amherst University Art Gallery
Eric Carle Museum of Children s Book Art
Paley Center for Media
The United Nations Headquarters
The Museum of Modern Art
The National WWII Museum
The 1850 House
The Presbytere (Exhibits of Zulu Crewe and Mardi Gras Traditions)
Mardi Gras World
The Cabildo (Louisiana State History Museum)
The Pharmacy Museum
The Audubon Insectarium


The Five Colleges Area in Western Mass
New York City
New Orleans


Paul and Elizabeth's (Northampton, MA)
Cafe 2 @ the MOMA (NYC)
Romolo's Pizzeria (New Orleans)
Zing! Pizza (Cambridge, MA)

for nicholay and ethel and their ilk

Call For Papers
-Mystery Science Theatre 3000
Book collection of Academic writings

In the fall of 1988, on a small public access channel, KTMA, in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area of Minnesota, a bizarre show appeared. It featured two hand-made, robot appearing puppets and a man who was watching a movie and making comments to the screen. Little did its creator, Joel Hodgson, know that he had created a world-wide, popular culture phenomenon known as Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST). The show lasted ten seasons, and spawned a theatrical feature film. Twenty years later, the show still has fans the world over. The show has received a coveted Peabody Award for excellence, and was nominated for an Emmy Watching episodes of the show today, one still has to scratch his/her head and wonder how such a show could ever last one season, much least ten. However, when one delves deeper into the show, one discovers that it is one of the funniest, cleverest programs this side of Monty Python. Comedy scripts are arguably the hardest type of material to write and be consistently good. But the team that wrote MST, along with head writer Mike Nelson, created something that has lasted and is even more popular ten years after its cancellation. I am putting together a book that looks at MST and its cultural implication, the Internet, and the creation of similar shows (Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic) which were created and are written by former MST people, who have kept the spirit of MST alive.

Some topics that could be discussed and some questions that might be answered include:

The MST Hour and Mike Nelson?s portrayal (mimicking) of Peter Graves
MST, Comedy Central and the special Thanksgiving marathons
Fan Culture and MST: The Misties (who are they and why)?
The original Sci Fi MST Game
Roger Corman and MST: A Match made in Heaven or Hell?
Gender roles, Women and MST
Frank Zappa and MST
Comics and MST including Trace Beauliu?s stab at creating his comic Here Come the Big People
MST precursors (Fractured Flickers and What?s Up Tiger Lilly)
Best Brains (the company which owns MST) and its relationship with the fans (e.g.,sanctioning the fan made episode, MST3K-The Home Game,?the
Sci-Fi Channel aired this movie during which on-line MSTies could make funny comments)
The rise of ?forgotten movies? which were used as MST episodes (e.g., Manos the Hands of Fate which is now more popular than ever, and has now been made into a musical?there is a documentary about the film which would never have happened were it not for its rediscovery via MST)
The rise of B-Movie popularity as a result appearing on MST
Christmas Movies and MST
World Without End and MST LIVE
Cinematic Titanic-Live Gigs which are more popular than ever?now selling out all over the country
The cultural world of Riffing and the influence of MST The cast of MST today Cinematic Titanic compared with Rifftrax
The recently made flash web cartoons of MST robots, and how these cartoons fit into the mythology of MST in 2009/2010
Jim Mallon and Kevin Murphy before MST working the film Blood Hook (an analysis of this film and whether one can find any direct connections between what would come later in MST)
A Guide to Fan Made MST films (I would write this one)
Mike Nelson as head writer or why was a head writer needed for MST?
The pre-MST comedy careers of Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, Mary Jo Pehl, and Trace Beaulieu
The KTMA years compared to the Comedy Central Years compared to the Sc Fi Chanel years.
Zombies and MST (a good topic in light of the popularity of Zombie studies)
Movies that deserve the MST treatment but never received it.
How Rifftrax can actually take good movies (e.g., Star Wars, The Dark Knight, and Halloween) and make them seem as though they deserved riffing all along Mental Hygiene films and MST
The legal battle between Best Brains and Mr. Sinus Theatre (the roots and causes of this battle)
The post-MST career of Joel Hodgson
The Wheel and other failed experiments
Why did MST become so popular ten years after its demise?
Why did Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic become so popular after the demise of MST?
What were/are the cultural implications of the original invention exchanges in those early episodes of show?
What are the differences in the styles of Mike Nelson and Joel Hodgson as hosts for the show?
Why did Joel leave the show in 1993? Why weren?t he and Jim Mallon not seeing eye-to-eye?
The theatrical feature film attempt, MST 3000 The Movie (trials and tribulations of getting director Jim Mallon?s big budget version of MST to the screen)
Jim Mallon?s genius as producer/director/character
The culture of MST and riffing in general
Modern companies, such as Laugh Tracks, and MST?s influence on them
Mike Nelson as musical composer
The differences of Tom Servo and Crow (difference in style and tone)
Actor Joe Don Baker and MST a perfect marriage
Spy Movies and MST
Monsters and MST
Attempts at creating continuity within the ?host segments??what worked what didn?t (the difference in continuity between Comedy Central episodes and Sc Fi channel shows)
Cast Characters (e.g., Mad Scientists, Evil Mothers, and weird aliens)
Which were the most consistently funny seasons?
The hardcore statistical analysis found on websites by crazed fans (e.g., riffs per show and other weird statistical data?reasons for these weird
statistical things)
MST and the Web?how did the Internet help create such a rabid following?
Popular music and MST
Mary Jo Pehl, Bridgett Nelson, and the influence of women writers on MST
MST fan culture and university culture
The MST influence on the show Freaks and Geeks
TV?s Frank and MST and Frank Coniff?s role in America?s Funniest Home Videos
The ?more? adult humor of Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax compared to MST
Compare and contrast the cancellation of MST from Comedy Central to that of Sc Fi Channel. Why were both attempts to save the show unsuccessful?
Mike Nelson?novelist, writer of essays and children?s books, and general Pop Culture Guru
Kevin Murphy At the movies??? Why did he do it?
Bill Corbett as a playwright and performer
MST and Tape Trading Culture (Keep circulating the tapes some of the MST episodes admonished the fans; compare this with Grateful Dead tape trading or other official sanctioned bootlegging. Why did this type of sanctioned bootlegging endear the fans but infuriate the ?suits??)
The Shorts: Why are they some of the best?
The rarest episode of all: The MST CD-ROM video game.
Good Idea or not? (MST, Rifftrax, sitcom, television, episode and cartoon riffing)
The lost episodes of MST: The Green Slime, Thunderbirds etc., Where are they? What were they like? Will we ever see them??
Crow, Tom Servo and the bots in Popular Culture: Non-MST appearances (which continue to this day)
MST and the First Amendment to the Constitution: Why did the show always thank the authors of the First Amendment? How did the show use it? Did it push boundaries constitutionally???
KTMA and MST: Just how could a show like this get on cable access television in the first place? How did it become a movement? Were they are glimpses of the greater things to come in those earlier episodes or not? Torgo and Ortega: Cult Figures and MST why so popular with fans? The worse a movie is, the funnier and better an episode of MST: Why is that?
During the early years of MST, it was watched by many families who gathered around the television to see each new episode. Why did it particularly resonate with children? Did the show project a sense of wonder that appealed to children? Given that many of the jokes were very sophisticated, how is it that children related to the show?
Monty Python and MST?compare and contrast writing styles and ideas
Paul Chaplin unsung writer on MST
The MST writers were, and continue to be, masters of Popular Culture in all its forms (film, music, politics, etc.)
Movie references and MST?cultural and historical implications
MST terms and the vernacular (e.g., ?Movie Sign?, ?Poopie?, ?Huzzah?) and their adaptation into everyday language)
What was Josh Weinstein?s role in those early MST episodes and his post MST career as producer?
Cataloging and Metadata related to MST3K and libraries

These are just a few ideas, off the top of my head, about topics that one could write about. I?m sure there are plenty of others. Please note this will be a scholarly collection. Essays should be 5,000-9,000 words in length (including endnotes and bibliography). The editor will send out a style manual to potential writers at a later date, which must be followed exactly. Please keep in mind that these essays will be Peer Reviewed, and any essay that is not up to standard may not see final publication.

Please email me if you have any questions.
Date for Abstracts is October 2009, but can start taking them now
Final Articles due January 2010

Robert Weiner Humanities Librarian, Texas Tech University

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things to do today:
done! sleep for ten hours
done! yummy breakfast
done! burn 1000 calories
done! walk a mile to campus with the loudest most violent hiccups ever (so sorry i scared you, fellow pedestrians!)
done! type up three pages of notes/outline-y stuff pertaining to historic house tours
done! return library books that i've had since before christmas break

still to do, i think, is some laundry, some dishes, and some making up of a new to do list for tomorrow and next week.

since i have only a mon-wed classroom obligation and next week is spring break, i can safely say that i am currently on spring break until two mondays from now. except i am in my quasi-office and getting way more done on my spring break than i have in the last week.

the crocuses are not only up (in front of the apartment building) but are beginning to bloom.
perhaps i will ride my bike to work tomorrow morning. i come home after dark but i take my bike home on the subway in that case because it is just plain silly to ride after dark in this city if you don't have to.

perhaps z and i will take a weekend trip somewhere around the eastycoasty area during our not-very-overlapping spring breaks. then i will be in new orleans in early april for a conference. i've not been there before and there are dozens of excellent reasons to look forward to a psuedo-vacation there. my mother and sister and niece1 are coming to visit in mid-may for a long weekend.

this year i thought it would be fun to keep track of all the books i read for the year. i started last year but lost steam as i tend to read a lot of books for homework-like purposes but i tend to read bits and pieces for predatory reasons and this felt untrue to the list and somewhere along the line i neglected to keep track. but then i decided to keep track of the movies i watched, and then i added television shows of which we watched a full season, then i decided to add in travel destinations, new non-fastfood restaurants, museums that we visit, and plays or concerts, too. we shall see what things look like at the end of the year!

back to work!