Fail Log -- Wittgenstein

After reading a Harper's article on "The House of Wittgenstein", I had the idea that I could formalize my dissertation thoughts into a formal system of logic and math, a la the "Tractatus". Thinking about it more, I realized that Badiou had already done most of this work in his "Being and Event", wherein he formalizes his ideas on ontology and multiplicity via logic notation, like Cantor sets and so forth. The one area that he does not do satisfactorily is that of the event (half of "being and event"), where he uses "forcing" to approximate the event, which to me is only half of the half. I tried to pull my ideas together on this but didn't get anywhere with the formal model. I don't have the math logic language to formulate my ideas in this way. Maybe if I just talk about my passion for math through the lens with which I see it I will get somewhere.


"I think a prerequisite for excellence in teaching and research is transcending their spatiotemporal dualism."



"I'm Charlie Rose, who the f_ck are you?"

Fail Log -- Fiction

Seeing as I've failed to generate a substantial piece of theoretical work, I thought, I've got to write something good, something about life, maybe novel-length. But as I have been trying to do this for some time (since 2002), I knew that I could not just go in my head and come up with something...things are much too discombobulated to generate something cohesive like that. And then I thought, well, if I can say these stories aloud that I've been telling myself, these observations, then maybe I'll have something. So yesterday in the car I tried talking aloud a story, but all that came out was the same kind of schizophrenic nonsense that comes out when I try to force myself to write a story. No good ideas. I find that I try shifting from method to method to try to generate something creative. Maybe this is obscuring the root cause/problem.


Fail Log -- Film Archetypes

I had the idea of combining the film commentaries (earlier post) with some thoughts I had had on film archetypes. My hypothesis was that there are cognitive constructs to the way we perceive and produce film. I was going to take snippets from choice films and talk over them. Then I thought, who is going to believe that these things hold, when the directors, films, and times of production are so different (e.g. what does Hitchcock have to do with Hal Hartley)? I think there is a basis for this type of analysis in Deleuze's work where he separates distinctly what he calls the "organic" from the "crystalline" and later in Anti-Oedipus and 1000 Plateaus, he talks about differing national styles of art, differing tempos and so forth, prefiguring this type of analysis. The closest analogy I could come up with for this is a Myers-Briggs of film (which in itself was generated based on a reading of Jung, who would probably agree with some of this semimotic analysis) .


Fail Log -- I Ching

Last week, I thought I could translate the I Ching so that it could be more accessible. As it is, it's difficult to differentiate the 64 trigram combinations (one might say they're not mutually exclusive). I liked what I was coming up with first ones (e.g. The Creative, The Receptive, Difficulty, etc.). But I think to do all of them would require more study. Maybe it's not possible, e.g. Gathering. I liked my reading this time because I felt I got a better hold on the individual trigrams, what they mean in isolation.

See: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/iching.txt

Fail Log -- Film Commentaries

Last week I had the idea to talk over some film Mystery Science Theater 3000 style, dropping film crit bombs on gems like "Mostly Martha" and "Mister Lonely", and even classics like "The Godfather". That's when I realized I didn't have much to say apart from some notes on directorial style, leaden dialogue, errant film cuts and transitions. Also, it's kind of hard to both listen to a movie and be on the mic at the same time, but I couldn't see watching "Mister Lonely" twice.


Fail Log -- Benjamin

I thought I could take Walter Benjamin's unfinished "Arcades Project" and make a contemporary analogue using the notes he left behind. Arcades turned out to be too dense to sustain as a springboard of imagination. Lots of good stuff in there though. He was a digger, a finder of "emblems, ruins, things", undistinguished masses or piles that could later be set in series in order to unfold a trend or movement. Similar to Deleuze's ideas on "egyptology". below is the bit that i got written:

Trader Joe’s is really just a boutique store gone huge. A specialty store that feeds the bourgeoisie. And there is something religious about the way its shoppers venerate its market. My mom might have a fit if she didn’t make it to “TJ’s” every week. Is it the prices? The quality? The atmosphere? The customer service? Where did we start on the path that ended in TJ’s? The French arcades of the 1800’s? The “malls” of the U.S. 1980’s? One has to love the architecture of these stores. Take a warehouse with high ceilings, and fill it with aisles. Then, find similarly indispensible goods, and erect another warehouse to house that store. Then, take this big-box store model and replicate it in every town having more than 200,000 people. Suddenly, TJ’s becomes a destination within a mall that is really a parking lot. I think maybe this started with Costco/BJ’s wholesale stores, and continued with Wal-Mart, before others caught on. Stack it high and watch it fly. Now, Whole Foods is respectable enough for celebrities to shop at, even though it adheres to the same principles as Wal-Mart. And so we have mannequins, moms and dads with clothing from other big-box stores, pushing carts with a zeal not seen since since our parent’s generation. The parent has become the product, the mannequin that is being sold to itself, a self-inflicted case of cannabalism. Our meat and poultry is slaughtered and packaged in assembly line fashion, and we shop with the same sort of need for efficiency, clueless as to how the pigs, sheep, beef, and birds got to those refrigerators, in that packaging. So long as it says TJ’s on the front, our conscience is happy. Government is tied into this circular system of cannibalism. If the consumers don’t consume, the economy grinds to a halt. Two-thirds of all the tax receipts due the government originate in enterprises dedicated to bottom-feeder consumption. We have prettied this pig, the American consumer, beyond all lengths imaginable. There are only so many body parts that can be replaced, augmented, or enhanced, no? Or is there no end to the possibilities of graphic design imagining desires for us, talking oven mitts and giddy cereal leprechauns?

Departmental Pizza Crisis

As I might have mentioned before, but want to reinforce with this message,
the budget crisis has forced us to begin looking for ways to economize. (The
university has asked us to prepare for budget cuts of between 5 and 7%.)
Accordingly, we are no longer having pizza for internal speakers.



In this spirit of economization, I would like to propose a 3-cent fee for each use of the lab stapler (projected revenue = 150 staples a week x 3 cents each x 50 weeks = $225.00 annually). This savings will help in cutting our budget by 5-7% and will enable us to keep stipends up and faculty hiring open.



Fail Log -- "I'm leaving Tuesday and don't have a ski jacket"

I thought I could transpose into words how my numerical system could represent the ideas of Plato, Leibniz, Lacan, Deleuze, Badiou. Like Plato's forms in terms of numbers. A big number that cannot be factored, an essence, so to speak. And I thought I could represent the "event" (in either the Badioubian or Deleuzian sense) in terms of a hinge, or double-capture between two numbers represented by both their Greatest Common Factor and their Least Common Multiple. No luck.

I thought I could demonstrate the properties of factorization, "numericalization", using Pascal's triangle, but the model didn't work for large numbers, or even small ones.