the counselor?

After the topic of presidential candidates and their corresponding personality types came up at a recent get-together with friends over a mostly Mexican brunch (I think this was the article she was referring to, but perhaps said friend can clarify when she reads this post), I was curious and proceeded to take two free online tests modeled after the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory. While I found some of the questions incredibly difficult to actually answer one way or the other, both produced the resulting type of INFJ, aka "The Counselor Idealist."

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with this blog, but I wonder how much two and a half years of art school has possibly modified my personality type. A few years ago, I might have expected a result more along the lines of Guardian/Supervisor. I remember being told as a first-grader how bossy I was, even amongst friends. Have the last few years of my life dramatically altered my personality type? I've always received comments as to my organizational skills, something I've only recently learned to value and not completely dismiss as a result of working in offices for so many years (or as something that seemed to be inconsistent with pursuing a life as an artist). And over the last couple of years in particular, I've been described as "literal" and "analytical." For example, I don't understand why someone would use the expression "the teapot calling the kettle black" instead of just calling someone out as a hypocrite. Idioms completely confound me. So I find it interesting that despite all that, I still scored as an intuitive and feeling introvert. Maybe my bossiness has evolved into judging. And that could definitely be a result of art school.


snow day

Sophie's got the idea. It's time to find some space between a pillow and a soft spot and get to work on a fat stack of weekend reading.

As cozy as that sounds, I just have one question. Is it spring yet?


it's worse than I feared

The week in reality t.v. is nearly over and I've decided to make some bold changes to my viewing habits of the last half-dozen years or so. Namely, I shan't be watching America's Next Top Model this cycle, or, unless I hear otherwise as to the quality of the show from the likes of Heather Havrilesky, ever again. After watching last night's premier, I've concluded that that show is like a bad dog, who keeps pooping in the corner and despite shoving his nose in his own excrement time and again, can't seem to learn from his mistakes. The premier was actually worse than I feared, a particularly volatile group of girls as rabid as ever over the ridiculously dramatic entrance of Tyra Banks as prom queen. Even the Jays annoyed me, actually taking part in the prep school charade. Tyra's clearly gone crazy, but they should know better than to play along with her absurd scenarios that are somehow incorporated into the show's introduction and development. Even the kinds of model-hopefuls who get on the show have become completely tired and predictable. As usual, we have the token plus-size model (Whitney), the new Mom (Claire...how exactly does she plan to get all that breast milk she's pumping back to her baby?), the inexperienced girl who's always been told she should be a model but who's never worn heels (Lauren), the charmingly clueless blond (Kimberly), and the foreigner who will turn every bit of criticism into a compliment (Anya). I've seen this show many times before.

So that should make watching American Idol and Big Brother on Wednesdays, when I'm usually in class, a little bit easier. Big Brother wasn't faring much better than ANTM, I'm afraid, until Jen got the boot last night (sorry, Parker). I can't really add anything to what I wrote earlier or to Havrilesky's typically spot-on review, only to say that I'd made a pact with myself that I would only continue watching if Jen left the show. And my commitment to keep watching is pretty tenuous, finding most of the remaining contestants much easier to watch than Jen but still not all that likable. I guess you could say I'm watching on a week-to-week basis at this point.

American Idol, oddly enough, it being the show I've found difficult to get into over the past few years, is probably faring best in my reality t.v. line-up. Skipping the first three weeks (three weeks!) of auditions but tuning into Hollywood Week proved to be a winning strategy. I still feel like there's a whole lot of riff-raff to weed through over the next few weeks. In fact, I could deliver a top 6 or 7 after seeing just one performance, and that list would include Alaina Whitaker, Alexandrea Lushington, Asia'h Epperson, Jason Castro (who totally looks like a young John Travolta with dreadlocks), Michael Johns, and Syesha Mercado, with Ramiele Malubay as a standby. I didn't feel compelled to call in and vote; that kind of effort is reserved for a truly excellent reality t.v. show like So You Think You Can Dance.


way better than my Parthenon

This is one of the photographs included in a show at El Museo del Barrio on view right now in New York. It's a detail from The Parthenon of Books/Homage to Democracy, Buenos Aires, by Argentine artist Marta Minujín (and a crew of assistants). The full-scale model was built in a public park in Buenos Aires in 1983 using books that had been banned. After three weeks, the public was invited to dismantle the structure and keep the books for themselves.

The show will definitely be on the list of things to see when I get to the city in March or April, along with the Whitney Biennial. It's hard to believe it's already been two years since the last one...


oh brother

I have to say, the premier of Big Brother 9 was pretty compelling but after only two episodes, I feel like the producers of the show may have ventured a little too far into the social experiment side of things, pairing mostly single contestants according to personality testing but keeping real-life couple Ryan and Jen apart. Meanwhile, real-life exes Sharon and Jacob could, in fact, turn out to be soul mates. Wait, let me see if I'm doing the math right. You're 23 and you say you've been dating on and off for about 12 years. So you were 11 when you started dating? What?!

Anyway, I was torn when Jen went with Parker and Ryan with Allison, really hoping the show would keep them together (and they of course would have to keep their real-life relationship a secret). But then Jen told Parker (instead of finding some way to cleverly convince him not to target Ryan for eviction) and then Ryan immediately told Allison, who's obviously a tad jealous since mere hours before Ryan confessed that she might be his type. Clearly, many of the couples are taking the soul mate possibility a little too literally, like Sheila's tantrums over being paired with Adam. It's not an arranged marriage, people, you just have to try to get to the end of the show together.

Anyway, the second episode was just disappointing, in a number of different ways. While I found the pairing of contestants into couples initially compelling, I think it'll get old really fast. There's gotta be a twist...some way you can change partners or something at some point. And the second episode is too early for calling people out (always a fun time on reality t.v.), back-dooring somebody, or confessing secrets that should remain secrets for at least a few weeks. I'll keep watching, of course, just as I'll tune in to the premier of ANTM next Wednesday and eventually, once they get rid of a little more of the riff-raff, will attempt to watch American Idol. I'm not sure how, since they all air on Wednesdays, when I'm in class, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.


all the art and stuff I didn't do last week

With my thesis behind me, you'd think I'd have plenty of time and energy to make it to every opening, lecture, presentation, exhibition, etc. A bunch of stuff like that happened on Thursday and Friday last week and yet I didn't make it to a single event. On Thursday and Friday I missed out on Emerson's Mixed Realities opening events and free symposium (I wouldn't mind a teaching gig in their Visual & Media Arts department, if you get my meaning). The exhibition - an International Networked Art Exhibition and Symposium - which I plan to see later this week, ought to get the creative energy flowing in terms of my class and my own work, which, sadly, is only just starting to be produced again following a thesis-induced burn-out. I have no excuse to miss the show. Emerson's right around the corner from the guy who cuts my hair, and I'm in desperate need of a trim.

In addition to missing the symposium on Friday, I was on my way to Connecticut for the weekend when the MFA screened The Gates, complete with the presence of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude and director Albert Maysles (he and his brother, David, who died in '87, have made, I believe, most of the documentaries about the art duo's previous projects, the only way I've experienced their work). HBO will air the documentary this month and presumably a DVD will be released at some point. I would have loved to have been in New York three years ago, though.

Anyway, I have no excuse to miss the art and stuff going on this week, since the instructor I TA for is primarily responsible for bringing Cory Arcangel to SMFA, where he'll give a presentation tomorrow. I really like this guy and some of the work he's done with computers, hacking code, the Internet, etc. And I'm sure it's intentionally like this, but man, I have to say, I'm not such a fan of his website.

Next week, however, it's back to missing out on stuff, namely the College Art Association's annual conference, which this year will be held in Dallas, Texas, whose forecast calls for a balmy 70 next Thursday, when the conference begins. I thought about going but I think I'll be busy enough next academic year, as a post-grad teaching fellow at SMFA and with my other full-time (or so) gig, which should start sometime in June. I hope to go next year, however, when the conference will be held in Los Angeles. With a lot of luck, maybe I can schmooze my way into a west coast visiting faculty position with no benefits or tenure in sight for at least ten years. Wouldn't that just be awesome?!


wake me up when the talented people start singing

In light of the writer's strike, I've been watching some shows I thought I'd abandoned at least a season ago, like Lost and American Idol. Like last season, I thought I'd give American Idol a try this time around, especially considering there's little else to watch (from our pathetic basic offerings, at least). But once again, I find it hard to suffer through the first couple of weeks of rejects. I'm not that terribly entertained by the folks with potential, and as for the rejects, many of them border on mental illness and that's just not very fun to watch. Not for me, at least. I get physically uncomfortable before they even start singing because the way the show sets them up (comparing themselves to a famous singer, for example) you know that not only are they going to fail miserably, it's going to come as a total shock to them. A tour of the shows website provides little in the way of information about when the actual competition begins. That's how someone like me, who loves a lot of reality t.v., ends up not watching American Idol season after season. I'm fascinated by the popularity of the show, but I have to admit, once again: I just don't get it.

With Lost, on the other hand, I've enjoyed catching up and getting started on the new season a lot more than I thought I would. I found their "enhanced" airing of last season's finale tedious but as long as I ignored the text that kept popping up, I could kind of figure out all the pieces missing in my brain since I essentially stopped watching about halfway through last season. I'm still as confused as ever, but find the transition from flashback to flash-forward intriguing enough to keep watching.

Other new stuff and/or shows we're catching up on include Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (I think Summer Glau's such a great casting choice for the good terminator, but otherwise, I have to say I'm not that excited about this show...a future Terminator film with Christian Bale, on the other hand, I would definitely look forward to). Check out the show's site and wait a few seconds for Glau's eyes to open and look at you...Creepy!

Chuck is another show that I'm not sure I'd watch all that religiously if I had more to choose from, but it's definitely gotten better since the beginning. We started to watch Pushing Daisies, based on a number of recommendations, but I couldn't get into it. It's too...I don't know, 50s-ish, or something. And odd. And it bugs me that what's-his-name can theoretically touch people who he hasn't already touched (and brought back to life) but doesn't. And that the love of his life - a girl who seems pretty fond of him - is someone he can't touch at all. How is that ever going to work? Why do I want to watch a story about unrequited love week after week? He can't even pet his dog. It's just too much to take...On the other hand, I particularly enjoyed catching up on Ugly Betty, especially since I always felt inspired, while watching, to continue working on a crocheted blanket I started almost six years ago that shares many colors with Betty' Guadalajara poncho. I'm nearly done! Sadly, so is the show, for the foreseeable future, at least. Sigh.

Anyway, at least there's a bonus round of Big Brother to look forward to (oddly, CBS hasn't updated their website for BB 9, at least nothing I could find). And a bunch of stuff starting this semester, so to speak, including the next cycle of ANTM (premiers Feb. 20th), The Return of Jezebel James (from Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the husband-wife dynamic duo behind Gilmore Girls, premiering Mar. 7th), and Battlestar Gallactica (premiers Apr. 4th!!!!!). See, it's not so grim...