Mary Rose Cook's notebook

The public parts of my notebook.

My homepage.

XXY

XXY


XXY


#notebook

A Lecture on Johnson and Boswell by Borges

A Lecture on Johnson and Boswell by Borges

A Lecture on Johnson and Boswell | by Jorge Luis Borges | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books


#notebook

New t-shirts

New t-shirts


#notebook

I made a packed lunch and a packed supper for the Godfather parts 1 and 2 double bill at BAM cinema

I made a packed lunch and a packed supper for the Godfather parts 1 and 2 double bill at BAM cinema


#notebook

ACeeeeeeeeee. I love yoooooooooooooooou.

ACeeeeeeeeee. I love yoooooooooooooooou.


#notebook

Arthur Miller: Before Air-Conditioning

Arthur Miller: Before Air-Conditioning

Before Air-Conditioning | The New Yorker


We have no AC in our apartment.


#notebook

Des Ark, My Saddle is Waitin’ (Come on Jump on it)

Des Ark, My Saddle is Waitin’ (Come on Jump on it)

Des Ark - house show (solo) - YouTube


I posted this a few years ago. I still love it: that song, that rendition of that song, that explanation, that heat, that closeness of the crowd.


#notebook

Grouper, Living Room

Grouper, Living Room

grouper.mp3


Reviewed code, arrived at the Eli Keszler gig after it had finished, went to The Bell House in Park Slope.


“I’m looking for the place the spirit meets the skin.”


#notebook

Des Ark's live recordings on Bandcamp

Des Ark's live recordings on Bandcamp

Music | Des Ark


Des Ark are one of my favourite bands. Their studio records are pretty good. But, the three live recordings made on the radio station WXDU are incredible: Aimée Argote singing and playing acoustic guitar, ruthlessly honest. You can get the first two from Bandcamp. The third is about to be rereleased on Lovitt.


#notebook

The birth and re-birth of Klei

The birth and re-birth of Klei

The birth and re-birth of Klei | Polygon


“Making a game and a baby.”


#notebook

The Weeknd, Echoes of Silence

The Weeknd, Echoes of Silence

09%20Echoes%20Of%20Silence.mp3


#notebook

Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni (1964)

Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni (1964)


#notebook

Leviathan

Leviathan

Leviathan has, in its POV, a problem. Some of the shots are captured by cameras strapped to the heads of the fisherman, some by a camera seemingly on the end of a pole stuck down into the hold or the sea, some by cameras operated by the film makers. There is nowhere for the members of the audience to place themselves.


Leviathan has, in its structure, a second problem. There are many shots, some long, some short, some busy, others featureless, some focusing on fisherman or fish or the sea or birds or lights, some disorienting, others static. The shots with different features are arranged in no kind of order or rhythm. The film just goes along.


Leviathan has, in its manipulativeness, a third problem. The sound and colours are doctored and they diminish your belief in what you see.


Leviathan has a great shot. The camera, strapped to the head of a fisherman, leans out over the side to look at a net being pulled up from the sea. In the distance is the dusk sky, one of the few reference points we land lubbers share with the fishermen.


Leviathan has a second great shot. The camera looks out into the sea at night, the blots of the floodlights of another boat writhing together in the dark, made unmeaningless by their synchronisation.


Leviathan has a third great shot. It is doing one of its senseless underwater shots, but the sounds of the nets being raised is the sound of people howling.


#notebook

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita

My dad took me to see La Dolce Vita. It was glorious:


the scene in the chapel where Marcello and Maddalena talk via the fountain




(an echo of the romantic pursuit of the unattainable movie star),



the starlet romping around the press conference,



the woman lying on the bed,



the conversation with the innocent girl who rattles Marcello,



the argument in the floodlit car that twins with the suicide as a hopeless, brutal light of reality.



#notebook

Megacities

Megacities

A documentary by Michael Glawogger . It features people who live in Mumbai, New York, Moscow or Mexico City. It has some very beautiful pictures in it. It has some very moving scenes: the hustler trailing off as he goes on the nod, the dye sifter becoming covered in red, then blue, then yellow. A number of scenes are ultra-documentary-but-fake reenactments of things that allegedly happened before the camera was switched on. This fabrication undermines one’s empathy with the subjects and appreciation of the beauty.



#notebook

Pancake

Pancake


#notebook

Picasso, The Three Dancers (1925)

Picasso, The Three Dancers (1925)


#notebook

Picasso, Head (1927)

Picasso, Head (1927)


This is one of my favourites in Penrose’s Four Themes book. I can’t even say why.


#notebook

Pablo Picasso: Four Forms, Roland Penrose

Pablo Picasso: Four Forms, Roland Penrose

He realises that it is not his role to copy nature but rather to be acutely aware of it and to interpret the many ways in which he is affected by the world he lives in and the human beings he sees around him. They will affect him by their external appearance and by their influence over him. The first can be described by skilful representation in line, colour and form, but the second can only be communicated in a symbolic way, and it is the degree in which the artist can successfully transfer these intangible influences into a symbolic image which convinces us of his power. “I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”


#notebook

Fish Tank

Fish Tank


[Fish Tank (film) - Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_Tank_(film))


Some very interesting moments.


#notebook

Abendland

Abendland

A documentary by Nikolaus Geyrhalter. Notionally, it shows a series of things that happen at night: monitoring of borders, conventions of EU sub-committees, care for the elderly and prematurely born, parties, news broadcasting, pornographic broadcasting, food production, policing, counselling for the suicidal. Reviewers have noted different themes. Surveillance. Protection. The service industry. But these notes tell you more about the commentator than the theme of the film.


My own conclusions on the theme changed as I watched: being on or off stage, activities that happen at night, people who are working surrounded by people who are not, the services people provide to others.


By the end, I had arrived at: jobs that must be done at night. But distilling it down to that is a trivialisation. It is more worthwhile to think, “There are jobs that can’t wait until morning”, and take that as a jumping off point. Some general questions arise. What do these jobs entail? Why can’t they wait? Who does them? How? Then, more specific questions arise. Why does the night nurse clean the hand rails in the care home as well as attending to the patients? How does one talk to a stranger who is suicidal? Why are parcels sorted separately from letters?


In the film, there are many moments of distance and alienation. But, there are moments of human connection, too - a nurse tenderly feeding an old woman from a beaker, two people taking turns to shower after having sex, the film’s poster showing a network of street lights strung through the darkness of Europe.


Unsleeping people connected in the night.



#notebook

The Mars Volta, Vedamalady

The Mars Volta, Vedamalady

11%20Vedamalady.mp3


Here, according to Last.fm , are the bands I have listened to the most over the last seven years. I have put asterisks next to the bands that feel like a part of my identity. When I think about these bands, I get a warm glow. When I talk about them, I say “I fucking love”.


Dear and the Headlights *
 Sunset Rubdown *
 Bob Dylan *
 Des Ark *
 [Women](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_(band)) *
 [The Paper Chase](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paper_Chase_(band)) *
 The Mars VoltaAnimal CollectiveMeshuggah 
 [The Blood Brothers](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blood_Brothers_(band)) 
 [Converge](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converge_(band)) 
 [The Acorn](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Acorn_(band))Xiu XiuJoanna NewsomBeach HouseArcade FireHurray for the Riff RaffA Silver Mt. Zion *


These identity bands have some common traits.


One. I love at least two of their records. Dear and the Headlights: both of their albums. Sunset Rubdown: all of their albums. Women: both of their albums. Des Ark: all of their live acoustic records. The Paper Chase: Now You Are One of Us and God Bless Your Black Heart . A Silver Mt. Zion is the exception, here. Horses in the Sky is one of my top ten records, ever. The rest of their albums probably aren’t even in my top fifty.


Two. I admire the aesthetic they achieve. Dear and the Headlights. The most beautiful melodies by anyone, ever. Bob Dylan. The deeper you go into his lyrics, the more you find. Women. The Beach Boys as a noise rock band. The Paper Chase. Find the most beautiful melody, then destroy it with how hard you feel it. Des Ark. Equate the art with the artist. Aimée Argote puts no distance between her manifestation in real life and her manifestation in her art. She makes music that, when heard, might be detrimental to her actual life.


Three. I find pieces of their music very meaningful. It is hard for me to cite examples, because music is so far from words. Not only is it impossible for me to explain why I love Bob Dylan’s line, “Let me dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free”, but it’s precisely because of its wordless meaning that I like it, and it was Dylan who taught me that alogical emotion is worthy of trust.


Four. I admire (my conception of) the song-writer as a person. Sunset Rubdown’s Spencer Krug has a solo project, Moonface . The Pitchfork review of the Moonface record, Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped, said Sunset Rubdown’s [Dragonslayer](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonslayer_(Sunset_Rubdown_album)) is “A personal record about the toll that the worlds inside someone’s head takes on his relationships.” Des Ark. Aimée Argote sings about being a broken, high-functioning person. She sings about immovable, incidental, unpolitical queerness. Bob Dylan. He constantly moves on from his previous successes. As seen in the documentaries, Dont Look Back , and No Direction Home : he lives this life on the road half in love with Joan Baez, half in love with his own head.


But, most of the entries in that list are unbolded. These others are the bands that I simply listen to a lot. And I have listened to De-Loused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute an awful lot.


I can’t identify with The Mars Volta’s music. Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s lyrics mean nothing. He chooses words that are one, impressionist remove from their actual meaning, rather than assembling a rich, internally consistent network from a few versatile base operators. Omar Rodríguez-López’s approach to arrangement is to chuck everything in. By saying everything, you say nothing.


I really like the Tony Scott film, [Enemy of the State](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_of_the_State_(film)) . It is a thriller that is brilliantly thrilling. In the same way, The Mars Volta’s music cuts in on a primal level and makes me want to sing and dance, which is kind of what music is supposed to be all about.


#notebook

Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, My horror is in Park, Drive Me Away Troubled Heart

Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, My horror is in Park, Drive Me Away Troubled Heart

Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group Live Los Angeles(WIP) I - YouTube


I have a weakness for prog.


I don’t really get Deantoni Parks’s drumming on the newest Mars Volta record. In this video, I think I get it.


#notebook

The mobile my dad gave me for Christmas

The mobile my dad gave me for Christmas


#notebook

Le Cercle Rouge

Le Cercle Rouge


#notebook

My Christmas present from Ellie

My Christmas present from Ellie



#notebook

Daft Punk, One More Time

Daft Punk, One More Time

Daft Punk - One More Time - YouTube


#notebook

Margaret

Margaret

[Margaret (2011 film) - Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_(2011_film))


I tried to find a still to illustrate this post. A still to illustrate the film. This is impossible. It can’t be the shot of Lisa shouting at her mum. It can’t be the shot of the bus driver bluffing his way through his interview with Lisa. It can’t be the shot of Darren crying. It can’t be the shot of the class debate blowing up. Margaret is just people talking. The shots are designed to show these conversations. As stills, they convey no information. There is little artistic observation in the locations, the colours, the montage, the framing. All there is are the words and the characters’ tones and expressions as they say them.


The most appropriate frame would come from the opening credits. These show New York crowds crossing streets in slow motion. They show the people lit up who are on stage and the people in darkness who are not. They make the ordinary lives of ordinary people as fascinating as those of fictional characters.


Margaret is a mess. It has too many side plots. It overdoes its crescendos. It has a strange mix of oblique emotional observation that is almost as good as Anna Karenina and characters that foghorn the director’s thoughts for him. Some characters feel like real people, others made up.


But it’s a very good film.


#notebook

Ellie and the armour

Ellie and the armour


#notebook

Rust and Bone

Rust and Bone


I adored A Prophet, Audiard’s previous film. This was less rich, drawn in the broader, crayonic strokes of The Beat My Heart Skipped.


#notebook

Hey Baby, Do You Dyad?

Hey Baby, Do You Dyad?

Gamasutra - Hey Baby, Do You Dyad? A Letter Series


More and more people are writing more and more things about the intersection of videogames with everything else.


“Because I’m having a hard time deciding something about Dyad. I want to say "it might be good, but I don’t like it” or “I might like it, in spite of the fact it isn’t good,” and I can’t decide which of these is true.“


and


"That’s part of the reason I’m picking your brain about why you like it. Because it’s so absurd it makes you laugh? That’s what you said about music. You also said that about sex.”


#notebook

Interesting analysis of a game called Realm of the Mad God

Interesting analysis of a game called Realm of the Mad God

Analyze: Realm of the Mad God


#notebook

Insightful analysis of Demon's Souls that digs below the high difficulty and savours the subtle pleasures yielded by a taste acquired

Insightful analysis of Demon's Souls that digs below the high difficulty and savours the subtle pleasures yielded by a taste acquired

Analyze: Demon's Souls


#notebook

Truth in Game Design, a talk by Jonathan Blow

Truth in Game Design, a talk by Jonathan Blow

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1014982/Truth-in-Game


Blow says that a designer can create a system that exhibits behaviours more complex than the rules that govern it. He says that, in all systems, there are places that reflect our corporeal universe. These places are truths in our real lives. He says that a designer can design by creating and exploring systems and then isolating and presenting the truths he finds.


A while ago, I saw another talk by Blow that is a development of these themes. It is also very good, but less focused and a less pure expression of the central idea.


#notebook

In the summer with my niece.

In the summer with my niece.


#notebook

Jonathan Blow: Indie Prototyping

Jonathan Blow: Indie Prototyping

Jonathan Blow: Indie Prototyping - YouTube


Enthralling talk by Jonathan Blow about how he prototypes game ideas. To him, a prototype is a one or two week project that answers one question: should I make this into a full game? As illustration, he shows an array of interesting prototypes he has made.


#notebook

A box for the only person I know who every so often likes to live in a tree

A box for the only person I know who every so often likes to live in a tree


#notebook

Angel Olsen - Miranda

Angel Olsen - Miranda

08%20Miranda.mp3


“Was I another in and out of your door?”


#notebook

Looking after Matthew. (Read: playing Halo Wars on the projector at his house.)

Looking after Matthew. (Read: playing Halo Wars on the projector at his house.)


#notebook

Chris Hecker's fascinating talk about Structure vs Style in designing systems

Chris Hecker's fascinating talk about Structure vs Style in designing systems

http://chrishecker.com/Structure_vs_Style


A quick tip. The lecture is initially misleading. Hecker does not really explain what he means by structure vs style until about half way through. It is easy to assume he means form vs function. He does not. By structure he means degrees of freedom. To put it another way: the things you can change. By style he means the specific values of those degrees of freedom.


#notebook

Those little constants in your game code determine how your game feels. When you design a game, your entities should have roles that neither overlap, nor leave gaps

Those little constants in your game code determine how your game feels. When you design a game, your entities should have roles that neither overlap, nor leave gaps

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1012211/Design-in-Detail-Changing-the


#notebook

A fascinating explanation of the incomprehensible denouement of a pro Street Fighter bout

A fascinating explanation of the incomprehensible denouement of a pro Street Fighter bout

http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/the-beast-is-unleashed-capcoms-seth-killian-explains-the-most-famous-minute


#notebook

Hurray for the Riff Raff playing a gig outside in a residential neighbourhood in New Orleans

Hurray for the Riff Raff playing a gig outside in a residential neighbourhood in New Orleans

Hurray for the Riff Raff :: Full Session via Liveset - YouTube


#notebook

My niece thrashes me at Bagatelle. (Taken with Instagram)

My niece thrashes me at Bagatelle. (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

Skunk Works (Taken with Instagram)

Skunk Works (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

Brooklyn Bridge at 6.14 a.m. this morning (Taken with Instagram)

Brooklyn Bridge at 6.14 a.m. this morning (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

At the MOMA restaurant (Taken with Instagram)

At the MOMA restaurant (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

How to Solve It (Taken with Instagram)

How to Solve It (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

Playing MarioKart with Danielle on the SNES. Still so much fun. (Taken with Instagram)

Playing MarioKart with Danielle on the SNES. Still so much fun. (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

My shadow on the Long Island Rail Road. (Taken with Instagram)

My shadow on the Long Island Rail Road. (Taken with Instagram)


#notebook

Index pages: home, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12