Friday, April 2, 2010


Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of the film, being that it was made around the 1920's. The actors were particularly convinving: they acted (and over-acted) in a convincing way and the desert scene was particularly well-done. The highlighting of the canneries and the gold gave the entire movie the uniquenesss that set it apart from other silent films I've seen: like The Great Train Robbery (I think that's what it's called). Also;--something about the camera angles gave the film a very dark feeling. It was like watching Citizen Kane for the firs time; a little bit. As we went through the score complimented the film very well and I'd never heard one like it before: the wedding scene had a great range of different melodies, and the kettle-drum work reminded me of the score from The Shinning: I loved it. The final scene with Marcus and McTeague came out much better than I thought it could--I prefer the silent movie interpretation than how I saw it in my head. The look on McTeague's face for the entire ending sequence was priceless (he seemed to be in limbo) and the highlighted death of the bird was more strongly felt when I saw it on film. While watching, I felt like I was experiencing something of a lost art: like no one today is capable of approaching that uniqueness of style because dialogue has always been completely dominant in major motion pictures. I'd definitely love to see the footage that was cut from the film, though, I'm sure it was a tough decision to make when they told him it was simply too long. I like what I've seen thus far.

--Michael Molder

Monday, March 8, 2010

Puddin' Head Wilson

I've always been a Twain fan since Highschool. I've been through Huck Finn a decent amount of times (even referencing certain chapters because he blatantly ignores a ton of grammar-rules) and I've even had a chance to glance at some of his shorter fiction. The satirical side of Twain is what he's most remembered for, but in Puddin' Head Wilson -- although very funnny at times -- I found it much-much harder to detect when Twain was intentionally trying to be satirical and when he wasn't. A lot of my confusion stemmed from the latter conversations in the book that had to do with Roxy and Tom because it was especially hard to get a hold of what Twain's personal intention was behind some dialogue: Roxy's claims about the single drop of blood actually read a bit harshly for me because I just wasn't used to reading Twain in that tone. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it also got me thinking seriously about the down-sides to being known, primarily, as a satirist and what kinds of implications that can place on a writer. I'm sure Twain highly-enjoyed engaging other writers in this fashion, but I got the feeling that he wanted to break this image sometimes.

--Michael Molder

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Encounter With The MASC

Strangely -- after being around Pullman for more than six years -- today was the first time I ever visited the MASC. Over the years I've defintitely considered it, and had a few friends that even worked there, but I never took their advice about actually checking it out. I'm regretting that now. I didn't realize how curious of a person I actually am. The few books they had out were really quite interesting to just look at. Despite the books being a little banged up, it only added to the questions I had. Each one -- regardless of what was written inside -- probably had a very unique and interesting story about where that book had been before, and how it ended up surviving on its' own for so long. Another thing that I kept thinking about was how a decent number of the books were written by absolute nobodies--they're kind-of just around for their antique qualities. Some of them were even pamphlets that most people probably just immediately discarded at times. Still, they ended up here somehow, and some even had their own pillows to lay on. It makes me wonder about what writers today will end up like that. The place is like some kind of high-class graveyard for books. It made me think of whether or not a book could be haunted: with that many books downstairs, the chances might be good of having one or two on call. So over all, I was totally impressed. Even the book keeper had a rediculous amount of novel-character to him. I wonder how the recent boom in ebook readers will effect it all down the line, though. If so, books in general will become some kind of rare-fable themselves: who remembers VHS's and all? It'd be too bad if it all happened that way. I really like having books on my shelf.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joaquin Murieta

What I've noticed so far of Joaquin Murieta is the rapid pace and lack of chapters. Still, the reading is refreshing in a way. I know Murieta's past and encounters thereafter seem crude and inhumane: they are shockingly violent and simple--I like this. In Blithedale we're confined to perceiving a more withdrawn and upright reality where the tension lies in  developing character relationship. Here, the scope is much-much broader as we see men being cut down and shot--each who have their lives ended at the whim of Murieta. As a reader I'm glad to encounter this kind of writing. Where as we're often forced in perceiving the subtle and simple as novel ideas, there is equally as much to gain from novels of larger proportions because they force us to consider our mortality within the context of existence as a whole: thoughts of the sublime get stirred up, and there's a feeling of awe spurred on by the heavy contrast of circumstance. I'll have to say that characters like Murieta have always intruiged me. He's a Zorro type of ruffian who actually lived a life that most of us would deam foolish, inhumane, and terrible. Often, people like Murieta aren't born like this--fate leaves them no choice in the matter. I'm looking forward to seeing where this book ends up. The pace is a welcome change.

--Michael Molder

Thursday, January 21, 2010

--the ending considered. (The Blithedale Romance)

ALTHOUGH there was a generous amount of hints foreshadowing the tragic end, Zenobia's death still came very uneasy. As it was mentioned in class, the book seems to still fiercely focus on Coverdale's feelings: how he seemingly went on unchanged, indifferent, and confused. Priscilla and Hollinsworth move on -- becoming much less ambitious -- and Blithedale is considered a failed experiment. Still, I couldn't help but dwell on the ambiance of the death--Zenobia, that is. All of the others' simple commentary after the fact, well, seemed like adding insult to injury. They kept on saying that it was very unbecoming of her to take her own life like that: a woman with a personality such as hers. Much of it got me thinking of exile, the reasons behind it, and how easily some people are driven away from others. Blithedale itself was a sort-of strange observation in exile. New settlers, random people, or just curious ones came by, but the fact is that it was a group of people seeking change, reform, and relief. There would be no tyrannical royalty ruling over head, no religious and no sexual oppression. And with all that in mind, I can't help but think of spite. Some of us break away from our groups to show them that we're able to live how we want and succeed at it: we didn't need them afterall. Or some of use just run, hoping that we're missed. After all, any type of attention is better than none at all--especially if you're feeling desperate and lonely. Now, I can't say that I know for sure, but Zenobia seemed to be that exiled girl (within that town of exiles): even in this group--actually, especially in a group. Some people are innately alone in a way we can't see or understand. Just as Zenobia seemed to be constantly begging for attention, they do not even offer her this after death. Actually, the hauling of her corpse was the most intimate kind of attention she received in the entire book. Overall, the setting of the novel, for me, became blurred. Coverdale's simple observations and thoughts about Blithedale lost much footing. Since I tend to be a fan of the character-driven novel, I felt like Hawthorne delivered. At the end I cared little for Blithedale, its' ideals and strange ways, and loathed Coverdale. If anything, death (specifically suicide) should always be approached with respect. If never seeing someone again isn't enough to wake you up to someone's grief, perhaps you're better off dead too.