Sunday, July 13, 2008

atlas shrugged

Instead of cleaning yesterday, I ended up finishing off the final 400 pages of Atlas Shrugged... (If you haven't read the book yet and don't want spoilers, don't read!)

a) It's not quite as depressing throughout the book as everyone made it out to be. From the valley on, I was no longer depressed while reading it because there finally existed some much-needed hope in the book. Plus, anyone who knows me well knows I hate secrets that I'm not a part of. So I was just really annoyed and pissed off for the first 500-600 pages or so where the mysterious "destroyer" kept coming and claiming people, and Francisco kept making implications about the greater secret he was hiding and fighting for.

b) I think my dislike for physics and probability (and probably philosophy as well) were best defined by this book. I can't regard and understand the world in absolutes, in perfect situations. My brain has never really been able to wrap itself around the idea of looking at isolated situations where EVERYTHING is perfect and all the other factors that could affect the formula are ignorable for the sake of science. That's what this book was to me. People were basically put into black and white categories of perfect or imperfect. There were no real in betweens (and I'm sure someone will argue with me that that's not true, look at Eddie, Cheryl), but really as I read it there were none. And the perfect people were perfect all the way through. I mean 4 men fall in love with Dagny, 1 man gets her -- her OTL. Two of the men, the "perfect" ones are okay with it because they know who she loves and they understand and it's enough to know that she loves them, but just not in the way she's meant to love her OTL. The third one was okay with it because he never had her anyway, and he always knew he never would (at least that's my interpretation). How can one so perfectly emote with reason? I just can't grasp this "perfectness," this equation.

3) I agree with some concepts from the book but not all.
-- The concepts I agree with: Man should never feel entitled to something they didn't work for. Government control of society, economy, genius must be prevented. The greatest good you can do for society is to do the best you can do for yourself (once again, just my interpretation). Communism is evil.
-- Things I don't agree with: Don't do anything for others, do it for yourself. Let the weak, the stupid, the looters and leeches run themselves into the ground; you have no obligation to them. Communism is evil.

4) John Galt is exactly what I'd imagine a cult leader to be like. To me I felt that people were following him simply because what he said seemed to be so deep and beyond what they were able to comprehend that it MUST be right. Okay, so the men of Galt's Gully probably did believe and understand it, but I don't think that *every* single person who was taken there did. I think that they just felt that they must follow him because he must be right. That kind of blind trust to believe someone, isn't that how cult leaders are born and their power thrives? And for that, I am grateful Ayn Rand gave us Dagny. Because she is the only character who allowed the reader insight into their inner struggles of accepting the philosophy. Even if she was deeply in love with him, so it didn't matter anyway.

::sigh:: I'm just glad to be done with the book.

Friday, July 04, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance update

We're closing in on the top 10 and my favorite couples are clear: Chelsie/Mark and Katee/Joshua. I think what appeals to me about these pairings is that they have great chemistry and they emote on stage. I do wonder if they've been a bit lucky with their genre/choregrapher picks favorite routines this season have both been Tabitha and Napoleon hip-hop routines--Katee/Joshua from Week 1 and Chelsie/Mark from last week. I don't really care that they're "hip-hop-lite," they were wonderfully performed and just really watchable.

This week didn't have any super wow moments for me--Mia's choreography is always very powerful but it's not always my cup of tea. Benji's West Coast Swing wasn't nearly as fun as Sara/Pasha from las year and I thought the costumes were just hideous. I did like the new Broadway choreographer though--Andy something--much better than Tyce's stuff this season.

I think the couples are going to be getting mixed up in a few weeks though, so that'll definitely be interesting. In terms of individual dancers, I think the guys are knocking the girls out of the park this year. Mark, Will, Twitch, and Joshua are all just excellent. I do like Gev (his solo last night was so much fun!), but he and Courtney have been kind of flying under the radar...I'm waiting for them to break out a bit. That leaves Thayne--I think he'll be the next to go unless something big happens.

As for the girls--I like Chelsie and Katee obviously, I don't like Kherington or Jessica, and Courtney's questionable. I really want to love Comfort but she's gotten stuck with a lot of ballroom routines that just weren't that exciting. I'm hoping that she'll stick around and get to do a hip-hop or contemporary.

Another thing I really love about this show is that sometimes the musical choices really jump out at me. I got hooked on the Veronica's "Untouched" a couple of weeks ago (even though the routine was not that good) and I was really intrigued by the odd swing cover of Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" for Chelsie/Mark's foxtrot this week.

I also think they've hit on a good formula for the results shows. I never used to watch the American Idol ones because they're all fluff, but here the group pieces are actually really good, the guest dance performances have been pretty good (loved seeing Dominic and Hok last week and the popper Robert this week), and of course there are the solos. I get a little less enthused about the musical performances but that's only a small bit. And of course Cat Deeley is just such a wonderful reality TV host. Love her! (Though maybe not all of her dresses...)