All posts by jason

This is my site... you should read it to find out about me.

Using pleasure

The History of Sexuality: Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure
In an attempt to be an academic while not in school, I’m going to make use of my journaling and note taking skills and see if I can’t use this blog as a place to jot down thoughts as I read various books.

To see how this works out, I’ll start with the book I am currently reading: *The History of Sexuality: Volume 2: The Use of Pleasure* by Michel Foucault.

Last week I finished reading (for the second or third time) his *History of Sexuality: Volume 1: An Introduction*. Maybe if I get really ambitious I will try to transcribe some notes from volume one — we’ll see how this first experiment works out.

Read all posts relating to History of Sexuality: Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure.

Here is the citation for the edition I am using:

Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: Volume 2: The Use of Pleasure. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1985. Trans. of L’Usage des plaisirs. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1984.

FF revisited

Final Fantasy 6 battle screen

All along I thought that my favorite *Final Fantasy* game was *FF4* (*FF2* U.S.) was my favorite… then I replayed it and sorta had my doubts. Then I figured that since everyone likes *FF6* the best, I would probably be all “rebelious” and like a different one, say *FF7* the best… well, it turns out that as I am re-playing *FF6*. I can definitely conclude that *FF6* is indeed my favorite.

I think my love for *FF4* has mainly to do with nostalgia. I rememember playing it all the time back in elementary school… then in junior high I became even more obsessed and started writing a whole strategy guide/walk-through (before they were all over the internet) for the game!! But yah, I replayed it about a year ago, and the magic was gone. Oh well. Such is the way of nostalgia.

But *FF5* — damn! I am very much a “maximalist,” so the more things the better. And *FF5* is packed with things — tons of characters (including two “hidden” characters), tons of espers and magic spells, tons of items, two worlds, etc. etc. And then, of course, the game becomes totally non-linear in the World of Ruin, which totally rocks.

So point of the story: I still want to revisit *FF7* to see if that one could be my favorite. I love the environmental themes of that game and it’s somewhat “postmodern” themes (seriously, we talked about that in my Postmodernism and Japanese Mass Culture course!). For now, though, *FF6* remains my favorite *Final Fantasy* game.

Netflix plugin

The Netflix plugin that I first started using wasn’t all to feature-oriented. It basically took a Netflix RSS feed and dumped it without any processing or formatting. That is, if you wanted to display your activity queue, it just spit the 3 (or however many DVDs you can have out at one time) most recent discs shipped to you, and the most recent discs you returned. Plus, it didn’t have any way of displaying your rental queue.

Well, I didn’t think that was too cool, so I decided to hack away at it.

First, I modified it so that it would only show the discs most recently shipped to you. Then I realized that it might be cool, also, to show the discs you most recently returned. So I took the function and gave it some arguments — you can specify an “action” as “rented” and “returned.” Then I realized that you might want to see both in the same list, so I added an “activity” variable as well.

To that, I added the “queue” action which spit out your rental queue… Well, my queue has over 100 discs, so that was overkill, so I added the ability to limit (mine is current set at six, since that’s about as far ahead as I plan my queue).

After I finished all of that, I thought sometime in the future it might be nice to customize the way the list is presented (mainly, whether it should be an ordered list — <ol> — or an unordered list — <ul>), so I added arguments for those elements as well.

I’m not sure exactly how to go ahead and submit these modifications as a plugin, but I’ll look into that. For the time being, here is the code if anyone else uses WordPress and wants the functionality:

function mynetflix(
 $count=10) {

global $activityurl;
global $queueurl;

switch ($action) {

 case "rented" :
 case "returned" :
 case "activity" : {

  $rss = fetch_rss($activityurl);
  echo "<".$listtag.">\n";
  foreach($rss->items as $item) {
   $title = $item["title"];
   $link = $item["link"];
   $desc = $item["description"];
   $parts = explode(":", $title, 2);
   $act = trim($parts[0]);
   $title = trim($parts[1]);
   $parts = explode(".", $desc, 2);
   $date = strip_tags(trim($parts[0]));

   $a = "<".$itemtag.">\n";
   $b = "</".$itemtag.">\n";
   if($act == "Shipped" && $action == "rented")
    echo wptexturize($a."<a href="".$link."">".
   else if($act == "Received" && $action == "returned")
    echo wptexturize($a."<a href="".$link."">".
   else if($action == "activity")
    echo wptexturize($a."<a href="".$link."">".
  echo "</".$listtag.">\n";

 case "queue" : {
  $rss = fetch_rss($queueurl);
  echo "<".$listtag.">\n";
  foreach($rss->items as $item) {
   if($i >= $count) break;
   $parts = explode("-", $item["title"], 2);
   $num = trim($parts[0]);
   $title = trim($parts[1]);
   $link = $item["link"];

   echo "<".$itemtag." value="".$num."">\n";
   echo wptexturize("<a href="".$link."">".$title."</a>");
   echo "</".$itemtag.">\n";
  echo "</".$listtag.">\n"; 

To use it, you define two varibles:

$activityurl	= "look on your Netflix RSS page"; 
$queueurl		= "look on your Netflix RSS page";

And call the function like:

<?php mynetflix('rented'); echo "\n"; ?>


<?php mynetflix('queue', 'ol', 'li', 6); echo "\n"; ?>

Magic! I love this stuff!

I really do impress myself 🙂 I just added some more functionality so that a page like My Entire Netflix Queue works… check it out. The biggest addition was the ability to show the description (which Netflix feeds in the RSS).

WordPress so far

I’m pretty impressed with this whole WordPress thing. It’s really powerful and the plugins are awesome. So far I have one to show movies I recently rented from Netflix, to show songs I recently played on iTunes (using the AudioScrobbler plugin), and to allow my to upload images into posts (hence the random Sexy Boy post). I will definitely be checking out more.

I also love how customizble things are. I can control how the URLs are created, how many posts to show on the home page, how to format time, and so on. It’s totally fun to play around with.

My next project is developing a theme. I really like the simple default theme. I do, however, want to customize it and make it my own. Except to see bizzare images and strange fonts soon enough 🙂

Other than all the technical WordPress stuff, the next step is to get back into the habbit of actually blogging. We’ll see how that comes along…

Back from the dead

It turns out that I missed blogging too much, so here is my great return.

After taking a six-or-so month break, I realized how much I missed using my blog as a place to throw out ideas, get feedback on those ideas, and jot down random thoughts.

This version of the blog, however, is going to be a bit different than the previous incarnation. Instead of coming at this blog as if it were a total brain dump/diary/journal/etc., I’m going to be more focused and less random… I know that the randomness makes blogs sorta fun, but the dangers are: 1. you write about stuff that you later regret; 2. it’s hard to develop an audience outside of your friends (who don’t mind randomness) because every time someone visits there is something different; 3. you feel overwhelmed by the need to write about everything and the blog becomes more of a burden than something fun.

So with that in mind, I am going to try to set the scope of my blog to cover the following topics: politics (my rants against the cosnervative Christian right and their frightening growing power in the United States), movies (mini-reviews of films I watch), music, and cultural studies-type stuff (my thoughts on books I’m reading and whatnot). Note: absent from that list is stuff like: what I did last night, what I’m making for dinner, which Lord of the Rings character am I, etc. So yeah, less personal stuff is the ultimate goal.

Also, I am using a program called WordPress to manage the site. Although it was hella fun to write my own blog engine last time, it became annoying when I wanted to add things but didn’t want to spend all the time figuring out how to code them and then finding the time to do the actual coding. I hope to do some modifications to WordPress to make it more my own (since it uses PHP also), so it’ll still be unique (hopefully).

That said, welcome back everyone (if there is an “everyone” reading this now), and give as much feedback as possible — that’s the most fun part of a blog.