Wednesday, July 23, 2008

goin' wireless!!!


2 months ago I posted about the Eye-fi Home card. Well, it took me a while, but I got it all set up and working like a charm!! Though in addition to the $89 Eye-fi card, I also had to get an Airport Express base station ($99). This is basically an expensive toy.... there's absolutely no need to upload pictures wirelessly to your hard drive. Let me make that clear right from the start... you can save all your pics to your memory card in the camera and then, when you're done shooting, connect to the computer and upload them. But I was intrigued with the possibility of wireless uploading. In fact, when I had a trial version of Dragon stopmotion software, I posted on their message board about the possibilities of the Eye-fi card, and asked if Dragon would be able to monitor the folder the pictures are uploaded to - the most important reason being so you can keep track of how many pictures you've shot, make sure you didn't forget to snap off a big frame to match each framegrabber shot. I got no response from the Caliris - they don't seem interested in cameras other than the top of the line DSLR's with live feed. It probably would work - but since I didn't get an answer to my query I thought about it, and realized Framethief can do the same thing. It doesn't have a box where it shows you hpw many beauty shots you've collected like Dragon does, but (unlike Dragon) it lets you see your desktop in the background, so all you need to do is leave the folder open that you're downloading pics to, and there's a little number at the bottom that tells you how many files are in the folder. Problem solved! I still don't know if it would work with Dragon - but since I discovered this additional bit of functionality in Framethief, once again I don't feel the need to shell out for Dragon.

I had a bit of trouble setting up my Airport Express base station - it seems you're supposed to have a wireless device attached to it for the computer to detect before it can set up your wireless system, and I don't have any such device! It could be a printer (I have one sitting here that doesn't work) or a stereo to play AirTunes over (don't have the right kind of connector). Finally I decided to throw caution to the wind and I just unplugged my cable modem from the computer and plugged it into the base station! That did the trick. Now I apparently have a wireless internet connection (even though rather funnily the base station is sitting about 2 inches from the computer!!). And I also have the ability to let the Eye-fi card automatically and wirelessly transfer each picture to my hard drive as soon as I shoot it. It happens all by itself... as soon as the camera is done processing the shot it goes to the selected folder on your hard drive.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Settin and proppin

Just to prove I've been doing actual physical work, on top of delving into the absurd... Cosmo got a new (make that heavily used) cooler, and a trash can that began life as a plastic chicken tub.

He also ordered (from his 'heavily used bar equipment' catalog) one shelving unit with stainless steel top.

Here's a quick setup just to give the overall feel so far. It all needs detailing of course. Everything will start to come together a lot better when I get a printer and can put labels on some more bottles. Click any pic to see it larger at Flickr (once there click on "all sizes" above the pic). It was easier to shoot these with my crappy auto-everything camera than to set up the Lumix for these shots, and the lighting is awful. Hey, I don't want to spoil you!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Theatre of the Absurd part 2


I want to post a few more quotes from Esslin's book before it completely fades from my short-termInUS MEmory bLanks. But first a little bit writ by me:

I watched a few of Beckett's plays - or parts of them anyway. There's a box set of DVDs called Beckett on Film available through Netflix for anyone interested. I found them for the most part to be unrelievedly dark and morbid (though Esslin says that many directors present the material that way when Beckett meant for it to be presented much more comically). I tried to watch some of Ionesco's plays (or the posted segments) on YouTube, but they all seem to be very amateurish high school productions taped by members of the audience bootleg style. Impossible to understand. I did find a clip on YouTube from a film of The Birthday Party (I forget who wrote it - Pinter perhaps?) that looks quite interesting. The DVD seems to be available only in R2 from overseas. So, from what I've seen thus far, it seems to me that the actual plays themselves are loaded with anguish and pain, obsessed with death and disease and loneliness and stupidity. Difficult stuff to watch for sure!!! But then, it does reflect the angst of the most sensitive artists in the terrible wake of destruction of WW2 - I suppose that's exactly what they were feeling at the time.

But, all that aside, I can take a lot of great ideas from Esslin's book. The darkness and morbidity needn't be included. Also, I realized that Theatre of the Absurd is basically just the extreme type of that certain trend of modern film consisting of French and Czech New Wave and Italian Neo-Realism.... namely the devaluation of plot and character in favor of a looser, less structured form.

Ok, following are some quotes I don't want to lose track of, so I've laboriously typed them out to post here. I particularly like the historical linking of different types of comedy throughout history leading up to TotA.


•It is a significant and somewhat paradoxical fact that the development of the psychological subjectivism that manifested itself in Strindberg's Expressionist dream plays was the direct and logical development of the movement that had led to naturalism. It is the desire to represent reality - all of reality - that at first leads to the ruthlessly truthful description of surfaces, and then on to the realization that objective reality - surfaces - are only part, and a relatively unimportant part, of the real world.

•James Joyce..... tried to capture the surface of the real world, until he decided that he wanted to record an even more total reality in Ulysses.

•Eugene Ionesco:
"I do not write plays to tell a story. The theatre cannot be epic... because it is dramatic. For me, a play does not consist in the description of the development of such a story --- that would be writing a novel or a film. A play is a structure that consists of a series of states of consciousness, or situations, which become intensified, grow more and more dense, then get entangled, either to be disentangled again or end in unbearable inextricability."

•Instead of proceeding logically Pinter's dialogue follows a line of associative thinking in which sound regularly prevails over sense. Yet Pinter denies that he is trying to present a case for man's inability to communicate with his fellows. 'I feel' he once said' that instead of any inability to communicate there is a deliberate evasion of communication. Communication itself between people is so frightening that rather than do that there is continual cross-talk, a continual talking about other things, rather than what is at the root of their relationship. - People talking to fill the empty spaces between them.

•The Theatre of the Absurd is a return to old, even archaic traditions. The line from the Mimus of antiquity, through the clowns and jesters of the middle ages and the Zanni and Arlecchini of the Commedia dell'arte, emerges in the comedians of music hall and vaudeville from which the 20th century derived what will in all probability be regarded as its only great achievement in popular art -- the silent film comedy of the Keystone Cops, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and a host of other immortal performers. The silent film comedy is without doubt one of the decisive influences on the Theatre of the Absurd. It has the dreamlike strangeness of a world seen from outside with the uncomprehending eyes of one cut off from reality. It has the quality of nightmare and displays a world in constant, and wholly purposeless, movement. And it repeatedly demonstrates the deep poetic power of wordless and purposeless action. The great performers of this cinema, Chaplin and Keaton, are the perfect embodiments of the stoicism of man when faced with a world of mechanical devices that have gone out of hand.

•The coming of sound in cinema killed the tempo and fantasy of that heroic age of comedy, but it opened the way for other aspects of the old vaudeville tradition. Laurel and Hardy, W C Fields, and the Marx Brothers also exercised their influence on the Theatre of the Absurd. Ionesco himself told the audience at the American premiere of The Shepherd's Chameleon that the French Surrealists had "nourished" him but that the three biggest influences on his work had been Groucho, Chico, and Harpo Marx.

•With the speed of their reactions, their skill as musical clowns, Harpo's speechlessness, and the wild surrealism of their dialogue, the Marx Brothers clearly bridge the tradition between the Commedia dell'arte and Vaudeville, on the one hand, and the Theatre of the Absurd on the other.

•The tradition of the commedia dell'arte reappears in a number of other guises. Its characters have survived in the puppet theatre and the Punch and Judy shows, which also, in their own way, have influenced the writers of the Theatre of the Absurd.

•Another descendant of the Mimus of antiquity was the court jester: the long stick he carries was the wooden sword of the comic actor of ancient times. And both clowns and court jesters appear in in the comic characters of Shakespeare's theatre. This is not the place for a detailed study of Shakespearean clowns, fools, and ruffians as forerunners for Theatre of the Absurd. Most of us are too familiar with Shakespeare to notice how rich his plays are in precisely the same type of inverted logical reasoning, false syllogism, free association and the poetry of real or feigned madness that we find in the plays of Ionesco, Beckett, and Pinter.

•"Delight in nonsense," says Freud in his study of the sources of the comic,"has its root in the feeling of freedom we enjoy when we are able to abandon the straitjacket of logic." At the time Freud wrote his essay, more than 50 years ago, he hastened to add that this delight "is covered up in serious life almost to the point of disappearance", so that he had to find evidence for it in the child's delight in stringing words together without having to bother about their meaning or logical order, and in the fooling of students in a state of alcoholic intoxication. It is certainly significant that today, when the need to be rational in "serious adult life" has become greater than ever, literature and the theatre are giving room in increasing measure to that liberation through nonsense which the stiff bourgeoise world of Vienna before the First World War would not admit in any guise.

•The literature of verbal nonsense expresses more than mere playfulness. In trying to burst the bounds of logic and language, it batters at the enclosing walls of the human condition itself. It is thus no coincidence that the greatest masters of English nonsense should have been a logician and mathematician; Lewis Carroll, and a naturalist, Edward Lear. These two fascinating writers offer infinite material for aesthetic, philosophical, and psychological inquiry. Both are great inventors of unheard-of creatures that receive their existence from their names."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Theatre of the Absurd

This my friends is a short sweet little play called Play, written by that Irish Absurdist Samuel Beckett. Oh, the title doesn't mean what you probably think it does.... you might have to watch it a couple times to figure it out. If you're like me, you'll watch it a couple of times anyway, out of sheer fascination (and, well, to figure out what the heck is going on!!! Hint - the comments on YouTube will help). Also if you're like me, you'll want to save this little gem to your hard drive (because, as we all know oh so well by now, YouTube videos have a way of disappearing overnight!). I give you the venerable YouTube Downloader. Consider it the gift that keeps on giving! Or the gift that lets you keep on taking...

In my recent report on Poetic Film and the World of Objects, I mentioned a fantastic book called Film as a Subversive Art, written by Amos Vogel. I was so impressed with it that I started ordering some of the books listed in the bibliography. One of the good-uns was The Theatre and it's Double by Antonin Artaud - well, I liked it, but I must say it didn't really relate very well to anything stopmotion - though it was good for tracing the genesis of modernist cinema and examining the ideas that gave birth to it. Then suddenly I found myself face to face with one of the best books I've read in a looong time.... Theatre of the Absurd by Martin Esslin. He's the critic who originally coined the term, and he's been there and watched it take shape and grow from the beginning - not to mention he's a great writer and has a knack for getting ideas across clearly.

This writeup actually dovetails nicely with my last one, because Absurdist theatre is poetic theatre. And thanks to Esslin's very comprehensive book, I have a pretty clear idea now of how to approach poetic cinema - something I was a bit worried about. If you recall, my ongoing question lately has been

"how to create modernist (poetic) films that are as satisfying and feel as complete as a good narrative film?"

I'll quote here some passages from Esslin's book that pointed me in the right direction...

"Instead of being provided with a solution, the spectator is challenged to formulate the questions that he will have to ask if he wants to approach the meaning of the play. The total action of the play, instead of proceeding from point A to point B, as in other dramatic conventions, gradually builds up the complex pattern of the poetic image that the play expresses. The spectator's suspense consists in waiting for the gradual completion of this pattern which will enable him to see the image as a whole. And only when that image is assembled -- after the final curtain -- can he begin to explore, not so much its meaning as its structure, texture and impact."

"The play with a linear plot describes a development in time, (however) in a dramatic form that presents a poetic image the play's extension in time is purely incidental. Expressing an intuition in depth, it should ideally be apprehended in a single moment, and only because it is physically impossible to present so complex an image in an instant does it have to be spread over a period of time. The formal structure of such a play is, therefore, merely a device to express a complex total image by unfolding it in a sequence of interacting elements."

"It is not true that it is infinitely more difficult to construct a rational plot than to summon up the irrational imagery of a play of the Theatre of the Absurd, just as it is quite untrue that any child can draw as well as Klee or Picasso. There is an immense difference between artistically and dramatically valid nonsense and just nonsense. Anyone who has seriously tried to write nonsense verse or to devise a nonsense play will confirm the truth of this assertion. In constructing a realistic plot, as in painting from a model, there is always reality itself and the writer's own observation to fall back on - characters one has known, events one has witnessed. Writing in a medium in which there is complete freedom of invention, on the other hand, requires the ability to create images and situations that have no counterpart in nature while, at the same time, establishing a world of its own, with it's own inherent logic and consistency, which will be instantly acceptable to the audience. Mere combinations of incongruities produce mere banality. Anyone attempting to work in this medium simply by writing down what comes into his mind will find that the supposed flights of spontaneous invention have never left the ground, that they consist of incoherent fragments of reality that have not been transposed into a valid imaginative whole. Unsuccessful examples of the Theatre of the Absurd, like unsuccessful abstract painting, are usually characterized by the transparent way in which they still bear the mark of the fragments of reality from which they are made up. They have not undergone that sea change through which the merely negative quality of lack of logic or verisimilitude is transmuted into the positive quality of a new world that makes imaginative sense in its own right."

Ok, enough for now. If any of this tickles your fancy, here are a couple links to more posted on the net:

... And if you still hunger for more, then my friend, this is your cue to begin your own investigation!!! Do some web searching, buy Esslin's book (or one of his others... apparently he's written several).

I will present a few more links, to videos this time. Consider this your reward for reading this far. Here's my favorite icon of early cinematic surrealism, Buster Keaton, starring in a little film called Film (also written by Beckett):

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

And, as you may have already guessed if you've been paying attention, I suspect the title 'Film' doesn't mean exactly what it seems to at first blush.....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Broke 10,000!!!!

10,000 Trophy

Posts at, that is. 

... And THIS is the incredible trophy made for the momentous occasion by one Mysterious Ron!! I'll be adding it to the blog permanently in the next few days. Just wanted to get it propped up in here on my virtual mantlepiece for now. Oh, feel free to click 'er - she's on Flickr!  

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

An Investigation into Poetic Film - The World of Objects/Nature/Animals

**I've modified this post slightly - added two sections of new text. Scroll down till you see sections in yellow - that's the new stuff.**

Ok, enough pretty pictures - it's time for another dose of Cinemastudies! To set the stage for this post - bear in mind my sig at SMA is "Rules were made - not to be broken, but to be OUTGROWN" (Transcended might be even a better term). Also bear in mind I came into the stopmo world fired up by the Brothers Quay... in particular their masterpiece Street of Crocodiles - and my Ahab film is/has been/was/will be a surreal/expressionist statement. But very quickly after joining the message board I began to see that indeed I was not the first to think he could be the Third Quay! Far from it! And the work of many of them leaves... shall we say a lot to be desired? So I came to the conclusion that surreal stopmotion in the vein of the Quays and Svankmajer is often little more than dark, arty vagueness masquerading as substance - that even if you want to create a dreamlike surreal atmosphere you must give the audience something to fascinate them and hold their attention... you must not bore them or hurl crap at them! And I set out to try to learn what I could about making movies.

The first stop was in Storyland - studying straightfoward narrative filmmaking techniques (the Hollywood approach). Not because I had decided to forego surrealism or expressionism, but because I really do believe that in order to transcend the "rules" you should learn them first. And also because I realize there's still a good deal of straightforward narrative storytelling in most surrealist films! A fact those dark arty slacker types would never admit... far be it from them to actually have to learn how to tell a story - that's ordinary bourgeois meat-and-potatoes stuff... not the realm of a true ARTISTE! Well, I've now read quite a few books about screenwriting and storytelling, and I feel I've got at least a decent handle on it. Of course not as good as if I had made a dozen good narrative films.... but I'm hoping I can actually get through this in somewhat less than a lifetime!

So now I begin my next phase. A study of non-traditional approaches to filmmaking and storytelling. There's far less material available in this department.... just check Amazon for books about "screenwriting" and you'll find hundreds, if not thousands! But try to find any good books dealing with how to approach non-traditional filmmaking.... a few, but sparse pickins! I started by buying Film as a Subversive Art by Amos Vogel, and it feels like exactly what I was looking for - a good overview of all the various movements of Modern Cinema. From the bibliography of that book I also ordered a few more that are starting to trickle in now.... Antonin Artaud, Susan Sontag, Bertold Brecht.... could be pretty hit-and-miss reading, but could also get some good ideas stuffed into my head. Today's installment deals specifically with poetic film and the World of Objects - but that doesn't mean it's my sole focus as a filmmaker. It's just the first of several studies I'll be doing, and after trying to wrap my head as well as possible around these different movements and approaches, then I feel I'll be more well equipped to figure out how to make a good satisfying movie that's something other than narrative. Ok, sorry I rambled for so long just in my intro.... with no further skidoo, here's what I've been thinking/writing about lately:


An Investigation into Poetic Film - The World of Objects/Nature/Animals

I call this an investigation because it's far from a complete statement. I don't claim to have "the answers" - I'm more interested in my own personal exploration. And I may well ignore entire aspects of poetic filmmaking because either I haven't noticed them yet or I'm not particularly interested in them. In later updates I may change my thoughts on some issues. In this installment I've concentrated specifically on The world of Objects/Nature/Animals and its use in poetic cinema.

Most Hollywood narrative films take place in the social sphere. And of course, all the "poetic" films also include narrative, but it's pushed into a secondary prominence, eclipsed by the interest in the beauty of the film's world. In a film like Secret Garden for instance, there's a story that does take place in the social sphere, concerning the other people in the movie, who are trying to bring the boy into that sphere, but he exists almost entirely outside it - in the world of objects - and their story is pushed into secondary prominence. He's recovering from a traumatic accident in which his mother died and he was trapped under her body as it grew cold, stuck there for hours before being rescued. I'm not sure if he was essentially catatonic at first? Or just extremely withdrawn. But now he collects objects that are striking for their surface, their texture or form.... pieces of fur that he rubs against his face and neck or runs his hands across sensuously, pieces of bark with a rough surface - he wears a ratty (but beautifully textured) old sweater all the time, even though it's fraying almost to pieces - and he keeps a pet rabbit that he likes to stroke continually. He doesn't respond to people most of the time, just sits daydreaming until he can get free to go to his treehouse where he hoards these treasures (In fact there seems to be an element of daydreaming, or of dreaming, in most poetic films). He seems to have slipped almost entirely into that world favored by Svankmajer - the world of objects. Though Svankmajer's goal is to demonstrate the hidden life of objects, he does exaggerate their qualities of form, texture and surface and his characters revel in rubbing various textures against sensitive parts of their bodies. In both cases, it's a fond remembrance of childhood, when we take in the world little by little through such tactics.

Children (as well as recovering trauma or disease patients or the mentally ill) also look at things in unusual ways... both physically and in terms of how they 'see' (comprehend) them. Children spend a lot of time laying on floors or on the ground. A room can look extremely different from that perspective! The underside of a table is a view denied most adults (except when assembling or repairing it) - a card table turned into a Sheik's tent with the aid of a blanket draped over it becomes a child's refuge, and he becomes intimately familiar with the unpainted, rough-surfaced underside of it, the gobs of glue left there by factory workers because nobody will ever see them - pencil marks used when cutting the wood - wads of chewing gum stuck there by guests. These are views adults tend not to see... they generally move through their world in the prescribed way and think of rooms or spaces according to their utilitarian purposes. Children see these same spaces as texture, surface, form, and the play of light and sound. Another effect of sitting on the ground or the floor is that children see objects in extreme closeup. Grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiderwebs, unusual pebbles or bits of discarded machinery are examined in minute detail to the exclusion of the rest of the world. When you're close enough to the ground that the smell of it fills your nostrils and you can see tiny marching ants carrying their tiny burdens, it's like you're in another world entirely. Well do I remember long trips as a child in the back seat of the car, fighting off encroaching sleepiness against the hypnotic motion and sound of the car gliding along the highway.... peering out at twilight landscapes as they drift past in a play of dark forms dotted with lights against deep grey-blue skies and moody cloud formations. The regular sweep of streetlights overhead, their light striking in against the top edge of the seat and sliding slowly at first down - then forward, gaining speed, and suddenly whipping past to disappear as the next blade of light takes it's place. I also remember the taste of pencils, the crunch as teeth sink into them.

So one function of poetic films is to take a childlike look at the world... to escape the social realm into the realm of objects or nature or animals (they're very similar.... well in some sense they're all one wolrd, but with some differences). The social realm can get very tiresome, and one way to escape it is to drop out into this underlying world, which is always there, but we often ignore it. Even in narrative (social) films, there are often shots featuring a poetic look at surfaces or textures or a passage featuring beautiful composition or color. And in poetic films there is generally some narrative content... it's pretty hard to make a movie with none unless it's a fully abstract film intended for contemplation like the time-lapse film Baraka. But we distinguish a poetic film by it's greater insistence on this world, the pushing back of narrative and plot (and of the social realm) to focus more on the abstract or formal qualities. Focusing on these aspects tends to impart a tranquil, contemplative or meditative quality to such films. I mentioned trauma victims and recovering patients slipping into the world of objects.... it's also a safe haven for those thunderstruck by the sense of angst inspired by the modern sense of the world.... the loss of a comfortable anthropocentric world and universe, the destabilization of the Newtonian system of coordinates used to measure space for Einstein's rather forbidding Relativity and related Modern concepts of time and quantum physics that have all contributed to a sense of unease and tension (for instance the prevailing idea in Modern times that nuclear annihilation could be only a heartbeat away at any time). Plus the social realm - theater of upward mobility or sudden downward spirals - is rife with anxieties and pressures of its own and occasionally requires escaping. The world of objects always waits just beneath this artificial realm, a more real and implacable reality of sheer physical immediacy, and any sudden shock can send us there instantly. It's a world where there's no trickery - everything is exactly what it is and doesn't pretend to be otherwise. It's a world of brute force and the unbearable weight of stone - the pungent smell of wet earth and the slashing pain of barbed wire fences. But it's also a world of dappled light dancing beneath wind-stirred branches in the warm sun, and of the smell of honeysuckle and the music of birds and droning insects and trickling sweet brooks running over beds of smooth-worn pebbles. Another big part of the beauty of this world - it's attractive power - is that it dissolves identity. When you're able to forget the social world and lose yourself in this microlandscape of insects and grains of sand and blades of grass studded with dewdrops it's a melting of personal boundaries. You can forget who you are.... forget even that you exist as a human being... just drift in this world of sight and sound. THAT'S why these films are so relaxing and soothing, even if there's a lot of tension in the film.

One particular branch of poetic film looks toward the sky. Wim Wenders is a practitioner of this approach. I'm not sure if this can technically be called part of the world of objects, but is definitely the world of nature.... and it seems to appeal to the spiritual. Wide vistas of sky or vast cloud formations bring a sense of lightness or airiness that seem to lift the viewer from the heaviness of the ground, separate him from his earth-bound condition. A similar feeling results from shots of wide waving fields with the shadows of cloudbanks drifting across them... oceans of grass scrubbed by the wind. In fact any shot featuring the effects of wind - that invisible but powerful agent - can bring a sense of vastness and connectedness with parts of the world not included in the composition. The feeling can be light and airy, as in a soft breeze stirring the bobbing heads of flowers or gently lifting a group of flags to lazy half-life, or brisk and bracing - even to terrifying in its extremity - as in hurricane or tornado force wind. Kurosawa effects similar moods with shots of buildings or natural formations drenched in hard pounding rain. To see a familiar building under such intense conditions of weather makes it alien and plunges it into that waiting world of objects. Intense weather conditions can have the same alienating effect on people as well... exposed to hard rain individuals tend to withdraw and huddle into themselves - can become objects rather than social beings.

Some films seem to be set entirely in the world of objects or animals. There's a wonderful DVD (available through Netflix) featuring the short films The Red Balloon and White Mane.... two excellent examples of this type. In The Red balloon, I noticed after a while that the camera actually follows the balloon continuously - the boy who befriends it comes and goes, disappearing for spells into buildings where it can't follow so it waits outside for him. People's voices are heard occasionally, but only peripherally, as a door opens and someone speaks to the boy - but they move inside and the door closes, shutting out the rest of the conversation. In White Mane the camera actually shifts between the world of horses and the world of people - moving fluidly between the intertwined stories of White Mane, leader of a pack of wild horses living on the wide marshes of France, and the young boy who yearns to ride him. There is also a small cadre of Herdsmen who want to break White Mane and corral him, but they show up only as supporting cast through the eyes of the real main characters. One way it draws attention to the natural world in spectacular fashion is by its setting... I always thought of marshland as sloppy, muddy nasty stuff but now I see the sheet of water that stretches across the entire visible landscape (ranging from inches to about a foot and a half deep) seems to be clear, not stagnant and muddy as I had always assumed. Having never seen land submerged in clear water like this before I was riveted and fascinated by it. A similar strategy is used by Frantisek Vlacil in White Dove, where a beach consists of a long stretch of sand submerged in only about an inch of water. Very strange to see people walking and driving apparently on water! Very dreamlike.

This is where I've left off... consider it a pause. I'll add to it in the future, but it will never reach full stop.