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What is unique about the ‘I’ hides itself in what is unimaginable about a person. All we are able to imagine is what makes everyone like everyone else, what people have in common.

Milan Kundera: The Unbearable Lightness of Being 

Truth in a Nutshell

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in literature

 

Pauses, Homes

I haven’t written here for a while, mainly because I felt like I didn’t really have much to write about. The ideal seems to be generate new posts at least weekly; but how likely is it that something variable will come up in an average week? The only real variability is inside my head which is cool to talk about in my diary and all but doesn’t feel appropriate for here.

So I now have a little more real-world experience to inflate. I went to Melbourne recently with my family and for the first time ever; I fell in wholesome love with the locale which we stayed in for a week.

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This (pretty terrible) photo was the awesome view outside a small apartment by St Kilda’s Beach. The place itself had the nifty designs of youthful ergonomics and sly fashion. The kitchen pantry was labeled ‘eat.’  There was various sketches of lavished women like Sophia Loren. Etc. But the view from the windows was really something totalistic. It was a microcosm of life I couldn’t help being a part of – the small figures constantly whizzing around the skateboard park, people walking their dogs/kids on the shoreline in early mornings + afternoons in obvious rapture, joggers and couples on the esplanade, the golden halos of light over the sea and lighthouse and distant ships.. Reminded me of a computer game in a way, being able to see such panoptic views and notice people and activities in detail. Half the time I stayed inside to watch, building strong impressions of a new comfort zone, a new home.

The other set of impressions was similarly engrossing. Several nights, we walked on the trailside of the esplanade. The first time we saw stormy waters and imposingly dark skies and pounding winds making the lights out at sea blink frantically The second night was a more classical, mysterious experience with a crescent moon in a purple sky hanging over the distant city. The last night we went walking felt like an elegy, a totally calm sea and stable glowing lights bidding us a farewell. The contrast/flipside to this was the daytime esplanade – friendly passerby’s speaking an assortment of European languages,  happy and relaxed people, windsurfing and sailing everywhere, palm trees, cafes with abundances of icecream, a lot of piers and ships. St Kilda’s became a place I considered part of my ‘poetic memory’. Not just the traveler’s escapist vision of puzzle pieces of total sensory comfort but a full experience of a down-to-earth, piquant kind of place and lifestyle. I was happy staying in its zone and not venturing out to the city much, and very sad when we eventually left. I still don’t know if I buy into the idea of travel as a life-transforming experience yet I really enjoyed constructing a new spiritual home.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Personal

 

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Days like these

“This must be Thursday,” said Arthur musing to himself, sinking low over his beer. “I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ (one of the funniest books/series ever)

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in literature

 

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 A glorious quote from GRRM (Game of Thrones author) about writing and the imagination - 

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”
― George R.R. Martin”

The best and most beautiful

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in literature

 

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Dollhouse (S1): Business as usual

 

Francis Picabia - 'Love Parade'

Francis Picabia – ‘Love Parade’

My ongoing marathon of Joss Whedon’s show ‘Dollhouse’ has been a thought-provoking experience. Just finished S1! The show is not as well executed as it could be, Eliza Dushku (Echo/Caroline) doesn’t show the charisma or tonalities of a leading actress, and the episodes are erratic to say the least…but the concepts are pretty damn interesting.

The Season 1 finale superficially presents all its characters as emotionally affective with a fitting background track. Typically, this is meant to evoke the viewers’ sympathies, but all it does is show moral greyness. Having finally penetrated the agency, Paul Ballard is shown to have no particular moral qualm with it. He is actually quite comfortable operating within the parameters set by head honcho Adele and therefore becomes tacitly complicit in the Dollhouse’s general ethos of objectifying and commoditizing people to an extreme extent. It seems half of his struggle was getting Caroline; the victimized, help-seeking and  vivacious girl he’d been fixating on. And, interestingly, the other half was in a way a satisfaction of his ego – proving the dollhouse exists and either subjugating/being formally recognized as equal by its agents. The latter which he got.

It is repulsive, in a way, but it’s all topical to the show’s larger commentary about people’s various fantasies and how they seek or fulfil them, whether through hiring dolls or going through their own means like Paul. Fantasy is not just a particular emotional entity, either, it’s a form of currency, a trade that seems to comply with a lot of business exchanges. People can (mostly) choose to sign five-year contracts to be dolls. Alternatively, they can be punished and effectively removed through the brain-jelly maker of ‘the attic’ – easy to equate this with defunct or demoted employees. The employees of the Dollhouse themselves– notably Topher, Langton and Adele – are perfectly morally comfortable with using the dolls on occasions to satisfy their own needs. They use them directly through particular imprints or indirectly; through fastidious and self-satisfied little gestures and comments towards the dolls validating them as good, though child-like customers. To them it’s sort of a perk of their jobs as well as an emotional reward. This discourse can be seen as being built up throughout the season as underlying the weekly plots, the slightly stultified characters and the ‘main-concept’ execution. It’s really the thing that draws you in – the concept of such an organization; a sci-fi-tropic agglomeration of all the futuristic visions of how people can participate in the role exploitation of the market through technology…without the full brunt of doomsday prophecies. The viewers are largely left to project their own moral totalizations. Season 2 here we friggin go!

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in TV

 

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The Beauty of Children’s Stories

There’s nothing like rediscovering books you read as a child. I saw a couple in a library today and I kind of had to borrow them. Usually I’m a bit elitist about reading, but it’s impossible to not re-love all those characters and moments that have indelibly imprinted themselves in your emotional memories. The aristocratic and very upright siblings of ‘The Series of Unfortunate Events’ – Violet the inventor, Klaus the reader and Sunny the one who liked to bite things.  That exact moment every dawn when Hazel Green (Odo Hirsch’s ‘Hazel Green’ series) would see her friend the baker basking in the sun and then run down to his shop to choose a sample baked good. And of course the many interesting adventures had by Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. I think what makes children’s stories such as these so definitively good is their authors’ unique visions that are creative, understanding and deeply humanist all at the same time. Engaging with more adult intellectual climates has been a bit of demoralizing experience for me as so much seems rooted in modes and politics  - basically all the complexities that come with being more aware of subjectivity. Falling back into these books I used to love is a reaffirmation of all these authors’ harmonious and powerful creeds of hope for the future.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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To speak dispassionately, however, he was not a bad sort of fellow – merely a star-gazer; and since the world contains many watchers of the skies, why should Tientietnikov not have been one of them?

Nikolai Gogol – ‘Dead Souls’

Idealism

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in literature

 

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