Friday, November 30, 2007

Hurry up


What am I going to do with all this stuff? What to do with all this schooling, with these books, re-read bits of poems, a beautiful sleepy woman in bed with me, with dry air-induced sore throats and bloody noses, with wanting to pray, with caring that I don't care that I have a bad tattoo, a patchy beard, that I sometimes try to not believe in God but end up grinning because I don't know what I'm talking about, with sentimentality and not being able to write, a wine-soaked mustache, with memories that may or may not be false, piles of dirty dishes, broken promises to make bread, forgetting to feed the cats, a leaky faucet, daydreaming about naps, with dry skin, my love for America, what am I to do with my unabashed hatred of the rich, my watching others watch movies to make sure they are laughing or taken by surprise? I sense a beginning and an ending, though they are the same.

Il faut


Last night I had the last line of that Rilke poem endlessly rolling itself around in my head: Du mußt dein Leben ändern.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Picture pages, picture pages...

I think my brother looks a bit like Zizek in this picture.

Iconic moment





(More here.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Music for Ms. Jackson

Mystik - "77 kilomètres"


Keny Arkana - "La rage du peuple"


Here's one more that I really like: Rim'k - "L'espoir des favelas"

La neige est arrivée

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm calling it now

We're going to have another Republican president.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Heavy-hitters

One day in elementary school, after the last bell of the day had rung and I was walking toward the bike rack, a boy whom I did not know (though I had seen him around) ran up to me from behind, sucker punched me in the face and ran away. To this day I do not know why he punched me. I cried as I walked my bike home.

That's what I look for in a book. Books like this are becoming fewer and farther between for me. The classics haven't been holding my attention lately, so I've been scouring the more obscure corners of the literary world, where the books are not weighed down by mountains of secondary literature.

I'm an asshole.

Le week-end

Is it really that difficult to be reconciled to the high price of a cup of coffee when it is more dear to us than most things? Makes it even worse.

I wouldn't join any club that would have me.

Six books (French and English, novels, a play, philosophy, politics, economics), plus dozens of articles and a short story, in the past three days. Two movies. One bottle of vin bon marché. Two bottles of beer. Three or four pots of coffee. Eggs.

Hello, God. I would like some snow. Thank you. See you soon.

How did Nietzsche eat with that mustache? My beard gets filled with all sorts of food, but washing one's face with shampoo is delightful. I peeked from behind the shower curtain, saw my sudsy face in the mirror, gave myself the finger.

Should one trust someone with a dining room that is utilized only on "special occasions," housing a table into which there no words imprinted?

Only a handful of leaves left on the maple. Bright blue sky. Looks cold.

You will carry your umbrella everywhere, but will no longer have the strength to push it all the way open, your back getting wet when it rains. Someone noticing this will help you push it all the way open, until it snaps into place. "Oh," you will say. When it stops raining your knobby fingers and your gray arms will not have the strength to close the umbrella again. You will sit in the doctor's waiting room, eyes downcast, noticing that the band-aide has fallen off your leg, ashamed of your open umbrella.

I do listen to things other than Smog and Bonnie Billy.

Two Gallants - "Damnatio memoriae"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Palace Brothers, Days in the Wake

This is my favorite album. This album is better than any other album, ever. It is so hauntingly perfect. It has become ingrained in my body and I live in its world. That world is constantly changing, endlessly becoming, always just having taken leave. It cannot be pinned down. It assumes no common language with the listener. I cannot explain it, or feel that I've gotten a hold on. I do not understand. But I get an inkling of it in my dreams, or when I'm not paying attention, when I'm doing the dishes or getting out of bed or riding an escalator. Strange enterprise. I have Walter to blame for introducing it to me, I think. I'd like you to hear it. You may not get anything out of it, and that is ok. Click on the picture for the download page. The sound quality is not the best, but you get the idea.


01. you will miss me when i burn
02. pushkin
03. come a little dog
04. i send my love to you
05. meaulnes
06. no more workhorse blues
07. all is grace
08. whither thou goest
09. (thou without) partner
10. i am a cinematographer

Poop back and forth forever

You don't often see poop in the news.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ALL saints

Let us now sing the praises of famous men,
our ancestors in their generations.

The Lord apportioned to them great glory,
his majesty from the beginning.

There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
and made a name for themselves by their valor;

those who gave counsel because they were intelligent;
those who spoke in prophetic oracles;

those who led the people by their counsels
and by their knowledge of the people's lore;
they were wise in their words of instruction;

those who composed musical tunes,
or put verses in writing;

rich men endowed with resources,
living peacefully in their homes--

all these were honored in their generations,
and were the pride of their times.

Some of them have left behind a name,
so that others declare their praise.

But of others there is no memory;
they have perished as though they had never existed;

they have become as though they had never been born,
they and their children after them.

But these also were godly men,
whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;

Their offspring will continue forever,
and their glory will never be blotted out.

Their bodies are buried in peace,
but their name lives on generation after generation.

Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10,13-14

On Childhood

Do you understand your sadness?
Last night I took a photograph of a tree
and a bicycle leaning on a kickstand.
This tree I passed every night without interest
until the potential of slick rubber tires,
the sparkling handlebars that I gripped
as my imagination pedaled off into the night,
where what exists around the corner is left
out of the lens. We see what we want to see
and when we are able to ignore the rest
there is fire in our eyes and strength in our teeth.
Our legs peddling as fast as childhood
chased by dogs, as we lean into a corner
and break for the freedom of streetlights
far as the eye can see. Do you understand
your sadness? The word cul-de-sac
always meant friendship.
Now it lingers like a maze of dead ends
that carry on through labryinths of suburban fear.
An end to street hockey and children
out after the streetlights flicker on.
We dreamt of bloodied hammers,
a bad man and a rusty van hunched down
in the parking lot of Safeway. Now we say
it was just a matter of time before the seasons
turned and the roadkill mentality grew
sick of shooting birds. Do you understand your sadness?
The trees cut down. The stucco homes demolished
and the ditches filled in to begin the good life,
television’s tectonics reducing our needs
to pixilated rubble and lawn. The forest path
and fort-filled fields now gone. The ditches
we jumped for fun. Do you
understand your sadness? Do you understand
streetlights, ditches, cul-de-sacs and trees?
Bad men, bloodied hammers and endless streets?
Your bicycle, legs pumping and the desire to fly?


From The Good Life by Brad Cran.

Music for your cauliflower ear

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Query

Can you make sense of this sentence, taken from my class notes: "Women often work longer hours than men."

Danica thinks that the word "often" means the same as "on average." That seems like quite a leap to me. The way the sentence is phrased seems to me to imply that men work more hours than women, on average.

What do you think?

He is risen, indeed!

Danica woke and called to me (I always rise first) "Will you come kiss me?" then I boiled some water for her jasmine tea and toasted her some bread, spread it with butter and strawberry, orange and champagne jelly. I laid on the sofa with coffee and watched 砂の女 (Woman in the Dunes) which was stunning and quite sexy.

Kootu and rice for lunch, just about ready. Pint of homemade English pale ale. The sky is blue and the ground is spread with sun.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

...

Quelle sorte d'espèce biologique stupide détruit elle-même ?

On another yet related note, I just finished reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road and, I hate to say it, I don't really understand the hype. I was really looking forward to getting sucked into the book, since a few people with trusted taste in fiction recommended it, but it never happened. The whole time I was reading it I kept thinking to myself, "I wish J.M. Coetzee were writing this, he'd do such a better job at it, like those especially harsh bits in Life and Times of Michael K." This is the first book by Cormac McCarthy that I have read. The Road made me feel like I was reading a "junior fiction" book with some gore here and there. Really a letdown. If I am missing something please let me know. I just don't see it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Question

Is it correct to continue referring to deaths caused by automobiles as "accidents" when it happens day in and day out?

The Decalogue


Dekalog (The Decalogue) (1988) is a Polish film series, originally made as a television miniseries, directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and co-written by Kieślowski with Krzysztof Piesiewicz, with music by Zbigniew Preisner. It consists of ten one-hour films, each of which represents one of the Ten Commandments and explores possible meanings of the commandment—often ambiguous or contradictory—within a fictional story set in modern Poland. The series is Kieślowski's most acclaimed work and has won numerous international awards, though it was not widely released outside Europe until the late 1990s. Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick described it as the only masterpiece he could name in his lifetime.

I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

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II. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

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III. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

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IV. Honour thy father and thy mother.

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V. Thou shalt not kill.

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VI. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

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VII. Thou shalt not steal.

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VIII. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

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IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife.

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X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Third Way?*

Interesting article by Slavoj Žižek in the London Review of Books. Surprisingly, I'm finding it very difficult to disagree with him.

*No.

You

You listen to Adult Alternative music, to be played (not too loud) over dinner. It will not crowd out the chatting and the flavors. Music with no context save for other college rock with no context. You are no longer in college, but you know no other way.



Just like your parents.



This is nothing to be ashamed of.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Boreas

I love winter and I live for winter. Sucking cold pools of air into my lungs makes me feel alive, reminds me of God. By late summer I am already making plans for the coming season of cold. If there is one thing that I love about being here in Quebec it is the weather from December to April. My soul (I've become concerned of late that I have such a thing and that it too undergoes seasonal changes, glows and gives out at unknown intervals) thrives on barren trees, piles of filthy snow, a sky spilling over with gray. This most probably has much to do with the fact that a grew up at the southernmost tip of Florida, which shares a climate with Vietnam and Bangladesh. Tropical and rainy. The average temperature of every month is above 18℃. These climates have no winter season. I never owned a coat until I moved to Denver nearly seven years ago. The cold is still a novelty, though I feel there is more to the story.

At the first sign of the summer sun letting up I begin my winter preparations. This mainly arrives in the form of taking in as much depressing media as possible, while also sometimes thinking long and hard about saints who led particularly harsh lives. In the winter I leave off reading philosophy and pick up fiction again, dark as it comes. For my walks through Montreal I fill my ears with dreary folky ambient sounds. I watch oppressive films directed by people with frigid, unpronounceable names. Films filled with worn coats and irony strong enough to tighten the sides of my mouth, make me take a big swallow of wine.

For me, God's love is found in the mucky slush caked onto winter boots, in the smell of cold sweat seeping out from under a collar, in the strip of cardboard keeping the homeless Inuit women's rear end out of the snow, in dripping noses and beards full of ice. For some reason, I can spot more easily God's love in being alone, in sorrow, in images of pain and death. And that is the reason why winter is a special time for me, the reason why I look forward to it every year: I am calling God out, I want to see Him.

À lire absolument : Une loi de la clarté identitaire?

Jocelyn Létourneau, Québec
Le Devoir, Édition du mardi 06 novembre 2007

Une loi de clarté identitaire?
Rien n'est plus dangereux que de vouloir fixer une culture ou une identité dans une norme, une définition ou une loi absolue. D'ailleurs, qui pourrait prétendre déterminer ce qu'est la culture ou l'identité québécoise? Qu'est-ce qui, dans une pratique culturelle ou un référent identitaire, est québécois ou ne l'est pas? Difficile de trancher. Audacieux, surtout, de censurer une façon d'être ou de faire à partir d'une représentation arrêtée de ce qui vient d'«ici» et de ce qui vient d'«ailleurs».