Thursday, April 30, 2009

Soul Music

Now I have never listened to soul music, or really jazz music, or anything like that as I ought to have and ought to now. But a nice man whom I met playing a video game online has pointed me several times into the direction of Sam Cooke, and I think I am in loving him/it.

Everyone Listens:

Crap oh well. Forgot the other links and can't seem to find em.

Only songs I've listened to have been A Change is Gonna Come and When I Fall In Love. And I love them, I've listened to A Change is Gonna Come like a hundred times now. Is it okay to enjoy soul music? I'm downloading a compilation as I speaktype.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Arnolfini Portrait

I found this picture in our art class textbook. It really caught my attention, especially the man, his clothes and particularly his face. There is a sort of ghostly wisp quality about him.

The painting is apparently quite famous, and the wikipedia article on it is excessively long and detailed. I guess it is extremely well-done, and ahead of its time in its realistic qualities.

Just decided to jump on Alex's idea of sharing a little art thingus.

What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

This may be my favorite song. Must've heard it a million times in covers and remixes, but he is the dreamiest!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weeding day

You feel the sun-hot soil underfoot, breaking clumps and clods with your toes. Today is the day that the garden gets weeded, you tell yourself. Tomorrow your grandchildren are coming; their chaos helps you to live. The children you raised from babes are now raising their own, but you don’t like to think about that. Not when almost everyone you have ever loved has died. Better to embrace the labor of today, a gentle loss of yourself expressed through the menial tasks that make up a life.

As you step from bare earth to crabgrass the phone rings deep within your house; your home that had been built by your father and last painted by your now dead son. Lucky that you noticed the phone on this day, you know that as your years grew your connection to the present has wavered. The day before you were told by your youngest that she had been calling all day to remind you of her visit, you never told her that the whole of the day you had been baking not ten yards from the phone. It’s not that you can’t hear the nasty thing’s shrill ring; it’s that you have learned to ignore the messenger of death.

The day that your first child died you had been some twenty years younger; twenty years lighter. Back then you still had a desire to fix the worn floor boards that betrayed your presence to an empty house. Laundry day as you bleached the whites and attempted to scrub the bloodstains from your favorite slacks; necessary blood that flowed from the necks of dancing chickens. As the bleach burned at your callused hands the west wind blew your unmentionables out off the line and across the yard. As you leave the quiet shelter of the patio a glance west reveals a line of black, damnable black; it always rains on laundry day.

The house of your father turns to a ghostly abode as the empty space turn white with linens. The storm blocks out the spring sun, a contrast to the ethereal space within; something you would only realize on your ride to town. Your John had called; the storm had nulled any hopes of finishing out the work-day, so he wanted to take his lunch at home with his wife. As you and he raced home, the rain and wind started. The house was eerie as a yellowish-green light passed through clean sheets. It was only then that he told you to get to the cellar.

It was two days before the phone rang again; the message had been delayed by the storm, but the blow it struck still made you think of black skies and white sheets. Your first child, your Shane, had been working in his barn when the storm struck; old barnwood isn’t as strong as they say after all. You arranged the funeral for Shane; a funeral for a piece of yourself.

That was nearly two decades ago, twenty years of life and twenty years of death. Now when the phone rings and your only granddaughter dies, no funeral is held in your heart; there is nothing left to bury. Instead you unplug your phone, and walk back to the place that you planted all the pieces of your heart. Before you can finish weeding your garden the west wind reminds you that it always rains on weeding day.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Paul Klee Communicates a Feeling In a Bookstore

This is a Paul Klee painting I found in my trip to the bookstore yesterday. I always spend most of my time at the bookstore looking at the art and travel picture books, the big coffee table books, because they are really expensive, and because there are no chairs there to sit down and read a normal book (which is rather annoying, isn't it?). I ended up buying myself two books which were much more expensive than I thought they would be and I probably shouldn't have bought them:
The first is just Borges stories, the classic essential book of them, in Spanish. The second is a collection of extremely short story bits he and his friend Adolfo Bioy Casares edited, things that are sometimes on a few sentences long. I have already gotten about two thirds of the way through it. I may retranslate and post some of them up here sometime.
I have the greatest craving for some Hermann Hesse short stories and fairy tales right now, and I wish my computer would arrive already.
To sort of make this post semi-worthwhile, I have had a thought that I don't remember being a thought I had heard of anyone else having. That is, that Time properly ought to be divided into two distinct things: following Locke, the "primary quality" of time as objective quality of the Universe itself, and the "secondary quality" of time as something intuitively and subjectively felt. This comes from a long standing obsession of mine with the bizarreness of the subjective passing of time, and a Borges essay I recently discovered on the subject, A New Refutation of Time.
That is not the entire essay (he actually wrote it twice, hoping to get closer to being able to communicate his feeling), but it gets the point across. (Incidentally, this is where that Bernard Shaw quote came from.)
I feel like Borges is trying to get across exactly the same feeling that I have always had about time, but that in this, unlike in practically anything else he wrote, he failed, and it actually surprises me that he tried to write it at all. Also, one of his biggest examples seems to be quite obviously false to me:
"I suspect, nonetheless, that the number of circumstantial variants is not infinite: we can postulate, in the mind of an individual (or of two individuals who do not know each other but in whom the same process is operative), two identical moments. Once this identity is postulated, we may ask: Are not these identical moments the same moment? Is not one single repeated terminal point enough to disrupt and confound the series in time [(or) the history of the world, to reveal that there is no such history]?"
It seems to me that the opposite is true, that there can never be two identical moments no matter how many of the more important details are the same.
It should also be noted that Borges from the start admits that he doesn't actually believe the conclusions he arrives at in the essay.
A number of varied and related ideas have also come into my head lately, which I attribute to Borges as well. The idea of the Universe, proceeding from its conceptual beginning to end, as an entirely objective entity (which of course Berkely would jump to deny), is one of the things that led to my idea. Borges also mentioned the other idea I mentioned before, that you determine the entire course of your life before you are born. Something that seems like an original idea is that the Universe was created as an objective entity by God, and then, in the same way a director views his finished product after filming, set out to live the life of every aware living being inside Its creation.
So have I gotten stupider lately, or more self-indulgent, or have I just been doing more navel-gazing about impractical and silly mystic philosophies?