Monday, November 30, 2009

wikipedia history

Here are the last 4 articles I read on wikipedia according to my "history" tab.

1. Haredim
For my Judaism and the Gospel class we were assigned to read a few articles in the Jerusalem Post for five consecutive days. I was reading about draft evasion in Israel when I came across the word "haredim" and wikied it. Even after reading 3 Chaim Potok novels over the summer (The Promise, Davitas Harp and My Name is Asher Lev) , This is My God by Herman Wouk and taking this class--I still have a hard time keeping the various branches of Judaism sorted out in my head. I think I was lumping Haredi and Hasidic Judaism together...but the distinctions between the two groups are actually pretty interesting. Danny Saunders in The Promise is Hasidic, the son of a Hasidic Rabbi. Hasidic Judaism was founded with the idea that Judaism, as a whole, had become too academic and lifeless. They wanted to rejuvenate things by focusing more on spirituality and joy (and mysticism!)

2. Charles Spearin

My film professor played a song from his new concept album The Happiness Project in class a while ago and I was going crazy trying to find it. Finally I emailed my professor and he directed me to this article. It is very interesting. The whole album is based on the melodic and song-like quality of the spoken word. Many songs start with simple speech and then layer on music that follows the intonation of the speakers.
Oh how I love a lot of these Canadian artists. I would expect nothing less from the man who brought us Do Make Say Think and Broken Social Scene.

See this episode of radiolab also, for another example of interesting spoken word/song.

3. Cotard Delusion

A rare neuropsychiatric disorder I heard about while listening to a radiolab show on death/dying/the after life. It is dark and eerie and utterly fascinating. Check it out.

4. Gibbous Moon

Sometimes you research very specific things when writing a screenplay. Like the optimum soil and lunar phase for broccoli growth. That is all I am going to say about that. Except when I say "research" I mean "making things up."

...I love wikipedia.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A True Lady

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

on why it is that I must shake bits of leaves off of most of my schoolwork

I have a strange habit of ripping leaves off trees and bushes while I walk.

In the fall months especially, I become so completely enthralled by nature that I am often left grasping desperately for a way to better capture this delight. I am sometimes, quite literally, stopped short--hoping that simple stillness will help me to better absorb the moment. Maybe if I do not move, not even a muscle, I will just melt into autumn. But I can’t stop breathing, so I control my breaths. Slow and steady. Inhale. Exhale. The crisp air. The smell of brown tattered leaves--the trees shedding their coats while we don ours. Sometimes they smell like spit. Sometimes they smell like honey. I can’t stop blinking, either. A soft wind stings my eyes. I blink through the hazy light. It is so golden, so kind. Maybe because there is less of it these days, when it does shine it is more forgiving.

This is not working. I need to get closer. I need to feel this more. Somehow I need to feel it better. Better than I have ever felt anything. I become desperate, I break the stillness. My hand dashes out to touch the leaves, to feel them, for a moment. Pinch them in my fingers, trace their translucent snaking veins. Then, unable to refrain, I rip some off. Hold them. I hold autumn.
Or maybe all I have done is desecrate a tree. The moment is anticlimactic. I shove the leaves in my bag, and continue walking.

The next day a girl watches curiously as I reach for my notebook, but first pull a handful of leaves out of my bag. They are dry now. They crumble over my possessions.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I had a shocking realization recently:

I now spend all of my time doing everything poorly.
I write papers poorly.
I read books poorly.
I make movies poorly.
I make pottery especially poorly.

I even eat poorly because I spend all my time making crappy movies and pots and papers, leaving no time to make myself real food.
I sleep poorly for the same reason.

And this is why I hate school. I hate how it corrupts my motivations. I hate how it turns what could be genuine learning and creation into a soulless checklist to be ticked off for a grade. Without the arbitrary extrinsic motivator of grades and the ridiculous structure of the school system there would be no reason to do anything poorly. What motivation would we have to skim through books, absorbing just enough information to recognize the answers on a multiple-choice test? For what reason would we hurriedly clack out a paper 10-minutes before class about a topic we don’t care about? Why would we rush to make a film that we are not proud of and show it to others?

I know that there are always going to be deadlines and expectations to meet --school or not. But this semester my workload is really taking a toll on me and its getting me down.
I do not want to have this relationship with my schoolwork and my education. I want to absorb every word of the books I read and let them sink deeply into my soul. I want to have time to reflect on them, discuss them, let them change me. I want to genuinely care about my papers and films and ceramic pots and for them to reflect an honest act of learning and creation.
But there is literally not enough time to do everything well—so I am stuck with 4 depressing months of having too much to do and doing it all poorly because if I didn’t I would flunk out of school (or at least lose my scholarship which is worth thousands of dollars).

I hate it.

The end.