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Transneptune

beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Archive for June, 2010

Fitzcarraldo

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I have been a fan of Werner Herzog before, but I’ve never seen any of his movies until tonight. I watched Fitzcarraldo, which was fantastic in the layers upon layers of meaning present in it. It explored issues of madness and divinity and cultural contact and was just fantastic. I don’t think I quite realized you could fit that much in a movie.

Earlier this year, I saw Kick-Ass and I thought it was the best movie I’d seen all year. Then, I saw Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) and I thought it was the best movie I’d seen in the past few years. Now, Fitzcarraldo has blown them both away.

I wish I could say more about it. Ultimately, you should just go see it. It’s too dense and I’ve not yet digested it enough to say more.

Internet Celebrity

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The internet is a weirdly wonderful place sometimes.

I was playing TF2 last night, and first off, I ended up playing with some of my internet idols: Lore Sjöberg and Mark Rosenfelder. I knew I was playing with Lore—both recognizing his voice and having his steam username. But when I was playing as a medic and healing someone with the username Zompist, I knew it was Rosenfelder, and was excited.

And the internet makes that kind of contact easy—we were all there to play a game together. I just happened to wander into the right place. It’s not like there was much meaningful communication, as we were mostly focused on the game, but that’s almost the point. It was casual.

Later, with different people, there was another weird and awesome moment. In an arena game, it had gotten down to a Sniper and a Heavy. Without words, they faced each other and the Heavy swapped to melee. So did the Sniper. And they duked it out hand-to-hand. The Heavy even gave the Sniper his Sandvich.

OK, that paragraph won’t mean much to you unless you know TF2. But it was cool.


On another note, I’m increasingly thinking about grad school and what I’ll do there. I’m quite excited. I have an apartment, I have friends, I have research questions. The latest notion to pop into my head is that twin languages are really interesting. We’ll see if I keep at that, but it serves as a good reminder for me of all the strange little corners of human language that don’t get enough attention.

Reunification

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

I went to a bit of Swarthmore’s Alumni Weekend. Two-year reunion for me, and five-year for my friends in ’05, many of whom were there. It made me think about (among many other things), my recent trip to Ireland.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as Santayana put it. I think it’s quite easy to forget one’s own past, and visiting old friends and old haunts, as I did today and as I did in Ireland, reminds one of things.

In both cases, though, I very much felt like I was intersecting those past experiences from a new angle. Of course, figuratively—I had new experiences and thoughts and such under my belt, and so do the other people involved, and things are always changing. But also literally—in both cases, I interacted with the physical space differently, different spots had meaning. I feel like I should say something about memory and thought being at least partially physically instantiated, but I am not entirely sure I want to go that route. It could be a side effect of the recent high dosage of Swarthmore.

I feel like I’ve become more clear to myself lately. Some people say that self-discovery is not, if you’re doing it right, pleasant. I’m not so sure. What one sees may not always be pleasant, but honesty has, for me, an intense joy. Or perhaps this isn’t self-discovery, but self-understanding. I’m being purposely vague, but ask me about these thoughts if you care. The essence is that one’s past self does things that make more sense seen not just in hindsight, but from the different angles afforded by returning to past sites and people. Reunification. With friends, and, if I want to be pretentious enough, of the self.

tl;dr version: I like my friends. They help me better understand myself.