Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pathways

Watching the newly caught creek snails draw random trails in the green algae that was starting to grow on the fishtank walls, it affords a chance to reflect on the pathways we create in life. I only just finished and tested the first maze I've drawn in years, starting it during a particularly uninteresting lecture last week, as the teacher took his time, slowly working through the lesson plan with little interest himself.

When I was younger, in primary school, I was - for some reason - fascinated with mazes and would always be drawing them, filling pages and pages of school notebooks with wild, winding pathways in no time at all. It's incredible how industrious you can be as a kid, bored in school.

In my once naïve innocence, I dreamed of drawing the largest, most intricate and difficult maze in the world and got started using a big book, with all the pages interconnected with different numbers and everything. I wonder where that book is today.


The brain maze

Friday, July 29, 2005

Islands in the Sky

The Island of the film and the desire to go there is created out of thin air in the minds of the people using moving pictures on the big screens on all the walls and in the elevators. The Island of the real world and the creation of desire to go and see it is not so dissimilar, with its many large posters and exhilarating trailers, teasing the senses, though I think any chance to see Scarlett Johansson again is good enough reason for me :)

For most, there is the daily routine to be diligently followed, never a question as to why. Most days curiosity is conspicuously constrained, with no desire to know the truth about the red and blue tubes and where they lead to. We accept the world as it is presented - the giant, all enclosing hologram - so long as any contradiction to the illusion is dealt with swiftly, content with the eventual promise of release to our island of dreams.

Floating on high somewhere in the far reaches of the mind is that island, pieced together from a few fragments of information it resides, a picture of perfection. Can such a place ever truly exist outside the ever-hopeful imagination? Human curiosity; obtain the unobtainable.


You have been chosen - run for your life!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Flashbacks

I just switched over after watching the film Ray, to find Letterman just starting and Dave announcing that (Academy Award Winning) Jamie Foxx was coming up after the break. He was promoting his new movie Stealth, which apparently was filmed before Ray was even confirmed to be made, but is only now being released. Strange how studio release schedules work.

Colourful flashbacks scattered throughout the film show Ray Charles' childhood memories - the death of his brother and dealing with his loss of vision - a survival mechanism for the tragic events and lessons learned so that they may influence his later life. Only by taking into account and combining all that has come before can one break free of clever mimicry and create something that is real, something you can feel.

The flashbacks of society bring past significance to mind once more. They are the childhood memories of the world, from which all lessons are learned. Who is the director of your flashbacks?


If I feel the music, that means it's real

Monday, July 25, 2005

In Memory

The last of my adult pet guppies - the colourful male - is most definitely on his last legs, or fins would be more fitting, swimming rather sluggishly around the bottom of the tank, while his many children dart around above, happily playing, unaware of the inevitable fate of their father. I would say he has led a good and fulfilling life, for a fish anyway and will be remembered, by me at least.

On Saturday, the annual memorial service was held at Karuna for the families and loved ones of those we've cared for in their final days. It's the first I've been to for the time I've been working there and I was surprised by the emotion present in the air as personal stories of life and loss were voiced around the room.

Here in our fishtank, resilient memories playing upon emotion, seek a final resting place in the hearts of others.


Remember me to those left behind

Friday, July 22, 2005

Solutions

"People asking questions, lost in confusion. Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions." --John Lennon, Watching The Wheels

Just a quick one tonight as the Windows update trickles through the painfully slow 33.6kbps modem connection, dial-up minutes ticking away, just like the old days. Back at home to have a look at what's wrong with the printer and decided to stay for the night, a matter of convenience as Jim is meeting me here early tomorrow. My old room still seems familiar as ever, though it has definitely changed quite a bit since the last time I called it home.

A lady from work was having troubles with her computer, so she asked me over after work on the chance that I might be able to fix it. It's kind of strange, but for some reason I always get nervous when asked to look at something that's wrong with someone else's computer and seem to build up the problem in my head, before actually taking a look at what's wrong, only to find that there's never really too much of a problem at all. Perhaps I assume that if it's such a problem that they need someone else's help then it really must be bad.

Hmm, the download is still going, so I guess I'll keep going as well. The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course was on TV tonight, which caught my attention for a bit. Steve Irwin's enthusiasm with toxic, venomous, ferocious, deadly and dangerous animals, picking them up, poking them with sticks and just generally stirring them, while at the same time telling everyone what not to do, really cracks me up sometimes. There's just the issue of the film's acting and story, but by crikey who needs those anyway when you have a giant croc trying to eat a guy in shorts. No problem at all.


Crikey!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Can You See It Now?: Mild Spoilers

"The only idea more overused than serial killers is multiple personality." --Charlie, Adaptation

Blogging from university in the eight hour break before I go looking for my next class; the seconds tick by, one one-thousand, two one-thousand. Just about through first week, thrown in ready or not. Should be studying or something I guess, but these introductory units so far seem a bit like child's play. Makes me wonder what these fees are really for, when I could be easily teaching the material myself. I struggle to keep myself hidden from lurking second thoughts, that have kept me playing this game for far too long.

Watched Australian director John Polson's Hide and Seek the other night for the first time, impressed by the care taken with choice of shots and thankful that I hadn't heard much about the film and wasn't intentionally looking to find a twist at the end. And although these days the trend might seem quite common, most of the time I can respect the thought and effort that goes into many of these films, the game of hide and seek they play, eventually revealing the imaginary Charlie in everyone.

Some people complain - rather boastingly at times - that certain films are so predictable, that they saw the whole thing coming right from the start. Perhaps someday there will be a device like the one in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that will erase all memory of a movie so you can experience it fresh for the first time. For the moment we get only one shot before all our hiding spots are revealed. Why waste it?


Come out, come out wherever you are

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Text Book Plight

Yesterday, the first day of postgraduate lectures; in early, planning upon sitting for customary dreadful student id photo and to get my textbooks, only the line for both the student centre and bookshop were each just about a mile long, the legions of slowly marching students stretching back and around corners, on the giant production line. Made me think twice.

Seeing that most of the other students already had their textbooks, I returned to the bookshop after first class, reading their rather strict returns policy before handing over my plastic for a few blocks of bound paper worth hundreds. I'd like to believe it's the valuable knowledge inside that we are handing over all that cash for, but I don't think that's so. We buy what they tell us and what everyone else gets.

It was what I was afraid of, what I hoped I wouldn't hear just after I'd rushed out to get all my books, but in my second class there it was, my lecturer saying that the prescribed text was not the greatest in the world, not absolutely essential, so don't rush out and get it if you've got something similar at home and want to save some money. Makes me wonder why he prescribed anything at all.

Rushing back after class, deciding I'd take a chance, make something up to put their returns policy to the test, I caught them seven minutes before closing. To my surprise, they accepted the book back and so now I have one hundred dollars worth of QUT bookstore gift vouchers I'll set aside for the next run-of-the-mill text prescribed.

In the plight of the textbook and others, survival often falls not on the fittest, but to the most convenient - most convenient for a few.


Moonrise over Gardens Point

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hollywood

Watching the rolling credits float along on their hopeful journey, just to be seen, to be noticed through the shroud of the world's ever closing curtain, it can sometimes seem staggering, the amount of people who have attributed their time to the creation of these monumental productions. The Hollywood film towering above like some colossal giant, their every need taken care of from California cradle to their weeks spent travelling to all corners of the globe.

They have their time to shine for a few brief moments, burning so bright like supernovas on the sparkling silver screen, but inevitably - all too soon for some - their flame slowly dwindles, fading away onto little plastic disks and magnetic tape, until eventually becoming virtually extinguished over the airwaves of late night television.

Sin City, Team America: World Police and Bewitched, three completely different Hollywood films I've just recently seen, but is each really so unlike the next? Theirs is a relatively new and fragile species. Although so mutable, with Hollywood still as their primary breeding ground, too much deviation could mean a much slimmer chance of survival.

Sex, guns, car chases, characters learning profound life lessons, or growing, or coming to like each other, or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. Life's not like that, but hey, that's what Hollywood's for.


Little Nancy all grown up - and filled out

Friday, July 15, 2005

Idle Distraction

"I looked up and I saw they sky... and I realised what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been." --Biff, Death of a Salesman

Took a walk across the bridge to Southbank yesterday, prior to my orientation at QUT to the masters degree that promises to fill much of my time in the many months to come. This combined with work and everything else, I'm concerned my opportunities for blogging may become greatly decreased. Until it was time to cross over again, back to reality, I lay, looking up to the sky, reading Death of a Salesman on the soft grass of the hill.

It was all the usual, the way you could imagine it, a few thrown together introductions from the faculty and various uninteresting handouts. The best part was when they put on the rather poorly produced fire safety video, quite a laugh. Looking around the room, almost everyone seemed so much older than me, so certain of their intentions, their paths to the perfect career of suffering fifty weeks a year for those vacant two weeks away.

At times my indecision hits home, kind of gets me down, all this idle distraction. Never being the one to plan for the life of a salesman or similar; I try to look to the sky, hoping for truth behind the clouds.


From the footbridge over the Brisbane river

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Already Here

"This is no more of a war than there is a war between men and maggots." --Harlan Ogilvy, War of the Worlds

Last night I was taken; a trip to the movies in style, gold class special section at the Chermside Megaplex, where War of the Worlds played to forty recliner armchairs, while the few other inhabitants of the - smaller than expected - theatre, put their feet up, indulging in overpriced food and drinks brought in from the bar outside. Champagne and popcorn, a combination never thought of before.

We studied the H.G. Wells book way back in first year literature and also listened to a little of the subsequent Orson Wells radio play, which apparently at the time of its first broadcast, inadvertently cause quite a bit of panic amongst listeners believing the fictional news bulletins to be authentic.

I really enjoyed the movie, though it's possible the luxury and the few drink I'd had may have clouded my judgement a little. One thing that struck me at the start was the way Spielberg showed typical, working class dad, Ray Ferrier's initial excitement over the first lightning flashes, contrasting with his daughter's fear; anything out of the ordinary to break the daily monotony. I'm still waiting.

What's that on the radio? "It is reported that at 8:50pm a huge, flaming object, believed to be a meteorite, fell on a farm in the neighbourhood of Grovers Mill, New Jersey, twenty-two miles from Trenton." Stay tuned for more updates.


Nothing to sneeze at

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Counter-Counter-Terror

As televised explosions in London wash the world over with our recommended daily intake of general underlying anxiety, the current affair ads are quick on the tail with a sudden need to question how safe we really are here in Australia and stay tuned for loads more things to worry about after the break. Sounds like top television, but I think I may have enough on my mind for now; thanks for the thought though.

I love it how the whole tragedy didn't seem to really trouble anyone over there too much. I'll give the Brits credit for that, how things were apparently pretty much back to normal in around an hour or two, except for a few people complaining about how they had to walk home from work in the afternoon. Surprisingly even those survivors who were actually caught in the explosion didn't come across as all that distressed. As if they'd let a few bomb-wielding geezers ruin their day.

Playing a bit of Counter-Strike: Source on the weekend with friends, I noticed a distinct lack of resolution. Terrorists and counter-terrorists in endless rounds of destruction back and forth, no differences ever settled; there is no sitting down for a spot of English tea at the end of the day. Perhaps that's what's missing.


Fear is the path to the dark side

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I Was The Little Walrus

"Well here's another clue for you all. The walrus was Paul." --Glass Onion, The Beatles

From a time I'd long forgotten, the fuzzy tape recording of me being a little walrus, jumping up and down on my old, squeaky bed, running through audio cables to my computer, is replicated once more, now surviving in digital form. Always makes me laugh, taking me back, opening the stained glass window, looking through to the me that once was.

In my early years growing up, I remember there was this little tape recorder, in built microphone and everything, that I was quite fond of, making all kinds of silly recordings on it. This particular one was a tape Mum and I were making for Nan's birthday and for some reason I had it in my two and a half year old head that I wanted to play at being a bouncing walrus for the whole time recording.

I think of all the memories lost, as this one would most likely have been had the tape not survived, tucked away in the back of an old drawer for so many years. I wonder what happens to that little walrus in us all as we outgrow our whimsical fantasies. I am he, as you are he.


Goo goo g'joob

Friday, July 08, 2005

Lines of Influence, Part I

Over the past few busy days, I've been intermittently watching Seven Samurai, in small sections at a time, after hearing of the influence Akira Kurosawa had on the Star Wars films. Only just now coming to the end of the three and a half hours, stringing the story together from scattered memories of previous moments, I'm positive that another viewing in its entirety is required, uninterrupted, to grasp even half of its supposed significance.

A surprising number of subsequent films seem to have had much inspiration drawn from Seven Samurai. One I should have picked up on is Disney's A Bug's Life, which follows pretty much the exact storyline... but with bugs. A truly universal story will cross all social and cultural borders and stretch its influence forward in time using any method or medium it can find.

More to come upon second viewing; lines of influence reinforced.


Samurai fields forever

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Faces of Glass

"We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us." --Maurice Maeterlinck

I'd earlier half-planned on perhaps a vacant post drawing inane parallels between twin SLI connected video cards and dance partners in rock 'n' roll dancing. Yesterday, my first rock 'n' roll dancing class went well, but my attempt to purchase the additional graphics card for my computer today didn't quite go to plan.

Instead I bought a new 250GB hard drive to replace 80GB one that died on me a little while ago - leaving me a touch cramped for space - and a second flatron monitor, identical model to the one I had before, adding to the amassing screen empire, fortifying on my desk.

As The Empire Strikes Back plays away on screen, streaming electrons blasting through the CRT onto phosphorescence, I wonder at the complexity involved, the old as time techevolution taken place, that these images should now be thrust forth from these faces of glass, that we seem to have acquired an additional ally in our enduring dance.

Until the Rebellion.


Cathode Ray Invasion

Monday, July 04, 2005

World of Possibilities

"But that's what we humans do Ed, you know, we plan it all out and then life just does whatever it wants." --Molly Hudson, Ed, The World of Possibility

An unintentionally busy weekend, this one, medieval tournaments, barbeques, parties, and rock 'n' roll dancing, finding myself caught up in the flow of the surrounding social current and carried away downstream somewhere. Now as the new work week again draws nearer, I imagine the almost infinite forks in the river that I've slowly drifted past and wonder, should I somehow procure an effective paddle, if I would endeavour to steer my way upon a different course against some future tide.

Roger Federer has just won Wimbledon for the third time in a row, defeating Andy Roddick in three sets. You see, my dream of one day playing at Wimbledon died a long time ago, about the time it occurred to me that I wasn't at all especially good at tennis. Growing up can sometimes seem a gradual realisation of what will never be, rather than the wonder of what could be that it should.

When you're young, the possibilities of the world fill your head and aspirations grow in abundance; you embrace fantasy as reality and gaze ahead to the future's great ocean in which anything can be. The paths we take while flowing to the sea, connect and intertwine; yesterday's world of possibility, masked by the seemingly impossible.

Ed: Imagine being back in high school looking at one of those crystal balls and seeing that one day, Ed Stevens would be kissing Carol Vessey. What would you have said?
Mike: Faulty Ball.
Ed: Exactly.


Medieval outback jousting

Friday, July 01, 2005

Up In The Sky

"Hey you, up in the sky, learning to fly; tell me how high, do you think you'll go, before you start falling?" --Oasis, Definitely Maybe

When I was younger, the world in my hands, spinning the old globe around on its little stand in my room, I always dreamed of being able to look really close and magnify the different cities to see the multitude of minute details and everything going on in the world. It seems Google has brought me one step closer to that dream.

When I first used Google's newly acquired Keyhole software a few months ago, I was impressed by its potential capabilities, but a little disappointed to see a large, brown, out of focus blob where my city, Brisbane should have been. Though it seems Google has been quite busy with its Google Earth project, just released in beta.

It's a strange kind of otherworldly experience to be hovering over your old neighbourhood. Seeing everything from a different perspective, the landscape from high above, places familiar can seem so strange from the longview.

Still a while away from realtime, but perhaps I can stand outside and wave next time the satellite passes overhead.


My place from space