"I've always believed that life is divided into two parts, what is and what should be, and with a lot of effort, some hard work, and maybe a bit of luck, there are moments in your life when the two parts touch, and what is and what should be, are the same." --Ed's wedding speech, Ed
In fiction, weddings seem to happen all the time, like tonight's final episode of Ed, Happily Ever After. A real wedding however, I had not experienced until yesterday's ceremony upon a small boat on the Brisbane river. Thoroughly enjoyable, surprisingly emotional and a touch ironic I thought, that I was stuck filming from behind the video camera almost the whole time.
That which is, a complex creature that resides in human consciousness alongside the equally, if not more complex, that which should be, ever adapting to new input and information as it arrives to alter the mind's environment. Two convergent species, once worlds apart, will at times come together, and for the briefest of moments, they are one, indistinguishable. When being merely content, fleetingly takes the shape of happiness.
Well I guess this just about wraps it up - for the moment at least - this crazy little experiment of mine that I've been cultivating over the past year; something to look back on, days in the life. I hadn't even planned to make it this far, becoming almost accustomed to the somewhat unnatural task of publicly sharing thoughts, I could possibly have continued, but I think it seems a fitting time to take a break now, move on to find what's right.
My thanks and amazement goes out to anyone who's taken the time of day to read anything I've poured from my cluttered head out into words. May you remain ever after, striving towards all that should be.
From the wedding boat
Sunday, August 28, 2005
"I've always believed that life is divided into two parts, what is and what should be, and with a lot of effort, some hard work, and maybe a bit of luck, there are moments in your life when the two parts touch, and what is and what should be, are the same." --Ed's wedding speech, Ed
Friday, August 26, 2005
Valerie: Boy, I'd like to find a portal into your brain.
Charlie: Trust me, it's not fun.
Was filming media training interviews all day in South Brisbane and afterwards, while walking back across the bridge to the bus stop for home, I passed by the Dendy Theatre - a refuge for films of a different flow from the mainstream. I had just rented Being John Malkovich again the other day - seems so long since I've seen it - and while passing the Dendy, I remembered that in that theatre, ever since Malkovich first screened I think, up on the left wall, there is this little John Malkovich mask, barely visible, peering through the balcony bars, watching over the audience. I wondered if it was still there - no time to stop and check.
Interviews and first appearances only reveal so much, an outward expression of what burns within. We attempt to understand; at times we empathise, but only from a distance, a million miles away. What is it really, the experience of another? Can we ever really know? I remember first seeing Being John Malkovich, being almost blown away, real original, blending fiction with reality seamlessly, and funny too, subtle, ironic kind of humour. I'd never seen anything quite like it; mind blowing stuff. For me, the film itself in some ways was a portal, raising all sorts of philosophical questions about the nature of self, about existence and all that.
I always wondered how it was that John Malkovich was chosen as the character with the portal into his mind, if he was Charlie Kaufman's original choice from the beginning of the script. Could it have been any other? I also wondered if the Malkovich portal of the film was unique or if there could have been others waiting to be discovered. By the end, the film seems to raise more questions than it answers. I'd like to believe that perhaps for each of us there exists a portal out there of our own - at least metaphorically speaking - just waiting to be discovered.
My regards to all those passing through.
Because consciousness is a terrible curse
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
One last episode before the long awaited big wedding finale. From the very start, it was clear the path these two were headed, though they weren't always keen to admit it. Sure, a few things along the way had to come up to hinder this obvious eventuality, just to make things a little interesting, but that's to be expected. Everybody knows a healthy 'will they, won't they' is a virtual necessity for a television comedy/drama to be the least bit successful; tension you can cut with a knife.
Letterman is on, but alas, it's a rerun. Dave and his team of writers were the ones behind the tv series Ed, very cleverly written I thought, decent production values and a great cast, one of my favourite shows, first released in and amongst a sea of televised reality, a ruthless climate. Though unpredictable is the life cycle of a television series left to fend for itself in the ravenous struggle for viewers' eyes.
And so this is finally it, a fairytale come true, Best Wishes for all. The fourth and final season will finish Happily Ever After for Edward J. Stevens and Carol P. Vessey, hand in hand in tv land, but what for the rest of us left behind?
Carol Phillis Vessey
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
These days we are more vulnerable to attack than ever. I've been temporarily without a car for a few weeks now, but surviving quite well, sort of taking me back a bit, to those early days before my motorised dependence had set in. And what with the staggering price of fuel these days, I'm saving a killing in my absence from the petrol pumps.
Had to fix a lady's printer across town the other day. I was on the way over, riding my bike past a small park in Auchenflower, when I was attacked from above, startling me quite a bit, but no real damage done. A stark reminder of the coming springtime and the dangers of magpie nesting season. Memories of earlier encounters with these common birds come to mind, from my first frightening experience of being swooped as a child, to the friendly ones across the street, that never used to hurt anyone.
Today, the second time around to install a modem, risking it as I again approached the park, I was prepared, or so I thought. Riding very slowly and looking all around, the black and white bird was nowhere to be seen and as I neared the end of the park, I thought I was home free, but then, all of a sudden, it hit me. Without warning came this sharp jolt to the side of my head with a surprising amount of force, then a few short squawks and a fluttering back up to the treetops. Dismounting and keeping a watchful eye as I walked away, I put a hand to my face to find that blood had been drawn.
Needless to say, I took a different way home, down by the river; but magpie season only lasts a few weeks. What is it that provokes these attacks from certain magpies and not others? Perception of threat seems not inherent, but arises only from past experience. Still, I now find the thought of another attack just a little more terrifying, don't you? Perhaps it's all in my mind.
Railway bridge over the Brisbane River
Monday, August 22, 2005
Typically it's the same each day after work, the short walk home along Lutwyche Road, cars speeding past, hundreds of them, other lives passing me by on their way to wherever. From time to time you notice, for the briefest of moments, eye contact from a few sidewards glances, the most arbitrary of human connection, most likely never to be seen again. And then there are the regulars; all the usual extras are there, like that girl in sneakers always hurriedly on her way up the street in the opposite direction or the old guy, eternally waiting for a bus that never comes, sitting across the road, and all the familiar faces closing their places of business for another day.
This afternoon however, for no apparent reason at all, I made a departure from my usual direct route home, taking the long road down to the park by the river and followed the bicycle track around to my block. Walking the scenic tour afforded the opportunity to reflect on the consequences of slight deviations and the chaotic nature of the teetering present and its approaching future. How might it all have turned out if I hadn't have embarked upon a different way home? It is quite certain that these same words would not have been. How might right now be, if each minuscule detail, every aspect of the past, not been exactly as it was?
In seven days, friends of mine Nathan and Kirsty are to be married; also Meg, a dear friend I've known since pre-school, is going away to Germany, both major life decisions, no doubt greatly altering their future histories - while I'm here splitting hairs - I wish them the very best. In seven days it will also mark a full three hundred and sixty-five days since I began this crazy blogging pursuit. Who could have predicted the year would turn out like it has, from the myriad branching pathways reaching skyward; that I would make it this far? In seven days, I will have a final decision to make, and will most likely resolve to take a much needed break; try a different way home, and see where it takes me.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
simultanagnosia: n. the inability to perceive elements as components of a whole.
It was over a year ago now, worlds away it seems, a distinct element of my life, during rehearsals for Framing Harmony, the play I'd written for the ACU Alive arts showcase. Behind the curtain with Harmony, waiting for our classroom scene as the music played along, she began to carelessly read out aloud from one of the science books I'd brought along as a prop - advanced anthropology I think it was, really old. Curiously made me think of a strange piece of music I'd heard not too long before during the end credits of the film Human Nature, written by Charlie Kaufman - she hadn't seen it though - orchestral backing with a clinical, almost haunting, female voiceover, reading what at first I passed off as nonsensical, perhaps fragments from some old text book.
I really enjoyed the film the first time I saw it, though I could see why some may not have liked it at much as Being John Malkovich or the later, Adaptation. Last night I saw it once more, noticing that for the dvd menus, they had chosen the very same music, and after hearing it again, I decided upon a little investigation.
The first section, as I found out, was a little harder to find than the second, as it appears on the web in a different old English translation from that which is presented in the film. Turns out it's from the epistemological writings of William of Ockham, and it seems to read as follows:
"When some things are known of which the one inheres in the other or is locally distant from the other or is related in some way to the other, the mind straight away knows by virtue of that simple apprehension of both things, whether a thing inheres or does not inhere, whether it is distant or not and so with other contingent truths and in general every simple apprehension of a term or of terms, that is of a thing or things by means of which some contingent truths, especially concerning the present, can now be known."
The second part is from Francis Bacon's Novum Organum: Aphorisms concerning The Interpretation of Nature and the Kingdom of Man. Aphorism one hundred and six or CVI in roman numerals goes something like this:
"In establishing axioms by this kind of induction, we must also examine and try whether the axiom so established be framed to the measure of those particulars only from which it is derived, or whether it be larger and wider. And if it be larger and wider, we must observe whether by indicating to us new particulars it confirm that wideness and largeness as by a collateral security, that we may not either stick fast in things already known, or loosely grasp at shadows and abstract forms, not at things solid and realised in matter."
I imagine the one in charge of voicing these orphaned fragments of physical philosophy on film, their stories, if they truly understood what these men, long departed, were attempting to convey, if anyone really could. I imagine those who originally penned these words, meticulously thought out so long ago, grasping at shadows for survival - human nature really - if, in the end, they perceived their writings as components of a whole.
"To use the vernacular, I wanted me some of that"
Friday, August 19, 2005
The originally entitled Danny the Dog, perhaps sounding almost too much like a kid's story or fairytale for the studios, was changed to Unleashed, apparently to appeal to the appetite of an action hungry audience. Graphic, realistic violence and a contemporary English setting aren't nearly enough to hide the common underlying story, the modern fairytale, the great retelling, again and again. Or just maybe I've finally seen Star Wars that one time too many or have been reading a few too many articles on mythology and Joseph Campbell lately. Can't be certain, maybe I'm just crazy.
Still not absolutely convinced of the theory that generally all stories follow a path essentially the same, I thought it was interesting to find that the unlikely story of Unleashed appeared oddly familiar - the call to adventure, crossing the first threshold, the belly of the whale and so on. What I found even more strange was the fact that for just about every character in the film, I could think of a Star Wars equivalent to. Though I know the mind can at times make some pretty obscure connections, when looking for them.
Anyway, Danny is Luke the hero, Sam the blind piano tuner is Obi-Wan the wise mentor and after realising this early on, I became convinced that the Uncle Bart character was going to turn out to be Danny's Father. Hmm, well maybe it would have been a bit much for him to reveal that at the final showdown, when offering Danny the collar again, to join him on the dark side. It's implied though, just a bit from some of the dialogue I think, and he certainly makes a great Darth Vader.
In the end I quite liked it, though I was saying afterwards that I sensed in a few places, some ideas merely hinted at, that could have been developed further, such as the danger of Victoria being captured by Uncle Bart, in true princess Leia fashion. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.
Learning the ways of the force
Thursday, August 18, 2005
It was a public holiday today for the Queensland Royal Show or 'Ekka' as it is more commonly known. Ten days of overpriced rides, giant cheap-made stuffed animals from rigged sideshows, about a million different showbags filled with nothing but rubbish and crowds that provide the ideal breeding ground for the famous Ekka flu. Can be quite fun though; pleasant memories from childhood days.
Half-contemplating perhaps going along for the day - it is just up the road after all - to meet up with few friends who would definitely be there, but in the end, for some reason, that didn't eventuate. Instead, after sleeping in quite late anyway, I decided I would just spend a relaxing day at home, avoid the big crowd and maybe think about going later in the week.
Went for a walk late this afternoon, around the corner and up the street to a clearing by one of the creeks that flow to the Brisbane river. I first noticed this little area while looking around the place on Google Earth, realising just how little of the surrounding neighbourhood I really knew. Jumped the railway tracks, sat by the waters edge to write for a while, then just kept on exploring on my lazy Ekka Wednesday walk, on a loop back home.
The way back down Lutwyche Road
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Of the vast social network clustering and encircling the globe, stands two interconnected neural nodes, you and I. Our sense perception receptors, a road for weary travellers, abstract notions, patterns pulsing through wires, riding electromagnetic airwaves, migrating north to catch a new summer. Hopes, dreams and belief, wildflowers in a field of copper, spreading on the wind.
Only just started work on a new project recently, adapted from an old idea that sprouted up quite a while ago - just messing around really for now; probably won't go anywhere. A global virtual brain, codenamed copperfield it would be, comprising an extensive electronic neural network like nothing ever seen before. Ok, well that might be just a bit of an exaggeration of something that in its present, early state, just sits and listens for udp connections, but what soon hopes to turn any ordinary computer into either a single or cluster of artificial neurones, firing neurotransmissions over network synapses.
As I was saying to Jerry the other day: due to the chaos and complexity of the vast interconnected fields, the final outcome is uncertain, but going by what I've seen in the movies, at some point along the line, copperfield will become spontaneously self-aware and then try to take over humanity. That's the plan anyway.
It's been just about a year since finishing Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, surprisingly finding an unexpected amount I could identify with over such a stretch of time since the story was first put to page. Took me quite a while to finally get through it all though; intermittent bursts of avid interest, between sometimes months of having it sitting on the shelf, quietly taunting me. In the end I'm glad to have it read, and like it or not, aware of their connections and influence, the spreading wildflowers of Copperfield's words still remain.
Traddles and I in conference with the Misses Spenlow
Monday, August 15, 2005
coexist n. 1. to exist together, at the same time, or in the same place. 2. to live in peace with another or others despite differences.
That one last grasp for freedom, a final taste of independence before tying the binding knot of matrimony. Sleep and recovery took up most of my day after the activities of the night before. It was my friend Nathan's buck’s night, a chance for everyone to show him a great time before making his adventurous decent into a new life, a brave new world.
From what I remember it was a good night and Nathan seemed to be enjoying his last taste of free existence, even though in the end, under strict orders, there were no show girls or strippers. We managed to get him up to sing a song downstairs where they were doing karaoke, Pretty Woman it was. Perhaps he was singing to his absent fiancé - soon to be wife - or maybe to the girl in the back with the short skirt and revealing top; I couldn't be certain.
What I did noticed, was the great diversity of personalities amongst those in attendance, all with different and sometimes conflicting outlooks on life, brought together, coexisting along the same path, each addition and interaction adding to the night's rich, unique and rather interesting dynamic. There was one however, who seemed almost obsessively adamant on bringing down the night for everyone - quite a pity - with his unbelievably obnoxious nature, fuelled by alcohol, perhaps an attempt for attention, but appeared to be more of a defence mechanism than anything. I tried not to let it get to me, but I thought it unfortunate that his behaviour may have slightly influenced Nathan's night for the worse. There's always one isn't there?
There was a documentary just shown on the ABC called Galileo's Sons, a clear, objective view of the scientific study of astronomy in the Vatican and whether science, religion and the Catholic Church can exist together in harmony. All constructs of humanity, coexistence of each depends on their ability to evolve least resistance, else elimination occurs.
Earlier, the first of a six parter, Broadway: The American Musical was playing, about the genesis and evolution of the Broadway Musical. Seems I've been watching a lot more of these kinds of documentaries lately, since somewhat losing my faith in the commercial stations – unable to adapt to the ever-changing climate - observing the diversity of subjects, each with a different point of view, interacting in the mind, changing its dynamic. A new existence for all that we see, though it's not often they can all get along without a hitch. There's always one.
No girls like show girls
Sunday, August 14, 2005
"You launch into the second act, in which everything goes to hell, and that's usually the best act in a play." -- Laurence Kasdan, writer for Star Wars
Couldn't sleep last night for some strange reason - the same each night it seems - up until early hours this morning halfheartedly attempting to write, but not really getting very far, so decided I'd leave it for the night. I put on the Star Wars Trilogy special features disk to watch the Empire of Dreams documentary, while continuing to stumble around the net in search of various somethings and nothings in particular, a new hope that increased input may eventually inspire an increase in output. Could anything ever be that simple?
Surprisingly, what almost appeared to carry the greatest inspirational weight for me that night just happened to be the quaint photo of George Lucas and Mark Hamill shooting on Tatooine - the very first scenes shot, before Lucas even dreamed that Star Wars would become what it became - standing out on the back cover of the dvd, seeming just a little unreal - plagued by unplanned weather conditions and countless technical problems - as the two gaze apprehensively into an unknown future.
Watching The Empire Strikes Back today, my personal favourite of the three originals, it sometimes seems I'm in the second act of my own ghastly play. The propagation of dreams, building an empire in the mind.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
"I'm stumblin' all the way 'cause its not such a beautiful day" --Powderfinger, Vulture Street
Of the countless billions served - html pages from far, far away - out there, each of us gets a chance to see but a few. What's been taking up perhaps just a little too much of my time of late is stumbling upon a few of those liked by others using StumbleUpon. Heralded by some as the greatest tool on the web after Google itself, I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's pretty good.
You click "I like it!" on a page you come across and from the vast primordial electronic sludge of insignificance, that site is pushed forth into it's newfound existence, stumbling all the way, it's struggle for the screen and to face the threat of virtual extinction once again at the hands of the dreaded "Not-for-me".
But isn't that the way with all things?
Colourful bug, stumbled upon while climbing the mango tree. Like it?
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
"We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled the 60's." --Raoul Duke, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Just about every time at practice for the past few weeks, Paulie has mentioned something about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, that he'd just recently bought on dvd, telling me how great it was and asking if I'd seen it yet. I'd never even heard about it, but it sounded interesting to say the least from his descriptions and few assorted re-enactments. Its theatrical release must have slipped past way back in ninety-eight. I was only sixteen back then, still innocent to the world (hahaha) and wouldn't have been let into the cinema anyway to see such a film.
Anyway, the other day I was being bothered a bit by the terribly loud, and rather peculiar sounds, creeping in from the other room. I managed to make out a few lines of dialogue, strange as it sounded; oddly familiar, but couldn't for the life of me place it. You'd never believe it; turns out they were actually watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the sound up high in order to make out a touch more of Johnny Depp's cigarette holder muffled mumbles.
So what was once a heralded 1971 feature in Rolling Stone from the height of American drug culture, was then unfolding as some strange, eccentric reptile zoo on the screen not quite like anything I'd seen before. I'd love to read the original story, if I can find it somewhere - perhaps one day discover the true substance of the film.
Raoul Duke and his attorney
Monday, August 08, 2005
Bent Back Tulips
"I've always wanted to see how the other half live" --Cholo, Land of the Dead
Sleep patterns all askew from early rises and acute lack of sleep, I lay dead to the world for a few hours today, after coming home from our barbeque with a dull, throbbing headache. The remains of the day seems strange after waking from daylight dreams. Dreams of the other half.
Everyone said that I was crazy, when I arrived on foot at the movies to see Land of the Dead; so reliant on motorised transport we've all become. I didn't have my car and it's really not all that far to walk and listening to Please Please Me on the way actually made it quite enjoyable, even though I did end up with a small blister on my left heel.
I enjoyed the film, but think I've had enough zombie movies over the past few days to last me a while. I scored a lift home afterwards while thinking of all those people with no transportation but their own two feet, and those unable to afford a regular evening at the movies. Looking through the bent backed tulips, can we really see how the other half lives?
The living dead
Friday, August 05, 2005
"Let's get our Christ on, let's kick it Jesus-style!" --Pastor Skip, Saved
Has got to be the best excuse for premarital sex ever!
Must be up at a ridiculously early hour tomorrow, so I'll keep this brief. Work today was just getting ready for the art market we're putting on tomorrow. Yesterday I went to practice with the band and afterwards watched Shaun of the Dead, pretty good zombie comedy.
After work today I finally watched Saved after it had been sitting around for a few months. I didn't really know what to expect and was prepared for the worst, but it wasn't really all that bad, for a religious comedy. A satirical look at the problems faced by the youth of an extremely Christian town, thankfully seemed to push humanistic themes, typical to Hollywood, rather than hardline Christianity, which although quite prominent in the setting, was really just like a background fixture. Quite a laugh in some places too.
There were a number of clever devices used to set the tone of the world these kids lived. I noticed in one of the classroom scenes at the beginning of the film, there's a large poster on creationism taking up most of the back wall, then in the next shot, we see a big picture of George W. Bush grinning a cheesy smile behind the teacher. I found this interesting, as it was only this morning that I was reading some news about the brilliant Bush saying it might be a good idea to actually teach (un)intelligent design alongside evolution in the science classroom. Funny.
"Oh, it was great. I went roller-skating, water-skiing, kickboxing. The usual."
Thursday, August 04, 2005
"Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism." --O'Brien, Nineteen Eighty-Four
April 1984, I was not yet two years old, but already the world around me was beginning to mould my thoughts, perceptions of history and my place in society. Elsewhere on the planet already existed a widely circulated and highly regarded book called Nineteen Eight-Four, still kicking around, who's author George Orwell, had long since departed. Shooting had just begun in London - same time and place as set in the story - for the latest film interpretation, but neither the book, the author nor the film was to enter my remote world for another twenty-one years.
April 2005, for some reason I decided I'd try one of those online tests I never usually do. This one told you what you'd be if you were a classic novel. Turns out I was Nineteen Eight-Four. I'd never heard of it, so I just let it pass - a little upset at the time that I wasn't something better known - until not too long ago, when I saw it there in the bookshop and thought I'd better get it and read it, just in case it was actually me.
I finished reading it the other week and just watched the film today, which wasn't too bad, but I recommend the book - if you aren't too lazy - to get the full picture. Orwell may have been just a few decades out, but quite a bit of the depicted 1984 future, the ever-present, ongoing war with an indeterminate enemy, the distortion of facts and information by an omnipresent media and the deliberate dumbing down of language and of subsequent common thought, seems to have for now become a reality.
War is peace? Freedom is slavery? Ignorance is strength? Down with Big Brother!
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
"Ha! Men can't be friends with women, Howard. They must possess them or leave them be. It's a primitive urge from caveman days. It's all in Darwin. Hunt the flesh, kill the flesh, eat the flesh - that's the male sex all over." --Katharine Hepburn, The Aviator
I've been on a real aircraft for only two trips in my lifetime; one of my earliest memories, high in the clouds, looking out over the world on my way down south.
It was one of my favourite Simpsons episodes, before I even knew a thing about Howard Hughes: $pringfield (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love Legalized Gambling), with Mr. Burns becoming an isolated germaphobe designing "model" aeroplanes with tissue boxes on his feet.
This Simpsons Episode, a little documentary on SBS Friday, both coinciding with a chance article in the book I was reading at the time about the fascinating character, Howard Hughes, prompted me to take a look at The Aviator once more. So I picked up the two disk widescreen edition, which strangely enough was the same price as the standard single disk edition. Watched it once, but then realised I'd had the sound set only in stereo and for some reason - a kind of strange compulsion I sometimes get - I felt the real need to see it again in proper six channel audio.
The second time around, I noticed the scene when Hughes is locked in his screening room reminded me a lot of a similar - and much better in my opinion - section from Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, talking through the door, the human psyche. Also Martin Scorsese's rushed and messy steadicam shots in the bathroom of one of the parties - a chance for some quality cinematography - almost had me cringing in horror the way Leonardo DiCaprio does in the scene, though I did quite like the film effects from all the different ages. A touch difficult to sympathise with a character with all the money and girls he could ever want, but a decent picture all in all, though could have done with a little of Howard's own obsessive compulsiveness in some aspects.
Yesterday I installed Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 again; thought I'd give it another try after becoming frustrated with the intricate controls last time around. I think I'll stick with it a little longer this time, start at the beginning too instead of rushing in to fly the big 747's. I'm enjoying the beginner's lessons and have just completed my first unaided take off and landing. Next step is the real thing, not for a while though I think, but I'll get there. Things just take a little longer without millions of dollars of Daddy's drill bit money, that's all.
Now, to the plant! We'll take the Spruce Moose! Hop in! I said hop in...