In an effort to keep my brain from eating itself I’ve been reading a bunch and playing the game Fez. Sadly in trying to solve the puzzles it appears I have failed to maintain my sanity and here are the scribblings of a mad man. Every once in a while I exclaim to myself “Aha!”, “ah damn”, or “Oh nice!”
I’m currently reading Malcolm X’s autobiography and the copy I have is from a used books store. Malcolm X has said some pretty messed up things about women so far but I thought this was interesting. I think it is cool that the person before me underlined this passage then wrote “CS Lewis - The Four Loves" I actually downloaded that in PDF form last winter and used a quotation from it as a preface to a school project. I’ve included the screenshot of my usage.
[Also of note the quote from Russell was weirdly on interview program called face to face]
The chameleon responding to its own shifting image is an apt analog of the human world of fashion. Taken as a whole, what are fads but the response of a hive mind to its own reflection?
In a 21st-century society wired into instantaneous networks, marketing is the mirror; the collective consumer is the chameleon.
http://www.92Y.org/VPC - Kurt Vonnegut begins by reading a speech he delivered at Haverford College shortly after the shootings at Kent State. He then reads two more speeches—one on our addiction to war preparation and another on nuclear holocaust, which was originally delivered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Recorded May 16, 1983 at 92nd Street Y
I had inherited the studio from a photographer. A lilac-hued canvas still stood by the wall, depicting part of a balustrade and a whitish urn against the background of an indistinct garden. And it was in a wicker armchair, as if on the very threshold of those gouache depths, that I sat, thinking of you, until morning. It got very cold at daybreak. Roughcast clay heads gradually floated out of the murk into the dusty haze. One of them (your likeness) was wrapped in a wet rag. I traversed this hazy chamber something crumbled and crackled underfoot and, with the end of a long pole, hooked and pulled open in succession the black curtains that hung like shreds of tattered banners across the slanting glass. Having ushered in the morning a squinty, wretched morning I started laughing, and had no idea why; perhaps it was simply because I had spent the entire night sitting in a wicker armchair, surrounded by rubbish and shards of plaster of Paris, amid the dust of congealed plasticine, thinking of you.
Here is the kind of feeling I would experience whenever your name was mentioned in my presence: a bolt of black, a scented, forceful motion that’s how you threw back your arms when adjusting your veil. Long had I loved you; why, I know not. With your deceitful, savage ways, dwelling as you did in idle melancholy.
Recently I had come across an empty matchbox on your bedside table. On it there was a small funereal mound of ashes and a golden cigarette butt a coarse, masculine one. I implored you to explain. You laughed unpleasantly. Then you burst into tears and I, forgiving everything, embraced your knees and pressed my wet eyelashes to the warm black silk. After that I did not see you for two weeks.
The autumn morning shimmered in the breeze. I carefully stood the pole in a corner. The tiled roofs of Berlin were visible through the window’s broad span,their outlines varying with the iridescent inner irregularities of the glass; in their midst, a distant cupola rose like a bronze watermelon. The clouds were scudding, rupturing, fleetingly revealing an astonished, gossamer autumnal blue.
The day before I had spoken to you on the phone. It was I who had given in and called. We agreed to meet today at the Brandenburg Gate. Your voice, through the bee like hum, was remote and anxious. It kept sliding into the distance and vanishing. I spoke to you with lightly shut eyes, and felt like crying. My love for you was the throbbing, welling warmth of tears. That is exactly how I imagined paradise: silence and tears, and the warm silk of your knees. This you could not comprehend.
After dinner, when I went outside to meet you, my head began to whirl from the crisp air and the torrents of yellow sunlight. Every ray echoed in my temples. Large, rustling, russet leaves waddled as they raced along the sidewalk.
I reflected while I walked that you would probably not come to the rendezvous. And that, if you did, we would quarrel again anyway. I knew only how to sculpt and how to love. This was not enough for you.
The massive gates. Wide-hipped buses squeezing through the portals and rolling on down the boulevard, which receded into the restless blue glitter of the windy day. I waited for you under an oppressive vault, between chilly columns,near the grate of the guardhouse window. People everywhere: Berlin clerks were leaving their offices, ill shaven, each with a briefcase under his arm and, in his eyes, the turbid nausea that comes when you smoke a bad cigar on an empty stomach their weary, predatory faces, their high starched collars, Hashed by endlessly; a woman passed with a red straw hat and a gray karakul coat; then a youth in velvet pants buttoned under the knees; and others still.
I waited, leaning on my cane, in the cold shadow of the corner columns. I did not believe you would come.
By one of the columns, near the guardhouse window, was a stand with postcards, maps, fan-spreads of colored photos, and by it on a stool sat a brown little old woman, short-legged, plump, with a round, speckled face, and she too was waiting.
I wondered which of us would wait longer, and who would come first a customer, or you. The old woman’s mien conveyed something like this: “I just happen to be here…. I sat down for a minute…. Yes, there’s some kind of stand nearby, with excellent, curious knickknacks…. But I have nothing to do with it….”
People passed ceaselessly between the columns, skirting the corner of the guardhouse; some glanced at the postcards. The old woman would tense every nerve and fix her bright tiny eyes on the passerby, as if transmitting a thought: Buy it, buy it…. But the other, after a quick survey of the colored cards and the gray ones, walked on, and she, with seeming indifference, lowered her eyes and went back to the red book she was holding in her lap.
I did not believe you would come. But I waited for you as I had never waited before, smoking restlessly, peeking beyond the gate toward the uncluttered plaza at the start of the boulevard; then I would retreat anew into my nook, trying not to give the appearance of waiting, trying to imagine that you were walking, approaching while I was not looking, that if I took another peek around that corner I would see your seal-fur coat and the black lace hanging from your hat brim down over your eyes and I deliberately did not look, cherishing the self-deception.
There was a rush of cold wind. The woman got up and started pushing her postcards more firmly into their slots. She wore a kind of yellow velours jacket with gathers at the waist. The hem of her brown skirt was hiked up higher in front than in back, which made her look as if she were thrusting out her belly when she walked. I could make out meek, kindhearted creases on her round little hat and her worn duck bootees. She was busily arranging her tray of wares. Her book, a guide to Berlin, lay on the stool, and the autumn wind absently turned the pages and ruffled the map that had fallen out from them like a flight of stairs.
I was getting cold. My cigarette smouldered lopsidedly and bitterly. I felt the waves of a hostile chill on my chest. No customer had appeared.
Meanwhile the knickknack woman got back on her perch and, since the stool was too tall for her, she had to do some squirming, with the soles of her blunt bootees leaving the sidewalk by turns. I tossed away the cigarette and flicked it with the end of my cane, provoking a fiery spray.
An hour had passed already, maybe more. How could I think you would come? The sky had imperceptibly turned into one continuous storm cloud, the passersby walked even faster, hunched over, holding on to their hats, and a lady who was crossing the square opened her umbrella as she went. It would be a real miracle if you were to arrive now.
The old woman had meticulously placed a marker in her book and paused as if lost in thought. My guess is she was conjuring up a rich foreigner from the Adlon Hotel who would buy all her wares, and overpay, and order more, many more picture postcards and guidebooks of all kinds. And she probably was not very warm either in that velours jacket. You had promised you would come. I remembered the phone call, and the fleeting shadow of your voice. God, how I wanted to see you. The ill wind started gusting again. I turned up my collar.
Suddenly the window of the guardhouse opened, and a green soldier hailed the old woman. She quickly scrambled down from her stool and, with her thrust-out belly, scuttled up to the window. With a relaxed motion, the soldier handed her a streaming mug and closed the sash. His green shoulder turned and withdrew into the murky depths.
Gingerly carrying the mug, the woman returned to her seat. It was coffee with milk, judging by the brown fringe of skin sticking to the rim.
Then she began drinking. I have never seen a person drink with such utter, profound, concentrated relish. She forgot her stand, the postcards, the chill wind, her American client, she just sipped, sucked, disappeared totally into her coffee exactly as I forgot about my vigil and saw only the velours jacket, the bliss-dimmed eyes, the stubby hands clutching the mug in their woolen mittens. She drank for a long time, drank in slow swallows, reverently licking off the fringe of skin, heating her palms on the warm tin. And a dark, sweet warmth poured into my soul. My soul, too, was drinking and heating itself, and the brown little woman tasted of coffee with milk.
She finished. For a moment she paused, motionless. Then she rose and headed for the window to return the mug.
But she stopped halfway, and her lips gathered into a little smile. She scuttled rapidly back to her stand, snatched up two colored postcards, and, hurrying back to the iron grille of the window, softly tapped on the glass with her small woolly fist. The grille opened, a green sleeve glided out, with a gleaming button on the cuff, and she thrust mug and cards into the dark window with a series of hasty nods. The soldier, examining the photographs, turned away into the interior, slowly shutting the sash behind him.
Here I became aware of the world’s tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I had sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in t he speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wind, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed on us and unappreciated.
And at that instant you arrived at last or, rather, not you but a German couple, he in a raincoat, legs in long stockings like green bottles; she slender and tall, in a panther coat. They approached the stand, the man began selecting,and my little old coffee woman, flushed, puffed up, looked now into his eyes, now at the cards, fussing, moving her eyebrows tensely like an old cabbie urging on his nag with his whole body. But the German had barely had time to pick something out when, with a shrug of her shoulder, his wife tugged him away by the sleeve. It was then I noticed that she resembled you. The similarity was not in the features,not in the clothes, but in that squeamish, unkind grimace, in that cursory, indifferent glance. The two of them walked on without buying anything, and the old woman only smiled, replaced her postcards in their slots, and again became absorbed in her red book. There was no point in waiting any longer. I departed along darkening streets, peering into the faces of passersby, capturing smiles and amazing little motions the bobbing of a girl’s pigtail as she tossed a ball against a wall, the heavenly melancholy reflected in a horse’s purplish, oval eye. I captured and collected all of it. The oblique, plump raindrops grew more frequent, and I recalled the cool coziness of my studio, the muscles, foreheads,and strands of hair that I had modeled, and felt in my fingers the subtle tingle of my thought starting to sculpt.
It grew dark. The rain was gusting. The wind greeted me turbulently at every corner. Then a streetcar clanged past, its windows agleam with amber, its interior filled with black silhouettes. I hopped aboard as it passed and began drying my rain-soaked hands.
The people in the car looked sullen and swayed sleepily. The black window panes were specked with a multitude of minute raindrops, like a night sky overcast with a bead work of stars. We were clattering along a street lined with noisy chestnut trees, and I kept imagining that the humid boughs were lashing the windows. And when the tram halted one could hear, overhead, the chestnuts plucked by the wind knocking against the roof. Knock then again, resiliently, gently: knock, knock. The tram would chime and start, the gleam of the street lamps shattered in the wet glass, and, with a sensation of poignant happiness, I awaited the repetition of those meek, lofty sounds. The brakes slammed on for a stop.Again a round, solitary chestnut dropped, and, after a moment, another thumped and rolled along the roof: knock, knock….
Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou) · Sufjan Stevens (live)
Simultaneously drawn to restrictive practice or structure in different disciplines yet also with the excessive indulgence of limit experiences. While seemingly at odds it probably explains why I keep reading about asceticism. I might be playing with fire.
Or flying through the valley separating day and night
“I am death!” cried the vulture for the people of the light
Karon brought his raft from the sea that sails on souls
And saw the scavenger departing, taking warm hearts to the cold
He knew the ghetto was a haven for the meanest preacher ever known
In the wilderness of heartbreak and a desert of despair
Evil’s clarion of justice shrieks a cry of naked terror
Taking babies from their mamas, leaving grief beyond compare
So if you see the vulture coming, flying circles in your mind
Remember there is no escaping for he will follow close behind
Only promise me a battle, battle for your soul and mine