31 March 2005

Parallax Reflection


parallax reflection originally uploaded by theparadigmshifter.

Disillusionment occured at 4.5.

30 March 2005

Grim Days Ahead, I Do Hope

I found myself looking up Monica Belluci on imdb to confirm if in fact she played roles in The Matrix Reloaded, Brotherhood of the Wolf, and Passion of the Christ. Shortly after reading some articles about the Passion Redux (including pics) I happened to watch both of the other aforementioned films. She plays the hot-Papal-spy-prostitute-fembot in Brotherhood and Magdalen in Passion, so of course my interest had been picqued.

Point being I noticed she plays 'Queen Mirror' in this tiny already-completed, soon-to-come film, The Brothers Grimm directed by none other than Terry Gilliam, my favorite person of all time. Thusly, I creamed my pants.

I would have guessed he was done with the whole movie thing after the nightmare that must have been The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. After that failed I hadn't heard about any of his projects. Apparently I missed two, the Grimm one and another titled Tideland. I haven't looked up much on Tideland because The Brothers Grimm has captured my entire imagination. When I looked through the cast I, again, creamed my pants.

Heath Ledger and Matt Damon (he reminds me of a young Malcom McDowell (circa Caligula) in every production photo I found) are cool and all as the stars, but everybody else is better. Beginning with none other than Jonathon Pryce, my other favorite person of all time.

I suppose Brazil and the Adventures of Baron Munchausen come to mind first, but other movies I love him in include Carrington, Ronin, and Unconditional Love. Also, he takes the Bond villian to a megalomaniacal height unsurpassed in the franchise before or since Tomorrow Never Dies. I think I've written on this before...

But wait, there's more! The next name I noticed is none other than Mackenzie Crook, whom I immediately recognized as Gareth of The Office fame. Which reminds me, I'd take a bullet for Ricky Gervais. Nobody had better mess with him, even though he probably should go to hell.

Peter Stormare is name number three. The best part of Constantine, i.e. Satan, nihilist #1 opposite The Dude, and the go-to eye-guy of Minority Report, he livens up any film with wonderfully cynical if not villianous humor.

No trailer or website exists for The Brothers Grimm yet, but all I really found other than the imdb synopses states that the release date is slated for this July. The snippets and pics and premise sound and look incredible. The story can and probably will range throughout the Grimm folklore via Gilliam's wonderful, wicked, visual imagination. It's the most exciting news I've ever stumbled upon, ever. Ever. I just creamed my pants again for good measure.

Watching: Press any button.

29 March 2005

What what?

M: Alright. 'Where do Walmarts come from?'
M: What? Where do Walmarts come from?
M: *no response*

Perhaps I'll learn another day... Oh, wait...

M: They come from BSW International, 'a firm in Tulsa Oklahoma that doesn't care what you think.'

They've done an incredibly large number of 'Wal*Marts' according to the website. Also, they've done work for Taco Bell, Hertz, and many other fine repetitive, car-based, sprawl-inducing clients. I guess somebody has too. Ironically enough they seem to have won an United Nations Earth Summit Award for Global Sustainability. Maybe for some sort of eco-friendly, ultra-urban Walmart? No where on the web does it say.

28 March 2005

Bored -> Exciting -> Exhausted


lightning originally uploaded by theparadigmshifter.

It's rather amazing how quickly I went from being bored out of my mind yesterday to not, from then until now in no time, and also that I photographed lightning. Cheeze-its are also amazing; I have seen the light. Actual writing to come later.

22 March 2005

Who Ever Heard of Sociables?

Spring Break has [officially] sprung. It began with a weekend excursion to North Carolina. Ostensibly to visit Tim (be sure to read his rants), but also to drink heavily and play croquet with some of Scott's extended family and friends. The party was a blast; it was a wonderful spring day and the parts of Charlotte I frequented leave the impression that it's one of most beautiful cities I've been.

19mar2005_img02
Tim met us in Charlotte to party with Scott S.'s family. I laugh at his joke! Be sure to notice the Champagne bottles scattered about.

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Croquet in action. A game that's always worth a 6 hour drive, croquet provides reason to drink on a mild, early spring day.

We began with an overnight stay in the mountains. I forgot that drop camping can be a lot of fun. Really all it takes is a fire, hot dogs, 24 or so PBR tall boys, and enough whiskey to stay warm. John provided some quality comedic entertainment, once he had a few drinks and our antics really got rolling. My only regret is that we didn't have enough stuff to burn. This night marks the first of only sleeping for 4-5 hours. I awoke at the crack of first light, went hiking, watched the sunrise from atop a small mountain, and came back to camp well before anyone else got up.

The Scotts and I parted ways with John before we continued on our trek towards Charlotte. Once there though we immediately met up with Tim who arrived exactly as we did. I mingled, Champagned it up a notch or three, hobnobbed, played a spot of croquet, and wrote some refrigerator poetry before we took our leave and headed off to exotic Raleigh!

This night was spent at Tim and Katie's place. They showed us around to the extent that we ended up at a cool tavern, Mitch's. Apparently it appeared as a locale in Bull Durham. Since the Scotts and I had not seen it before and they had it, much later on that night I watched a movie about sports and sex... And I thought it was going to be a boring baseball flick! Tim Robbins is always awesome. This marks the second night of sleeping for approximately 5 hours.

Sunday we took our time brunching. Afterwards, we went to one of the larger wine store I've seen. Plus they could sell non-alcoholic things. Wine doesn't belong in liquor stores in NC. How novel! Tennessee always feels even more backwards when I return from anywhere else. We had wine and ate cheese and stayed at Tim's much later than we should have. No one was looking foward to a 6 hour drive. Eventually we left, made our way back to Knoxville, where I fed Torpe around midnight, before Scott, Matt, and I watched movies all night. Surprised around 5 that it was around 5, I went to bed. Marking the third night of sleeping about 4-5 hours.

This trip left me feeling like I'd never sleep in my bed again I think. I have a hard time sleeping a full 8 hours unless I do sleep in my own bed. Of course, my bed hasn't even felt like my bed since Sunday last. The week before Spring Break is always the worst, but it was especially terrible this year. So here's to 6 more days of doing almost nothing when I should be doing much more!

18 March 2005

Newfound Night Sky

Newfound Night Sky
A view from Newfound Gap.

Drive Thru
Night sky plus automobile in the mountains.

I took these photos a week and a half ago. I just figured out a way to post them in the blog. So I did! I keep learning new things every early morning. I can't always be a genius; perhaps I'll write later today, perhaps not. For now I think posting photos (as many do) will have to suffice. I really don't like to listen to business news in the morning.

Listening to: Morning Edition on NPR

17 March 2005

Like, That's Just Your Opinion. Man.

The ancients who wished to demonstrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. . . . From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.

I stumbled upon this passage in the most unexpected of places: a sci-fi novel, hardly the normal venue for a kernel of Confucian philosophy. It succinctly put my feelings and musings on my personal philosophy in a way I've never considered. My great ambitions are rather abstract; I seek to somehow improve the world...somehow. As for how I study and learn I feel like I must investigate everything. I jump around from topic to topic, from class to class, from book to book, and never spend enough time to become a bona fide expert in any specific field. I tend to connect thoughts, ideas, and concepts in ways no expert can (due to the restricted proscenium, i.e. his field of expertise, with which said expert views the world). I'm always seeking to extend my knowledge.

One can never fully extend one's knowledge. Knowledge really means a lack of ignorance. I tend to veer from negative definitions. In this case, I'm showing that knowledge might not be the best measure of intelligence, or rather, the best way to define one attempting 'to be sincere in their thoughts.' Wisdom gleaned through experience coupled with a ceaseless extension of knowledge thus becomes a more true method 'to be sincere in [one's] thoughts.'

Before reading this Confucian kernel, I'd always assumed the garnering of knowledge was the sole goal. I could never make the leap to 'demonstrating illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom' or even the small step of utilizing knowledge to simply be more sincere in my thoughts. Along these lines, the Master is wrong in a way regarding how one can go about achieving better honesty and clarity in their thoughts, a key step in the progression from the 'root of everything besides' to a better world. Knowledge can never be fully extended and as wisdom is gained through experience and mediatation, only then can I go out to better the world. But as I am always gaining experience I need to at least attempt sincere thinking. Whether I am sincere or not is irrelevant. Striving for sincerity by continuously extending my knowledge as I further experience life is how I become more sincere in my thoughts.

As corollary: projecting this reasoning over the course of the Confucian passage above one can deduce that one must strive for all the orderings, cultivations, rectifications, etc. concurrently. When knowledge, wisdom, a sincere mind, a true heart, a cultivated self, systems for positive family-, state-, and world-systems are all sought after, a time will come when more of these steps are actualized.

I've been writing too many papers over the past three days. It's gotten me all philosophical on things... and shit. I'm kind of enjoying it I guess. It's helping with my goal of writing [almost] every day. This bit was relatively short, incomplete, full of wholes and all, but at least I'm thinking about what I'm trying to do with my life. Something I keep putting off and ignoring outright as I finish my undergraduate degrees. The next step is easy enough to ignore, but I'd much rather decide to complacently go with the flow of things before I let it happen.

Watching: The Big Lebowski
Listening To: Matt on cello

16 March 2005

I Found the Lord in Myself on the Internet...

MichaelSewell.Com is for born-again Christians. Some, er, interesting stuff there.

MikeSewell.Com, on the other hand, is much more my style. This guy has a 'Nemesis List'; it doesn't get any hipper than that!
MikeSewell.Net has got a very cool dog photo. That's it.

MikeSewell.Co.Uk is easily the most boring of them all.

Anywho, that's all that I could quickly find. I sure did learn a lot about how Christian or how uber-almost-graphic-design-guy-cool I can potentially be. Well, most of the photos MikeSewell.Com has give the impression that he's way too into living the American Dream. But he sure does look like he's got himself an attractive wife, more than enough booze, and a couple pairs of good dancin' shoes. It might not be all that bad to go out there and get a job. Who knows: maybe I'll know more definitively in a few years?

Once again I find myself computing in the wee hours of the morning instead of studying. I did already re-read most of Huis Clos last night. And I've sort of started writing that paper about it. It's a real bloody shame I have to write the paper in French. It's a bit rusty.

It's one of those skills I need to work on and keep in shape every day. There was a time that I did practice French as well as writing English daily (dangling, gasp, modifier). I used to write at least two thousand words a day. It only lasted a semester but every aspect of my writing life greatly improved for the duration. I could write and write and while away an hour or so. And that would be that. A thousand+ words an hour on whatever the hell I felt like.

It's a practice Scott convinced me I should take back up. He sat there and listened as I convinced myself. He also had a couple of beers. I did too. A fantastic break in my routine it did be. I'm thinking I'll get the old writing routine down daily again as soon as I set some ground rules. It's how I kept it up for an entire semester! All those years ago, le sigh. Rule 1: writing in the morning is always easiest for me. I know it, yet hardly write until the wee hours of a long night. So, writing finishes before breakfast is allowed to begin. Now that's motivation. Rule 2: the work must be no less than about a thousand words. Guesstimate. No need for actual counting. Rule 3: focus on something at least kind of specific and stick with it. Rule 4: perhaps it's time to modernize and blog each day's ramblings, so I'll do that. And maybe then I can post more often than the people are accustomed.

I should also continue playing at least one game of chess each day. I feel like there's something else I'm forgetting about. Well, when I remember what it is, I intend to keep at it daily also. Wow, this is boring. I should be writing anything else. It's not like I've got stuff to do or anything. Sheeesh!

listening to: nothing
watching: Goldeneye
looking foward to: posting for a third day in a row
weather: it's dark
i bet it's: cold too
procrastinating via: the wonders of cyberdom

15 March 2005

This Morning's Distraction Brought to You By the Internet

By 'You' I mean 'me.'

And by 'Distraction' I mean 'well, hey, at least I'm not staring off into space...'

I did get out of bed (well before noon! gasp!). I did drag my ass all the way up that there hill over there. Ya know the one I mean. The one with academia perched atop. So now that I'm here, I of course climb up a few more interior stairs and begin studying. For the big test.

And by 'studying' I mean 'let's show Bob here that Star Wars III trailer that I think kicks ass.' Then the interneting begins! Yes, his name is really Bob. I'm not disguising anything for any innocents no matter how innocent Bob thinks he is.

The trailer proved difficult to download officially and I was too lazy to get it otherwise. Moviefone is suckin' it up all over the place this morning. But instead I discovered this lovely bit o' digital film: Star Wars Episode III: A Lost Hope. I do have to share it with all the peoples. I wish I had made this movie.

Geeky greatness it do be.

05 March 2005

This Is Vergon 6

I can *not* believe I just woke up. I fell asleep around an hour ago. I slept well. Now I'm perfectly sober, chipper, and suffice it to say, way way too awake. It's 5 in the friggin' morning! I'm not going to sleep any more tonight. I absolutely abhor this realization.

On the plus side, there's no way I'll miss the Car Talk Puzzler a little later on in the morning. I love those things. I rarely correctly figure them out. I think that's what I love about them. This week's is simple though. I knew it immediately, but only because I already knew it. No pondering required!

Earlier tonight I watched the trailer for Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I feel like this could be the best of all possible movie adaptations imaginable for the book, but I won't know how I feel about it until I see it I suppose. What I can glean from the trailer seems very big bugdet and more slapstick than quirky. But all I already know about how much Douglas Adams himself poured into the project and also about just how perfect Martin Freeman of 'The Office' fame is for his role, both make me feel more excited about this movie than any other in a long while. I'm almost, hell, I am giddy with anticipation! So to all the naysayers about ruining the wonderfulness that is Adams' book, I say even if the movie sucks it doesn't affect or tarnish the original story AND I don't think it'll suck. Disney has made a handful of fun sci-fi flicks. Let's not forget Flight of the Navigator after all!

Which somehow reminds me that I climbed the Cumberland Escarpment a little over a week ago. The 'Smoky Mountain' segment of the Cumberland trail or at least what's finished of it offers quite a challenge. The segment connects Cove Lake and Frozen Head State Parks. Cove Lake is at the bottom of the Cumberlands just inside the Valley. The first couple miles of the finished trail climbed a rugged and steep 2000(?) feet to the top of Cross Mountain. I think it's awesome that my retired forester grandfather suggested the hike. Even better, after we discovered that the finished trail has hardly been used (if at all) in the past 6 months or so (probably because it isn't a complete trail), he suggested that rather than perpetually losing the trail some more we just start walking down the mountain. And then we did. It was steep. I bruised, scraped, and cut myself repeatedly in an [almost] controlled fall down the mountainside. The 2.5 miles of trail that actually climbed the mountain reduced to a mere mile and a half on the way down. Fun fun. I hope the section to Frozenhead gets completed this summer...

How I do go on about the oddest assortment of topics. I really should try getting more sleep. I could complain about my sleep patterns, but I'm pretty sure I've done that before. Complaining never helps fix them anyway. However, something complaining should help fix, but doesn't seem to have any bearing on whatsoever, is my lack of remembering to send my netflix back. I need new ones! Every day this past week, I've said, 'Damn, I meant to return those netflix today. I'll remember to do it tomorrow.' And every day I forget until well after the post is closed for the day. I don't even walk to the nearest drop because I know I'll walk past it the next day. Why make a special trip when I can do it on my way later? I think I may do just such right now. A special brisk early morning walk might be just what I need.

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