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This is the empty space on the page in which I should have something clever written, such as, "When you're riding in a time machine way far into the future, don't stick your elbow out the window, or it'll turn into a fossil," or "Here's a good thing to do if you go to a party and you don't know anybody: First, take out the garbage. Then go around and collect any extra garbage that people might have, like a crumpled-up napkin, and take that out too. Pretty soon people will want to meet the busy garbage guy." -Jack Handey, "Deep Thoughts"

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

I just realized that I have about 90 pages less reading to do today than I originally thought; so, I'm awarding myself a few spare moments to write this.

I can't believe it's October already...I'm incredibly excited to think that in 3 months, I will be boarding a plane for Greece and Turkey.  I don't think the reality of how cool this trip will be really set in until a few days ago, when I was talking with a friend of mine who went on the study tour last year.  He said that a candidate for being one of his favorite moments of his life was his first morning in Istanbul, waking up to a Muslim call to prayer.  Since I have long been fascinating by Muslim/Middle Eastern/South Asian culture and music, and since I am absolutely in love with traditional chanting or chant-like music, I am looking forward to experiencing this in person. 

In addition to visiting a variety of historical sites (Athens!) and ruins (which greatly appeal to the part of me that is also into Urban Exploration), I will also be exposed more first-hand to Eastern Orthodoxy, which I have recently become fascinated with, partly due to friends of mine who are also interested in it, partly due to one of my theology professors who took courses at a Greek Orthodox Seminary, and largely due to the readings I have done for that class of the works of early Greek church fathers and theologians.  Having grown up very immersed in Swedish Protestantism, I never realized how narrow-minded that line of thought is.  Orthodoxy has a much more fluid approach to theology, focusing not on doctrine or minutely-defined beliefs, but rather involving a more mystical approach based on "via negativa" - the idea that we can never truly know God in his entirety.  Thus, based on that thought, Christianity is not about knowledge of doctrine or holding a fixed set of certain beliefs, but rather much more relational.

If anyone is interested in this, I would highly recommend the works of Origen (whose idea of universal salvation and emphasis on an allegorical approach to the bible I also find very appealing), Iraneus, and Gregory of Nyssa.

For purely aesthetic reasons, I also love Byzantine Art and iconography (thus my new header image).

On a totally unrelated note, I have discovered loads of amazing music lately (mostly due to the wonder of itunes).  Sigur Ros, Lovedrug, Leonard Cohen, Radiohead, Stars, and Death Cab for Cutie are among my current favorites.  I have also revived my love of Haley Bonar's music.  She's a local songwriter, and is giving a free concert this week which I am hoping to attend.

Also, I finally saw the movie War of the Worlds, which was way, way better than I ever expected.

PLEASE take note of the information I posted above the counter/photo on the top left.  I would greatly, greatly appreciate it if you would help me out by clicking on those ads.  Thanks!


A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol.

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Posted at 03:44 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Saturday, September 24, 2005
a very brief update

Alrighty.  I have seven minutes to try and update this thing.  The race begins.

If you've been following my blog at all for the last year, you'd know that for the last seven months or so (in fact, really for the last year, with the exception of a few months), I really struggled over the possibility of giving up on being a performance major.  The idea of giving it up caused me great distress, as did the idea of continuing down the path I was on.

Well, looking back, it's difficult to see how I got to be where I am now.  Considering my indecisiveness, and how readily I am able to switch perspectives from one day to the next, I really don't think it was anything within my control that brought me to where I am now.  Suddenly, it is like a million burdens have been lifted away, and I realize...I am happy.  I love what I am doing.  I love where I am.  I love my roommates.  I love my classes.  I love not having to worry about not being good enough or about getting into a good grad school.  I don't miss the things I've given up.  This whole new world has been opened to me; it is as though I am seeing it for the first time.

Not that I still don't have moments of depression.  Today, for instance, I came across an article detailing to full devastating affects of Hurricane Katrina (like many college students, I'm living in a bit of a 'bubble' when it comes to current events), and we talked a lot about the Holocaust in one of my classes, and I'm worried about a friend of mine whose health is failing, and it seems that the world is just a sucky place.

But then I remember that even though the world is indeed a sucky place, there is beauty and goodness to be found, if only I am willing to look for it.


I hear a thunder in the distance
See a vision of a cross
I feel the pain that was given
On that sad day of loss
A lion roars in the darkness
Only he holds the key
A light to free me from my burden
And grant me life eternally

--Creed; "My Own Prison"

I want to make you happy
But I’ve fallen, I’m sorry
I thought my wings could hold me up
with angels not demons
you don’t know how cool you are
to find the ways to love me without shame

I want my life to be red
with trees and like Autumn
I’d float away from evil and
Down towards the healing
so sad now we have become
the children trapped in the mazes
I’d give my soul to the one who has the courage
to find me and free me now

if I run I’ll just become like all the faking lights
so let the thunders take me under
and break my legs tonight

-Lovedrug; "Down Towards the Healing"

Posted at 07:49 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ok, I wasn't going to do this, but the point has come where I simply can't resist anymore.  I have been itching to write about this amazing, incredible, stupendous, and every other synonymous adjective band that I've discovered.  Actually, I discovered them at the end of last year, via my roommate, but I lost their CD I had burned and thus was unable to listen to them for the duration of the summer.  It was kind of odd, actually, because I would often think, "Oh, I wish I still had that CD," and then I would simply resign that issue as yet another thing to look forward to when I returned in the fall.  Well, due to the fact that I was infected with the Never-Ending Virus From Hell shortly after moving down here, I had a lot of time to lounge around on the couch (while doing homework, of course) and listen to this wonderful band.

Enough already, you're probably thinking.  Who are they?


Since I don't listen to the radio or watch TV, I really have no idea how popular these guys are.  I do know that they're huge in Britain, their home country (don't all the best bands come from Britain?  I mean, think about it . . .Muse, Keane, the Cure, Radiohead, the Beatles . . .).  But I do know that they came to Minneapolis and played at the Quest club last October...damn, if only I could travel back in time...

So what is so great about these guys?

Oh my, where to begin.  First, the lead singer's voice is gorgeous...he tends toward the higher register, which I like, and is very capable with vibrato, sustained crescendos, etc.  Plus when he sings, his voice is incredibly infused with passion. 

Second, there is also the lead singer's guitar playing.  Now, I will admit that I do not play guitar and really have little expertise in the area of judging guitar proficiency, but asthetically, I really like his guitar solos.  There is one song where he just wails on that thing and it is very reminiscent of the human voice. 

Third, there is the lead singer's piano skills.  Again, amazing.  This is where the classical influence comes in that I so love.  On one song, Butterflies and Hurricanes, the first 2/3 is dominated by heavy guitar and drums.  Then, suddenly there is this beautiful interlude, like a desert oasis, of lush strings and rippling piano - the writing is remarkably similar to a piano concerto. 

Fourth, crap I forgot.

Fifth, all of the melodies are just wonderful.  They are actual melodies, not just words set to some loose singable progression.  They are, I would say, far more developed than average.

Sixth, the diversity of styles.  This isn't another band where all of the songs sound the same.  There are some that are more classically-oriented, some that are more heavy metal, some absolutely beautiful slower songs with lush orchestration (another note:  the orchestration throughout is a wonderful touch) and piano, and even some Western-influenced songs (similar in style to the Western theme from Kill Bill 2).

So, go listen to them.  All of the above is based on two of their CDs that I have, Origen of Symmetry and Absolution.  I haven't yet listened to their earliest CD, ShowBiz.   You can listen to quite a few songs for free, as well as view a lot of videos and footage of interviews, concerts, etc. at their website, http://www.muse.mu.

This is one of those bands where I can listen to all of their songs over and over again, and never get sick of them.  My roommates will attest to this. 

Next up:  The Mars Volta.  Another amazing band.  But first I have to get ahold of their newest CD.


I'm too lazy to dig up a quote today.

Posted at 08:44 am by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Monday, September 05, 2005

I've decided that college is the ideal time of life.

Think about it:  you're in your prime, physically; it is one of the most social times of your life; it is a time of "enlightenment" when a new world of ideas and insight is opened for the taking, and the narrowness of being a mere reflection of one's parents is discarded; and it is the time when one experiences the most freedom s/he will ever attain, being not bound to either a spouse or children. 

I have decided I greatly enjoy experiencing the extremes of life.  For example, extreme busyness - for example, my 18-credit courseload plus the school newspaper and (very) part-time job - is rewarding to me; I love knowing I will have to strive hard toward a certain goal and that, really, it isn't the goal that matters so much as the process.  And then, when I have consumed every inkling of energy, I love crashing into relaxation-mode, where I do not have to worry about a thing, content with the knowledge that this is a time of sanctuary which will never sink into boredom as long as activity remains on the horizon.


I think I've finally attained that elusive Holy Grail which for so long was stashed just beneath my feet:  contentment.  (I know, I've overused that term way too much, and one might argue that I continually return to this topic for lack of original material, but what the heck...)  I was terribly worried that, once I got back to school, I would be devastated at having to leave the sanctuary of my cabin, the wilderness, and its accompanying lack of anxiety; but, in fact, I realized that I have not truly left that haven.  It has not vanished beyond my reach, as I suspected.  Instead, it is looming ever on the horizon, awaiting my next return.  Thus my present situation is but another tint of color added to enhance the shade and depth of the greater picture. 

And herein lay the fundamental error of my past modes of thought.  To return to another subject that I have dreadfully beaten over and over - the battle of interests between striving to be a performance major or choosing another path - the above principle applies.  All along, I feared that by switching or adding another major, music would be forever lost to me, and all its associated rewards vanquished.  In reality, however, I have not and never will "give up" music - rather, I will simply be adding other interests and activities to that scope.  The only thing sacrificed is the short-lived "dream" I had of achieving a career in a professional orchestra, which I have already decided is not the right path.

Even in the last week, when my thoughts have been far from the music performance path, I have come to appreciate varied genres of popular music (*see below) which, if I had solely been concerned with classical music, I would have passed by. 

Contentment, then, has sprung from the realization that nothing is ever truly lost to me, and from the appreciation of all the diverse wonders and splendour that life has to offer.

Yet another example of this can be found in my job this last summer.  I did not think I would learn any life-altering truths through waitressing, and I didn't, (unless you count the various wine-making processes and legacies).  But I did learn other, unforeseen things that will serve me greatly:  largely, confidence and the ability to be more socially adept and assertive.  In the past, I have continually struggled with the notion that other people don't like me, and am thus too intimidated to initiate interaction with them.  While working at the restaurant, I was forced to put that idea aside and go out there and provide my best effort - and whether people liked me or not was at that point beyond my control, and gradually moved beyond my concern.  I learned that in everything you do which involves other people, there is a certain risk involved - you must put yourself out there, and expose your best effort, and beyond that, other people's reactions are ultimately not within your control.  But, more often than not, when you do take that risk you find that people respond in a positive manner.

It is amazing how a simple alteration of thought, a single altering of perception, can so affect one's life.  I am a firm believer in free will, and free will occurs entirely within one's mind.  The entirety of life, then, is in large part a direct result of you allow to go on within your mind - your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions, which shape your ideas, values, goals, and actions.  This is even more conclusive when you consider that most events can be traced to a long chain of other events, both internal and external, which are rooted within one's mind at nearly every link along the way.  Excluding the thoughts and actions of other people beyond your realm of influence, everything within the scope of your world is utterly determined by your mind.  Each person, then, has great power over his own life, as well as the power to help or hinder others to extreme ends....this fact alone is warrent enough for one to be endowed with confidence and self-worth.


Yet again following that same line, I often wonder why I devote time and energy to this blog.  Many times I wake up wondering why I posted such a foolish entry, or why I bothered to develop those thoughts. 

And then I remembered the influence of a friend of mine who was the first person I knew of to start blogging.  I was immediately intrigued by this means of making one's thoughts and ideas accessable to others.  I played a gig with this friend some time later, and in the conversations we had, she showed the same transparency and honesty that had surfaced in her blog.  I was blown away not only by the depth of her insights, but also at her ability to look at things objectively - she was always observing, not judging, but observing - observing her own emotions and reactions and thoughts, as well as others'. 

I began to realize the value inherent in this mode of thought.  When you simply observe and not judge, all of the silly limits you place on yourself are brought to light, and you realize that ultimately you, your unexamined self, is your harshest critic, your brutal jailer, your most tyrannical oppressor.  And thus the way to liberation is through the same means that the impediment arises - through the mind.  Through taking control over thoughts, through making a decision to be open and ever shaping new perceptions and attitudes, through the realization that nothing is stagnant but everything - especially those internal things - are continually growing and progressing.

That, then, is why I write these things.  Because I have this semi-Romantic idea that some strangers halfway around the globe will read this and say "I know exactly what she's talking about!  I can identify with that girl!"  And, more importantly, that they will be spurred to ever ammending their thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions.


People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
Soren Kierkegaard

Astronomers say the universe is finite, which is a comforting thought for those people who can't remember where they leave things.



Posted at 02:08 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Saturday, August 27, 2005

For this entry, there will be no philosophizing upon the “meaning of life.”  There will be no struggling over majors and careers, no mention of money, no talk of grandiose plans.  Instead, I am just going to focus on the plethora of small things—and some bigger things—that add richness to life and make each day an artful experience.


So, in no particular order, here are some of those thoughts:


1.  A fresh cup of brewed tea.

2.  Swimming in a forest lake in the middle of the wilderness, knowing that the nearest city is some 300 miles away.

3.  Glimpsing the Northern Lights on a starry night.

4.  Reading a good edition of National Geographic.

5.  Doing yoga.

6.  Dreaming about traveling to amazing, exotic places like Alaska and New Zealand.

7.  Watching scenes from The Lord of the Rings over and over again because they never cease to enrapture you.

8.  Urban exploration.

9.  Reading Shakespeare.

10. Going to a Minnesota Orchestra or St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert.

11. Dreaming about one day owning a cat or dog, or perhaps some horses.

12. Standing on the shore of Lake Superior, and imagining the native inhabitants who stood on that same shore many hundred years ago and looked out at the same vast spread of water.

13. Watching a ship make its way across the horizon.

14. Thinking about how cool it would be to see a whale in the wild.

15. Imagining one way you could make the day brighter for someone around you, and then doing that.

16. Receiving an e-mail, phone call, or letter from a friend you haven’t heard from in a long time.

17. Dressing up for a formal banquet or occasion.

18. Photography.

19. The first snowfall of winter, when the trees are all frosted with white.

20. The sound of waves rolling up on the shore.

That's all I can think of for now.  Perhaps I'll add more later.



In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
Mahatma Gandhi

Posted at 12:51 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Friday, August 19, 2005



I can’t believe summer is almost over.  I know, that’s about the most cliché thought since the birth of a nine-month school year, but it still holds true.  I wish I could pass another four, five months in the tranquility and restfulness of this place.


Not that I’m dreading going back to school.  In fact, I am rather looking forward to all of my classes.  Rather, I am dreading the stress, the hustle-and-bustle, the constant activity without ever a time to do things of one’s own choosing.  And, most of all, I am dreading the cities.  I have grown rather accustomed to the quietness of the wilderness; to always being within a stone’s throw of the water, whether the big lake or own smaller imitation; to the serenade of loons and the nightly splendor of the stars in their course.


Just a few nights ago, I was privileged to view the Northern Lights—a great green bridge of shimmering curtains spanning the northern hemisphere of the sky—and alongside their ethereal glow, the blazing streamers of shooting stars in the midst of a meteor shower.  The corona borealis and Draco’s magnificent head were mirrored upon the serene surface of the lake, and the mist-shrouded hills and ridges cast their shadows upon the water. 


It was, in fact, sheer coincidence in the timing of these sightings.  I had just begun work on a poetry cycle revolving about the topic of the Aurora Borealis.  I had finished three poems and was beginning to lose inspiration.  Then came this sign from the heavens, as if the Muses had descended to share their talents.


Cellar Door.


According to J.R.R. Tolkien (and, incidentally, referenced in the brilliant film Donnie Darko), these two words, in combination, are the most beautiful pronouncement in the English language.


Tolkien, part 2.


I recently wrote an e-mail to a friend regarding Tolkien’s intentions for The Lord of the Rings.  Since I delved into that topic in my last entry, I thought I should elaborate on it a bit further by splicing in parts of that e-mail as follows.


Many people have claimed that since Tolkien adamantly denied that his stories were allegory, any theological or moral implications discovered therein are moot.  I highly disagree, and Tolkien’s letter to Milton Waldman (1951) found both in his published Letters and in the preface to the second edition of The Simarillion clears this issue up entirely.  Tolkien states his intentions that his imaginary world and all of its histories, languages, stories, and lore be taken as mythology, but not allegory.  He defines allegory as that which explicitly promotes certain religious beliefs to the extent that the story loses its footing as “mythical” because it is too rooted in the real world.  Tolkien saught rather to combine “fairy-story, myth, and romance” into a conclusive work.  Theological and moral implications are inherent in such work, as they are inherent in reality, but are to be sufficiently “morphed” to fit with the imaginary world, rather than vice-versa.  Tolkien states in his letter, “Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary “real world” [of] our present situation.” 


I’ve started reading the Simarillion again (I read it in high school, but to be honest, I don’t think I actually absorbed much of it then), and the parallels to Christianity and Biblical concepts are obvious (although he combines them with other mythological elements, especially Greco-Roman and Norse mythology).  In fact, the whole narrative reads like a Bible, especially “The Music of the Ainur,” and the backbone of the entire work is the theological model, which can be seen as an attempt to understand Christian theology in a different context.


Thus, that partially answers the supplication that those who seek such moral and theological in LotR, etc. are finding meaning where there is none.  As a broader, real-world philosophy, however, the whole idea that “meaning” is a human concoction and that none is inherent in the universe is unbelievable to me.  Of course, this depends on the definition of the concept “meaning.”  In my reckoning, there are four facets of meaning:  rationality, purpose, significance, and value.  Of those, two are scientifically (as well as philosophically) inherent in the universe:  rationality and significance.  The universe is built upon rationality—the very fact that we can discern its origins and structure through mathematics is evidence of this.  Significance emerges from the principal of causality—everything affects everything else, and thus everything is significant; we do not live in a void where things occur entirely independent of their surroundings and context. 


The remaining facets of “meaning”—values and purpose—tend to be confined within the realm of philosophy and theology, but really can be expressed scientifically in the form of “significance”, which is closely tied to value, and “function”, which is an expression of purpose.  I’d like to argue that because everything has significance, everything also has value on many different levels.  Just think about quantum physics—you have particles and their antiparticles, the existence of which depend thoroughly on their “value” (here devoid of any philosophical implications).  On higher levels, “value” becomes more synonymous with “importance” and “significance”….and since everything in the universe possesses inherent “importance” in the scientific realm, the parallel can be assumed that everything also has importance or value in the philosophic realm…that is to say, nothing is “meaningless.”  And lastly, we have “purpose”, which is defined in my handy-dandy Microsoft Word dictionary as “the reason for which something exists or for which it has been done or made.”  I would like to modify that a bit to say that “purpose” is “the rationality behind the existence and function of those things which have been crafted into reality.”  Thus “purpose” is closely tied to existence (nothing exists which does not have a function) and rationality (as the spine of everything that exists). 


So, we are at a fundamental crossroads here where one must either admit that meaning, purpose, function, rationality, value, and significance are inherent in the universe, or else one must admit that they are not.  Science and philosophy are on the side of the former. 


Let me look at it another way.  Suppose you decide that everything we discern about the universe (through science and philosophy) is simply a product of human perspective…that “reason” and “logic” belong only to the human mind, and therefore all of reality is subjective.


I find that view entirely unattainable.  If truth is not subjective, then science is moot.  I can believe the concept that logic and rationality and mathematics and so on are only tools that humans use to discern the universe…but then, “tool” implies purpose and function, which implies rationality, and you are right back to square one. 

The Hollow Men

T. S. Eliot (1925)


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer --

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


"The story
  is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless
  ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom against compulsion that
  has long lost any object save mere power, and so on; but both sides in some
  degree, conservative or destructive, want a measure of control.  But if you
  have, as it were taken 'a vow of poverty', renounced control, and take delight
  in things for themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing,
  and to some extent knowing, then the question of the rights and wrongs of
  power and control might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of
  power quite valueless."… Tom represented "Botany and
  Zoology (as sciences) and Poetry as opposed to Cattle-breeding and Agriculture

  and practicality."


--Tolkien; his letters; on Tom Bombadil


Posted at 10:52 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Sunday, August 14, 2005
random spewings about Tolkien and life and so on.

Every few months, I go through a phase where my obsession with The Lord of the Rings (and Tolkien in general) is renewed and I watch the movie several times over.  (This process, of course, spans the course of a few weeks.)  Just recently, I have entered another such phase and watched the movies in a somewhat disjointed order (always with the intention of going back later and watching all three in a row), and I have resolved to do that which I have not yet done:  read all works of Middle Earth, beginning with The Simarillion, then The Hobbit, then The Lord of the Rings.  Of all fantasy novels I have read—each possessing their own magnificence—Tolkien’s masterpiece is the most enchanting, the most haunting, and the most beautiful.  His images of heavenly splendor contrasted with iconic darkness create a simplicity which is deeply affecting; and yet, a sense of epic universality ultimately emerges in each character, in each emotion, in each action, in each subtle moral pronouncement.  By the end, enlightenment is swift:  yes, this is what life is about.



Tolkien’s work has also renewed my enthusiasm for fantasy.  Good fantasy, with mythological roots and impacting themes, not the formula fantasy trash that is so prevalent today.  (Though I must admit to a certain affinity for Piers Anthony, who so seamlessly combines fantasy clichés, humor, satire, and a slew of corny puns into delightfully entertaining novels.)  So perhaps I shall renew my efforts to create fantasy worlds and stories.



I just have to insert a word or two here.  I know I already wrote an earlier entry about this, and most likely nobody cares, but I must once more rave about the excellence of Keane.  Despite their unfortunate following of teenage-girls and their increasingly pop image, they are the one recent band I have come across who do not have a single bad song in their inventory.  Listening to them always boosts my spirit.



 Lately, I have been thinking about a phenomenon that has affected the human race.  And that is this:  the more we progress, the more we discover, the more technological advances we propagate, the more efficiently we are able to achieve things…the more we settle into mediocrity.  Not a mediocrity of intellect or material wealth or wordly success, but rather a mediocrity of the soul.  A mediocrity of values.  And a falling away from those things which are of most value in this life:  love, compassion, peace, loyalty, friendship, unity, empathy, etc.  (all may be summed up in the words “virtue” or “righteousness).  None of these things are physical; none are material; none can be conquered by scientific methods.  And, as a result, they are lost to us.


And, strangely enough, the one material domain that is of most value—nature—we methodically destroy.  We have so intruded upon the ecosystem and upon natural processes that we no longer belong to them; we are apart, claiming to be superior though we are really exiles.


The ideal world, in my opinion, would look like this:  there would be no industry.  No mansions, no cars, no skyscrapers, no factories, no mass-production.  There would be no medicine (I’ll explain this later).  Our lives would be closely tied to the earth—we would take only what we needed to survive, as dictated by ecology.  There would be no mass harvests, no destruction of the environment, no conversion from forest to wasteland, no herds, no cattle, no domestication.  We would live as creatures belonging to this earth. 


Or, short of that, we could live with minimal harnessing of nature for agriculture, dwellings, transportation, etc.  Actually, we could just live as they did in the third age of Middle-Earth.  Let’s face it:  minus Sauron, Middle-Earth is the ideal world.


But anyway, that is a tangent.   My original point is that, as humans, the more efficiently we learn to live, the more we forget how to really live.  We lose track of the point of life.  In fact, such questions about meaning and value are only employed to the extent that they can make best-selling self-help books or marketable ideas.  The widespread motto is:  eat and drink and be happy, for tomorrow you die.  Despite our claims of being so progressive, we are really hiding behind a façade.  There is no unity; each person is a singularity unto him or herself; each person looks only to his own success, to her own happiness, to his own survival.  Look at the situation in Africa, or nearly any third-world country.  Does anyone in America care that others are dying needlessly, helpless victims of war and tyranny?  No, we’re too concerned about our investments and our cars and our rising gas prices.  We’re too worried about our financial security, about “making it” in the world, about climbing the social ladder and becoming committee leaders in church.  True virtue has dwindled to mere politeness.


I must admit, I am one of those.  I worry endlessly about careers and whether I’ll be financially secure and whether I’ll be able to achieve all that I want to do in a lifetime (most of which are selfish goals).


There are, of course, exceptions.  There are Mother Teresas and Pope John Pauls and soldiers who sacrifice themselves to save their buddies and there are human-rights campaigns and poverty-easing organizations and protectors of the environment and seekers of equality and peace.  There are great thinkers and philosophers and writers whose driving force is a quest for  truth and meaning:  spurred by honesty, unable to accept mere survival, they spend their lives digging and the gold they’ve uncovered, though only fragmented pieces of a whole, are a great service to all of us. 


I wish things were different.  I wish I could look at each person that crosses my path and see a fellow human being, not a competitor or a customer or an obstacle.  I wish I could see that every person has something beautiful and good to offer to this world.  I wish I could pull back the gray-hued curtain of this world and look upon the “silver glass…white shores and a far green country…”  (Tolkien; RotK.) 


"We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel
among the Three Kindreds:
Elves, Dwarves and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!"
Like a deer he sprang away. Through the trees he sped.
On and on he led them, tireless and swift,
now that his mind was at last made up.
The woods about the lake they left behind.
Long slopes they climbed, dark, hard-edged against the sky
already red with sunset.
They passed away, grey shadows in a stony land.

Lord of the Rings

"Gondor! Gondor!" cried Aragorn.
"Would that I looked on you again in happier hour!
Not yet does my road lie southward to your bright streams."

Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree
Fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old.
O proud walls! White towers! O wingéd crown and throne of gold!
O Gondor,Gondor! Shall Men behold the Silver Tree,
Or West Wind blow again between the Mountains and the Sea?

Lord of the Rings

To Aragorn I was bidden to say this:
Where now are the Dúnedain, Elessar, Elessar?
Why do thy kinsfolk wander afar?
Near is the hour when the Lost should come forth,
And the Grey Company ride from the North.
But dark is the path appointed for thee:

Posted at 10:33 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Friday, August 05, 2005
the sunset

A change of direction.

I would like to recant the extreme negativism of that last entry.  One of my goals this summer was to stop being so negative about everything.  I tend to be very idealistic in my goals and ideologies, while at the same time harboring pessimism toward everything.  And I very easily fall into the trap of narrow-mindedness.


The extent of my idealism has recently become very apparent.  For every situation, for every possible path that could be taken, I construct in my mind a Romantic ideal of how things should occur.  Then, when reality doesn’t match up to that ideal, I become depressed and negative.  So I need to become more realistic in my expectations.


Practically, this new insight has led me to once again consider majors and careers.  I had an extremely depressing awakening to reality when I realized that by the time I graduate, I will be over $20,000 in debt.  And then I still have to pay for grad school.  As purely a performance major, the classes are negligible and the largest requirement is sheer practice.  Thus, as a viola performance major, I would be paying $26,000 a year to practice.  However, if I switched the music major to a B.A. in sacred music—which would hopefully allow me to direct church choirs, etc.—and then added another major, theology, I would still be able to graduate on time while making the most of what I’m spending.  After that, I could head in any number of routes, including law school.


Here I must insert a word or two.  On my Dad’s side of the family, law is becoming a bit of a family trade—my aunt, my cousin (who just recently graduated from one of the best law schools in the country and is starting out at an extremely prestigious law firm), my dad, and possibly my brother.  For most of my life, I have been ambivalent towards the trade, largely because 1) I thought it would be incredibly boring; 2) I had spent a few days filling in for my Dad’s secretary, and thus thought that a large portion of the career was devoted to paperwork; and 3) I thought that law school would be a torturous, tedious boot-camp type deal.  So I gave up on even considering that option.


Recent facts, however, have brought a new light to that career path.  For one thing, everything involves law.  Law is everything.  Rather than pursuing the rather dismal specialty of corporate law, I could focus on any number of interests—maritime law, international law, criminal law, etc.


For another thing, law involves constantly learning and discovering new things.  It is never brainless work.  While I was mulling over careers and majors, I thought to myself, if only I could stay in school for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly happy.  Then I applied that idea to a career:  as long as I am constantly learning, I will never cease to find interest in such a career.  Thus, law is suiting in that aspect as well.


Furthermore, I realized that I need to start broadening my horizons.  For at least a year, I was convinced that music was the only thing that made me happy, music was the only thing I could legitimately focus on and find interest in.  That was a very dangerous mindset.  For one thing, it prevented me from enjoying life in general.  It has prevented me from writing—something that used to bring great joy to my life.  And it has prevented me from excelling in other areas, since I am so intent on excelling in just the one.


Thus, when I open my mind to the entire world of options before me, I realize that I need to broaden my path a bit.


Boundary Waters.


Today, I went with my family on a one-day canoe trip into the boundary waters.  We went up to Rose Lake on the Canadian border, which was previously known as “Crater Lake” because of the highly elevated shoreline which gives the lake the appearance of being a glacial crater.  Along the portage, there was a stunning waterfall and several beautiful vistas looking into the Canadian Wilderness—the Quetico.


There is something fascinating about the Boundary Waters that cannot be found anywhere else.  Maybe it’s the fact that you look around you and realize that there are no cities, no Wal-Marts, no ugly barren suburbs, no planned neighborhoods, no freeways, nothing.  It is just pure wilderness, save a few cabins dotted here and there on the more populated lakes.  When night falls, there is natural, thick darkness, not the fake rosy-hued sky of city nightlights.  And the star-saturated sky is nothing short of brilliant. 


Even more fascinating to me than the Boundary Waters is the Quetico.  Just over the border in Canada, the Quetico is far more remote, far more beautiful, and with far more stunning scenery.  At work about a week ago, a young couple came in to one of my tables who had just returned from a two-week trip through the Quetico.  They claimed they frequently went for four-day stretches without seeing other people. 


When we first hit the water in our canoes, we spotted a bald eagle circling over the shore.  At one of the portages, there was a group of campers from a nearby junior high/middle school camp.  There were about a half-dozen 10-12 year old boys and their counselor, who bore a remarkable resemblance to a younger, more Greek-looking Johnny Depp (he even had the indescribable Johnny Depp Aura which became apparent in conversation.)  The group had about three canoes—we watched one of the boys take a few struggling steps forward with the boat on his shoulders, then stop and cry out, “Uh, it’s slipping!”  After some help from Johnny Depp, he continued hesitantly forward like a top-heavy duck.  The remaining boys were left three massive packs, weighing at least 50 pounds each.  The counselor lifted one onto the shoulders of a tiny, stick-thin boy with glasses who looked the part of the cliché elementary-school nerd.  (I felt sorry for him already.)  The kid looked like a narrow poplar tree bending in the wind; the pack was nearly twice his size.  Nevertheless, he asserted a weak “yeah” when questioned whether he could handle the pack.


At this point, my canoe started to float away, so my attention was caught up in bringing it back into position.  When I looked up, I witnessed the most hilarious sight I have seen in a long time:  the skinny kid had bent forward too far and the weight of the pack had caused him to topple forward.  So there he was, upside-down, looking like he’d somersaulted into his pack.  My immediate response was, “Holy crap, I hope he hasn’t broken his neck.”  But then he began waving his arms about—“I’m stuck!”  Johnny Depp quickly remedied the situation, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing aloud.


Later in the evening, we pulled into a lodge on one of the larger lakes that also borders on Canada.  Here, the sweeping horizon was dotted with swirls of clouds and stars and the fading violet of the setting sun.  Two loons called back and forth somewhere in the distance. 


The Romanovs.


I read a book by Robert K. Massie about the last Tsar and his family, and all of the controversies surrounding their murders.  I was shocked at the brutality of the Lenin regime, specifically the executioners and Lenin’s heartless rationale.  Suddenly I realized that my dabbling in Communism was representative of the epitome of my idealism.  The book detailed how the family was woken up in the middle of the night, told they were being moved to another place for their own safety.  They dressed and were ushered into a cellar room.  There, they were lined up against the wall and told a photo needed to be taken in order to prove that the family was still alive.  Immediately afterward, eleven gunmen filed into the room, weapons in hand, one for each person present.  It had been predetermined which person each execution was to kill—one each for Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, the four adolescent daughters, the 13-year old crippled Tsarevich, the valet, the maid, the doctor, and the cook.  A brief, eerie proclamation was read:  In view of the fact that your relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia, the Ural Executive Committee has decided to execute you.  The executioners opened fire at point-blank range, but three of the girls of the young son did not die immediately and continued to struggle and cry on the floor in the growing pools of their parents’ blood.  Later, it was found that their undergarments were lined with solid rows of diamonds which deflected some of the bullets.  The maid somehow evaded the fire completely and tried to escape.  Too lazy to reload, the executioners chased after her with the bayonets and finally stabbed the screaming woman to death.  Afterward, the bodies were carried into the remote Siberian forest, the faces all beaten with rifle butts and drenched in sulfuric acid to disfigure them beyond recognition, and dumped in a shallow grave.


The rest of the book details the discovery of the grave in 1991 and the efforts to piece together what really happened to the Romanovs.  At the time of their murder, the Lenin regime maintained that only Nicholas II had been shot for political crimes and the rest of the family had been safely deported.  It wasn’t until communism was more securely in power that he boasted of having murdered the entire family. 


Greece and Turkey.


I am trying to decide whether or not to do a study tour this January in Greece and Turkey. It fits into my schedule perfectly and, in fact, I would probably have to do summer school if I didn’t do the trip, because of the way the classes are laid out.  However, the only real objection I have to going is the money.  $3,800 is a crapload of money.  Of course, it would probably be an amazing experience and I would learn a lot, not to mention discover whether I would like to try for grad school in another country or strive for a career that would allow me to live abroad.  Furthermore, Greece and Turkey both contain amazing scenery and I’ve been dying to get back to the ocean for some time now.  Actually, I’ve been dying to travel in general.


I could pay for the trip by virtually depleting my savings—and any hope for a car in the near future.  Then again, I’m not too excited about getting a car anyway.


So, any advice/comments/insight/insults would be greatly appreciated.


I’ve finally gotten around to writing a story.  I haven’t gotten too far on it yet, but I’m in no hurry.  I’m started to move away from the fantasy genre—something I never thought I’d do—and although this one still has many fantasy elements, it’s not nearly as hardcore as my previous works.


There late was One within whose subtle being,
As light and wind within some delicate cloud
That fades amid the blue noon’s burning sky,
Genius and death contended. None may know
The sweetness of the joy which made his breath
Fail, like the trances of the summer air,
When, with the Lady of his love, who then
First knew the unreserve of mingled being,
He walked along the pathway of a field
Which to the east a hoar wood shadowed o’er,
But to the west was open to the sky.
There now the sun had sunk, but lines of gold
Hung on the ashen clouds, and on the points
Of the far level grass and nodding flowers
And the old dandelion’s hoary beard, 15
And, mingled with the shades of twilight, lay
On the brown massy woods—and in the east
The broad and burning moon lingeringly rose
Between the black trunks of the crowded trees,
While the faint stars were gathering overhead.—
‘Is it not strange, Isabel,’ said the youth,
‘I never saw the sun? We will walk here
To-morrow; thou shalt look on it with me.’

That night the youth and lady mingled lay
In love and sleep—but when the morning came 25
The lady found her lover dead and cold.
Let none believe that God in mercy gave
That stroke. The lady died not, nor grew wild,
But year by year lived on—in truth I think
Her gentleness and patience and sad smiles,
And that she did not die, but lived to tend
Her aged father, were a kind of madness,
If madness ’tis to be unlike the world.
For but to see her were to read the tale
Woven by some subtlest bard, to make hard hearts
Dissolve away in wisdom-working grief;
Her eyes were black and lustreless and wan:
Her eyelashes were worn away with tears,
Her lips and cheeks were like things dead—so pale;
Her hands were thin, and through their wandering veins
And weak articulations might be seen
Day’s ruddy light. The tomb of thy dead self
Which one vexed ghost inhabits, night and day,
Is all, lost child, that now remains of thee!

‘Inheritor of more than earth can give,
Passionless calm and silence unreproved,
Whether the dead find, oh, not sleep! but rest,
And are the uncomplaining things they seem,
Or live, or drop in the deep sea of Love;
Oh, that like thine, mine epitaph were—Peace!’
This was the only moan she ever made.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1816

Posted at 11:02 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
mysterious gloom

July 26, 2005


Thank goodness Microsoft Word knew what the date was today.  I had no idea.


I just watched The Red Violin for about the dozenth time.  That film is so “artistically well-done”, as I am fond of saying; I don’t know why it didn’t snag any awards or more recognition.  I realized not too long ago that Joshua Bell makes a cameo in the Frederick Pope concert scene; he’s shown three times, for a split-second each time, sitting associate concertmaster in the orchestra.  I can’t help but chuckle at the irony of it:  after Pope finishes performing, a wide shot shows the orchestra applauding—and Joshua Bell, sitting there clapping for himself.


I’ve decided that life is a lot better without the distractions of normal everyday “busy-ness.”  Since I’ve been at my cabin, I haven’t had to worry about 99% of the things I waste my time worrying about at school.  Thus, life has been a lot easier and more enjoyable.  I just have to choose not to worry about things.


You know, sometimes I think I may have mild bipolar disorder.  Take today, for instance.  It started out quite shitty.  I wasn’t looking forward to work, I had trouble practicing, and I was generally restless.  I was downright crabby by the time I had to go to work, and the situation worsened when I realized that one of the waitresses was ill and I would therefore have to help cover her section as well, which meant a crapload of tables on only my second night actually waitressing my own tables.  Well, I won’t deny it was quite stressful and I forgot many things and probably came across as an absent-minded dumb blonde in many cases, but overall things went very well, and I came out with over a hundred bucks in tips.  In addition, I have mastered the valuable skill of flirting with the host so that he’ll give me more tables.


Speaking of which, I’d forgotten what it’s like to be in an environment where females are a minority and young adult males are the majority.  At school, the ratio is something like 3:2 favoring females.  Another weird sort of “mini-culture shock” is that fact that, once I get away from school, people cuss a lot.   That always catches me off-guard.  The other night, one of the waiters had trouble bringing up a check and stood there cussing up a storm under his breath for a good solid 3 minutes straight; the offensiveness was doubled by virtue of the fact that I haven’t heard such outbursts in quite awhile.  Now, I won’t deny that I occasionally indulge in a few cathartic exclamations of frustration, but never around other people. 


But I’ve gotten off-topic.  I was talking about how crappy my day was, and then how work tends to be a cathartic experience because I have to focus 100% on what I’m doing for 3 ½ hours, by the end of which I’ve completely forgotten what I was pissy about.  And maybe it’s that combined with my considerable profit, the fact that I accomplished what I was so worried I couldn’t, the fact that tomorrow I’ll be having a nice leisurely day in town eating donuts and hiking the shore of Lake Superior, and the vast sum of caffeine I consumed that all contribute to my uncharacteristically cheerful mood. 


I also realized that, you know what, if I fail as a performance major, I can always move up here and waitress for a living.  It’s not like I would have an major expenses to cover other than the necessities (car, gas, insurance, loans, etc.) since life tends to be really simple up here.  Now that I’ve seen how far I would fall in the worst-case scenario, and I’ve seen that it’s not bad at all, I think I’ll be able to stop worrying about it.


July 27th


Thus far today I haven’t been following my own advice about not worrying about the future.  This morning I had a long conversation with my Mom about majors, careers, money, etc., which sufficiently ruined the rest of my day.  Maybe I am being terribly idealistic.  Maybe I should give up on music and go for something more practical.  But doing something for the money, doing something to attain a certain level of comfort and complacency in a materialistic lifestyle, goes entirely against every grain of who I am.  Honestly, to me, life isn’t worth living if I’m just surviving.  Even if I forfeit materialistic luxuries, I will be much happier striving for something more meaningful, something purposeful (in this case, music).  I’ve realized that, like the conductor in Death in Venice, the search for higher truth and for beauty is the only thing that makes this life worth living for me.  I won’t just survive simply for the sake of surviving.  Screw practicality.  I refused to get bogged down in ennui that arises from having no higher goal or purpose to adhere to.  When everything else in life is dark and shitty as hell, music is the one beautiful thing that makes it all worthwhile. 


Or, as someone on violinist.com once said, “music is the sole breath of spontaneity in an otherwise mundane, predictable life.” 


I don’t care if I’m “not good enough.”  I don’t care if I never make it into one of the top tier orchestras.  None of that matters.  All that matters is that right now, I am pursuing music and I will follow wherever I am led in that field. 


If all else fails, I can join a convent and have all day to practice, attend mass, and study latin and theology.  In fact, the more I struggle over this, the more attractive that option becomes.  If a nun approached me and offered me free housing and health care if I  agreed to play for mass and teach students for free, I wouldn’t hesitate in accepting.  Or maybe I could take on a full-fledged life of contemplation.  I should look into some of those programs where you spend a month in a convent in France, taking on the vow of silence and attending matins, terce, none, vespers, etc. and meditating.  I’m just sick of the everyday flood of meaninglessness that stains nearly everything I do.  I’m sick of thinking that I “need” this or that to be happy.  I’m sick of becoming so emotionally bound up in false hopes and dreams that, when it comes down to it, don’t really matter.  I’m sick of never feeling good enough or smart enough or talented enough or wise enough.  I just want to escape from all of that.



Transfix’d with wonder on the frozen flood,

The blaze of grandeur fired my youthful blood;

Deep in th’ o’erwhelming maze of Nature’s laws,

‘Midst her mysterious gloom, I sought the cause;

But vain the search!....


-James Clark Ross

Posted at 05:18 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

Saturday, July 23, 2005
death in venice


It’s been awhile, which is usually a good sign that things are going well…but since I have a new Dell Inspiron 6000, I am eager to make use of it.


I’m up at my cabin now; the beautiful wilderness is a striking contrast to the bleak, hot, humid city.  The resort I work at is right on Lake Superior; every night, the moon rises bright red and reflects upon the water, which stretches seemingly endlessly as an ocean.  The jagged rocky shoreline is nestled with ancient pines and craggy rock islands that look like a vision from a fantasy novel.  This is a nice change from the world of endless tile bathrooms, steel sanitation boxes, moldy-carpeted hallways with dim buzzing lights, and bare plaster-white walls that made up my previous work environment.  Now, I am working two jobs, both at the resort:  dinner music once again, and I’ve just started waitressing.  By my third night, I think I’m starting to get the hang of it…though I must admit, I never thought it would be such a mental workout.  I get stressed out and then I can’t focus and I have trouble remembering faces and such.  Tonight I had my biggest balancing act yet…I spent most of the evening with four tables at once.


Going into it, I had several huge fears, all of the same genre:  dropping a trayful of food, spilling on a guest, or knocking something over.  Though I don’t tend to be terribly clumsy, my family likes to point out that I am severely lacking in “situational awareness.”  Well, tonight, my third night, that worst fear came true…a lovely middle-aged couple each ordered a glass of wine, and I dumped the woman’s right in her lap.  I was of course horrified and apologized profusely, and they ended up getting free wine and desserts out of the deal and left a very positive comment card.  And now at least I’ve gone and tackled that one big mistake and gotten it out of the way, so hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out.


One thing I really enjoy about working there are the seasonal foreign workers.  (Is the term “foreign” still politically correct?)  This year, there is a batch from Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia.  They’re all very kind and friendly, and of course there is the obvious intrigue inherent in anyone from a different culture; and somehow, they each seem to possess a certain indefinable refinement that is lacking in most Americans.  (Most of the cooks are hickish American high school kids, who highlight this contrast perfectly.)  


I read a fascinating article today about Einstein and his theory of the expanding universe and how, at some point billions of years in the future, this universe will have exhausted its stretching capacity and there will be a massive “rip” that destroys the whole thing.  The article also talked about the multiple universe theory—how there is an infinite “space” from which many universes are constantly bursting forth via big bang and then eventually expanding past their capacity and collapsing, and in other universes the laws of physics might not be the same as ours.  It talked about “dark matter”—the scaffolding of the universe that structures everything, but no one knows what it is, since only its effects can be seen.  And then the marvelously fascinating black holes, and how they create ripples in hyperspace when they form.


I’m not quite sure if I understand the Theory of Relativity, but I found it rather mind-boggling that hyperspace consists of seven dimension—including one for time--and that gravity isn’t simply and “attraction” between massive objects but is in fact indistinguishable from acceleration, since gravity is an object’s acceleration through hyperspace, which is warped by massive objects.  That is just weird to think about…suddenly you look out the window at the world around you and it’s like seeing a ghost or something.


Whoa, get this:  according to Encarta,


When "generalized" to include gravitation, the equations of relativity predict that gravity, or the curvature of spacetime by matter, not only stretches or shrinks distances (depending on their direction with respect to the gravitational field) but alsow ill appear to slow down or "dilate" the flow of time.

In most circumstances in the universe, such time dilation is miniscule, but it can become very significant when spacetime is curved by a massive object such as a black hole. For example, an observer far from a black hole would observe time passing extremely slowly for an astronaut falling through the hole's boundary. In fact, the distant observer would never see the hapless victim actually fall in. His or her time, as measured by the observer, would appear to stand still.


Time dilation effects due to motion were experimentally observed in the early 1970s. Researchers placed atomic clocks on commercial airliners and observed the expected changes in time as measured by those clocks relative to similar clocks on the ground. In particular, when the planes traveled east, in the direction of Earth’s rotation, the clocks on the airliners were 59 nanoseconds (59 billionths of a second) slow relative to the atomic clocks on the ground. When the airplanes traveled west, the clocks were 273 nanoseconds fast. This discrepancy is caused by the rotation of Earth, which causes an additional time dilation. If the effect of Earth's rotation is removed, the time dilation produced by the motion of the airliners confirms Einstein's theory of how time changes with motion, as the dilation is in agreement with predictions made by the theory.


Wow, that’s weird to think about.


I also learned about how time travel is theoretically possible, if a black hole and a white hole (its antithesis) are aligned correctly, forming a wormhole that warps spacetime, then something (or someone) could enter the black hole and, because of the white hole, avoid colliding with the singularity of the black hole.  The person would then be flung out of the white hole and end up in another place and time.


All this really makes me wish I had had a better high school physics teacher.  I hated physics in high school; now, however, I think it would be fascinating, though I probably lack the math skills to properly appreciate it.


Anyway, that was one big long tangent.  I meant to talk about an absolutely amazing film I recently saw, Death in Venice.  Anyone with any interest in film as an art form should go out and rent this movie as soon as possible.  It is absolutely breathtaking—I promise, this movie will haunt you for a long, long time.  However, since it always helps to know what to expect with art films rather than just diving in, I’ll preface it with a few things.  First of all, I kept expecting the action to pick up and the movie to turn into some sort of conventional mystery or romance or other staple genre…this never happens.  Think of this film as a vignette.  Or better yet, think of it as one of those prose-poems that doesn’t really have a structure and has a singular, specific focus, often something abstract or internal.  With the exception of one occurrence, there really is no external action in this movie; the entirety of the film is made up of internal conflict, conveyed solely through very subtle hints—facial close-ups, etc.  There are a couple of scenes where you follow the main character and observe a dinner scene exactly as he would…for a very extended length of time, which at first seems ridiculous, but if you pay attention it’s a brilliant means of conveying the subtlety of what’s going on.


Within the first few minutes, when you first glimpse the main character—an orchestra conductor on leave in Venice who becomes obsessed with a vision of ideal beauty and youth—you deeply empathize with him, and by the end of the film you realize that the irony is in the fact that he himself is an image of ideal beauty in his conviction, his poignant desperation, his yearning.  Throughout the film you wish he would realize this, but of course if he did, the heartrending vision would be shattered.


And, if for nothing else, one MUST see this movie for the breathtakingly gorgeous Mahler soundtrack, consisting solely of part of the 4th movement from his symphony No. 3 and the adagietto from symphony No. 5—the latter being the most beautiful conveyance of sorrow I have ever come across, and of course it meshes perfectly with the film.  Many of the scenes are crafted especially to fit the music, and the stunning imagery and lush, poignant music combine to create an impression that will never leave you.


Alright, enough of me talking about it, go out an rent it.



Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time,

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.


-MacBeth, Act V, Scene IV


How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!

Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music

Creep in our ears: stillness and the night

Become the touches of sweet harmony.


-The Merchant of Venice; Act V, Scene I


Posted at 10:20 pm by Farasha
spill forth thy thoughts

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