There's a billboard next to the Caltrain right now that manages to be wrong about at least six distinct things despite having only two sentences and some sponsorship information on it. I've also been watching Morgan Spurlock's FX series the last few days, in which the unspoken thesis seems to be that religion is on the wrong side of everything; this billboard is no exception. So between the two of them I'm again motivated to write, breaking a shocking thirteen month silence. (What have I been doing for a year?)
Last time I was Bored in Baltimore, I watched a series called the Atheist Tapes on the Netflix Instant Queue. Denys Turner made a particularly bold challenge to the "card-carrying atheists" of the world, by daring us to step beyond the "what" and "how" answers provided by scientific process and try to answer the "why" questions supposedly addressed by theology. Well, I suppose that begs the question of whether theology does any better with those questions than what scientists do with the "why" questions that can't be addressed by scientific method, which I would say is a resounding no. But he at least gets points for being interesting.
Well, I missed International Blasphemy Day by a few weeks with this post, mostly due to being caught up with my day-to-day heresy. I also missed the opportunity years ago when I denounced the original sacred cow to my supposed Hindu friend Varun and he responded by suggesting that my mother was practicing the original profession. I guess it's always good to wait until one has something good to say before saying anything at all.
I just watched the strangest movie ever. It wasn't Lynch- or Cronenberg-strange. Those dudes try too hard to be weird. No, it was strange because it didn't know its own strangeness. It didn't think itself weird, which made it that much creepier.
I've been on a House, M.D. marathon the last few weeks. It's refreshing to find a show that's too smart for me. I'm also amazed that Fox execs green-lit a show that is not just unabashedly atheist, but ridicules all matters of faith on a regular basis. In the space of a few lines of dialogue in a single episode, House not only claims that God is either dead or unimaginably cruel, but also that what religious people believe doesn't make sense.
Reining in my thought processes has been a little difficult lately so I'm just going to dive right into paradox and expound on ineffability. I've been chasing my own tail to find a place to start tonight and keep identifying new layers of meta-meaning that could suffice as the main theme only to find yet another layer on top encompassing and at the same time circumscribed by the swirling mass below. In the past, I've polished and polished before even beginning to write, and of course throughout the process as well. Tonight I am instead intentionally biting off more than I can chew and attempting to catalogue uncertainty and general non-definition, both for its own sake and for the sake of maybe answering a few questions. At the very least, I think it will be critical to make a few structural adjustments to my own mutable framework.
Hi, my name is James and I'm an amouraholic. If Choose-Your-Poison Anonymous wasn't just a front for cultlike religious indoctrination (get 'em while they're weak and afraid), I'd say we all need to join up for this one. Yes, we're all addicted to love. I'm not talking about real love. I'm talking about the Disney-endorphin-fantasy brand. I'm talking about the kind that's still all pretty in the package before the buyer's remorse sets in; the sixth gear test drive before the sticker shock; the Bali bliss sans open-wound leper; the Barrier-Reef narcosis, hold the bends. You know what I mean: the fairy before it becomes a tale.
It's time to print a few retractions (revisions, at least). Not too long ago, I was a little afraid of living in the future. Lately I've seen that in quite a different light. I also had some choice words to say about SMS, but now I realize that I was just using it for the wrong things.
It's been a little too long since I've called people out on their bullshit. Well, some specific people I have, but not specific others; and not general classes of bullshit. On tonight's menu: continued cell phone abuse, airplane abuse, and cowardly relationship abuse.
There is only one kind of memory we can still believe: the kind recorded by our sense of smell. All the rest can be artificial, deceptive, diaphanous to near invisibility, or fleetingly transient. Sadly it has nothing to do with the way we're wired; it's purely a matter of technology. Incidentally, I wonder how much longer memory month is going to last, and if it will ever go to sudden death.
I used to think that solving a jigsaw puzzle was a good metaphor for learning and experience. It's very hard to attach new concepts to our partially-trained brains if we don't have a few edge pieces laid out or some gaps waiting to be filled with new nubs. I don't like that metaphor anymore. Jigsaws are so two-dimensional, so rigid, so finite. There are so many ways to assimilate new pieces - they can't possibly be destined to fit into some pre-defined order. The same piece can totally change shape from the first time we pick it up to the next time we try to attach some new experience to it. Learning is a such an interconnected, nebulous, woven, five-dimensional, omni-directional process that the best we can do is focus on compartmental knowledge and dubious causality to try to understand how it works. It's snowing in San Francisco. Did a butterfly flap its wings in New York?
I'm such a sap. Rarely, maybe twice a year, I get the motivation to sort through the vast collection of dead tree pulp I've accumulated in neat piles on my desk and in my file drawer. This time I've had a new impetus: I bought a safe, mostly for the fire-proof aspect of it. By now I have enough of a collection of paper that I could start to have problems if it disappeared. Not to mention the amount of data I've accumulated that needs a good place for the DVDs it's on.
I love Mean Girls. I love the movie and I love catty, backstabbing, fingernail-clawing bitches. Well, I loved the movie right up until the middle of the 16th chapter, when Rachel McAdams gets hit by a school bus. Oops, was that a spoiler? That was the point at which my Netflix DVD was scratched and was horribly unplayable. Coincidentally, it was also the point at which the movie started to suck. I wish I hadn't had them send me a replacement copy and I could have stayed in awe of its pure and layered perfection.
I thoroughly devoured Clublife yesterday and I'm pretty well blown away. I admit that I was sucked in by the probably typical gleeful Schadenfreude that has drawn so many others into it: hearing stories about Guidos and B&T trash getting tossed on their asses by their societal and physical superiors. I also admit that I arrived at the party rather late, so it's a good thing his standing guest list is still open. I found the link through memepool, which doesn't generally lead to anything intellectually stimulating, but this time they struck gold.
I'm a pretty complacent person, especially at five in the morning. That is in the general case. This has been no ordinary run-of-the-mill couple of weeks, though. I tried go to bed early tonight and was foiled this time not by my chronic insomnia but the shrill clatter of the worst four-dollar phone in the ignominious history of corded tone-dialed phones. I fell back to sleep cranky and irritable, amazingly managing to break the insomniac cycle for at least a few days, but in such a tweaked state even dreams reflect the darker misanthropic undercurrents of my overinflated hyperintellectual egotism. If you're acutely sensitive to extreme concentrations of vitriol, or you aren't quite ready to be exposed to my dark and dangerous underbelly, perhaps it's best to move along now.
Neela recently announced her blog, coincidentally as I've just rekindled my love affair with San Francisco. Oh, she's a fickle mistress. I only half-heartedly believe that because I've only ever been her houseguest that I don't get to see her when she's not on her best behavior. New York City - the other great love of my life - I get to see her at her best, but sadly I also get the full picture. I get to see her at her sickening worst.
I've just learned a few hours ago how to play my favorite Live song, The Distance. I usually don't develop favorite songs from the lyrics - it's almost always all about the melody, progression, and harmony. Hell, half the time I don't even know the right words to a song until I look at the lyric sheet! Having spent so much time staring at this song, though, I guess I got conditioned into a certain path of late-night meditation. Why is it that we have so much clarity lying awake in the darkness, yet it scatters like blackbirds when the lights come up?
God damn it's good to have a photographic memory; I couldn't have a better image branded onto my mind's retina right now. Something about prolonged lack of sleep dilates that pupil to the point where it's like a little Irish Catholic high school girl in Jamaica at noon: drunk, impressionable, and very likely to get burnt.