crowds (COUNT=1487)

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Despite all that planning, towards the end of the trip, he was overwhelmed by the Kyoto crowds (as well as the Kyoto heat). So I did a couple segments on my own. There is an upside since he does not like it when I follow a person stalkishly.

But that is precisely the joy of crowds.

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i++ Nijo castle

i++ Cycling the narrow streets of Nakagyo

i++ Sanjo-kai playground

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i++ Cats

(sometimes I think he is a jazz listening whisky drinking character in a Murakami novel) (walking along philosopher’s walk at 5 am accompanied by cats maybe I am too)

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ishiguro

So Ishiguro won the prize. I do think he captures wonderfully the essence of our times: “I don’t know if they miss it by seconds. In a way they’ve missed it by miles. They might look back and think, There was this moment when it could have all been different. It’s tempting for them to think, Oh, it was just a little twist of fate. But in fact, there are colossal things that make them miss not just love but something essential in life.”

– – –

In STL, I watched Brad’s status with Ann. As expected, Ben Stiller does an amazing job stalking the wives of his friends on instagram. If people who attended non-top schools expend all their energy fighting “the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing”, should people who actually attended Harvard just kill themselves?

– – –

This brings to mind another film: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In the theater scene, Robert asks: Do you want to investigate my courage? But what use do we have for courage (or competence) when our definition of glory ensures destruction?

2049

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Two years ago, when I took this picture, I thought: Is this how birds feel looking into a building? Is this how Nabokov felt when he wrote the first two lines of Pale Fire?

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the window pane

– – –

Today, I asked him: What was your favorite scene from Blade Runner 2049?
He said:

A system of cells interlinked within
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct
Against the dark, a tall white fountain played

Like Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 is about whether or not the protagonist is human. But really, if one who reads Nabokov, with feeling, is not human, what does it even mean to be human?

I don’t want to jump to conclusions after seeing this film once but it’s got that slow burn that allows me to think about what I’m thinking about while I’m seeing it for the first time. It has the awesome style of Arrival (duh same director), the awesome plot of the Matrix, the awesome architecture of Gattaca and the awesome instinct of 2001: A Space Odyssey … When people try too hard to grasp the truth, they find themselves bound by narratives created by others.

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Him: This is not as good as Space Odyssey
Me: You cannot compare every film to Space Odyssey!!!

Whereas Space Odyssey could be a grand display of Nietzsche’s ideas on recurrence, Moon is perhaps a quiet meditation from a more human perspective

Clone II learning wood carving from Clone I brings to mind this particular passage from Nietzsche: What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

Just as the starchild in the last scene of Space Odyssey could be a reference to Bodhisattva (菩萨), Clone II puts on his yellow sleeping suit and starts a new journey at the end of Moon. Let the adventure begin.

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ain’t she sweet (COUNT=1328)

1. When I fly to St Louis on a Sunday afternoon, he takes me to the UP station and each time, we say: Wouldn’t it be nice to grab a drink at the UPstairs Lounge? So that’s where we kicked off the weekend at 6:30 on Friday (with jazz and blinking departure lights)

2. Followed by unplanned dinner at Bravi. I was here a while ago for a corporate event. On a surprisingly quiet night, it’s rather romantic with salty olives and lush calamari

3. And somehow we find ourselves singing ain’t she sweet (and now I ask you very confidentially)

4. Saturday coffee day revisiting Sumach Espresso

5. Followed by unplanned walk through Acadia (and I picked up some Chekhov short stories)

6. For dinner, I made two vegetable dishes with a little extra apple cider vinegar while he prepared rice and meatballs (as 50/50 as 50/50 can be)

la la la (COUNT=1322)


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Well it’s half way through November

Time to start thinking about new year’s resolutions and I’m thinking 2017 can be the year to travel without traveling. For example, I can finally upload all my pictures of La Paz while humming La La La.

Of course, I will continue to travel to St Louis for work and we will continue to visit his family in Collingwood. But other than that, I can simply sit on my couch and read about an artist who wanders the streets of Oslo. Or watch movies of different places from different times.

My dad gave us a subset of his DVD collection and we started with Los Angeles: Altman’s Short Cuts. Because Carver’s writing is somewhat minimalist, I never imagined his characters to live in LA but somehow the setting really works. Instead of trying to describe the movie (the little stubbornness, the big cruelty and so on), I think a section of wikipedia captures the feel.

The following excerpt from Scott Driscoll’s review of Maryann Burk Carver’s 2006 memoir describes the decline of Maryann and Raymond’s marriage.

The fall began with Ray’s trip to Missoula, Mont., in ’72 to fish with friend and literary helpmate Bill Kittredge. That summer Ray fell in love with Diane Cecily, an editor at the University of Montana, whom he met at Kittredge’s birthday party. “That’s when the serious drinking began. It broke my heart and hurt the children. It changed everything.”

“By fall of ’74”, writes Carver, “he was more dead than alive. I had to drop out of the Ph.D. program so I could get him cleaned up and drive him to his classes”. Over the next several years, Maryann’s husband physically abused her. Friends urged her to leave Raymond.

“But I couldn’t. I really wanted to hang in there for the long haul. I thought I could outlast the drinking. I’d do anything it took. I loved Ray, first, last and always.”

Carver describes, without a trace of rancor, what finally put her over the edge. In the fall of ’78, with a new teaching position at the University of Texas at El Paso, Ray started seeing Tess Gallagher, a writer from Port Angeles, who would become his muse and wife near the end of his life. “It was like a contretemps. He tried to call me to talk about where we were. I missed the calls. He knew he was about to invite Tess to Thanksgiving.” So he wrote a letter instead.

“I thought, I’ve gone through all those years fighting to keep it all balanced. Here it was, coming at me again, the same thing. I had to get on with my own life. But I never fell out of love with him.”

Next Part of the Traveling without Traveling Itinerary
London: LeRoy’s Waterloo Bridge
Paris: Truffaut’s Last Metro

hurricane theory

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When I travel, I usually travel through book stores. In New Orleans, I picked up The Moviegoer by Walker Percy at the Garden District Book Shop. Just finished it. For a book about despair, it is refreshingly optimistic

Another quote from another Percy book: Though science taught that good environments were better than bad environments, it appeared to him that the opposite was the case. Take hurricanes, for example, certainly a bad environment if ever there was one. It was his impression that not just he but other people too felt better in hurricanes

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