Sunday, March 25, 2012

lowered gear

in the cartoon, an israeli politician and an iranian politician stand behind opposing podiums with empty, missile-shaped speech bubbles above their heads; their index fingers raised, their eyes closed and their teeth bared while shouting into their microphones. below them, holes have been cut into the podiums and hands reach out from either side to trade red roses.

i find this image very touching. a less-touching observation was made, though:
the image compares between the leaders of iran that call for erasing the zionist entity from the map of the world and actively support organizations aiming at liberating palestine from this "temporary" regime by deliberate murdering civilians, and the leaders of israel whose only narrative is protecting the existence of the state of israel by destroying iran's nuclear facilities. this comparison is outrageous, false, and is nothing but anti-israeli propaganda.

while i agree that a comparison of the speech bubbles does render this off the mark, that is not the point of the cartoon. the focus of the image has to do with war rhetoric vs the people's wishes, and the final statement "and is nothing but" is not valid. wouldn't it be nice if we could all just get along?

it's a nice idea, and worth nothing more nor nothing less. i've read the comments, and it seems that some people are into it and some aren't. and that doesn't make it any less of a good idea.

do i think it'll make a difference? not really. is the israeli war rhetoric the same as the iranian? not even a little bit.


the day arrived. i got up early (i'm still sore at having gotten used to the times), and spent two hours on my paper. i arrived at the poetry conference just as it was beginning, and the first couple of hours were mostly very interesting. the head of our department gave the opening speech, as usual, and i have to say that i was blown away by its poetic nature - the conference title was "poetry in unexpected places", and to hear it in a description of a clinical case was too meta to go unrepeated:
a young woman in an institute for psychotic adults repeatedly takes slices of bread out of her bag, carefully peels them, bites holes into them; periodically, she goes for walks in the institute in which she occasionally touches the walls and mounts the rims of sidewalks, tracing circuits around an emptiness she makes emerge, an emptiness that is the rudiment of signification that for her is never guaranteed but must always be made, poeien, anew. poetry addressed to no-one, in a language, if it is a language, absolute in its singularity. a language for which there is no dictionary, no treasury of signifiers. and yet creating a hole in the real that makes the dwelling of this subject in this world, on this earth, possible.
- professor shirley sharon-zisser
the first session ended with a discussion with one of my fellow students - she's incredibly sensitive (for better and for worse), and lacking in self-confidence for the simple reason that she, like most students, doesn't understand what the academic institution is all about. what i explained to her was then re-explained to me on another level: on my way from that chat to continue working on my paper, i ran into another fellow student who told me that it is possible to resubmit a paper once it's been returned. amazed, and especially hopeful in light of last week's paper being a disaster, i send last week's paper's professor an email asking her if this was the case:
that's the whole point of a graduate seminar - to prepare you for the academy where revision and resubmission are normal.
well, i'll be.

aside from a side-quest to pick up something for a friend of mine, i spent the following three hours working really hard and finishing my paper. my original plan was to cut it down to size - a "referat" submission is supposed to be 10-15 pages, and a seminar paper 15-25 - and then restore the cut elements for the seminar submission due in a month and a half's time.

hah! shortening a paper. that's *never* possible. so i emailed it to the lecturer, printed it out, handed it in to the secretary, and walked outside:
the perfect moment
i step outside
it's quiet, with a light breeze to round of the edges of the suns rays
and my heart quivers
bursting with uncontainable excitement
after releasing my son into the wild
sending him off, in the hope that he is ready to do me proud
yes, i know, it's a crappy poem, but that moment was as sweet as all that. i hadn't realized just how much that paper meant to me; it's the first step towards doing my duty to shakespeare, the most innocent and mind-bogglingly intense poet / playwright ever. now that it's all written down and formalized, i've gotten in touch with airplane in the hope that we can turn this into a graphic novel... i already have some wicked ideas ;)

after a cup of coffee with the friend i'd run the errand for, who made an interested point about most of us being incapable of stopping and reflecting, we went to the anime screening. romeo x juliet: too soon. too soon. it's absolutely wonderful, the mix-and-match shakespearean stories and stories-within-stories, and that being just the first episode, is inspired. and the dragonsteeds? no problem, even if i think that's a terrible name for them. but william shakespeare himself, portrayed as a sex-starved paedo, is offensive precisely because i have just demonstrated that he most certainly wasn't.
speaking of offensive: the boondocks wins first prize. it's horrible, and i will be watching more of it. finally, the japanese x-men is highly reminiscent of akira. which is weird. and not uncool.

i was exhausted, and the guys were a bit too loud for me, but it was still a fun screening.

one of the guys (a doctorate student) gave me a lot of helpful advice, and as i waited for the bus i checked my email and received the first comment on my paper from my advisor: on the one hand, he's enthusiastic about reading my paper. on the other, there are a couple of points that are going to upset him and i KNOW my tone was arrogant. i need help with that, unfortunately, i don't actually know how to take that down a notch.

pg and i went to maker's for dinner, and after that i wasn't feeling so good. i went to bed early and hoped it wasn't food poisoning.


8.30: wake-up

noon: on blades to an awkward picnic birthday party
- i was the only bringer of beers, nobody brought a bottle opener
- most of the time was spent in a circle making introductions
- some of the time was spent with a frisbee. i was the only one who could manage it.

2.30pm: bailing for a sandwich and coffee, with no time to return home
- the sandwich was vegan, and oddly so
- the barista mistakenly gave me regular milk
-- i didn't notice
-- she felt terrible
-- we're both lucky my lactose intolerance isn't serious
-- i had to explain to her that she deserved her tip, in particular because she'd warned me

4pm: a lot of us arrived for the rollerblading
- only to discover that we were supposed to be there at 4.45pm
- we'd all have planned our days differently
- i practised some jumping, and i think that was productive

4.45 - 7pm: a good roll.
- good exercise
- pg's mum and i convinced her to join us, and all in all it was a pleasant afternoon.

*time slows* a shower, dinner, coffee, the rest of astérix et la surprise de césar (i can't believe i remember it so well from the comics!), and scrapper visiting for three hours of music, words and ideas.

hmm: etymology of the word remember, as in to put together the pieces of the bodies? (from the myth, can't recall the speaker's name)


what kind of day was today? it was a perfect day. it began with a two-hour interview for a british woman doing her doctorate research on the conflicting morality of political views, which is a topic i'm almost always happy to wax lyrical on. if i can get a hold of the transcription i'll be making it available online. from the coffee shop, i stepped out into a beautiful spring day, and it wasn't hard to convince pg to join me for breakfast at our new local hangout, clementine.

i ate far too much, it was all delicious, and read jazz poetry (it's an assigned work for one of my courses) with jazz playing in the background (coincidence?), and i was halfway through my coffee when i began feeling sleepy. i paid, shuffled home, and passed out on a chair in the lounge in the sunlight, woken sometime later by pg telling me to go to bed. what followed was the deepest, most peaceful nap that i recall having for the last while, and i guess on some level i'm still in that moment, hanging on, as it were.


pg and i went to pick up our numbers for the rollerblading / half-marathon on friday, i bought running shoes because they look cool and were reasonable priced at %50 off (and i've been looking, it wasn't *really* impulse shopping), and then we stopped at le guffre for a perfect waffle and tea, great music in the background and a warm, european atmosphere: it was more pleasant and romantic than any of our experiences in austria. go figure :P

home, salad, futurama; a chat with my mum, and now it's time to either get productive or crash. tough call, if tomorrow's 6.30am wake-up is to be believed :P

oh, america. defeating science? that's just sad. it looks even sadder after reading about new firehoses.

piracy economics: rob reid on numbers mythology

elon musk is my hero. speaking of heroes, he almost looks like he's going to cry when discussing neil armstrong.

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