gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
With reference to my earlier post, yes, I'm still looking for suggestions. Those who don't get it, see my earlier post.
I was watching this talkshow of sorts on TV, and today they were talking about suicide and depression. It's funny how shows like this sort of set me thinking a little about myself and my life. No, don't worry folks, I'm not in a hurry to commit suicide. But it's funny when we talk about how we cope with the, er, more depressing moments of our lives. I'd be the first to admit I don't have the best management mechanisms around, but I'm not that bad either.
I don't know how many of you could recall when you first realized you had your own consciousness. There's always that question that, when we die physically, does our consciousness die too, or does it drift on beyond death for some period of time? If we could see our own death, what would it be like? I'm not exactly looking for an answer, but the thought is interesting, at least on an intellectual level, but perhaps in part on other levels too.
This image just kept coming back in my head. (As if it's not enough that the "black gladiolus" was lurking for close to a week - that's gone away now - now there's something else that just got in in its place!) Well, it's not exactly an image. When people think of death, they think of suicide, and one of the commoner ways is the razor on the wrist. I'm not sure why, but at this moment I'm thinking of death in terms of going nova. There's this slightly hazy, somewhat detached but up-close image of a pianist at a public performance. Not some soft, slow recital, but closer to the Maksim type of music, played with every drop of passion and energy, with a conscious realization that the pianist is playing through a pain barrier threatening to split his body down the middle. You can picture the beads of sweat profusely emerging on the pianist's skin.
What's it like to be that pianist?
And the music, something of haunting strength and threatening tension, almost disharmonious, a piece of music so sharp it's reflected by the sheer strength with which the pianist strikes his keys. A sensation that crosses between that famous Beethoven and the chorus of the Carmina opera. It's a piece of music that cannot be composed; instead it is a spontaneous product from a person that seems to be in extreme pain and hysteria. How a pianist could conjure a tune like this is beyond all imagination.
What's it like, again, to be that pianist?
And then, just at the moment the musician brings an end to the music, suddenly all the spotlight is on him as he and the music become one in going nova. And just like that, he collapses - perhaps from a heart attack - ejecting a large mouthful of blood upwards just before crashing forward onto the keyboard (oddly, no crashing notes on impact).
Well, that's the image in my head at the moment. For some reasons it reminds me of Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, and it reminds me even more of Milos Forman's famous movie based on the play. Especially coming to mind - though I forget now exactly what the scene was like - is a juxtaposition of two scenes: the sensation that greeted the public performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and the agonizing process of Mozart completing his Requiem Mass (and of course the morning after, when he died in bed). I still have a vague memory of the mood from those scenes, and perhaps I should find a way to get myself a copy of that movie. But that can wait.
Drive me into hysteria
A hysteria you only see
When the tension mounts to incredible levels
When you know this isn't about life and death
But for the next few moments at least
You believe it is more than that
A hysteria that comes from competition
Which unravels you just long enough
To let everyone else see with their own eyes
Just how much this matters to you
So much so
That you would gladly give an arm and a leg
Of being consumed by a fire
That will simultaneously
Burn you to ashes
But also send you to heaven
Drive me into that hysteria tonight
I've been there before. I've heard stories of other people who have been there before. I suppose that's what happens when you're a bit of a theatre guy. You live on theatre, not to mention that you live on competition. That's why life is a stage, and you're the director, scriptwriter and lead actor all rolled into one. The glory feels great, the limelight is enlivening, but you know that the whole world is watching and you want to give it your best or not at all. The whole world is watching, and you're there to perform.
Does anyone know what kind of milk I should get if I want to make a cheesy, carbonara-like sauce for pasta?
And perhaps what else I need to get. I do have some ham, grated mozzy, and that's largely it. Also, must I get olive oil, or will butter do as a lazy substitute? gambitch [
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Idol fever is insane! Am I glad I don't watch any such shows.
They're now talking about possibly reinstating someone who was booted out because she didn't get enough votes. Hey, follow the rules! If she's so good, a music company will sign her up after watching the performance. Stop trying to interfere with the game.
In other news, it looks like The Amazing Race 6 might hit the screens soon. However, CBS has not confirmed this on their own website yet, so I don't know where the news actually came from. No matter.
One of the nice things about Blogger's new bar on top is that sometimes people who randomly blogsurf end up visiting my site, and thanks to my visitor counter, I get to know how they got here. As a result I've now located this blog by Ian McGibboney, who appears to be a pretty decent writer over in the States. His commentary on the presidential election is really interesting!
That was from Maximus (Russell Crowe) in Gladiator. One of incredibly many movies I have never watched, but I'm told it's a great movie, and perhaps I'll catch it on video some other time. But this line is interesting and appealing for very special reasons.
Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a hellhound. I know that somewhere within me there is an Iori Yagami streak, the type that would set the world ablaze with the flick of a wrist. And the problem with streaks like those is that you have to find a place to use them before they end up consuming you. It's the kind of thing that fires people up for certain things. And I've found my place to channel that fire.
To just complicate things a little further, I know I'm a bit of a pariah. I don't know what the established order privately thinks about people like me, who went through a different set of experiences and were brought up on a different diet. I do know that we're not getting enough respect, that we keep getting shut out. I've tried conciliation, and it doesn't seem to work. If I haven't tried hard enough, fine, say so and I'd have tried harder. But in the meantime, it certainly looks like people like me are disdained rather than hated; a rival hated is a rival recognized for his strengths, that's why we hate our bitter rivals because they are out there competing with us, inch for inch, neck and neck. That's not me. They don't believe that I'm on an anywhere near comparable standard. They might be right, they might not be. But they've got to let people like me prove or disprove it.
I sometimes wonder whether I'm getting myself a little too involved in this business, given the informal capacity in which I currently work. I try to remind myself to be careful about crossing this line and treading on the wrong toes, but I guess I can sometimes just be too enthusiastic to forget my own reminders. The thing is, there's nothing particularly political or evil about my work. If anyone thinks there is, let me say this here again - there isn't.
I'm not out to make enemies. I can't be doing things like that. Deep down I just want to see things improve. I just want to see the kids grow as close to their potential as possible. Maybe my methods are radical, but I'm not out to be destructive just for the sake of it. Sometimes you just have to tear a few things down to build something else up. To paraphrase Graham Greene, sometimes destruction is a form of creation; and going further, sometimes destruction is a necessary step towards creation.
There's a bit of a nagging suspicion in me that I'm at a very significant crossroads at this point. I could stick on with my path, either with this bunch or another bunch (but where do you find people this good to work with who aren't already stuck with someone else?), or I could just walk away and stop giving a bloody damn. If I made myself walk away I could stay away for quite a while, and who's to predict how fate will intervene in the meantime? But do I want that to be my preferred choice, really? gambitch [
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I'm not sure why the phrase "black gladiolus" keeps buzzing in my head at the moment. It's one of those relatively odd-sounding phrases that somehow stick for a little while. Odd, given I've never actually seen a black gladiolus.
Now that that's out of the way...
In a previous life as a competitive mathematician, I once learnt the art of answering multiple choice questions. In fact I got so good at it, I once spent some time teaching others the relevant skills. Learning the skills also got me interested in thinking just how people go about setting multiple choice questions. It's less tough when the questions are for things like language, but once there's logic, reasoning or calculation involved that's where things get a little fun, and I could start using the skills I had picked up.
I suppose that's what got me started on doing things like setting questions, especially setting good questions that reflected on the quality of work put in to set those questions. As a student we usually grumbled about how questions were tough and essentially didn't give us a chance to score well, but now that those days are well behind me, I can seriously look at some of these questions and genuinely admire the beauty of some of these really good questions. Then I would ask myself if I could do an equally decent job if I got a chance to do it.
This partly explains why, when it comes to "the profession", one of the most neglected arts is that of, so to speak, setting good questions. I don't know how many of you out there have had the experience where you get really keyed up and everything for a big slugfest, only to get completely deflated when you learn what you're going to talk about. I'm not sure why anyone still talks about whether the government should ban video games in general, for instance. To me those things are just really damp squibs that don't excite and definitely don't keep everyone on their toes. In my day I enjoyed working in the background and crafting things out, right down to the lettering. I suppose you could make a hash of it and just come up with some random stuff (as some of you will remember back in that thing in July), but if you've been to some big ones like I've been, you just wish you'd see some really good questions that give you a realistic challenge.
I once ran a show in early 2003. I don't know how many of you were actually there and remember what it was like to be a participant on that show. Most of you who read this aren't, in some cases because you were too young. A few, like Bonny (sorry, but take it in good fun) perhaps would recall vaguely. The thing about "our show" was that, at the time of doing it, we seriously set our minds on upping the bar and providing a really solid challenge. Well, at least that's what I thought very seriously about. We could do that with the format (which we did), but we wanted it to be total. Which explains why, between the organizers, we tossed around close to 100 questions before picking out the 30 we finally settled on. And then we went round and round polishing them until they were, in our collective opinion, good enough to be on show.
I wasn't there when the show had another run this year. There were reasons, but that's not the point. The point is I don't know how well the show was actually run this year, and more importantly, whether they kept up with the standards set in previous years. I hope they did, but that's not really something I can influence. Anyway, they probably wouldn't tell me; I'm not the type to hold people accountable for things that's officially none of my business, and even if I was, would they comply?
On occasion I have come up with the surprising oddball, but I've also been spot-on before when trying to predict what would come up at the "big ones". Sure, I've missed plenty and I've hit a few obvious choices before, but when you see something that catches a few by surprise and you get it right, it just feels good, doesn't it? It sure does for me! gambitch [
Monday, October 04, 2004
Compared against my previous outing as goalkeeper, yesterday's performance was quite a bit weaker. I can cook up my own excuses, but part of it could have to do with the fact that I didn't really sleep that well the night before, and that I didn't drink enough water. Yeah, it's an excuse.
I got a touch for a couple of goals, but those touches were not enough. My mates would tell me not to take it too hard, and they've got a point, but it's that much more sickening to concede a goal when you actually got a touch to the ball. There was another one where I managed a touch but ended up diverting it into the net instead of up and over. Needless to say, I wasn't really on form. At least the first game ended 5-1 in our favour before I started leaking too many goals.
I then proceeded to sleep the afternoon off - and as it turned out, I slept the evening off too until about 2am or 3am. Now my bio-clock's all messed up again. Damn. And I can feel my body aching here and there too. This is likely to be a short day for me at the rate this is going.
I've to think about my next blog entry. Those who have been following my blog would know that I write in a variety of styles, and some entries are inaner than others. I've some thoughts on my next one, but I've to craft them a bit before writing it all down.