Monthly Archives: April 2009

spring film festival ’09 [archive]

what a cinematic weekend. it’s mid-sunday and since thursday night i’ve watched six movies. thursday night, as i wrote before, katelyn, elaina, and i watched Amadeus (8/10). friday was a gorgeous day, but instead of taking advantage of the sun, right in the middle of the day i burrowed into the hole of my apartment for the 3.5 hour epic that is Ben-Hur (6/10). i really couldn’t get into it. i may have even liked Spartacus better, because it at least seemed to try to uphold some virtue: freedom. Ben-Hur, on the other hand, made no real sense to me. the only awesome part came in the form of a ten minute chariot race:

i actually watched the chariot race twice. when the movie had about 45 minutes left, Elaina came over and watched the end with me, but she unfortunately arrived just after the race scene. after the movie ended, i just went back and watched the scene again with her. at this point, i was pretty sure how i wanted my weekend to play out, so i asked her to pick a movie on my desktop to watch. ten minutes after Ben-Hur, i was sitting on my bed watching The Wrestler (8/10) with the punk. i had torrented this film immediately after Chris highly recommended it to me, just a few weeks ago, so i’m glad i finally watched it. plus, i don’t watch enough contemporary movies. it was solid. the movie tells its whole story, i felt, in the first five minutes, yet it still proved worth watching all the way through. for those who have seen it, my favorite parts = deli scenes.

done with movies for the day, Elaina started trying to convince me to want to go out with her and everybody else. a bottle of wine later, i caved. we went out with xanthe, zoe, and her new Greek boyfriend to a chill bar in monastiraki, where the boy introduced to this warm alcoholic drink. xanthe and i thought it was delicious, contrary to the opinions of the other two girls. it was a weird night. Xanthe and i were definitely in a zone together. from Elaina’s apartment, to the taxi ride, to the bar, we unstoppably reminisced about beautiful California. i felt bad because it kind of put Elaina in a bad place. she mostly just missed home and, without me or xanthe even noticing, left us at the bar.

what can you do? party. Xanthe and i had big plans, mostly jokingly laughing and discussing going to omonia square to score some drugs. how ridiculous. i later found out that zoe’s boy was originally very worried that zoe smokes weed (she does), but she promised him that she doesn’t. love, love, love, love, whatever: to each their own. and Xanthe and i did actually go on our own. we bought beers at a kiosk and walked through omonia and onwards to exarhia, the neighborhood of Athina where all those recent riots started. tons of kids spilled out of bars, drinking on the sidewalk, on the corner, just hanging out all over. most dressed in black and a few showed off their spiky heads. totally where i wanted to be. Xanthe and i picked up another couple beers and just hung out there for an hour or maybe more. gossip music love girls boys life everything is what we talked about. Xanthe has concluded that i’m going to marry her friend Donni. esta loca. at one point, as the crowds were thinning, i tried to talk to one of the friends of the mohawked dudes. he was not friendly, but he was not friendly. he did not ignore us, but he did not seem to want to talk to us. he acted perfectly respectable, but he looked like he wanted to start another riot right then and there. he said he hated Athens because of the corruption. i feel you, man, but i’ll keep my mouth shut because i don’t know anything about it, except that it seems to be the norm everywhere you go.

after hanging outside long enough, Xanthe and i hit up some bar for our last couple beers for the night, around 4am. we rocked out maybe a little too hard to Killing in the Name and a couple other not-so-good tracks (but then, what can follow Killing in the Name?), but promptly passed out on a chair nearby. seriously, Xanthe sat in my lap and i held her like a baby in my arms, and we passed out. after waking up and walking out in the middle of a Joy Divison song, we caught a taxi home to get to sleep by 6am. what a fucking crazy night. definitely the craziest i’ve had in this city and the craziest i’ve had, period, in a very long time. i’m glad it happened with my California girl here, aint nuthin but a g thang, baby, two doped out niggaz going crazy, unfadable so please don’t try to fade me.

ouch, saturday. it’s like this and like that and like this and uh, you go to heaven only to fall to hell. only one of the worst hangovers in awhile can follow one of the most fun nights in awhile. Elaina tended to me with toast and water, even though i was the reason she didn’t go to the beach with her roommates. i felt pretty awful. “fuck.” i said it like i was expelling demons. fuck. fuck. fuck. fuck. it’s kind of like saying, love love love love. different demons, though. eventually i recuperated enough that Elaina and i could go out into the world for lunch. we explored a little bit, finding this pitta place, where i ate a pitta omelette. so good. so so good. eating outside on a bench, i fed some of my pitta to a couple pigeons. fatties. perfectly content, i lay on the bench next to a sitting Elaina and enjoyed the air, before getting a sudden impulse to climb a little tree nearby. i sat in it for a few minutes, just to get it out of my system, even while old men stared at me the whole time they walked past. what? you don’t like climbing trees? crazy.

we picked up some delicious ice cream for the walk back to my apartment, discussing what movie to watch when we got back. later, when my mom called me, i asked her to guess what movie i showed to Elaina: “2001?” no, but good guess. “8 1/2?” nice. why can’t i be friends with people without trying to stuff my favorite works of art down their throats? no, it’s not so bad. i tried to warn her with words like “confusing” and “pretentious,” but she still wanted to watch it. so we did. god i love this movie. perfect 10/10, duh. my favorite line in the movie: “You know, I’ve figured out what you’re trying to talk about … Man’s inner confusion. But you’ve got to be clearer.” AHHHHHHHHHHHH. PERFECT. and the ending! the ENDING. i just cannot not smile, as the man brings everybody from his life into an open field with circus music playing and makes them all hold hands and dance in a circle. it is CRAZY, but PERFECT. when the movie ends, i just roll around and smile and laugh and cry and i can’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the night.

but that can sometimes be bad. Elaina invited everybody over for pizza: zoe, hannah, zack, me, xanthe, maddy, elaina. what a party! but, stupid me, let Fellini put me in a i-want-to-stare-and-just-think trance. it was so utterly obvious that at one point, hannah asked me directly, “are you ok, ronny? you’re being awfully quiet.” oh, i’m so alright. too alright.

inevitably i got what i wanted: Elaina and i walked back to my apartment ’round midnight to watch another movie. first we watched the half hour Life Pursuit performances i ripped from Adam’s deluxe edition copy, while we tried to decide what to watch after it ended. eventually we flipped a one euro coin to decide between Interstella 5555 (10/10) and Baraka (9/10). map of Europe, Baraka. owl (oh, Athena), Interstella. flip, owl, Interstella. i felt ridiculous continuing the pushing of my obsessions on the poor girl, but she seemed to actually want to watch them. 5! 5! 5! 5! %!%!%!%!%! instead of having a funeral, i want my body to be placed in a movie theatre right underneath the giant screen, as all my family and friends watch Interstella 5555 play. when it ends, i get tossed in the sea by a bum while my family and friends go to the afterparty where all my favorite music gets played all night. one can dream.

now it’s sunday, and the only two things i’ve done today is eat cheese pie and watch Baraka with Elaina. she’s gone home now and i’ve got some reading to do for class. Elaina told me that one of her friends from home asked her to one day take photos all throughout the day in order to sketch some sort of picture of her life here. i think that’s a pretty nice idea and might try it sometime in the next few days, so i can post it here before i leave for spring break. Continue reading

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if the Internet didn’t exist, i could write 40 symphonies too [archive]

the internet’s still not working, unfortunately. and yet, i must write on, in the hopes of a better future. yesterday i wrote a little poem about writing, or at least my anxiety over writing poetry. it’s called “balloons, words”:

standing on my balcony, leaning
against the rail,
stuffing cigarettes
down my throat, i’m puking
balloons, words.

i am afraid.

i’m afraid of needles, but not
the kind you find
in hospitals–those withdraw blood
easily. needles i fear
suck
and
suck
and
suck
and
extract nothing. words,

symphonic, emerald, and swirling
in my mind, pop upon
breathing into needles, earthy air.
weightless,
invisible, the sunshine
makes shadows
of my words, led like
lead to the ground.

i don’t know, i’m no poet. for the next week, my lit class is reading alki zei’s novel “achilles’ fiancee,” a Greek novel written sometime in the past fifty years. i can’t remember the last time i’ve read such a modern novel. maybe “the unbearable lightness of being”? but even that’s not as modern as this, i don’t think. see? this is why i need the internet. so i can seem like i know things. i am truly helpless, webless.

even though i don’t have the internet, i’m reaping the benefits from the time that i did have it. about a week ago, sam requested a whole bunch of music from me, including Mozart. i gave him Eine kleine Nachtmusik, a highly recognizable and utterly gorgeous string serenade written by the composer in or around 1787. after the successful transfer, sam recommended that i watch the film “Amadeus.” he raved for a little bit, i immediately started torrenting it, and it completed within 24 hours. love you, internet.

now, under normal circumstances, i download movies and don’t watch them for days, weeks, even months sometimes. besides Amadeus, i have eight movies and one tv series sitting on my desktop, just waiting to be watched. they’ve been accumulating since before i left for Athina. ridiculous, right? i don’t care, i know i’ll get around to it eventually. the other day i decided i really liked this john frusciante / josh klinghoffer album i had called A Sphere in the Heart of Silence. but i couldn’t remember where the hell i got it from. i looked at the date added, 10/28/06 2:27 PM, and, noting the date as awfully close to when i got my computer, concluded that i had no idea about its origins. eventually i figured out it was from Adam. POINT IS, i get around to this shit eventually. well, around the time internet died, word was getting around that i wanted to watch Amadeus, so Elaina, katelyn, and i set a date for last night. i really enjoyed it, but i definitely don’t think it’s best picture of the year oh my god slobber slobber status. unless every other movie sucked that year. honestly, the real reasons i actually enjoyed it was 1) because the score was sublime (duh) and 2) i like learning about my favorite musicians and their lives. i still need to get some internet so i can see how historically accurate the film is.

needless to say, i’m now on a Mozart kick. since yesterday i’ve been playing my ‘composed by Mozart’ playlist on ‘shuffle by grouping’ so that it will play a random symphony, serenade, sonata–i mean play it all the way through–before moving on to the next whole composition. i’ve wanted this to happen for awhile. i can easily cite my favorite Bach and Beethoven compositions, but i could never really do the same with Mozart. here are my unrequested recommendations:

Symphony No. 1 in E flat major, K. 16
yeah, this is one of those ridiculous pieces supposedly written by Mozart when he was only 7 years old. fucking prodigies, making everyone else feel shitty about themselves. i’m sort of trying to make my way through the symphonies, one-by-one, and this is a great way to start.

Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major, K. 283 (K. 189h)
Piano Sonata No. 10 in C major, K. 330 (K. 300h)
these have been two of my favorite Mozart compositions for awhile now. you can literally see the pianist’s fingers before you, weightless, dancing across the keys. it’s like the man composed a feather floating in the wind. dazzling.

Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major (“Eine kleine Nachtmusik”), K. 525
i mentioned this as the serenade that i bestowed upon sam. anybody would recognize at least two of the pieces here. it really doesn’t get anymore perfect than this.

Die Zauberflote, K. 620
the fifth and last composition i suggest everybody listen to is an opera that i have yet to really listen to myself very much. but i am recommending it solely on the basis of the queen of the night aria. Mozart wrote a part where for four minutes a woman literally becomes an instrument for the voice of God. if you think i’m crazy, you clearly haven’t listened to this piece, yet. listen. Continue reading

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stress [archive]

to-do list for the next month:

  • write 1-2 page lit paper
  • read 300+ pages for lit
  • write 4-5 page art paper
  • fafsa
  • write 8-10 page trag paper
  • write 1-2 page lit paper
  • get a summer job
  • write 1-2 page lit paper
  • write thesis proposal
  • register for classes
  • room draw
  • write 4-5 page art paper
  • write 4-5 page myth paper
  • write 8-10 page lit paper

  • study for myth midterm
  • study for Greek midterm

and yet, i really don’t feel as much anxiety as one might expect. a couple hours ago the internet died while abi expelled all the demons of stress from her system, so i hope she doesn’t think i just got sick of listening and signed off. i feel you, abi. after all, it is that time of the year. it’s strange to think that some people (read: Adam) are only beginning a new era, while me and so many others around me see our’s coming to a close.

i don’t know how i’m not stressing right now. after the internet died, i got into an organizing groove, one of my favorite activities. first, i connected my iphone to my computer and replaced a lot of the music on there with new stuff. all the while, i listened to music, of course. first some simon and garfunkel, a dash of minor threat, a dash of Radiohead, a dash of John Coltrane Quartet, and finally Nick Drake’s ‘Family Tree’ came on, which i let play on through ’til the end. i think the Drake really cooled my senses. i don’t know how many bay area shows, how many santa cruz shows, how many socal shows i’ve been to where a guy gets up in front of a little crowd of dirty music lovers and tries to sing and strum like he’s Nick Drake. half of the magic of the man for me is that he’s just a guy with a guitar, but he makes it sound unique. it’s a real challenge.

with the internet still dead, i let shuffle decide my next album to listen to while cleaning up my life. it chose j dilla’s ‘donuts.’ i’ve ranted a bit about it before on here, it’s real nice add hip hop instrumental samples music. i cleaned up my desk, got some laundry ready for the wash, placed a new screen cover on my iphone–generally did the little things that make my life feel less disorganized. i just got out of the shower and have nothing to do now. nothing to do–ha! i’ll upload this once the internet works, but until then, accept this psychic transmission: life is good. Continue reading

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Diogenes [archive]

i’m looking for an honest man.

Diogenes of Sinope is officially my favorite Greek philosopher. i guess i’m not really incredibly familiar with many others, so it might be a bit premature, but i don’t care. considered to be one of the founders of Cynicism, Diogenes sought to deconstruct custom, which he called the false coin of human morality: instead of being troubled by what is really evil, people make a big fuss over what is merely conventionally evil.

as a citizen of Athens, he decided to set up his home in the famously public space of the agora. he put a barrel there and that’s where he lived. he lived simply and repeatedly tried to point out the faultiness in everybody’s logic. when asked how he wished to be buried, he left instructions to be thrown outside the city wall so wild animals could feast on his body. when asked if he minded this, he said, “not at all, as long as you provide me with a stick to chase the creatures away!” when asked how he could use the stick since he would lack awareness, he replied “if I lack awareness, then why should I care what happens to me when I am dead?”

probably the most famous story about him concerns his walking around the city streets in the middle of the day with a lit lamp. if somebody asked him what he was doing, he’d reply, “i’m looking for an honest man.” Continue reading

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