Tag Archives: French

selections from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

‘I think,’ said Anna, toying with the glove she had taken off, ‘I think . . . if there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ Continue reading

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Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. Continue reading

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Live!

what happens when you are the input and the output

what happens when you only have two states: drunk and hungover

what happens when you refuse to sip on anything but top-shelf lit

the obvious cognitive dissonance in selling your words but not your music while knowing full well that rhythm is rhythm

what happens when you decide to quit

what happens when the people you love think that’s a great idea

what happens when you think the people you love are a great idea

what happens when a work of fiction is not real fiction

what happens when the fruits of your entire consciousness are simply the back page scribbles of someone else’s story

a single glass of four-day-old $4 wine

what happens when you only dance and cuddle, no no fuck

what happens when wave

what happens when you want to be the pacifist shark in the tank

a dark, long-haired man kissing Israel, hugging Palestine

what happens when you crack an egg over bibimbop pizza

“this is happening,” concluded the stubbly subway sound engineer

what happens in the city does not stay in the city. Continue reading

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Paris · Farningham · London · Amsterdam

~ 0 ~
horrible traffic
in n out
4-hour delay
“this is the worst airline ever”
chili’s out of salad and Mexican food
geographically challenged hostess
know your rights!
sleep? dreamy purple pinkish tint thereof
a moment in Oslo
Paris
nightmare on rue chaptal
Moulin Rouge

~ 1 ~
walk to espresso
Tour Eiffel
walk along the Seine
lunch in the Latin Quarter?
Notre Dame
espresso for the Louvre
kill in the garden
fancy ass French food
Arc de Triomphe
legs falling off
white wine and Lucky Strike

~ 2 ~
Père Lachaise
Indian at Chapelle
Musée d’Orsay
USA WINS 0-1
fancy ass fucking ave (dck sp + chkn brst)
farewell to the Seine
1-2-3!!! something something Algérie!!!

~ 3 ~
omelette complet at the Gare du Nord
Eurostar to Ebbsfleet
tea (twice) on the Tabsfield green
tomato basil, cheesy mushroom quiche, fresh strawberry creme brûlée, and a couple pints with the wedding party and co.
the cottage

~ 4 ~
fresh fruit, meat, a poached egg, and coffee
dressing for the wedding
Frost on the green
wedding at St Peter and St Paul’s Church
half Indian feast and dance (the Brits, the delicious Indian food, the champagne beer red and white wine, the light rain, and heavy dancing)
afterparty at the cottage

~ 5 ~
breakfast redux (hungover version)
football w Maya on the green
to London
appetizing Indian leftovers
The Tower
wandering in the rain
St. Paul’s
old fucking white egg-headed, perfectly circular black spectacle-wearing, pound-grubbing pieces of shit ushers guarding against pilgrims at the footsteps to the house of god
covent garden
pho
lazying and familying

~ 6 ~
waking up sans Natalie in a nasty mood
bacon on a roll
cold shower
Tate Modern
Eat.
The Globe
Parliament
Westminster
Evensong
Upminster then Whitechapel
ALG v GER

~ 7 ~
waking up w Natalie, happily
full English breakfast in Whitechapel
Natural History Museum
Kensington Gardens
fancy ass Indian food
£5 to the girl from Canada Macedonia CA
USA v BLG :(

~ 8 ~
scratched iris
mushroom omelette
nap to
Stonehenge
and nap from
Nando’s w David and Evelyn

~ 9 ~
to Amsterdam
grocery shopping
white wine
Concertgebouw
a spliff at Rookie’s
shoarma on the corner

~ 10 ~
homemade breakfast
double espresso
spliff on the diagonal green
Rijksmuseum
shopping, snacks in bed
Little Thai Prince
red light district
overpriced and pre-rolled
stoned wander home
ice cream

~ 11 ~
bacon breakfast
Blue Bird
Myrabelle, bartended by a more muscular and more feminine version of John Dwyer.
gluten-free crackers, goat cheese, smoked salmon, olives dripping in oil and basil, water, and wine
second Thai dinner
Vondelpark
Amstels all night at the cafe
NED v CRC

~ 12 ~
nightmare
check out
fresh fruit pancake across from Anne Frank
spliff on the green
Van Gogh Museum
rest in Vondelpark
walk
coffee
bus
plane
tube

~ 13 ~
tube
train
plane
Oslo
plane
Oakland
home? Continue reading

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notes from my phone

can a person be a laxative?

can a person with exceedingly attractive breasts be a laxative?

legit, those are some notes on my phone from the weekend.

i was standing on a sunny San Francisco rooftop–high ass fuck–listening to my friend, who happens to have exceedingly large and attractive breasts, rant about so and such and etc and ya. some dude i didn’t know was nodding to her stream of sounds and meaning, and i was nodding too. but i wasn’t really comprehending or even computing in the least degree. on the contrary, i was nodding while wondering whether a person’s voice and the things they say could incite a man to need to take a shit.

luckily, i managed to hold it in.

here’s something much less disgusting:

thighs two pack
carrots
celery
mushrooms packet
three onions
bottle of wine
box of chicken broth

that’s Amanda’s list of ingredients for this weird wine-y soup that’s actually incredible delicious. well, depending on who you ask.

she once gave me some to try. a week later, i remembered it existed, reheated it, and found it quite delectable. so i decided to make it myself. in fact, i roped Natalie into making it too. we drove to the Alemany Farmers Market (late as usual), picked up the essential ingredients, and returned to my kitchen to attempt the soup.

now, Natalie is a cook. and i’m a poet. or musician. or wizard. or some shit. in any case, earlier in the soup-crafting process, we started to butt heads about some crucial decisions. Amanda was unavailable, so we couldn’t consult her about the exact process and finer points of putting this soup together, so we were left to our own devices. Natalie wanted to use her cool cooking skillz to add a bunch of spices and use less wine and all this shit. i was like, no, no spices. just wine. wine. it. up.

so we made separate soups. at the same time. a soup-off.

how did it go? fucking amazing, obviously. i had soup for days.

so many notes on my phone, so little time. here’s one from the Tool concert this year:

old life new life
Lateralus
body mind

tool is inside black hole

astonishment at walkijg inside of a cave

yeah, what? let’s see if i can retrace my steps.

see, Tool makes pretty strange music. they have strange visuals to match the strange music. when your sensory devices meet with these strange musicks and strange visuals, your brain begins to brew strange thoughts. for example, i stopped taking for granted the concert experience and instead begin to marvel at the strangeness, if you will, of it all. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the name we bestowed upon this large (for humans) man-made cave, filled to the brim with swaying apes captivated by the rumbling thunder of lights and astonishing lightning of sound emanating from the four apes on the raised platform. imagine an alien being, like Mozart, stepping into this cave. or imagine a caveman. would he be jealous of our cave? imagine a being from another planet or another universe? what would they think? would they be unimpressed? would they think fondly of memories from their own life? that’s the “astonishment at walkijg inside of a cave.”

so i was stoned at a Tool concert and thinking about aliens, this is true. i can’t just blame Tool, space has been consuming my mind more than usual. so for some reason i started thinking that maybe Tool is what you get when you go inside of a black hole. actually, no, i don’t remember what this was about at all. i’m sure it was epically profound though, stoned ronny of the past.

one of the show highlights were these words Maynard spoke between songs:

INSERT MAYNARD’S LINES HERE

oh man, here’s a golden one:

the way a beautiful girl can just ruin your night

i’m not giving any context on that one except that it’s from 201301102151. maybe i’ll just remember something for once.

this is kind of clever, from 201301181153:

sometimes i don’t actually feel like i truly truly lived in the moment i loved because if i did i would still be there.

once i heard a beautiful song with Japanese lyrics that sounded like…

it’s some tsunami

Continue reading

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commonplace of Candide

ON BOREDOM In the end everything in life grows wearisome. (109) ON FREE WILL “Kiss your feet, Monsieur l’Abbé!” said Candide, “I do not understand such jokes.” Thereupon some deaf-mutes who had come from court with the abbé entered the … Continue reading

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definitions from Candide

various words i encountered in a Voltaire satire, defined. Continue reading

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a perfect ten

in less than a hundred hours, i’ve watched ten movies.

Yol (Turkish for “The Road” or “The Way”) is a 1982 Yılmaz Güney film that portrays Turkey through the stories of five prisoners given a week’s home leave. probably not coincidentally, Güney himself was in prison in Turkey at the time of the film’s shooting; he somehow escaped (i guess that whole “prisoner on leave” thing don’t work so well) to Switzerland, where he edited the final piece together himself from the film negatives.

phew.

you think that’s a mindful? the film is set in the aftermath of the 1980 Turkish coup d’état, so you can imagine how happy the movie really is. unhappy accidents befall men w nothing, families see themselves disgraced and bloodied, families tear themselves asunder from the inside out… and a horse fucking collapses in a snowy valley to be left for the wolves. he isn’t the only one.

7/10 because it’s good to learn new appreciation for your own free life.

Black Panthers (later renamed Huey) is a 1968 Agnès Varda documentary and short film. It examines the Black Panther Party through the “Free Huey” rallies assembled in Oakland, CA while the party’s co-founder Huey P. Newton was held in court for the fatal shooting of Oakland Police Department officer John Frey.

the narrator (Agnès?) had a cute voice. Huey was charged w voluntary manslaughter. neither point matters much.

7/10 because a French girl only needed 30 minutes to teach me a lot about racial tensions in 60s USA.

The Order of Myths is a 2008 Margaret Brown documentary film examining the Mobile, AL Mardi Gras celebrations—the oldest in this country—through the separate mystic societies established and maintained by black and white groups, acknowledging the complex racial history of a city with a slaveholding past.

the black queen’s family literally came to Mobile on a slave ship owned by an ancestor of the white queen… in a time when the slave trade, though not slavery, was already prohibited! complex as fuck.

7/10 because i value edutainment glazed with a maddening final line.

Lions Love is a 1969 Agnès Varda experimental film and epochal look at America in 1968: a meditation on freedom, fantasy, decadence, and the Summer of Love going sour.

no but really it’s just a bunch of artsy fucks (mainly the three above, who are in a beautiful relationship, or something) speaking “poetry,” singing, dancing, humming and being cool in a fancy house in LA. sounds familiar? maybe it sounds like your life.

here are a few of my favorite quotes from the film:

“i hate all forms of entertainment, including living.”

“a sharp mind is the death of love.”

“let’s stop fucking and have a cosmic climax.”

3/10 because three is the perfect number.

The Pajama Game is a 1957 musical film based on the stage musical of the same name, in turn based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. the principal cast of the Broadway musical repeated their roles for the movie, with the exception of Janis Paige, who was replaced by Doris Day.

Doris Day, or Babe Williams in the film, is super sexy, and all the men in the world (plus probably some women) want to stare at her ass (as shown above). one of the men, the leading dick above, is an especially huge douchebag to her, earning him the right to make out w her and probably squeeze her ass off-camera.

7/10 because if you can get me into a misogynistic musical, then anything is possible.

Phantom Love is a 2007 Nina Menkes surreal drama about a woman trapped inside herself.

when i read “surreal” in the synopsis before pressing play, i didn’t think about the deterioration of the English language. i didn’t think twice that “awesome” and “trippy” and “weird” and “crazy” and “intense” don’t mean anything anymore because everything is awesome, trippy, weird, crazy, and intense. and surreal, i guess. all life is surreal.

8/10 because this film is for real actually fucking surreal. sex scenes like a choo-choo train, ending like a liberation.

The Idle Class is a 1921 American silent film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin. it was my first time w the Tramp.

this movie’s so old it doesn’t have a poster. it’s so silent that there’s music and the occasional screen-printed dialogue so we have some sort of inkling about what the hell is going on. whether you enjoy what’s going on or not, you’ll be laughing.

7/10 because just look at that face.

The Wasp Woman is a 1959 Roger Corman science fiction horror film.

the above image gives nothing and everything away. but really, it has the best plot line ever: “A cosmetics queen develops a youth formula from jelly taken from queen wasps. She fails to anticipate the typical hoary side-effects.” of course. naturally. totally did not rip off The Fly (released in 1958). at all.

5/10 because i liked it.

Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loura (Portuguese for Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl) is a 2009 Portuguese film directed by Manoel de Oliveira.

a man falls stupidly in love w a young woman. two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back… this is how he nears her heart, his happiness. in the end, he discovers his stupidity, she is left as above.

7/10 because of well-framed shots, true mystery, and a harpist.

Offret (Swedish for The Sacrifice) is a 1986 film and the final from Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, who died shortly after completing it. here is the synopsis according to the Cannes website:

I wanted to show that one can resume life by restoring the union with oneself and by discovering a spiritual source. And to acquire this kind of moral autonomy, where ones ceases to consider solely the material values, where one escapes from being the subject article of experimentation between the hands of society- a way- among others- is having the capacity to offer oneself in sacrifice.

the shots in the movie, every single one of them a stunning portrait or landscape, are long. really really long. the opening, post-credits shot lasts nine minutes and twenty-six seconds, the longest in all of Tarkovsky’s work. in total, there are 115 shots in the entire film. the entire 149 minute film.

in the first shot, Alexander, the father, “plants” a dead tree by offering it support from rocks, and instructs his boy, throughout the movie referred to as “Little Man,” to water it every single day. a monk did this once, and the tree blossomed. in the final three shots, a beautiful house burns down, the boy begins to water the tree, and Maria, a maid, bicycles her windy way into the distance.

8/10 because, i mean, holy shit. holy fucking shit. Continue reading

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MMM… post-rock. m.

i’m an invader.

i’ve been living in the southern California bedroom of a 23-year old girl for the past few days. i’ve been sleeping in her bed, brushing with her toothpaste, drinking water out of her wine glass, smoking her weed out of her bubbler, driving her Toyota Corolla (apparently named after the collective term for petals of a flower), blasting post-rock through her speakers, clicking with her mouse, and generally performing ronny-related activities with her accouterments.

love you, Allison.

she comes back tonight from a wedding in Cascadia and not a minute too late, since i think i’m flying back to the Bay tomorrow night.

can’t fly until i fix my ear though.

yesterday, after waking up at 2pm, Micah informed me that we were leaving in about an hour for Mt. Baldy. hastily scarfing down a footlong meatball marinara from subway, i soon found myself meandering down a tiny creek in the hills with aforementioned cognitionite and three pretty girls he works with. our chief destination, which lay a short ten minute walk ahead, was a small waterfall that also served overheated primates as a 25-ft. water slide. fuck yeah! at first i found myself slightly terrified, having just walked past/on/around thousands of rocks, in size ranging from the barely perceptible (smaller than sand grains) to the barely perceptible (i saw one the same size as the Earth), but then i saw some wussy Mexican kid do it. so i did it too and didn’t regret for a second. definitely regretted it about six hours later, though, when a couple drops of water that had penetrated my ear began to make me feel like the whole right side of my face was set to explode. whacking the side of my face, hot water, vinegar, vinegar and rubbing alcohol, steam, blow dryer, jumping up and down, heat pad, nothing worked. so i kind of fell asleep wanting to cry and listening to amazing ambient techno from Gas. did i mention that i also managed to cut my nose with my fingernail (fucking plugging my nose trying to prevent more ear trauma) the second time i went down the waterfall? oh, and my eyes are still fucked. my face is basically a wreck. except for my hair. my hair is still awesome. except for that fucking crazy knot. oh god someone please delicately place a shotgun shell or five in my face; i’m tired of these speed bumps.

everything up to this post was written sober. don’t know if you care but, you know, Deku called.

the night before last, comparatively or not, fucking ruled. Christian L came over for a night of malt liquor, whiskey, stolen (borrowed?) drugs, couch chillin’, and hookah, interwoven with the M’s of post-rock:


The Milk of Human Kindness — Caribou (2005)


Millions Now Living Will Never Die — Tortoise (1996)


Mirrored — Battles (2007)

i highly recommend all three of those albums, especially the first two. the third suffers from a bad case of holy-shit-the-second-track-is-so-good-i-care-about-nothing-else. as it turned out, Micah, Christian, and i madly rocked out to that song so intensely that as soon as it ended, we found ourselves walking back to the house to soothe our heads with a leaf and lp a little calmer:


Fly Pan Am — Fly Pan Am (1999)

Adam played it for Tori and me the first time maybe a month ago at his house, the night before he lovestruck drove into the heart of Cascadia looking for farm work. i’m always glad to hear his music, and that one is certainly a keeper. the middle track, “Dans ses cheveux soixante circuits,” is my favorite so far. wonder little at its length (17:45), structure (repetitive), and style (meditative). we also listened to Gas’ self-titled, a delicious little ambient techno album that increasingly grabs me by the balls with each successive listen. i even repeated its bedtime performance last night to ease the pain of my skull shattering from the inside.


Gas — Gas (1996)

fuck i just almost got killed by a monster (baby praying mantis) in the wilderness (Rachel’s backyard). i was stealing plums.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Nickerson's sketch of the whale attacking the Essex. Chase and other members of the crew are shown already beginning to untie the spare whaleboat from the rack above the quarterdeck."][/caption]

oh that reminds me! (no idea why.) i just got through reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, a 2001 retelling of a true whaling disaster (and the first-ever in the Nantucket fishery) that ended up being the story on which Melville’s Moby-Dick was based. a little over a year after setting sail from Nantucket, the Essex finally hit some luck at whaling grounds in the center of the Pacific. but they may have hit luck too hard. after felling a few sperm whales from a single pod, the sailors faced the furious revenge of a scarred bull, eighty-five feet long and weighing approximately eighty tons. the massive creature aimed directly for the ship’s port side and knocked everyone on board off their feet. dazed after striking headfirst one of man’s finest iron and wood creations of the 19th century, the beast decided to go for another run, except head-on instead, fatally damaging the ship.

while Melville ends his novel with the violent whale attack, that’s just the beginning of the drama for the Essex sailors. on an unexpected three month voyage in three small whale boats, the sailors suffer through dehydration, starvation, cannibalism, and total mental destruction in the center of the salty Pacific’s sublime horizons, a sixty-four-million-square-mile ocean Melville called the “tide-beating heart of the earth.” read my favorite parts, starting with a description of a murdered whale:

When the lance finally found its mark, the whale would begin to choke on its own blood, its spout transformed into a fifteen- to twenty-foot geyser of gore that prompted the mate to shout, “Chimney’s afire!” As the blood rained down on them, the men took up the oars and backed furiously away, then paused to watch as the whale went into what was known as its flurry. Beating the water with its tail, snapping at the air with its jaws–even as it regurgitated large chunks of fish and squid–the creature began to swim in an ever tightening circle. Then, just as abruptly as it had begun with the first thrust of the harpoon, it ended. The whale fell motionless and silent, a giant black corpse floating fin-up in a slick of its own blood and vomit. (54)

at sea, reduced to whale boats not designed for long ocean voyages carrying both men and cargo, the leaders restricted everyone’s provisions to six ounces of hardtack (equivalent to six slices of bread, about five hundred calories, or 1/4 the daily energy need of a 5’8″ person weighing 145 lbs.) and half a pint of water (half the bare minimum) a day. good thing they brought some Galapagos tortoises aboard for some variation:

After ten days of eating only bread, the men greedily attacked the tortoise, their teeth ripping the succulent flesh as warm juice ran down their salt-encrusted faces. Their bodies’ instinctive need for nutrition led them to the tortoise’s vitamin-rich heart and liver. [The first mate, Chase,] dubbed it “an unspeakably fine repast.” (118)

that was only after ten days. two months after the sinking of the Essex, sailors started dying from starvation. but apparently it ain’t so bad:

Modern-day proponents of euthanasia have long endorsed the combined effects of starvation and dehydration as a painless and dignified way for a terminally ill patient to die. In the final stages, hunger pangs cease, as does the sensation of thirst. The patient slips into unconsciousness as the deterioration of his internal organ results in a peaceful death. This was apparently how Richard Peterson passed away. “[T]he breath appeared to be leaving his body without the least pain,” Chase reported, “and at four o’clock he was gone.” (163)

that is, if you don’t mind being eaten.

Like the crew of the Peggy, the Essex survivors were no longer operating under the rules of conduct that had governed their lives prior to the ordeal; they were members of what psychologists studying the effects of the Nazi concentration camps have called a “modern feral community”–a group of people reduced to “an animal state very closely approaching ‘raw’ motivation.” Just as concentration camp inmates underwent, in the words of one psychologist, “starvation . . . in a state of extreme stress,” so did the men of the Essex live from day to day not knowing which one of them would be the next to die.
Under these circumstances, survivors typically undergo a process of psychic deadening that one Auschwitz survivor described as a tendency to “kill my feelings.” Another woman expressed it as an amoral, even immoral, will to live: “Nothing else counted but that I wanted to live. I would have stolen from my husband, child, parent or friend, in order to accomplish this. Therefore, every day I disciplined myself with a sort of low, savage cunning, to bend every effort, to devote every fiber of my being, to do those things which would make that possible.” (172)

one of the whale boats never finds salvation. of the other two, the encounter between starved man gone mad and sailing ship proves cinematic:

It had been [ninety-four days since leaving the wreck] and twelve days since the death of Barzillai Ray. [Pollard, the captain of the Essex, and Ramsdell] had long since eaten the last scrap of his flesh. The two famished men now cracked open the bones of their shipmates–beating them against the stone on the bottom of the boat and smashing them with the boat’s hatchet–and ate the marrow, which contained the fat their bodies so desperately needed.
Pollard would later remember these as “days of horror and despair.” Both of them were so weak that they could barely lift their hands. They were drifting in and out of consciousness. It is not uncommon for castaways who have been many days at sea and suffered both physically and emotionally to lapse into what has been called “a sort of collective confabulation,” in which the survivors exist in a shared fantasy world. Delusions may include comforting scenes from home–perhaps, in the case of Pollard and Ramsdell, a sunny June day on the Nantucket Commons during the sheepshearing festival. Survivors may find themselves in conversation with deceased shipmates and family members as they lose all sense of time.
For Pollard and Ramsdell, it was the bones–gifts from the men they had known and loved–that became their obsession. They stuffed their pockets with finger bones; they sucked the marrow from the splintered ribs and thighs. And they sailed on, the compass card wavering toward east.
Suddenly they heard a sound: men shouting and then silence as shadows fell across them and then the rustle of wind in sails and the creaking of spars and rigging. They looked up, and there were faces. (187)

besides learning a bunch about Homo sapiens pushed to the extremes, i also found out what that famous French Romanticist painting’s all about.

The Raft of the Medusa (Le Radeau de la Méduse) – Théodore Géricault (1819) [491 cm × 716 cm (193.3 in × 282.3 in)]

from Wikipedia:

[T]he over-life-size painting depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today’s Mauritania on July 5, 1816. At least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation, dehydration, cannibalism and madness.

and i thought the painting was epic before. i remember Devi replicated a couple rectangles of the entire work once for a painting class, and the canvases lived in the Tower hallway for a long time. i think one part she did was near the very center, where one guy’s holding onto to one reaching towards the top. totally amazing. everyone should see one epic painting a day; life could be better.

by the way, i like how water in northern California fucking stays cold. christ. Continue reading

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