Monthly Archives: January 2014

The almighty clock

You only live once, movie from the 1930's... Who said YOLO is new?

You only live once, movie from the 1930’s… Who said YOLO is new?

Time is precious. That’s a universal truth. Just look at the amount of time we spend talking about it! We brag about doing things quickly, complain about not being able to do so, think about the future and past.

Look at the many units we use to divide and measure time, from ages to milliseconds.

Look at the huge, gigantic time philosophy that has emerged. The philosophy of YOLO, carpe diem, share the moment… Spending your time wisely seems an almost religious obsession for some people.

Talking about religion, the importance of time is reflected in them too. The bible (and I’m sure many other religious texts) has specified how long it took to create the earth, and many a prophet have predicted an apocalypse.

The way I see it, we are given a chunk, of unknown size, to do whatever the hell we want with. In theory at least – reality is very different. Our genes and environment make a lot of decisions for us, decisions about what to do. Not that we can’t rebel against those musts – lots of people do what they want instead of what would have been smart in an evolutionary context. On the other hand, what the really want is probably determined by their genes and/or environment so it doesn’t really make any difference.
The thing is, even though we value time so much, we waste a lot of it. And now I’m not just talking about having fun. Watching TV and skiing might seem to be pointless time spenders, but you do get something out of it – enjoyment. No, I’m talking about things that are NOTHING but time wastage. Things that are not useful in any way to anyone, yet are allowed to consume innumerable hours. I’m talking about school.
My sister has told me how her class has to spend an HOUR every Monday talking about the weekend. They don’t learn anything from it, they don’t get any fun from it (those whose weekend you actually are interested in can be interrogated during lunch), they don’t get an explanation of why they do it. At that same age I had to sit in a circle and tell the teacher that everything’s fine, and if it’s not I won’t talk about that with this group. Four years later I still don’t know why.

Prejudice in the making

Something ridiculous happened to me earlier today.
Now, I don’t normally shop for groceries but we were out of walnuts – part of my standard breakfast – so I went to a convenience store to get some. Since my dog was a bit heated, nothing could seem more natural than bringing him on the walk. When I tied him up outside he started getting a bit nervous, and as soon as I got out of sight he started to bark. Well, I thought, I’ll make it quick. And so I did, but when I was at the checkout someone came in. With my dog, who was overjoyed to see me. Then, we exchanged the following dialouge:
Angry guy: Is this your dog?
Me: Yeah, and I just love it when strangers drag him away.
Angry guy: Yes, and we love to hear dogs bark.
Me: Well, it’s all just to annoy you, you know…
Like, WHAT? I understand that barks can be annoying, but how does that give you the right to literary drag away a strange dog? I mean, what would he have done if it hadn’t been my dog? He could have just told me my dog is barking, that he finds it annoying and then given me some tips on how I should get him to stop. Then I might have listened, instead of getting mad.

OK, so this really isn’t a huge deal. It’s just an example of why you should not judge a group from one individual – not all ugly men in their 50’s interfere with peoples lives in such a rotten way. Just like not all Germans are Hitler, not all Afro-Americans are Martin Luther King, not all atheists are preachy, not all girls like pink and not all barking dogs have ignorant owners. Rant over.

Reading Chbosky like there’s no tomorrow

I’ve felt terribly lonely these last few months. No one has invited me to parties or shopping sprees, barely even texted me. Not that I have called anyone… Christmas break especially has mostly been spent in the couch. I turn on the TV but find nothing to watch; open a book, then find myself unable to concentrate after only a few pages; do 5 sit-ups and call it a workout; open the fridge simply to look what’s in there.
There are many ways of dealing with loneliness and abandon. My closest friends listen to music – dark, heavy rock – about people (the singers themselves?) who use drugs and prostitutes to drown the sadness. I know people who work out, to make themselves to tired to feel anything. I know people who eat chocolate.
I turn to books. More precisely: The perks of being a wallflower.
Sometimes it feels as if no one understand me better than that book. It almost scares me that a 43 years old man from Pennsylvania can  word my feelings so well, especially through Charlie. He – Charlie – is incredibly introvert, spending most of his time watching others: a wallflower. He seems to notice everything that happens, and how everyone feel about it.
  As the story proceeds he starts to become a larger and larger part of it. He makes friends. He goes to concerts and parties. He smokes pot. He often doesn’t even know what he’s doing, things just happen. I feel sorry for him because of that, as I feel sorry for people around him.
The book is so full of perfect descriptions of my feelings, I have eight pages of quotes and that’s not by far all the ones which spoke to me. Not even close.
Maybe it’s bad that I put so much affection into a book…

The female of the species

c13861The crazy, non–existent people who read my rubbish  have seen my review on Two or three things I forgot to tell you. Then, they might have wondered if I, after so praising the psychology, read anything else by Joyce Carol Oates. Well, I tried to. I didn’t even bother finishing The female of the species, a collection of short stories concerning women. I just didn’t get them.

Oates has a very particular way of writing: long, embroideried sentences that sort of run together. Sometimes she does it well, creating a dreamlike and beautiful atmosphere. And other times it’s just confusing. (this one had more of the latter) She also knows the art of reveling just the right amount of information, so the reader is left guessing until the very end.

That was about it though. I didn’t develop understanding or affection towards any of the characters. So when they were drawn into suspicious affaires, I just simply didn’t care. Oates has the ability to point out the worst in people, and though there certainly is a point in that – it’s all about balance. I don’t want to read a book  in which I hate every single character, I want to read a book about a character who I don’t want to do well because I like and/or understand them. I want to be kept in needles because they might not do well, even though I want them to. There wasn’t a single person in any of those stories I really cared about – they where just stupid, mean people doing stupid, mean things! Disgusting things! Torture scenes are described in a very unsentimental, direct way, making me wonder if there is a hidden message somewhere in here; how the fashion industry treats women as cattle or whatever. I couldn’t find anything though.
On another note: I searched some other reviews on Two or three things I forgot to tell you on the net, and found that many people were quite upset at the description of Nadia. Apparently she is an unhealthy role model for young girls: the way she thinks of her fat would encourage people to feel the same, or lower the normal scale in their minds.Well, not without reason. At (if I calculated correctly) 55 kg 152 cm she isn’t exactly overweight. I wouldn’t consider her slim either, but that’s another discussion. However, I think that since Nadia is a horrible role model in so many ways the weight part shouldn’t really make any difference. Also, it’s a FUCKING BOOK. That body is described entirely from her perspective, of course it’s overdone. That’s the whole point.