The pageviews are still rising steadily. I can see that most of them come from Russia. (?) That's it for now. Bye.
The pageviews are still rising steadily. I can see that most of them come from Russia. (?) That's it for now. Bye.
I don't know why I find it creepy to think people are even reading my stuff?
So anyway I have to abandon everything right now because I'm in a caffeine withdrawal, and can't think straight for more than 10 minutes at a time, and become fatigued really easily. I haven't had caffeine for a week now, except a cup of tea about two days ago, which I hope hasn't set me back for another two weeks. I remember that cup of tea being a huge caffeine rush for some-reason...
I was drinking caffeine like a fiend. My steady rate was 500mL of energy drink per day (2 small cans), but sometimes would drink 750mL (3 small cans) or up to a whole litre (2 large cans). Today is Friday, and I decided to quit starting Friday last week--cold turkey--when I turned up to work totally forgetting to buy some more drinks the night before. But I decided I don't want to be addicted to any substances. If I want my life to be dictated by my addictions, they will all have to be purely psychological, and ones that I choose for myself.
They say it takes two weeks for withdrawal symptoms to wear off. That means I've got another week to go. I know I can do this, I've managed to quit alcohol, even sugar--I had to stop eating sugar for some reason--it's a long story. Another addiction I'm trying to quit is less substantial: shopping. It's hard because there are lots of really cool stuff to buy right now, but I don't want to buy something unless I'm dead serious about buying it. Another thing I've got to stop is picking at my face, which is a huge problem for me.
Here are a couple of interesting articles about addiction, including one about "relapse", which is important if you're deciding to quit something:
Speed-reading is a series of breaking habits, which is much easier than making them. The first habit you must break is vocalisation. This is when you are reading to yourself with your lips each word one-by-one at a time. Chew some gum, or sing a song if you have to, but stop reading with your mouth! The next step is to quit sub-vocalisation. This is when you are reading the words one-by-one in your head, sounding them out in your imagination. You may have stopped moving your lips, but you might still feel the back of your throat trying to shape out words! Sub-vocalisation is a tricky habit to break, I find it easier if I'm listening to instrumental music, or some kind of drone-y noise in the background to distract my mind from trying to hear the sound of the words. Concentration is key. Once you've broken sub-vocalisation, you are already reading much faster than you ever were before! But it doesn't end here.
When you are reading a word, you are not simply following one letter after another, but all of them at once, taking the word in as a whole. The same idea can be applied to multiple words, to read a whole phrase, or a sentence, as a whole. Now you are reading in chunks. Think of a painting, and think of each brush stroke as a word. The brush stroke doesn't make anything on its own, but multiple brush strokes when put together form a complete image. The first thing in a painting you see is the whole picture itself. The same concept applies to speed-reading, but it's more than a static image: it's concepts, ideas, and whole experiences all at once. Concentration is key!
By the way, you don't need both eyes to read the same word (with apologies to the one-eyed possibly the blind). Mastering your peripheral-vision, pretty soon you are able to read entire lines of text at a time, as if reading a single word. Now you are now approaching the art of vertical-reading. Reading vertically will allow you to read up to 900 words per minute, but this is only the limit of the linear approach. To read even faster, you're going to have to take on the layered approach, which is much more complex and involved, and something I can't get into right now as I haven't practiced it myself. To be perfectly honest, I'm happy to be just reading linear. If you would like more information on the layered approach, I'd recommend looking up information or books about Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics.
The most important thing that needs to be mentioned is one of the biggest banes of not just speed-reading, but all reading in general, and that is regression. This is when you've read a sentence or two, maybe even a paragraph or a whole page, and you realise your mind has been trailing off, and you've absorbed none of what you just read. So you have to go back and re-read what you just read again. This will slow you down immensely, and needs to be conquered. Remember, concentration is key! But another way to help stop regression is by using a pacer. On a computer screen, you can use your mouse-cursor. On a book you can simply use your finger (It may not be so easy on an e-reader or a phone, but those devices are good for speed-reading anyway because you can make the text large enough to chunk-read vertically with ease). The practice is to move your pacer over the words you are reading at your own comfortable pace. It may feel awkward and cumbersome at first, but with enough perseverance it will keep your eyes focused sharply on the words, and less chance of your mind to wonder off. When you are reading fast enough, your mind will be absorbing more information than it can think about, which means it will be even less likely to be distracted. Remember to concentrate! Because this is the tricky part, as I mentioned before.
The trick to speed-reading is not knowing how to do it. It's adjusting your brain so that it can absorb large amounts of new information at a time. When I was first reading pretty fast, I never ended up reading any more than I usually do, because I got so exhausted I kept falling asleep after about an hour or so. The brain needs to be exercised regularly, and trained to deal with massive quantities of new ideas and learning at a time. Don't worry, it can be done! This is what will really take you weeks of practice, and the ultimate key to unlocking this potential is something more potent than concentration, it's patience.
Brain-training exercises, such as those found on the Nintendo DS or iPhone/Android apps, can be helpful in keeping your brain strong and analytical. Understanding patterns and associations is important, doing a lot of sudoku and cross-word puzzles are also a great help. It will also be important to have good vocabulary, because if you read over any word you don't understand, the mind's image will be incomplete. So if you have time, find a dictionary and scan through for every word you don't know yet.
God-luck and good read!
There's a certain slant of light,I'm not a poetical analyst, and I don't think I'd ever like to be, but I will talk a bit about why I like this poem in particular. In the first stanza, she gives light a sense of weight, or oppression. But not any kind of physical weight, as light is virtually weightless, but a moody weight, "the weight of cathedral tunes". I imagine an overpowering pipe-organ ringing through a large hall of a cathedral. It's interesting how she finds it oppressing, but comparing it to the "slant of light" appearing on wintery afternoons through its "weight", there is no question that this is a moody weight, a heaviness: melancholy, although I've never heard melancholy described more beautifully than here. It's currently winter where I am right now, so I know exactly what she's talking about insofar as imagery, but the melancholy is something much more universal that applies to any time of the year.
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.
Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.
None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair, -
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.
When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 'tis like the distance
On the look of death.
The first stanza sets the topic for the rest of the poem, from there the pronoun "it" comes down like a hammer, encapsulating the entire concept of the first four lines. This is one of the most beautiful mysteries of language and the mind, the way we can describe an entire experience, bearing all its narratives and moods, and surface it all simply through the word "it". In Japanese, they don't even have a word for "it", but rather a "zero-pronoun", where it's not even said at all.
It's fascinating. Perhaps the reverse is how creativity works. We start with the word "it", and all the experiences that it surfaces, and from there we lay it out into a form.
Another effect of "it" is when you take one of the stanza's out of context. Take the last stanza for instance (already odd, as it changes up the number of syllables), and "it" suddenly takes on a much larger meaning: hope, love, life, God?
I love the way she rhymes "breath" and "death", as if she encompasses an entire scope of life in one swoop. Considering, when you put the stanza back into context, that she is referring to a slant of light "on winter afternoons". In poetic terms, that's like saying "you have about two minutes left to live". Although, I always found it fatuous to think of seasons and days to only represent the cycle of life. Children still experience winter at least once a year, and the elderly can still experience spring and summer. I like to think of it as a link, that any point in your life you experience the melancholy of a winter afternoon, it is a similar feeling to your (poetic) winter afternoon.
I like her personification of landscapes and shadows. Perhaps it's a bit horrifying to think of shadows breathing, but looking closely, it's not what she's saying, it's only implied by our imagination. The shadows holding their breath, combined with listening landscapes, describes a suspended feeling, a stillness or anticipation, but for what? And the way the poem ends on the word "death" is almost like a knife jabbing into your heart, softened only by the fact it belongs to a simile.
But perhaps it's not all so glum. After all, a cathedral tune might be oppressive, but is it so gloomy? She describes it giving us "Heavenly hurt", is this some kind of masochism? Perhaps it's more about a transcendent feeling, finding resolution from an internal struggle, a mixture of contradicting emotions within oneself. Accepting death, but finding it beautiful.
And finally, the surrender. The solution is that there is no solution. We can not tell nature what to do, it is our master and we are its subjects. Obedience and loyalty is the key to eternal harmony.
That is until we're able to build weather machines.
In my last post I mentioned briefly about ways to listen to music more satisfying and fulfilling than the conventional linear-progression format we are so used to. The same can apply to film, an epiphany I reached after watching the DVD MIC.MADEIRA by Simon Whetham and Hugo Olim (sample above). I bought the DVD at the Merzbow concert, as Simon Whetham was one of the opening acts whom I thoroughly enjoyed. MIC.MADEIRA is a project where Simon Whetham stood in various desolate areas around Madeira with microphones, recording sounds of nature plus various insides of metal poles and rails. From these he put together a 40 minute collage, and collaborated with Hugo Olim to make a film from it. I'm not sure what the film is exactly, my best guess is that it's multiple exposures of microscopic water droplets, varying in and out of focus. There is constant movement, constant focus-pulling, and eventually a split-screen where both sides are moving opposite directions (EDIT: Hugo describes how it was made in the comments below). There are points where it seems to be VHS-like static interference, which is either in sync with the sound, or is creating a sound, I can't tell, but it blends seamlessly into the film experience on the whole. But to analyse what it is and what it means would be missing the point entirely. The film is a kind of form, that doesn't rely on narrative, explanations or structure. There are no faces, characters or expressions to follow. The form this film takes is the purest form that film can be: the minimalist expression of form itself. I'm going to embed other films by Hugo Olim as examples of my discourse, but even narrative films can be appreciated in the same way.
It is a particular nature in our culture, especially Western culture, to be oriented towards a goal. All our lives we are in need of getting somewhere, it makes me wonder if we will ever know when we get there at all. It's understandable that we may not be satisfied with where we are, but with the attitude of always wanting to go somewhere, can we ever stop to appreciate being where we are? Isn't the journey just as important as destination itself? I think it is, in fact, I know it is. And this is why I choose not to aim for goals, but for roles. I choose the journey, not the destination, and I give myself all the time I need to stop and look at the scenery along the way.
I'd like to end with one of my favourite YouTube videos by animator Don Hertzfeldt. It's called "Watching Grass Grow" and it's a timelapse of about two years of banal, seemingly endless work on an animation, but every now and then the fruits of his labour show when it all comes together in the camera tests. I haven't seen the final animation, but I enjoy witnessing the journey to it all the same, without needing a final destination.
You're doin' OK.
Just follow your heart
and don't rot away!
"jlyk; merzbow was solid hour of pure orgasm"