Thursday, March 30, 2006

Arty Farty Lemon Tarty

I'm not an artist. I readily admit it. Okay, I enjoy art, and I do appreciate a lot of art. I like stuff by Klimt, Dali, Picasso, Escher, and so on.

Theres even some modern art I like - but theres only so much modern art I can take before I lose patience. Which sucks, because some modern art is absolutely amazing. The problem is, a lot of it isn't. A lot of it is pretentious bollocks drawn up by what seems like five year-olds high on cannabis, acid, and a little bit of absynthe to boot. All the socio-political commentary that comes with some of it is just...argh!

I was in the Tate Modern Art Museum today (London is fantastic like that: so much to see). For the first hour, hour and a half, I had a good time. I tried to appreciate a lot of the art I saw, even the strange stuff. Half the enjoyment was watching the people who were there - arty types are cool. But after about that hour and a half, I started to lose my patience. A lot of the stuff there was...well...insulting to me, in the sense that...well, I just didnt see the connection between the picture and the description. Like I said before, I appreciate art, and anyone who knows me knows I'm not thick. But explain this to me. A picture of blue...just blue. And in the top theres a small streak of yellow. And the yellow somehow, somehow represents 'the struggle against socio-political dictatorships and authoritarianism of the human creativity' (paraphrased, its bollocks). Im standing there for ten minutes staring at this blue monstrosity thinking "what? eh? hmph? .... quonk? *sigh*"

And this goes on, and this gets worse. Really, wtf :s

Posted by illogicist at 2:34 PM 4 comments

Sunday, March 26, 2006

NP - Farmakon - Loosely of Amoebas

This is going to be a rare rant about my crappy, crappy day. I try not to rant about stuff like 'my day', but I feel like it this time.

So yesterday, Saturday, was the first day of my Easter break. I didn't sleep much that night (had some uni worries on my mind, which is stupid because its supposed to be a break from uni..but whatever). Slept at about 12:30, but woke up at 3 or 3:30am, cause I was thirsty. Remembered I had some clothes in the washing machine, so I put them in the dryer. Then I see one of my housemates come down the stairs with a big stick in his hand...he thought someone had broken into the house :p. Anyway after that I couldnt sleep for till about 4am-ish...and woke up again around 6:45am. Didnt sleep after that. I wasn't doing anything useful or productive, so I went swimming at around 9am. Cycled back home in the rain, and then started packing for my trip to London, at 2:45pm - it would have been 8am if I could (my housemate was going to Heathrow at 8am, it would have been to go with him), but all the buses were fully booked. Everyone was going home.

So 2:45. Taxi arrives at 2:15pm - should be enough time to get the bus station, right? 45 minutes? The journey usually takes 15 minutes, and today shouldn't be any different. Think again. I wasn't counting on it being the day before mother's day, and everyone out and about, doing mother's day shopping (yeah, every 'day' is an occasion to go shopping...what a consumer society). As a result, all the roads were blocked. To top it off, I didnt have much money on me, about 8 pounds. The taxi driver tells me at one point that it would be quicker for me to get out and walk the rest of the way, as he doesnt think he'd be able to get me there in time, and its probably quicker if I walk (its about 10 minutes away - I might make it). Its raining like mad outside, and I dont have my umbrella, but I say okay - partly because I know I wouldnt be able to afford the taxi if I stayed in it much longer. So I get out, and walk in the pouring rain to the bus station.

Dripping, exhausted, and mentally drained, I was almost grateful that I missed the bus. BUT, I couldnt afford a cab back, and the university bus only drops me halfway to my house - which means more walking in the rain. No cash machine nearby, and I'm not in the mood to go look for one. So I take the uni bus, and walk the rest of the way home (still raining).

That all would have been, well, tolerable, if I had something to look forward to upon coming home. On friday my housemates were all 'lets watch a movie, lets invite people over!' when I was busy and couldn't. Today, I had nothing, and they were just '...meh'. I spent the whole rest of the day slipping in and out of a number of exhausting naps. My housemates watched Jurassic Park 1,2,3, The 13th Warrior, and some Indian movie, all in the space of 24 hours...I wasn't in the mood to watch any of them. Oh yeah, we also binged on pizza and kebab. I must've had pizza 3 times in 24 hours, and this kebab thing twice. The first time made me feel ill - you'd think I'd have learnt not to eat it again. I knew I was going to feel crap afterwards, but I wasn't in much mood to care. Such is life :p.

I slept around 1am - or what should have been 1am. When I looked at my computer clock, it said 2am...just my luck, today was the day that they change the clocks! I'd been cheated out of an hour of sleep, or the day I most needed it =s. Luckily I was talking to someone online, otherwise I would've slept earlier and missed the bus - again - because of the clock thing. I dont know what I would've done then, probably shot myself. In fact, the bus was supposed to be fully booked, but 12 people actually missed it because of the changing of the time. 12 out of about 40...thats about 30%. A lot of people!

I guess its good I missed the first bus. Yesterday I was in the worst mood ever and didn't really want to go to London - wasn't feeling it. Feeling a lot better today, rested, both physically and mentally, ready to roll. I have a four week break in which to chill out, destress, and catch up with uni work. Oh, and I've also borrowed my friend's guitar effects board and wah pedal while he's in the UAE (I'm 'taking care of them' for him :p). So yeah, got some stuff to do this break.I'm gonna try to make the most of it.

Ranting is fun.

Posted by illogicist at 3:07 PM 6 comments

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Todays Thoughts

NP - Katatonia - Deliberation

I was reading this book called "10 Reasons to Abolish the IMF and World Bank" (excellent book, very thing and readable for anyone), by Kevin Danaher. There was this passage I thought was great, about how we measure 'economic growth':

Think about how we measure economic growth - by the annual percentage increase in the Gross National Product (GNP). GNP tallies the dollar value of all domestic production without regards for the effect of the transaction on society. At the end of the day, the bigger the number the better.
For example, lets say I go to a bar and drink ten beers. All the money I spend on that beer is a positive contribution to GNP. Now I'm drunk. I drive away in my car, and crash into a family in their car. They're all maimed, and require intensive medical care for the rest of their lives. The cost of the tow truck, emergency crews, the courts, any jail time I get sentenced to, and the lifetime of medical care for the victims, all count towards the GNP. Under this ridiculous system of economic measurement, oil spills, divorces and plane crashes are positive events because they are occasions to spend money and boost GNP.

Interesting, isnt it. I think its well articulated, and highlights whats wrong with such a system very well.

Posted by illogicist at 12:44 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Oh, and the BBC...

NP - Katatonia - Soil Song

On the BBC, and other news organisations I guess, I'm absolutely shocked that the marches of last Saturday against the Iraq War made barely a ripple in the news. Barely a ripple. In London, at least 50 000 (police say 15 000, organisers say 100 000, so 50 000 is a sort of conservative estimate) marched. Over 200 demonstrations took place worldwide, from London to the US to Turkey to Australia to ... wherever. But when I looked for the news on the 19th, I couldn't even find a mention of it on the front page. I went specifically to the UK page, still no mention. I had to dig it up on the BBC website (link).

Seriously, whats that all about? Marches in 200 locations, and not a word? How many of you actually heard about these marches? Not many, I'd guess, and not because you don't watch TV. Because these marches were not reported. Shocking.

Posted by illogicist at 10:25 AM 4 comments

You gotta be kiddin' me.

NP - Katatonia - Leaders

link

Bush raises possibility of years-long Iraq presence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush held out the possibility on Tuesday of a U.S. troop presence in Iraq for many years, saying a full withdrawal would depend on decisions by future U.S. presidents and Iraqi governments.

======================================

I'm sorry, but do the media networks think we're stupid? They break this like its big news, like it wasn't at all expected. Seriously, did anyone really think the US would pull out, if it were up to them? The US has a military base in every other country on earth, if not more than that. You're telling me that anyone was stupid enough to think, even for a second, that the US would suddenly pull out of a country, leave not a soldier behind, in a country which they themselves invaded? You've gotta be kidding me. It shocks me that they report the news, and we buy it. We eat it right up. Its scary, very scary. The generals in the US army tell us they will withdraw from Iraq, and we...we believe it? Do we? A lot of us do. Then they report the news, and its suddenly a shock that they might not, in fact, withdraw. Oh noes! We weren't expecting this...calamity! But, well, whats to be done? Whats to be done is not buy this bullshit in the first place.

According to Wikipedia, the US occupies 702 military bases in 132 different countries. Theres a PDF here with locations of all their bases, accurate of 1999 (would look different now). Also, theres a link here for a chronology of US military activity from 1890 till today. Looking at all this, how is it possible to believe that the US is going into Iraq to help the Iraqi people? They're going in for their interests. If the 'Iraqi people' benefit from this, lucky sandniggers, but if they dont, well f*ck them too. Pull all the troops out of Iraq? You gotta be kiddin' me.

Posted by illogicist at 10:04 AM 0 comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

Some Brokeback Angst

Just read this article today, check it out:

http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=218583>1=7701

'Brokeback' Author Peeved About Oscar Loss
Mar 14, 6:01 PM EST

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Annie Proulx, whose 1997 short story inspired the film "Brokeback Mountain," has penned a scattershot blast in a British newspaper unleashing her anger over the film's best-picture Oscar loss.

Proulx criticizes Oscar voters and the Academy Awards ceremony in the 1,094-word rant, which appeared in Saturday's issue of The Guardian, a liberal paper boasting 1.2 million readers daily.

The best-picture Oscar went to "Crash," which focuses on race relations in Los Angeles.

Academy members who vote for the year's best film are "out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city," Proulx writes.

The 70-year-old Pulitzer-prize winning author points out that "Brokeback," which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, was named best picture at the Independent Spirit Awards one day before the March 5 Oscars.

"If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices," Proulx advises.

She even lashes out at Lionsgate, the distribution company behind "Crash."

"Rumour has it that Lionsgate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash — excuse me — Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline," Proulx writes.

She decries the "atmosphere of insufferable self-importance" inside the Kodak Theatre, the Oscars site, and describes the audience as a "somewhat dim LA crowd." The show, she writes, was "reminiscent of a small-town talent-show night."

"Clapping wildly for bad stuff enhances this," Proulx writes. She notes that "Brokeback's" three Oscar wins, for original score, adapted screenplay and direction for Ang Lee put it "on equal footing with King Kong."

When Jack Nicholson announced "Crash" as the best-picture winner, "there was a gasp of shock," Proulx writes.

"It was a safe pick of `controversial film' for the heffalumps," she writes, using the elephant-like "Winnie the Pooh" character to describe academy voters.

"For those who call this little piece a Sour Grapes Rant," Proulx concludes, "play it as it lays."

Calls by the Associated Press to Proulx's Wyoming home and her literary agent, Elizabeth Darhansoff, were not immediately returned Tuesday.

=================================================

Well cry me a river, biatch. Don't be such a sore loser. Take it like a man (I know shes a woman, but theres a joke there).

Posted by illogicist at 1:52 PM 4 comments

Strange, That

NP - Cynic - How Could I

Strange how life works. I met a girl today who, if the laws of mathematics and statistics really held true, theres no way in hell I should ever have met. Its a little complicated, so bear with me.

In Oman, in my final year I had a friend called M. Before M came to Oman, she used to live in Turkey for a number of years. Now, in Turkey, M's best friend was a girl called D. M was still in contact with D, and told me D was going to go a certain uni in the UK to study. M said I should apply to that uni because she thought me and D would really get along. All in good fun of course, as high school seniors always talk when they know they may not see each other again.

I came to the uni I'm in now. In this uni I'm in, I met this girls brother. That was a shocker in itself - I dont even know how the topic came up, but when we met he told me he was Turkish, and I guess I said oh I know a girl from turkey. Turkey's a big country - how we singled out this single girl I have no clue, but it happened. That was a big shock in itself. Then today, his sister comes to visit him, and I meet her! Its these coincidences which shouldnt happen, and yet ALWAYS do, that give life one of its many flavours. =)

Posted by illogicist at 11:55 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why do bad dreams linger?

Its about 5:30am here, and I've just gotten up from one of those unpleasant dreams we all get now and then. I'm just wondering, even after we get up, why do these bad dreams hang around? For about 10-15 minutes after waking up I've been left with this awful feeling and I've had to put on some insanely happy music to try to get rid of it (its working). I wish dreams would just end when you woke up. But for some reason the memory of dreams lingers for a while afterwards. Its like the brain wont immediately accept that it was 'just a dream'. I dunno.

Posted by illogicist at 9:51 PM 6 comments

Monday, March 13, 2006

Whats in the news today?

I'm in the library, chilling out. Had a tetanus shot this morning, that was fun (it really was, its only the 2nd time in my life I've had a shot without feeling the needle go in or out...and the first time wasn't as good as this).

I bought The Independent today. 25p (thats about 180bz approx), with 2 free DVD movies, a book and a CD on how to learn Spanish (and lets not forget a super fat newspaper full of stuff I'm not interested in). Sweet deal.

So lets see whats interesting in The Independent today...

British Companies Make £1.1 billion off the War In Iraq

Interesting, but I dont want to get into politics or finance or anything today. Google it if you're interested.

SAS Soldier Quits Over "Illegal" Acts

An SAS soldier refuses to go into combat alongside US forces after calling their tactics illegal He said that they viewed the Iraqis as 'sub-human'. Well Mr. Ben Griffin, 28, I applaud you, even if you're not really telling us anything you don't know. At least you're acting according to your principles and not necessarily your self-interest.

Our Taxes Pay For This Creepy Lecturer

"The Leeds University lecturer Frank Ellis claims he knows - because he is a lecturer and learned - that white people are genetically superior to black people. He quotes discredited studies, and approves of one which concludes that the IQ of Sub-Saharans is "close to or within the range of mental retardation".
Prissy liberals, as ever, have rushed to defend his freedom of speech, the same who roll over when Zionist influence stops any criticism of Israel's illegal policies. Wht if he had said Jewish power controls the world? Or if a muslim lecturer publicly claimed that white girls are naturally more promiscuous than Asian women? They would be gone, thrown to the dogs.
Black and Asian students on his courses must feel demeaned, enraged, misrepresented, hurt, and even afraid. How can they interact with him?
Our taxes pay for this creep. Sack him, I say, and fast. Let him go and find his true vocation - sharpening the teeth of the BNP, which he believes has gone too soft for his liking."

- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Interesting piece. I'm tempted to agree - how can these students even ensure that their marking would be of the same standard as white people? Perhaps a campaign should be launched to remove this racist scumbag.

Well, what other news, non world-related. I was sitting in the 'Reserve Collection' of the library -its the place where they have the most demanded books for courses, which can only go on loan for 3 hours at a time. Its a very popular place to study, as some books you cant get out of there. Spacing is limited. And yet next to me is this girl whos on her laptop, chatting on MSN, not doing any work. It pissed the hell out of me, cause its pretty hard to find a place in reserve unless you come early (or you're prepared to wait for someone to leave). For god's sake, go chat on MSN somewhere else. Go to the cafe or something. Inconsiderate so-and-so.

Later on I was sitting in the cafe writing up some notes. This was around lunch-time, so it was quite packed, and these two girls (quite pretty, might I add) came and shared my table. They started talking about...well, stuff I really had no business hearing. One goes on and on about her parents' divorce last year, in a good amount of detail. Then they start talking about their plans for the future, marrying their boyfriends, having babies, where they want to live, etc. All nice stuff, but I did feel uncomfortable, sitting across the table from them (not 2 feet away), listening to all this, doing my work pretending I cant hear. I suppose they didnt really care whether I heard or not considering I'm a stranger, but still. Its weird.

Posted by illogicist at 6:53 AM 1 comments

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Blink?

It's been a strange weekend. I haven't been productive, but its been very...well, like I said, strange. I've been listening to a lot of mood music, and for those of you who don't do the whole 'mood music' thing, its very enlightening. Its been a while since I've just sat and listened to music, and I've gone through a lot these past two or three days. Sigur Rós, Mogwai, Andy Timmons, Sufjan Stevens, Ulrich Schnauss, Guns N'Roses, and Neil Zaza. Although it all started when a friend sent me a song I haven't listened to in a long time, Lynrd Skynrd - Freebird. That song is just...fantastic. And it got me back to listening to the stuff I listed. Some of that is new to me (like Mogwai), some is very old and dear (like Neil Zaza). Anyone who says music is haram is missing the point. To some of us, music itself is almost a spiritual experience. Try turning off all the nights, and putting on some Sigur Rós while lying down, thinking of nothing. I defy you to NOT get to thinking about God and the universe (Sigur Rós is pure emotion, its fantastic).

People think I'm strange about music, that I just listen to 'devil stuff' or that I have weird taste. I want to throw up everytime I hear someone say 'I'll listen to anything that has a beat, anything I can dance to'. Horsecrap. If you want to outlaw music, outlaw that, because that sure as hell isn't "music". Sure, a beat can be good. I often enjoy a song with a good beat, good rhythm and that. But thats not what music is about, its just one factor in many.

I've also been thinking about movies. A LOT of good, political/socially relevant movies came out in 2005/06 so far. To name a few, Crash, Syriana, The Constant Gardener, Good Night and Good Luck (I think thats the name). I just watched The Weather Man, and that was...interesting. I think it tried to be like American Beauty, but didnt quite reach that level. Still was a good watch though. This whole thing gets me thinking, why do some people think art is haram? Why outlaw beauty? I can understand the argument that anything that takes us away from Allah is haram, but why the implicit assumption that beauty takes us away from Allah? In many if not most cases, it probably brings people closer to Allah. I've heard people describe orgasm as a religious experience, as weird as that sounds. A friend gave me a pretty poetic description of an orgasm, "whats an orgasm but a time when the senses intertwine?" Going on that, I can imagine why it could be considered a religious experience.

Yeah, its been an interesting weekend. I really need to get back in touch with my artistic side. Maybe this'll help. Some works from Gustav Klimt I really loved. They really clicked with me, even though this isnt my usual artistic fare. Enjoy.



^^^ For some reason there such power in this one. I dont know, I just...feel it.

Posted by illogicist at 4:24 PM 3 comments

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Time for a Paradigm Shift

If you open any newspaper in the world, chances are you'll read about people, ordinary people, fighting for some cause or another. From the Zapatistas in Mexico, to the feminist movements across the world, people are fighting for something. In a way its good; it represents the determination of people to fight against perceived injustices in society. A society resigned to its fate is a society defeated.

In developed countries we are blessed in that we have laws that guarantee our rights: our right to speak our minds, to take action against what we feel is unfair or unjust (within limits, of course). Many in the Third World are not given this privilege, this right. For some, violent revolution is the only solution they see. The ruling elite is corrupt, leeching from the poorest. Often even the ruling elite are slaves to some more powerful force, with little or no power at all over the fate of their people. Their sovereignty violated, they have no power over the people they are responsible for.

Theres a million issues causes for which one does indeed need to fight. Poverty and inequality is rampant around the world, even in countries we consider developed. Environmentally genocidal business practices, for the pursuit of ever-greater profits, ensure that our future generations will not enjoy this world as we do. Systematic slaughter of minority populations continues under the deafening silence of the major powers.

The problem here is two-pronged: firstly, there is a huge lack of awareness by people about anything outside their immediate communities. If you were to ask your neighbour how many people in the world are forced to live under two dollars a day, its almost certain they wouldnt be able to provide the correct answer: around 3 billion people. Nor would your neighbour know that less than one percent of what the world spends every year on the military would be needed to put every child in every country in school (of course, that hasn't happened). Your neighbour simply wouldnt know: neither would your local shopkeeper, hairdresser or baker.

Secondly, people don't really care. What doesn't affect us directly generally doesn't bother us. When you hear these figures thrown at you, it no doubt makes you pause for a second and ponder the unfairness of it all. You might even start to think about why this is the case. However, you're discomfort quickly passes, as that familiar Desperate Housewives theme starts to play from your television set.

I don't want to suggest that humans are generally apathetic. On the contrary: we're loaded with emotions. We care about lots of things. For instance, we really, really care about whether Joe Bloggs will ask Jane Doe to marry him this episode. We care about Jerry Springer's transsexual midgets. Without delving too deep into the 'anti-establishment' argument, we care about whatever we're fed. When it comes to the 'real world', most of us don't really have particularly strong feelings about much at all. Not to say we don't care about real things, that would be wrong, simply that the things we care about perhaps aren't the most important, most urgent issues there are.

If people really knew about the extent of poverty and inequality, they would care. If each and every person knew, and was directly confronted with the real tragedies of the third world, or even the tragedies of our societies, I believe a great majority would stand up and demand justice. Unfortunately, most of us with the power to orchestrate change, the middle and working classes, are comfortably insulated from the problems of the world. We don't have real contact with those truly suffering, nor are we informed of their plight by the major media outlets. Rather, we believe in the causes we're told to believe in. Homosexual rights, for example, need to be addressed, but are hardly more important than the 30,000 children that die daily due to poverty. And yet the media today gives us the impression this is the most important issue we face today. From gay marriages to Brokeback Mountain, the rights of homosexuals to express themselves is currently the 'in' thing of causes to support.

We need to break out of this manipulated bubble we live in. There are so many ways that even the ordinary person can do to help. Even educating ourselves can be a great help to those people who need us. And there are so many things really worth fighting for. There is inequality in every country in the world; it doesn't have to be the far-off third world country. Up until last week I was ignorant to the fact there is a large number of refugees in the city I live in, here in the UK! Environmental destruction and the depletion of our natural resources means that, with our approval, the rape of the Earth can go ahead. All we need to do is wake ourselves up to whats around us. Once that happens, we'll have real power to do what needs to be done, in whatever cause we choose to fight for.


facts, figures taken from here.

Posted by illogicist at 11:38 AM 4 comments

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