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Things That We Never Can Directly Know
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Balloonist of experience's LiveJournal:

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Friday, September 28th, 2018
12:57 am
A Continued Ambivalence about Recognition by those I Admire
Okay, so apparently Jenna Moran has read my review of Magical Bears in the Context of Contemporary Political Theory.

I mean, look, given that it is literally the only review of the book on Goodreads (awkwardly, as I mentioned on Goodreads), yes, I was wondering.

She is presumably not going to read this blog post, but I feel like I ought to point out that I really don't think, even under fairly loose definitions, the book fits under the category of novel. I mean, I strongly suspect that she cares more about taxonomy than I do, anyway.

Current Mood: ambiguous
Thursday, May 31st, 2018
11:24 pm
_Dear Evan Hansen_ (I Guess This Has Spoilers)
Saw Dear Evan Hansen last week, because I realized it was a musical that sounded like a YA novel and because I realized that if I am willing to go see theater in London by myself, why shouldn't I also be willing to do it in NYC? It was a good decision - the first half in particular gave me the same sort of feeling as the third quarter of The Wings of the Dove, when Merton Densher slowly realizes exactly what Kate Croy is expecting of him.

(On a total sidenote, the last book for my college alumni reading group this year was The Hate U Give - very exciting that I was actually able to read a YA book for my college alumni reading group - and, towards the end, there's a paragraph which consists of just: "Things will never be the way they used to be," and I actually cracked up, because all I could think of was, "We shall never be again as we were," and I don't know if it was a deliberate reference or not - it certainly could be, but it doesn't have to be - but it definitely highly amused me.)

That said, during "Requiem," I started imagining the alternative version in which Connor had actually attacked or even attempted to kill Zoe, and she had killed him in self-defense. I guess ideally in a sort of premeditated way, maybe having been violently attacked by him and then having to figure out a way to kill him but frame it as a suicide because otherwise she might not survive the next attack? So not only would Evan still have the ethical difficulty of the letter and his lies to deal with, but Zoe would have the dilemmas of the fact that she had killed (hopefully rather justifiably, but still) her own brother, and the fact that she actually knew it wasn't a suicide but her cover-up was really aided by the letter?

It's just - why is one ethical dilemma enough? The more the merrier! I mean, the opposite, I guess.

Current Mood: amused
Monday, January 1st, 2018
11:36 pm
2017 - The Year in Art
Book of the Year - The Crown of Dalemark - Diana Wynne Jones
Film of the Year - Black Swan - Darren Aronofsky
Music of the Year - "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn" - anonymous, with help from the White Stripes
TV Show of the Year - Mr. Robot - Sam Esmail

Current Mood: annoyed
Saturday, October 7th, 2017
10:23 pm
"On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year," by Lord Byron
I hasten to assure anyone reading this that I do not in any way identify with the sentiments described in the poem, but I feel obligated to post it as a fan of the younger Romantics turning 36.

PoemCollapse )

Current Mood: sleepy
Thursday, September 28th, 2017
11:13 pm
Every Second of Time is the Gate through which the Messiah May Enter.
I have never actually read any China Miéville, but this is a great piece of criticism on some of his work. It was constantly full of insight, and it even made me cry (I mean, not that that's too difficult, but still).

Current Mood: melancholy
Saturday, August 12th, 2017
10:12 pm
Autodidacts Who Know More than I Do
In of Montreal songs, Kevin Barnes makes all sorts of obscure artsy references to things that I've never even heard of (just read the lyrics to "Art Snob Solutions"), as well as plenty of literary references, such as those to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf or A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Jacobean drama (my hope is that it's Jacobean drama through the medium of Eliot, since "The Waste Land" is how I know that quote, at least). Meanwhile, not only did Neil Hannon write "The Booklovers" (you should watch that video if you have never watched it), he also literally set Wordsworth poetry to music (in fact, this song is the only thing that has ever been able to make me take Wordsworth seriously). What's interesting about this is that neither of them ever went to college/university. It's hard for me to even imagine because I'm so used to having learned things from my college and even graduate school experiences. I have to admit to having a lot of respect for audodidacts.

Current Mood: neutral
Friday, May 5th, 2017
1:44 pm
An Excerpt from "Ash Wednesday"
. . .And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Current Mood: sad
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017
5:29 pm
An Excerpt from "Ash Wednesday"
. . .
Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
. . .
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
7:00 pm
2016 - The Year in Art
Book of the Year - Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
Film of the Year - The Handmaiden - Chan-wook Park
Music of the Year - "Last Nite" - The Strokes
TV Show of the Year - Mr. Robot - Sam Esmail

Current Mood: pleased
Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
10:43 pm
Unexpected _A Memory of Light_ Spoiler Post
Bet you weren't expecting that!

Well, neither was I. . . .

Yes, 3.5 years late, I have finally read A Memory of Light. There seems to be a certain set of circumstances which makes me finally pick up the final books of fantasy series that I really want to read and put off - it involves stressful returns to work, uncertainty about the future and difficulty sleeping - the circumstances in which I read AMoL are not entirely different from the circumstances in which I read the book I most anticipated reading in all the world after at least 13.5, maybe 14 years of putting it off. AMoL is nothing in comparison. Actually, oddly enough, I guess that the fantasy finale I've actually been putting off reading for the longest is The Seventh Gate, of all things, which I purchased when it originally came out, still actively want to read and have never read for. . . ummm. . . 22 years. If I don't read it soon I will seriously get to the point where I have been waiting to read it for 2/3rds of my life. Rather odd since it's not like The Death Gate Cycle was ever one of my favorite series or anything.

I am more amused, however, by the way that the immediate cause of my reading AMoL was that I was asleep for 22 hours for jet lag and dreamed about it? I was in that kind of hibernation-esque jet-laggy state and was considering just staying in bed until I had to go to work the next day, but what eventually persuaded me I had to wake up was thinking about this dream, how completely unlikely it was as a finale for WoT and then my intense curiosity about how it differed from the real version (very intensely). The thing is that I have been having WoT dreams for 2/3rds of my life - TDR came out in paperback when I was 11, and I remember that right before my uncle bought it I dreamt about what might happen in it - and so it pleases me immensely that this was the factor that pushed me over the edge into reading AMoL at last.

Anyway. . . I don't know. I'm glad I finally read it but it was not nearly as good as TGS - although I suppose it felt slightly less predictable, or at least slightly less boring in its predictability, than ToM. It was still pretty predictable, though, and very heavily focused on battle - with, rather infamously, a single chapter that is nearly 80,000 words to describe the Last Battle. I'll give some spoilers for anyone who is still curious but frankly since it's mostly just fighting I'm not sure how interesting they are.

My Knife of Dreams spoilers are in the comments to this post; my The Gathering Storm spoilers about how completely awesome that book is are in the post and comments here; and my Towers of Midnight spoiler post is here There is no post or comments with Crossroads of Twilight spoilers because nothing happens in CoT, so you don't have to worry about that.

If you have no interest in AMoL spoilers, there is no reason to click this lj-cut.Collapse )

Current Mood: frustrated
Monday, January 11th, 2016
7:44 pm
Worst Procrastination Attempt Ever
Finished one set of something important I needed to do, decided to take a short internet break before doing the next (and final) set, discovered David Bowie was dead.

How is that okay?  Will take time to process.

Current music came up randomly on my iTunes playlist while reading the news ("I heard the news today, oh boy." - you can tell it is not "A Day in the Life" because it's heard, not read, but I was reading the news), but decided to keep it on repeat given that it's appropriate.  I have a set of quotations prepared for certain eventualities that may or may not ever come to pass (eg, what should I post on LJ if I ever achieve transcendence but am still able to post on LJ?).  This song is the one that I'll quote from should I ever give up my American citizenship.  "Soul Love" is the one with the quotation I want as my epitaph.  Not sure what Bowie's epitaph will be.

Current Mood: numb
Friday, January 1st, 2016
12:12 pm
2015 - The Year in Art
Book of the Year - Pandemia series (both) - Dave Duncan
Film of the Year - Under The Skin - Jonathan Glazer
Music of the Year - "Police Encounters" live on Later... With Jools Holland - FFS
TV Show of the Year - How to Get Away with Murder - Peter Nowalk

Current Mood: embarrassed
Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
2:49 pm
Hey, Cool!
My research on Howl's past was cited in a Yuletide fic.  This is probably the most I'll ever have to do with Yuletide, but I still feel pleased I've made some tiny little contributions to fandom ;-)

Current Mood: jet lag is annoying
Sunday, July 5th, 2015
6:02 am
Help
I'm not sure I can go to sleep because if I did I would have to stop listening to "Police Encounters."

Current Mood: amused
Monday, April 13th, 2015
2:07 pm
I Am So Confused Right Now
Gordon Korman, as in the Macdonald Hall series, as in Son of Interflux, as in Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag, that Gordon Korman, seems to have called my parents' house. From what I understand, no one picked up the phone. greebsnarf sent me visual proof of this, but I guess I won't post it because I probably shouldn't be spreading his phone number around?

I am so confused.

So, so confused.

Current Mood: confused
Thursday, January 1st, 2015
9:26 pm
9:19 pm
2014 - The Year in Art
And so I enter my second decade of tracking this (!)

Book of the Year - "Solitude" - Ursula K. LeGuin
Long Form Dramatic Presentation of the Year (the category also known as plays! I can't help it! Plays!) - The Pillowman - Martin McDonagh
Music of the Year - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 2 - Yoko Kanno et al.
TV Show of the Year - Orange is the New Black - Jenji Kohan

Current Mood: tired
2:42 am
Quotation of the Day
". . .there is only one world, and this is false, cruel, contradictory, seductive, without meaning-a world thus constituted is the real world. We have need of lies in order to conquer this reality, this 'truth,' that is, in order to live. That lies are necessary in order to live is itself part of the terrifying and questionable character of existence."

---Nietzsche, from the (so-called) so-called Will to Power, translated by Walter Kaufmann

Current Mood: tired
Saturday, December 20th, 2014
6:37 pm
Pulp Documentary
Just forced my parents to watch the Pulp documentary with me. At one point, a bunch of people are wearing t-shirts with quotations from Pulp songs on them, one of which is, "Why live in the world when you can live in your head?" from "Monday Morning," (which, because I'm predictable, is a line that has been coming up in my head quite a lot for over half of my lifetime) and, like, as soon as that comes on, my mother is like, "Oh, that fits you perfectly." I know I'm predictable, but it is a bit embarrassing to be so easy to peg.

Current Mood: anxious
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
2:53 am
Regrettably Belated Obligatory Even Year Bullshit Post
I haven't posted about the fact that the Giants won the World Series again yet because I've been spending most of the past couple of months being absurdly lazy/inactive (have done some great reading, though!) after a really stressful couple of months, but I have to say that the Giants playoff season was one of the only highlights of my stressful couple of months. Trying desperately to finish up my final grading when I had to go to a class to return it while listening to MadBum pitching Game 7 on the radio was one of the more intense experiences of my life (especially the part where after the official time for the class had started and I was still madly grading, I took an awkward and inconvenient phone call, and got off only to discover that during that exact period of time Alex Gordan had gotten his triple).

As we know, I've always been somewhat bemused by my casual baseball fandom given my general lack of sports fandom. This has only been getting weirder over the past half-decade. I was raised, as a Giants fan, to think of my team as underdogs (I mean, not Cubs or Red Sox-level underdogs, but underdogs nevertheless) and to hate the Yankees at least in part because they were successful and therefore not good to root for. It seems bizarre and strange to me that I could possibly still feel happy about the Giants winning when, you know, they've already won twice before and are going up against a team that were true underdogs. But there it was. Sports fandom really is a weird thing, and I'm fascinated by the psychology of it, at least as it pertains to me.

Current Mood: neutral
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