Sunday, December 13, 2009


The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.

- Rumi

love is linked to life. the longer we live, the more deeply we understand love. the love that a teenager insists that she feels is a legitimate love. it is different from that experienced by a twenty-five year-old or a sixty-five year-old, but it is love nonetheless. how do we know when we are in love? we feel it. we know with certainty when we are not in love, but we are unsure of everything when we are in love. the love between two people is an intimation of universal love, love in the abstract - the love one experiences when one effaces one's ego, one's self. when one gives love unselfishly to everyone, then one is divine. when one is united with love, one realises that loving truly is to recognise the universe within oneself, to recognise that the lover and the beloved are one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the inextricable linking of messrs wilde and fry

one of my most persistent memories, brief as static but with all of nostalgia's pleasantness, is of a movie called 'wilde'. i sat on the floor of the living room of the london flat where i had spent about a dozen summers, half of which followed the formula of watching videos rented from the blockbuster downstairs while eating a small cup of haagen-dazs vanilla ice cream, purchased there. i sat on the blue carpet and watched the dramatised biography of a man about whom i knew nothing except his name. but that name would change my perception of the world, as the things he did with language were, to me, unimaginable. i never knew one was allowed to play, to manipulate, to wit, as he did. to be sure, my own skill wanes in comparison, but what i know now, i owe in some great degree to oscar wilde, and also in some great degree to the man who played him in that film, mr stephen fry. i believe it was the first time i'd heard of him, but he became then inextricably linked with mr wilde, and they were thenceforth fixtures of my fascination with language, a permanent benchmark, a zenith towards which to strive. many years passed after that initial initiation, and i began to investigate wilde's work, for the first time, and my mind's barriers were shattered, one more time. some more years passed, and i investigated mr fry again. his wit is unparalleled, his insight is remarkable, and his lexical dexterity is so magnificent that it is tearfully enviable.

wonderful and insightful: "america's place in the world"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

linda goodman's promise of immortality

i was beaten by the strange stick when i picked up linda goodman's star signs. it is occult to the max. she was the foremost in astrology, she brought it to the fore. her sun signs is amazing and insightful, and everyone should read it - those who study the astrological sciences will relish it, those who are unaware will become aware. to be sure, linda goodman is brilliant. she taps into the ancient gnosis, the ancient wisdom, the idea of becoming one with oneself, when one's "I"-ness is effaced to the point that there is no Me and there is no You, there is only the Ultimate. when one diminishes one's self, one recognises the Unity of Being - the wahdat al-wujud of ibn al-arabi - the blissful peace of unified reality.

but star signs is so strange ... it's occult to the hilt. i picked it up before leaving mtl and opened it to the chapter on achieving physical immortality and was visibly struck by its brazenness. i put it in my suitcase and read it two nights ago. it was eye-opening. the idea, the steps she provided, of/to physical immortality were galilean, though the book was published thirty years ago. believe in immortality! she chides. you can do it if you KNOW it to be true. recognise the truth of cell regeneration and train your mind to youthen your body, your cells. you will look like any age you want to. follow the steps - become vegetarian, do not kill, do not be promiscuous, be kind.

eleven steps to immortality. nice if you can get it, and you can get it if you try.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NEW! Reviews of EIE (courtesy of Ja'red)

Everything in Excess Reviews:

"Soap box ramblings of a madman."
-New York Times

"The internet has ruined the art of writing. I quit."
-Thomas Wolfe

"I wish, in addition to Spell Check, there was such a thing as Suck Check."
- Chicago Sun Times

"Genius! Brilliant! One of today's greatest minds!"
- North Korea State Controlled Sun Times

"It scared me."
- Stephen King

"Great piece on cookies."
- Cookie Monster

Monday, June 29, 2009


it is a paragon of pluralism, created as a house for `every god`, the pantheon was designed to welcome and include all the people of the realm and the variety of gods they worshipped. it is one of rome`s oldest buildings, built by marcus agrippa in his third consulship after actium in 31 bce, and has been in continuous use for over 2000 years. (the xtians usurped it in the seventh c and its used by them still.) its walls are six feet thick, to support its huge dome.

it is a massive structure that, like the moon, remains stationery as you move beneath it. it is breathtaking every time. its columns are gigantic and its awe is wonderful to experience, every single time. it comes into the corner of the eye, through the small streets that hide its fullness. but in the openness of its piazza, it is awesome and thrilling, every time, even when looking away for a moment and turning back.

rome is empty at night, all the piazzas are clear, making way for lovers and other strangers. the pantheon`s majesty is clear in the daytime, despite all the people, but it`s solemnity is clearest at night.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

quaker chewy chocolate chip granola bars

i eat these all the time. i have them after other food. i have them as food. i even have them as dessert. i think it's the chocolate chip part that gets me. i'm sure that's all i like about them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


it's still exciting. was exhilarating, really. want to go back. was chilling with az and some at lemeac, then some places like baldwin distillerie cafeteria, then in my driveway ran into some people, were chatting then decided to go go-karting around 3 o'clock. was wicked fun zoom zoom round round fast fast.

for tas 1 [m:brgr]

the choc chip cookie with vanilla ice cream at m:brgr got betr. it was always a good idea, but recently they started making it with larger choc chips, and now it is actually really good, and i think about it from time to time.

m:brgr is just generally nice, it's a very chill atmosphere (though sometimes the music is really loud), and the place itself is very cool and trendy, the crowd too, and jeff the owner is great, very nice always friendly. one always bumps into someone one knows. i've spent a quite bit of time there recently. was fun with s-man that one time, and even he liked the place and the beer.

i really like chilling there (though it is too expensive). the drinks are high-quality, top-notch. i'm sure josh silver would be really happy i said that, he's always promoting m:brgr cuz he's got them to stock stewart's. he's all over asw, always promoting mbrgr, trinity, l'original, all the places that stock stewart's. m:brgr also has coke in the bottle. that's always nice, isn't it t ;). and the other day i had a kobe burger with portobello mush, monterey jack cheese, and caramelised was really good. i like m:brgr now.
[this is a very un-triumphant return. i hope i'll be more inspired soon than i have been over the last month.]

Monday, April 20, 2009

the finite timelessness of youth.

We get lost in our youth. We don’t know anything else. Youth is invincible and impervious. And beautiful. And wasteful.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

george lucas is effing brilliant.

what genius, to come up with such epic stories: star wars and indiana jones. both are full of adventure and comedy, heart and soul, metaphor and symmetry. star wars is spiritual and meaningful, its depth is belied by its science fiction setting and high-flying adventure, but the notion of the force, of the spiritual master, of the green man, of the perceived duality between good and evil, as well as that duality's essential complementarity, all have firm grounding in the study of gnosis.

the star wars movies famously take their cue from joseph campbell's study of the 'hero myth', and indiana jones is wonderfully comic and non-stop adventure. he's the american james bond (fleming's bond, not connery's), in a way: supremely knowledgable, supremely capable, and supremely brash. harrison ford really is quite wonderful, he's both han solo and indiana jones, a thrill-seeking and brazenly cocksure adventurer, motivated by self-interest, but ever-ready to don the mantle of reluctant hero.

the opening scene of 'temple of doom' mixes east and west with an american girl singing an english song in chinese, then brings in mystery as we see indy's body moving down stairs, given a passing warning as he sits down to confront a table of mobsters, as connery did in dr no, dashing in a white tuxedo; the adventure just begins as he barters for the prize which he collected the night before, which, as we learn from a bandaged hand, one of the chinese had attempted to steal. the details make it exciting and fun, delivered slowly and subtly, as we see the barter taking place over a revolving tray, the artefact and the money being exchanged round and round, when indy finally imbibes a poison, and the club goes wild, the diamond and the antidote both rolling around on the floor, being chased by the girl and indy, both of whom want one of those items. the excitement level is maintained as they jump out a window and fall directly into indy's white car, given chase by the chinese, until indy escapes them by jumping into a freight plane, which he doesn't know is owned by the mobster himself!

what a brilliant storyteller he is, a master of vernacular adventure, mr lucas - inventor of some of the most enduring, popular, and relevant american characters, and reviver of inspired and innately exciting stories.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

sylvester stallone's remarkable magnanimity.

some people think him brutish. but that is shallow. his heart is big and generous, and he is kind and warm. in all his movies he shows a real concern for social justice, which he protects nobly. in 'get carter' he is a man troubled by his identity, striving to reconcile the violence of his world with the inherent decency that imbues his worldview. he seeks to protect his niece from the darkness of that very world, in which he seeks to bring light. that he does so by sometimes dark means is due to involuntary factors of his birth, and those dark actions are thus invested with the light of his intention. he is a role model for the younger characters, portraying a man that has always to live in the grey, forced to use his god-given physical strength to put right a world in which nothing is black and white, in which danger and corruption threaten his sense of justice and morality. nevertheless, his innate softness is revealed through his tranquil self-confidence, through his calm and kind advices, such as in 'driven'. as witnessed in all the 'rocky' movies, his empathy for the plight of others, even when they abuse him, is magnanimous; and the burden of love he carries in his heart is endearing and emotional.

Friday, April 3, 2009

sinead o'connor's beautiful face.

the sentiment seeps from her, her mouth is expressive to the hilt. she sings strongly and passionately and vividly and lamentingly. there is nothing except her face, her mouth, her tears. the song is a jeremiad. its mournful tone entwines one into its sentiment, her face plumbs its deepening emotion. her mouth's graceful wailing is intense and intoxicating, its beauty is bewitching.


at three thirteen the world stops. 313 souls, 313 heroes. 3 hours and 13 minutes. there is no similarity, there is symbolism. there is righteousness and its path, and the lantern that lights it, lit by 313 souls, 313 heroes. at 3:13 we are reminded of our duty.

Monday, March 30, 2009

kabir's taj.

kabir's resto le taj is consistently rated the best indian resto in town for good reason it really is good everything there is good all the dishes are really delicious of course i love butter chicken and its excellent there and at a's prompting last time i had chicken tikka masala and it was great and again at her welcome and recurrent prodding i had the garlic naan which again was just so tasty and really amplified the general goodness of all the other dishes and it's generally just always a good time with kabir with whom i always enjoy interesting interlocution

Sunday, March 29, 2009

someone to be kind to in between the dark and the light

i didn't know i liked the eagles so much. but their music animates me, their songs inspire emotion in me. and so all of a sudden; it was only last summer that i began listening to their music.

i was sitting at dunn's waiting for my hot dog as i was wont to do last summer at six am, post-imaginationhouse, and i commented to the tall fellow that i liked the song playing, to which he gave his unbeknownst-to-him fateful response, 'it's the eagles, man'. the eagles ... a spectre that loomed in the back of my western-influenced mind, a band that i knew existed and was important, but which i couldn't recall having ever heard. of course, just like with frank, i was wrong: i knew many of their songs but didn't know it. 'desperado' i knew because of that seinfeld episode; 'tequila sunrise' i knew because of interview with the vampire; 'hotel california' is really famous of course, but i had spent an entire summer some years previous loving the gipsy kings cover. and so i discovered that the eagles were an embedded component of this society's social imaginary - the background repository of images and narratives - the vernacular, pop culture which i have, over the years, absorbed without intention, which to me is still remarkable considering one where i grew up and two that so many young people from here don't know much about the past while it seems to be familiar to me.

but these above-mentioned songs were not the songs that turned me, really. it was the slow, forlorn songs. 'i can't tell you why' was the first. it's a song about the banal reality of two people trying to come to know one another, amidst their conflicting, entrenched perspectives on life: "look at us baby, up all night, tearing our love apart", he says; "nothing's wrong as far as i can see; we make it harder than it has to be", he concludes. the song begins with only the bass, but continues into a slow percussive rhythm, punctuated by a dreamy and ethereal synth, and concludes with an almost two-minute guitar solo that single-handedly and instantaneously incited in me an appreciaton and love for the electric guitar in particular, and rock music in general. the song's lyrics, just like most of the eagles' fare, are sensible and sensitive, capturing in an instant a depth of emotion without sacrificing comprehensibilty or grammar. much of the same is evident in 'the best of my love', a song which tackles similar subject matter in similar musical style: "every night i'm lyin' in bed/ holdin' you close in my dreams/ thinkin' about all the things that we said/ and comin' apart at the seams". the chorus is longing and mournful, both lyrically and musically, inspiring the same in the listener.

the title of this post is a line from one of my favouritest songs, 'one of these nights', delivered in a falsetto and pace that contrasts the previous lines and bars, which makes it stand out immediately. of course the genius of their songs, generally, is that they are expertly executed both musically and lyrically. their meaningfulness is conveyed effortlessly by don henley's almost unremarkable voice, were it not for its remarkable range, augmented by its lightness, which allows it to move seamlessly into his falsetto, the natural, graceful beauty of which acts as a juxtaposition against the deepness of his lyrics. they move together, the music and lyrics; the same sentiment is conveyed by both, they complement each other to make a unified whole, a symmetry: beauty incarnate.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

other good burgers

a tangible facet of my life has been the pursuit of burgers. i'm not alone in this; in fact, it's a very 'stuff that white people like' sort of thing, and it occupied the content of an entire episode of himym, the epitome of white lameness. but, leaving aside that throbbing reality, there are a few good burgers i've had, though i know i'm far from where i need to be, in terms of the global human experience. let us concentrate on mtl, as you retain the possibility of being entranced by local fare, and that would be most beneficial to our future discussions on the subject as it would place us on common ground. the lamentable closure of pipeline (opposite club 281) was both mysterious and unhappy, as i didn't know it had shut and when i found out i was sad. i kept driving by, promising people the best burger in town, with its wonderfully rye bread, and being all juicy and tantalising. but it, like an anal of history, was shut. though when it was open it didnt shut till two in the morning, a big selling point for me as i like everything that stays open till the times i'm available to avail myself of them. if a burger place shuts at ten it's likely i won't go there often. like dilallo; it shuts early. but, moe's, on the other hand, is up all night. it's the oldest diner in mtl, open 24 hours, it's cheap, dingy, right next to the forum (which was a very profitable location for decades), and its really tasty. it's not called moe's anymore, but the burgers are still just so good, with the relish and the cheese and the pickles. all the stuff that other burgers have, i suppose. but, for example, nickel's isn't good, though it has the ingredients, it lacks good taste. nearby nickel's, though, is mr steer, which has always been considered among the top in town. their burgers are smaller in diameter, which is kind of cute, but they're fat, so still quite fulling. these are really tasty and i have two at a go. further down st cats is reuben's, which is a smoked meat place, yes, but still has one of the best burgers around, the berghoff's beer burger: a well-chargrilled patty, all the necessary ingredients, but with the addition of this beer-ketchup sauce, which puts it over the top. if we come back up the street, we'll pass by firegrill, which has a good, decent burger for the sort of place it is. if one continues perambulating, one will miss m:brgr, because it's out of the way a bit, but now this is a place that is dedicated to burgers. it has every option you could have thought of, mushrooms, truffle oil, all the cheeses, kobe beef, lettuce wrap instead of bun, the most expensive champagnes. well, it's expensive, this place. the first couple of times i went there i didn't see what the hullaballoo was, i didn't like the sweet potato fries that much, though i was much impressed by the giant choc chip cookie with ice cream (!), and i loved with nostalgia the floats and milkshakes, which looked the ones archie and the gang used to drink together in the 50s at pop's choclitt shoppe. or like the ones in norman rockwell paintings. that's more representative of a definite nostalgia, perhaps. despite all that, though, i had, last month, their special, which was a kobe beef burger, with monterey jack cheese, caramelised onions, shitake mushrooms, and truffle oil. and it was spectacular. really, really good. and it's silly of me to like the coke bottle, but i did. people from here only had them decades ago, so the kids here didn't grow up with them, but people like me, from the rest of the world, still use bottles, and we grew up with them. now, if we take a hike to another part of town, we see mamma's pizza, who have this wonderful mamma's burger, which comes in a tight aluminium foil. it's a big, big, juicy burger, but the relish is the thing with this one. our imaginal friend introduced me to it, and we both used to order it all the time, and one time i had called up and he had just placed his order, and the girl knew it was us two cuz we both asked for no bacon. further along, on duluth, one finds the famous au pied de cochon, who have a foie gras burger. now this is very interesting, and one finds it in some places, and it is worth a go. a couple of other interesting places in mtl are newtown, which actually has a great burger; dundee's has a good mushroom burger; some people like dunn's burger (metcalfe and st cats), for me the big selling point is it's open all the time, you can have steak at 4 in the morning; the st james hotel in old port has a beautiful dining room, with a burger that has an amazing tasting patty, but is far too small for the bun, which itself is very lacklustre. in some of the cities i visit a lot, there are places i go for burgers also, for example, in vancouver i always loved the burger at the garden cafe at the four seasons. it really is good and was my favourite for many years; it's a formal burger, with the traditional ingredients, such as onions, lettuce, tomatoes, with a well-positioned bun, and a carefully prepared patty, and the chips are well-cut and thin. vera's, on the other hand, is a chain that has excellent burgers, but, again, come in aluminium foil, are messy and big, and have lots of options, but, like they say, you can't beat vera's meat. in london i've always liked the tootsie's burger. it really is good, it's semi-formal, really, but it's best with the white chocolate milkshake. ah, five guys burger and fries, the burger from dc that spurred my somewhat-infamous moment-of-passion email some years ago; this is a burger. it's a fast food place, but, the thing is, it just tastes so good. it is so good. really good. in bangkok i like the burgers at the intercon hotel, and the hyatt has a good one too. these are wider in diameter, as hotel burgers tend to be, more formal, as stated, sticking to traditional ingredients, with well-grilled and well-made patties, topped with nice, melted cheese. it's the quality of the ingredients at the hotel burgers that makes them good. this has been a long exposition of a subject that i can imagine a number of you will not like at all, but some of you will understand and appreciate my appreciation. it's the sort of thing that the sort of people who like this sort of thing will find that it's the sort of thing they like.

Friday, March 27, 2009


what happens to your facebook profile if you die?

a cheap trick (illusion, really): the despite-or-maybe-because-of-$3.75 so good dilallo burger.

the chain with the name dilallo: i frequented it frequently this past week, as my gustative peregrinations took me there on sunday night, some twenty-odd hours subsequent to my first experience there when i ingested two of the namesake delicacies as well as an entire french fried, and i again visited the scene of this crime of passion on tuesday night, when my enjoyment was, once again, plain and evident, like a piece of cheese in a mousetrap baiting its prey. the dilallo pattys are flimsy and unsound, nestled between a top bun that looks like a sexy bottom bun and a bottom bun that looks like a top-heavy bun, punctuated with hints of tomatoes, a lavish hit of onion, a Mr Pickle Two Slice, and pleasurable mustard, all topped with a grease that allows one's fingers to slip and slide, reminding one of the tenuousness of youth's pleasures, and the frivolity of trying to hold on to them. the first time the burger and my mouth met, the world was bright - it was a sunny day. there was an initial shock, followed by a rapturous engorging. the chemistry was palpable.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

la clafouti sandwich

the place is packed. at lunchtime the lineup's a winding snake, people all waiting to gobble down the sandwiches, the fruits, the soups, all 'healthy' foods for cheap. the demography, all ppl taking lunch breaks, is noteworthy for its aesthetic quality, which is a surprising contradiction to the eatery's dark, cavernous atmosphere. in the summer, ppl/one cross the street (drummond) to the mini-park and eat there. that's what we did the first time i was taken there a few years ago by my old friend al-bookthief, who told me, quite correctly, that the sandwiches were great and cheap. i've never had anything else except the tuna sandwiches and i've never looked back. but here's what it looks like if i did look back:

Thursday, March 19, 2009


dancing, an exaggerated human movement in rhythm to music. it is enlivening, to be sure, though i shan't make any etiological inquiries here. let us say for now that rhythm is indeed a dancer. mosaica ... the mcgill dance company. it's always a fun show. there's such a variety of styles and songs, hip hop to hipster, coldplay to collins. and loads of britney. (seems everyone likes britney, even though all her songs are about how no one likes her.) but the show really was quite good and fun, and it always impresses me that people design the dances themselves, it was the co-ordinators, who themselves are students. and they all put in so much effort. just imagine. the dances were very interesting, some telling stories, most were just raw expressions of the passion that music inspires; through different sounds they played around. but, both the music and the style of dance was very 'stuff that white people like'; a lot of hipster and a lot of sadness. sadness is legitimate in post-enlightenment liberal society, we wallow in it here, though in the islamic conception, despondency is a sin; 'failures should be forgotten and new efforts made'. we don't wallow in sadness, it's not legitimate. regardless, the dancing itself wasn't perfect; they had problems keeping in synch with each other in every dance. but, it's excusable, i think, because one the dances were fun and the music was interesting, two it's students, and three they're soft young girls. if they were not pretty young girls would it be any good? it would not. would one have liked the show otherwise? i think not. what do i know about dancing as art, really? very little, but i enjoyed watching them move around nonetheless. dancing has to be done by soft, lithe young girls, otherwise it's just fat people jumping up and down. (see here.)

everyone loves christian bale

chris bale is pretty cool. he's patrick bateman, bruce wayne, and a terminator terminator. that is pretty cool. he's always been dedicated to his roles (see the weight change between machinist and batman begins). see how deeply he delves into bateman. his first role was as a kid, in that spielberg picture. they said he was going to be great. and he is: he's got a huge cult following (re: the way cool but lame 'equilibrium', and 'american sycho'), and TWO franchises (batman + terminator = dollar dollar bills). so, why were people ragging on him about his on-set rant? it's obviously annoying when someone repeatedly disturbs your conccentration, regardless of what field you're in. i hate it when someone interrupts my thought-trains. obviously the guy was annoying, and someone should definitely trash his lights. hear the original here. and the amazing remix is "oooh good". the remix is great, lots of fun driving around to, so funny, and makes us like chris bale more. (alternate viewpoint).

Saturday, March 14, 2009


it's basic. it's for kids, for young people. it reeks of simplicity, like pesto pasta, another of my lusts. it's sometimes disparaged by people who fancy they've sophisticated palettes; sometimes not. but it can't shake that sense of innocence, that sense of easiness, of being at the beginning, something from which one graduates. i never craved it in my minority. i never remembered it in the early years of my maturity, eschewing pasta generally. but, it's overcome me now and i've never wanted it more.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

there's something about aranciata ... and pellegrino, generally.

of course i like limonata, but there really is something about the orange that i like (my love for orangina has already been documented). aranciata is very popular in italy, where san pellegrino has been produced for six hundred years. the company has been the number one beverage company in italy since the seventies and its water now sells for about ten dollars a bottle in restaurants on this side of the pond. i have always preferred the softness of their frizzante to perrier's difficult hardness, but it's pellegrino's style that really catches the eye: the light blue label, the harsh red star. and the new matte-coloured aranciata/limonata/chino bottles in the deps/cafes are very modish and colourful. certainly, i used to enjoy the aranciata cans on hot days in italy, but the glass bottles add to the genuineness of the taste, offering less harsh carbonation, and an easier and cooler sip from the tip. (the drawback is the bottle holds less, and the price is higher. and one needs a bottle opener; though cool its annoying). but still, frizzante drinks are very refreshing - they're the first choice in italy - and the aranciata is the icing on the cake. aaaaaaranciatah!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

yann martel of montreal and spain and my heart.

the first time i encountered his words i was stunned. and in the coming days i saw his book in the hands of so many humans waiting at airport gates, and i wondered if they had all had the same shock as i had, and i was surprised at the wherewithal of the hoi polloi to experience his words' beauty as deeply as it had struck me. i never finished 'life of pi', i barely read it at all. i couldn't really understand it, though i came to learn that it was an important cog of our social imaginary, an expression of society's ethics. but yesterday i read the first page of 'self', and his turns of phrases hit me one more time. i bought it today, and, in reading it, felt my insides soften. how can he manipulate the words in this way, with such perceptiveness, such creativity. how can his mind create such things that ignite my stomach, that spark a burning, a covetousness so hot that its steam spills out my eyes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

nuit blanche

all right, so nuit blanche; 165 activities, till six in the mornin'. freezing night, couldn't it have been like yesterday? every time we walked around it was just too cold. 9pm: old port, me aditi aabida, walk around, check out galleries; margot's place, galerie pangee, with the wicked graffiti exhibition, paper on the walls, drawn on by prominent mtl graffiti artists, like omen; walk across to our new friend lexie's place, the ever-psychedelic espace b51. it was so freezing ... 10pm: head down to place jacques-cartier, check out the ice slide, very very cool; what's hotter is the open air electronica concert, the sound system is amazing and its mesmerizing. 11pm: burger king; 372 st cats, floors of art galleries, super super hipster, crazy exhibit on sound where they're also making grilled cheese sandwiches; we stand in line twice to take warholian picture of us, second time's really the charm. 12am: planetarium; see saturn; lineup longer than the trail of haley's comet; head to grange with kabu and sabu, it's dead. 1am: old port again, freezing cold, beaver tails. 2.30am: wicked onetop tshirt competition at w; rubbish sound system at the club. 3am: contemporary art museum, incomprehensible video on light, spectacular claude tousignant exhibit. 3.45am: planetarium again, line still long in super cold minus 10 but feels like minus 15; exiting chaps declare exhibit's rubbishness, we laugh and leave. 4am: jive on st laurent, rockabilly dancing, super smelly; feel like maleek at the pipa show, exit hastily, return, exit again. 4.15: 2 dollar noodles, really good, agree gladly with aditi that we did alot. 4.39am: enter driveway, see "that guy's" sl55 is not in its usual spot, realise we should have perhaps stayed out longer.

Friday, February 27, 2009

zooma zooma/angelina [for zara...]

i would eat this antipasto fifty times. one of the most amazing things in my life, the mont blanc was pure pleasure, the hot chocolate was pure, melted pleasure [a blog on paris breakfasts, w more pics]. hot choc and mont blanc are the two most popular things at angelina in paris, just near the louvre. "Although this palace has become a veritable institution, it still keeps its recipes secret. The thick, frothy beverage is served in a hot-chocolate pot, accompanied by a jug of whipped cream to complement it. The Mont-Blanc pastry comes from the Italian Alps. It consists of meringue, whipped cream and sweet chestnut cream." angelina is a chocolate house which opened in 1903, and it looks like it, an old, elegant salon, serving the most amazing hot chocolate, really, and the signature dessert, mont blanc, which, again, is out of this world. so good. "One should come as soon as it opens while the tea-room is still quiet and almost empty. The unchanging ballet of waiters then begins. The setting has remained almost identical for nearly a hundred years. Only a few Art Déco chandeliers were added around 1930. From floor to ceiling, the gilded moulding plunges us into the prestige of bygone times. On the ground floor, a large long room, lit by a glass roof letting the daylight in, receives small groups at tea-time, gathered around marble and wooden tables for a snack. A few people sitting in the window watch passers-by strolling by, while eating a Viennese pastry. At the back of the room, alcoves make it possible to set large tables for a dozen people or so who can meet quietly together. The mezzanine, almost hidden away and covered in red, attracts a few customers. In all, the restaurant can serve more than a hundred people." aviva told me to go there, though she doesn't read this lexical space; i went with zara, and she loved it like me. other people love it too: "The famous fashion designer Coco Chanel and the writer Marcel Proust used to take their five o'clock tea there. King George V of Britain had his own engraved glasses there. Today, artists such as Catherine Deneuve, Britney Spears and Patricia Kass are regular customers." i went to the angelina in bangkok, in central chidlom department store, it was a small section and kind of looked the same style, but the mont blanc was nothing ... nothing. and the hot choc was not as good as j&c here in mtl. regardless, i remember angelina in paris. i remember it so well. but i forgot to go there when i was in paris in december.

Monday, February 23, 2009

rik mayall is an utter b'stard

he is the only one, the one and only, there is no other b'stard. rik mayall is just so wickedly brilliant, his depiction of alan b'stard the evil member of parli-a-ment is a turn of genius, a mark of comic prowess, capped by an unending charisma energy personality. [my fave scene]. his aptitude for hilarity and skill at delivery is quite unmatched, the depths of his schemes and cunning are supremely creative and unbelievable, like the time he faked his own death by gunshot, right after putting down ten thousand pounds on ten to one odds that parliament would bring back the death penalty, which they did in light of an mp's shooting on the steps of westminster; or like the time he proposed a postcode lottery for cancer treatment so that 'only the right people get better'. there's nothing more satisfying than b'stard's brashness (brilliant clip with stephen fry and 'piers'). there's nothing like mayall, whose turn in blackadder as lord flashheart encapsulated his arrogance, misogyny, and hilarity (see here). there's nothing like b'stard, who always finds a way out, always gets his way, and it's always uncut, unbelievable, unadalterated fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

i think i will leave.

i want out. freedom is ever postponed. i want out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


i loved florence when i lived there and i hated rome then for its busyness. the next time, when i visited rome primarily, i came to love its excitement and its italian-ness, and visiting florence was a drudgery due its american-ness. italy generally is wonderful in its beauty, history, culture, streets, fountains, language, food, people, statues, temples, churches, coliseums, pillars, arches, trees, hills, sky, air, gelato, piazzas. i love piazza culture, young/old people walking in and out of small streets into/onto large open spaces where other people are sitting talking laughing eating loving watching; the shops all around, the fountains in and around. the people are fashionable and pretty, wearing colours that reflect their internal passion for life, fueled by an openness with love, something that the continent embraced but which english and, by extension, north american culture suppressed. i loved parma; a small town with a towering medieval university and surprisingly large population of young people, who were the only people out at night, lounging on the lawn of the university, basking in the light of the late-night pizzeria and gelateria, talking singing playing loving, until they move on into the main piazza which is deserted except for one small street in which almost all the youth of the town are gathered inside and outside of a bar. i loved that restaurant there i went to by accident, and ate dinner and lunch the next day, it was so good i ate it all, the antipasto the primi the secondi the insalata and the dolce. i loved the shops there too, i found such interesting and well-made items. but rome really is spectacular in its physical oppenness its grandiosity which is at the same time surrounded by networks of small mysteries, like the choclit shoppe with the chocolate shooter glasses. but venice is the real hub of mystery. at night it's deserted, not a soul except the lonesome wandering carabinieri, who tells you that the island is completely safe despite its seeming danger awaiting every twisted corner and turn, of which there are millions in that little space with the high walls and small streets, which conjure images of men and women running and chasing mischievously in long capes and masks. i loved florence, with its museum that used to be the academy in which every night musicians would play in the open courtyard surrounded by statues of the founders of western humanism all of whom lived there and flourished under the medici. but, nothing gets done in italy. in a way, i love that, it's comfortable to me, i feel constricted by the rule-obsessed repression of western society; i grew up in a third-world country, i live in the third-world city of north america (where the roads are bad health care is abominable and things don't get done administratively), and thus i suppose it's natural i'd like italy, the third world of western europe. but it really does have a natural beauty, which really is matched by its historical and architectural beauty; it is a place that is thousands of years old and has the histories of my favourite periods in european history, classical and renaissance (both are philosophically the same if one was to look for a link in my thought-chain). it's such a cliche to love italy, but it is part of my mental heritage as well, being schooled in liberal humanism all my life, and while india's beauty/culture/heritage/homeness holds its real sway over me, italy is my second love.

for nik ... (boylan's: the best soda on earth?)

boylan's, another something i picked up from my brother. one of the oldest bottling companies, founded in 1891 and still using original recipes with the most expensive extracts and essences, as well as cane sugar, which enhances the flavour rather than leaving a syrupy aftertaste, unlike most soda-pop companies, who've switched to corn syrup and plastic bottles, which, unlike boylan's stylish glass bottles, don't ensure freshness and high levels of carbonation. boylan's. with birch beer as their flagship drink for over a hundred years, have a wide variety of different original flavours, as well as seltzers and diets and 100% natural sodas. boylan's. which nik ran all over town trying to find for me because she's just that nice. boylan's. for prodigal profligates like me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

'kara dash' the black stone in turkey; 'karandash' the pencil in russian; 'caran d'ache' the political satirist in france; CARAN D'ACHE THE SWISS PEN.

a habit i picked up from my grandfather, an affinity that i share with my brother, something that we three talk about without fail when we are together - pens. my grandfather always has a collection of them for us to sift through, to test and choose from, giving us his thoughts and testing them together. caran d'ache is his favourite, moreso than his mont blancs and cartiers. the pens glide smoothly over the page, the wrist moves effortlessly, the fingers grip loosely. while they are annoying to me in artistic moments, as i require more drag more pull, for mundane work they are spectacular and fun and beautiful - the unpretentious slim sexagonal sliver with the tapered tip. while i have the gold ones the silver ones i've come to very much enjoy the more whimsical pieces, the amusing images and colours, the reds blues yellows. and they all remind me of bangkok cuz that's where i get them, that's where when i was young i used to go to the stationery department of central chidlom with my grandfather every time, to look at all the hundreds of different pens and test them and hold them, though we never really needed them we loved them nonetheless.

fleming and his bond books

it was like nothing i'd ever before experienced. i started out with from russia with love, not knowing that the books are in a series, but it was really an adventure. fleming's writing is crisp, reflective of his journalistic heritage, which makes it exciting and page-turning. (though after reading many of the books, i've found his writing to be confusing, in that i don't really get what's transpiring). i think my brother read fleming long before i did, cuz after i read frwl, i found a copy of it in his room.

but, the bond books are really unlike anything i've experienced. i still remember the image of the train in that first book, the spectacular character of the turk - one of the most amazing characters i've ever seen, he was hilarious and hulking and strange and cruel but kind. how diverse are fleming's settings and characters and events. how queer and curious are the characters, and how wonderfully does he investigate them (bond doesn't even show up till halfway through frwl). 'how does he come up with this stuff!' is a refrain that repeats in my head every time i read one of his books. (of course, fleming used to have to come up with unbelievable situations as part of his job at the secret service). what obscure situations bond finds himself in, what mind-blasting lines and comments! mostly all would now be considered racist and misogynistic. which is true, regarding the racism (the first time i read the word 'negress' was in live and let die, though that was prolly not racist back then).

but i like the freedom with which he expresses those thoughts, unobscured by convention and concern, especially regarding his attitude towards women. they are always strong but delicate, waiting to be saved. they behave and speak like innocent little girls, and fall completely in love with bond (like the strange strange tale of honey rider in dr no), except for gala brand in moonraker, the one girl he doesn't sleep with.

in frwl, i remember the vivid, savage battle between two women for bond's affections, around a campfire with the community watching. i remember the woman that kerim the turk told bond he had had to chain under a table, starving her body in order to break her spirit so she would submit to him sexually. 'women were for recreation,' bond reflects in casino royale, the first of the series. 'on the job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around.' when they first meet, vesper lynd (cr) looks at him 'with a touch of ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he would like to shatter, roughly.' at one point in casino royale bond 'wondered about vesper’s morals. He wanted her cold and arrogant body. He wanted to see tears and desire in her remote blue eyes and to take the ropes of her black hair in his hands and bend her long body back under his.' it's vivid.

matt damon said that 'bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. he's repulsive.' but i think jason bourne is boring. so boring that i don't even remember any dialogue from that character, or any expression on his face in any of his three movies. bond is alluring and engrossing and quickening. he is full of a controlled passion, which comes across in what is called 'the fleming sweep', in which fleming tells us about bond's likes and dislikes in travel, clothing, food and wine, luxury items, referring to specific brand names, pre-dating modern chick lit in that arena.

bond is meticulous in everything he does. he has few personal interests, he plans his time perfectly. he is a cold person, to be sure, and unlike the bond of the films, he rarely makes jokes. he loves food, all of the books have lengthy descriptions of well-thought out meals that he decides to order and eat slowly: 'when in London, bond maintains a simple routine. sitting down to The Times, he breakfasts on two large cups of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex and an egg served in a dark blue egg cup with a gold ring round the top, boiled for three and a third minutes. There is also wholewheat toast, Jersey butter and a choice of Tiptree 'Little Scarlet' strawberry jam, Cooper's Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegen Heather Honey from Fortnum and Mason, served on blue Minton china. Breakfast is prepared by May, his Scottish housekeeper, whose friend supplies the speckled brown eggs from French Marans hens.' he loves his different bentleys (read more): 'bond's car was his only personal hobby. one of the last of the 4,5 litre bentleys with the supercharger by amherst villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 [...] bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. it was a battleship-grey convertible coupe, which really did convert and it was capable of touring at ninety with thirty miles an hour in reserve.' he loves smoking: specifically a blend of balkan and turkish tobacco with a higher than average tar content specially ordered from morland's of grosvenor street, made with three gold bands on the filter signifying his (and fleming's) commander rank in the secret service; he holds them in a trademarked monogrammed gunmetal case and lights them with his battered black oxidised ronson lighter.

the bond books are unlike anything i had ever experienced. bond was a fascinating character, made more fascinating by how similar fleming was to his creation: he loved jamaica, made a house there (called goldeneye), used to go diving every morning, play cards at night with friends, come home with women. while they loved cards (casino royale, dr no, are full of chapters of descriptions of card-playing), i don't think bond or fleming loved women. the real bond was a careless philanderer, a little like connery and a little like craig. but, in a way, what the bond character has really come to represent is a love for women. the new release of the bond books shows this clearly, (an article on the covers of the different series) as all the covers are pictures of the female characters: see here. i really like this series, which is brand new, but i quite love the coldness of the penguin modern classics series (see here), and i think my brother does too. in many ways, the character of bond and the life of fleming have affected me deeply.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

for n ...

i never understood why garfield hated mondays. it was so obscure to me. growing up in a muslim country, monday was the second day of the school week, and i was continually confused by the fat cat's despisal of that day. why on earth would he hate mondays? i mean, why not tuesdays or wednesdays for that matter? for me, sunday was the first day of the week and i hated it cuz it came after the week-end. and it took yeeears before i got garfield's gripe.


i love mtl. everytime i leave i want to come back. everytime i go somewhere else i realise how great it is here. the people here have a joie de vivre that keeps them pursuing pleasure all night every night. they're beautiful they're fun they're full of a certain 'i don't know what'. i love how small this town is, i can go from my side to st laurent to atwater to old port to laurier to mont-royal to duluth in like three to five minutes. it's constant fun.

Friday, February 13, 2009


some people take good news with a contracted zygomatic major. some people pervert it and corrupt it until it is bitter. until it is a burden. they cannot see the way out of it. even though it is good news, it is a thornbush.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

pointless/perfection. pear/pair.

nothing means anything. we are all flotsam of a lonesome jetty, urged onwards by a current not of our own volition. we are victims of its caprice.
nothing is without meaning. all is pregnant with purpose. it is our propulsion on the ship of life, coasting us casually past wreckage, anchoring us at shores of contentment, gliding us steadfastly into the sun.
from time to time, and all the time, i try. i try here and there. i seek to the attainment of the objects of my desire, and in the pursuit of my passion they are mine so often, but so often only imaginally, and thus they poof away like vaporous clouds trying to be grasped.
in honesty, it's not enough effort or skill that i employ. but hope re-springs eternally in me, a symptom of grace's ever-effulgent mercy; its hand on my hand. tomorrow's promise is a bargain re-struck nightly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the values of baby looney tunes

i watched this show because i like to keep cartoons on in the background. it was lame. but, i noticed something about it that i hadn't been seeing much of elsewhere: really overt exemplifications of positive values for kids. for example, there was one episode in which bugs and babs were fighting becuase they no longer wanted to share their room or toys. but daffy and the others got them to unknowingly meet each other, and convinced them that they ought to share, that they ought to get along, because they had been friends for so long, and so had they all, and, it is better to share and love than to hoard and fight. most of the cartoons i see on teletoon are fun and frivolous and sex. maybe it's because this show was on nickelodeon that it was explicit in its promotion of positive values; maybe it's because all the voice actors in it are canadian. regardless, i was pleased to see a show whose basis was essentially the adventures in co-operation of a group of anthropomorphised animal children.

Monday, February 9, 2009

for aditi ...

he's just not that into you -- good to very good
was quite interesting and entertaining. so many characters, all intertwined, and much was shown about their personalities and quirks. it was interesting to see the subtle reactions and interactions of all the diff characters. no real plot or character problems, except that it was a bit massively confusing to follow who did what and who was who. but for the most part it was well done and fun.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

e poi ... e poi

a wicked track, totally funk, coming out of italo-disco from '81. yea, pino's cheesy and dramatic but that's what it is. unlike american disco, european disco was much less sexual, more about the fun of it, and, incidentally, about space (new age). "This kind of music seems to expand the listener's surrounding to a very large space with the utilization of new music shaping technologies by the artists." the heavy use of the synthesizer led to that spacey feel, but a lot of the songs were actually about space, and robots, and love. (this one isn't, though.)

the fatality of friendship

'do you know what it feels like?', asks enrique. i suppose everyone does, it's a shared human experience. in every interaction, one gives something of one's self, in trust, to another. but the disparity of it, the inconsistency of reciprocation, is traumatic. how often it is that your friend doesn't want to be your friend anymore. and how often it is that where once love prevailed, or at least pretended to, is now barren of passion and plagued by tension and discomfiture. and how often it is that that barrenness is unexpected; though its spectre looms we ignore its shadow. at least you can predict birds' annual southward flight, enrique sings, but 'love: you never know the minute it ends'. everything of this world is fallible, everything of this world is terminable. despite knowing this, we still must run the gamut of interaction and its outcomes good and bad. despite knowing this, we can do naught but live and give more fully, more passionately, more completely; to do else is to die.

despondency is a sin. failures should be forgotten and new efforts made. life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best we can, but a lofty and exalted destiny.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

beauty's quickening

beauty inspires a passion, a quickening that's sickening, and wrenching, and exciting, but mostly painful in its intangibility, its remoteness. it's unattainable, though it flaunts itself before you. though it envelops and enlivens, and animates and drives-crazy, it's unattainable. though it's a veil and not real, it's unattainable even in its physical form. it's faraway and never today.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


youth forever bangkok drink / book root beer date / district of thinking outside the box gaylord so far twenty minutes by car two hours by car / luncheon in london / youth / american teenager in montreal / hair orange nails black nails blond hair / down hot sufficient or not / it's just so naturally brilliant i want it but can't i have it? / please / nice but lame precise and boring / most ppl see not what's there in reality but what's there in their minds / this is not something i like and it will disappear / forever.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

taylor swift is a genius.

this little girl has managed to break all these records, becoming the best-selling artist in '08, the only artist ever to have two albums in the end-of-year top ten, tied in second place with mariah carey and the beatles for the most singles in the billboard top 20, spending all this time at number one on different charts across different genres, all because she makes good music. yes, it's the music of young girls, but it's not like the music of other young girls. yes, while most of what she talks about is boys, she imagines that interaction as abstractly romanticised (romeo and juliet), but while using mundane imagery (throwing rocks at the window). one is forced, by the coherence of her lyrics, to leave aside the moralising concerns of a society that legitimates the prioritization of romantic ideas for young girls. one is forced, by the variety and excitement of her musical prowess, to forget that she's a young girl. this is her most intriguing and intoxicating feat: she's managed to marry honest, personal, interesting lyrics with powerful, evocative, and emotional music. the production of her work is rather unbelievably magical, mostly because it's entirely unexpected. but, despite the fallacy of expectation, what we are left with is a genius who knows how to create songs that are both meaningful and popular, who began writing at age ten, made her first multi-platinum album at age sixteen, and by age eighteen, with only her second album, has reached the sorts of financial and artistic peaks that almost no one ever does.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

mindquesting by moleskine.

a discernible comfort in having always in one's back pocket the flexible soft cover to fill with one's lists notes thoughts-more-significant in a presence more ordered than one's iphone whose slow slow slowness bogs down its usefulness and disturbs one's thought-trains unlike the eveready quickness with which one scribbles all things necessary and not in the pages of this thick deep leather simplicity-personified beauty easily reached and kept shut by its overwrapping elastic strap trapping within it pages separated precisely by the ribbon that ends perpetual pageseeking and commences perpetual mindquesting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

doubt -- excellent

this is what a character piece should look like. meryl streep really was spectacular. she deserves the sag. p.s.h. (phil s. hoffman) was really good, but he seemed not to pop out nearly as much as streep. weird seeing amy adams in a serious role; was hard not to laugh at times.

some of the shots were sideways; i guess that was so we wouldn't get bored? nice device of using the sermons to address themes the three characters were discussing. very nice boxing the film with p.s.h. talking about doubt at the beginning, and m.s. confessing it at the end. very interesting/cool how the film was never really explicit about the issue the characters were dealing with; it focussed on the characters' reactions.

ultimately, an engrossing story really well told simply through subtle scenes revealing the character's characters.

meryl streep really was spectacular. haven't seen a performance like that in a long time.

Friday, January 23, 2009


acid-pleasure pure-leisure bell-bottle pulp-brothel.

benjamin button -- good to very good

acting was quite good. story interesting and poignant. aesthetically very nice, interesting to see range of history. but perhaps because it was so expansive, one doesn't connect very deeply with the characters. 'doubt' and 'wrestler' took place in one location and over a very short period of time, thus concentrating on the depth and development of the characters, allowing the audience to connect with them emotionally. ben button, though good, didn't have the same effect. brad pitt's a great actor, constantly underrated. he did a great job of acting different ages, and he looked the part; it was surprising how young he looked at the end, like a 20 yr old. and it was surprising how well he played the part of an 80 yr old.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

wild roses

new cbc show. it's well-acted. it's well-made. it's canadian.

i like that it takes place in calgary. i like the dynamics between the characters, and the diversity of character types, which reflect parts of the canadian identity. i like the juxtaposition of the two families, rich/poor, male/female, wilfull/less-wilfull. i like the story, and its unfolding, which is gradual and careful. not like a fox show, where the emphasis is on showmanship.
try it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"bride wars" and the diminution of half the human population.

i'm bored of ill-constructed, stock movies with stock characters and stock plots. i'm also bored of the idea that the the only thing women care about is being in a relationship. that's what many movies suggest, explicitly. it's rampant in this society, in songs, art, advertising. being in a relationship is part and parcel of the culture of materialism that is incessantly promoted by the market's propaganda machine. in this conception, 'being with someone' is like having a bally bag or a lexus car. the pursuit of knowledge has no value; a life of careful morality and compassion is not considered. all that matters is that you're 'with someone'. gleeful faces in elongated shrieks, 'i met someoneeee!'; sorrowful singles. nothing else cheers, nothing else matters. identities are not shaped by contemplating who we are or what we want in life, but, rather, the romantic relationship. characters like this seem to live life by trial and error, flailing about this way and that, without any guidance or anchor. and, if they're in a movie, eventually erupting in dramatic outbursts in public places. it's sad that so many people, especially girls (so it seems to be, anyway), go through life with such confusion and insecurity, not knowing their purpose or goal, tying up their essences and identities into an attachment with another person. some may argue that by going through many relationships we come to learn more about ourselves and what we want. of course it's true. but what wasted time. life is about balance: love and learn.

there were some really funny lines from kate hudson's assistant.

an exercise in bret ellis: fictional account of lackadaisical life in first-person narrative

I’m sitting on my couch at 7 p.m. watching this show about two guys and some chick eating pizza and my phone rings. My friend wants me to pick her up to go get a crepe. An hour later we’re sitting with a plain nutella crepe between us and she’s telling me a story about how she was such a mischievous kid and when some silly song starts to play I say I like this track but she just gives me a face. We leave and run into a couple of friends who’re going for shisha and so we join them. Three hours later I’m feeling dizzy from the smoke but it’s not bad, and everyone is tired so we end up at my place smoking and drinking and watching a movie that half of us have seen already, but nobody minds. Everyone leaves before the sun comes up and I lie back listening to that same silly song, not wondering what I’m going to do tomorrow, ‘cause I already know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

live freedom freely

i am pleased that we live in a country that is not obsessed with itself, with its own augustness, but, rather, concerns itself explicitly with a concern for others. i am pleased that we live in a country in which we are unafraid to wear our skin on our sleeves and our ideologies on our heads. we live in a country in which we aim for plainness and honesty, not only through the behaviour of our people, but also through our state's ideology. we are not perpetually diminishing the role of public religion while at the same time infusing our public pageantry with the trappings of the dominant one. we are not concerned with raising ourselves to a position of physical dominance, but, rather, to be a force of morality among other forces of morality, in a co-operation of communities that struggles to ensure the upliftment of humanity at large, that commits itself to the freedom of every human individual, regardless of nationality, in a fraternity of humanity. we do not say we will help you, rather, we say we are united with you, and compassion is a given. to be canadian is to be human.

Monday, January 19, 2009

the wrestler, brilliance, and humanity.

a brilliant film. a paragon of storytelling. a work of art.

the film is full of humanity. and that condition is its showcase as well. mickey rourke creates a character of careful grandeur (randy 'the ram'), whose depths are slowly glinted at through darren aronofsky's subtle storytelling. randy's redemptive road begins with light-heartedness, despite an obvious sense of despair about life's unfolding. as the film progresses, randy's attempts at love and reconciliation are sabotaged by his failings in the aspects of life that compose the 'real world'. despite his health, he recedes into his alter-ego as a wrestler, 'the ram'; though he is old, in the ring his fans, 'family', never make him feel out-of-date or invalidated. rather, it is only in that persona that he realises freedom. the oppressiveness of reality is a theme mirrored in marisa tomei's well-crafted character, who herself has two personae (cassidy/pam), though she chooses the responsibilites of the 'real world' and gives up her life as a stripper, where she feels invalidated and out-of-date.

an excellent device used by aronofsky was to film rourke from behind, as he walks. this is done a few times, in different circumstances, and gives the effect of anticipation, as we cannot see his face, and we can only hear the roar of the crowd who are themselves anticipating him. the genius of this device is that aronofsky used it in mundane situations as well, which served to juxtapose 'the ram's glamourous life (as he walks onto the stage) with randy's mundane one (as he walks from the kitchen to the deli counter).

the film was entirely emotional, and rourke was spectucualar, and human. nothing was more poignant than the last scene, in which so much was conveyed by randy's decision to fight, pam's decision to leave, and aronofsky's decision to leave the audience in wonder.

kanye's new album.

powerful in its simplicity. (cliched, perhaps.) most of the album is just beats from the 808 drum machine. the starkness of the music is mirrored by his austere auto-tune voice and the simple depth of the lyrics, which, though dealing with cliched subject matter remains full of interesting imagery. everyone loves 'love lockdown', and so do i, but the first track is perhaps my favourite:

duty/free [manifesto]

a life of contemplation without action is a life lived lame. a life of apathetic experience is insubstantial. but in combination you have a whole: a life of both active contemplation and impassioned experience is a balanced life. in the actualisation of both/all aspects of life is life's real pleasure - experiencing the whole, wholly. in the acceptance of all our diverse and conflicting components is freedom. freedom is being whole. it is our duty to be free.