Monthly Archives: December 2008

2008: My year in music

Back in September, i talked about my annual soundtracks and shared my very first one, the 2007 anthology.  Another year has gone, so it’s time for me to share my 2008 soundtrack:

2008: My year in music

Pre. Regina Spektor – “Samson”
Jan. Tori Amos – “I Don’t Like Mondays”
Feb. Tom Waits – “Anywhere I Lay My Head”
Mar. Cat Power – “Keep on Runnin'”
Apr. Joe Purdy – “New York”
May. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – “All But One”
Jun. Sarah McLachlan – “Blackbird”
Jul. Sigur Rós – “Takk…”
Aug. Brandi Carlile – “Happy” (live acoustic from The Cutting Room)
Sep. Joni Mitchell – “The Circle Game”
Oct. Regina Spektor – “Field Below”
Nov. Björk – “Pagan Poetry”
Dec. Radiohead – “There There”
Fin. Alexi Murdoch – “Wait”

Happy new year, everyone.

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New Jersey is beautiful

Despite being nicknamed the Dirty Jersey, New Jersey is actually beautiful.  Beautiful in its own grey, industrial, run-down, suburb-with-history way, that is.  I only realized this when i commuted to New York by NJ transit for the first time.  On my way from Edison Station to NY Penn Station, i passed vast parking lots, cars in neatly packed rows, old signs and new billboards, fields of dried up weeds, old factories with broken windows, and wetlands bordered with cattails and reed and polluted by human intervention, all with a consistent layer of cement appearing at regular intervals.  In short, it was a lot of dead nature interspersed with metal and concrete.  But somehow, it was beautiful.  Somehow, the suburban loneliness, the decrepit landscape, and the polluted sky seemed beautiful when i saw those broken windows and brown weeds stare back at me, so frail and neglected, yet unfazed and still standing strong.  

Perhaps Joshua Lutz saw the same.

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Dead relatives

It’s always bothered me that i never miss my dead relatives.  Not even my maternal grandfather who loved me dearly and played with me often when i was growing up.  I never think about them, and when someone reminds me of them, i don’t get sad or reminiscent.  I feel nothing.  And then i feel bad that i’m completely unaffected when the person who brought up the dead relative gets sad.  

When i heard that my maternal grandfather died, i only cried because i felt that i should.  At the funeral, i felt more awkward than sad.  What left the greatest impression on me that day was how the heavy rain and run off on the hills made the whole ceremony seem like a scene right out of a movie.  Perhaps if other people were uncontrollably crying, i would have been sad out of empathy, but everyone, including my mother and grandmother, was fairly composed.  I’m sure it would be a different story had it been my mom or dad that died, but it still disturbs me that i never even think about those loved ones that died.  I can’t believe i’m saying this, but i don’t think i’d be crushed if my only living grandmother died tomorrow, and i’m very close with her.  I love her, but i’m not afraid of losing her.  And i’m not afraid of death.  Is this normal, or am i cold and unfeeling?

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Aura as the artist’s sacrifice

I usually don’t like to publish my academic work, but i like how this assignment turned out, and there’s a section in it that i would’ve liked to expand on but couldn’t because the essay format i was going for didn’t allow me to.  So here’s the essay and the addendum that was actually the inspiration for it:   

Manifestations of Aura

            The two human practices that involve exploring and attempting to explain reality are religion and art.  Both are ways in which we question everything about our reality—existence, consciousness, love, free will, the soul, values, ethics, good and evil—and attempt to answer those questions.  It could be said that religion is a human way of life and art is the human expression of life.  A fulfilling life demands the practice of religion (or at least a personal belief system) and art.  Because these are distinctly human practices that are vehicles for human thought and action, the metaphysical, which can only be experienced by humans, can be contemplated and expressed through them in the form of aura. 

I.  Aura as mémoire involontaire

“[These data] are lost to the memory that seeks to retain them.”
–Walter Benjamin

            By investing an object with the ability to return our gaze, we establish a distance between it and us.  Since “only what has not been experienced explicitly and consciously, what has not happened to the subject as an experience, can become a component of the mémoire involontaire,” the aura is implicit, intangible, inapproachable.   

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Things i’ve learned from my WordPress dashboard

More people than i thought have a nostril fetish.  Way more.

More people than i wished are interested in the hug me pillow.

More people than i could have imagined want to be experts on eyeglass frames.

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The voice of Film & TV

Why is TV promo/film trailer narration always done in a male voice?

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