This post’s title is inspired by a skit from Azumanga Daioh which has for some reason stayed with me, even if it’s been more than 10 years since I watched the series in 12th grade – proceeding to draw Sakaki-san on the Eastpak school backpack I used to carry around back then.
I don’t remember who says what, but the characters make fun of the fact that “Bruce Lee” sounds exactly like “Blue Three” in Engrish: both are in fact pronounced buru suri. Just give me a second to google that and have something to back up my words with.
So, how come? Last week some indomitable urge to rent a movie took over me. Yes, rent one. Legally. Amazing, right? I couldn’t remember how many years it had been since I had last actually gone to the video club, browsed the available titles, having to weigh in rent duration as a factor – to decide if I should rent a newer movie for a single day or a slightly less recent one for three.
In an age of instant gratification and unlimited libraries (Steam, Netflix etc) small limitations such as these can be truly relieving. It’s the same kind of ease of mind you get when you only have one book to read and all the time and energy you would otherwise put into deciding which book to read is converted into actual time for reading!
But, as usual, I’m being overly romantic about anything that does not exist in purely digital form or exclusively on the internet, or which had already existed before I was born: only while typing out the lines above did the numerous instances of the same archetypical memory of arguing about which movie to rent with the same, but different, friends, in the same, but different, video club, come rushing back. So, you might disregard all the nonsense I wrote above, if you wish.
Anyway, what inspired me to go out and watch films legally was that I suddenly realised that I have a Bluray player (my PS4) sitting under my television, but I’d never actually watched a fim in Bluray, something I realise is not entirely unsimilar from declaring in 2011 I’d never watched a DVD. “Why not get with the times”, I thought.
I didn’t go to my neighbourhood movie club, Video Blue, which I must say would have been rather apt, but chose Seven instead. Looking around for a bit, I saw that they had an offer for three movies for three days for only 5€. Their advertising offer worked on me and rent three movies I did.
Without further ado now then, here are my brief opinions on what I watched. If you are to keep something from this post, may it be that media consumption can be more beneficial and memorable if done mindfully and with some kind of artificial limit placed on it.
Ex Machina (2015)
I’ve been meaning to watch this since Autómata, which dealt with similar themes: true AI has come about; what do?
I’d like to divulge as little as possible about this one. The pacing, the dialogues, the setting, the characters, the music, the feelings, the effects, the acting, the twists… all top-notch, no beats missed whatsoever. I really can’t think of a single thing I didn’t enjoy about it. If you like soft science fiction and a slower film that will give you a lot to think about but even more to feel about, give it a shot.
While you’re at it, watch Arrival, another sci-fi film I watched recently, that one at the cinema, which single-handedly made it very close to the top of my list of all-time favourite science fiction films.
Richard Linklater, maker of Waking Life and the Before Sunrise, Sunsetand Midnight, started filming Boyhood in 2002, when the movie’s main character Mason was only 5 years old. He kept filming as the boy grew older, and what we got by the end is a movie about the mundane little moments of growing up.
It’s true that Boyhood could have been a lot more than the uneventful story it turned out to be, namely about a kid more or less like any other American kid, but watching it I didn’t get bored at all. Apart from the fact that it worked as a real-time recap of events that marked the ’00s and my own earlier years, it was fun watching characters develop and age, and I could more than relate with the whole broken family and mother-in-search-of-replacement-father thing, even though I must say I did feel pangs of jealousy at the appearance of so many (step-)siblings.
It was a long movie at ~150 minutes, but in typical Linklater style, the most banal conversations were somehow the most engaging and I didn’t feel it draw out at all.
Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
This one’s probably the best known out of my buru suri films. Grand Budapest Hotel is an experience, like all Wes Anderson films. Intense colours, over-the-top aesthetics, completely wild situations, humouristic, heart-warming, clever little touches that challenge and reward the viewer… it’s by no means a bad film. On the contrary.
However, there’s something in Wes Anderson’s work I can’t quite put my finger on that I find obnoxious. I would like to look into what it is exactly that puts me off films like this, give it a name, cause I think it’s fascinating how a film I should theoretically quite enjoy didn’t work for me – how whether you’ll like a movie or not depends on such little factors that work together to create a satisfactory feeling… or not.
Αν και συνεχίζει να μου αρέσει πάρα πολύ το Sogno di Volare του Christopher Tin – Tο Όνειρο της Πτήσης, ιταλιστί – υπάρχει ένα μεγάλο παράπονο μου, μια ανησυχία για τη σειρά που δεν έγραψα στο review γιατί δεν νομίζω πως ταιριάζει στο target group του Game 2.0 μάλλον δεν θα την καταλάβαινε ο μέσος παίκτης παιχνιδιών στρατηγικής – πως ακόμα και τώρα, 20 χρόνια μετά το Civilization II που το δοκίμασε με το mechanic της παγκόσμιας υπερθέρμανσης, η σειρά έχει εγκαταλείψει κάθε οικολογική ευαισθησία και τιμωρίες για την αχαλίνωτη ανάπτυξη. Ο πλανήτης είναι το απέραντο ορυχείο, εργοτάξιο, σκουπιδοτενεκές και βόθρος της ανθρωπότητας.
A few weeks ago, in October, I was discharged from my mandatory military service in the Greek Army. When it was still lying ahead in the future, it was a period I had since forever been quite nervous about: how would I react to being ordered around? Would I be able to do the things asked of me? Was it really okay to support such a violent system with my consent and voluntary submission?
These thoughts troubled me enough that I was postponing the moment I would take the plunge. I was making excuses on the way and calling it indecisiveness, not to mention I was devising ways to avoid serving altogether. Nonetheless, I remained trapped somewhere between being a conscientious objector and indeed believing that even serving in the army could turn out to be a net positive, enriching experience. Sure, friends and people in my environment would often say things like “going to prison might be an enriching experience in some way too, but that’s no reason to go” and I would agree. But then I would think that if going to prison was obligatory for all men over 18 and not just convicts, if one got to see new places and it was only for 9 months, it wouldn’t be prison anymore.
What exactly did it turn out to be though?
This won’t be your typical post-service post. I won’t be writing down too many of my more fun or surreal army stories – people who’ve been through the same ordeal have heaps of their own and for everybody else it just isn’t all that interesting – nor will I list all the reasons the Greek Army is evil/inefficient/irrational/fascist and shouldn’t exist – you could fill in the gaps yourself and be spot-on without any of my help. No, this will be a post about the whole “net positive, enriching experience” part, and how in the end aiming to do something I would never normally do – something I predicted would help me grow – worked just as intended.
These, then, are the ways I grew.
Taking a step outside the Bubble
Spending a part of my life in the army was an experience I now share with many other Greek men and it will always serve as an emergency source of small-talk material. Keeping that in mind, it’s no accident that in the army itself all you talk about with most people is the service itself.
Out in the real world, you more or less get to pick the people you spend time with. The criteria by which you choose those people are mostly hidden away in the depths of your psyche, but you can count on the fact that the people you voluntarily allow closer to you aren’t that different from you. Over time, this might lull you into believing that people in general aren’t that different when it comes to opinions, tastes, political and religious beliefs, etc.
This familiar environment is your bubble(link goes to a TedSummary page of a relevant talk on how we should “beware of ‘filter bubbles’“) Your bubble does a great job at sheltering you from what’s out there, but it also does a great job at sheltering you from what’s out there. Since us humans typically tend to normalize our experience and often fail to, or carefully avoid, taking into account all the unfathomable richness that exists just outside of it, pretty soon we lose perspective, forget about how our experience is completely subjective and far from shared, and we inevitably end up focusing on the (small) anomalies and deviations that exist inside our own environment/bubble and magnifying them to look much much more important than they really are.
Now, the army forces you to spend time with people in bubbles of all sorts of colours: green, brown, khaki, red, black, blue, white, red-and-black, blue-and-white, rainbow, and so on. These are people with whom under ordinary circumstances, out there, you would never ever have any meaningful interaction. They would never penetrate your bubble; it would filter them out of your experience or, in worst case scenario, make sure they are removed if they somehow end up too close.
Meeting, talking to, working with and receiving feedback, compliments or criticism through bubbles different from your own make you realize where the people who watch MAD Greekz all day, people who talk about football any chance they get or whose contribution to most political discussions is “all we need is another good dictatorship” have been hiding. They haven’t been hiding, and it wasn’t that you weren’t paying attention, either: the bubble was just doing its job rendering them invisible to you.
Laid out in these terms, you might ask if the bubble isn’t the greatest thing ever. To be sure, blocking out the majority of what’s going on out there has its benefits. It can help you focus. It can help you stay sane. Still, waking up every once in a while to the fact that there are so many different kinds of experiences, priorities, worldviews, so manybubbles to which you are invisible, can help you, give you the impression at least, that you understand the world just a bit better.
To illustrate, it can be a great and soothing feeling looking at your environment and believing that e.g. vegetarianism or feminism are catching on and are starting to become influential (which is of course true in a way) but definitely not to the degree one might be led to believe if one hangs out, online or off, with people who care about these issues enough they can create an online echo chamber.
Having your bubble burst – yep, I just went there – can bring about a reality check, a harsh reminder of what you really have to come against ( or work with) as well as something which is sorely missing in the lives of most of us: perspective.
(starts at 9:37) “A great wet blanket for smothering the fire of self-conscious anxieties is perspective. Consider the famous advice of Eleanor Roosevelt. “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”As much as you obsess over yourself, you’re not the first thing on everyone else’s minds. They’re worried about themselves, what you think about them, and more importantly, what they think about themselves. You are not the center of their world.
Confirmation bias and its benefits
This next part goes against everything I just wrote about how bursting your bubble is a good thing. But bare with me: paradox is the garnish of life.
In contemporary social psychology, confirmation bias – the tendency to look out for people and ideas compatible with your own existing beliefs, use them to confirm what’s already there inside of you, and somehow miss those who don’t exactly agree with you, i.e. a variation of living inside your bubble – is perceived to be a fallacy to look out for if you want to consider yourself a person of high intelligence. In other words, listening to opposing opinions actively and questioning one’s positions and assumptions builds a stronger mind. So far so good.
Nevertheless, there is one element – a side-effect if you will – of surrendering to confirmation bias that can work well for you if you, like me, are open to considering views very far from your own and as a result sometimes find that weighing too many different opinions equally can get a bit confusing. It is called the backfire effect. Contrary to popular belief, confronting others with hard facts and arguments and proving them wrong doesn’t automatically make them switch over to your side. They might appear to consider your points, but more often than not, opposing opinions will trigger automatic, subconscious defense mechanisms and make people stick to their views and stand their ground with renewed fervour against what they perceive to be an attack against their very person.
It turns out that the army experience had precisely this redoubling effect on my convictions. I used to be willing to listen to completely faulty reasoning or arguments filled with hate and other toxic elements and say nothing because I was half-playing-kind/half-actually-considering the points made. You see, it’s always been easy for me to see why people feel the way they do even if I don’t like or agree with them. When confronted with arguments that made my stomach turn, I would explain away the malevolence through this empathy of mine. It is well-meaning, good for communication and all, but I would sometimes end up questioning my own values as a result: “maybe they’re right. Perhaps being ready for war is the best way to preserve peace”.
I’m known for my relative cool-headedness during discussions, and I do believe about myself that I weigh arguments as fairly as I can. However, the amount of absolute bullshit I was exposed to over the past months at some point made me stop and consider what role I truly wished to have in such discussions. They strengthened my resolve to protect what matters to me the most, i.e. freedom of movement and opportunity, animal rights, compassion, egalitarianism, to name just a few ideas which every day prove to be much less than self-explanatory. I still come to discussions bringing empathy into the picture, but I no longer feel as if a well-spoken argument can leave me stunned, nor that lashing out can solve things, precisely because confirmation bias works the way it does. From an idealistic perspective, I have an easier time recognising what it is I truly have a desire to fight for, or that in some cases fighting is a waste of energy – which by the way is what most online comment wars boil down to.
People end up liking you and remembering you for completely different reasons from what you think
If there was one piece of advice I would hear a lot before enlisting, it was to avoid attracting attention. “You don’t want people to remember who you are, what your name is, or what you do. You want to be a shadow – obedient enough to never raise an eyebrow, yet never to a degree which would make you stand out.”
It wasn’t long before I found out that it was impossible for me not to attract attention, or at the very least have people be somewhat aware of my presence – or absence.
One aspect of this I had been dreading ever since I was still in school, was the unusual sound of my surname – Hall – to Greek ears. I got my fair share of teasing for it when I was a child and for years I wouldn’t be comfortable with the attention I was getting purely because of it. As an adult man ready to enlist, the fear that I would have to fend off teases about my name was still there, like a childhood bite dictates a life-long fear of dogs or some weird aversion to a particular non-threatening food item. What I hadn’t considered was that, even though the army was in many ways like going back to school, a key difference would be that I wouldn’t have to be surrounded by kids anymore. OK, excluding all the 18-year-olds.
No matter where I went, everyone knew who I was: I was the Australian dude. People would greet me or try to engage with me (sometimes in English – just in case I didn’t understand Greek!) and sometimes I would have no recollection of ever talking to them before – they were the successful shadows, come to think of it. Of course I had to repeat the story of where the name comes from an inordinate amount of times, but I realized that the attention I got for my name wasn’t negative – it was my past reactions to it that had made me sort of weary of the whole thing. A few people commented that “Hall” sounded like that of a writer or actor or something like that – possibly because of how similar it is to “Dimitris Horn” – and moved on. All this was a wake-up call for something I should have seen much earlier: my name is a gift. I should use it to my advantage, wear it proudly on my sleeve and not hide behind nicknames invented to protect me from childhood anxieties.
Even more interestingly, people seemed to like me for no reason other than because I was doing what I do and being who I am – kind, considerate, stoic in my duties, accepting, not lacking in curiosity but mostly minding my own business. In an environment like the army’s where people say that you have to fight to survive and that you should not, cannot let anyone take advantage of you without at least busting everyone’s balls in the process first, I didn’t have to do anything to at least get along peacefully with almost everyone. In the end, I stood out not by bringing attention to myself, but by being a sort of a positive, strong silent type figure amidst the chaos, who also happened to have a memorable name. I didn’t have to pretend that I was anything; for all the cringe this line might produce in you, it has to be said: all I had to do in order to get by in one piece was to be myself.
Standing out can be a curse if you lack the belief in yourself that you may deserve or have earned the attention, but the army helped me reverse this in my head. Now I’m happy to say I feel that standing out because I’m actually doing something right, not just because my background is unique, is something to cherish and enjoy.
Boredom can be amazing for creativity
The darkest hours, the quietest times and the most boring shifts were the brightest, loudest and most exciting for my creative drive. I always had my little notebook with me, jotting down the events of the day or the ideas that kept coming to me in those fairly infrequent breaks where I could just stand there, alone, mind silent. Whenever people did see me writing down they’d tease me, asking me if I was writing poetry. I’d just smile knowingly, say nothing and keep writing. At the beginning I would just observe, and while it wasn’t interesting exactly, I felt more alive than I had in some time. There was nothing to distract me, no “shiny more interesting thing” to compete for my attention like a lightbulb attracts the butterflies of the night.
In a similar vein, I remember having quite a zen experience one of my first days in boot camp. It was a January Saturday in Mesologgi. Half my platoon was out on leave and I wasn’t on duty, so it was quiet and half as crowded as usual, so I had some free time to relax. It was cold, crisp but clear. The sun had just gone down and I was standing inside looking out at the beautiful twilight, a cup of hot instant coffee in my hands. I only had a dumbphone on me. I realised that, then and there, in my army uniform and enjoying the moment, none of my past experiences, good or bad, really mattered. They mattered only in the sense that together they had brought me to that moment in time, but all that joy and pain was part of the past. The important thing was that I was where I was, simply enjoying being alive and conscious. I was moved deeply by something so profound that had come to me out of nowhere and while at boot camp of all places.
The general lack of stimulus did its wonders on me, at least in the beginning; the first few months I was super aware in my everyday life, and that was something I had been looking forward to before going in. At some point, maybe after the fourth or fifth month, I started using more and more of my time to play video games and tune out from the creeping sensation that I was wasting my time, and from that point on the creativity slowly faded away and was replaced by sluggishness and numbness.
A few days before I started writing this post, I came across the following quote by Neil Gaiman that helps illustrate what kind of experience I had and what energy I’m aiming to bring more of into my life:
“I think it’s about where ideas come from, they come from day dreaming, from drifting, that moment when you’re just sitting there… The trouble with these days is that it’s really hard to get bored. I have 2.4 million people on Twitter who will entertain me at any moment… it’s really hard to get bored. I’m much better at putting my phone away, going for boring walks, actually trying to find the space to get bored in. That’s what I’ve started saying to people who say ‘I want to be a writer,” I say ‘great, get bored.’”
Lack of sleep can alter you consciousness in interesting ways
The biggest downer in the army by far is the chronic lack of sleep. Especially in Samothraki, there would be some extra busy weeks where I’d seldom sleep more than 3-4 hours per day, sometimes less than that. Having to wake up for guard or patrol duty at 23:30, go back to sleep at 2:30 and then have to wake back up at 05:30, apart from all the blunting it brought to my mental acuity, messed with my head in strange and interesting ways.
I recall I would wake up and wear my uniform in a semi-conscious state, neglecting to wear parts of gear or sometimes even take my rifle with me, and then having all kinds of random memories and songs pop up. Once, this song came back to me along with all the lyrics. I hadn’t listened to it for close to 10 years, yet I remembered it almost perfectly. My switched-off state allowed it to come through piece by piece, unobstructed. It’s a testament to the power of music for language learning and the power of burried memories in general. Hypnotism must work in similar ways.
Respectively, getting used to waking up 4:30am every day as I did closer to the end of my service, when I was in Athens and serving as a driver for a general whom I had to pick up from his place and take him to the army HQ and back, helped me realize the power of going to sleep and waking up very early. Being awake for four hours already before the day breaks fills you with an eerie energy, and I’m saying that as a night owl that loves working at night.
Enough. I’ve become another guy who goes on and on about their time in the army – but don’t they say most men can’t avoid feeling at least a bit nostalgic about that period eventually? Memory does work in strange ways, beautifying monstrosities, nostalgifying bittersweet nothings and erasing raw beauty as it does. That said, if you’re dreading having to do a certain something in the future, maybe even joining the army, here’s my distilled perspective, and make of it what you will:
The memory is worth it.
PS: Army post collection in reverse chronological order (they’re in Greek. If that’s a big problem, use Google Translate, at least you’re sure to get plenty of laughs):
Most of my writing in the army in the end was about Earworms and book reviews. I can’t be bothered linking to them, there’s way too many of dem posts. I have to admit that sitting here now though, I’m impressed at myself that I had the dedication to review books on leave.
Can you recall the last time you listened to, let alone liked, a song somebody posted on Facebook? This one was posted by my uni mentor Despina Catapoti along with the comment “The song samples a track by the group Yellow Magic Orchestra and a composition by Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass.
I think I should make it a point to listen to music people share more often. Cause it’s true: most of my favourite bands and music today have one thing in common: somebody, sometime, somewhere, suggested I give them a shot.
I finally did another B&W film some days ago; it had been sitting in my fridge looking at me for far too long. I hadn’t touched my vat, chemicals and spools in almost three years, either, film and developer sitting there with an expiration date years before even then.
Who says great photographs can’t come from “expired” consumables?
It was after the Spotters Weekend was over, which is where I had spent the majority of the roll. I had just a couple left to round off the complete thirty-six plus the one or two extras at the end and couldn’t think of what to shoot last to get done with it. I took a couple of selfies and prepared my developing gear.
I was sitting there in my bathroom, all sources of light blocked, tools “arranged” in front of me – or, if you prefer honest descriptions, lying around in a way I had to feel around for them every time I needed to switch one. I started by trying to, as you would, unwind the film onto the spool which would be used as its case to neatly bathe it into the developer, but I just couldn’t get the roll to fit in right. Something jammed, the film wouldn’t be picked up by the lever and it wouldn’t unwind. I must have been struggling there blind for what must have been more than 45 minutes for something that in the hands of someone who “knows what they’re doing” wouldn’t take more than 5 at most.
By that time, I could feel that I had almost ruined the edge of the film and the last pictures of the roll by all the bending and creasing I had submitted it to. I knew that force wouldn’t cut it (I could fit some pun here if I tried hard enough), but I was getting a tiny bit desperate.
I considered bailing: turning on the bathroom light and instantly burning the pictures white with light forever. At least that way I would escape that limbo between art and frustration, sitting there in the darkness getting nowhere.
If you’re waiting for some dramatic turn of events, there wasn’t one, but indeed it was a turn that saved me. I just tried twisting half the spool while holding it vertically instead of horizontally, and that somehow did the trick. Relieved, I winded the film into the spool, placed it into the tank, turned on the lights and proceeded with development.
A few hours later, this turned out to be the last shot of the roll.
I’ll admit I’m quite happy with how I look in this picture, but what I love are the chaotic, random little blemishes that pepper it from my mishandling it. Together they make for quite a unique selfie, and a selfie it is alright, clumsy self-inflicted marks and all. It just wouldn’t be the same if it had come out “perfect”. In fact, the way it’s come out (just look at the right of my head, the contour of the… what is that anyway?) I think it is superior* in every way apart from visual fidelity I suppose.
At the very least it’s a happy accident. In chaos we trust – which is just The Flow dressed up in its cool black suede suit.
Some more highlights from that roll, in case you’re interested.
*Film photography is, in my mind at least, being slowly relegated to what painting and drawing turned into after film photography itself was invented: an art form formerly used for picture perfection now rendered obsolete by some newer technology – in this case digital photography. You could say that painting was liberated and all kinds of artistic breakthroughs were had only after photography was invented and artists didn’t have to portray their subjects in any kind of technically immaculate way anymore – that would be the photographer’s job from then on. Similarly, free from the requirement that it should mainly display things “the way they really are” – we have phones and mirrorless cameras now for that – film photography can now be safely re-examined as a separate medium with its own specific physical limitations and artistic advantages. Like painting.
ΠΑΙΖΕΙ: VITALIC – OK COWBOY (πορωτική ηλεκτρονική μουσική για μεγάλα ηχεία – και να ήθελα, δεν θα μπορούσα να σας πω περισσότερα για το είδος ακριβώς γιατί είμαι χαζούλης στη μουσική ταξονομία)
Γράφω στο κρεβάτι μου. Πήρα το λάπτοπ από το σαλόνι το οποίο το έχω κάνει αρκετά ακατάστατο ώστε να το νιώθω άνετα ως χώρο εργασίας και το μετέφερα κάπου που ταιριάζει καλύτερα: in my actually lap. Το πάπλωμα του κρεβατιού το χωρίζει από το στρώμα των ποδιών μου – γούνας, λίπους και μυών, σε μια αναλογία που μπορεί να αλλάξει μελλοντικά, αν συνεχίσω να κάνω ποδήλατο όσο κάνω τις τελευταίες μέρες.
Λένε ότι είναι κακό να έχεις το λάπτοπ να κάθεται πάνω σε πράγματα όπως κουβέρτες και στρώματα. Αυτή τη στιγμή το δικό μου τρέχει σε battery saving mode και δεν βγάζει σχεδόν τίποτα από τα ανεμιστηράκια, και το γεγονός αυτό με κάνει να νομίζω ότι δεν υπάρχει πρόβλημα. Το αναφέρω σε περίπτωση που ανησυχείτε για την υγεία του.
Ξεκίνησα να γράφω σήμερα χωρίς κάτι ιδιαίτερο στο μυαλό μου. Απλά συνεχώς λέω στον εαυτό μου ότι θέλω να γράφω περισσότερο, αλλά διαρκώς τελευταία στιγμή με απορροφάνε άλλα πράγματα, συνήθως λιγότερο δημιουργικά. Σήμερα με το που ξύπνησα είχα όρεξη, και δεν την άφησα να πάει χαμένη. Γράφοντας έρχεται και περισσότερη όρεξη, άλλωστε. Η ιδέα είναι να ξεκινήσω να γράφω κάτι κάθε πρωί. Κάτι σαν morning pages αλλά κατάλληλα για εδώ.
Αυτή τη στιγμή πίνω καφέ φίλτρου με αραιό γάλα βρώμης. Το γάλα βρώμης το έφτιαξα με ολόκληρη βρώμη που αγόρασα (μοιάζει κάτι μεταξύ ρυζιού και σιταριού), αλλά δεν έχω blender που να κάνει καλή δουλειά κι έτσι προσπάθησα να το κάνω με αυτό το πράγμα που χτυπάς τον πουρέ και κάνεις τις σούπες βελουτέ (δεν πέτυχε). Τη στέρεα βρώμη που έμεινε την τρώω για πρωινό. Εδώ και καμιά βδομάδα που γύρισα από το τετραήμερο σεμινάριο που πήγα στο Free and Real στην Εύβοια για οικολογική δόμηση, στο οποίο κάθε μέρα φτιάχναμε και απλώναμε cob και ασβεστώναμε, με ενέπνευσε η δική τους φάση εκεί και θέλω να αφαιρέσω όσο γίνεται τα γαλακτομικά από τη διατροφή και να δω τι θα συμβεί.
Στο Free and Real τρώγαμε μαρμελάδες δικές τους με ψωμί (π.χ. μαρμελάδα βανίλια – το φρούτο), όπως και φουχάτα, μια δική τους συνταγή για ψωμοαλοιφή που έχει με φουντούκι, χαρούπι, ταχίνι και σιρόπι αγάβης που κατα εκείνους «έχει νικήσει την σοκολάτα» και πρέπει να ομολογήσω ότι για vegan Merenda κάνει εξαιρετική δουλειά. Επίσης τρώγαμε φρούτα, τομάτες και αγγούρια, το ίδιο και για το μεσημεριανό, και μόνο το βράδυ τρώγαμε μαγειρεμένο vegan φαγητό, το οποίο παρεπιμπτόντως ήταν εξαιρετικό: ο τύπος που είχαν εκεί να μαγειρεύει, ένας Αντρέας ο οποίος μένει στο Free and Real ήδη κάποιους μήνες, κάτι έκανε και όλα του τα φαγητά ήταν καταπληκτικά, με πολλά όσπρια, αρκετά μπαχαρικά και λίγες κλανιές – μια διόλου ευκαταφρόνητη ισορροπία που απαιτεί δεξιότητα.
Η διατροφή λοιπόν σε εκείνη την ομοφαγική/vegan κοινότητα με ενέπνευσε να δω τι μπορώ να κάνω κι εγώ. Προς το παρόν η αλήθεια είναι ότι έχω φάει και τυριά, και τζατζίκια, και γλυκά με γάλα και αυγά στα διάφορα τραπέζια που έχω πάει αυτές τις γιορτινές μέρες (στη γιορτή μου και την 28η), για να μην μιλήσω για το πάρτι του Καταζά και τι πίτσες τσάκισα εκεί, ή χτες που ήμουν καλεσμένος σε ένο δείπνο στην Αίγινα όπου έφαγα και σουτζουκάκια.
Για κάποιο λόγο δεν με πτοούν αυτές οι φαινομενικές αποτυχίες. Γενικά, αυτές τις μέρες μπορώ να πω ότι παίζω με το out of character (OOC) και out of the comfort zone και με τις χαζές ενοχές που προκύπτουν από το να κάνω τα πράγματα που είχα ίσως υποσχεθεί στον εαυτό μου κάποτε είτε ότι θα τους αντισταθώ ή ότι δεν θα κάνω ποτέ. Η ικανοποίηση της παραβίασης του comfort zone είναι μεγαλύτερη από τις τύψεις της παραβίασης του εσωτερικού κανονισμού συμπεριφοράς. Ή μήπως ο εσωτερικός κανονισμός συμπεριφοράς μου έχει κάποια κρυφή παράγραφο, κάποια σχετικά πρόσφατη αναθεώρηση, που επιτρέπει ή/και προτρέπει την εκτός χαρακτήρα και φούσκας συμπεριφορά; Θα κλείσω με ερώτηση όπως κάνω πολύ συχνά;
Today’s earworms come complete with feel-good feel-bad social awareness messages.
Watch the following if you concede to mass torture of feeling, perhaps sentient, creatures for your palatal pleasure. Yes, Moby’s promoting veganism, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Watch the following if you – wait, what I was going to write was that you should watch it if you use the Internet or own a smartphone, but if you’re here reading this, yeah, that includes you any way you cut it. It’s you, it’s me, it’s our lives now, and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
Found this book used for 10lv at Elephant bookstore in Sofia. This was my first real exposure to fiction by Margaret Atwood, and it was enough to make me think that reading longer works from her will be something I’m going to enjoy deeply.
While looking for the real title of the book on Google, I stumbled upon this review which just so happens to portray my feelings for it pretty much exactly. Allow me then to do the unthinkable and use that review’s words instead of mine. Thank you Kelly EasyVegan.
“The stories cover a little bit of everything: fantasy, mystery, science fiction, speculative fiction, feminism, rape culture, gender wars, dating, death – you name it.
Many of the pieces are hit and miss; my favorites are the scifi stories that hinge on an environmental or animal-friendly theme:
– “Cold-Blooded” – An alien race of matriarchal moth people visit planet earth – or as they call it, “The Planet of the Moths,” a nickname owing to the fact that their moth cousins outnumber us by billions – and find humans sorely lacking in both culture and intelligence;
– “My Life As a Bat” – A series of reflections on the narrator’s past life as a bat, including a disturbing (and, as it just so happens, true) anecdote about WWII-era experiments in which bats were made into unwitting suicide bombers;
– “Hardball” – A piece of dystopian speculative fiction in which humans, having decimated their environment, have retreated to live under a giant dome. Since space is limited, the population must be kept in check: for every birth, one person is chosen to die via a lottery. Care to guess what becomes of the remains?
Also enjoyable are those stories which reimagine classic literature: “Gertrude Talks Back” gives voice to Hamlet’s long-suffering mother, and “Unpopular Gals” and “Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women” celebrates those villains and “airheads” without which fairy tales would not exist.
While at times difficult to read, “Liking Men” is another standout; this is the piece that deals with sexual assault, vis à vis a woman’s journey back to coping with – and even loving – men (or rather, one man in particular) again after her rape.
Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets, and especially Celestial Voices (the part that starts after 07:00), as it was recorded live by the original band itself, is nowhere to be found on Youtube anymore; their corporate representatives seem to be taking good care of wiping clean all traces of humanity from their facade. They made sure that a wordless hymn to the sequence of birth, each person’s battle in life, death and the lamentation that such a thing as death even exists, was something to be excluded from the band’s catalogue online. All that is available now is cover versions, plenty of them, some not so bad, but most not even close to this one live recording from 1969 that bests them all.
Even the entire albumUmmagummais there on their official channel, apart from a single song: that one 12-minute track which has been made conspicuously unavailable.
I can’t fathom what the reasons for keeping this masterpiece from the general public in terms of profit could be, but one thing is for certain: it does stand out.
Скефтомун рандомли симера оти енас иданикос тропос на грапсис хорис на се пьанун та спайдерз ине поли апла на графис еци. ке 9 стус 10 номизун оти графис росика. ЛОЛ.
Алитя. Та кирилика ине сан то елинико алфавито v2.0. ОК, пяни ихус пу ден ехуме пя емис, ала ден ехи алус, опос то Θ ке то Δ – то латинико ихе експансьон пакс я на лиси афто то провлима ме тис екатодадес глосес пу то иотетисан: тус тонус. Ексу ке то астио пу екана капоте, отан емена сти София, схетика ме то пос проферете и thrash metal ста росика ке ста вулгарика. Канена алфавито телика ден бори на пяси олоклиро то фазма тис антропинис омилиас – имун етимос на грапсо “то IPA ден пянете” ала мета скефтика пос ден име сигурос. То IPA ден ине алфавито яти апо моно ту ден симени типотал. Паролафта ден пянете сан капьо систима, капьо сайфер?
Уф курастика на пликтролого ме тин тахитита тис манас му. Ан та катаферате ос едо, ньосте перифаня, яти и кирилофони (епитрепсте му тон неологизмо) пу ксерун елиника, и идика и елинофони пу дявазун кирилика, имасте акатаноита дисеврето идос.