October 2004 Archives

The pile, it grows

| No Comments

In the last 2 days, five holds that I've been waiting on for months came in at once:

Of course, they all have to be read in the next 3 weeks as they have other holds on them. I guess this takes the guesswork out of what to do with my evenings.

Mmm, pointy and swirly

| No Comments

Don't Bring Back The Buddhas

| No Comments

Bring Back the Buddha :

Almost immediately after the United States forced the Taliban from power at the end of 2001, archaeologists, art historians, and politicians began debating what to do with the site. Afghan president Hamid Karzai calls the reconstruction of the Buddhas "a cultural imperative." Others, such as the French-Afghan archaeologist Zemaryalai Tarzi, say the niches should be left empty to memorialize a dark chapter in the nation's history. Both sides are busily tapping the tools of science and technology as they formulate their vision of how to honor what was, until recently, one of the finest examples of early Buddhist art.

Personally, I say leave them empty.

Beautiful Losers

| No Comments

So there's this relatively silly "Greatest Canadians" thing going on. I've been mostly ignoring it, but now that I find that Leonard Cohen and Roberston Davies didn't even make the top 100, I think I'll be boycotting it.

Update: Hmm, the show has Cohen as 46, I guess the website list is different from the show list?

another killer concert

| No Comments

Much hyped The Arcade Fire are coming to Vancouver, although no date appears to have been set. Seeing as they're introducing themselves as Flavour Of The Month, they're aware the hype machine is mucho in gear. Their album, Funeral, is quite beautiful and comes with the marginalia.org Seal of Approval. Don't let that stop you from checking it out.

Plus, Tom Waits tomorrow!

Library Fetishists Unite!


Finally, a club for people really into libraries (and librarians, presumably). Unfortunately, it's in my city of birth, not my city of residence.

Something tells me you won't be able to sidle up the bar and order a 641.2 though. They'd probably get sued.

(Yes, this was a dewey decimal joke. Deal.)


Plus, people can't sneak up on you

| 1 Comment

This "trick of the trade" should also be useful for computer professionals...

Haruki Haruki Haruki


Sorry for all the Haruki Murakami posts (well, not really), but he's quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The good news is that by the time I've worked through his entire back catalog, his latest Kafka on the Shore, will be available in English.

And another quote, this time from Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World

For anyone not accustomed to this sort of thing, stepping on thirty-centimeter wide sections of slick rock crawling with leeches in the dark is an experience likely to be memorable.

So true.

Orhan Pamuk

| No Comments

I just finished reading Snow, and along comes a decent profile of the author, Orhan Pamuk. While the novel is scrupulously balanced in its examination of the conflict between political Islam and the West, Pamuk is not without opinions himself:

Unfortunately, my country's funny and tragic history is perhaps turning out to be, because of George Bush, the funny and tragic history of the world. That is, the arrogant, not-very-reasonable elite of my country destroyed its democracy when backwards, illiterate, conservative parts of the country resisted so-called modernization, globalization, call it whatever. They bombed and suppressed and destroyed their own country. Now that Turkey has lived this for, say, 80 years, 100 years, I don't want America to make that mistake.

Memory is like fiction

| 1 Comment
Memory is like fiction; or else it's fiction that's like memory. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of fiction, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn't even there anymore. You're left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable. And then to put these things out as saleable items, you call them finished products--at time it's downright embarrassing just to think of it. Honestly, it can make me blush. And if my face turns that shade, you can be sure everyone's blushing.

Still, you grasp human existence in terms of these rather absurd activities resting on relatively straightforward motives, and questions of right and wrong pretty much drop out of the picture. That's where memory takes over and fiction is born. From that point on, it's a perpetual-motion machine no one can stop. Tottering its way thoughout the world, trailing a single unbroken thread over the ground.

Here goes nothing. Hope all goes well, you say. But it never has. Never will. It just doesn't go that way.

So where does that leave you? What do you do?

What is there to do? I just go back to gathering kittens and piling them up again. Exhausted kittens, all limp and played out. But even if they work to discover themselves stacked like kindling for a campfire, what would the kittens think? Well, it might scarcely raise a "Hey, what gives?" out of them. In which case--if there was nothing to particularly get upset about--it would make my work a little easier. That's the way I see it.
Haruki Murakami, The Last Lawn of the Afternoon. From the collection The Elephant Vanishes

VIFF Roundup

| No Comments

Right, so now that the festival is over and these reviews are of NO USE WHATSOEVER, here are my thoughts on the films I saw:

  • Machuca: Best film I saw; voted most popular film at the festival, so you know I'm right! See this film if you get the chance.
  • Tony Takitani. Good film, essentially a meditiation on loneliness. See it if you like Haruki Murakami.
  • My Beautiful Girl, Mari. Animated coming-of-age film from South Korea. Excellent animation, well told story. Recommended.
  • Havana Suite. Visually beautiful, although I found the cheesy synth dominated soundtrack a distraction.
  • The Ister. Note to self: 3 hour video essays on Heidegger can wait for video. Interesting, but my concentration was seriously wandering after the first half.

Concert Roundup

| No Comments
  • Mouse on Mars + Ratatat + Junior Boys @ Sonar: I went to this show on a whim; I'd read positive reviews of both Mouse on Mars and Ratatat, so figured I'd risk $16. All of the bands are techno/electronica influenced, but also use regular instrumentation (translation: laptops! drums! guitars!). Anyway - a good show, could have done without Junior Boys. I ended up buying Ratatat and Mouse on Mars CDs. Side note - I would like to know what some of the people at this gig were doing up against the wall standing completely still. People: I am the whitest white guy in whiteville, but I was out there moving around (not to be confused with dancing). What are you afraid of, looking goofy? Nobody cares, and it shouldn't stop you from having fun.
  • Fly Pan Am + Mono (warning, sound on load) @ The Media Club. Mono blew the walls of the joint - almost literally, what with some of the volumes they hit. They work some of the same ground as Godspeed You Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky, which some have taken to calling post rock. Also thrown around are "Soundtrack for an Apocalypse" or "classical music for indie kids". Whatever you call it, I liked it: beautiful, visceral, mesmerizing. Fly Pan Am is a way glitchier band, which I'm usually into, but they were an uneasy pairing with Mono. Good, but not blown away.

Beowulf and Grendel

| 1 Comment

I first heard about Beowulf and Grendel when the director, Sturla Gunnarsson, mentioned during a post-screening Q&A of Rare Birds that he was heading off to Iceland to start work on it . It's still a year from release, but the screenwriter is interviewed here, and there are some stills.

JW: How much did you concern yourself with language, modern english contains many words they would not have used at the time the poem is set. Did you take this in to account with dialogue?

AB: Yes, very much. I wanted the dialogue to be accessible, colloquial, true to the characters, and – as much as possible – true to the time. But I’m working – as you note – in modern english.

The most significant choice I made was to try to sift out almost all latin-rooted words. Over 95% of the present dialogue is english rooted in old norse, old saxon, or germanic. the odd bit of frank/latin slips out from characters – a wandering and literate irish monk, the geats’ own poet… - who have cause to have crossed paths with other languages.

Hopefully it'll turn out better than the last time a film with Sarah Polley involved Iceland.

Cold, remote, boring: I say it's Canadian

| No Comments

Coming soon to a planet near you: North Pole: The War

Denmark aims to claim the North Pole and hunt for oil in high Arctic regions that may become more accessible because of global warming, the Science Ministry said Monday.


The Danish bid rests on a U.N. convention allowing coastal nations to claim rights to offshore seabed resources. Countries that ratify it have 10 years to prove they have a fair claim to the offshore territory and its resources.

"First we have to make the scientific claim. After that there will be a political process with the other countries," said Science Ministry official Thorkild Meedom.

Other claimants to the area, with the Pole itself, include Russia, Canada and Norway. The United States may also make a claim.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2004 is the previous archive.

November 2004 is the next archive.

This is marginalia.org, a weblog by Bill Stilwell. I take the occasional photo.


Powered by Movable Type 4.24-en