Thursday, February 26, 2015

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki -- Haruki Murakami (The B-Quotes Series)

I read this one, my second Murakami, back in January. Outstanding, beautiful book. Murakami is so hard to compare, even to himself... I read Kafka on The Shore last year, and while there's certainly a red thread unique to the author in, presumably, all his works, the beauty of each stands alone and singular.


Not everything was lost in the flow of time. [...] We truly believed in something back then, and we knew we were the kind of people capable of believing in something--with all our hearts. And that kind of hope will never simply vanish.

[...] That if he intensely concentrated his feelings on one fixed point, like a lens focused on paper, bursting it into flames, his heart would suffer a fatal blow. More than anything he hoped for this. But months passed, and contrary to his expectations, his heart didn't stop. The heart apparently doesn't stop that easily.
p. 377

Our lives are like a complex musical score, Tsukuru thought. Filled with all sorts of cryptic writing, sixteenth and thirty-second notes and other strange signs. It's next to impossible to correctly interpret these, and even if you could, and then could transpose them into the correct sounds, there's no guarantee that people would correctly understand, or appreciate, the meaning therein. No guarantee it would make people happy. 

"[...] You don't lack anything. Be confident and be bold. That's all you need. Never let fear and stupid pride make you lose someone who's precious to you."
p. 342

"We survived. You and I. And those who survive have a duty. Our duty is to do our best to keep on living. Even if our lives are not perfect."
p. 334

In reality, though, none of this ever happened. In reality something very different happened. And that fact was more significant now than anything else.
p. 330

The beating of her heart kept time with the slap of the little boat against the pier.

"Important to me, perhaps. But maybe not to her. I came here to find that out."
"It sounds kind of complicated."
"Maybe too complicated for me to explain in English."
Olga laughed. "Some things in life are too complicated to explain in any language."
p. 270

It was a different sense of isolation from what he normally felt in Japan. And not such a bad feeling, he decided. Being alone in two senses of the word was maybe like a double negation of isolation. In other words, it made perfect sense for him, a foreigner, to feel isolated here. There was nothing odd about it at all. [...] He was in exactly the right place.
p. 272-273

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mexico is a proud nation today

At the Oscars last night, back-to-back Mexicans stepped up to the stage to receive little gold men. Emmanuel Lubezki won Best Photography for Birdman, and Alejandro González Iñarritu, the same film's director, won Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Movie.

On his third visit to the awards stage, for Best Movie, Iñarritu dedicated the award to the Mexican people: to those living in Mexico, he said he hoped we'd be able to build the kind of government we deserve, and to those living in the US, those of the newest generation of immigrants, he wished that they be treated with the same respect and recognition that others before them found in "this nation of immigrants."

Bravo, señores. You make us all proud.

The whole thing, from envelope opening (by Sean Penn, whose prelude to announcing the winner is priceless) and all of Iñarritu's speech, including a cute intermission by Michael Keaton, below. (Or you can just watch Iñarritu's bit about Mexico and Mexicans.)

And the Birdman trailer. Just because it's so fucking awesome.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Karnaval! (2015 edition)

Karnaval (Carnival) in Curaçao is the event of the year. Half the island's 150K population participates in one way or another: either they're part of a 'walking' group (the groups that make up the parade), or they're involved in the costume design or the organization or providing assistance to the groups. And the other half is gathered on the sidewalks throughout Sunday afternoon and Tuesday evening to watch--and dance, and sing, and drink. I cannot imagine the amounts of beer that get consumed during the two days of Karnaval, but it's a lot.

I've been wanting to take photos of Karnaval for this blog for a while, but I can't seem to drum up enough energy to put myself through the crowds and the loud, loud music. And besides, much better photographers are, thankfully, present. Check out the Curaçao Images album on Flicker, and have a wild dance to celebrate Dushi Korsou!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (the B-Quotes Series)

I've been reading some really amazing, life-changing, perspective-altering books lately. Well, always, I suppose. But it recently struck me that most of the wisdom I find on the page, as powerful as it might feel to me at the moment of reading, will inevitably fall into oblivion. I make notes, sure; I have dozens of notebooks--big, small, tiny--scattered all over the house with quotes of exquisite truth jotted behind a grocery or a to-do list.

Like I said. Oblivion.

So I thought, why not put them into a blog post? With a clear label, they'll be easily retrievable at any time, anywhere.

I thus give to you the B-Quotes Series. And we begin with the wondrous turns of phrase, vocabulary choices, descriptions, and thoughts I found in The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, read just last month.

"Love's pure free joy when it works, but when it goes bad you pay for the good hours at loan-shark prices."
p. 39

Power is lost or won, never created or destroyed. Power is a visitor to, not a possession of, those it empowers. [...] Power is crack-cocaine for your ego and battery-acid for your soul.

[...] and what's this prodding certainty that I'm in a labyrinth not only of turnings and doors but decisions and priorities [...]
p. 264  

P.S. -- Have you seen my Facebook page? It's still a fledgling thing of wet wings and iffy sense of balance, which means it needs all the Likes you care to give ;) Once that first solo book of mine comes out later this year (more on that later), I'll be returning the love via giveaways and stuff :D
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