Jan 20, 2011

Home Reads: 'My Father’s Brain' by Jonathan Franzen

My Father’s Brain by Jonathan Franzen
(New Yorker Magazine - September 10, 2001)
According to the latest theories, which are based on a wealth of neurological and psychological research in the last few decades, the brain is not an album in which memories are stored discretely like unchanging photographs. Instead, a memory is, in the phrase of the psychologist Daniel L. Schacter, a "temporary constellation" of activity-a necessarily approximate excitation of neural circuits that bind a set of sensory images and semantic data into the momentary sensation of a remembered whole… The human brain is a web of a hundred billion neurons, maybe as many as two hundred billion, with trillions of axons and dendrites exchanging quadrillions of messages by way of at least fifty different chemical transmitters. The organ with which we observe and make sense of the universe is, by a comfortable margin, the most complex object we know of in that universe. And yet it’s also a lump of meat

Jan 12, 2011

Home Reads: 'Carnet De Voyage' by Craig Thompson

Almost 10 years ago when I was hospitalised for days with pneumonia, an amazing family friend lent me two graphic novels by Craig Thompson - Blankets and Carnet De Voyage.

Both were astoundingly inspirational. The latter hopefully being a template for my journeys. Carnet De Voyage ('travel journal' in French) was a travelogue Craig Thompson illustrated whilst on the book tour for his award-winning 'Blankets'. Craig illustrated the interactions he had with strangers and friends on his journey through France, Barcelona, the Alps and Morocco.

To view Thompson's awe-inspiring process go here:
Constructing Carnet
2) Portraits and landscapes and full-page illustrations were drawn on location. Again, no photo reference.

In the case, of bustling street scenes, I would just start drawing from a point of interest — if I saw someone in the crowds striking the proper pose, I’d dash to that portion of the page and fill it in. There was a lot of this dancing about the page — a donkey cart would roll past and I would struggle to get it down as quickly as possible. Once out of view, I’d complete it from memory. And these drawings could take hours to complete – standing in the most uncomfortable positions getting sun-burnt and harassed and nearly run over by motor bikes.
I would draw things “in real time” and leave empty space on the page for journaling text.

Jan 7, 2011

Home Reads: 'You are Here' by Chuck Palahniuk

'You are Here' by Chuck Palahniuk
There's the talk-therapy aspect to most writers' workshops.
There's the idea of fiction as a safe laboratory for exploring ourselves and our world. For experimenting with a persona or character and social organization, trying on costumes and running a social model until it breaks down.

There is all that.

One positive aspect is, maybe this awareness and recording will lead us to live more interesting lives. Maybe we'll be less likely to make the same mistakes again and again. Marry another drunk. Get pregnant, again. Because by now we know this would make a boring, unsympathetic character. A female lead Julia Roberts would never play. Instead of modeling our lives after brave, smart fictional characters — maybe we'll lead brave, smart lives to base our own fictional characters on.

Controlling the story of your past — recording and exhausting it — that skill might allow us to move into the future and write that story. Instead of letting life just happen, we could outline our own personal plot. We'll learn the craft we'll need to accept that responsibility. We'll develop our ability to imagine in finer and finer detail. We can more exactly focus on what we want to accomplish, to attain, to become.

You want to be happy? You want to be at peace? You want to be healthy?

Jan 3, 2011

Life's a Gamble

New Year's Resolution.
No more Gambling.

VIDEO: 'The Simpsons' - Gamblor

Some people think New Year's Resolutions are stupid. It is silly to feel obligated to change something about yourself. You could argue, if you really wanted to change something about yourself you would act on it right away and not on a timetable as contrived as the start of a New Year. Plus its a given that no one follows through with New Year's Resolutions so you can easily let yourself off the hook if you slip.

But there's nothing more empowering than saying you'll do something and following through on it.
So bring it on!

Play Hard. Work Hard

Knowing I'd be traveling this year, I knew I had to limit any regret that I could've worked harder and earned more money before I left. The feeling of "I could've done more" would undoubtedly haunt me on my trip as I slept on the streets and graveyards due to lack of funds.

I should have no regrets now.

I rang in the New Year working 7 days straight spanning 3 Public Holidays. With a stretch of 11 hours and 2x 14hr shifts to go with the standard 8hrs (8pm - 4am). I had hoped to experience the High Rollers 'Sovereign Room', dealing commission Baccarat before I resigned . I was able to achieve this during one of the mornings on OT.

I Love it when a plan comes together.

Jan 2, 2011

Happy New Year: Jimmy Eat World - A Praise Chorus

Jimmy Eat World - A Praise Chorus

Praise Chorus Lyrics by Jimmy Eat World
Are you gonna live your life standing in the back looking around?
Are you gonna waste your time?
Gotta make a move or you'll miss out.
Someone's gonna ask you what it's all about.
Stick around nostalgia won't let you down.
Someone's gonna ask you what it's all about.
Whatcha gonna have to say for yourself?
I'm on my feet, I'm on the floor, I'm good to go.
Now all I need is just to hear a song I know.
I wanna always feel like part of this was mine.
I wanna fall in love tonight.