Archive for the 'Artsy' Category

The Paradox of Hedonism

I find that I am always falling victim to the paradox of hedonism. I see a group of people enjoying something so I go out and try that thing, thinking it will make me happy. I don’t end up getting any pleasure from it because I’m not doing the activity for love of it, I’m doing it so it will make me happy.

It’s clearly reflected in the way I look for a relationship. I’ve been looking for a relationship under the assumption that a relationship will make me happy. I’m not sure what it is about the relationship that is supposed to make me happy, but I keep looking for one anyway. I think that’s one of the primary reasons that once I’m in the relationship I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. Do I even need to be in the relationship?

I’ve never been able to determine what makes a relationship different from other interactions people share. You hook up in a relationship, but you certainly don’t need a relationship to hook up. You go out and spend time together in a relationship, but you don’t need one to do that either. You’re monogamous in a relationship (unless it’s an open relationship, and then I don’t know what the heck that means) but that seems to apply on the physical level much more than on the emotional. Is a relationship a really good friend that you are monogamous with? I don’t really want an answer, I’m just thinking out loud.

So I sat here for 15 minutes thinking about my past relationships, close friendships with the opposite sex, and one night stands. I’m having a hard time figuring out what I was looking for in each instance. I suppose I could think about it forever and never reach a consensus.

It’s time to take a pledge: no trying to meet girls online this summer. No craigslist, no MySpace, no Facebook, no Yahoo Personals, no Stickam. If I’m meeting people it’s going to be in person.

Reading, Theater, Management

It’s been nearly a month since I posted anything, and over a month since I posted anything that wasn’t private. I went to London and had a great time. I saw a ton of stuff and took photos of some of it. I can’t wait for my friends to come back to the states. Most of them are going to be on campus for the summer (like me) and I am very excited.

I got my butt kicked by school work when I came back, and then show week was going on, and then there was the show itself. I basically took a month-long break from the internet. I’ve been easing my way back into it, but I’ve been having a great time reading books. I’ve read some personal novels as well as books for class and I should definitely write about them.

While in London I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence. When I got back I dove into book 11 of The Wheel of Time: Knife of Dreams. After, I started in on other books on my shelf that I hadn’t read before like Snow Crash and Mona Lisa Overdrive. Now that I’ve finished those I’m starting Stranger in a Strange Land.

For class I read Hamlet, Prince of Denmark for the third or fourth time. Now we’re in the middle of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. I’ve been reading some poetry as well, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens in particular. I don’t have any favorite poems, but a couple stanzas always stick out. From “Sunday Morning”:

VI

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

Or from “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”:

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” I especially like the epigraph:

S`io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocchè giammai di questo fondo
Non tornò vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

It comes from Dante’s Inferno (XXVII, 61-66). Allen Mandelbaum’s translation of the Inferno reads:

“If I thought my reply were meant for one
who ever could return into the world,
this flame would stir no more; and yet, since none—
if what I hear is true—ever returned
alive from this abyss, then without fear
of facing infamy, I answer you…”

Outside of all this reading, I’ve been doing the usual programming homework and keeping busy. I had this great conversation the other night about relationships, “jump offs”, racism, music, and art. He articulated what I seem to be looking for in a relationship so articulately that I have to write it here. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “You’re looking for a girl who is a locked box. You want to be the one to open it up and be privy to everything inside.” It’s very close to the truth. I don’t really want to spend any time analyzing what I think I’m looking for, since that will always be in flux, but I felt that I needed to record that for posterity.

In other news, I decided that I am going to finish my degree in English literature and write a thesis; I’m running for vice president of SDS and I’m working hard on my speech so I give myself an earnest shot; and I’m looking into taking on more managerial roles in projects and within SDS.

I think that last thing is important. I’ve been ASM (assistant stage manager) several times in the past, and each time has been a learning experience. Understanding your responsibilities and getting better at them is a rewarding experience. This last show I was props manager. This was my first time as a designer for a show and it presented its own set of challenges. I found that not only did I have to design, but I also had to communicate with an assistant and with other departments to make sure that everyone was on the same page.

This experience reminded me of attempting to manage my group project for databases. My job was to be organized and to have concrete goals in mind for where the project was heading. I was supposed to lay a framework and assign deadlines and mini-projects to members of the team. I failed to do that effectively and it reflected on the project as a whole.

One of the problems with being in power is the feeling that you need to exercise that power. This isn’t the case at all, but many people who are placed in this sort of position for the first time (or couple times) try to exercise their power and react poorly to others trying to usurp any of their power. This is detrimental to the entire process. The real job of a manager is to serve as a moderator between different parties and to give the project direction.

I’m just starting to see this now, and now that I’m starting to understand the purpose of a manager I feel that I can be a better manager in the future. Of course my focus is in technology, but having good managerial skills is a benefit no matter what environment you’re in.

This has been a long and far reaching post. I didn’t mean for it to be like this, but I think I said a lot of the things I needed to say. I know there’s probably another post rattling around in my head but I need to think about it some more before it ends up on here.

Subway Face

Apr25Atrain

That I have been looking
For you all my life
Does not matter to you.
You do not know.

You never knew.
Nor did I.
Now you take the Harlem train uptown;
I take a local down.

Langston Hughes

Colorblind

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And oaths were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,—
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

So, I failed

I was supposed to post once a day about something. Or at least post frequently. I haven’t posted in a very long time, and I’m finally getting back into one of those artistic moods where I want to express myself. I think iTunes and album art are partly to blame. I’ve spent the last day browsing around on deviantart looking at drawings and what not.

I want to learn how to draw. It’s not like its terribly difficult or anything, but I have no skill in it whatsoever. The best advice given to me on the subject was just to start drawing. Just keep drawing and eventually you’ll get better. I believe its true, I just never had the desire long enough to actually draw every day. I’d start one night and never try it again (mostly because my first attempt looked so bad). I think this summer I want to force myself to draw something once a day. At the end, if I feel like I haven’t improved at all I’ll give it up until I feel like giving it a shot again.

So right now I feel terribly artsy, we’ll see how longs this lasts…


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