Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The mists of memory and the wonders of forgetting and remembering imaginations

This time, I actually had a couple of things I wanted to really blog about, earlier in the month. But it would seem I've developed another habit. Even though I may have things I want to blog about, and I might even have a bit of time to do it, I figure, I might as well just put it in the post at the end of the month :). Oh dear.

A digression first though. This is the first time in a while I'm using a laptop to actually post, and it is brilliant!!! I mean, smart phones are very smart and all that, but an actual keyboard! Tactility, and the little clicking sounds as thoughts turn into characters :). I have missed this :D. OK, end of digression.

The one thing I definitely, absolutely have to share, is Blade Runner 2049. First things first, watched it, loved it. Right, so that's done. Now for some thoughts. I've watched Blade Runner before. Multiple times even, I believe. But somehow, the story itself never totally impressed itself onto me completely. 

One reason could be my memory of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The book it is supposedly (extremely loosely) based on. I say supposedly, because other than the most rudimentary similarities in the story, the book and film go in completely different directions. So anyway, I was left a bit aghast at the book. I discuss that particular experience briefly here. Yes, twelve years ago that was, and it has still left its mark, that book!

So when I saw the trailers and was reminded of just how much of a phenomenon the original film was, I thought I would refresh my memory. So we watched Blade Runner again. And wow was I underwhelmed :-|. I mean, the whole atmosphere building and all that was brilliant, and the idea of a post-apocalyptic future. But you really have to remind yourself that this was in the '80s to stop yourself thinking, "Come on! Really!?!" I also have to admit, I was sure the ending was different when I'd seen it before (unlikely, I know, but there you have it) but I liked the abruptness quite a lot.

So then we come to the new film. There wasn't really that much of a build up of anticipation. So maybe that explains why I left the cinema so happy! No, not with the almost three hour run-time, that was insane. But what a sequel! Somehow, the best aspects and themes from the first film survived, with a fantastic visual treatment. And minus excruciating philosophical monologuing towards the end :).

I particularly enjoyed the restraint on the part of the makers of the sequel when it came to copying the older film. The thing that has killed so many sequels for me before. I suppose it wasn't without its flaws, The length being one thing. But even there, it was nice to have the time to immerse into the visuals without being rushed along by an excess of action. (I must add here that I asked a friend who'd been to see the film separately how he liked it, and he hated the pace, saying it was way too slow :). Just thought I'd add that in here.) 

I have to say it was the most enjoyable film I've seen lately. And that's even when compared to Baby Driver. Which was an absolute hoot, but in completely different ways :).

The other thing I've managed to do is finish reading Smoke & Mirrors. I'd been at it off and on for months. That's the thing with short stories though. You can just stop and start. Although maybe in some ways keeping the memories of the different stories together adds something to the experience. And yes, I did feel this wasn't one of Gaiman's best works. I mean there were flashes of awesome. But there were also bits of somewhat bizarre. As in more than is usual is what I mean :).

I guess I like Gaiman's writing where he's had the space to unwind things out a bit. Created a bit of space to absorb all the different bits of crazy :). So now I'm on to Norse Mythology. Which strictly speaking isn't quite fiction... or is it? Hmmm.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Notes...


The switch from summer to autumn, while being an extremely visual thing in Norway, what with all the leaves changing colour and then rapidly disappearing, is also a distinctly psychological thing. Walking outside today, we noticed that while the temperature was about the same as a couple of weeks ago, suddenly both of us we expecting things to be a whole lot more wintery than it actually was!


I suppose soon that will be the truth and we'll be hoping things were the other way around, so really, this is a time to enjoy the light and the warmth, such as it is :-).

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I'd forgotten how much fun Ikea furniture building is :-). Hadn't done one in years!

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Spy books come in all shapes and forms, but having read Mick Heron's Slow Horses, I have a new favourite! I have to admit it took me a while to get into the style, but it really is quite gripping! And the twists and turns, while maybe not entirely un-guessable, did keep me thinking!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The getaway!


Summer's definitely over :-). Surprised by the smiley face? Well, let me tell you about the fantastic week in Croatia at the tail end of a heatwave!


Well, maybe not all about it, 'cos I don't really do that these days, primarily because of the amount of time that would take. But maybe enough to make you feel that if you've never thought of visit the country, you ought to think again. :-)


Our trip began and ended at Split airport, right by the Adriatic and surrounded by mountains. Quite the view from the flight. Not to mention the vast golden plateaus scoured by rivers into deep twisting gorges. And for the week in between we explored all of these geographical features in detail in and around the Krka national park and Śibenič!


There were little boat rides to and from a little island in the middle of the river, walks around ruins of forts, walks within freshly renovated ones! Enjoying tiny quiet little beaches along the river, sitting on a submerged rock watching boats sailing by (and having fun getting buffeted their wakes :-)).


All in all a lovely week of relaxed exploring amidst clear blue skies and amounts of sunshine one can only dream of in Norway!


That was a few weeks ago now, and furniture had to be moved and cupboards and drawers had to be emptied and then filled up again. Places found for new things and new places found for old things... much happenings to keep us well occupied! But for a week before all of that, it was lovely to disappear to a magical land of sun sea and sky.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Forgotten notes

I struggle sometimes, to connect the reasons (at least what I think were the reasons, which, given the gap of twelve years can be a bit hazy, to say the least) I first started writing this blog, and indeed the sort of things I used to write about, to my reasons for writing the once-an-end-of-month post these days and also the sort of things I write about.


On the one hand, I feel I have become less open about my life. I somehow no longer write with quite that abandon of freely holding up my thoughts to all that might stumble across them. But at the same time, I always did obfuscate somewhat, when it came to things that I held really close to my heart. By that logic, are there more things in my life today that I hold dear? :) Well, I would like to think so.

But this space, with its almost contradictory mix of privacy in the public domain, is something I do cherish. There is some part of me that likes to be able to just throw out some of the thoughts that flow and swirl within the confines of my mind onto a somewhat better illuminated medium (with all its imperfections, such as they are), so that I may perhaps examine them a little. Maybe find something new and exciting in them!


Case in point, my frustration over Chester Bennington's recent alleged suicide. I mean, OK, so frustration may not be the best way of putting it. But allow me to elaborate. Famous people have been dying from less than natural causes at a ripe old age for about as long as the idea of famous people has been around I suppose, but the 'closeness' I've felt to one of these demises has been insignificant up until rather recently.

There was the whole Robin Williams thing. And to a lesser extent Philip Seymour Hoffman. And now this. Linkin Park wasn't just any old music for me. It wasn't the peer-approved, appreciated-for-a-decade-by-the-time-I-heard-them-for-the-first-time Pearl Jam fandom. Or the disregard for Pink Floyd that was almost because it was so thoroughly universally appreciated by everyone else around. Linkin Park was fun, catchy music with sometimes powerfully relevant feeling lyrics that I could appreciate and love with no sense of judging or being judged. Unadulterated, in other words, by the need to fit in or rebel in any way to any establishment.

I my mind, the Linkin Park stuff I'm most familiar with, coinciding with my time at university and the years immediately after, were never classics. They were far more personal than that. Not distant on some pedestal, but thoroughly approachable, and therefore all the more enjoyable.

Yet, I had not listened to them for months.

Rather than going down the heavily nostalgia (and mildly guilt) driven path of listening to Everything Linkin Park for a few days, I tried to stop and think what is it that Bennington's untimely death meant to me. I have to admit I have found no clear answers. People die, sometimes people you know well. Sometimes they do things that seem impossible to understand and leave a sense of indignation. But, selfish as it sounds, I guess the pain I feel is from a sense of joy taken away. That those songs are no longer just songs I loved to listen to and still bring me a smile every time I listen to them. They are now part of a wider narrative.

--

I was going to write all that the day after I first read about Chester's death. But somehow couldn't really bring myself to think about it. Too much else is going on in life to worry about rock idols from a decade ago, right. Still, it's important to take a bit of time now and again to toss a few thoughts out into the murky light of late summer nights.

Speaking of which, this is rapidly growing into a summer like no other :). I know, every season is its own thing, but some are more special than others! :D Of course, this is where the obfuscation kicks in, and I refuse to go into any further details. But life is about to change rather dramatically, and I suspect, in ways I still do not fully appreciate. 

However, in the midst of all that, it is nice to remember some things how they used to be, and how they are now, and enjoy the distance we have travelled in between :).

Friday, 30 June 2017

Midnight blue


Clear nights in June in Norway never cease to amaze me with their orange tinged horizon never really fading to full inky black. But somehow, after spending four years full time and many more years part time, I'm no longer surprised that it's well past bedtime, but still light out.


Reminds me of this talk I heard recently about just how well we can adapt to just about anything :-). It was part of a conference called Starmus that happens in Stavanger once a year. It partly reminded me how little time I spend thinking about Physics these days, and partly made me excited about letting my head just roam free with new ideas without them necessarily needing to lead anywhere :-).


The weather's actually warmed up a fair bit these last couple of weeks! Nothing like the heatwaves further south in Europe, but enough to make one confidently declare that summer is indeed here! Somehow I feel this isn't going to be a summer of great physical exertion :-P. But then again, who says every year needs to be the same?!