Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What I Learned From Wearing Pink Flip Flops...

In the course of wearing pink flip-flops, I have come to some truths which I would like to briefly present:

1) If you're wearing pink flip-flops, you get odd looks....alot.

2) The reaction that people have towards one's pink flip flops (after the initial weird looks) depends almost entirely upon one's reaction to those weird looks/questions.

3) A lame attempt to hide flops from view will almost certainly illicit snickers and general ridicule of a non-conformist experiment gone too far.

4) An air of nonchalance and total casualness usually produces positive responses ranging from shrugs signifying an acceptance of eccentricity to downright admiration. =]

These being my observations I shall endeavor to list a few things I've learned from wearing pink flip flops.

Everything depends on your reaction to people's reaction.

When buying pink flip flops, the expensive ones are rarely as comfortable as the cheap ones I get in Hong Kong. =]

People are really so conditioned to go with the flow that if you surprise them with something that is out of the ordinary you can pretty much shape what they think of it by letting them know what you think. I myself fall prey to this weakness. I have (I am ashamed to admit) been influenced to think ill of a person I've never met simply by what people have said of that person. Now this is not always bad, only it is very easy to make generalizations and thus you can end up subscribing to falsity rather than reality. All in all, I suggest you try wearing pink flip makes things just a wee bit more interesting. *wink, wink*

Saturday, October 27, 2007

To those who have lost a home in these past few weeks...

My prayers are with you.

Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666

Anne Bradstreet

In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow neer I did not look,
I waken'd was with thundring nois
And Piteous shreiks of dreadfull voice.
That fearfull sound of fire and fire,
Let no man know is my Desire.

I, starting up, the light did spye,
And to my God my heart did cry
To strengthen me in my Distresse
And not to leave me succourlesse.
Then coming out beheld a space,
The flame consume my dwelling place.

And, when I could no longer look,
I blest his Name that gave and took,
That layd my goods now in the dust:
Yea so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was his own: it was not mine;
Far be it that I should repine.

He might of All justly bereft,
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruines oft I past,
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast,
And here and there the places spye
Where oft I sate, and long did lye.

Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest;
There lay that store I counted best:
My pleasant things in ashes lye,
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sitt,
Nor at thy Table eat a bitt.

No pleasant tale shall 'ere be told,
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lye;
Adeiu, Adeiu; All's vanity.

Then streight I 'gin my heart to chide,
And did thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the ske
That dunghill mists away may flie.

Thou hast an house on high erect,
Fram'd by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished,
Stands permanent though this bee fled.
It's purchased, and paid for too
By him who hath enough to doe.

A Prise so vast as is unknown,
Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own.
Ther's wealth enough, I need no more;
Farwell my Pelf, farewell my Store.
The world no longer let me Love,
My hope and Treasure lyes Above.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dies Irae

Sooner or later, when you listen to Rachmaninoff, you'll find him quoting this thirteenth century Latin hymn. If you're in the right mind set, the Dies Irae theme can really freak you out. The theme from this Gregorian chant crops up in quite a few places, it shows up in the 9th variation of Rach's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and in his Symphonic Dances, to name a few. It's pretty much talking about the Day of Judgement and eternal punishment if you're not saved. Interestingly enough Mozart (my other favorite composer) also used the text of Dies Irae in the Sequentia segment of his famous Requiem, but wrote different music for it. Here's the text of "Dies Irae":

Here's the music for it:

I recommend reading the translation and listening to it at the same time. It's pretty easy to follow.

Although the whole thing is a bit depressing, there is a glimmer of hope in the piece:

Recordare, Jesu pie,
quod sum causa tuæ viæ:
ne me perdas illa die.

This is my favorite line in it. For those of you taking Latin, see if you can read it, if not, you'll find it on the link above, verse 9.

If anyone knows anything more about this, please let me know, I'd love to talk about it. =]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

That's what you're supposed to do. =] But if you need incentive, think about the money. I've gotten permission from the site administrators to bring recycling bags to the site. The money really adds up. I'm planning to keep some proceeds and give some to the site. Hope it works. It cost 50 dollars just to buy the supplies. =\

New CDs!

I bought them on Amazon:

Rachmaninoff: Vespers (All-Night Vigil)
The Robert Shaw Festival Singers
Conducted by Robert Shaw

Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead
Conducted by Vladimir Askenazy

Rachmaninoff: The Bells (Loosely based on the poem by Edgar Allen Poe), Symphonic Dances
Conducted by Robert Shaw

The last one is supposedly a Grammy winner. =]

Now if only I could find time....I'm so excited! =]

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Few Lines

T.S. Eliot is amazing:
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At Last

I'm done with SAT and PSAT review! Today I took the PSAT and I took the SAT last sunday! Yes, after months of slavery to those little bubble sheets I am free of their draconian tyranny! Yes! Seriously, I worked through the whole SAT prep book and took an eight week prep course from Mr. Kim at Alpha in the summer. Ah, freedom, it feels good. *Takes deep breath* Just hope my test scores come out well. Now, back to homework. Sigh.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


So, I was doing SAT prep stuff. And it seems to me that I work best when I'm focused. Now I know this would probably be an obvious fact, but everything seems to be more interesting when you care about it, or at least about finishing it. See, I was rushing to finish the SAT sections so I could watch "Pushing Daisies" which, by the way, is a very funny show. Dark humor. =] Anyways, I was just thinking, why do I have to have a tv show to get me excited about doing things? I'm trying to find a way to be truly motivated by better motives. You know, like where your treasure is, there your heart is also. How do we truly become motivated through the daily drudgery of tasks with right and good motives. I think Chesterton says it nicely with this piece of advice,

"It is a good exercise, in empty or ugly hours of the day, to look at anything, the coal-scuttle or the bookcase, and think how happy one could be to have brought it out of the sinking ship on to the solitary island. But it is better exercise still to remember how all things have had this hair-breadth escape: everything has been saved from a wreck. Every man has had one horrible adventure: as a hidden untimely birth he had not been, as infants that never see the light. Men spoke much in my boyhood of restricted or ruined men of genius: and it was common to say that many a man was a Great Might-Have-Been. To me it is a more solid and startling fact that any man in the street is a Great Might-Not-Have-Been."

So, back to work...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chesterton vs. Hobbes

Yes. I've been re-reading the "Orthodoxy" and I've been wading through "Leviathan" and I've come to a few conclusions. Firstly, Hobbes is insane. Not because his sentences are so confusing, but because he is essentially on the path to insanity. Er....was. Anyway, here's my point. Hobbes doesn't allow anything he can't explain to be in his worldview. Essentially he says that the term "Incorporeal Substance" is irrational and absurd because the term is a contradiction in itself. This leads to him denying that God is a spirit. And this leads to some borderline atheistic conclusions. For example, if God is not a spirit, then he must be matter, and if he is matter than he is limited. If he is limited, then he is not who he says he is...etc. etc. He wisely avoids bringing his assumption to it's final conclusion, but he is, as Chesterton says, "Within a hairs-breadth of insanity". Here's Chesterton:

"Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite....To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."

And Later:
"The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid. The determinist makes the theory of causation quite clear, and then finds that he cannot say "if you please" to the housemaid. The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery; but because of this his relations with the housemaid become of a sparkling and crystal clearness. He puts the seed of dogma in a central darkness; but it branches forth in all directions with abounding natural health."

"The one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything. Like the sun at noonday, mysticism explains everything else by the blaze of its own victorious invisibility."

I don't wish to write an entire reflection essay, so I'll make it short. Hobbes is insane because he tries to understand God. The infinite. He tries to stuff God into his theory of the universe and his head explodes because God is too big for him. By not allowing the mystery of the infinite God to remain an unknowable mystery (how can we, finite beings, know what is infinite) he ends up denying God's omnipotence. This line of reasoning will ultimately lead you to doubts about yourself. Any questions? Good. Go read Chesterton.

=] Have a mystic and poetic day!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Various Chesterton quotes

Have been in the middle of Chesterton biography, some quotes:

"...A sage feels too small for life, And a fool too large for it."

"But there are four lamps of thanksgiving always before him. Thefirst is for his creation out of the same earth with such a woman asyou. The second is that he has not, with all his faults, 'gone afterstrange women.' You cannot think how a man's self-restraint isrewarded in this. The third is that he has tried to love everythingalive: a dim preparation for loving you. And the fourth is--but nowords can express that. Here ends my previous existence. Take it: itled me to you."
-To his wife, Frances

"A man's friends like him but they leave him as he is. A man's wifeloves him and is always trying to change him."

"You can always tell the real love from the slight by thefact that the latter weakens at the moment of success; the former is quadrupled."

; )