27 September 2013

Questions With Answers

Here we are, a month later from that one post. Sorry about the wait, if you were curious. I'm ready to answer my questions that I have posed to you. But then again, they weren't my questions...or were they? >:D

Is this the real life? No, it certainly is not. It's all based on perspective.

Is this just fantasy? Life isn't real, but it isn't fantasy. It's based on perception. :) (This is what happens when you try to marry philosophy to music. Though Freddie Mercury was indeed, by all accounts, a genius.)

How many roads does a man walk down before you can call him a man? Men can carry propane tanks. The more apt question is: how many propane tanks can you shake before you call him a man? (inside joke)

All the lonely people - where do they come from? Lonely people come from their mothers' wombs. I know I did.

Do you believe in magic? When I didn't receive my Hogwarts letter at 11, I was depressed for a month. So no, I don't.

How does it feel to be on your own, to be without a home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone? It feels like...life. Then again I'm not "Miss Lonely".

Will you still love me, when I'm no longer young and beautiful? I'm not in any position to answer this question.

How could you leave on Yom Kippur? Well, you see, I was really confused about that whole sundown beginning aspect. Sorry.

If this is what I call home then why do I feel so alone? Well, I'm home alone. No one else is. There you go.

Is it in your genes? What is? 

Come on girls, are you ready to play?
(Back in 8th grade, I was an Indian Maharajah. The teacher I TA'ed for suggested I get a harem. Unfortunately I don't have a harem. 

Why don't you do right, get me some money too?
But I had money in 1922...maybe I'll try again 2022. :)

Do you know what it feels like to be the last one to know the lock on the door has changed?  "I told you, the door to my office is always open. I think you know why it's always open -- that was stolen, I'd like that returned." ~Bob Newhart

Would you dance, if you asked me to dance?
"On the contrary -- I find quadrille invigorating." ~Hamish, Alice in Wonderland 

 What about all the things that you said we were to gain? 
Oh, don't worry...we're "guarding" your money. Don't worry. :)

Oh, who would ever want to be king? 
Oh, I dunno...Liu Bang, Gorm the Old, Harald Bluetooth, George I, Richard III, Louis XVI, Tarquinius Severus, and others.

 Am I a dead man now, living with the pain? 
"People die, it happens. Sometimes they even die twice." ~Walter Bishop

 Is it over yet, will I ever feel again? 
Ask James Holman before asking that question again.

He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it any more obvious?  
You can try.

 If you see Kay, will you tell her I love her? 
I don't know Kay, but I know I and Jay and Ell and Em.

 How many special people change, how many lives are living strange?
 "We all change, for better or for worse. Usually worse." ~My friend

Could it be that we have been this way before?  
Could it be that we have been this way before?

 Is your conscience all right, does it plague you at night?
"Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them." ~Cecily Cardew

 Did you make it to the Milky Way and see the lights all faded, and that Heaven is overrated? 
I didn't make it to the Milky Way, though. I did make it to the Andromeda Galaxy though, and the lights there are beautiful. :)

What in the world does your company take me for? My company? The CEO, of course. :) You? Get back to me later. :)

If we dissolved without a trace, would the real world even care? "That's the way of things...the real world and the fake world...rarely are." ~Me and Walter Bishop


16 September 2013

On Knowledge

"The whole universe interests me." ~George Brecht

Today's topic is knowledge, whether it's gained for the sake of gaining, or worth pursuing.

I use the phrase "an infinite mind" a lot. Not simply related to the title of this blog, but in conversation I might use it. I use it to describe myself, to describe people who lived their lives out in pursuit of knowledge. da Vinci had an infinite mind. Albert Einstein had an infinite mind. John Dalton had an infinite mind. There are many others. I revere these people simply because they went and discovered more. All discovery is not good - Robert Oppenheimer comes to mind. But yet it made the world a more curious, smarter place.

In case you haven't read the nineteen columns I've posted since January on topics, I enjoy knowledge.   Sure, I go and trivialize it and call it "trivia". It might be. It isn't exactly relevant to your life the way, say, how iOS works for your iPad or whatever. But I enjoy studying about this stuff.

Knowledge is important because I've always wanted to learn, stretch out my arms farther and reach the next level in education, in self-advancement. At age 3 I knew to read. By 4 I knew all the US Presidents, their VPs and terms. By 5 I knew the countries of the world. Don't call me a prodigy. What I was was merely curious.

People need to go out and discover things. Not simply because it'll be relevant to your life. Many people say that everything is relevant to life. The Amber Room, the VOC, Gorm the Old, Captain Cook aren't always relevant to life. But yet you'll be a bit smarter. You'll be aware of the amazing diversity and aptitude the world has in terms of knowledge. "Ipsa scientia potestas est"- knowledge itself is power. ~Francis Bacon

My ideal life is as such: study all the available branches of knowledge in university, in particular world literature, psychology, art fundamentals, philosophy and calculus. Learn 5 additional languages. Travel to every single country in the world. Partake in a ritual for each religion. Learn to play 2 musical instruments. Read classical literature. There is much, much more.

Of course, I will never accomplish all of the above. It is very possible. But it is also very nearly impossible.

What, then, is there to do? Learn. There is the Internet. There are books and print media. There are many resources out there. We simply don't know how to use them. Modern society likes lolcats and duck faces more than self-improvement. "Thank God for books and music and things I can think about!" ~Charlie Gordon

I am horrible at math. Equations make sense to me, yet when I sit down to work on my pre-calc homework, my mind is more often than not a blank. (OK, not that often, but there are many times.) Yet I opted to take Precalculus/Calculus 1 this year instead of Trig/Precalculus. Why? Why would I go to a harder math class when I struggle? For the challenge. Calculus fascinates me. Calculus makes our cars run, our aeroplanes fly, our bank accounts work, our computers process. I wish to learn how exactly calculus ties all the branches of mathematics together. It will be a struggle, mostly uphill. Yet I wish to learn.

As TE White says in his book The Sword in the Stone, 

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 

I think we should all live by those words, don't you think? There is so much out there. "There are so many doors to open. I am impatient to begin." 


10 September 2013

Life and Bossa Nova

Greetings from a cold, chilly evening.

I apologize for not posting -- I have had some spare time on my hands but I haven't thought of anything worth riding writing (where'd that come from?). So I will simply bore you with details of my evening.

I have discovered a new music craze. (By the way, I'll work on the answers to those questions I posed to you, readers...)You'll remember that this summer was largely devoted to me discovering and appreciating rock and roll from the '50s -- Chubby Checker, Elvis, Little Richard, The Killer, etc, and that was fun. But I've changed my music habits. Bossa nova -- it's the new thing. :)

I made a pun up there. Unless you know what bossa nova means or you're Portuguese or both -- you didn't get it. Bossa nova literally means "new thing" or "new trend". You just learned your Portuguese phrase of the day! I recommend it to anyone who knows or has mastered Spanish. I'm learning Portuguese independently at the moment -- supplemented by listening to bossa nova. It's wonderful.

So what is this bossa nova, exactly? Bossa nova was a style of music that came in during the 1950s and early 1960s. It blends jazz with samba. So you'll hear trumpets with conga drums, and all that jazz. (Literally and figuratively).

Today bossa nova's pretty much a standard, for up-and-coming jazz musicians to play, but don't mistake bossa nova of being solely jazz. It's a separate music genre all its own, with wonderful influences and beats. Why can't we have more music like this today?

And yes, it is largely sung in Portuguese, specifically Brazilian Portuguese. Don't let that deter you. Listening to music in foreign languages helps you learn better. It's a good mental workout for your brain, even if you're not trying to find out the meaning. And whatever you do, don't Google Translate! It ruins the enchantment.

Some favorites: "Águas de Março" (Waters of March/March rains) by Carlos Jobim. "Manhã de Carnaval" (Morning of Carnaval) by Luiz Bonfa. "Chega de Saudade" by Joao Gilberto and "Lalo's Bossa Nova" by Lalo Schifrin. The cheerful "Alvorada" by Cartola (which has lots of samba influences). And, of course, no list is complete with "Garota de Ipanema", better known as "The Girl from Ipanema" (splendidly vocalized by Astrud Gilberto, but Frank Sinatra's version shouldn't be overlooked.)

So, there, a quick update. Consider this Tuesday's Triviality. Some info on a very interesting music genre that I recommend anyone looking for a jazzy yet calming, samba like atmosphere type music to listen to. Or just if you want to unwind.