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Saturday, July 31, 2010

THE SUMMER SKY

I'm off...

To see the summer sky
or
as Emily Dickinson would say more eloquently than I...

"To See the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie--
True Poems flee."

And who knows?
Maybe I will return with a few poems of my own
inspired by my travels and gazings at the night sky! 
And of course
I'll take heaps of photos
(like the one above - from last year's memories).

I'll miss you all, so you can be sure that I'll be back
for as another poet says,
in a poem I dedicate to YOU,
this time by William Shakespeare...

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag though wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time though grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

See you in a fortnight!


Friday, July 30, 2010

TOURISTS OF THE SARONIC ISLANDS - PART II

Yes, I know this two-part blog post about a one-day cruise to three Saronic islands has lost momentum after sandwiching a bit of scandal in between. So back from the sardonic to the Saronic...

Where did we leave off? YES, HERE...CLICK FOR PART I

Aegina
Aegina - here she is personified in an artwork, entitled "Aegina Visited by Jupiter", by French artist Jean Baptiste Greuze hanging at the Metropolitan.

The story goes that nymph Aegina was ravished by Zeus, king of the gods, who visited her in the guise of fire before transforming himself into an eagle and carrying her off to this island where she gave birth to his son.

So - to answer the question I left you with (in Part I of my one-day cruise) - how could I possibly pass up on the CLASSICAL tour of a place that has such a quintessential tradition based on depravity and debauchery? And of course, those of you who regularly read this blog (I think that's just you Robin, and maybe George and an occasional look-in by Ro Magnolia) will know that the girl who grew up in a house by the beach couldn't handle paradise so she now drinks morning coffee on a balcony overlooking the Parthenon while struggling with Plato....(CLICK HERE IF YOU'RE INTERESTED)
Does this look familiar?
Built 50 years before the Acropolis (c. 500 BC), the design of Aegina's Temple of Aphaia inspired architect Phidias when creating the Parthenon. This one, the original, was by another architect...forgotten in history.

It was built in honour of Aphaia (the "Invisible")...named after a diety who became the object of Cretan King Minos' lewd affections. Wishing to get away from him she leaped into the sea and so began another carnal tale...(if you didn't think antiquity was sexy you should think again) Finally, after being desired by one man and then another she leapt into the sea (again! I guess some nymphs never learn) and sought cover in the pine forest of Aegina where she miraculously disappeared. A temple was built in her honour at that spot.

But there's more...

On a clear day (we were neither so lucky nor long-sighted) you can see Poseidon's Temple in Sounio and the Acropolis of Athens. Apparently the three create an equilateral triangle - an energy pillar of sorts. The ancients were particularly fond of those. Infact, I think thousands of years later we don't have anywhere near their knowledge.

Anyway, as I marvelled this exquisite structure I wondered how it might have been in its heyday. The pedimental sculptures depicted scenes from the Trojan War that were stolen when Greece was still under Turkish occupation in 1811 and later auctioned off. They are now at Munich's Glyptothek and stand amongst the most famous and important artistic remains of ancient Greece. (They even achieved notoriety when used as Nazi symbols).

It was hard to digest how the most beautiful Greek works have been smuggled out of the country and are now scattered at museums around the world. So sad.

This, of course, was easier to digest...

And we also stole some of these...
Pistachios are found in abundance on Aegina. The ideal climate of the island and the unique soil composition lend exceptional flavour and aroma to the world-famous pistachios of Aegina.

The aroma of baked pistachios can be smelt from the port where they are sold as pistachio ice-cream, sweets, brittle bars and any other way imagineable! Or just eat them plain...

From the delicious to the divine...The island is filled with churches. The largest one is in honour of St. Nektarios, the island's patron saint. Here are a couple of snaps for my more devout friends, the ones who keep reminding me that God is with me regardless of my evil ways.
These frescoes are definitely the work of divine inspiration!
Oh, and if anyone knows how I can turn photos around so that the one with the frescos isn't sitting sideways...please let me know.

Back on the boat...we danced syrtaki (or at least a Sino-Balkan-Bollywood hybrid version of it).

And then, back to Athens, back to reality, back to being Greeks. It's really not that bad when you see it from a tourist's perspective.

PS. Yes, George, these are some of the photos I took with my camera... Not swiped from the internet with the exception of the first one from the Metropolitan.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DEATH OF A BLOGGER - SECOND TAKE

Yesterday, I left you on a happy cliffhanger, promising to continue a post on my one-day cruise to three islands. Unfortunately, I will interrupt my joyride for a news update regarding the assassination of 37-year-old journalist/blogger Socrates Giolias on July 19.

CLICK HERE to see what I had written.

Since then, the blog linked to him, Troktiko, went offline, citing security reasons for its closure. Specifically its last message - on July 24, 2010 - translates to this:
"Goodnight Greece, the birthplace of democracy has ended up killing the freedom of expression.
Socrates, we wish you well and hope you're watching over us."

Today, Ta Nea daily newspaper and various blogs published a seven-page proclamation by the group known as Revolutionaries' Sect that claims responsibility for the gangland-style attack of Giolias outside his home. My jaw dropped as it confirmed certain nagging suspicions I had that Giolias may not have been as untarnished as media portrayals make him out to be.

The statement criticises several prominent Greek journalists and threatens a number of people involved in corruption. It details Giolias' own links to illegal doping in athletics, for the dissemination of propaganda and a whole list of other links with some of Greece's most successful journalists, clergy members involved in public fraud and prominent businessmen who are suspected of encouraging a SYSTEM that is based on bribe, theft and economic humiliation of the people in this country...

Ideologically, the sentiments expressed in the message sound pure and altruistic (though I'm always a bit sceptical when it comes to "altruism"). Here is how it starts:

"In today’s world the most violent thing is to stay impassive. All our life is bombarded with violence. And when it is the violence of cops, of incarceration centres, of prisons, then things are even more suspicious. We are talking of violence without bloodshed. Of the violence of window dressing, of advertisements, of drugged consumption, of psycho-deadlocks, of loneliness. We live in pitiful cities, we eat plastic food, we are informed by trumped-up news, we shop for processed products, we work at disgusting jobs, we admire fake role models, we construct small private cells in our homes with happy furnishings.


We are tired of this vacancy of life. We said 'that’s enough…no more paid up days…no more humiliations at work…no more borrowed prayers goodnight…'

That is why 1.5 years ago we created the 'Revolutionaries' Sect' that is the vehicle of our escape from the fucked up silence of the prison world we live in. Two-three weapons to jump-start us, a few books and some outlawed knowledge from previous experiences combined with quite some 'kilos' of guts and our unswerving conscience that said: person or pig or slave or revolutionary or compromise with resignation?

And that’s how we began."

So who is right? What is the truth? Who are the real criminals, the real terrorists? (We already know the victims - that's us). Idealistically, what a wonderful world it would be without conspiracies or at least one where corporate theives think twice before building yet another off-shore company! But should a group take the law into their own hands and kill when the law in their country has proven to be lawless?

And I end with the same question as the one I had asked during my last post on Giolias -
Is justice ever served when big interests are at stake?


RIP Socrates Giolias, fellow blogger, colleague, friend (yes, I use the term cause when I met you several times in a social/professional capacity you actually appeared 'likeable')... I'm sure you had your reasons, your point of view - but then again, maybe you don't even know the truth. Perhaps you are just a symbol... Or is the answer on the print found on your t-shirt stating that you were simply intoxicated?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TOURISTS OF THE SARONIC ISLANDS - PART I

“Let’s pretend to be tourists!”

We do that sometimes. Don our cameras and start mingling with the tourists, hoping that we can feel grateful that we live in a place that other people actually dream of travelling to. It is one of the most innovative ways I have found to get my daughters to practice their English – the language we speak when we are pretending to not be Greek.

We woke up "jetlagged" in the wee hours and dragged ourselves to the Ledra Marriott, trying to blend in with some Chinese and Indian families waiting, like us, to get picked up for the one-day-cruise to three Saronic islands – Hydra, Poros and Aegina.

“Three islands in one day! Ripper!” said Z.

“If we have time can we do four?” asked M, sarcastically I think, reminding me of her father.

The next thing we knew is that we were bustled onto a boat and "learning" how to dance Greek syrtaki as taught by Ukrainian dancers wearing traditional Greek costumes strangely combined with flowers in their hair (we already knew the steps to Syrtaki but pretended to just be really fast students). And thus passed the time with us masquerading as foreigners being taught about Greece by non-Greeks pretending to be local. It was actually quite Shakespearean! I dare say, arousingly so.

I was on the verge of blowing my cover, when my Eldest - a "Treasure Island" fan - called out - "Land ahoy!" in her best Long John Silver voice, and that was when we saw...

HYDRA

“Hydra is the St. Tropez of Greece,” said our hoity-toity hostess causing me to ask if she had ever been to St. Tropez. Her response was negative and I thought that this was just about the right time to ditch the group and show my kids the Hydra I knew.

“So is this where Hercules fought with the multi-headed Lernaean Hydra serpent?” asked Z, the 6-year-old who seems to be dumping princesses and showing preference to mythological creatures.

“No,” I said. “It is named so because there used to be springs on the island." (Hydra is derived from the Greek word for “water”). In the past it also used to have a thriving sponge industry, too...

Unfortunately there are no longer any springs to be found, sponges have all but disappeared, but fortunately there are still no cars. So we rode donkeys around the winding streets stopping every so often to admire the bouganvillea plants, the old mansions that have been turned into schools and museums as well as the statues, such as the “Boy on a Dolphin”, based on the same-titled Sophia Loren film of the Fifties. (PS Ro Magnolia, the splashes of bouganvillea reminded me of you!)
“So where are the famous people? All I see are Hydriots!” exclaimed my eldest, evidently influenced by the St. Tropez analogy.

“Yes, where are the Idiots?” chirped in the youngest.

So I told them about songster Leonard Cohen who had once lived here and how poet Robert Green had written an unconventional memoir titled “Hydra and the Bananas of Leonard Cohen”, inspired by living in a house overlooking Cohen's banana plantation on this very island.

As I was getting obsessive about all this, my daughters had already stripped down to their bikinis and were about to jump in the deep rock pool while these Canadian tourists were staring at me dumb-founded. “Hey, this is dangerous!” I noticed. There were sea urchins on the walls, waves from nearby speed boats were practically flinging us onto the rocks but there we were bravely swimming in this perilous place, proving yet again how oftentimes tourists forget to pack their brains when they go on holidays (yes, even pretend tourists).

Before I knew it, time had got the better of us. Luckily my eldest is the junior national long distance running champion (just me bragging) and managed to stop the boat before it left…the youngest and I came panting five minutes afterwards.

Sea and sweat dripped from us as we entered the dining room looking a frightful sight. Chinese and Indians snickered as we pretended to be American tourists (sorry guys for giving you a bad name). And you can only imagine my further embarrasment when I had this tingling sensation that a boatful of Asian men were staring at my breasts only to find that there were two round wet marks boldly contouring the fabric above them...

POROS

What an utter waste! We only had half an hour and all that gave us time to do was to climb to the famous clock tower (Roloi). There was strange irony to it as we rushed against the clock to get to where else but the clock tower. We went up god-knows-how-many-flights of stairs in lunchtime heat chanting "Hickory Dickory Dock" as if it were some mantra only to see…

THIS!
Yes, that’s all it is. Nothing more.

The sad news is that Poros is swarming with things to see from lemon groves to antiquities and it seems like sacrilege being so near and yet not getting close at all.

Well, it wasn't a complete and utter waste of time...we did buy some folkloric shirts and souvenirs!

AEGINA

For the island of Aegina we had three options – the Panoramic tour, the Classical tour or the Swimming tour. If you know me, you’ll probably guess which one I chose… AND I’LL FINISH OFF THE ONE-DAY CRUISE IN MY NEXT POST…

So, for the sake of curiosity, how well do you know me? Was it the Panoramic, Classical or Swimming tour that I took…Come on, venture a guess!

PS No George, these are not my photographs, I swiped them off the internet as I still haven't transferred mine onto a disc yet. If you like I'll include mine when I do the write up of Aegina ;-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

SUNDAY BEST - THIS AMERICAN TOURIST

It's that time of the week again when I present 'SUNDAY BEST' - a post per week dedicated to what I deem to be the best of the best as far as exquisite writing is concerned. Every blog has one...that one particular post that is evocative.

This American Tourist has more than one such post. Young, poor and eloquent,
and also thirsting to see new places and explore the world - This American Person's blog is a brilliant travel guide, complete with photos and philosophy. If you like what you read, there are credit card details so that you can chip in for the gas.

The particular post that I'm including today as part of my Sunday series of best posts I've ever read is not about a journey to a particular destination, but a journey of the heart. It's so sweet that I can even see it being turned into a short film...It's about what happens when the travel bug meets the love bug...

***************

Thursday, June 17, 2010

FILLS MY HEART WITH VERY SPECIAL THINGS - By This American Tourist

This is the true story of the only love affair I've ever had. To call it a whirlwind romance may be a bit strong; it may have been little more than a sly infatuation, a gentle building of a relationship doomed to failure. I suppose everyone has one of those in college, and ours was brief, but memorable.

It started with the note on my windshield. I didn't see it at first - I was in a bit of a mood that day, irritated by something I no longer remember, but it was really important at the time. I'm halfway home before I notice the little slip of orange under my wiper blade, and I'm a bit put off that someone's put another advert on my window.

But when I get home, and can pull the little paper off my window, I can see it's not an advertisement at all. It's a post-it, and there's a note written on it in extra-girly penmanship:

Bug Love! -Yellow Bug

Yellow bug? And then I remember: in the space adjacent to mine, a yellow Volkswagen Beetle parked nose to nose with my grey one. I noticed it enough in my sour state to think, "Aw. It's like they're kissing," and then promptly forgot about it. But clearly, I wasn't the only one to see it.
 
It's such a sweet gesture that my bad mood immediately disappears. What a harmlessly thoughtful thing to do for a stranger, and how...frivolous. It's silly little things like this that I cherish, because they simply don't happen. The world is far too serious nowadays to dabble in whimsy like this, and I'm so warmed by it, I know I have to write back.

I get to school early the next day, and roam the parking lot before class, searching for Yellow Bug. There are two yellow Beetles in this lot, but only one has a turtle sticker on the rear window. I take a gamble on the turtle, and hope Yellow Bug remembers I'm the grey Beetle with the purple flower. I slide my note under her windshield wiper, and cross my fingers for no rain.

Is this THE Yellow Bug, of Bug Love fame?
Thank you for brightening my day!
Love, Grey Bug

That afternoon, when I return to my car:
 
I AM the Yellow Bug, and you're welcome!
I love making bad days better!

Ah. Now contact has officially been made.

There's a brief period of post-it silence. I don't see Yellow Bug for over a week, when suddenly there she is with an empty parking spot next to her. All I have are index cards in my car, so I dash off a quick note on the unlined side.

Hey there, Yellow Bug. Long time, no see!
-Grey Bug

I draw a pair of googly eyes in the corner, and stick it under her windshield wiper. It's still there when I leave for the day, but the next afternoon, there's another orange post-it on my window.

What's up, Grey Bug?

It may sound silly to get so much joy out of these anonymous notes, but there's something almost comforting about thinking of a stranger, and knowing that stranger is thinking back. "What's up, Grey Bug," may not seem like much, but when's the last time you were moved to leave a friendly note on a stranger's car? When has a stranger ever left kind words under your wiper blades? It's a little thing, but every one lifted my spirits a little higher.

We met only once. The truth is, our meeting is probably the thing that ended it all.

It's a Friday afternoon, and I'm ready to go home. It's been a long day, but tomorrow's Halloween, which is exciting, because it means Half-Price Candy Day is almost upon us. I fiddle with my key chain, trying to decide if I should run right out first thing Sunday morning, or risk waiting until Monday afternoon, when a voice rings out in the distance - "Hey! It's Grey Bug!"
 
My head snaps up. Four other students are walking my way, three young men and a girl with braided pigtails and her face painted to look like Heath Ledger's Joker. The second our eyes meet, I know it's going to be awkward. Like when you dance in your living room, and you think you're alone, but then you realize that everyone you know and care about has been watching you from the doorway the whole time. You feel great while you're doing it, but now that you've been caught being silly, you don't know anything else to feel but embarrassed.
 
We're parked right next to each other, so we can't just throw each other a passing wave and go about our business. This is a meeting that can't be avoided.

She waves tentatively as she approaches. She probably wishes she weren't done up like the Joker right now.

Our conversation is as follows:

"Hi. I'm Yellow Bug."

"Hi. I'm Grey Bug."

"Yep."

"Hm."

"Okay, bye!"

"See ya!"

And that was the end of that.

There were no more notes after that. I'd still recognize her by her sticker, and I'm sure she recognized my flower, but now that the fourth wall had come down around our ankles the thrill had all but disappeared. It was no longer cars talking to cars but people talking to people, and without the anonymity of our license plates to hide behind, the whole act of passing notes to a stranger felt supremely dorky. The mystique had gone, and so had the fun.

I no longer go to that school, and I've long stopped checking passing Beetles for turtle stickers. But I still think about you, Yellow Bug, wherever you are, and how a kind note from a stranger made a sour day a little sweeter. I hope you're still passing around the Bug Love. I'll try to do the same.

Posted by thisamericantourist at 1:17 AM

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POST ABOVE ON THE BLOG WHERE I FOUND IT AND TO READ THE COMMENTS AS WELL...AND IF YOU LIKE THE TRAVELS PERHAPS YOU CAN CHIP IN FOR SOME LOVE BUG GAS...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HOPING TO HOP

URBAN DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF 'BLOG HOPPING':
"Blog hopping IS NOT surfing the net and reading some blogs here and there at random. Blog hopping is when you find a few blogs that you think are really cool, written by people you can really relate to and you visit them regularly. These people feel a special bond towards each other and visit and comment on the blogs in their circle daily!"


I still don’t understand how blog hopping is supposed to work. Apparently it generates readership, puts you in touch with new bloggers, enhances the whole experience…am I getting this right, Robin?

Not that I have problems with my current readership. It's kind of strangely satisfying being so underground that few people bother to even read your blog let alone pluck up the courage to respond. Indeed, there's something wildly liberating about being read by just a handful. It makes you feel rather uninhibited and sometimes lonely. But I've never believed that the quantity of responses is a reflection of the quality of a blog.

Still, it is curious to see how readers manage to build strong followings. Is it marketing? Is it something in the blog that moves the masses? Or is it just that average people appeal to more readers than avant-garde intellectuals such as Archive Fire or Molecule Colony?

What do you think?

Meanwhile, I will now attempt to make this blog more interactive by doing the following (as Robin instructed). And if you like the idea, perhaps you can do the same.

(a) COPY THIS (and I guess READ IT as well!) I copy/pasted it from Robin's blog so if it sounds confusing - blame her...

1) If you decide that you want to participate, indicate in the comments that you are "in" by saying so in your own unique way. That lets me know that I need to start thinking about your blog/writing style and come up with at least two of my friends that you are not following to suggest that you start following on tomorrow's blog. In other words, I am saving you some work (by not having to scroll through my blogroll) and matching you up to some like-minded writers. Or at least some writers that I think you will enjoy. If I give you more than two blogs that means I am suggesting someone that I think you will enjoy reading, BUT they very well might not follow you back because they have a LARGE following. It is strictly for your pleasure.

2) As soon as you commit to this matchmaking project by saying that you are "in," your first step is to copy/paste this blog and post it on your blog. This thing only works if you pay it forward. Obviously, my name is the first name you write down on the list you are keeping beside your computer. Each person who comments that they are "in" gets added to your list and the same rules apply as above (they copy/paste this to their blog).

3) Tomorrow there will be a post for everyone who participated in this matchmaking project. Each person will now have a couple of new blogs to check out. Comment me back and let me know how I did on my matchmaking. In other words, do you like this concept or not?

(b) MESSAGE TO SELF - READ THE BLOGS THAT ROBIN TOLD ME TO CHECK OUT…

Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla
Candance at Crazy Texas Mommy

(Actually, after checking these blogs out I feel really inadequate! They are de-li-cious! Your matchmaking skills are brilliant, Robin! I should have gotten you to choose my husband for me, too!)  

(c) HAVING DONE THIS I WILL NOW HOP.

Robin, have I started hopping yet?


PS The series of photographs above, titled "Figure Hopping", are by Eadweard Muybridge, 1887; in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York City.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DEATH OF A BLOGGER

Socrates Giolias, the blogger/journalist behind well-known Troktiko is being buried today after being shot yesterday in front of his house following a gangster-styled ambush. His pregnant wife says the assailants rang his doorbell and told him his car was being stolen. When he arrived at the front door of his apartment building, 16 shots were fired into him.

Such an attack against a journalist is unprecedented in Greece. Ballistic tests have linked the shooting to the terrorist group “Revolutionaries’ Sect”. Indeed, 13 of the cartridges found came from the same gun used in the June 2009 murder of 31-year-old counter-terrorism police officer gunned down while guarding a key female witness in the trial of the guerrilla group, “Revolutionary Popular Struggle.”

So far it does not seem like a conventional terrorist attack in the way we have come to understand terrorism in Greece.


Troktiko is a blog that has a strong voice in Greece and it has been responsible for giving away many names of corrupt politicians and businessmen. Socrates, as one of the administrators of the blog, did not hide behind the safety of anonymity and he paid the price of this with his life. Evidently, he came too close to finding out something…perhaps about organized crime that funds terrorism or maybe the “terrorism” slant is just a cover-up being used to hide the real motives. I’d just follow the corruption money, but that doesn’t narrow the suspects in a country bursting at the seams with illegality.

The reasons will probably never come to light meeting with the same fate as the Siemens scandal, the phone tapping scandal, the Vatopedi monastery scandal and the ongoing list of corruption. All that we know for certain is that his 2-year-old and unborn child will grow up without him. I doubt justice will ever be served. Is justice ever served when big interests are at stake?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SUNDAY BEST - MOLECULE COLONY

He blitzkrieged onto my blog like a supernova, introducing himself as a “colony of molecules”, with lofty goals of using his mind to make breakthroughs in the realm of health as well as to communicate in more internal ways. My imagination was fuelled and I fast became a follower of Molecule Colony’s Poetic Incidents.
A second blog soon followed, a book writing project that resembled Nikolai Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman” detailing his life as a schizophrenic. Then just as suddenly as he burst onto the blog-sphere, he disappeared. His parting words – titled All Cured (in his blog "At My Brain") - were: "New insights have been made, all my experiences were real, it’s a weird place, this universe, more to follow. The book project in its present form is abandoned, don’t know yet how and when I’ll present the story.”

Occasionally I think of him, and indeed, the fact that he has stuck in my mind means that his writing was poignant enough to deserve a slot on "SUNDAY BEST".

* * * * * * * * * *


Mar 12, 2010
Me and Her  - by Molecule Colony

she is visual and silent, I'm more the language oriented type
she talks seldom, but her words are of great poetry and deep with meaning
sometimes also simple and repetitive
depending on whether she expresses herself or talks to me
I, on the other hand, am always immersed in thought
which I sometimes craft into word combinations of the highest complexity
also my m├ętier is sound and rhythm
which is where language comes from and a subset of which it is
for her all this is a black inapprehensible nothing
dangerous and frightening, but also admirable and attracting
she wants to learn so much of it
being of the highest beauty, filled with multifarious vision
colors and shapes of the abstractest quality
the glorious heaven of sheer enlightenment
sometimes giving images with endless symbolic wisdom
I want to see so much of her

she is my right brain, I am her left

Posted by moleculeColony at 11:29 6 comments

Mar 10, 2010
Lucid Dream - By Molecule Colony

entering this big dated building
everything clean, spacious and empty
an air of destruction
it's the railway station they take down this year
and where I younger passed many times long ago

people did not mind me, until
approaching four women sitting in a room
they asked me what I do
answer: a dreamer looking at things
they said they can not see
their faces contort with no eyes
I said I will teach them.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS COLONY OF MOLECULES? READ EITHER POETIC INCIDENTS OR AT MY BRAIN...AND COMMENT... WHO KNOWS MAYBE WE CAN GET THIS ENIGMATIC CREATIVE MADMAN TO START BLOGGING AGAIN.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

SILLY IS NOT SIMPLE

Absurdity is one of the most human things about us: a manifestation of our most advanced and interesting characteristics. ~ Thomas Nagel

"Teach me to be silly," I asked my daughters. "It looks like fun!"

So we spent an afternoon fine-tuning farting sounds, making up scatology words and jumping around like senseless gorillas. Noise, mess and laughter. These are the ingredients of silliness.

Despite giving it my best shot I realised that the fun I was having was not an immediate affect of the silliness but from observing the joy my children were getting out of this. My daughters, on the other hand, were approaching silliness for its own sake, obtaining first-hand fun from the absurd.

When I explained the difference between their unfiltered frivolity and my more adulterated amusement, they could not understand. They think silliness is just as much enjoyable even when there is nobody to share the stupidity with. For them, the very act is intriguing.

"Is it that much fun being serious?" they asked.

"It's neither fun nor wise," I said. "I don't think we should put seriousness over silliness every time."

But I know that someday they might...I do.

Oh, how I wish I were a nitwit - but by not being one - perhaps I am!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

JUST FOR FUN

Unlike many bloggers, I'm not a frustrated writer hoping to get published someday. Admittedly, I enjoy the whole experience of expressing myself with words. But a book has never been my ambition! A post by the wisewebwoman from the Other Side of Sixty is making me reconsider.

Her post suggested  THIS.

Basically you copy and paste your writing onto the above site before wording and expressions are statistically analysed to pair you with a famous author your style most resembles.

My post yesterday refering to Antonio Scurati was Dan Brown, whereas my tango post was like Raymond Chandler. And my homage to Bianca, my bicycle, a few days ago resembles the style of James Fenimore Cooper so much that I'm surprised somebody hasn't asked to turn it into a MOVIE already. I guess I just should keep copy/pasting until I get to James Joyce... (a girl can always dream now, can't she?)


PS. Help! It's so addictive! I just copy/pasted the above paragraphs and it says I'm being Vladimir Nabokov-like. Well, it's 1.30am now...and I'm all titillated after this activity as well as having come back from the theatre where I saw Moliere's "The Imaginary Invalid" that I had better be off to bed before I start writing a masterpiece! Or a bestseller at worst! (Well a girl can dream, can't she?) Goodnight.

TEACHER AND STUDENT

Antonio Scurati’s “The Survivor” caught my attention on bookshelves shortly before the end of the school year. It was a risky choice for a parting gift to my 5th grade daughter's teacher, especially considering how I hadn’t got round to reading it myself. But my instinct just said, “He should read this book!”

The premise charmed me. A teen (Vitaliano Castia) kills off all his teachers during final exams except for one - his history/philosophy teacher (Andrea Mareskalki). Rather than feel fear, the teacher feels guilt-ridden and goes on a quest to solve the riddle concerning his own survival from the massacre. In Greek, it is titled “Teacher and Student”, as the teacher becomes the student of the rebellious and charming young killer that he, his murdered colleagues and the inadequate education system has cultivated. Ultimately, the teachers and students are just different sides of the same enigma...

Society’s shallow reaction to the small-town shooting scandal is exquisitely portrayed. I loved the stereotypical depictions of the police, press, psychologists, priests, politicians…Then there was the underlying symbolism alluding to the Crucifixion of Christ. 

At first I felt somewhat awkward that I had given my daughter’s teacher a book with so much focus on an educator's hard-ons, but even these are relevant to the excitement of youth’s potential should it erupt at any given moment. Hopefully the book will make him feel as uncomfortable as it made me feel and humble him. All teachers should feel humility upon encountering their young restless wards. And all parents, too.

Born in 1969, Scurati and I belong to the same generation. Conceived just a breath after the brilliant French students' revolt of May 1968, we are a “yuppie” generation who turned out to be self-serving flops of nothingness. The book made me look to my daughters and hope that someday they will destroy what we, their parents and teachers, should have dismantled. Hopefully, they will rebel against us, their superiors, who were swallowed by the same system we should have crushed.

I wonder if my daughter's teacher - also born in 1969 - will think think as I do when reading the book. Or will he just question why I don't buy traditional teachers' gifts like other mothers - you know, the usual sun creams, doilies and aftershave...

PS If your comment has not appeared on the previous post it is because I accidently pressed the REJECT rather than PUBLISH button. Sorry.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

SUNDAY BEST - LEMONADE MAKING MAMA

As of today I have decided to share some of the best posts I've ever read in my 
"SUNDAY BEST".
Yeap, bloggers' literature at its finest!

I'd like to kick off by travelling to India courtesy of home schooling mum, Lemonade Making Mama , who takes life's lemons and uses them to make lemonade. Sometimes she's a bit too Christian and girly for my tastes, but when I read this post I was overwhelmed by both her superb writing and the great photos courtesy of her husband Adrain. Google says she's worth 50 cents a day, but I think this post is priceless...

So until next Sunday...Enjoy! (And who knows, next time it may be YOU, unless in the meantime I get sued for copyright infringements)! Also if you happen to come across a BRILLIANT post that you feel may inspire us all and make us better people, please do let me know!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The Faces of India - By Lemonade Making Mama


I'm giving you an abbreviated tour through the hundreds (yes, I said "hundreds") of photos my man took, on his recent trip to India. We are in the process of publishing them into a hardbound book, so I'm just picking some of my personal favorites to show you. (I'd have Adrain guide you through these, but as you can imagine, after missing two full weeks of work, he's a little bogged down right now. Since that's the case, I'm going to include some random quotes from his emails while he was there.) Adrain traveled to Pune, and Indore, India. He taught a discipleship training class, and preached in an Indian church, as well as volunteered at several orphanages, visited a couple of leper colonies, and encouraged those who are living/working in the red light district. He also played cricket with some children, and got to participate in a baby dedication.

This was a photo taken of the children in one of the homeless camps. I'm going to say this a million times, give or take, but aren't these faces incredibly precious? Adrain wrote, "We went from one orphanage to a boys home for children of lepers. There are about 60 of them, and I got to play cricket for the first time. I'm pretty good. I hit one over their building. I felt bad because I lost that ball, and the other day when playing with the children of prostitutes, I tossed a ball onto a roof top. Both times there were spares, but still...The kids were amazed by the hit. Lots of chatter about the great American cricket player. That might be a slight over exaggeration."
Here are some boys doing what boys do.

This was one of the first photos Adrain took. I love everything about it. This isn't going to make much sense, but I love the quietness of it. Though from the sounds of it, the roads were anything but quiet. Adrain said they called the taxis, "Heaven-mobiles" because every time they got in one, they figured they were on their way to heaven, in a hurry.

This precious little face gets me. I love the angle Adrain shot it from too. Like he was just looking down at one of his own babies. Precious. Did I say that yet? Because I think it's precious. Adrain wrote, "Another amazing day. Yesterday, we were able to tour what is known as the Orissa camp. It's about 3 acres that's being used to build facilities for orphans and families taken from their home in Orissa due to persecution. There are 125 boys and 50 girls. The project is due to be completed in about 2 months. As we were touring the facilities, they told us about their vision to buy two acres behind the property and build a school for the orphans and the surrounding village. The problem was, that the landowner didn't want to sell and was asking too high of a price. I just felt we needed to pray about it right then and there. We did, and today, out of nowhere, the landowner called to make a deal on the property and sold it to the group. God is awesome."

The team visited a camp for deaf children. I don't know the specifics of this photo, but something about the brightly clad figure, all alone in this long hallway feels like I'm somehow intruding on a quiet moment. (Or rather, Adrain was intruding. I'm just observing.) I think Adrain really enjoyed his time there. He has such a special place in his heart for all children, but especially those with disabilities.


Bright colors are everywhere. I love the rooster in the back!


This is an assembly at the school for hearing-impaired children. Notice how the boys are on one side, and the girls are on the other.



These are the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen. I told Adrain these were "National Geographic Blue."

AND THAT IS JUST THE START OF A MAGICAL JOURNEY! FOR MORE ABOUT THIS TRIP AND BRILLIANT PHOTOS CLICK HERE...IT IS TRULY WORTHWHILE...MAY CAUSE YOU TO THINK A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY! OH, AND DO READ THE COMMENTS ALSO!

So, thank you so much Sasha, Lemonade Making Mama, for this post and so many others that I have found enriching!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

THE DYING SEASON

A man I don't even know passed away. I had come to know Dave (aka Mr. Grumpy) through the blog of his wife, Sandy of the Seasons (if that's got anything to do with her real name).

Quite often she'd mention him in her posts. Or she'd comment on my posts - the ones I write occasionally about the miseries of married life - and from her advice I could imagine the type of relationship this woman I've never met had with her husband of thirty years. I kinda felt that she understood me.

"No more Mr. Grumpy!" I thought sadly and I wished I could give Sandy a big hug.

So here I am feeling Sandy's grief. And, here I am being a voyeur to George's pain, while admiring Ro's quality of life, laughing with Robin, trying to freak out that Dunderhead bloke, disagreeing with the man whose wife is worried about the man who my husband should  be worried about, imagining Mugwhump's glasses, contemplating with Sharon the Mercurial Woman, pretending that I think like Archive Fire, missing Farmgirl paints who is out west when I don't even know where my real-life friends are. It occurs to me that I've been avoiding friends whose names I actually know since I started secretly blogging.

Anyway, I'm really sorry that Mr. Grumpy died. It affected me more intimately than I would have expected it to.

Take care sweet Sandy of the Seasons.
Remember him with love and fondness. I know that I will.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SONG I DEDICATE TO MR. GRUMPY AND TO MY DEAR, WONDERFUL FRIENDS WHO DIED LAST YEAR, ALEXANDRA AND VIVI...

Friday, July 9, 2010

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Dear Robin,


Thank you so much for nominating me – yet again – for another award…this time for SUBSTANCE! What is that exactly? Substance? If it’s essence, meaning and form, then I cannot claim this award because I’m still struggling with these things. Thank you for thinking I have depth. Truth is, I’d much rather have height…to soar!

Anyway, for this award I’m supposed to sum up my blogging philosophy in five words, but because a picture says 1,000 words, I will use this:

A bee has more substance!

Did you know, Robin, that bees are responsible for 75 percent of the world's food supply? They play a critical role in the human food chain as the species is the primary pollinator of hundreds of types of nuts, flowers, vegetables and fruits. And yet, in recent years, beekeepers are returning to their hives only to find that their colonies have all but disappeared.

Theories for the cause of this collapse abound. Our cell-phone use (that has interfered with bees' navigation), our genetically modified organisms and newly developed pesticides have put bees under stress.

So we are - all of us without exception - pretty stupid, aren't we? Glad, I fooled you into thinking I had some substance, but the truth is, I can't fool myself...I, too, despite not owning a cell phone, am also an accessory to the crime of bee killing.

And here's a poem...

Can you see my dumbness?
Cloaked under degrees and big words.
People say, "How smart!"
But I am just a fart...
Without an ounce of dignity.
The pretence of a Purple Cow...
It's all a Hypocrisy!
 
AND CLICK HERE FOR A FEELING OF WHAT I THINK OF AWARDS...

Friday, July 2, 2010

I HAVE AGE!


At the PATHOLOGIST

P: So when was your last check up?
ME: Um, in childhood, I think.
P: (Seems perturbed) OK, do these tests (hands me a list of blood tests, ultrasounds, etc). And do visit an endocrinologist, neurologist and cardiologist...and I'm surprised you haven't already seen a gynaecologist!
ME: I can't promise I'll do them all, but I'll try.

At the ENDOCRINOLOGIST

E: Do you feel your heart flutter?
ME: Yes. (Consider adding "And I'm not even in love", but husband is beside me.)
E: Have you been crying lately more than in the past?
MY HUSBAND: (There because the Endocrinologist is his friend) She's been crying since her two close friends died last year. They died of cancer. Says she wants it, too, so that she can be put out of her misery.
ME: You're not supposed to say such things! No, I'm not the crying sort. Have been irritable though! Really angry! Mainly with him! (Point to husband)
E: (Poker faced) Do you have trouble sleeping?
ME: Yes, but I'm stressed.
E: Do you feel stressed?
ME: Yes, doesn't everyone?
E: Do you feel tired?
ME: Yes. And drowsy too.
E: How is your libido?
ME: Down. (Stare at my husband) Thank goodness.
E: When was your last period?
ME: April 8.
E: You probably have thyroid problems. Do these tests. And I'm surprised you haven't already seen a gynaecologist.


At the GYNAECOLOGIST
After asking me the same questions as the endocrinologist and giving me a pap test, uteral ultrasound and mammogram.

G: It seems to me that you are experiencing pre-menopausal symptoms. That would explain why you feel bloated, touchy and irritable.
ME: Isn't that a bit early? I'm not even 42 yet!
G: Well, yes. But don't worry. You are normal. It's just an age thing.
ME: So I guess, I am normal but my age is NOT.
G: (Giggles) Yes, age is a problem.

Yes, folks, after all this run-around I finally know what is wrong with me and why I feel tired, bloated, cynical, irritated, pissed off, bitchy, frustrated, sexless, practically menopausal and energy-drained...

 I HAVE AGE!