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Posts Tagged ‘painting’

My book of the week: talk about blasphemy!

Not great. My list seems so much more ambitious than I thought.  Some things I’ve done:

  • Because of a cold, for almost a week I drank endless cups and pots of herbal teas and infusions, meaning, I got plenty of water.  Now, not so much.
  • Sleep – still averaging 5-ish hours. Not good at all.  The discovery of late-night Star Trek TNG on this odd Christian cable TV channel has me mesmerized.  I love the show, it’s never on here, and I find it so incredibly strange that it’s METV that airs it.  I’m sure it’s a “recruiting tactic” – they’re also the only channel broadcasting American football, and quite a lot of it – rare and popular pastimes for certain populations.  I wonder if they actually know what they’re broadcasting – the futuristic Star Trek world is yes, quite an optimistic one, but the show regularly presents messages of tolerance (thinly veiled themes on gay rights and euthanasia come to mind) – basic respect for acceptance of the traditions and values of other cultures, whether or not we agree with them.  Things I feel that evangelicals clearly oppose.  It’s a very liberal show.  Squeezed between shows like the 700 Club, Harvest, and Christian rock shows, it’s so entirely bizarre for me, a firm and unwavering atheist, to watch.  This channel has these shows where a Christian “psychic” talks to spirits of dead family members in front of a studio audience.  There’s even a show geared to converting Jews, with a host who is a formerly-Jewish, now devout Christian evangelical, spinning the gospel for the “chosen people.”  Anthropology.  All I can say.  I’m happy for TNG.  Not sure it’s OK that I’m patronizing them.

    This kiss between Riker and the self-identified female “degenerate mutant” from a gender-less species.

  • I have, however, been seeing friends – twice per week is realistic, and as it’s emotionally quite pressing, it seems to be a high priority for me.
  • I went on a date. I thought it went very well, but I may have received the brush off.  Waiting.  It’s OK, life goes on.  The effort is important.
  • I read a whole novel in excellent speed – fantastic feeling. Though not really my cup of tea, I’d been putting off reading the cult-classic, Good Omens.  Was a nice way to pass the weekend.
  • Creativity and culture – I have made a concerted effort to stop and notice the art displayed in the windows of the galleries in my area, and I did actually attend a group exhibition opening a couple weeks ago.  I’ve been thinking about pulling out my clarinet – back in high school I wasn’t a bad player, and I did bring my excellent Buffet Festival with me when I moved to Israel.  AND I DID PAINT! Last week I got out a bunch of expensive Italian ink I purchased years ago, made lovingly with things like real gold flake, and I found a box of old thick “panda” oil pastels of my grandfather’s, a prominent Israeli artist until his death 11 years ago.  All shades of his favorite color – blue.  Here are some of the results, taken on a crappy camera phone.

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    A sort of water-soaked inky gouache, and a pointillism landscape made with an incomplete set of crayola markers, inspired by the “International Naive and Primitive Art Gallery” near me. You can’t see the gold flake on the left, but it’s pretty cool up close. And yes, the inks came complete with a quill – very difficult to use, hence I abandoned it.

  • Bills – not being paid. Weird.  I have the money.  I can’t open the mail – it’s overwhelming. It’s quite urgent. And pressing on me.  Psychological oddity with me, also keeps me from cleaning my room for months.  Though I make a decent effort on the house, the kitchen, public things, some other tasks are near impossible to internalize.
  • I’ve been pretty successful at shutting the computer at night and not thinking of work, so I’m proud of myself in that respect.  I do need to move forward on expanding my professional goals.

So there is the update.  A rather mundane blog entry, but as I felt I needed to keep up the writing momentum, here it is in all its glorious dullness.

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I’m taking a risk here by potentially admitting to a bizarre fetish. I want to write about it because it’s been on my mind, and I think that it’s something not unique to me.  Perhaps it’s something we don’t speak of, and perhaps it’s something of which we’re probably not even aware.

I like to watch. Don’t get the wrong idea – nothing vulgar here.  People getting haircuts, applying makeup, massages, cooking, painting, quiet repetitive actions.  They put me in a trace-like state.  Sounds weird, but I would almost rather watch a massage than have one myself.  During a massage, my mind races — what should I focus on, what does the masseuse think of me, how do I relax, what am I supposed to be feeling.  When you observe from the outside, the perceived pressure and stress are non-existent.  It’s a kind of meditation.

Living vicariously is part of our way of life.  Reality TV, celebrity gossip, the movies, even reading novels, investing in children’s and friends’ dreams as much as or more than our own — we all have tremendous experience in falling into other worlds.  Daydreams.  Escapism.  Living through others.  And I don’t think these are necessarily all unhealthy delusions.

The worlds in our minds may be a direct consequence of a uniquely human phenomenon — our compassion.  The ability to take upon ourselves another person’s situation and emotions, sharing their experiences, practically succeeding in walking in another person’s shoes, is in itself an extraordinary thing if you really think about it.  Our compassion and sympathy lead us to sacrifice ourselves, help one another, act for a greater good. This ability to share burdens seems to have a positive flip-side — daydreaming.  Our daydreams, a related, pleasurable ability, I think, give us that wonderful opportunity to live out our dreams and fantasies in ways we may never be able to achieve in our everyday lives.  My ability to imagine myself in the place of another who is getting their hair cut must really be an act of some advanced mental acrobatics.

I would kill to lead the first manned mission to mars — but we all know how likely that is.  Imagination is also the source of innovation.  Something else to ponder.  How incredible it is we can hurl our brains about.

So, in the spirit of my admission, here is a video I stumbled upon.  Don’t laugh, OK?  As pleasurable as this massage is to watch, at least for me, you can also learn valuable anti-aging tips.  Enjoy!

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