cease and desist

I reckon most people who read novels, watch films, or watch television shows will eventually come to a moment in a novel/film/show, in which a character is doing something that is, to us, very obviously wrong and might ruin their life. At these moments there is a strong impulse to yell “NO!!” at the character, even though it will do nothing to stop or deter them from their course of action.

The easiest example (and maybe the simplest) is when Wile E. Coyote sets a trap for Road Runner, and when it fails, he investigates the trap in the least safe way possible, and invariably ends up the victim of his own contraptions.

Anyway, despite watching cartoons like this a lot when I was a kid (or maybe because of it?) I’ve never really experienced this extremely strong feeling of wanting to stop a character from doing something. I mean, I’ll probably watch things that other people react to, and think “oh, they probably should not do that”, but it’s generally nothing to get worked up about.

Probably a better explanation is that I tend to read or watch things without thinking too far ahead. I’m not someone who tries to calculate what the ending will be as I read/watch the story unfold. I think it’s better to stay in the moment, and experience the full force of emotions as they happen — be it joy, despair, fear or relief.

However, reading War and Peace last week, I found myself screaming “NO” at one of the characters (not out loud, of course — just in my head), and also getting rather worked up about what was happening. At this point, I must include a warning that there will be spoilers, so please do not read on if you don’t want to know what happens.

Also, I haven’t read much further on after this part, so if something happens that reverses what I just read, please do not tell me.

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a short post for an epic piece

The Star Wars Main Title, composed by John Williams, is one of my favourite pieces of music. I think it’s one of those truly epic music scores that you don’t need to be a fan of the films to appreciate. And this is coming from someone who has only watched two or three of the films (I know I’ve seen at least two, but can’t remember if I’ve seen a third one (probably not)).

If you ever get the chance to hear it played live in concert by a full orchestra, I highly recommend you take that opportunity.

I often get the song stuck in my head when I’m at work, and I think it makes an excellent soundtrack for a productive day.

That is really all I wanted to say. The music speaks for itself.

looking back

Sometimes when I drive somewhere, and I’m stopped at a red light, I look in the rear-view mirror at the people in the car behind me. Most people are very “normal” with blank expressions, sitting still, just waiting to keep driving; but sometimes they’re a bit more animated, and it can be amusing to watch, even just briefly.

I’ve seen one man swaying side to side, as if dancing, while his passengers sat motionless. I’ve seen people fidget and bite their nails and play with their hair. I’ve seen one-sided conversations, silent couples, and people who don’t seem to stop talking.

I’ve even seen a crying passenger (and a driver who was trying to console him). And then there was the couple who looked like they’d had an argument, and were decidedly not talking to each other.

I find it interesting how people can feel very protected in cars, like it’s a private room completely detached from the world around it. There’s something about being in a car with a close friend that just feels safe (which seems ironic considering how dangerous cars can be). It seems to be a good chance for meaningful conversations, particularly if you’re driving along a familiar route or a very long road where there’s not much to distract from the conversation.

When I look at these people, I wonder where they’re going, and what they’re doing. I wonder why the fidgeting people are so nervous, why the icy couple aren’t talking, why the passenger is crying.

I also sometimes wonder if the person in the car in front of me is peering back at me. Usually I give them a smile, so they can wonder what I’m smiling about.

patches and bandages

We’ve had a lot of rainy days and rainy weeks this year, and I’ve discovered that it doesn’t take much for everyone to get sick of rainy weather. It must be something about the gloomy grey, and the fact that everything is always wet, and nothing really dries properly because there’s so much moisture in the air.

Of course, it’s all the more wonderful when the clouds disperse and the sun reappears. Oh, we can do laundry again! And our towels will be dry before we use them again!

I took advantage of the good weather to cycle to work yesterday. I made it to work in what I believe to be record time, averaging almost 21km/h. I felt good the whole day, right up until I cut my thumb in the afternoon while trying to cut up some boxes. (It sure is hard trying to keep an injured thumb inactive, especially if it’s on your dominant hand.) It was at about this time that I seriously questioned my decision to not have coffee that day.

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see you

I remember there was a time in my university days when I had this realisation that I could no longer say “see you tomorrow” as a standard thing when leaving for home. The chance of seeing someone on any given weekday during semester depended on what classes were on, when we were going to have our lunch breaks, and which buildings they would be in during the course of the day.

During uni, I still hung out with several of my high school friends, even if they were studying different courses. During high school, it was just about certain to see each other each day and the next, so it was easy enough to say “see you tomorrow” at the end of any day, Monday to Thursday. Hence the change during uni made an impression on me.

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