Quotes, Words and Memory

I probably haven’t mentioned it in my official blog, that is, this one – albeit I posted about it on Twitter and via Facebook tumblr application, but anyway: Last fall I established a blog, a collection of verbal snippets. word quote machine, it is called (wtf, right?). Feel free to follow it for various quotes, interesting images [conjured by letters], curious words, sometimes definitions. So far I’ve managed to come up with 150+ posts which I consider above the average quote book. You know, none of those marginal uplifting or happy go lucky quotes favored by the Hallmark crowd. I tried to look beyond that and dove into deeper literature for what I amassed in my quote tumblr.

Feel free to follow and hopefully enjoy 🙂

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Cities and Horcruxes

I was walking down the street (how Dickensian and utterly, typically boring), en route to home sweet home, and I thought about something. I tried to figure out where my home was. Because I love my parents, my dog and the lovely house where they all live, I want to say, “My home is in Vancouver!” and yet when I am there I feel like I am on an anything goes vacation. I also feel different, like an outsider and almost like the blast from the future. So no, not quite there.

Toronto is fantastic, it’s a home. But it’s a home which is solely powered by my passionate heart. I make it what it is. I am the fire that burns in your eyes. And is it really home when one person is behind it? Perhaps not.

“Home is where the heart is,” I hear. Oh, what a relief! But where is my heart?

I love Berlin, my heart got lost there. Ibiza’s wonderful and Spanish only, seafood-infiltrated beaches devoured a big chunk of my pumping muscle, too. So where? I betcha Rioja is dying to eat the rest of what I have hiding behind my left lung. And I haven’t been to Congo yet.

So I realized that every bits of my soul are all over the world. Then I thought about Harry Potter, lord Voldemort and horcruxes. When I heard Tom Riddle about splitting his soul and leaving it to various objects (places in my case), I saw myself leaving bits and pieces of me everywhere. I love the world, I love to travel, I belong in the airport and I am the explorer.

I can leave bits of my soul in many places, thus living on in many places at the same time, and living forever. In very big fat theory.

In theory, I would be living in all of the cities I visited, because they affected me so.

In reality, however, I will probably be only living forever in the minds of people I affected. I will live on as long as the memory of me lives on in the people that were close to me. Perhaps down the road, the memory can carry onto people that I have not known. By creating something, by giving life, finding, building, teaching, showing, making, explaining, illustrating something to someone else, I can hope to give a part of my soul to them, thus extending my life. Man wants to be remembered.

I have to live my life prudently, expressively, beautifully and independently. I have to go where my mind and heart tell me to. I will not trust witches, nor will I subscribe to pure paganism. I will be me, and I will keep on splitting my soul in as many cities, places and people, as possible.

I live forever already.

Apologetic WestJet

I meant to write this a while back, when I first received the e-mail from WestJet. WestJet, a Canadian low cost (arguably) carrier, e-mailed everyone on the WestJet list and apologized about the new reservations system being glitchy. I personally didn’t notice the glitch as I haven’t been booking flights; also, I don’t see how the system is better than the old one.

So below is the first A note from our President. The company written and sent the second one, and the third one. Apologizing in advance may be an overkill at first, but it definitely softens a consumer’s heart when  he/she does indeed starting having problems booking holiday tickets. I think it’s great that their PR team mobilized and handled the communications so well and prevented an online/offline outburst from so many outspoken Canadians (myself included). See the full message below. And follow them on Twitter! And buy flights with them! Maybe we’ll even cross sky paths 😉

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Lactose-Free Milk or Gratitude

I was in the kitchen at work, washing my dishes, and started spacing out when I noticed a carton of lactose-free milk (organic, too) sitting on the counter, well, standing on the counter (we’ll talk about my semantic hangups with the “sitting” expression some other day), and I thought, my god, in this society we have so much to choose from, so much to  please us, we are free to align ourselves with any belief, any brand, movement and organization and so many take it for granted or absolutely don’t realize that in almost any other part of the world things are not the same way.

I thought back to my Eastern European days, and my country men’s love of sour cream and other dairy. There was no lactose free milk there (but then again, I never met a lactose-intolerant person back there, either), no talk of veganism, gluten-free food and other gastronomic curiosities, self- or doctor-prescribed. What would a vegan do in Sarajevo? Heck, there would be no vegan in the first place, or there would be serious health problems after 1-3 years of veganism. And what about Africa, dare you even mention spelt bread or organic, sustainable, wild/farmed salmon?

I’m not condoning those things, these are great additions to our wonderfully cushioned life in the West, but they are things that a lot of those born here take for granted. Things that don’t even exist in the majority of the world, or for the majority of people. I suppose I’m saying that people should be a little more grateful, or not scorn the poor barista for over/underheating their venti skinny half-sweet hazelnut latte with extra foam. Bitch less about the excess of what you have and instead be grateful for all the wonderful opportunities under your nose.

There’s a Russian expression which applies perfetly: [Они ]с жиру бесятся.

Frank O’Hara & A Photograph

Yes, Frank O’Hara was featured in the last episode of Mad Men, season 2, and that’s how I first heard about him. Recently I acquired “Meditations in an Emergency” collection of poems, and to my delight, found that he’s an exceptionally talented poet. He mixes nuggets of pop culture with vivid images and aptly coiling phrases that project sly, sticky pictures in your head. If you follow the link at the beginning of the post, you will learn a lot more about him, and perhaps, be surprised. Frank O’Hara is not an obscure name in American literature, it is I who’s been an obscure mind in the dark about him! Bonus: he also loved Mayakovsky, and even wrote a poem to him.

Since I’m on a movie bend this week (and generally, too), I’m sharing his “To the Film Industry in Crisis”, below:

Not you, lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals
with your studious incursions toward the pomposity of ants,
nor you, experimental theatre in which Emotive Fruition
is wedding Poetic Insight perpetually, nor you,
promenading Grand Opera, obvious as an ear (though you
are close to my heart), but you, Motion Picture Industry,
it’s you I love!

In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love.
And give credit where it’s due: not to my starched nurse, who taught me
how to be bad and not bad rather than good (and has lately availed
herself of this information), not to the Catholic Church
which is at best an oversolemn introduction to cosmic entertainment,
not to the American Legion, which hates everybody, but to you,
glorious Silver Screen, tragic Technicolor, amorous Cinemascope,
stretching Vistavision and startling Stereophonic Sound, with all
your heavenly dimensions and reverberations and iconoclasms! To
Richard Barthelmess as the “tol’able” boy barefoot and in pants,
Jeanette MacDonald of the flaming hair and lips and long, long neck,
Sue Carroll as she sits for eternity on the damaged fender of a car
and smiles, Ginger Rogers with her pageboy bob like a sausage
on her shuffling shoulders, peach-melba-voiced Fred Astaire of the feet,
Eric von Stroheim, the seducer of mountain-climbers’ gasping spouses,
the Tarzans, each and every one of you (I cannot bring myself to prefer
Johnny Weissmuller to Lex Barker, I cannot!), Mae West in a furry sled,
her bordello radiance and bland remarks, Rudolph Valentino of the moon,
its crushing passions, and moonlike, too, the gentle Norma Shearer,
Miriam Hopkins dropping her champagne glass off Joel McCrea’s yacht,
and crying into the dappled sea, Clark Gable rescuing Gene Tierney
from Russia and Allan Jones rescuing Kitty Carlisle from Harpo Marx,
Cornel Wilde coughing blood on the piano keys while Merle Oberon berates,
Marilyn Monroe in her little spike heels reeling through Niagara Falls,
Joseph Cotten puzzling and Orson Welles puzzled and Dolores del Rio
eating orchids for lunch and breaking mirrors, Gloria Swanson reclining,
and Jean Harlow reclining and wiggling, and Alice Faye reclining
and wiggling and singing, Myrna Loy being calm and wise, William Powell
in his stunning urbanity, Elizabeth Taylor blossoming, yes, to you
and to all you others, the great, the near-great, the featured, the extras
who pass quickly and return in dreams saying your one or two lines,
my love!
Long may you illumine space with your marvellous appearances, delays
and enunciations, and may the money of the world glitteringly cover you
as you rest after a long day under the kleig lights with your faces
in packs for our edification, the way the clouds come often at night
but the heavens operate on the star system. It is a divine precedent
you perpetuate! Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!

 

 

And to start the week on a friendly foot, here is a September picture of me, taken by Slava:

Big City Small City

We were talking about there perceived friendliness of people in various cities that we have both been to. And I often try to notice patterns in systems or in modes of human interaction; I’m interested in how people form clusters and what makes them tick, what makes some people enter the hubs/communities, what makes them leave and the like. I guess It seems that the smaller a city is, the less likely the people are to connect with outsiders, or welcome a newbie into their clique.

My friend moved to Vancouver ages ago, and spent over a year there. He noted that despite having no problem finding one-time hookups, real friendships didn’t really blossom. Another friend went west recently and had East coast-hating vitriol spit on him by those who never even visited Toronto. I return now and, besides enjoying and nurturing my established circle of old friends, have not a single time even had an opportunity to randomly meet a person. These days here I/we meet a new person almost every night. Or I have no problem talking to people, and they’re friendly. Bigger cities with their bigger ponds possibly mean that there is always more fish out there? Or you will never see that person again, why not try your best now? Or practice makes better, especially when you’re in a megalopolis?

In New York I have strangers come up and talk to me a lot. Montreal are a brave folk, except when they start addressing me in French which I speak 0 of, at which point I think they become turned off. Whatever the case, it got me thinking about the super small community, for example, Tiny, Ontario where I spent few nights at a friend’s cottage. Well, there was nobody to meet and socialize with in the first place 🙂 Small (and I mean 1-2 million residents in a greater area is still small) communities, in my experience, tend to stay more centered on their own groups and are less open to newbies. Maybe it’s just the elitist West coast communities, I don’t know. Need to explore Europe more for a better understanding.

PS. No hate, please, these are just my opinions.

Tetro

tetroI still have the images from this film in mind. What an excellent work of art. It’s Francis Ford Coppola’s first original screenplay since The Conversation. It is  a beautifully told story of the two brothers and the unveiling of the family secrets. The writing is absolutely fantastic, complemented by outstanding performances of Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich. Maribel Verdú (from Y Tu Mama Tambien) as the wife of Tetro (Vincent Gallo) does an amazing job, too.

I have never seen Vincent Gallo on screen before, and this film has put him into my favorite actors pool. He’s absolutely mesmerizing, the writer on a perpetual writing sabbatical, a not quite failed genius. And his eyes transmit a lot of emotion. The part where he stares at the blinding peaks of Patagonian mountains carry all the emotion of the subsequent ballet scene (which is also five stars).

Speaking of the ballet – Francis Ford Coppola created some of the most amazing dance scenes in this film. Some of them filled my eyes with tears. Apparently many of them have been shot in the studio only to be decorated with memorable and beautiful backgrounds in post-production. The whole film is actually in black and white – the present is in black & white, whereas flashbacks and scenes from memories are in color. In other words, for Tetro, the present is pretty bleak and not as vivid as the shaky past. I was wondering why the choice of black and white, until I hit the mid-peak of the film. My oh my.

I recommend this movie. It is now in my top 10 favorite movies of all time, filled with fully developed characters that undergo shocking changes as the story unveils. I’m still in a mild coma, and a sea of emotions that I can explain, but won’t. I don’t think it’ll be a stretch to say that Oscar nominations are due, but who knows. Go and watch it. Here’s the trailer:


All That Jelly

Took these shots in Boston at the New England Aquarium. The place was a lot of fun! After conquering the long line to get in, we delighted in the micro-processing, never hurrying jellyfishes, counted as many weed sea dragons as we could, and learned that the giant tank in the middle of the Aquarium is actually tuna can-shaped as opposed to the “apparent” soup can-shaped. 40 feet wide vs. 20 feet tall, ha!

Besides enjoying and photographing unique creatures (and reading their “facial” expressions), I also made a friend with a penguin whom I named Bob. Bob was swimming in the pool as I watched him from above (the pool extended beneath the area where humans walked) and I started waving and calling him to get closer. He looked up and seemed to have gotten mesmerized for a minute there (yay red hair)! Then we continued the wave – swim underneath – swim out – watch for the Karin – swim to where she’s walking – swim out – hear her call – look again… It went on for several feet until he got an ADD attack and quickly swam away with his buddy. I’m telling you, I am princess Mononoke.

The rest of the photos are here

Post title inspired by the homie Egyptrixx.

On Learning


Originally uploaded by dreamtiger

When I was about 6 or 7 years younger when it was the time to choose some kind of a profession, I used to say: “If I could just learn for the rest of my life, and get paid for that, I’d do it.” And I suppose I can become an academic, but the second problem that occurred was the choice of the subject to become an expert on.
Eventually, I gave up that idea, but I still possess this hunger for learning. I’m lucky to have a job where my task is to actually seek out new knowledge and amazing content. Some of the greatest educational video blogs of priceless information are Fora TV and TED Talks. I recently found Change This, which is just full of amazing documents. And of course Wikipedia is there for up-to-date information.
But learning for me is not just about keeping up to date with the blogosphere and fads, it is also learning about music (that includes visits to the symphony orhestra), culture, language, film, scientific advances, fashion collections, dancing (see photo), literature of the past and present. The list can go on forever. I want to know everything there is to know about the world, and I want to learn as much as possible. Self-development ends on a deathbed.

Platja den Bossa


I really like this photo, which I took in Ibiza, on Platja den Bossa. I haven’t even noticed the great composition – look at the man and the woman! And then check out the couple in the distance – their heads are almost on the same level as the couple’s in the foreground. Yeah!

Playa d’en Bossa is the longest beach strip on the island (2 km). It’s full of beach cafes, bars, restaurants that often have famous DJs spin some tunes before performing at major clubs of the island (Space, Amnesia, Pacha, Privilege, Eden, did I forget something?).

We rode our scooter to the beach after spending most of the day in Eivissa town (where we scootered all the way to the top! See other photos), and relaxed. Be warned – numerous umbrellas beach chairs (is that what you call them?) that fill up the area have to be paid for. Watch out for the collector man.

London Callings

Oh, crossing the streets is a major nuisance here. I feel like I’m breaking all sorts of laws when crossing. Even Zoe said that she still doesn’t quite know when she is allowed to cross or not, because very often the pedestrian light turns red, but so does the light for cars. This is when I usually run across. I’m obviously confused as to which way to look, but luckily there are directions painted on sides of the roads: “Look left”, “look right”. I find it strange that back in 1999 I didn’t find the “right” side of the road to be a problem. In Russia the same sides as in Canada and US are the “right” sides, but I never took notice. Perhaps I didn’t cross the streets enough.

Well, alas, tomorrow I have to return to North America. I may be that sapping young woman on a plane that everyone is going to think said good bye to her boyfriend and is now sad. Whilst in fact, I will be sad about leaving Europe. I’m from here, and I will be back (for good)! Terminator said so, and he returned, see.

Ah yes, stay tuned for the art and literature reviews. I picked up so many fabulous books! I’ll have to work my charms at the British Airways check-in desk tomorrow, making sure they don’t charge me extra for going over the allowed bag weight.

From one of my new acquisitions: “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the park. Aim for the company of immortals.” David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man.

You Sound Like Youre From East London

I just got a haircut from a man who’s been cutting hair for 28 years (including frou frou Kitsilano in Vancouver and 1985’s Spanish Harlem), and I realized than instead of going to hipstertown and seeking out the gayest, skinniest youngster with amazing hair, you should go to men of experience. Just make sure you explain your dreamcut really well. So yay to Islington’s Rough Cut!

I am currently sitting in Wellcome Collection, which is a unique mix of galleries, events and meeting, reading and eating places spread over six floors. Its goal is to engage public with health and well-being; it brings modern art, medicine and peoples ordinary lives to create and exciting place of interest. I am here, so should you when in London.

I went to Camden yesterday evening and had quite a good time. Besides picking up some flaming vintage pieces and trying Moroccan food (my next travel place of interest), I met some nice folks and managed to keep the happy hour prices in a bar way past the happy hour time. Camden is full of Italian daddy’s girls looking for bargains, handsome punks, prima donnas of the burlesque scene who will never see 30 again, skater boys, American Apparel sect members and random misplaced people. It’s heaps of fun, as my Australian friends would say!

By the way, I haven’t been updating a lot lately because I have been busy experiencing life here, but I have certainly been taking notes on what to post about. My autumn schedule will be busy, but calm busy, so expect posts very often!

Losses and Damages

Ah yes, on this trip I haven’t lost anything super valuable. Most annoying thing is that i’ve forgotten my BlackBerry charger in Ibiza (and no, I was not inebriated at the time of packing), and had to run around Barcelona’s Born and Gotik neighborhoods, trying to find something to replace it. Did find it, but what a silly waste of money.

I also got hurt in Ibiza – burnt my leg when accidentally touching the exhaust pipe of mine and Krystel’s scooter.

And the last one is catching a minor cold after 21 days of good time and merrymaking. One thing I regret is not drinking enough water here in Europe – it’s fairly expensive in restaurants and servers don’t usually bring a glass to the table. Oh well! 😀

BCN to LGW

I am a little sick, hence getting tired way sooner than usual. But not to worry – I have been writing down things to blog about, even if I have no time.

When I was leaving Barcelona, on a Friday night, I decided to take the train to the airport. I got to the Sants Estacion and went to the train station, got to the right platform and then jumped on a train that was there. Some other people followed and we waited. I was an idiot enough to drag my suitcase up the mini stairs and took a seat.

Then the kids who got in after me quickly ran off the bus, and I panicked. I dragged my suitcase down the stairs and as I was about to jump off, the doors closed. Right in front of me!

A kind man came up to explain to me that I won’t be going too far and that I should get off at the next station. So I got off at Bellvitge train station and that messed things up.

I decided to grab a taxi. But there were none. I had 50 minutes before the EasyJet check-in closed.

I tried calling a taxi, but they hung up on me because I had no street address (hello, Vancouver taxi cabs; same story there) to give them. I panicked even more. I tried to run up the overpass to get to the other side of the train station – second entrance. And as I was half way through, I saw a cab! I missed it.

I started to get really worried, I could’ve missed my flight to London after all. I ran down with my 23kg bag and got upset. Some elderly couple tried to help me figure out where to catch a cab, but that didn’t help.

I started crying right in the middle of the street, panicking, scared of missing my flight, when a young man came up asking me (in fairly good English!) what was wrong. I told him. Him and his girlfriend called me a cab, but none came. We dragged my bag to the main avenue of the suburb, and waited. I had no Euros left, save for €10, and hence couldn’t fully the €15 fare to the airport. The couple gave me €10 more! Then the cab came. My God. Am I not lucky? After this incident I’m pretty much convinced that nothing will go wrong in my life anymore, and if it does, a guardian angel will help me out. (This is sort of what happens in Harry Potter all the time, eh. The boy’s just so well connected and gets help when he’s in trouble)

God bless the couple that helped me out. I found that Spanish people in general are really warm, helpful, and empathetic. These two lovely strangers didn’t need to help me at all, but they did take the time out of their evening to make sure I got on my plane!.. And I don’t even know their names 😦

When I ran up to the EasyJet, panting and still shaking from stress of missing the flight, the check in guys laughed, but in a good way. They also didn’t charge me €30 for every kilo that my bag was over the limit… And it was over by 4 kg. Am I not lucky?

Crazy day, that Aug 29. Most ridiculous day of the month, actually, hehe.

More on Europe

Berlin was such a satisfying sight when it came to the roads (among many other things) – all the cars were either Mercedes, Audi, Opel or BMW. I saw ONE Ford and shivered to the bone. What’s a Ford doing in Germany? What kind of a nitwit would buy a Ford when they can buy a probably better Audi for that price?

Another note on Spain – Ibiza island is full of roundabouts. At first it was sort of tough on a scooter, but then we eased into it and found it much more practical than lights or highway exits. Roundabouts! I’m so happy that my Ibiza experience was just as wild as it was chill. Master of balance ze Karina.

I’ve been thinking about Hemingway a lot here, his Spain. I was trying to pick up one of his book to read since I am in Spain and I love reading books set in locations which I am traveling through. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything super intriguing of his (and I couldn’t deal with reading so much about bullfighting, considering Barcelona was the first city in Spain to protest against bullfighting or bull running). Instead I got Faulkner’s Light in August. It sounds quite promising; I spent several hours in a cafe yesterday reading it.

Hey, I just arrived in Bunol! Going for La Tomatina. Tomatoes, here I come!