Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Ahab Spring

Any decent Marxist will tell you that ideas spring from the material conditions of society, and while I am neither especially decent nor consistently Marxist, I can say that material conditions account for the sparse posting to this precious, precious blog. Suffice to say that back in the sun-fondled, bluebird-circled spring of this blog, I would often find myself, while running, musing on posts I wanted to write, but that in more recent months, my thoughts have drifted elsewhere. To where and why is not worth detailing.

I believe in, at most, two principles for effective, disciplined blogging --- that posts on the topic of why there aren't many posts are dull or worse; and that one shouldn't write anything that one wouldn't want to read. Life is probably too short for adhering too closely to principles, and here's a list:

  • Last week, I finished the Seattle Marathon in a time of 3:30:07 (8:01 mile/min pace). Weirdly, the gun time of 3:30:26 is given as my"official" time, which tells me that I should make sure to elbow and shove my way as close to the starting line as possible should I ever again find myself in the starting chute of the Seattle Marathon. It was a very windy and rainy day, so much so that the water got below my rain jacket and killed my MP3 player at almost exactly the halfway point. Fun times were had by all (not just me), or so I choose to assume, and I heartily thank the organizers, volunteers, and many spectators who braved a rough morning to make it all possible, enjoyable, and safe.
  •  Joanna Newsom is coming dangerously close to equaling Neko Case in my estimation of sheer musical power crossed with every important category of allure. Her album Have One on Me shows the rare quality of canvassing, you know, several of the high points of the human condition in an intelligent, entertaining, and deeply rewarding way -- and what more could be asked of music? If you expect the songs to grab you upon a couple of listens, though, know that you're doing it wrong. Take, for example, "Occident" --- but take your time, with my assurance, such as it is, that the effort will be worth it:

  • Having recently viewed Terence Malick's The Tree of Life, I am prepared to say that Malick has done it again: created a film that says rather less than he seems to be aspiring to say -- if this film added anything substantial to the quote from Job* with which it opened, I am at a loss to say what it was -- using roughly 90 minutes of footage that should have been edited out. Here's hoping his next between-film-projects period of quiescence runs as long as this film felt.
  • As I quipped on the twitter recently, Super 8 exactingly captures that uncanny quality of classic Spielberg films that makes me want to stop watching them: some combination of treacle, pat moral tidiness, and excess nostalgia.
  • About that * an item or two above -- it would be refreshing for a Job 38 style theodicy -- "where were you when I created quasars and centipedes and tetrahedrons and gravitational constants, you miserable little puke!" -- to move forward from that to show its fucking work. As in: what is this greater good, discernible from a longer and wider view, that, on a proper accounting, balances out the severe, constant, multifarious pain of the world?
Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it inappropriately touched me.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Good to see you back, Dale. The Internet (Capitalized? I always wonder.) just hasn't been the same without you.

I quite agree with both your blogging priciples and the notion that adhering to them too closely is probably not worth the trouble, given the many more important things in life. I always try to remember that I do this for fun. If the quality is dubious on occasion, well, there's always the next post.

As for Job...God wrecks his life on a bet, then doesn't even have the courage to admit it. Instead He covers it up with bluster. Not a proud moment in deism.

Dale said...

Thanks for the comment, Mike. I will post here now and then, but only when the mood hits me. I'm with you -- this is either fun and fulfilling or it's not worth it and thus not happening. Life is short.