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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Whew

I'm so fucking exhausted. Will need a couple weeks to recover. Have no idea how I'll cope with work next week.

Seriously I cannot do this again next year, unless I win the lottery before next January and retire.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

噩梦

今早又做了掉牙齿的恶梦,这个 recurrent nightmare 已经好久没做了,忽然又来了。每次焦虑或者心情低落的时候容易做这个梦,满嘴牙齿碎片的感觉跟真的一样。

可能是因为,昨晚给一个朋友打电话,听说她妈妈病危不行了,大概这两天就要去世了。我认识她很久了,她妈妈从挺年轻的时候就得了MS,这几年尤其不好,除了几个女儿其他人都不认识了。

到了这个年纪周围开始有死亡的消息。记得跟某同学交往的时候,他的一只猫死了,我还哭了一场。

感慨人生很长也很短,委屈地活了一些年,也没过上多少舒坦痛快的好日子,忽然就完了。

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

US Nationals 2012

I'm getting too old for this sh*t.

明明是每天都坐在冰场里看比赛,为什么早上起来浑身酸痛涅?

Friday, January 20, 2012

2003年后有印象的节目

Updated 1/25,说不定能凑够10个。

男单:
1. The Mission (Matt Savoie/Tom Dickson)
2. Naqoyqatsi (Jeff Buttle/David Wilson)
3. Schindler's List (Jonathan Cassar/David Wilson)
4. Eight Season (Jeremy Abbott/Tom Dickson)
5. Chocolat (Stephane Lambiel/Salome Brunner)
6. Pirates of the Caribbean (Braden Overett/Braden Overett)
7. Jazz Medley (Yannick Ponsero/??)
8. Harlem Nocturne (Derrick Delmore/Jill Shipstad?)
9. Insane in the Brain (Adrian Schultheiss/Galina Lutkova)

冰舞:
1. La Valse (Jane Summersett & Todd Gilles/Tom Dickson)
2. Devdas & Bunty Aur Babli soundtracks (Meryl Davis & Charlie White/Marina Zueva)
3. Somewhere in Time (Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon/David Wilson)
4. House of Flying Daggers (Trina Pratt & Todd Gilles/Christopher Dean)
5. Carnival in Venice (Isabelle Delobelle & Olivier Schonefelder/Pasquale Camerlengo)
6. Pink Floyd (Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir/Igor Shpilband & Marina Zueva)
7. Samson et Delila (Meryl Davis & Charlie White/Shpilband & Zueva)
8. Hitchcock soundtracks (Piper Gilles & Zachary Donohue/Tom Dickson)
9. Organ Donor (Natalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat/Sasha Zhulin)

双人:
1. Pina (Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy/Ingo Steur)
2. L'Oiseau (Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy/Ingo Steur)
3. Galicia Flamenca (Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison/Lori Nichol, David Wilson)
4. Daphnis et Chloé (Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig/Jim Peterson)

女单:
绞尽脑汁想不出来。这么多节目白看了。以后干脆全部跳过得了。
总算想起一个。
1. Dr. Zhivago (Alissa Czisney/Davis Wilson)

Nine Tailors

看样子出发前是看不完这一本了。差不多到三分之二的地方。

过去只读过一篇 Lord Peter Wimsey 系列中的短篇,看过几集很低成本的电视剧,感觉非常 cozy 派,但这本小说是非常典型的 police procedural 派,虽然设定在英格兰乡村,甚至对独特环境的描写也跟 PP 派传统相似。

节奏拉得挺慢的,得耐心地看。

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Adorable Freund



我大概有点爱上 Anno 1790 里的男二号了。这剧其实有点阴沉压抑的气氛,但是可爱的男仆 Freund 同学总是忽然跳出来逗人开心一下。跟 Jeeves 一样万能(又要教警察局长家的孩子读书,又要给探长及其女友做饭,又要帮手探长破案和局里内斗,还要苦口婆心地拯救所有这些罪人的灵魂!),但又比 Jeeves 更多几分 attitude。 他们的主仆对手戏真是逗死了,捶地 --- 虽然造出来的都是 belly laugh 而不会哈哈地笑出来,唉,我最吃这一套,但是这种北欧式笑不出声的jokes我总是学不来!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Utterly Hopeless

Yet another fascinating ... "thing" I just happened to come across, would like to explore, but have no time for: World politics and history through the view of neo-realism. It's all because I read a feature in The Atlantic about John Mearsheimer. Oh, what a breath of fresh air to replace that rotten egg smell of Idealism (trademark of the special American brand) saturating the air. It is hardly a coincidence that Mearsheimer is interested in China. But I really don't have time to read his books, even though I'm incredibly intrigued.

As a Chinese person, I'm secretly amused that Mearsheimer is and will remain a Cassandra, a pariah, a voice in the woods, kept away from mainstream policies and influences. :)

When the Thrills Are Gone

... not that I have any thrills, but it's the title of Walter Mosley's most recent Leonid McGill mystery I'm listening to.

I've finally pinpointed the style issue in Mosley's novels. He is obviously a lateral thinker. His narratives are filled with analogies, similies, metaphors, and sidebar commentary. They inevitably meander and slow down the narrative drive. Sometimes it gets to be excessive.

His Easy Rawlins series were a lot more efficient, but McGill seems to represent an older and more contemplative Mosley and is therefore a lot more chatty. Is this a sign of growing old?

One funny thing about the McGill series, which I've only read 1.5 so far, is all the bizarre characters and settings, even though the stories always take place in New York City. Perhaps New York City really is this bizarre, but to me it sounds like Wonderland. McGill's father was a farm laborer-turned-Communist. His honorary uncle is a Chicago gangster boss. He is married to a Swedish woman who continually cheats on him. They have 4 children, of whom 3 were not fathered by McGill. Actually one child is the daughter of a Chinese jewlry dealer who died on Mrs. McGill in one of her escapades. McGill is in love with a half-Danish-half-Japanese woman who collects rent in his office building. He walks down the street into a mansion, in which lives a reclusive real estate tycoon who remains anonymous to the world and his neighbors. The tycoon is married to a black artist who paints on massive steel plates. This wife, who is now missing, has a modern hippie of a sister, who is living in a commune in an abandoned building, also in the City. And that's just a few of the characters. It's crazy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

脏话

看到这篇博文觉得逗死了,边读边笑。不幸小时候缺乏练习,中文的骂人话说出来,不知怎么的宣泄感有点不够。而且大多数的话性别味儿太强,作为女人有点说不出口。

哎,又想起还没把 Deadwood 三季 DVD 都给屯全了,Milch 的粗话连篇真够劲儿,又够文艺。

Striped Bass

...as in "Speckled Band."

I still want to get that thing written.

Sherlock s2e3 (climax)

Well, I have only myself to blame to re-watch the climactic rooftop scene. My oh my there are so many bugs crawling out of the script it makes me itch.

Worst of all the bugs is perhaps the suicide. All 3 assassins are not constantly staring at the rooftop of St. Bart, are they? How the heck would they know whether and when they should pull the trigger, perhaps within the next 3 minutes? If not in the next 3 minutes, then SH could immediately contact people (most reliably Mycroft), to dismantle the risks (but first I suggest throwing Jim's body over in his coat just to cause a bit confusion). And have I ever seen worse nonsense than "oh, so you are me after all"! If he were you, why are you so eager to kill yourself, eh? The game would be back on. Aren't you curious how he's going to make you talk? You've found your twin and life is again meaningful and fun. And then this: I am no Sherlock Holmes but I would certainly ask the most important question --- Why the hell should I kill myself at your request, my dear Jimbo? What will stop you from killing the hostages (since this is a typical hostage situation) anyway after I have so gladly obeyed your instruction? Should I trust you to keep your word and leave them alone? Isn't that a joke! You've proven how "changeable" you were last year. So, no, go fuck yourself. Bring on something worth bargaining before we talk.

It is in a way ironic, for it was Dr. Doyle's detective who first instilled in me, at the age of 12, the importance of logic and motives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dangerous Method, or, the Way We Live Now

I probably need to see "A Dangerous Method" again, as a rather minor aspect of the film continues to nag at me --- Jung's wife who appeared to be agonized by his extramarital affairs with his favorite patients.

There are always people in the world who are (generally) in psychological harmony with others around them. For everyone else, there is psychiatry. It is only recently that I finally begin to appreciate the moderating effect of psychiatry --- moderating the relationship between the needs of an individual person and others around him.

Humans are social animals, but compared with ants and bees we are only semi-social animals. In terms of social tendencies and instincts, primates are perhaps somewhere between buffaloes and lions. Not quite in herds, not completely solitary.

Throughout the hundreds of thousands of years of homo sapien history, I imagine, back when a person lived with and relied on his extended families, there must have always been conflicts between what one wanted and what others wanted, and pulling and tugging among people must have been eternal. A bigger piece of meat for me would be preferable to sharing with my cousins. Yet they were my cousins, and when we went out to hunt, I had to rely on them to watch my back. One had to give and take.

One could argue, although perhaps there is insufficient evidence to prove this theory, that such giving and taking are easier to manage in one's head (rather for the limbic system) when one's relationships are limited to his blood relatives numbering perhaps a few dozens. Relationships become difficult to sort out, at least for some people, when one has to interact with many many people with questionable and ambiguous connections with oneself. How much should one give and take? Some (the lucky ones in harmony with the world around them) navigate with ease, while others have difficulties.

It is tempting to hypothesize that as population density rises exponentially, the conflict between individuality and collectivity rises with it. I am reminded of Lao Tsu's ideal world, in which neighbors can hear chicken crowing and dogs barking, but never have to chat with each other over the fences like the neighbors in "Home Improvement." Ah, but that world was a long-gone dream even in the 6th century B.C. Now we cannot turn around without elbowing each other.

In the process of bumping elbows, one inevitably runs into situations where indulging one's own desires conflict with others' wishes. The doctor would like to have a love affair with his favorite female patient, openly and without guilt, while still enjoying his wife's fortune. The doctor's wife would like to have the totality of her husband's affection or, if that is impossible, make him suffer the same degree of misery as she does. Both wishes are mutually exclusive. One has to live with more disappointment than the other. Ah, the zero sum game.

Unfortunately, selfless accommodation of others' wishes is definitely not a permanent or effective solution, but rather a pathology. On the other hand, unrestrained self-indulgence causes destruction and carnage all around, although there are research data that selfish people, oblivious to other people's needs, tend to live longer and have better physical health.

When an individual's behaviors and desires conflict with social norm (ie, the requirements of others living in close proximity to him), and the conflict is internalized within the individual to cause dysfunction, psychiatry comes in to mediate between the patient and his relationships with the multitude of others to reach some sort of compromise. Psychiatry cannot fundamentally remove the conflict between individuality and society.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sherlock S2e3

整个第二季终于超过了我的忍受极限。

Beck



唉,有七八年没看见 Martin Beck 电视剧集了,当年就是这套剧加上 Wallander (瑞典版)系列把我给勾上了北欧侦探小说/电视的贼船。MHz Network 终于又开始播放 Beck 了,而且是回头从2000年初期的旧剧集慢慢地放出来。

最让我得意又开心的部分不是侦破案件,不是看 Beck 被女儿训,甚至不是看 Gunvald Larsson 习惯性地破门而入,而是又见 Beck 那个神神叨叨成天说怪话的邻居。哦真是太可爱了。

剧集中演著名的刺儿头警探,the inimitable Gunvald Larsson,是 Mikael Persbrandt ,那时候还是光滑的娃娃脸。最近这家伙很红,在 Susanne Bier 的电影 A Better World 里主演,然后在瑞典惊险剧集 Hamilton 里主演个007式的神勇间谍特工,然后又被拉去 The Hobbit 电影。可是他现在已经是个又皱纹又puffy 的中年人了。

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mr. Fox

It has been a month since I read Mr. Fox, but I thought about it again today.

Typical meta-fiction, obviously. Oyeyemi is certainly not the first person to revisit fairy tales. I too find fairy tales fascinating, having devoured many of them in childhood. A truly globalized endeavor for a provincial kid, it was.

Anyway, Oyeyemi's take on fairy tales focuses on gender relationships and romantic love. For me, however, the mind lingers on the terror and violence in the original stories, all of which seem to be derived from the same origin:

Bluebeard
Fitcher's Bird
Mr. Fox

I realized that the logic in these stories and the mechanisms of coping with the violence and horrors are very similar to how my brain dismantles nightmares within a dream. I don't know what that means.

过年吃月饼

今天去店里买点菜,人山人海的,才想起快过年了。好不容易挤出来回到车上,跟某同学说,下周末要过年了。某同学问:“要不要买俩蛋黄月饼庆祝下?” 我倒地不起,友邦惊诧地说,吃月饼是八月十五,跟新年差了八个半月哪。某同学回答: 哪有那么严重,其实只差了三个半月 ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1790 年



最近某地方电视台忽然开始疯狂播出好几套瑞典侦探剧集,星期六就要开始重新播出好几年前停播的 Beck!

星期三晚上播出每集一小时的 Anno 1790。法国大革命的浪潮刚刚过去,瑞典刚刚跟俄国打完仗,居然也有人在闹革命... 男主(上剧照中右二)是个军医改行当首都警探兼验尸官,虽然同情革命,但本身是与世无争的和平主义者,一边维护社会治安调查案件,一边暗恋上司警察局长的太太(上图左边两人就是局长夫妻)。

内外景大部分是在摄影棚里搭的,虽然简陋倒也有古风,少数街道外景一看即认出是斯德哥尔摩的 Gamla Stan 岛 --- 这就是古城的好处了,拍古装戏方便。很多古代细节颇有意思,例如大家一般都没有钟表,大约知道是夜里但具体不知是几点几分;例如高级杂货店进口茶叶,有钱的寡妇没喝过觉得好神奇;店老板兼走私麝香;一把破火枪打了一发之后得装半天火药。

人物设定挺有特点的 --- 男主大侦探蔫头蔫脑,粘粘糊糊,闷得一塌糊涂,非常瑞典。他的“华生医生”(上图右一)是个脾气倔强心直口快的跟班,在理论上是男主的男仆,但这个男仆很虔诚很保皇,老觉得无神论的主人道德水准太低,成天找机会就训他一顿。想必并非刻意搞笑,但我觉得逗死了。真是太瑞典了。

可惜这剧至今只有十集,两个月后播完了他们打算播什么?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sherlock s2e2

Moffat 的剧本是形似而神不似(原著),Gatiss 兄的剧本则是神似形也似。

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Nine Tailors

Dorothy Sayers 的侦探小说,Lord Peter Wimsey 系列之一。开头全部在讲英国东部 The Fens 地区的环境和社区,以及复杂的Change Ringing敲钟法。很有趣。搞得我又有点动心了。英格兰到处是这个村庄那个村庄的,只在侦探小说里读到过,希望有空可以去走走看看。

已经看到第三章了,尚未出现凶案,幸好地区性描写十分新鲜有趣,也不乏味。

Change Ringing 敲钟法在 YouTube 上可以看到,否则光读书里的描写,靠脑子想象也挺费劲的。小说一开头描写新年夜九个人要拉绳子连续敲上九个钟头!看了 YT 才知道原来这玩意儿在华盛顿的大天主教堂也有。

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fry as Jeeves



Isn't he utterly GOOOOOORGEOUS?

The hilarity is icing on the cake.

Should I read it?

I had never heard of The Marriage Plot until today, when I heard someone complaining that it is a fake satire of east-coast intelligentsia and that she (the complainer) feels like punching the protagonist in the face. Apparently it is about 3 graduate students at Brown and full of references that flood every university English department. I read a few reviews on Amazon and, oddly enough, a curiosity for the novel is creeping into my brain! Yuck! OK, I'm too stingy to shell out for this but maybe I'll go to a bookstore and scan it a bit.

Sigh, if bookstores are all gone, where will I sponge a few pages here and there of books I have no intention to buy?!

On a separate occasion I heard the phrase "post-modern pastiche." Hmpf. :P

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It Reminds Me of Solaris



An interesting article about Giant Pandas on NPR.

What reminds me of Solaris is the "Dear Scientist" letter from the typing panda. Ah mystery of the mind and heart ...

Two Weeks



Two more weeks before going to San Jose for a week for US Nationals. I'm biting my nails and bidding my time. Waiting is such a pain in the butt. The good feeling is that just this morning I realized that I have nearly forgotten some of the most traumatic experiences at the Agency that occurred within the year past.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sondheim on Piano



实在是太好听了啊哟喂!Stephen Sondheim 接受 Jazz Piano 节目的采访。我好喜欢听他的直截了当的大实话,他的 interviews 都大大的有料啊。过去看到很多人背后说 Sondheim is a prick ,“任性”,“不给面子”,“说话难听”之类的名声在外。我看是 ... 名副其实!这个人意见观点一大堆,而且表达超准,绝不扭捏哼唧讲模棱两可的客套话。看过他跟演员排练自己的音乐剧的时候真的好严苛,一丝不苟,肯定让很多人受不了。但是他很坦白,what you see is what you get ,你可以信任他说的每句话都是真心的,不是在跟你瞎扯应付。

我也是个人意见观点一大堆,常常觉得自己其实是个 prick,但是平时十分小心地把招人讨厌的一面给藏起来,只有在匿名的网上才痛快地胡说八道。现在想想,其实得罪一些人,招一些人讨厌,也未必是多么可怕的事情。

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Quote from Stephen Sondheim's book "Finishing the Hat" --

How can you comment critically on someone's work without hurting the writer whose work you're dissecting? My answer is cowardly but simple: criticize only the dead. I have never believed in "de mortuis nil nisi bonum"; speaking ill exclusively of the dead seems to me the gentlemanly thing to do. The subject cannot be personally hurt, and his reputation is unlikely to be affected by anything you say, whereas publicly passing judgment on living writers is both hurtful and stifling — I speak from experience, as someone who has been disdained both by journalists and by many of my songwriting elders and contemporaries as well.


Mwahahahaha. He certainly doesn't mince words. And obviously he doesn't believe in the afterlife or "looking down from heaven." :D

I have always felt the same way but thought it was wrong of me. Now I feel validated! Thank you, Mr. Sondheim.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sherlock s2e1

结尾有点落俗了。

直男看见 Irene Adler 就是心痒难搔,Steven Moffat 也不能例外,倒对比出 ACD 原著多么的不俗了。ACD 对女人的态度还真的是罕见咧。

直男对弯女的幻想也是百发百中,难怪 Basic Instinct 这么红。

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy (2011)



I'm quite impressed with the movie adaptation. At places I wondered whether someone not acquainted with the novel or TV series would be able to follow the plot, but after the first 30-40 minutes the narrative became quite clear.

Gary Oldman's George Smiley is an entirely different person from Alec Guinness', which is not necessarily a bad thing. Guinness was perhaps closer to the novel's description of Smiley -- soft spoken, quiet, a bit like a retired accountant. One immediately identifies with him and trusts his benevolence. Oldman's presence is perhaps stronger, edgier, and darker than Guinness. It is no accident that he has been cast in many villainous roles. There is a vicious glint behind the thick, black rimmed glasses to suggest a formidable force.

Likewise, the TV series was closer to the novel in style and tone than the movie. I read the novel a couple of decades ago and remember the writing style as a bit heavy and slow, and unnecessarily convoluted. The movie dramatically paired down the personal histories and relationships of the five top men of the Circus and improved on story efficiency at the cost of some major characters. For example, Ciarand Hinds' Roy Bland was completely unused.

The real accomplishment of the movie is the visual narrative and editing. It is a very complicated story, and the original material is heavily expository. The movie could easily have slipped into scene after scene of one character telling another character what happened and what it all meant. Tomas Alfredson (who is surprisingly young) exceeded my expectations. It is incredible how few words were spoken in the whole movie --- the absolute bare minimum number of words necessary. I wonder whether this is a specialty of Scandinavian filmmakers. They all seem to grow up shooting very short screenplays. Italian screenplays must routinely be 10 times longer than Swedish/Norwegian/Finnish screenplays.

With its blue gray color palette and spare dialog, the movie could have been heavy and tired, but in fact I came out of the theater with a grin on my face. There is something funny and ironic about all this, but I can't quite explain what or how. A very black kind of humor and romance it is, and not unlike Alfredson's previous movie "Let the Right One in."

For one thing, all the "old" characters were intentionally made to look particularly greasy, bald, ugly, and flat-out hideous. Especially bald, as one hardly ever spots a bald man in a major role in movies. The only woman, poor Connie Sachs, fared as badly as "her boys." The "young" characters, on the other hand, looked practically gorgeous in contrast with the geezers.

John Hurt's C was rather hilarious, shouting at the gang from time to time like a grumpy mad grandpa. The love affair between Bill Hayden (Colin Firth) and Jim Predeaux (Strong) was a bit too hammed up and actually screwed up another plot twist.

Petyr Baelish of Sichuan: Echoes of the 3 Kingdoms

Sometimes my mind makes unexpected associations. A few days ago I was talking to a couple of friends, who are of Sichuan (or Szechuan) ances...

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