Journaling

I am absolutely terrible at keeping a journal. To give you an idea of just how inconsistent I am, I am far better at blogging regularly than keeping a little personal diary, which really seems like it should be easier. First of all, I should probably be completely ashamed to say this, but sometimes writing makes my hand sore. It’s just not worth it. And secondly, I have to like sit down and take time out of my not-busy-at-all-but-still day to make a thoughtful and comprehensive journal entry. Why do that when I can just babble incoherently into my computer with the help of this convenient keyboard? Here are some excerpts from my thus far mostly empty tiny leather-bound journal (which, by the way, I started on the first day on 2013). These gems of pointlessness illustrate just how bad I am at recording the events and non-events of my life.

Moving backwards, we begin with the most recent entry, which, it’s worth noting, was written beginning on the 25th of February and moving into the wee hours of the 26th. Or possibly the 27th – the timeline, as with most things in my diary, is not entirely clear. I believe I was a bus to Adelaide during most of this time. Note my fear of being judged by my own diary.

 

“25.2.14. Volvo makes buses. I had no idea.”

“Later. I am distressed at the blank spaces in this journal. Will have to fill them up at some point w/ drawings. But first, must learn to draw. First things first.

On way to Adelay-de. Facing sleepless and possibly motion-sick night. Hurrah! Am infected with adventurous spirit.”

“26.2.14. No time for alarms. Too tired to write to you. Two fire alarms, many festival lights. Am drunken. Will report back tomorrow.

[X] is very sexy.

Sorry. Weird.

P.S. Reading Unbearable Lightness of Being for the 100th time or so. Reading Lolita for the 4th time or so. Absofuckinglutely marvelous.”

 

“15.2.14. My capacity for brattiness surprises even me sometimes.”

 

“10.2.14. Granted, I don’t have affairs much, but when I do they tend to be good.”

 

“29.1.13. Wily afternoon with A. in which I successfully did NOT tell him about S.’s freakish obsession with weddings, as she made me promise not to.”

 

”Mon, 21.1.13. MLK Day. So far I’ve been crap at keeping a diary.”

 

 

It’s worth pointing out that I record non-events more often than events. My diary is full of allusions to genuinely cool, interesting things I’ve managed to do every once in a blue moon, but no actual exposition relating these cool, interesting things. Instead, I spend 90% of my journaling talking about how long it’s been since my last entry/all the boring things I have done on the particular day of entry with various enigmatic and frustrating references to fleeting affairs and wild nights and adventurous excursions and random positive interactions that I can’t quite seem to recall in as much detail as I’d like. This is literally the exact opposite point of keeping a journal. A journal is meant to remind you of all the beautiful glorious details of the more eventful and even the little daily moments of one’s life, not to irritate its reader with vague allusions to something that happened that one time at that one place with that one person and that one disgusting bottle of grappa. I don’t care about the grappa involvement. I care about the other things!

To conclude this blog post, I will probably never change. Consider this ramble an homage to my useless, information-dry personal diary. I never stop thinking about improving my record-keeping, but alas, thinking is not the same as doing.

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The Footy

A few Sundays ago I decided to watch Australian rules football for the first time. As a complete amateur, all I knew about this game previously was that a) it looks a lot like rugby and b) them Aussies like their footy. Cold-blooded creature that I am, I was curled up on the sofa underneath heaps of blankets moaning about the fact that I will not be comfortable for a single minute throughout this devastating Melbourne winter. That being the situation, I had no choice but to turn on the television as any activities requiring me to surface from the mound of couch blankets were obviously not feasible. Lo and behold, Sunday is the perfect day to become acquainted with football, which I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

The game had yet to begin when I switched it on, so I got to enjoy what I found to be distinctly amusing opening activities. For one thing, there were a bunch of people dressed up in Star Wars Stormtrooper outfits standing appropriately stoically in the middle of the field. This mystified me. Then I chuckled a bit as a very old-fashioned song about tigers played while the Richmond Tigers ran about the field in a stunning display of physical fortitude. Really, they were running unreasonably fast considering that the game had not even started yet. Don’t they need to save some energy for the game? My housemate asked me why I was giggling somewhat maniacally and I told her about the inexplicable Stormtroopers. “It’s May 4th,” she said. “You know. May the 4th be with you?” I was delighted to learn that this is a thing.

I got bored of the opening festivities and started to check email, another activity that I can do with almost every inch of my body covered by a blanket except for one brave, exposed hand. Typically, the game had been under way for about five minutes before I noticed it had started. This reminded me of a Red Sox game I went to with some equally sport-ignorant ladies in which none of us noticed the game had started until it was the bottom of the second inning. We were enjoying the atmosphere and presumably chatting about boys.

First of all, I don’t understand the rules. Like, I don’t understand if it is possible to foul someone in this game. It is so unbelievably physical that it’s hard to imagine what these players can’t get away with. So far I haven’t noticed any of them outright punching or kicking each other, so maybe those actions are off limits. Something has to be. Actually, I feel cheated that no one has been punched or kicked yet. When I go to a real-life game I’ll make a point of shouting “Punch him!” to helpfully remind the players what the crowd is really there for.

Secondly, as noted by Jackie Jormp-Jomp, who has just recently developed into a rabid footy fan for the following reason, footy players are seriously doing all right in the body department. It appears to be a requirement that you must be gorgeous in order to play. This is in stark contrast to American football, in which it is required that 80% of a team be built like tubs of lard, in order to effectively block the tubs of lard on the opposing team. Perhaps it is offensive to compare them to lard, but I feel that it is quite illustrative.

Third, the field is fucking huge. These players must be in very good shape to not only be knocking each other about for an hour but also to be doing this while repeatedly running up and down the length of this enormous fucking field. Also, the field is sort of shaped like a football. Does this count as meta?

After the game ended, I was left with more questions than I had to begin with. How do you score? Who is allowed to score? Why does that one team have so many more points than the other? How are most of the players still standing? This one footy viewing experience tells me that the participants are slightly more respectful than hockey players, but I find this suspicious. The overall vibe is very hockey-esque. I’ll expect more bloodshed and amusingly old-fashioned team entrance songs at my next football venture.

Music I

Ask people to name one thing they can’t live without and an astonishing number of them will say music. If I had my goddamn copy of A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman I could quote something gorgeous and insightful and relevant that her research uncovered about people and music, but I left it in Chico. (This is the first time I’ve ever moved anywhere without it, and suitcase space has never seemed less important than now. I feel naked without this volume, and not in a fun way.)

 

As I type this I’m listening to a popular Australian band, which is actually proving pretty distracting. I’m one of those people who enjoy listening to music (or a variety of background noises, like those provided in your hopefully friendly neighborhood coffee shop) while working. But pulse-pounding, makes-me-feel-alive music probably isn’t the right choice when trying to complete focused activities. But for some reason I just can’t turn it off. It will be right there waiting when I get back to it, exactly the same as I left it – ready to be enjoyed and rediscovered all over again for the umpteenth time. But there is something enormously compelling about music that is nearly unmatched by other experiences. And this is a nearly universally occurring phenomenon. Nietzsche famously said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” It’s a sentiment understood by many.

 

Not everyone shares this seemingly universal delight, however. Vladimir Nabokov, for one, had an almost inhumane lack of regard for music. While Nabokov’s characters did not (one would hope) share his own traits without fail, some of them shared his bemusement with the art. Humbert Humbert’s suffering surely was not eased by poor Lolita’s taste in music. No character in this particular novel really enjoys good music at any point, though H. does employ “the words of a foolish song which was then popular” in order to “hold her under its special spell” as he attempts one of his early molestations. The only references are to the sort of musical drivel that illustrates Lolita’s simple common interests with other children of her age. Really, the only music present in the book at all is presented as being objectively bad. 

 

On the subject, Nabokov explained, “I have no ear for music, a shortcoming I deplore bitterly. When I attend a concert – which happens about once in five years – I endeavor gamely to follow a sequence and relationship of sounds but cannot keep it up for more than a few minutes.” There seems to be something horribly unjust about one of the world’s greatest artists, a Russian-born writer who used the English language to beautiful and astonishing effect, missing out on what most of us see as such a compelling, soul-shaking and even vital experience. Nabokov, too, thought it unjust, but mainly because he was aware that his own son was an objectively fine singer and felt it was unfortunate that he could not appreciate his talents along with the rest of the world. Of course, as with any taste, those who do not have the capacity to appreciate something will never quite know what they’re missing. “I am perfectly aware of the many parallels between the art forms of music and those of literature, especially in matters of structure, but what can I do if ear and brain refuse to cooperate?” Nabokov said. Those among us who live and breathe music may be even more saddened and bemused by his continuing statement: “But I have found a queer substitute for music in chess – more exactly, in the composing of chess problems.” Whatever, Vlad.