Sunday, March 27, 2005

To be Diaryesque...

…for a while. I logged on to a favourite and very longstanding community website of mine tonight, only to find that in a few weeks it’s going to become a grotesque, twistedly commercial simulacrum of what it once was, and that has left me feeling somewhat pissed off and deflated. I can’t really link to it after what I’ve just said because of libel issues, but hell, why not.

On a related note, I feel like biting the hand that feeds, so for those of you who can see the tripod bollocks that’s recently appeared above the peripathetic title–bar above, does anyone fancy finding out exactly which URL has to be blocked to make it go away? I’ve tried and failed so far.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Red Lake Shootings


The news is bad. Another high–school shooting. Another pointless waste of several young, and several older, lives. The teenager, 17 years old, killed himself afterwards. His livejournal. His presence on a Nazi website (and WARNING: yes, that site is a Nazi website so don’t click if you don’t want to see that stuff).

I don’t know what to report at the moment but I’m sure this story’s background and context will develop over days, weeks and months. I’ll be watching.

Update 28/3/05: The Smoking Gun has more on his net presence. Cryptome has some of his writings (very violent).

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


This self-indulgent bilge is about — absolutely nothing!
— Rex Reed, New York Observer

Gus van Sant, director of Good Will Hunting and Elephant (which I also reviewed here) has recently departed from conventional filmmaking. Some people loved Elephant; some hated it. Hardly anyone dithered halfway. It’s the same with Gerry, a film in which two young friends hiking in the wilderness get lost, and stay lost, over a few days.

The camera barely moves: the two characters move across the shot, across the wilderness, looking for the path, looking for a remembered landmark or other, looking for the highway. They fail. There’s no water anywhere. Nights pass. They rarely speak. They get weaker. You, like them, think longingly of the car they appeared in at the start. You think of the comfort of a simple signboard. You fret.

It’s excruciatingly slow, and builds an agony of worry, strung–out panic, and a desire to run to your mummy’s arms and be told everything’s going to be alright. You feel the highly troubling alienation of being truly lost. Annoyingly, reviewers wax far too lyrical about films like this, using words like “existential” and “discourse”. Actually, this is just a feature–length representation of two people getting lost which very accurately replicates the associated feelings in the viewer and as such you will either want to see it or you won’t want to see it at all.

For my money (£15 for the DVD to be exact) it’s as true and beautiful a work of art as a haiku about a leaf, for example, and just as important and valid.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Always writing, but sometimes writing

If creative writing is birth, then blogging is The Pill — or at least, it is or has been to some writers! Interesting little snippet over at rodcorp about the phenomenon. (via MetaFilter)

The thread and novel are pretty bare, but to give you the general idea, here’s a quote from novelist William Gibson (whose blog is here):

I do know from doing it that [blogging’s] not something I can do when I’m actually working. ... If I expose things that interest or obsess me as I go along, there’d be no need to write the book. The sinews of narrative would never grow.

Myself, I find very much that if I blog ‘too much’ then I write less often than I’d like to. It’s not so much that I feel there’s no need for my kind of poetry when I’m blogging — and even less that I feel blogging is a close second to poetic development because it just isn’t.

Rather, I think that what makes most writers blog less when writing more, or write less when blogging more, is that blogging takes time. And writing takes time. And the necessary thinking before that writing — well, it usually takes a great deal of solitary introspective time. There are only 24 hours in a day, and people get tired, too.

That said, I don’t think that I’ve misplaced any of my poetic material here at peripathetic. I’ve been quite deliberately avoiding ‘writer’s notebook’ entries for the most part, precisely because I want to keep one particular set of creative batteries highly charged. And if I ever go quiet here for a long time and don’t give a specific reason, that’ll be because I’m writing.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A very big hole in the ground


Wow. That is one big hole. Clicking the photo takes you to a very much larger version (beware modem users). The website has more cool photos.

This gargantuan room is only a tiny part of the unimaginably large and complicated CERN installation underneath a part of Switzerland.

It’s not part of World War IV though, I promise you. In fact this room links to a big (understatement of the year!) underground ring through which lots of machinery curves. The ring and the caverns and the machines and the scientists all make up a scientific institute whose aim is to fly loads of particles really really fast around the ring, in the hope of doing complicated physics–type stuff. The 27–kilometre ring is the largest scientific instrument ever created.

From their website:

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world’s largest particle physics centre. Here physicists come to explore what matter is made of and what forces hold it together.

CERN exists primarily to provide them with the necessary tools. These are accelerators — which accelerate particles to almost the speed of light — and detectors, to make the particles visible.

So, there you are. More explanations here, and here. But really, the photo was just amazing. I hated physics at school, though.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Buildings in museums


Not content with collecting and storing beautiful objects or works of art, some museums actually own entire rooms. Usually from threatened houses, they are made structurally sound, taken apart, and put into store or reassembled inside the museum to be walked through or peeped into.

The photo above is of a French cloister in a monastery near Montpellier, France. Except that it’s actually in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The building it’s built around contains other cloisters, too. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen entire buildings moved into a completely different country, but it’s certainly the most impresssive example of the practice. All that stone. Phew!

The Museum’s website is a joy to use, and you will find your favourites — I particularly enjoyed the sections on Islamic Art and Modern Art.

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