Sparkles United


Freaky
February 20, 2009, 7:58 am
Filed under: Diary, Knitting & Craft

I know it’s really freaky. But what I want is another pair of hands. I want to be able to hold books while I knit. Or perhaps, I want to write emails or blogs while I knit. It would be nice if I had another pair of eyes too, but eyes and the brain can probably handle 2 or more activities at the same time. Why do we have only one pair of hands?



25 things
February 16, 2009, 6:28 am
Filed under: Books, Diary, Quote, Thought

I’ve written 25 things about myself to post on my Facebook page. It seems this is something going around among Facebook users for a while. You probably are not so interested in knowing this much about me, though.

1. books – I love books. Reading is the most favorite of any activities. I can give up eating and sleeping for reading.

2. work – I love to work, but I cannot work when I am hungry or sleepy. Which is approx. half the time I spend in the office.

3. language – I study French. I tried Spanish and German and Chinese in the past.

4. childhood – Admittedly, I had been a weird kid. I always had to try and see.
My mother used to tell us, when my sister and I were around 3 or 4, not to stick your head out of the 2nd story balcony, because if you fall, your skull got crushed like an egg. I was sooo tempted to try, but did not want to die. So I diverted my interest to see and understand how things got crushed. Some months later, I came by a few perfect glass bottles to experiment. It was so hard to resist the urge to see it with my own eyes – do they really crush? How? When I made sure no one was watching, I dropped them on the street from the height I can manage with my arms (not very much) – the bottles, instead of crushing, were broken into pieces with huge noise. Of course, I was too little to understand that egg shells (or a child skulls) and glass are different materials, although both are easily breakable. It turned out that one of my friends’ mom was watching from the window, and she made me clean up all the mess I made. Hahaha.

5. attachment to things – I get very attached to my gadgets, like mobile phones, iPods, computers. Not so much to other things like bags, shoes, stationeries…

6. sleeping – I sleep extremely deeply. Once I was in a hospital on 14th floor, and we had a fairly strong earthquake in the middle of the night (or so I heard). The whole wing was a chaos, nurses running around, things fell off from the shelves (according to others). Of course, I didn’t wake up.

7. movies – watching movies seems to be our family trait – my grandpa, my father, passed down to me. Grandpa is too old for it now, but my dad and I watch most of the good films in theaters.

8. food – I love eating meat, as much as I love fish. I don’t eat much of raw vegetables because it makes my body cold.

9. history – learning about the world history is one of the best things happened to me during my high school years. I still craves for more.

10. friends – I have several very very very close friends. I am not a group person, and I am so bad at keeping in touch with people that I meet at places.

11. coffee – Coffee is my addiction. Not caffeine, because I can easily live without tea or diet coke.
“Noir comme le diable, chaud comme l’enfer, pur comme un ange, doux comme l’amour” (Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.)–Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord

12. colors – Since childhood, I am drawn to colors. I love looking at things in different shades of colors, like paper, colored pencils, yarn, book covers or shoes. I love flower shops, not so much because I love the flower itself, but because I love the diverse shades of colors exists in just one flower, more so in a bouquet. I don’t particularly like a bouquet of crimson roses or just white flowers, because it is not so interesting to look at.

13. happiness – I believe “we are happy because we smile”, rather than we smile because we are happy. Happiness comes to you if you smile. One day I was on a train feeling really grumpy. Felt like nothing would go well and everything was making me so unhappy. Then this girl, or woman rather, came on board from a station. She was smiling a most beautiful and shining smile I’d ever seen. Her smile was truly infectious. At that instance, a realization came to me – if you have this smile, everyone wants to be nice to you, everyone wants to laugh with you, help you and make you happy! She had that smile. OK, she was probably smiling because she had something happy that day. But nevertheless, I want to be that person who smiles brightly when things go wrong and encourage people. Who has a shining smile to attract all the happiness in the world.

14. crafts – I have a very good eye-finger coordination. Combined with my ability to focus on one thing hours at a time, I can work on some most intricate crafts. I am also good at drawing and coloring things on paper exactly as they look.

15. sports – I have a very very bad eye-arm and eye-leg coordination. Tennis is the most unsuitable sports for me. I like swimming, skating or skiing, though.

16. money – Recently I discovered that actually I am scared of thinking about money, and what activities related to it.

17. singing – I used to sing in gospel choirs several years ago. People told me I had a very strong voice, which I rarely use.
In gospel singing, if you are a soprano, you have to hit extremely high notes with your normal voice, without using falsetto. During our practice, the instructor always told us “If you believe you can hit the note, you can. Believe in yourself”. He pushed us really hard. I never dreamt that something physical like hitting a note out of your range can be done just by “believing”. Actually, you can.

18. voice – sometimes I am told that I have a clear nice voice. I like my voice when I hear in my body. I don’t like to hear it in recordings. I don’t like it at all.
I am attracted to people with nice voice. Deep or husky voice for men, smooth alto for women. However good looking, if the person has a strange habit of speech or sounding, I can’t spend too much time with him or her.

19. looks – it seems I look like a cartoon character. Maybe that’s why babies love me.

20. eating – I love eating. I love people who eat a lot (in a healthy way), and who eat gracefully.

21. hospital – I spent a fair share of time in hospitals before I became 20. I learned a lot about life, people, doctors and nurses, and about myself.

22. architecture – I once wanted to become an architect, I studied it a little, but I wasn’t confident enough to believe that I would not produce anything garbage in the span of my career. Because you see so much garbage on streets. Everyday I am thankful that I wasn’t the ones who made those craps. I am a coward.

23. japanese – the only thing I don’t like about being a japanese and female is that it limits how and where you can travel, in a non-political sense. What I mean is, it’s pretty scary when you often chased or followed in cities you don’t know very well.

24. brain – I think I am a right brain person. But I don’t know.

25. optimism – I am definitely an optimistic person. I also believe that people are good by nature.



Twilight
February 13, 2009, 7:51 am
Filed under: Books, Diary | Tags: , , , , ,


日曜日の夜American Idolを見終わってから徐に読み始め、まだ心はシアトル郊外の森を彷徨ってます。
バンパイアに恋する女の子が主人公の小説で、「バンパイア」っていうのも主人公が高校生っていうのも引っかかって避けていた本。別にホラーが嫌い(注:ホラー小説ではない)って理由でもなくて、なんとなく私向きではないな、と。世の中の多くの女性とは反して、美しくて危険な生きもの、というものに特に何のセクシーさも感じない。。。健康的なほうが好き。
でも昨夏にNYで本屋さんに行ったら何処にも此処にも大量に平積みしてあるし(しかもウォール街のBarnes&Nobleでさえ)、Amazonでは何度もお勧めされるし、とりあえず購入。でも最近編み物をしていて本が読めなかったので、なんとなく放置。
ところが、先週友人に「超面白い、お正月ぶっ潰して読んだ」と絶賛され、ついに手に取りました。彼女も私と読書Habitが同じで、読み始めると止まらないタイプ。朝4時まで読んで、6時に起きてまた読み始める、って生活をしていたとか。。。わたしはもっと寝ちゃうけど。
Twilightというのが1冊目で、New Moon、Eclipse、Breaking Dawnと続きます。日没から真っ暗な夜を経て、月が欠けて、そして朝日が昇る、タイトルだけでそんな世界観を作っている。いま私はワシントン州郊外の真っ暗な森のなかで、追っ手が迫って来るなか空を見上げて梢の合間から月食を目にしたところです。
ところで、この物語には吸血鬼と狼人間が宿敵として出てくるのですが(こうやって書くとホントゴシック)、映画のヴァン・ヘルシング(結構好き)でも全く同じ構造(ヴァン・ヘルシングという吸血鬼退治のプロが狼男に変身して戦う映画)。ただWikipediaで調べてみると、通常は特にセットで出てくることはないようです。人狼も吸血鬼もとても古い伝承に遡れ、吸血鬼はとくに東ヨーロッパとは言われていますが、かなり広い地域で様々なお話が残っています。なんでそんな話が生まれたのか、何の根拠があるのか、結構気になってしまいます。
ちなみに、現在一般的に吸血鬼やドラキュラとしてイメージされる特徴は100年以上前に書かれたブラム・ストーカーの「ドラキュラ」という作品から来ているそうです。貴族階級でタキシードで、といったイメージは、この作品が後に舞台で上演されたときに出来上がったものだそう。そして、アイルランド人だったストーカーが「滅び行くイギリスの貴族階級」というイメージを込めて書いたところからも来ているらしいです。常に哀愁漂う雰囲気が付きまとうのも、そんな理由からでしょうか。
このTwilightシリーズでもこの作者の考える吸血鬼の特徴やイメージというものがあります。たとえば「冷たくて石のように硬い」とか「呼吸をする必要がない」とか「ものすごく速く動ける」といったものや、日の光に出ると肌がダイヤモンドのように光るので、目立つから天気のいい日は外に出ない、など。
こうやって伝承や創作が少しずつ積み重なってイメージが出来上がっていくんだろうなあと想像すると、興味をそそられます。



Cool!
February 10, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Diary | Tags: , ,


ずっと前から狙っていたAirMacをやっと購入しました。AirMacはAppleが出している無線LAN用のデバイスです。ウィンドウズにも使えます。普通の無線LANデバイスとどう違うかはよく知りません。
iPhoneでMac上のiTunesが操作できる、そのためにはWifiが必要だということが判り、一気に気持ちが盛り上がりました。もともと家ではWifiが使えたらiPhoneの通信代もだいぶ下がるに違いない、と思っていたので。
まず、AirMacにスピーカーをつなぎました。これによって、ノートブックをソファに持っていってもスピーカーから音楽が流れるようになりました。加えてiPhone上でMacに入っているすべての楽曲をブラウズし、再生できるようになりました。ベッドからでもMacが操作できる!すごい~。家が狭いのがなんとも残念です。そもそも数歩で全部に手が届くし。。。
次はAppleTVだ!



Random Talk of Idealists
February 5, 2009, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Books, Diary, Movies & Entertainment, Thought

A close friend of mine and I discuss about many many things every time we have dinner together, and we finally realized that we may be able to write a book if we start scribbling what we talk about. Both of us, I think, are rather naive and idealists (or just me), and are always interested in so many things. We both read several books simultaneously, so between both of us we tend to have 10 books to talk about. I watch movies all the time and the friend watch youtube all the time.
Anyway, for these reasons, it would be an extremely difficult task for someone to shut us up when we have these discussions, splashed with a couple of glasses of wine. It’s funny because we don’t talk much about ourselves, we always talk about “things” and “issues.”
Now I am watching Before Sunset again, and as a friend of mine told me and as I’d written in blog before, Celine is so much like me. I love the bookstore “Shakespeare and Co.” that appears in the film, I went there and spent a few hours browsing through books imagining “this is where they shot the film!” She is also extremely talkative and talk about many things.
Anyway, I was going to write about our conversation for the record keeping sake, but I can’t remember much now. It was probably about how human beings have explored the unknowns, and that endeavor had driven the evolution of the society. That we don’t have much room for discovery now, now that all parts of the Earth and even a little bit of the space have been explored. And the discovery and improvements per unit effort has become so minimal in the modern society. So maybe we just should live with what we have, what technology we have, should technology be advance than now? I said no, I believe that our society will decay if we stop being curious and stop trying on something extravagant and outrageous. We agreed that our human beings are still stupid and have not changed, but the society itself has become better and better over the centuries. We talked about the globe is becoming colder. We talked about life in scandinavian countries. All scandinavian countries, without fail, used to have a law that forced non-german minority to have sterilization surgery (so that they can’t have children). As late as until 1970s! It may be that their social systems are not so friendly after all.
Can’t remember any more. Will continue.



Into the Wild…
February 5, 2009, 8:42 am
Filed under: Diary, Movies & Entertainment, Travel | Tags: , ,

前から色々な人にお勧めされていた作品、Into The Wildがギンレイホールで上映中と聞き、今週までなので昨日見に行きました。(勢い余ってシネクラブにも参加)
絶対映画館で見たほうがいいよ、と言われていたので。
ドキュメンタリータッチで淡々としていますが、生きることや若さということや家族ということや、色々考えさせられるよい映画でした。アラスカの景色が綺麗だった。

実在した青年の足跡をたどったノンフィクションをベースに、ショーン・ペンが映画化しています。ショーン・ペンってお酒と暴力のハチャメチャな人物だったのがいつの間にか素晴らしい役者になり、そして素晴らしい監督になったものだと感心。。。
主人公は比較的裕福な家庭で悲惨な家族関係の中育った秀才で、大学を卒業とともに全ての消息を絶ち、車も売り払って無一文で旅に出ます。2年間放浪した後アラスカの奥地へ旅立つのですが、その2年間とアラスカの4ヶ月が行き来しながら並行して進む構成になっています。
放浪の仕方が半端じゃなくて、自分でSupertramp(スーパーな放浪者)と改名しているとおり、偶に短期雇いで仕事をする以外はヒッチハイクをしてキャンプをして、食べられる植物を探して、野山や砂漠を歩いて。。。といった生活。
先々で逢った人々との交流を通して人間的にも成長していったんだと思うのですが、本人は最後まで「一人で未知の世界に冒険したい」という欲求に突き動かされています。でも最後の一言は「Happiness is real when shared」でした。。。



In the shadow of the moon
February 4, 2009, 7:16 am
Filed under: Diary, Movies & Entertainment

TOHOシネマで上映中のThe Moonを見てきました。結構レビューが良かったので。
もうお年寄りになったアポロ号の乗組員宇宙飛行士が沢山出てきて、当時の様子を語っています。その合間に、NASAの倉庫で眠っていたという生々しいドキュメント映像がはさまれているという構成。壮大な宇宙の景色がジャーン、っていうのを想像して行ったのですが、全然そうじゃなかった。でも逆にわたしにとって面白かったです。
It’s not about the Victory of Great Science, it’s about how men felt in the face of great challenge and unknown discovery. They were special, but yet very much one of us.
たしかにソ連のことや戦争のことには少ししか触れていなくて、出来事をちょっと美化した雰囲気もありましたが、とても「見てよかった」映画でした。
“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
上は月面に最初に降り立ったアームストロングの有名な一言。別の元宇宙飛行士が、「あれはウマいこと言った。月に最初に降りたのが自分じゃなくて良かった。自分だったら何て言ったら分からなかった。」などと話しています(笑)。
Apollo13にも興味を持ちました。映画を見てみようかな。