Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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House of Sand and Gimpel.

I saw House of Sand and Fog yesterday night. It was really well made, but not the kind of movie I was in the mood for, with an ending that rips your guts out. In fact I think that the ending might have been too brutal for the material leading up to it. This was not a movie that had to end on that note of pain and misery. I'm usually not one to call for a Hollywood happy ending, or to gripe about the lack thereof, but a movie's story should be consistent with the world it has established and in this case I didn't necessarily think it was. It's still a movie worth seeing, if only for Jennifer Connelly's unimaginable beauty (WHY don't I already own "The Hot Spot" on DVD? It's inexplicable.)

Looking back over the "Beyond the Code" transcript I was surprised at how professional and well done it was. There were a few awkward moments, but some of that was enhanced by the editing/censorship that removed textual references for things that were said. What's interesting to me is that while I was actually doing the chat I kept wincing at the things I was saying. I can't read my own writing without hating it and seeing all the flaws and mistakes and awkwardness, at least not while I'm doing the work. Only with a few weeks time, during which I've forgotten the writing process and am able to approach it as a reader might, without knowing the intentions and subtext from the author's perspective. It gives me hope for the future of the work I'm doing right now, which is not going as well as it was before. I hit an awkward scene and it's just dragging on and on and becoming more mired in itself and I don't know how to develop the characters and get the information and set ups I want in there while lopping about 1/2 off the length, which I need to do.

Speaking of lopping off, I spent some time today looking for one of my games in my massive DVD collection and it's embarrassingly large. Like really embarrassingly large. I have cut way back on my buying but I still buy too much and have literally days of movies I haven't watched, probably a couple weeks of unwatched anime, and enough video games that I could game a few hours a night for a year and not have to buy a new game or play through one game twice. I don't quite understand why I bought all this crap. My best theory is that it's for much the same reason I eat as much as I do. I don't trust that there will be a tomorrow or a day after that so I want to consume everything I can RIGHT NOW and get as much pleasure and joy as possible. It definitely needs to stop.

On a somewhat related note, yesterday I was IMing with someone and I recommended to them the story Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer. I hadn't actually read the story but I'd read about it and I thought it applied to the situation. Naturally at that point I went and read the story myself, to make sure I wasn't giving a bogus suggestion. It's really an amazing work of fiction and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in Jewish literature. It contains within it perhaps the most eloquent arguments for morality, optimism, and faith in God that I have ever read in such a short piece of literature. I'm going to have to spend significant time contemplating it before I come to a solid opinion about what it means, but one thing it reaffirmed for me is that the reason I don't believe in God is rational, rather than practical. I don't believe in Him not because such non belief is convenient or improves my life but because looking around at the evidence and arguments it's what I think the truth probably is. I can't delude myself into having faith in a falsehood just because doing so would probably add to my sense of well-being and happiness. When I criticize religious people it's not for their beliefs but for their actions. Those who claim to believe in God often manifest few signs of it in their behavior. They ignore the most basic teachings of whatever religion it is they practice and instead adopt only a haughty nasty attitude towards non-believers and basically act with the sort of juvenile self-righteousness that Jocks in a typical high school have. Instead of being humble they are arrogant about their moral superiority. Instead of loving their neighbors they write enraged nasty and libelous screeds towards those who believe differently than they do. Gimpel had the sort of faith that I admire. He used it to make his circumstances more bearable and to allow him to behave admirably towards other people while not shoving it in anyone's face or treating it like an overcoat to be shrugged off when inconvenient. If more religious people were like Gimpel the Fool then we wouldn't have had all these problems through all these years.
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