Tuesday, October 28, 2008

um....not "the gaze of love is the gaze that isolates"

Monday, September 17, 2007

"the gaze of love is the gaze that isolates"

(Editor's note: DMCA asked me to take down the links. If you send me an email, I will happily send you the music.)

so, when i was in, like, FOUR foreign countries, i got a chance to catch up with a TON of listening i have been planning to get to.
i had this great idea that i would earmark a whole bunch of songs for the blog and that this would make it way easier to be good little blogger. however, since i have been feeling pretty anti-blog recently, i have decided to handle this a little differently. i am posting the entire list (copied out of the back page of my battered copy of "the book of laughter and forgetting" that i read for what must be the 15th time) all at once. this makes for a pretty schizophrenic playlist, but i'm listening to it right now, and it is actually quite good. since most of this playlist was assembled while i was actually traveling (meaning, in a car/bus/train/airplane) i was a in a pretty similar mood for most of the picking. public transportation always makes me introspective and a little sad.these links will only be good for 7 days or 100 downloads, whichever comes first. this means that those loyal readers who follow the blog closely will be rewarded with a very fine assortment of songs. the rest of you will have to beg if you want them. though the order of the songs was all mixed up, some of you might notice that all of the artists have names beginning with one of the first 9 letters of the alphabet. this is not by chance. that's as far as i made it through the 900 song playlist i was working from.

"Disc" 1:

(Link Expired)

Seabear - A.R.C.
Daedalus - Just Briefly

Bishop Allen - Flight 180
Belleruche - Minor Swing

Flanger - How Long is the Wrong Way
General Miggs - Broken Hoof

Hollowpaw - Cinders
Grizzly Bear - Knife

Feist - Mushaboom
Bowerbirds - In Our Talons
Benoit Piolard - Patter
Caribou - Melody Day

Harlan T Bobo - Stop
Goyte - Heart's a Mess
Detektivbyrån - Nattöppet
Gavouna - Three
Doveman - Cities
Beirut - Postcards from Italy

"Disc" 2:
Link Expired

Bibio/Richard Roberts - Marram
The Coral - Dreaming of you
Irma Thomas - I Need Your Love So Bad

Flying - Minors

Dispatch - The General
DJ Shadow - Organ Donor
Clue to Kalo - The Just is Enough
Chris and the Other Girls - Let Go
Frankenixon - Impasse

Fischerspooner - Kick in the Teeth
Casey Dienel - Tundra
Four Tet - Spirit Fingers

Hot Springs - Gotta DJ
CocoRosie - Ohio
Deceptikon - Sometimes You Hear it Coming
Chris Thile - Laurie De'Tullins
Cloud Cult - Chemicals Collide

Skip this if you don't want to hear a pretty sizable ramble:
i love my copy of "laughter and forgetting." it's this old translation that i prefer to the newer one. anyone who has read kundera will love the following and understand the perfection of the following:
when i bought it, it had an inscription in it, signed with love. whoever received this book traded it into a used book store where i bought it and wrote an inscription in it, signed with love. when i broke up with the girl i gifted it to, i kept the book (not only is it my favorite translation, it has an essential interview w/kundera in the back.) so here's this kundera book with two different pledges of love, at least one of which has totally been rescinded.

for those of you who aren't familiar with kundera: a) fix it. b) sorry that the irony, and the reason for my joy, are lost on you. here is an explanation:

this book has gone backpacking twice and has been in 6 countries. at some point during it's most recent trip, the cover actually fell off, erasing my note. it's only a matter of time before kevin's note to bessie meets with a similar fate. so, two different boys used this book, which is largely about forgetting, as an artifact showcasing their eternal love. both of these specific pledges were likely voluntarily forgotten, but didn't vanish with this act of forgetting; there was still a record of these words and sentiments. there is a chance that these inscriptions are the ONLY record left of these words and sentiments (in my case, they aren't) and that all proof of this love will disintegrate with the book.

we all have things and periods in our lives that we would like to forget. have you ever thought about the artifacts and records that remain, or did you burn all their photographs? what about the times in your life that were beautiful and priceless: have you ever thought about the incomparable sadness of those memories slowly leaving you? as kundera says in the interview, "what terrifies us about death is not the loss of the future, but the loss of a past." it is our past that makes us us, and every thing we forget is a small kind of death.
or not.i could easily write a good paper on this subject (as opposed to an unfocused ramble, i suppose) but i'll shut up now. if any of you made it this far and would like to read what i consider to be the second greatest book i have ever read, feel free to contact me for a copy.

i hope you like the songs...there is an awful lot of good music there to be had.

sharks season tickets kick in tomorrow and soccer starts soon!!!

discussion continues below and in comments both!

1. adam. 9/17/07

I burned all the photographs. With the letters.

Good memories fade on their own; I've found I have to forcibly purge the bad ones from my memory. Songs I associate with a particular memory are played on repeat while doing something new and interesting, or otherwise noteworthy.

In the end, the memories come back no matter what you do, but this way they're shadows of their former selves. Which is one step away from oblivion.

The antithesis of love (and hate) is apathy, and apathy begets forgetfulness.

Okay, enough being bitter... Hook me up with the second-greatest book you've ever read. I'll download the music tomorrow after class.

And woot for season tickets!

2. ali.

okay, the music is safely stowed on my computer. Thank you for that.

I've kept photographs, letters, ticket stubs. To any prospective beau, I'd have to say fooey on you if you didn't respect and acknowledge the fact that those are the relationships that have made me who I am today. You can love me more today because they loved me [and maybe hurt me] before. I keep everything. I'm still not quite sure what to do about the music though. The ones that are specifically tied to memories of someone else. I've tried not to play them, but I find that just makes me sad, since the music was so wonderful at the time. For others, I've listened back on the music and realized there was nothing inherently special about it except for the memory attached to it. I've noticed that my music collections are heavily influenced by the person that I'm dating. not good. not bad. just interesting.

I don't think it's coincidence that Kundera has played such a role in each of our perspectives on love. For me, it was "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." I haven't read the one you wrote about. I haven't read a lot of good books. Maybe its because I don't have time for it. Maybe it's because I don't make time for it. The only thing was that ULB affected me to such a high degree, and left my ex-beau so un-fazed that he couldn't focus on reading past the 6th chapter. oh well. ULB sits safely on my self of favorite books. Maybe I'll read it again.

yay for hockey.
2b. response to ali.

i'm totally a packrat. i have an embarrassing amount of swag from my serious relationships. as for people getting butt-hurt about keeping this stuff: there are guys (and girls) out there who like to pretend that they are boldly going where no man has gone before, but i think most of them grow out of it...i know that all of my jealous tendencies that reared their heads when i was a youngster have long since gone the way of the buffalo.

as for the music: there isn't much that i associate with anyone anymore. since i was in a five year deal, there was a time that EVERYthing could be tied to her in one way or another, but that has long since faded. even when i listen to mixes that i made specifically for her, there is hardly any residue (those are some fantastic mixes too!) it's also worth noting that i am usually the one in any relationship who does the introductions to new music, so i think that also helps with the lack of associations.

as for kundera...one of my life goals that has not been accomplished yet is to read UBL and LAF in prague. i absolutely love UBL. the first time i read kundera was in the most brilliantly crafted course i have ever taken. i ordered it offline and it arrived the day i had a paper due. i had to read it cover to cover (there shall be no skimming of kundera, please!) and write an essay in one night. luckily, it was one of the best books i've read.
i could very easily speak or write for hours about kundera. since that shotgun reading of UBL, i have read all but two of the remainder of his library, with LAF emerging as the most shockingly brilliant (ok...i managed to mistype both shockingly and brilliant, which feels ironic.) it is a lot harder to swallow than UBL, but it is so daring and awesome and put me there, in prague, in a magical way. i also believe that it can change lives.
as for his views on love...i'm surprised to hear that he has so profoundly affected your's, but i suppose that, in all truth, i don't know you very well. he usually offers such a clinical, often bleak, view of love and i guess i always pegged you as a romantic. but, one of the wonderful things about kundera is that he writes truly philosophical novels. by this, i mean that he rarely offers answers when he can offer a question. what i think of his take on love can not be objectively correct...he doesn't allow for it. as the man himself says, "The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything." he never paints tereza as stupid or truly weak, regardless of what she and tomas think...that decision is left up to the reader.

i have to go to school (before i look over what i wrote...i hope it makes sense...i usually do) but thank you for the response ali. if you send me your address, i'll send you a copy of LAF.

and yes, yay for hockey.

3. Nick.

how can I obtain a copy of these discs, the arists are awesome! once again, your blog is awesome and so insightful to music that I love, but can never find it.

3b. response to Nick.

i only have a handful of those complete albums.

i was actually working from a playlist of songs that i downloaded from other blogs, so i only have one or two songs from many of them.

amazon is always a pretty good place to start when looking for music, but for many of these artists, the record label is going to be the only place that has the discs for sale.

4. Moneer.

How exactly does one maneuver with a .rar file? I'm sitting here wondering when I'll get to peek into the sounds of each song and enjoy their momentary realism but I cannot find where the big red button should be that let's you play .rar.

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm lazy as a lifestyle choice and although I haven't lost any memories, most of them are lazily drugged, bound, and gagged and in second place right now; the reptile brain is winning- confronting memories (the good, the bag, and the ugly) just makes me feel old and crazed. "What the hell did I do that for? OMG...I can't believe that was me...it wasn't me! never mind..."

I'm in love with my artifacts though, because without them my memories take on silly personas and start acting out- without them I have no evidence of my humble origins, with them I can connect to the "then" and I can sense it "now"

900 songs !! love your playlists btw, consistently divine thanks so much

4b. Response to Moneer.

here is a list of downloads for unpacking .rar files. ignore the fact that they say "trial"...i've had mine for a couple of years now. if you are on windows, use winrar, if not: good luck and buy a real computer ;)

what on earth is a "bag" memory?

4c. reply from Moneer

hmmmmm....wish I knew.

Maybe it's like the bag that you put your garbage in or something...should be a heavy duty bag though...wouldnt want it to rip if you put a razor-sharp memory in there (like a can of worms tossed in it or so)

gotta have the heavy duty bags...

4d. and back again.

i have a couple that no bag could hold...

5. Jules.

I like to think of it as my own personal 'love metric'... from the two relationships that have meant the most to me, I have an amazing collection of memories captured in words (letters, notes, emails, book notations)... from those that passed leaving little trace... well. That about says it!

: )

6. Lo.

So funny that I haven't visited your venerable blog for many weeks and the one day that I do is the day that I'm both re-reading UBL and struggling with the increasing ambiguity of love and past and willful forgetfulness. It makes me happy to know that others (you) are reading this and getting the same heartbreaking truths out of it. God, I love Kundera. I am dying to go to Prague, in fact. I loved your story of the BLF, I think it's so apt to everything he's saying. Isn't it funny when life parallels art, perhaps because of what it is. Truth. Plain and simple. Another really strange coincidence (or maybe not) I just picked up a new copy of Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and I thought of you.

Also, on the music side of things, are you an Alexi Murdoch fan? I'm listening right now. The song, I think, is just called "12" and it is wonderful, but there are many more where that came from on this album. Hope you're well:)

7. Ronnie.

I know this is a bit of a delayed response but this is the first time I've sat down and really read/listened to your music blog so here goes... (Comparatively sizable ramble ahead)

I am coming to terms with the fact that I am now very much in love in the new sense that the end game of our relationship is a question mark. I should explain... With every relationship I've ever been in, me being a calculating man (which is considered contemptible by the samurai code for those of you who have read Hagakure), I have always almost immediately envisioned the point where the relationship would inevitably end. With some I came to this realization with greater accuracy than others... I have even been surprised and caught off guard a couple times with timing of the end. Nevertheless, the relevant fact is that I always envisioned it ending.

I don't know if 'scared' is the right adjective to use to describe the fact that I am currently with the woman who I could maybe someday hypothetically perhaps potentially be able to commit to spending the rest of my life with but it's something close to that word. For those of you who don't know me very well, the previous sentence should be a pretty huge indicator that I have commitment issues. I do know right now she is the only one I want and I am very happy with that.

Maybe it is that I'm afraid that it will go away like so many other failed declarations of love that I have witnessed or experienced, or maybe I'm more afraid that it won't go away which is usually my easy resolution of any adverse issues that may arise. I keep being reminded of the impermanent nature of love and human beings in general. If you are into Zen philosophy, like the cherry blossom, impermanence is an integral part of love's beauty. On the other hand, Yuko Mishima would argue that true beauty, to be preserved throughout all eternity, must be struck down at its height, because time inevitably deteriorates everything.

So maybe I'm afraid of the loss of love, or worse, the slow deterioration of love. I agree with Kundera when he says that it is the loss of our past, not our future, which terrifies us about death. I am terrified of losing what I have right now. I have an amazing group of close friends, an amazing relationship with an amazing girl who wants nothing more than to be with me and live our lives together, an awesome home, ultimate potential to pursue anything I want, and go anywhere I want.

I'm not necessarily in agreement with Mr. Mishima about the best course of action; however he does pose an interesting philosophy. I hope that Mishima is not correct in his assertion that I should end this before it becomes something less than perfect. I prefer to think of love as evolving and growing, sometimes dying, but ever continuing.

Anyways, I've been doing a great deal of thinking about the philosophy behind and nature of love lately and I happened to read this particular blog at this particular moment and it really spoke to me. I desperately want to read Kundera now, however I cannot promise to do so before I graduate in December because so much of my efforts are concentrated on school right now.

Deric, I don't know if I've told you this but I love and appreciate your style of writing. Write a book already! Furthermore you have awesome taste in music, a complement that I rarely give. It seems most people are either lyrics people, or instrumental people, but you are both. I have not had the time to keep up with new music in a while but I have subscribed to your blog and will shamelessly promote it. If there was a man who I'd go gay for, which there isn't, it would be you.

P.S. To those of you reading this who are my close friends, seriously you guys are awesome. I've hung out with other people's groups of friends, and they suck by comparison.

4b. Response to Ronnie.

there is certainly a certain amount of wonderful fear involved in that sort of love for us analytical folks. it is easily the best and worst thing in the world. i recommend that you just hold out your arms and float in it, enjoying the simultaneous lightness and heaviness of it all (gotta keep the kundera thread alive)...like when you are drunk and you close your eyes and the wold starts spinning and you have the choice to fight it or hang on for the ride.

as for zen philosophy, i am woefully ignorant. i can't remember what movie it is in (and i can't even find it using google, which i can't understand, unless i'm actually thinking about a dream of mine, in which case it would make sense that it's not on google...if it turns out to be a dream, then i am even smarter than i thought...especially since i may actually be paraphrasing MYSELF!!! how smart [or narcissistic] do you have to be to start paraphrasing yourself?) when they quote some philosopher's view that the perfect love affair would involve being madly in love with a girl in the peak of her beauty and having her die so that all of the piss and shit and lies never have a chance to appear (it sounds existential...perhaps sartre?) i take it that this is pretty similar to what mishima is saying. for my money though, there are so many different sorts of love, each of them triggered by such disparate situations and i'd like to believe that i will one day get to wade through many of them with someone amazing. like you, i manage to be some weird sort of jaded romantic.

send me your address and i will mail you a copy of BLF.

also, i've always dug your writing too. i've thought many times how lucky it was that chas managed to land such great roommates and how i have completely reaped the benefits as well. i'm for it. i would absolutely list you and mike among my best friends. being as i don't even refer to most of my acquaintances as 'friends', the term 'best friends' carries an awful lot of weight from me...here's to ssu!

also, the mesh on my golf bag looks scarily like olmec and i can't stop staring at it.

4c. Ronnie
Extra kudos for the Spanish guitar music. Especially Stairway. That is the first and only cover of Stairway that I've ever heard that I will endorse.

4d. Me

same here.

rodrigo y gabriella are awesome. i tried to show them to you at your house one time, but you were too drunk to focus.

4e. Ronnie 1 year, two months later.

It is ironic that my post to this blog has become a sort-of sad tribute the last blissful shred of my ignorance, at least with regards to that situation. Particularly given the topic of saving old pics, ticket stubs, mementos, etc. It also seems to tie in with Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Maybe it's time I revisit Kundera, or read some of his other books.

It would be easy to look at myself at the time of the above post and call myself stupid. However, I don't think that was necessarily the case. I was apparently aware of the risks, and the outright probability that things wouldn't work out. I suppose the fact that the risks of living are great and that life can be scary should not deter one from experiencing everything that life has to offer. The good and the bad.

"True beauty, to be preserved throughout all eternity, must be struck down at its height, because time inevitably deteriorates everything.

So maybe I'm afraid of the loss of love, or worse, the slow deterioration of love."

The slow deterioration of love was definitely the most painful part now that I think about it. Perhaps my desire not to be serious about anyone but myself for the next decade really stems from my fear of being hurt again. I know that it's going to be years before I can trust anyone that much, at least among those who haven't already earned it.

A wise music blog proprietor recently said, "How sad would it be to get to the end of your life and not have any scars to show for it?"

Now that is probably paraphrasing, and I know it is taken out of context. However, sometimes those little random bits of wisdom stick out and resonate with you even if that's not how they were originally intended.

I'll end with the following quotation that also has resonated very well with me lately.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
-Teddy Roosevelt

Yes, it would be a terrible shame to reach the end of your life and not have any scars.

Do not count me among those who have never / will never taste victory or defeat. I strive to achieve victory, I will accept and overcome defeat, but I will not settle for leading a mediocre life.


shruts said...

sup?! i read your quote about the antithesis to love, and i just wanted to say...kudos on that epiphany! and kudos on sharing it with the world!

i'm still checking out some of the music in this list...i'm sure i'll enjoy it. :)

shruts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carolann said...

a few things:
-i want the music!!!

-i don't really like kundera, but i think you could have guessed that. not my style. however, i like that you like kundera, i guess. mostly i just like the part where the cover of the book fell off.

-do you have a twitter, or what!?

-update your gall dang blog more.

k. thx.

carolann said...

oh! one more!

i will cross countries for the sharks this year. i will have to if you know what happens (i dont want to jinx it).

Caitlin said...

I never burn anything. Instead, I find things years later and relive every emotion.

-I did temporarily quit facebook once though. And by once I mean like, last week.-

(I always pictured it was spelled "Newanda...")

nawanda37 said...

shruts- thanks! i suppose i need to make it more clear who is talking in each portion of this very long blog post. that epiphany belonged to my friend adam.

cjvm- where should i email the music? crap. you're never going to see this are you? oh...wait...does it send you an email when a new comment is left? hm.

caitlin- it's funny that you wrote that today, since i just spent yesterday digging through a drawer of flotsam from the last 17 years of my life (which included stuff from the preceding 11.) maybe you've inspired me to blog about it. i suppose time will tell on that one.
as for quitting facebook: how many notifications did you have when you came back?
as for pronunciation: you get at least 27 points for having a formulated opinion to share. the dps community (of course there is one...i just looked it up) prefers "nuwanda". but, what are you going to do?

Caitlin said...

i have like, a million things to say about that. so make me your facebook friend already so i don't have to pour my heart out on your blogger.

but in the meantime, my parents just got divorced, so i had to rummage through everything i've ever owned recently (nbd). (oh, my first VHS (dps) being among my most prized possessions, i could write novels about the process.)

and, i want music too, obvs.