Being in peace with the animals in near pristine environment is a very powerful experience. Some of my experiences in Botswana in late 2004 were put together by me as photo journal and semi-fiction story here, and here. You can never forget having a tea on the ground 50 meters from a young bull elephant that has chosen to ignore you. Or a hippo who does not care much about you at that moment... Or a lioness only heading to a call from a lion... Or a mother cheetah focusing on her cubs...Or the pack of African wild dogs with teeth stained with fresh blood getting ready for another kill.
"In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present."
--Gregory Colbert, Creator of Ashes and Snow
Acknowledgments: Leopard picture by Lav Tandon (2004) and one to the left from Flying Elephant Foundation. Only a young leopard can have such a strong shoulder and neck.
Here is a news from The New York Times:
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 18 -- It takes audacity to come into the city that is home to the world's most famous Carnival just one week before that bacchanalia begins and play any style of music other than samba. But the Rolling Stones have never lacked for swagger, and on Saturday night about one and a half million people, according to the police and other authorities, flocked to Copacabana Beach for a free concert starring Mick Jagger and company. [Link]
Damn right, Mick Jagger has mojo. I saw Rolling Stones at Superdome, New Orleans for the Voodoo Lounge Tour in 1994.
*Please note these are titles of Rolling Stones songs.
I use Wikipedia very often. It acts as a starting point for me, not end all be all in seeking knowledge on a specific topic. I have always been aware of its power and weakness. Lack of peer-review makes the content quite vulnerable. However, the power of wikipedia lies in its speed and open house, open source knowledge, and the assumption that the contents are self-correcting by its collective and democratic nature. In topics, where I had some knowledge, I always thought their write-ups are quite accurate and at par. I have had wikipedia account for a while and maybe, I should contribute regularly in topics, I can.
I am quite pleased with their review process decision.
I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) all the time, and from time to time, I'll post "This I Believe" original essays from NPR here - the ones that make a strong connection to me. An introduction to the concept:
This I Believe is an exciting national project that invites you to write about the core beliefs that guide your daily life. NPR will air these personal statements from listeners each Monday on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. By inviting Americans from all walks of life to participate, series producers Dan Gediman and Jay Allison hope to create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity.
This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. In creating This I Believe, Murrow said the program sought "to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization." [Link]
Annie: What do you believe in then?
Crash: Well, I believe in the soul. The cock. The pussy. The small of a woman's back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good scotch. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitution Amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days...Goodnight.
That is a classic. What do you believe in? If you have a gem, write to NPR. Anything in transition, leave a comment or link to your "I believe" post on your blog. I will not at all critique or anything like that. Has to be from your inner core - no religion, no politics, no polemics, no trite grandstanding - definitely no.
The Asian Writing Club has a prompt for review for Wong Kar-Wei's 2046 but Netflix has not released that movie yet. However, on the Netflix and Amazon sites, two phrases for one of the Wong Kar-Wei's another movie, In Mood for Love piques my attention - "Love in the absence of fate" and "It is about a love affair that should happen, but didn't." I check the movie for rental thinking that I am going to watch an elegant Hong Kong/ Chinese version of "Casablanca" or "Lost in Translation". In Mood for Love is also part of an informal trilogy that includes 2046, so I am OK in picking this movie for the writing exercise. In Mood for Love is much more than I thought it would be. It is about love that is ethereal but nevertheless very real and with a deeper understanding between two souls. It is also about decency, and also about lack of courage to rebel against the rules of society. The opening line in the movie says it so aptly:
"It is a restless moment. She has kept her head lowered to give him a chance to come closer. But he could not, for lack of courage. She turns and walks away."
Winner of many awards that includes 2000 Cannes Film Festival, In the Mood for Love is a tour de force by Wong Kar-Wei. Juxtaposed by the repetitive nature of the movie scenes like a very delicate poem with high-low pitch multi-lingual music, striking cinematographic light play and beautiful cheongsam dresses, it is a story of two neighboring apartment dwellers, Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) who discover that their ever-absent spouses are having an affair. These lonely souls become friends and then fall in love - but they keep it platonic, undefined, and never attempt to cement it. The strength of their love is undeniable in one of the scene where Mrs. Chan breaks down sobbing in one of their mock breakup but then their restrain is often repeated in the movie by a self-imposed rule:
"We will never be like them!"
But why, they deserved better. I disagree with "It is about a love affair that should happen, but didn't" and agree with "It is a restless moment. She has kept her head lowered to give him a chance to come closer. But he could not, for lack of courage. She turns and walks away." Maybe, Wong Kar-Wei is more complex and cryptic. Experience the movie yourself - I hope have not spoiled the story for you by the review.
Cross-plotted at Asian Writing Club.
One of the reason I made this weblog is to keep drawing and writing....to continue experimenting. In 2001, at Indiana University, I took a studio art class. Usually, the homework assignments were quite elaborate and time consuming - average of 10 hours/ week. However, daily we also used to do fast pen sketches on our own to develop an "eye" for detail and uniqueness. I will keep sharing some of the pen sketches - they are easy to scan as opposed to more elaborate larger drawings. Usually, they take 2-3 minutes to draw but one has to make the effort to quickly compose the idea.
I need a catalyst to keep me drawing and writing.
A Girl Reading at the Union, An Old Chevrolet Truck, A Chinese Dancer Mask, and Thrift Shop in Bloomington (Indiana) (From top to bottom)