Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tolkien Week

I've been doing lots of stuff for Tolkien week. These include -
  • Reading Lord of the Rings and Philosophy by Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson 
  • Listening to the LOTR soundtrack
  • Rewatching LOTR clips
  • Rewatching The Hobbit trailer
So far, near done with Lord of the Rings and Philosophy and the writers need to STOP talking about Nietzsche because it is irksome and I'd rather they start talking about Elrond. But in the latter chapters things are better. 

So... I'd like to dedicate this blog post to my favourite Tolkien character of all time -
Samwise the Stouthearted, aka Samwise Gamgee!

Yes, Frodo was the ring-bearer, most of the stress was on him, and yes, Legolas was swift with an arrow and bow, and yes, Gandalf always arrived to save the day, but many forget Sam, who was the best of all friends and stuck with Frodo throughout the entire journey. When Frodo was dragged into Shelob's lair, Sam climbed a dark and terrible tower to rescue him. Sam never game up, and that is one of the reason's Frodo could not either. Then, about the terrible, seductive ring - there were a couple close calls where Sam felt tempted, but deep down, as the stubborn hobbit he was, he knew so stolidly who he was - albeit a gardener - but one that would not ever touch the ring. Sam understood - sometimes more than Frodo - the importance of destroying the ring, and invested all he could to complete the mission. He gave Frodo his lembas bread, encouraged Frodo when hope seemed dire, and not to say the least - CARRIED Frodo up Mount Doom.

Whenever I watch LOTR, all Sam has to do is mention Rosie Cotton and I want to cry - I'm so glad he married her in the end and had 17 children, and also got to write his tale in the Red Book. Sam completely deserves it. He ends the story so well... for me, he is truly one of the most unforgettable characters of all time.

Favourite LOTR pieces

Incredible scene. Even Gollum was moved -

Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo?

Sorry about the quality -

How I bawl during this scene -

LONG LIVE LOTR! Can't wait to see The Hobbit in cinemas!
The Lord of the Rings helped me through my preteen years... I went on a journey with Sam and Frodo and the fellowship... I remember the very first day I began the Two Towers and how I felt finishing The Return of the King. The book touched me so deeply. I loved nature more (one of the leading factors that pushed me to choose Tibet for my project week trip was the idea of cycling through Middle-Earth-esque landscapes). Hannon Le to Tolkien!
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What difference does it make after all?--anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven, for what’s heaven? what’s earth? All in the mind.

 Second batch.
I want to marry a [guy], so i can rest my soul with [him] till we both get old. This can't go on all the time-- all this franticness and jumping around. We've got to go someplace, find something.
Originally says 'girl' instead of 'guy'.
Something, someone, some spirit was pursuing all of us across the desert of life and was bound to catch us before we reached heaven. Naturally, now that I look back on it, this is only death: death will overtake us before heaven. The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss that was probably experienced in the womb and can only be reproduced (though we hate to admit it) in death.
I agree with this quote! Used to think about it to myself a lot (although I hate to admit it).
What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
This quote is amazing, probably my second or third favourite. Love, love, love it. Perfect way to kick off a chapter.
I could hear and indescribable seething roar which wasn't which wasn't in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realised that I had died and reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly eas, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realised it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein, like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment.
This was when Paradise was high. Anyway, I still love this. Talks about the mind and life and death. Love the bit about falling asleep and waking up, I think about it that way too.
We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked at each other for the last time.

Isn't this lovely? How could I leave it. So short but memorable and moving.

Just finished reading Everything is Illuminated - expect quotes up for that soon, too!!
On the Road is one of the best books I've read this year. Period. Here's to all the crazy people who "never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

The waves are Chinese, but the earth is an Indian thing

Quotes from On the Road (part 1).

So... let me just start off by saying all the characters in this book are very different from me - they drive at whirlwind maniacal speeds, hit a jam-packed club at every feasible opportunity, and are always looking for more weed to smoke.
Nevertheless, this is a beautiful book, with an incredible character - Dean Moriarty (aka Neal Cassady) at its core. The boys' drive to get high is definitely a huge theme at the brink of the book's plot (and one of the most defining features that allowed this book to be dubbed the piece that 'defined the 50s'), but I read it from a different perspective. These characters are madly in love with life and this is why I connected with this book so deeply.
The Speaker is Sal Paradise (aka Jack Kerouac). Now would be a good time, after all the 'akas' to explain that On the Road was originally written within the span of three weeks- or should I say typed -  on a 120 foot manuscript that is now called the  'original scroll.' Some rich football team owner bought it for 2.43 million American dollars. Anyway, the version I read was not the original scroll but the version edited for publication (although you can certainly get your hands on the published original scroll) and all the names are switched around, hence the aka's.
One of the characters in the book - Carlo Marx - is ACTUALLY Allen Ginsberg and the more you think about it as you read the more brilliant everything gets. And Old Bull Lee is really William S. Burroughs. So I suppose all the writers who defined the Beat Generation pretty much hung about together. Sort of.
Anyway, Dean completes this story and Paradise does a swell job of telling it in the first place. Cannot wait to watch the movie. Garret Hedlund makes a perfect Dean.
Without further ado, here are the first batch of quotes:
Everybody’s cool, everybody looks at you with such straight brown eyes and they don’t say anything, just look, and in that look all of the human qualities are soft and subdued and still there. Dig all the foolish stories you read about Mexico and the sleeping gringo and all that crap) - and crap about greasers and so on - and all it is, people here are straight and kind and don’t put down any bull. I’m so amazed by this. Schooled in the raw road night, Dean was come into the world to see it. He bent over the wheel and looked both ways and rolled along slowly. [...] The sun rose pure on pure and ancient activities of human life."
A new world.
You had a vision, boy, a vision. Only damn fools pay no attention to visions. How do you know your father, who was an old horseplayer, just didn’t momentarily
communicate to you that Big Pop was going to win the race? The name brought the feeling up in you, he took advantage of the name to communicate. That’s what I was thinking about when you mentioned it. [...] In the car as we drove back to his old house he said, "Mankind will someday realize that we are actually in contact with the dead and with the other world, whatever it is; right now we could predict, if we only exerted enough mental will, what is going to happen within the next hundred years and be able to take steps to avoid all kinds of catastrophes. When a man dies he undergoes a mutation in his brain that we know nothing about now but which will be very clear someday if scientists get on the ball. The bastards right now are only interested in seeing if they can blow up the world.
Love this quote... Old Bull Lee says it. Interesting about the mutation in the brain. If you read the book Old Bull Lee is the wise owl.
I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was - I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.
This quote is one of my favourites. Hasn't anyone ever felt like this? When you sit still and stare and all of a sudden you're sure your life and the world is surely all in your mind and you feel all animal-like and strange and sit just existing.
The sun goes down long and red. All the magic names of the valley unrolled - Manteca, Madera, all the rest. Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon field; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries. I stuck my head out the window and took deep breaths of the fragant air. It was the most beautiful of all moments.

And, this is is just some really good writing I could not let slip. Beautiful descriptions ('pressed grapes,' 'color of love')

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the Road

So far, On the Road exceeds expectations. Favourite quote from it is shown below.


This is the time of day when the sun streams in through the window most. I can see the dusty debris inside my keyboard. The point is though, I do not leave the study room until the sun shafts do. Time for silmarillion quotes!

“For if joyful is the fountain that rises in the sun, its springs are in the wells of sorrow unfathomable at the foundations of the Earth.”
“Many are the strange chances of the world,' said Mithrandir, 'and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.”
'For that woe is past,' said Galadriel; 'and I would take what joy is here left, untroubled by memory. And maybe there is woe enough yet to come, though still hope may seem bright.'

 I loved the story of Beren and Lúthien. The tale of Túrin and beleg is very sad, I couldn't believe what had happened when I read it. Anyway, love the writing. Not as good as LOTR, of course, but a great background reference.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The slow cruel hands of time

So. New Band of Horses album. Cover art = great; the music, not so much! Which makes me rather upset because Infinite Arms is probably one of my favourite albums ever, right next to Funeral.

On another note, I've started to read On The Road by Jack Kerouac. 
So, for old time's sake...