24/Jan/2017

I’ve made the acquaintance of one of the/the fabled house spider.
It is not as big as we imagined, but fast enough to have escaped my attempt to place a cup above it and relocate it to a space that could provide more food.
But our flat is free of flies. Perhaps the place already is perfect for it/them.

a giant movie

Steven Spielberg lost me a while ago. After a certain point i lost the „Spielberg made another movie!“ brand of excitement and it got replaced by a „why didn’t he direct Transformers?“ feeling of disapointment. Anyway, we went to see his latest directorial work, The BFG.
Anybody else thought he made a Doom movie[1] before we read The Big Friendly Giant beneath the shortened version? Ive seen the trailer before The Force Awakens, and was looking forward to seeing it. It felt like classic material for a Spielberg classic, a large story in a small enviroment, in this case a kid in a large enviroment. And for the first twenty minutes it really works the magic. We get introduced to a timeless[2], hyperreal version of london through which a giant wanders at night. Sophie, an orphan with insomnia spots him during one of his exploits and promptly gets abducted. And that sequence alone is worth the price of admission. The handling of scale, the creativity, tenderness and playfulness with which we see BFG naviagte unseen throught the city and finally shakes off all restraints once he’s reached the outskirts where he puts his physique to use. The uplifting feeling this sequence telegraphes only gets repeated once, when we learn the purpose of BFG’s nighty exploits and he takes Sophie along for preparation.
The rest of the movie feels like….they could have easily rework the script, perhaps give us more background on the giantfolk, instead it follows a certain predetermined path no matter the consequences. And that is sad because it leads to an end that glorifies the benevolence of monarchy towards its subjects, which surely was apporpriate when the book the movie was based in has been published, but could have been handled more gracefully than „send in the troops“.
Dreams are a plot point of this movie, and it does feel like a dream narrative, which i’m sure younger audiences will dig. It just felt a bit to dictated by a third party for me. I guess i was hoping to get this „Spielberg made another movie!“ excitement back.

[1] there is a gun in the videogame Doom that is called BFG 9000, short for Big Fucking Gun
[2] well, not entierly timeless, when the president of the USA gets adressed as „Ronnie“ we could place it between 1981 and 1989

such attention for a few inches

Let’s talk about sexualtiy. It’s a topic i’m not comfortable with and perhaps it would be good to challenge oneself once in a while.

I choose the topic because we watched a thing about the human penis and how it evolved over time. In the show, a guy with a Phd in something who likes to compare the sexual behaviour of primates and humans presented an artifact from way back when that resembled a penis. When asked what how our ancestors might have used it he said, that i could have been a piece of paraphernalia used in ritual, a kind of calling card for a group of people or a weapon. And, but he wasn’t to sure of that, it could have been used by the female members of the groupe as, well, a member.
That made me think about how we deal with sex in our culture. We might perceive ourselves as sexually educated beings that practise the art of intercourse not only to prolong the existence of the human race but also as an alternate form of communication, an activity, a crime. It is a part of our very being, something that gives but also takes power away from us. And then someone with a degree wants to tell us, that humans who had the tools to fashion a penis out of stone did so to use it as a weapon. Because a short, blunt rod made from stone[1] is preferable to say a spear or a hammer when one has the choice. Of course it was a „cult“ item like the venus of willendorf but nobody can tell me that humans didn’t use the thing for self pleasurement.
Afterwards there was a discussion about the female sexualty. And while i so far was never able to have the female experience on the topic, it felt like they ticked of a checklist out of a livestyle magazine. Bringing a woman to the point where she agrees to get intimate with one feels like a task the partner has to prepare months beforehand. That sounded insane and i was glad that sexual therapist, a woman, who was part of the discussion said that most female patients are frustrated because they want to Get It On while their partners want to be left alone. Of course it’s different strokes for different folks, but i don’t think that we’re generally that different in sexual behaviour, which is a long way to say: i assume it starts in the head for both.

[1] which is not fair, because two or three of the items the guy has in his inventory could be used to bludgeon another human being to dead

reckless

A colleague and i worked in large distribution boxes this week. The copper rails in them handle up to 600volts/400amperes, so 312 kiloampere total. Although we had the power turned off, the whole thing is on an earth leakage circuitry and we short-circuited it if someone ignores the yellow warning sign telling the world that „this site is being worked on!“ and turns on the power operated circuit-breaker.
As someone who spent four years of his life on being educated in working with electricity, i should have less of a problem with working under such circumstances. Truth is, i don’t. We have tamed electricity, but only to a certain point. And i know the times when people thought electricity is a tiger with pulled teeth, but worked with main-switches that were not insulated but a copper skeleton with a ceramic grip that would glide into a copper clamp[1]. And i knew people who would turn them on under full load, their clothes being set on fire and their sight impaired for a few days by the electric arc.
At the beginning one is very careful. And then comes the moment where one is in the groove and either a washer falls out of his hands right onto one of the uninsulated rails and he tries to catch it, brushing the rails in the process.
A drop of pee escaped.
I guess what i’m trying to say, and to tie it together with some of the events that kept the newscycle alive over the last couple of days is, even if we are in the year 2016 and came a long way from trying to figure out if there is a way to make a sabertooth tiger poop taste good[2], we should not think of the world or the things we built as tamed or safe.

[1] Those things remind me of ribcages.
[2] I’m aware that at this point in time humanity was aware of a large number of nutritious and well tasting alternatives to poop, but it was the first animal from ye old times that came to mind.

chasing time

This week our family celebrated the younger niece’s sixth birthday. An age of change for her as it marks the transition from kindergarten to primary school.

Most people are telling her that this will also mark the beginning of „the serious part of life“ („der Ernst des Lebens, a german saying). A saying that makes me cringe. It is often forgotten how much power words have in out minds, and i know my Nieces are resilient and brave. And while schools seem to have become baking forms, producing unified human beings ready for the maws of society, they still are a primary source of education.
Which is a serious matter, but we should try and nourish the kids with it, present it as a feast that they should try to improve once they host the banquet, and not optimize it so we can force feed it to the St. Martin’s Geese of tomorrow.

I weep for the freedom my Niece has lost. But i smile at the thought of her keeping me on my toes like the okder Niece did with asking questions about this and that she heard at school.