revengers

November 19, 2017

sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Saw Thor: Ragnarok yesterday with my family and my son’s friend.  I liked it.   This wasn’t surprising given I’m such a fanboy of comic books (growing up I read a lot of Marvel and DC) and I enjoy the films of the New Zealand director, Taika Waititi.  Had to ask my wife given my bias if it was really good. Thankfully she agreed.

Like any superhero flick there was action and single-line quips but I found the humour quite refreshing.  Seeing as I found the movie franchise disappointing before this latest instalment, I didn’t have high hopes for this one.  It was inspired, if unexpected, to have the Kiwi direct it.

While the first feature was an amalgam with a love story and the second one tried desperately to be serious, I think the fusion with comedy really worked.  I knew that Chris Hemsworth was funny (maybe it’s the Aussie larikinism) but didn’t realise he had great comedic timing.  But for me, what I really enjoyed was the character of Korg voiced by the director – it was cue to not take the movie so seriously.  Sure it wasn’t the best film I ever saw (but it wasn’t trying to be) and it may not ‘pass’ certain tests or criteria.  It was simply and purely a popcorn film – a damn good one in my opinion.  When you watch  a film, it goes down to intent – sometimes you just want to entertained or distracted. It is what it is – one shouldn’t have to serious all the time.

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almost famous

November 13, 2017

the other night I saw the 2015 dramatic film: “The End of the Tour” on SBS.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like it – it was essentially a conversation and given it’s difficult as medium skews heavily toward being visual- but I really enjoyed it.  It was an interview over several days by David Lipsky representing Rolling Stone magazine about the critically-acclaimed author David Foster Wallace (I must confess whose name I hadn’t heard before).

I found that actors cast, Jason Segel (for Wallace) and Jesse Eisenberg (for Lipsky) were well-thought choices.  They were both “smart” enough that neither performance seemed “wooden” (suffice it to say it wasn’t an enormous stretch to suspend disbelief).   This can be “tricky” given it was a mainly dialogue-driven plot.

Aside from the words, I think what drew me in was the shared “addiction” of watching too much television.  Moreover, I can relate to wanting a job where not too much thinking is required (as a respite of sorts) – it reminded me of a friend that once said that a “mindless” task was a welcome break for her from her usual job.  Furthermore, I liked that within it was featured an action movie that didn’t require a whole lot of mental horsepower to enjoy (to what I viewed as juxtaposition when the characters watched a black-and-white film on tv).

I found the scene meaningful when the proponents couldn’t find where they parked their rental car in the airport.  This just illustrates how there are different kinds of smarts and how book-smarts is not always preferable in accomplishing certain everyday tasks.  As the adage goes:  Common Sense is not that common.  This is a moment of levity that cuts the seriousness of an otherwise dry account.

I enjoyed the line:  “Nice but not real.” How some situations are artificial – one doesn’t have to look far for the often fabricated constructs of reality tv.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not hating on the entire genre but, like all “entertainment”, some shows are more “watchable” given the individual’s purpose.

I’m now curios about Wallace’s opus of a novel:  Infinite Jest and Lipsky’s best-selling memoir: Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. Hopefully, I’ll eventually have time to read them.

sing

November 6, 2017

 

last week a choir performed this song.  I haven’t heard it in awhile being in OZ but it’s one of my favourite hymns. It made sense that they sung the English version so that most people could understand.

Strangely, the original is by St. Ignatius of Loyola and for some reason my personality clashes with the Jesuits.  The point is (regardless of spirituality), we should always aspire to be more selfless.  I don’t claim to be so inclined but the reminder to be generous is always welcome.

The English lyrics can be found below but I find the Tagalog version more beautiful and expressive.  There are many versions (most of which you can find on YouTube)  but I still prefer the one by the Bukas-Loob Ministry.

To paraphrase St. Augustine:  “Those who sing pray twice.”  A certain person inadvertently was mistaken  when he claimed to originate the saying (having received an Augustinian education I’m reasonably certain).  I’ve grown to be an admirer, who doesn’t like a good redemption story (I think that requires a seperate blog entry).

I may no longer have the ability to do it outwardly but in my mind, I still sing.

PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY (with English lyrics)

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous
Teach me to serve You as I should
To give and not to count the cost
To fight and not to heed the wounds
To toil and not to seek for rest
To labor and ask not for reward
Save that of knowing that I do Your most holy will

 

PANALANGIN SA PAGIGING (PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY in Tagalog)

Panginoon, turuan Mo akong maging bukas palad
Turuan Mo akong maglingkod sa Iyo
Na magbigay ng ayon sa nararapat
Na walang hinihintay mula sa Iyo

Na makibakang ‘di inaalintana
Mga hirap na dinaranas
Sa tuwina’y magsumikap na hindi humahanap
Ng kapalit na kaginhawahan
Na ‘di naghihintay kundi ang aking mabatid
Na ang loob Mo’y siyang sinusundan

Panginoon, turuan Mo akong maging bukas palad
Turuan Mo akong maglingkod sa Iyo
Na magbigay ng ayon sa nararapat
Na walang hinihintay mula sa Iyo

heart and mind

October 24, 2017

saw an exhibit of an artist friend of mine who did a Ph.D.  My wife and I met her at the Adelaide Convention Centre – it’s been a couple of years since we last caught up but it feels like it was just yesterday that we met.

she said something of interest to me: the colour yellow sometimes indicates psychotic disturbance –   I had a feature wall at our home painted that hue.  I shared that when the lines on both palms (often referred to as the heart and head lines) align it is said that (I’m of course paraphrasing) that you’re either a genius or crazy – both of us share this rare trait while most of the populations’ lines do not meet.  It might be a case of self-aggrandisement but I subscribe to that belief.

That said, why can’t it be two sides of the same coin?  The traditional notion is either-or, binary thinking. Surely, the interstitial side (often with the grooves) is more interesting.

My upbringing and training often focused on the ‘how’ but psychology  and art has led me to believe the ‘why’ is just as important.

nudge, nudge, wink, wink

October 20, 2017

Richard Thaler recently won the Nobel for Economic Sciences for his contributions to the field of Behavioural Economics (an amalgam of Economics and Psychology).   While it was for numerous works, I enjoyed his book on libertarian paternalism more commonly known as nudge theory (Nudge:  Improving Health, Wealth, and Happiness).  Moreover, he had a cameo in the Oscar-nominated film I liked called The Big Short (based also on a book) –  while intellectually I agree with the hot-hand fallacy as a former basketball player I can’t deny the boost of confidence this gave me.

I think everyone running for public life (or already in it) will be well-served to read it.  Hopefully, I can apply some of the teachings to my own life.

Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz were previously nominated by the committee for economics.  I wonder which author I read will be next?

closing time

October 18, 2017

technically the Repatriation Hospital didn’t close down today but it was my last day at the free student physical therapy clinic.  I wasn’t really that sentimental before but I’m feeling a bit sad.  Maybe since I spent several years there and was so used to the caring people there or maybe because I’ve been more in tune with my emotions since nearly a decade of  living with an ABI.  Regardless, it was probably a combination of these factors.

More than my very slow improvements, I’m more of a homebody but it was a weekly “excuse” to get out of the house.  I’m not very big on socialisation but it felt good to be around other people who truly understood the challenges of daily life and the “simple” acts most people don’t give much thought to but are difficult for us.  It was never about commiseration but having a shared experience.

Many thanks to Dino for the rides; to Sandy and the other girls at Reception; the Physios in charge and the students assigned to me (hopefully you learned a lot from me as I did from you).

Rehabilitation is so much more than “mending” the body.

worse for wear

October 10, 2017

i won’t lie – I’m bit upset.  Just came from my NeuroPhysio and although my Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) test wasn’t too bad it was the first time I can recall it getting worse. This coupled with my recent falls (of which I rarely did), the return of what seems like the “shaking” of my hands, and my recent battles with anxiety is genuinely concerning to me.

She agrees that it would have been much worse if not for my exercising daily (and I have to do “quite a few”). Improvements have always been unrealistic – our goal was always keeping it from getting worse.  Because the doctors still can’t identify it, there is no timeline I can refer to – it may go downhill rather quickly at any time like it did at the onset before it “stabilsed”.  She gave me additional exercises to see if these help.

I’m naturally pessimistic but stubborn.  It’s not my nature and was raised not to wallow but have learned that I can’t keep everything bottled in like I usually do.  I think I’ve got the right to feel overwhelmed sometimes.  I felt afraid so I cried.  It was cathartic and necessary for me to move on.