JaSonya: Archive of Random Thoughts

Traveling. 7/20/2004

Sonya and I just returned from a two-week trip to Spain for the baptism of our new nephew, Galileo Eduardo. I took a lot of pictures and thought about what traveling means. I think that one of the best things traveling to foreign places can do is to allow you to return to your home as a visitor. That is, traveling can give great perspective for self reflection. Hopefully, after returning from a trip you notice things about where you live that you didn't before.

Traveling alone is also a great time for self-reflection. The insulated environment of being alone in a large city with millions of people around you that you don't know and probably can't communicate with well anyway turns everything inward. Great capture of this feeling is in the recent, "Lost in Translation".

Introducing Bender... 1/9/2004

So this isn't so much a thought, more a plug for the fabulous and production-intensive Bender movie, just released. See the adventurous Joe Bender in his first not-quite-feature-length movie shot entirely on location. Feel the excitement!

Also, since I got a brand-new digital camera for my birthday I'll be posting a bundle of new photos soon- watch this space!

Review-olutions 11/10/03

I just saw the third (final?) movie in the Matrix series, "Matrix Revolutions". This installment has been panned by fans and critics alike. The critics might have a point, the movie isn't great. The fans, however, are judging the movie on an impossible scale.

As a series the Matrix has followed the well-traveled path of many tales. The opening provides mystery, excitement, wonder and, above all else, promise. The middle part hints at some answers, gives some background, adds to the confusion, and provides whole lot of story development and maintenance- it invariably ends in a cliff hanger. The finale' wraps up loose ends, provides answers and provides the climax- generally a moral struggle involving high stakes- the outcome of which is a foregone conclusion. What do people like more, promise or results? I think that question has been answered in any number of situations.

Most movies avoid this problem altogether by mainly sticking to the first step. How many romantic comedies are told in more than one step? The few series that avoid the mundanity (and possibly even sadness and dissapointment) of playing the formula out to the end do so either by reinventing the story at each step, and doing it really well or by following the above formula but doing it really well.

Now, for a minute, think of the other parts of life that might also be described in such terms...

Rant 10/24/03

How Stupid is the U.S.? Ok- short disclaimer. I'm not against individual soldiers; I realize that its a complicated situation in Iraq; I've never been in a combat situation; etc. etc.

That being said, how stupid is the U.S.? Check out this fairly unbelievable account of several elderly Iraqi women being held hostage to force a relative to turn himself in (yeah- yeah- I know all's fair in the pursuit of terrorists). I heard this story on NPR but it's a fairly interesting fact that after a bit of digging it's the only reference I can find to this story. All I can say is that if another country tried to do this to us, under whatever pretense you can imagine, we'd bomb the living s**t out of them. The women have since been released.

Remembrance 9/11/03

Hearts and Planes

Have you ever sat and just listened to your heart pump? Or better, sit in a cool, quiet place, place your palm on your chest and feel the beat through your thin skin? Like repeating a word over and over aloud, "the, the, the, the, the, the, the...", "tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump...", each beat falls more improbable than the last. Just thinking about the compact machine sitting centimeters below the surface makes it seem more and more fragile, less and less likely to continue. Each beat surely brings the machine closer to its end.

Faith comes in many forms. The little faiths we have every day, every minute, every beat allow us to continue, allow us to rebuff the sudden stopping.

In memorial of those who were suddenly stopped on 9/11.

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on "I am not too sure." - H.L.Mencken

September 11th: One Year After
How do we remember the day? It seems to be viewed through a fog of recent history, dulled, muted somewhat but still achingly painful. We lost the twin towers of innocence and cynicism at once, though both are resilient.

Although, fundamentally, little has changed, the event has left a lasting mark. We have learned, again, about the twins, hate and understanding. The lesson of understanding is constantly forgotten and seemingly relearned. Perhaps with each cycle we move further from hate and closer to understanding. Meaning is not the sole domain of life, it comes also from death.

In fond remeberance of you who died on September 11th, 2001, I would have been happy to know any of you.

Having just returned from my first trip to India I was thinking about inequality. Why is it hard for Americans to travel in areas with people with so little money. Perhaps the problem is the distinction that can be made between being poor and living in poverty. In travelling through several regions of India, both city and country, I noticed a great number of people with very likely little money and/or possessions but saw very few people who were needing for the basic necessities. The people in the small villages in the country, especially, seemed very happy, and lead seemingly vibrant lives. Of course my opinion comes mainly from observing from a vehicle, it is impossible for me to know what the people I saw actually experience.
The embarrassment of being wealthy creates a barrier which prevents travellers from feeling the real sense of the place I think. I found it to be a time to reflect on my own dependence on possessions for hapiness. Does having thousands of times more wealth than a villager in India make my life thousands of times more fulfilling? Is it any more fulfilling? A very important lesson lies in the answering of this question.