Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Closer Look to the Abstraction of the Universe

Mac the Opium of the Masses:
Mac is the Opium of the Masses; this new revelation appeared to me after the recent Air Mac-Epidemic was out. I had read Professor Tara Brabazon's criticisms on the usage of Google in writing term papers, what she calls "Google University." In the article a commentator left his/her thoughts by saying: “Maybe Google is the new religion.” And then by a completely-accidental-memory-loss I turned over the Karl Marx’s criticism on the philosophy of Right and transformed it into “Mac, the new Opium of the Masses.” You can read Professor Barbazon's discussions here.

Artful Bacteria; Figurative Within the Abstract:
I have a fever; I cough a lot and my body, especially my chest, aches. With all the misery I am not upset, since my self-diagnosis search led me to see a quality that I would have missed otherwise. I think I got pneumonia. I just looked at some chest X-rays and some microscopic images of Streptococcus Pneumoniae, the bacterium that is known to be the major cause of pneumonia. But lung infection is not the only disease that these artful bacteria cause. They have a résumé packed with diseases. The colored images of Streptococcus pneumoniae are especially touching. These images should be seen as part of figurative art since they present the body, the figure, and the real image of colonized living beings. Yet to our eyes it is an abstract form. These microscopic images detach themselves from their reality – a figure of unicellular organism – and turn into abstract forms in our art-educated minds.

A Post-it on my mind:
On any Middle East map, Gaza Strip is a tiny coastal piece of land. Perhaps this wide blade knife shape land is as abstract as any other place on any geographic map. But sometimes we need to look way too closer, as if through a microscope, in order to remind ourselves how lively and figurative these abstract forms on the map are in their actual existence.

Streptococcus Pneumoniae,
The microscopic image is from here

Streptococcus Pneumoniae,
The Microscopic image is from here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Aja Tiger !

It is for 10 days now that I look forward to my next web surfing on Bibi Huryeh:

It is mostly due to my iGoogle friend, a little Tiger. I want to see what my Aja tiger is doing. She is funny. She has this Watermelon garden and her house is so tidy and clean. She works at her garden in the morning, then have breakfast with her friend, then studies and so on. At nights after a quick shower Aja walks in her yard and then she goes to bed. Of course at this time three little rabbits start stealing her watermelons from the garden and I get really annoyed. I am sure she does a lot more. I just need to visit my iGoogle more frequently to cover all of her daily activities.

I adore her, and the fact that she loves watermelons is amazing: Watermelon is my third favorite fruit after Tameshk (Wild berry) and Pomegranate. I don’t know who is Aja’s designer; I guess someone interested in East Asian cultures designed Aja. If I am right about the East Asian background, then I only wonder about the name: Aja is a good name for this cute Lady Tiger. I only don't know about its origins. I think Aja is related somehow to Benin and Africa.

Aja is waking up, Aja tiger from iGoogle themes,

Aja is sleeping and the rabbit gang are at work,
Aja tiger from iGoogle themes,

PS. Oh my, it just snowed in Aja’s home: she is wearing a winter hat standing next to a snow-tiger (snowman). Maybe the weather in her garden changes according to the location I gave iGoogle; in my Aja's case it is Princeton's weather that affects her. Maybe I am not sure?

PS. I found some info about iGoogle themes on Michael Sync's page: Aja's design is Korean. For more info and pictures click here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three Movies:

Movies I have seen in theaters in the past couple of days came out to be huge disappointments. I am not quiet sure what went wrong but in one way or the other my cinematic taste wasn’t satisfied. Perhaps nothing tasted good in the past week because I had a very bad case of flu; the fever is gone but my body still aches. Let's start with the worst:

Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd (2007) was another convincing sign for me to never see his films; instead it is safe still for me to stick to his animations. Burton’s Demon Barber of Fleet Street was a bleeding musical: empty of music and vacantly loaded with blood. Sweeney Todd is an adaptation of a revengeful Broadway musical; the story of a bitter barber who is back to bring justice to the streets of London and the city’s crooked aristocrats, justice to the city that took his happy life from him for a crime he did not commit. And of course his endless murders cannot bring his happy past back. Tim Burton had every element to make one of his best movies: he had Johnny Depp, a set of silver razor blades and a story good enough for him to drag any possible mystical symbol out for creating another Neo-Gothic film, but instead we have a musical that drips blood into the ears. My vote is D for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

This next film is a little tricky. I would have liked the movie if I didn’t have a degree in cinema. And believe me having academic education in cinema sometimes sucks; I have to try very hard only to enjoy watching a movie; for a long time I have to try to concentrate on what is happening on the screen and not see the technical mistakes. For instance in Charlie Wilson’s War, the movie starts in a ceremonial sequence, where they are giving a sort of appreciation letter to Charlie Wilson for his efforts in arming Afghans against Soviets. This sequence is an introductory scene that becomes a flash back and the rest of the movie follows so the viewer knows how Wilson did it. As an introduction scene it is all very good for us to have a glimpse of everyone involved in our story, and it is here where my problem starts; there is Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) wearing black leather gloves, clapping and then there is a mother-shot (long shot) of the same scene where Joanne has her bare marble-white hands; the gloves are nowhere in the picture. You see I was sure they get back to the same sequence because we left the story in a flashback. I waited to the end of the film to see yap, the screen-girl failed her task and indeed Joanne has her gloves for one second and doesn’t have it the next.

This is how studying cinema ruins a relatively good movie and gets the joy of watching movie away from me. Away from this minor technical error, the performances are good; I should say excellent for Julia Roberts. But the story that was supposed to be a drama has too many funny moments so that it gets nominated in the best Comedy - Musical category. And I did not like this too-many-jokes either, because there is a truth in that story and we as the viewers should be cognizant of the reality behind the film, but instead the film makes you laugh and forget about the whole mess of Islamic extremism in Afghanistan. My vote for Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) is B-.

The last one was Atonement (2007) directed by Joe Wright based on a novel by Ian McEwan. Lets put aside the book, though I am sure the book is a marvelous one, and stick to the film. Performances were the strongest point of the film, perhaps I should say unfortunate for the film. Let's give some credit to the music by Dario Marianelli, without whom the film was nothing. A book within a book, a story within a story; I’ve seen better films in this format; but what was missed here was a sense of guilt, a feeling of atonement, a sense that every single shot in the movie lacked. And believe me this sense cannot be enforced only by well-composed music. My vote for Atonement is B.

Atonement, 2007

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I was done with the cleaning, rearranging and organizing. I discovered the unseen broken pieces and the hidden slime. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, so it doesn’t wet the back of my shirt. The water was still dripping from its end. My hands were numb. I could smell the bleach on them only by looking at their thirsty skin. The headache I had fought with all through the morning was still there. I went shopping. I stopped at the red light; I thought everything would be fine, if it changed into green. They came; we ate and the New Year followed. I am still waiting for that green!

Green Composition by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923