David Herbert Lawrence was a polarizing figure. Some deem him one of the greatest 20th century novelists, while others disdain his allusive and sensual style. I was never a fan of him or his writings. I had heard all about him from my father and from a professor of mine in literature (she remains to be one of my close friends, even until now). She talked about Sons and Lovers tangentially in a discussion regarding some of his poetry, and mentioned it as a modern rendition of Oedipus Rex. Intrigued, I borrowed the book from a library. However, I was bored to sleep even at the very first chapter: that did not bode well, because even supposed notoriously difficult works like The Sound and the Fury and The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man were not soporific to me. I stopped reading that, and promised myself to try another one of his works in the future. (more…)
Archive for March, 2008
My classes have finally ended: my last examinations were yesterday; by virtue of this, I have become free to do anything I want once again. Since my schedule is loose right now, I have decided to write once more, and I hope also more consistently.
In the online world, memes have grown in popularity among people who share something fundamental. Within a culture, memes act like viruses. This is not to say that they are deadly, but they do spread rapidly and become easily shared by this culture. The meme I shall try to dissect in this post is a meme that is (or was) shared by people who are fond of anime culture. The people who birthed this meme, however, are not necessarily the only people who appreciate anime, but they are a significant chunk.
Doesn’t it look professional?
The crux of Cameron‘s blog, even with all the tangential discussions regarding anime, is his search for the anime that he could proudly place as his ninth favorite among all the anime he has seen. Although he himself has not commented regarding this, I believe this is so: it is, after all, what is reflected in his blog’s name: searchofno9. My search for the holy grail is not as intensive or as defined as Cameron’s, although I am also searching for anime I can both place in my top ten list as well as be proud of.
WHY, OH WHY?
My birthday was last February 23. I didn’t want to be self-serving and post simply because I was celebrating a birthday, but I did give myself a gift (or rather, a chore). I bought myself a planner (which I didn’t use much anyway); in addition, I promised myself, in the attempt to protract my life, to eat more healthily, to exercise everyday and simply to suck the marrow out of my temporal life. As a result, my decreased viewing time with regard to anime became almost infinitesimal. It didn’t really matter to me much: I had severed connections with some of my closest online buddies for quite a while (a shoutout to people like Ken, meganeshounen and koro), and I did not read other writers’ blogs (except some posts written by IKnight and Cameron).
I will go gay for Mitsuuru
I don’t know if this is quite obvious, but watching anime wastes time quite well. Even with just following two series, one hour a week can be used for a lot of exercises already, or a lot of done homework. I’m not degrading anime, but being more intercalated with reality the realization simply came to me.
One thing, however, made me want to immerse myself immediately in the world of anime once again. This was the gender-reversal, or gender-bending of the characters of Haruhi Suzumiya. I know I’ve been terribly late for the party, but I found the idea to be simply marvelous. Haruki attracts me more as a character than Haruhi does simply because it feels so right: aggressiveness and impulsiveness are traits that are predominantly masculine in nature. In the movies we have John Rambo or Chuck Norris dive in nigh-impossible situations with little regard for their own safety: in anime we have Son Goku and the different Saiyans destroying worlds because of sheer impulse and aggression.
But as much as I would like to peg cynicism and acerbic wit as strengths of men as well, it would be no fun to watch Haruki and Kyon making out, would it? (It would probably be fun for the yaoi fangirls of the world, but for the most part homosexuality is looked upon as an aberration. It can be seen in the reactions of regular people watching the intimate scenes of Brokeback Mountain.)
Kyonko also brings something new to the table. Society has noticed and has transformed itself in such a way that aggression in women as well as impulsiveness is no longer viewed as something abnormal. Women have become more and more empowered over the years; some women even attest that they are better than men. Satire and vitriol, however, remains firmly dominated by men (especially in literature). From the ramblings of Celine to the House of Leaves, it has always been a man’s game. Seeing Kyonko, who is Kyon but embodied in a girl, in action, would be truly a novelty. And this, I wager, would make the alternate universe of Haruki Suzumiya, Kyonko, Asahina Mitsuuru, Nagato Yuuki and Itsuko a lot more colorful than the world of Haruhi Suzumiya.
At one in the morning, I was thinking about postponing this write-up for later this week. I realized, however, that I have not written anything for more than two weeks. I thus decided to proceed with whatever ramblings I possessed at that moment.
I may have had been on hiatus from this blog, but I have been quite active in real life. I guess real life and the Internet are reciprocals of one another: one cannot serve two masters. I have tried to be more fit as a person in the time that I have gone. Although it was just a snap decision, it was one which I vowed to live with for better or for worse (I was not fat, and I am even leaner now, but I simply decided it was high time to stop living unhealthily). First, I have stopped eating from fastfood chains as well as regularly purchase vegetables and healthy food in general. Second, I have ran 45 minutes to an hour for at least five times a week (and I have been successful). Third, I have limited my consumption to 1000 Calories a day at the least, and 1800 Calories at the most. Fourth, I do abdominal crunches as well as lift weights. Within just the weeks I have been gone, I have lost roughly four pounds and possess toned abdominal muscles in their inception. These activities, of course, take away from the time I spend watching anime as well as relating them to multivariate ideas and media. In fact, I have not even watched the 20th installment of Kimikiss yet, even if it is the only series I have still been following up to the present.
I have stopped reading novels extraneous to my current curriculum because they force one to relegate study time, or dissipate it altogether. I have stopped with the first part of D.H. Lawrence’s The White Peacock, and will resume reading after the dreaded Finals and the Evil Papers have been submitted. This is not to say that I have just studied in the weeks I have been gone (I have discovered that sleep becomes more and more exigent whenever one is physically exhausted). On the contrary, I have lost faith in studying. This is not due to my grades experiencing a freefall (they are still relatively high); simply put, I have just rearrived at the point where I once again question the value of studying with regard to the rest of my life. (Although it has been sleep that has utilized most of my ‘free’ time, I have watched a few critically-acclaimed movies. Just two days ago I watched The Killing, a film directed by Stanley Kubrick about a heist gone wrong. It was quite a spectacle, and it has aged very well, with values and concepts which remain relevant even 41 years after its premiere.)
I was never a fan of Naruto but I really could commiserate with one of its characters, namely Nara Shikamaru. Quite a few people who watch Naruto and who I know in real life describe me to be such. When the going gets tough, I can practically achieve anything, but when there are no people who nag me or no one who gives a damn I also do not. I have often excelled at school; often, professors close to me tell me that I could achieve much more, just that I am too lazy to. It has been my story even until now. Just two days ago, some classmates of Philosophy asked me if was a Dean’s Lister. I replied honestly that I was not. It brought me much silent joy to note that they were quite surprised at this; they even quipped that they expected me to be there with the intelligence that I had.
I’m as surprised at myself just as he is with me.
For me, however, even with the diligence I temporarily restored within me, life was never about grades. I always stayed away (and even have a rival in my own dormitory) from people whose sole purpose as students were to academically excel. Grades are not a measure of one’s intelligence; rather, I believe them to be a measure of persistence, diligence, and perseverance. Even the smartest will get zeroes if he has not read the required material. It is all a matter of discipline. Since I now believe I have at least been disciplined with regard to academics (and the grades have improved, for once), I started two weeks ago to discipline myself with regard to my health. I simply want to suck the marrow of life: moderation and discipline, I believe, are the key to it.