Tuesday, August 22

Transcendental Veg

I finished Walden today - an absolute joy. Here was one unexpected passage I particularly enjoyed.

I have found repeatedly, of late years, that I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect. I have tried it again and again. I have skill at it, and, like many of my fellows, a certain instinct for it, which revives from time to time, but always when I have done I feel that it would have been better if I had not fished. I think that I do not mistake. It is a faint intimation, yet so are the first streaks of morning. There is unquestionably this instinct in me which belongs to the lower orders of creation; yet with every year I am less a fisherman, though without more humanity or even wisdom; at present I am no fisherman at all. . . . Beside, there is something essentially unclean about this diet and all flesh, and I began to see where housework commences, and whence the endeavor, which costs so much, to wear a tidy and respectable appearance each day, to keep the house sweet and free from all ill odors and sights. Having been my own butcher and scullion and cook, as well as the gentleman for whom the dishes were served up, I can speak from an unusually complete experience. The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness; and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth. Like many of my contemporaries, I had rarely for many years used animal food, or tea, or coffee, etc.; not so much because of any ill effects which I had traced to them, as because they were not agreeable to my imagination. The repugnance to animal food is not the effect of experience, but is an instinct. It appeared more beautiful to live low and fare hard in many respects; and though I never did so, I went far enough to please my imagination. I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind. . . .

If one listens to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius, which are certainly true, he sees not to what extremes, or even insanity, it may lead him; and yet that way, as he grows more resolute and faithful, his road lies. The faintest assured objection which one healthy man feels will at length prevail over the arguments and customs of mankind. No man ever followed his genius till it misled him.

Thursday, August 17

Photos

Of all things, I got inspired today cleaning the pool at work and did some amateur photography in the pool and shower. It kept me well entertained for a good two hours until my batteries died. And most conviently, I had no work to do except make some strides in Walden. There were also no people to get in my way or ask me why I was so strange. (It's hard to imagine anyone at work having any appreciate for art, especially on a construction site.)

I've started posting the photos at my gallery: picasaweb.google.com/masheach

I was initially most fascinated the decrepidation that contrasts with the typically euphoric ambience that pools inspire. I tried to get some capture images that would conjure thoughts and memories of classic "pool time fun" but that was much harder than I thought: Apparently the main imagery of a pool is water. Mostly I contented myself with the cool fish on the walls. The reflection of the flash on the dust is unworldly! though sometimes so strong that it blocks the rest of the shot. The lifeguard office contained a majestic area to play with lighting that I'm still exploring. I'd appreciate anyone's opinions on my work thus far.

Google's free Picasa software is great for basic editing, but for the first time in a long time I wanted to get hardcore. I pulled out my never before used copy of Photoshop. It's actually older (version 7) than what I had gotten spoiled with (Elements 3). I got frustrated with the missing features, mostly "little" things like cropping options and the selection brush. I don't mind learning new software, but learning outdated software? That's silly. If I keep up passionately editing photos, I may justify buying Photoshop. Or it's another reason to buy a Mac because iPhoto is supposed to be fabulous.

Sunday, August 13

Nice sermon

I heard a great homily at the Episcopal church I've been attending this summer. The first reason it was so good was that it was only 15 minutes! But mostly because he renewed my sense of the importance and magnitude of God's actions. This is by far the greatest goal of a preacher. He reflected the mighty act where Christ gives a piece of his flesh at every Eucharist, where Christians feed on it starvingly because failure to receive the elements would kill them. We should come crawling on our hands and knees to receive such a mighty gift!

God bless those trans and consubstantiation-ists!

Thursday, August 3

Heat wave

So here's a little tip for Firefox users to blog on xanga quick - bookmark the "new entry" page, under the Bookmarks menu, right click the new bookmark, and set "keyword" to "x" or whatever. Now type "x" or whatever in the address bar and magic! Maybe I'll update more often now.

I was wondering today - seeing as I hate the heat - how is I think I can survive in Egypt where the upper 90s are common. Well, I'm guessing they are. Wait, I looked it up at the summer highs are only 30! (That's the mid 80s to you, Americans.)