6 January 2008

faced with a Dodo's conundrum...

dodo n., an extinct flightless bird, once a native of the island of Mauritius. Discovered 1598, extinct by 1681.

Dodos are another one of those fascinating creatures that speculation makes all the more interesting...were they really that stupid? What did we do exactly to make them extinct? Why are they called Dodo?

For me, dinosaurs were fascinating too...but I always felt jipped reading stuff about them because I thought, will we ever really know? I don't, and will probably never, know what colour a triceratops was...a lot of it could just be guesswork which isn't good enough for a kid who wants to know for real.

But a Dodo? We were around for Dodos in the 1600's when they dissapeared...in fact, we are probably the main reason they are no longer around. This makes me sad, even sadder that they are now relegated to a caricature of a silly oafish animal.

When my friend Meg first told me that they have a stuffed one in London I was beside myself with glee and after months of saving to get over there (not to see the Dodo! but still) and anticipation and telling everyone about how excited I was to see a Dodo in the flesh...I made a beeline for it in the Museum of Natural History.

In truth, I don't think it's a proper Dodo, rather a very convincing reconstruction. They do have a Dodo skeleton however, but again I think it's an amalgam of a few different Dodos put together for one complete skeleton.

Even so...once again:

-Were they really that stupid?
-What did we do exactly to make them extinct?
-Why are they called Dodo?

I'm sure these questions can be answered by that ever-reliable information source, Wikipedia *cough* but I can't help wondering if there was some easy way we could have avoided their extinction. If we had Dodos running around and in zoos today I doubt they would have that mythical and comical story-book air about them.

I'd take my chances though.


The Essayists...

you know...people who write about stuff in an articulate manner but never scrimping on the dry humour or social commentary or pop culture. These are some of my top picks...sadly, all male.

Even sadder..beware for I have a list a mile long of short essay topics I want to write about (this also means a bit of research for me so it could take a while)...damn that Montaigne making it look so easy! It's all been written about before though, hasn't it?
My Top Picks:

-Alain de Botton
-Michel de Montaigne
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
-Chuck Klosterman
-Umberto Eco
-Lester Bangs
-Arthur Schopenhauer

Alain de Botton of course, one of my heroes...not in the least because he regurgitates philosophy and art so that even the most retarded person understands it perfectly, he also excels in giving you the 'best of' gist so that you can have the luxury of picking where you want to delve further.
(I particularly love 'The Art of Travel' and 'Essays on Love')

Also I like him because he looks like a giant nerd.

Now on to Chuck Klosterman...one of my favourite movies is 'Say Anything'..and Chuck has expressed why a lot of girls love this movie, and why they (and a lot of people really who buy into the movie character persona) are probably delusional (yes, myself included) and will always be dissapointed and how no one will ever measure up. Read on....

I once loved a girl who almost loved me, but not as much as she loved John Cusack. Under certain circumstances, this would have been fine; Cusack is relatively good-looking, he seems like a pretty cool guy (he likes the Clash and the Who, at least), and he undoubtedly has millions of bones in the bank. If Cusack and I were competing for the same woman, I could easily accept losing. However, I don't really feel like John and I were "competing" for the girl I'm referring to, inasmuch as her relationship to Cusack was confined to watching him as a two-dimensional projection, pretending to be characters who don't actually exist.

Now, there was a time when I would have thought that detachment would have given me a huge advantage over Johnny C., inasmuch as my relationship with this woman included things like "talking on the phone" and "nuzzling under umbrellas" and "eating pancakes." However, I have come to realize that I perceived this competition completely backward; it was definitely an unfair battle, but not in my favor. It was unfair in Cusack's favor. I never had a chance.

But here's what none of these upwardly mobile women seem to realize: They don't love John Cusack. They love Lloyd Dobler. When they see Mr. Cusack, they are still seeing the optimistic, charmingly loquacious teenager he played in Say Anything , a movie that came out more than a decade ago.

That's the guy they think he is; when Cusack played Eddie Thomas in America's Sweethearts or the sensitive hit man in Grosse Pointe Blank , all his female fans knew he was only acting...but they assume when the camera stopped rolling, he went back to his genuine self...which was someone like Lloyd Dobler...which was, in fact, someone who is Lloyd Dobler, and someone who continues to have a storybook romance with Diane Court (or with Ione Skye, depending on how you look at it). And these upwardly mobile women are not alone.

We all convince ourselves of things like this -- not necessarily about Say Anything , but about any fictionalized portrayals of romance that happen to hit us in the right place, at the right time.

This is why I will never be completely satisfied by a woman, and this is why the kind of woman I tend to find attractive will never be satisfied by me. We will both measure our relationship against the prospect of fake love.We will never be satisfied. -Chuck Klosterman
some food for thought huh? That's why I like essays; ok Montaigne may ramble and obviously I am more in awe if you can articulate yourself in shorter lengths...but it's there. I'm going to keep reading them as it's the one form that when done really well can be so beneficial and inspiring to your brain.

These are a few of my Favourite Things...

Sadly, I must admit...I agree with most of the things Julie Andrews sings about...*especially* "brown paper packages tied up with strings". But I guess they were mentioned in the song for good reason...they are great!

So here are some of my favourites...obviously the pics aren't all mine; a lil' disclaimer for you all there.

Firstly...owls. I think it's because of the whole 'wise owl' thing in Winnie-the-Pooh when I was little...and they are usually connected with reading/libraries...which is another thing I love so I was bombarded with the idea of owls being these quirky bookish creatures. Ha, actually they are silent and deadly killers...but I'm talking more about the cartoon/illustrated owl...real ones are pretty but vicious! Respect though. Snow Owls in particular are beautiful.

Kasimir Malevich, Constructivist Teapot, 1923.
They have actually started reproducing them! I shudder to think of the cost.

I love teapots, they are so suggestive. I have four and I use them depending on the mood or company I am with. I miss them! When I get back to Oz I will post pics up here of them.

Sir Didymus! My favourite character from Labyrinth and the one I most identified with because of his small, oft loud and feisty nature and unwavering loyalty to his friends.

Ah, Reality Bites is a sentimental favourite of mine from highschool....it's sad how much I identify with Lelaina. And Troy Dire...this was probably Ethan at his best, this and Before Sunrise. Great soundtrack too and Janeane Garofalo is one of my heroes..her wit and intelligence is intimidating.

Etchings are a personal weakness of mine...no matter the subject, if it's an etching I am almost always intrigued by it (lately I've had a lot of exposure to original William Blake etchings...quality stuff!). The only book version of Alice in Wonderland anyone should own is one in which the illustrations are the original etchings by Tenniel from 1865.
One of my most favourite books that I own is the Folio version, cloth bound with the etchings tinted a maroon colour...it makes my heart skip when I take it off my shelf to have a look.

Robots. Old robots. Clunky robots. Robots that look like they are made of tin and will fall apart at any moment.
Robots with character. Older toy robots (not swanky new technological robots!!). They make me smile.

Clouds rock. I will post an entry here dedicated solely to them and their names. It makes them lovelier to look up and know that you are looking at a cirrus, or a stratocumulus, or that one is the furthest away from the earth and made up of ice crystals etc. Call me a geek I don't care, clouds are awesome and everyone should know at least the basics about them.

The Little Prince...probably my most beloved book ever. I can go on endlessly about how much it means to me and how much I love it...but if you've read it you don't need an explanation. I have lost count of the number of people I have bought this book for. Everyone needs a copy.
I met a girl once with a tatt on her lower back, everyone was looking at her a bit odd thinking why does she have a rumpled old hat on her back? It wasn't a hat, it was an elephant inside a boa constrictor and when I said this to her she became less scary and so friendly. Read the book, you'll understand.

Not The Girl You Think You Are

How chuffed am I? I was hoping for my favourite; Lelaina from Reality Bites and I got Celine from Before Sunrise instead!
Love those 90's movie quizzes...the refuge of the bored and wistful.

You are Celine from "Before Sunrise"

You are an "old soul", You love to get absorbed into a good book curled on the windowsill, 
you like to observe the things around you and be introspective.
You have deep thoughts which you don't always share with others. You're feminine, beautiful, intelligent and mysterious. There is also an underlying innocence about you.

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