Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Everydayness": Heidegger on Death and Kevin Garnett playing a midseason Game in Charlotte

<< crossposted on '30 Home Games' blog
An aging Kevin Garnett VS Charlotte's Cody Zeller.  
What does Champion NBA Power Forward Kevin Garnett have to do with influential thinker Martin Heidegger? Authors Daniel M. Klein and Thomas Cathcart in their humorous book on the Philosophy of death finds a way to explain Heidegger's often complicated ideas via a basketball analogy
Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates:
Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between
Ch 4. Heideggerty-Dog, Ziggity-Boom, What You Do to Me
Look at it this way: Say you're Kevin Garnett and this is Game 7 of the NBA Finals. You're going to play with way more intensity, way more energy, way more life, than in one of those dreary Thursday night midseason games in Charlotte. Heidegger called the latter "everydayness," and he put it down as the ultimate drag. So let's face it squarely, Daryl, this -- right here, right now -- is Game 7 of the Finals, and what a joy it is to be here!

For Heidegger, the worst possible news would be that our souls are immortal. That would condemn us to a never-ending string of those Thursday night games in Charlotte.
My only quibble is the use of Garnett for the example. He's arguably the most consistent and unfailingly intense player currently in the L.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Comedian Pete Holmes on Hating popular movements and trends: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, 'Breaking Bad' etc...

Pouring water on a viral sensation, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:
- The Ice Bucket Challenge: How Can We Really Cure ALS? (socialistappeal.org/)
Critics pour cold water on the Ice Bucket Challenge: are they right? (theconversation.com)
- The worst part of the Ice Bucket Challenge is the people criticizing it (Vice.com)
- Dumping a bucket of ice on your head does not make you a Philanthropist (Vice.com)

'You Made It Weird' with Pete Holmes: Episode195 - Ari Voukydis
PETE HOLMES: (4m 40s) Sometimes people hate things or have a negative reaction to things because they're threatened by them... I realise once I said that it's kinda obvious. I was talking to my brother last night and he was talking about how he hates 'Breaking Bad'. I was like "Have you seen it?" and he was like "No". He's seen one or two episodes out of order. And in a loving way I was telling him how full of sh!t he is for -- Not because of Breaking Bad, you don't have to like Breaking Bad but -- the great thing about my brother is that he heard me. He wasn't just like "F*ck you", he's my older brother. He doesn't need to listen to this sh!t
What is it about Breaking Bad that you hate? Is it that everyone loves it and you like missed the train? You didn't watch it. You're left out. Does it represent loneliness and isolation. Because I feel that way sometimes about [Downton] Abbey... He also said "F*ck American Hustle!". So I said "You saw it?" and he said "No".
JOHN F. O'DONNELL: He just sounds like he's being curmudgeonly.
HOLMES: That's the worst thing you can do because I love my brother so I say "You're full of sh!t". To let it go is to abandon them which is kind of what I've done with my parents. It's beyond hope so you let it go. But with my brother it's like don't hate Bradley Cooper he was great in 'The Place Beyond the Pines'

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams ruminating about death and suicide to Marc Maron. Transcript from Episode 67 of WTF Podcast (April 26, 2010)

RIP Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)
I've listened to 'WTF with Marc Maron' since its inception, I recall episode 67 with Robin Williams being quite the breakthrough. It was one of the first episodes to get wider press attention and had an illustrated graphic to accompany it. It was also notable personally as it was the first time I began to realise the power of the podcast format to reveal a person't truth and a public figure's hidden humanity. Many articles have since been written about the dour nature of the Comedian Podcast, revealing uncomfortable truths underneath the laughs. Like good standup, these podcasts are therapeutic, raw and engaging. The Sad clown in the therapists's chair or in this case a fellow Comedian's Garage.

Robin Williams on the breakthrough WTF episode
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast: Episode 67 - Robin Williams transcript
MARC MARON: (52m) You don't seem to me like someone who is morbidly fascinated or hung up on death?
ROBIN WILLIAMS: No that's weird. When I was drinking there was only one time, even for a moment where I thought "F*ck life". And I went like, then even my conscious brain went like "Did you honestly just say "F*ck life". You know you have a pretty good life as it is right now. Have you noticed the two houses? Yes. Have you noticed the girlfriend? Yes. Have you noticed that things are pretty good even though you're not working right now? Yes. Let's put the suicide over here and discuss it. Let's put that in the discussion area.
First of all you don't have the balls to do it. I'm not going to say it out loud. Have you thought about buying a gun? No. What were you going to do, cut your wrist with a water pick? Maybe...
Can I put that here in the "What the F*ck!" Category. Can I ask you what you're doing right now? You're sitting in a hotel room with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Is this maybe influencing your decision? Possibly.
OK. And who's that in the bed over there? I don't know. Well don't discuss that with her cuz she may tweet it. This may not be good... let's put that over here. We can talk about that in therapy or maybe a podcast two years from now. You wanna talk about it in a podcast? No I feel safe. You're talking about it in a podcast. Who is this? It's your conscience Asshole. Oh ok...
MARON: That was a nice interval
WILLIAMS: Discussions of death, its very freeing Thank You.
MARON: It's a little, you know you've had all this stuff and there's a certain degree of - It doesn't matter
WILLIAMS: Big time!
MARON: It doesn't matter.
Listen to the full episode made available to honor Robin's recent passing
Remembering Robin Williams
- WTF Podcast: Episode 67 - Robin Williams

Find a support contacts listing for Australia here
National help lines and websites

Suicide and crisis support If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.
To talk to someone now call
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Monday, July 28, 2014

How the Movie of our life ends: Linklater's film 'BoyHood' and Duncan Watts' book 'Everything is Obvious'

VICE Meets: Richard Linklater on the Making of "Boyhood"
Director Richard Linklater describes 'Boyhood' (2014) as a meditation on "Growing up, its about time passing and life going on". Linklater is adept at incorporating grand existential themes in his films. As the movie was shot and written over the span of 12 years, it reflects the malaise and meandering we have through the passage of time. Like any good narrative the viewer remains uncertain as to how it will develop or end, the unconventional filmmaking process making the stakes higher. This is reflected in Grantland's 'Straight to Video' review of the film
CHRIS CONNELLY: (4m 21s) He, I feel hasn't settled into a rhythm yet because he doesn't know where the story is going and that's the thing that's so interesting. So big things can't happen in quite the same way we expect from a movie because he's remaining open - Rick is - to what's gonna happen next in these kid's lives.
Without spoiling the movie, 'BoyHood' closes with several beats which might have constituted an "ending" had they been handled by another Writer/Director. In keeping with the theme of time passing and mirroring life itself Linklater chooses an unassuming scene to ultimately punctuate a narrative told with such moments.

I'm currently in the process of reading two books, 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell and 'Everything is Obvious' by Duncan J. Watts. I was surprised through the course of reading both that they contradicted each other. Duncan cautions against Post Hoc fallacies, not to be misled by conclusions drawn after the fact. In 'Chapter 5: History, the Fickle Teacher' with subheadings like "History cannot be told while it's happening" and "Whoever tells the best story wins" he describes the difficulty in evaluating something as ephemeral as a moment in time.
'Everything is Obvious [*Once You Know the Answer]:
How Common Sense Fails' by Duncan Watts
Chapter 5: History, the Fickle Teacher
Within the narrow confines of a movie narrative, it seems obvious the right time to evaluate everything should be at the end. But in real life, the situation is far more ambiguous. Just as the characters in a story don't know when the ending is, we don't know when the movie of our own life will reach its final scene. And even if we did, we could hardly go around evaluating all choices, however trivial, in light of our final state on our deathbed. In fact, even then we couldn't be sure of the meaning of what we accomplished...
In reality, the events that we label as outcomes are never really endpoints. Instead, they are artificially imposed milestones, just as the ending of a movie is really an artificial end to what in reality is an ongoing story. And depending on where we choose to impose an "end" to a process, we may infer very different lessons from the outcome.
Linklater offers this epiphany on his process, "I guess the key thing is to still think it's worth it". A friend recently remarked as we evaluated the intervening decade since we'd known each other - "As long as you're happy today, you'll have no regrets about your past because everything was leading up to this point".
Fin

Find other posts that reference Richard Linklater
- 'Loz in Transit' on the radio: Talking 'Waking Life' and existentialism
- Searchlab Lecture: Richard Linklater talking about being at peace with your art
- Home Movies: 'Before Sunrise' - "I've never been anywhere" quote
Anticipation for 'Before Midnight' and why 'Before Sunrise' is my favorite movie (No Spoilers)
Anticipation for 'Boyhood' and why Richard Linklater is my favorite director
How the Movie of our life ends: Linklater's film 'BoyHood' and Duncan Watts' book 'Everything is Obvious'

Friday, May 9, 2014

Anticipation for 'Boyhood' and why Richard Linklater is my favorite director

VIDEO: 'Boyhood' Official Trailer (2014)

I wrote a piece roughly this time last year in anticipation for Richard Linklater's third installment of the 'Before...' trilogy. 'Before Midnight' premiered at the last Sydney Film Festival, Linklater's latest feature 'Boyhood' will have its debut for this year's program.

I still recall the moment I heard about 'Boyhood'. I was on a train reading Film industry news from some Sydney street press, they announced a Richard Linklater project where he'd enlisted Ethan Hawke and a young boy to film over several years in real time. A piece of cinematic fiction in the vein of the 'Up' documentary series. This was in the early 2000s I had not yet stumbled on 'Before Sunrise' thus this predated my adoration of Linklater.

VIDEO: The long conversation - Richard Linklater on cinema and time
RICHARD LINKLATER: Time is a really powerful factor but it is in all of our lives... I think it's more the perception. How your brain perceives and unfolds through a day and just the perception of an event is so human whether you're in a waking or dream state
Richard Linklater's art is distinct for me in that his work speaks for itself. He handles what it is to be human and the existential baggage that comes with it so deftly that further analysis or supplementation only muddles the ideas. His view of the world as mirrored in his interviews and the manner of speaking in his films is what I love about the podcast format. The honesty, investigation and connection found in my favorite podcasts (YMIW with Pete Holmes and WTF with Marc Maron) had been satiated years before in the conversation found in Linklater's ouvre. I explained in length how Linklater appeals to me in a radio conversation about his movie 'Waking Life' - Talking 'Waking Life' and existentialism

Unlike 'Before Midnight', I've watched the trailer and am not averse to reading up on 'Boyhood' prior to the screening. 'Boyhood' premieres at the State Theatre, Friday June 6, 8:30pm. It will be showing again Saturday June 7 at 11:30am as part of the Sydney Film Festival Program.

Richard Linklater: About Time... trains and dreams
Find other posts that reference Richard Linklater
- 'Loz in Transit' on the radio: Talking 'Waking Life' and existentialism
Anticipation for 'Before Midnight' and why 'Before Sunrise' is my favorite movie (No Spoilers)
- Searchlab Lecture: Richard Linklater talking about being at peace with your art
- Home Movies: 'Before Sunrise' - "I've never been anywhere" quote

Monday, April 28, 2014

Video Game Playthroughs of life: 'Review' with Forrest MacNeil [or Myles Barlow]

I grew up playing Videogames but have not played obsessively for close to a decade. The last game I recall being committed to was 'Super Mario Sunshine' (2002) for the Nintendo Gamecube. In the intervening years games have developed more realistic graphics and incorporated more engaging, moralistic narratives. With the online component and achievement building of personas and worlds in Games like 'Minecraft' and 'Second Life' there's a whole universe of Gaming I'm unfamiliar with.

Several of my friends are gamers and I'm often tantalized by their gaming conversations. I've never revisited gaming as I like to manage my "time sucks" which I know Gaming would be. Instead I just ask a lot of questions, consume shows like 'Good Game' or 'The Indoor Kids' and watch IGN Video Game Reviews.

A good friend told me that he found watching Video Game Walkthroughs a satisfying replacement to actually playing Videogames. He could engage with the emotion by being alongside the Player without having to expend as much mental energy and stress. I found this amusing at first but realised that a lot of our entertainment is passive anyway. We watch Sports without playing and enjoy Cooking shows without picking up a utensil or sampling the meal. This is what cinema is built on.

The thing that's different with Playthroughs is that Videogames are already one level removed from reality, so observing someone playing is two levels removed from the actual experience.

VIDEO: The Last Of Us Gameplay Walkthrough Playthrough (Full game)

I started wondering how a Playthrough of life might look like and how appealing that would be. The closest I could come up with was the Documentary format, then I remembered 'Review with Myles Barlow', a satirical black comedy about a critic who reviews life experiences in response to viewer questions. The Australian show has since been adapted for American audiences by Andy Daly, 'Review with Forrest MacNeil'.

VIDEO: Review - Life as a Thief

A friend of mine recently Facebook posted that her Eevee evolving into Sylveon (Pokemon XY for Nintendo 3DS) was her "proudest achievement so far this year" which was met by congratulations all around. She remarked astutely "It's all the same to the reward centre of my brain".

Other posts on "Life as a Video Game"
- Dan Harmon and Duncan Trussell: We are in a simulation echo. God was originally a mortal programmer who "sacrificed himself as a player"
- Exploring Worlds in life and in Video Games - The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes
- Onnit Blog: Self Improvement in Video Games VS the "Real World"
- Kumail Nanjiani and Pete Holmes talk about "affecting the world TODAY"
- Skateboarders GoPro Train Derailment aftermath - 'Strange Days' visceral experience
- On being a Badass: Comedians Harland Williams and Pete Holmes featuring band 'Biting Elbows'

Friday, March 14, 2014

Comedians Pete Holmes and Ben Schwartz discussing Happiness and the Haters

Pete Holmes in conversation with Ben Schwartz discuss Happiness and how trolls and haters fit into the equation.
You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes: #198 Ben Schwartz
BEN SCHWARTZ: (28m 40s) I would want to make everybody happy. As I got older you realise it would waste your whole life to try to get people to love, you just want people to be happy, not everybody's going to like your sh*t and not everybody is going to think you're good and by the way you may not be good in their eyes... Not to be egotistical about it and let it slide. The more you get hit by it, the more you fail, the more you get hurt by stuff like that the easier it is to learn to let it go
PETE HOLMES: But its also, your interpretation of happiness is you and that person getting along...
SCHWARTZ: Yes which is - Great call!
HOLMES: - which isn't true
SCHWARTZ: That's not true, you're absolutely correct. That's not the way to live anybody's life. A random person I don't know
HOLMES: ... It's manipulative for me to try and make everyone like me... Some people hate what you love that's just how it is... Maybe their happiness is hating you. I'm not saying they shouldn't be saying racist things on YouTube. I'm also not saying that's their higher self being filled with hate and spewing darkness. I don't think that's good. Maybe you're not for them and that's OK.
The comedians inject Bill Waterson's ('Calvin and Hobbes' creator) quote about happiness into the conversation. It's not the first time the quote has come up on Pete Holmes' podcast, ambition and the drive of an artist are recurring themes on the show.
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.
- Bill Waterson
Zen Pencils: #128 Bill Watterson - A cartoonist’s advice
The Zen Pencils' comic illustrating the Waterson quote also gets a repeat mention. Fittingly Zen Pencils is currently presenting an original multi-part story commenting on the tension between Creators and Haters. Find them here:
- 144. The Artist-Troll War 1: HATRED BREEDS HATRED
- 145. The Artist-Troll War Part 2: NEGATIVITY DESTROYS ALL
- 146. The Artist-Troll War 3: CREATORS > HATERS

Find previous Pete Holmes podcast references below:
Pete Holmes collection: Adjacent experiences
- Zach Cregger: Being a kid again and the power of "play"
- Matt Besser: Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities
- Duncan Trussell: Traveling, living the dream and remembering it
- Kyle Kinane: Being excited everyday
- The Sklar Brothers: Performing, possibly failing - That's living the dream
- A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts