List Making

"It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing." - Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises I've been making lists.

I've been making lists of movies, of my clothes, and of everything in between. I've been making lists in order to spot the trends and re-organize. Psychologist Meg Jay in a Tedtalk remarked that "our brains are re-wired in our twenties." In my late twenties, I begin to regret all the books that I haven't read, all the films that I haven't seen, and all the people that I haven't met and loved. In an attempt to reclaim the hours, I've been reading and watching and I've been making lists.

List 1: The Good People One of the best interviews I've heard on Fresh Air is Terry Gross' latest interview with Joaquin Phoenix. In a segment that is ostensibly filled with tension, awkwardness, and blunders, arises one of most frank and heartfelt conversations. There's something so feral and weird about Joaquin that he seems to be teetering between laughter (Mockumentary!) and a breakdown.

Usually this type of performance is reserved for an Oscar nomination. The idiosyncrasies that are spotlit on screen and deliciously drawn out, the scenes from movies where your soul accidentally pops out (like the Processing scene from The Artist). Then there is Joaquin Phoenix talking to Terry Gross, and it makes me feel like maybe we should all be a little bit weird around each other more often.

List 2: Places In preparation for a trip to Israel, I've been reading and I've been watching. The vast deserts of Lawrence of Arabia and propaganda segments from Youtube (Do not, for God's sake, search for "middle east" on Youtube). The stories of wars after wars and one failed treaty after another is brutal reading for anyone, but I'm growing increasingly excited to go because I love places of conflict. I don't love it for the atrocities, and the tangled knots of pain that may never be resolved, but I love those places because of the weight of the narrative. It's like riding a fixie. You have to be constantly alert and aware of your surroundings, because everything is history, a point of contention. It keeps you on your feet. It forces you to devour as much information as you can. Even if in the end there is no right.

List 3: Ideas Ken and I have started this daily exercise of submitting "fresh ideas" to a shared Evernote notebook. I was skeptical of the task of coming up with 365 ideas, but it seems to be rolling along. I guess the saying is true, "ideas are cheap." It's what you do with it. This will be the main challenge and goal for the year. One, to keep working, staying on top of management, learn about finance, and then finally, have time to realize one of these ideas. We spend too much time in school, or working for other people, sometimes not because we're not ready, but only because we're just too fucking scared. Well, before you get into an accident like T.E. Lawrence, make sure you've done something noble for someone, some continent, or just for yourself. Make yourself proud.

Don't be chicken shit.

List 4: Movies

I've never understood how my film buff friends did it. How they can watch three movies in a day. In fact, I remember a hazy afternoon in Santa Cruz spent with Ashley. It's sunny outside but we were inside with the shades drawn and I think we were on our third movie when I moaned: "how the hell do you guys watch so many movies in a day?"

Recluse I am now, movie-watching, or that is, good-movie-watching is becoming one of the most enjoyable experiences to kill a day. I don't do it often, but when I do, it's a matter of submerging oneself to the swirl of colors, experiences, worlds, and characters. Don't stop the swirls.

In my list-making, I'm learning that my favorite movies are Chinese-language ones. The lyrical Hou Hsiao-Hsiens and pitch perfect Jiang-Wens. American movies are great, brilliant, big-minded, but in the end what robs my heart are apparently Chinese sensibilities. I don't know if a heartbreaking gaze from Shu Qi or Ning Jing's piercing look is equivalent of a particular Chinese sentiment, but it's hit home, literally.

List 5: Moods It's one thing to keep track of your clothes and know that you have 19 sweaters (no more!!) than a desire to track your moods. Emotions are a fickle beast (and it makes us beautiful and unique, chime in the music). One reason I make lists, organize and try to spot trends is so that I have a deeper understanding of whatever subject at hand, to improve upon it, and diagnose the problems. All in all, I do it so I can control it. Not sure whether this is a sign of maturity or loss of sanity actually.

But really, who needs sanity. Keep it weird folks. That's the lesson of the day, and ongoing. KEEP IT WEIRD.