Monday, September 29, 2014

Film: End of Watch



End of Watch is a brilliant, hard hitting cop movie. The film has a sinister sense of foreboding that builds all the way through, aided by the protagonist pairing endlessly talking about their relationships in the same way that movie soldiers do just before they get blown to smithereens.

I was disappointed by the conclusion, which I figure to be a 'cop out' that hints of pandering to the studio executives' need to appeal to a broad audience. Also, I just learned that an alternative ending was filmed which wraps up the movie in what I would call the right way. Nevertheless, this gripe aside, End of Watch is well worth watching.

****

Book: Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh



I didn't find this book particularly interesting but imagine it would insightful for folk who are new to the ideas behind Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation. Nevertheless, it was short and simple, and I did collect a few notes and quotes that are worth pondering:

- Most of us adopt the embargo response to fear, we distract ourselves from what's happening inside - we run away from ourselves. ...We can start to transform feelings of fear with just a smile and mindful breathing.
- "Belly breathing" is a simple method to ground ourselves when feeling a strong emotion. It helps gently acknowledge the feeling and helps it to pass through.Mantra: "Breathing in, I know this is an in-breath", and "Breathing out, I know this is an out breath".
- There's a whole river of feelings flowing in us day and night. A feeling is born, manifests itself, stays for a time and then passes away. We can sit on the bank and observe these feelings, neither identifying with it nor pushing them away.
- Meditate on 'impermanence' as an insight.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

More quotes about being a gentleman



“You are trying to kidnap what I have rightfully stolen, and I think it quite ungentlemanly.”
- William Goldman, The Princess Bride

A gentleman is a man who can disagree without being disagreeable. - Anonymous

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- Oscar Wilde

Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a Gentleman is a matter of choice.
- Vin Diesel

The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.
- William Lyon Phelps

Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.
- John Locke

A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.
- George Bernard Shaw

A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.
- Confucius

I've never heard my dad say a bad word about anybody. He always keeps his emotions in check and is a true gentleman. I was taught that losing it was indulgent, a selfish act.
- Hugh Jackman

Suits don't make gentlemen. Money doesn't teach morals.
- Abdelrahman Ashraf Abuzied

A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.
- Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Quotes on gentlemanly conduct

This passage was found Robert E. Lee's military satchel, after his death:

"The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly--the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light
 

The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others."

Friday, September 19, 2014

The end of the tax disc

I just read that from October 1, it will no longer be a legal requirement for drivers to display paper tax discs in their car windows. This it a good thing but it does question my recent purchase of a couple of tax disc holders - it turns out that they were on special offer for good reason  : S

Monday, September 08, 2014

Film: Masquerade



Marking a change from the twisted, brutal revenge thrillers that South Korea excels at producing, Masquerade is a wonderfully sumptuous, comedic tale of high level switcheroo at the royal courts. When the king is poisoned by insiders, his aides manage to find a look-a-like (played by the same actor of course) to cover his absence so as not to give away the fact that the king is actually on his death bed. The replacement starts of as a joker simpleton who starts off taking orders and performing to script, but he soon goes on to learning the way of the courts and making ethical, impactful decisions, instead of remaining a stand-in puppet. Highly recommended.

****

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Film: Klitschko




I didn't think a documentary about two boxing brothers would be particularly interesting but this is a great film and fills the viewer with admiration for the Klitschko duo. The brothers come across as humble, simple and yet highly intelligent. Interestingly, while the young brother is still a boxing professional, the older brother retired from the sport and is currently mayor of Kiev, Ukraine.

****

Saturday, September 06, 2014

TV: Hell on Wheels (Seasons 1-3)


It's not quite up there with Breaking Bad but Hell on Wheels is a great, overlooked Western from AMC. It's set during the great railway expansion from East to West, when railways were at each others throats, corruption was rife, much of the terrain largely unknown, and threats around every corner. The protagonist in the series is the mostly admirable Cullen Bohannen, a simple guy with a code of ethics that reminds me of the typical cowboy (here I am talking about the cowboys as played by Clint Eastwood in the movies that dotted my childhood - men of few words, sometimes hell bent on revenge, and always with a deep sense of right and wrong).

The story arc is kind of weird and kind of hotch-potch, but there's plenty of entertainment packed into 40 minutes and and the production quality is first rate.

Worth a look-see.

****

Golf - a repeat performance

I almost forgot to mention that I played a round of golf earlier in the week, once again completing nine holes for a score of 46. It's not a bad performance by any means but as fair-weather player, the window of opportunity to crack 45 is fast closing . On the upside, this will give me a clear target for 2016 and may encourage a few visits to the driving range in the off season.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Struggle


 climb the mountain by sunrise666 on deviantART

“There is scarcely any passion without struggle.”

- Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays


You False Masters of Serenity

Damn all you
false masters of serenity,
gurus of the happy.

Struggle
is what it means
to be alive and free.

- David Budbill, from Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse (1999)