Deep Bitters

Steep Trailer

 Steep (and Deep mmmm) … coming soon to a theatre near you. Makes Chamonix look cool. Well, it is cool so f*ing good job 😉

It’s a documentary about big mountain skiing by writer and director Mark Obenhaus and producers Kayce Jennings (widow of Peter Jennings) and Tom Yellin of the Documentary Group. The movie features great skiers such as Bill Briggs, Stefano De Benedetti, Eric Pehota, Glen Plake, Shane McConkey, Seth Morrison, Chris Davenport, Ingrid Backstrom, Andrew McLean, Lou Dawson, and sadly, Doug Coombs (RIP) who was interviewed only days before his death at Le Grave France last year.



I first put this comment onto someone else’s blog, but think really it belongs here, so I’ve expanded it and am posting it.

I’ve been thinking about happiness vs. bitterness lately, and optimism vs. pessimism. Surely at times I am too pessimistic, to my own detriment, but more often I like to think I am simply realistic and that most people prefer not to actually look at reality.

The reality is that in daily life most things are neutral – just getting through the day and doing your job, feeding and dressing yourself, caring for family etc.. Neither good nor bad, simply necessary.

A lot of the rest of your day might be spent fighting through or ‘dealing with’ what everyone else wants in their lives so that you can get what you want. Your boss wants that report and you want to get paid or be able to get home early but now you can’t etc..

Every once in awhile you get what you want without hassle, and are then – bingo you are happy. Or perhaps you worked damned hard and got what you want and this makes you even happier as your ‘fight’ or ‘struggle’ was worth it. Conquest. Success.

Most other times, life gets in the way and you have no actual way to change what is happening, no control – people near your heart and or other beings you love die, wars start which will only benefit the power structures out of your direct control but these wars could affect your life negatively (your house is bombed, you are killed, inscripted etc.), someone mugs you because you look rich and vulnerable, someone rapes you because you are female and in the wrong place at the wrong time and they hate women and you are handy, the stock market drops and you lose retirement money, someone rear ends while you are sat at a traffic light etc.. You can try to control your reactions to these events, but you cannot prevent or stop them in most cases. This causes unhappiness, and can lead to bitterness and regret. Regret you took that particular street home, that you did not move house, say ‘I love you’ the last time you saw her before she passed on, change your investment strategy before the crash etc..

Without all that unhappiness, the moments of happiness would not mean so much to us.

I am reading a book now that a friend gave me to try to change me into an optimist (which I have by the way no intention of becoming). But I am reading it for curiosity’s sake.

Interestingly the author points out scientific research that proves pessimsts more accurately analyze their own abilities and the abilities of others to accomplish any given task and can more accurately determine all the things which might go wrong in a given situation than an optimist. This means that they will do better jobs for example as trail lawyers, industry analysts, writers, software testers and doctors among other professions!

To me there is no great value in becoming ‘happy and dumb’ to be honest. He says that supposedly optimistic people live longer. I say it probably just *seems* that way. -)

Adversity builds character, strength and resiliance in a person. Happiness builds none of that. When did getting everything you want in life ever get credit for improving someone’s character, for example? Who the hell wants to read a novel about a happy person who has a great life? Who can identify with that? Obviously no one – the great novels are tragedies or stories that show people either overcoming or succumbing to life’s challenges, love lived well and lost or never attained at all  – they are stories that other people can relate to and which tug on their emotional ties to similar situations in their own lives. Artists and writers who are great are making art about what they know, about the human condition – and the human condition isn’t generally to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth, grow up to be a famous or powerful person who has no trouble and die a peaceful death well respected by all. I guess if it ever happens it will make a great film but I bet no one will care to see it.

True happiness to me are those rare momements when life is good and all is well, when you can savour it and frankly this condition will not last – but that is OK too … if you work at it, happiness will come again (but to me not by being simply ‘optimistic about it’). The other kind of happiness to me is a fake happiness or a forced happiness (or a self-enforced ‘do not look at the man behind the curtain’) — the ‘don’t worry be happy’ kind is the one responsible for mindless playing of video games, mindless TV addiction etc. and is really the reason that IMHO American has become dumbed down esp as regards news and politics and any type of independent thought being respected and revered. I would so prefer it if the country would start to listen to punk and Joy Division again.

If people would wake up and unplug their iPods and see what Bush has done to the country and our civil rights laws, I think they’d realize it was high time for another revolution similar to 1776. Now that would make me happy. But I am not optimistic it will happen.

Notebook Lurv

Moleskine I just love you . . . got my new 2008 Planner today. Yeah. I finally searched around town early enough to get the small day-a-page version (they were out by the time I tried to find it last year and I had to get a large one w/soft cover – yechy). Low tech and sooo lurvely – this one will fit more nicely into a backpack as well but it’s still thick and meaty enough to give me what I need in an agenda. Shockingly we now have a color choice of black or RED. I chose black. What can I say – I am old fashioned  . . .  

Reading Lists

Just found The Library Thing and this meme. 

From the current list of people’s ‘unread’ books on Library Thing, copy the first 100. Bold – the one’s you’ve read, italicize ones you started to read and couldn’t be bothered to finish, cross through ones you read and hated.

I particularly disliked Ayn Rand – thought she was a racist with a superiority complex.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (149)
  2. Anna Karenina (132)
  3. Crime and punishment (121)
  4. Catch-22 (117)
  5. One hundred years of solitude (115)
  6. Wuthering Heights (110)
  7. The Hobbit (104)
  8. Life of Pi : a novel (94)
  9. The name of the rose (91)
  10. Don Quixote (91)
  11. Moby Dick (86)
  12. Ulysses (84)
  13. Madame Bovary (83)
  14. The Odyssey (83)
  15. Pride and prejudice (83)
  16. Jane Eyre (80)
  17. A tale of two cities (80)
  18. The brothers Karamazov (80)
  19. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (79)
  20. War and peace (78)
  21. Vanity fair (74)
  22. The time traveler’s wife (73)
  23. The Iliad (73)
  24. Emma (73)
  25. The Blind Assassin (73)
  26. The kite runner (71)
  27. Mrs. Dalloway (70)
  28. Great expectations (70)
  29. American gods : a novel (68)
  30. A heartbreaking work of staggering genius (67)
  31. Atlas shrugged (67)
  32. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books (66)
  33. Memoirs of a Geisha (66)
  34. Middlesex (66)
  35. Quicksilver (66)
  36. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West … (65)
  37. The Canterbury tales (64)
  38. The historian : a novel (63)
  39. A portrait of the artist as a young man (63)
  40. Love in the time of cholera (62)
  41. Brave new world (61)
  42. The Fountainhead (61)
  43. Foucault’s pendulum (61)
  44. Middlemarch (61)
  45. Frankenstein (59)
  46. The Count of Monte Cristo (59)
  47. Dracula (59)
  48. A clockwork orange (59)
  49. Anansi boys : a novel (58)
  50. The once and future king (57)
  51. The grapes of wrath (57)
  52. The poisonwood Bible : a novel (57)
  53. 1984 (57)
  54. Angels & demons (56)
  55. The inferno (56)
  56. The satanic verses (55)
  57. Sense and sensibility (55)
  58. The picture of Dorian Gray (55)
  59. Mansfield Park (55)
  60. One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (54)
  61. To the lighthouse (54)
  62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles (54)
  63. Oliver Twist (54)
  64. Gulliver’s travels (53)
  65. Les misérables (53)
  66. The corrections (53)
  67. The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay : a novel (52)
  68. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (52)
  69. Dune (51)
  70. The prince (51)
  71. The sound and the fury (51)
  72. Angela’s ashes : a memoir (51)
  73. The god of small things (51)
  74. A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present (51)
  75. Cryptonomicon (50)
  76. Neverwhere (50)
  77. A confederacy of dunces (50)
  78. A short history of nearly everything (50)
  79. Dubliners (50)
  80. The unbearable lightness of being (49)
  81. Beloved : a novel (49)
  82. Slaughterhouse-five (49)
  83. The scarlet letter (48)
  84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Pu… (48)
  85. The mists of Avalon (47)
  86. Oryx and Crake : a novel (47)
  87. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed (47)
  88. Cloud atlas : a novel (47)
  89. The confusion (46)
  90. Lolita (46)
  91. Persuasion (46)
  92. Northanger abbey (46)
  93. The catcher in the rye (46)
  94. On the road (46)
  95. The hunchback of Notre Dame (45)
  96. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of… (45)
  97. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance : an inquiry into … (45)
  98. The Aeneid (45)
  99. Watership Down (44)
  100. Gravity’s rainbow (44)