Monday, August 15, 2011

leeches, bangkok, dysfunctonal schools, Nietzsche

1. This leech came from my foot:
the picture is Michelle's. I'm in the background in the purple bandana and that's blood on my feet. I am kicking myself now for panicking when I discovered this dude on me and failing to snap the picture, but it was inevitable. Two weekends ago, Michelle, Lan and Keenan (two other PiA fellows in Southern Thailand) and I went hiking in Khao Sak national park. I don't regret jumping in the waterfall to go after a floating water bottle, but leeches are probably the grossest thing I've ever encountered in person, so definitely be careful about freshwater. We all had them from the muddy path.

2. This past weekend, the same foursome + friends Tine and Rafael took an overnight to Bangkok, did touristy stuff and drank. Walking down Khao San road at night, I was reminded how much there's a whole world expressly aimed at satisfying young first world people. It was all foreigners everywhere drinking cheap drinks all night in this one particular street just packed with bars, but it was actually joyous and free and cosmopolitan, not the sleazy mess I continue to expect. Well it was sort of both.

3. I have had not too much to do recently. Due to some allegations of financial shenanigans or something on the part of my school's administration, we got inspected by Dept. of education officials today. The school decided to prepare by basically canceling all class for the past week and having every student scrub the entire school down, from the floors to the seats of a giant stadium. Educationally sub-ideal you say? Man, who cares?

4. I'm rereading The Genealogy of Morals, and I had forgotten just how disturbing and strange the first essay is, and that the second is really on point. I've been thinking about how I would teach Nietzsche (someday I hope to); I think I would organize around a few big questions: how should we read Nietzsche? Was Nietzsche insane? Are his ideas evil? What sort of world does he point the way to? The first is, I think, the most interesting question. Nietzsche is deliberately anti-systematic, so it's not really that useful to go in for deeper consistent meanings. Also I think that perhaps of all the philosophers I've ever read it's really the most ok to cherrypick him. Some of his aphorisms are just ridiculous and others are wonderful, but because it's not a system, it doesn't need to stand or fall as a whole. As to whether it's evil, well, the first essay reminds me a bit of Ollivander's unwitting admiration of Voldermort's power in "Deathly Hallows-" I think Nietzsche doesn't necessarily WANT to admire the blond beast, and he certainly wasn't the aristocratic class in his life time, but there's something in the natural man he can't help but admire. That reminds me, I also reread Harry Potters 1, 2 and 6 this past fortnight, bringing my 2011 rereading of the series to a finish, and Jim Butcher's Ghost Story, which was quite entertaining.

I'm trying to re-explore some of the 20th century classical repertoire I don't know that well, like Janacek, Lutoslawksi, Ligeti and Dutilleux, and if I find anything I absolutely love, I'll post it. Khachaturian's piano concerto is pretty freaking sweet though.


  1. Yo, didn't know you were a Nietzsche fan. He was the center of my senior thesis. We should talk about him sometime.

    Enjoying the blog.