Soukie's Place

keeping track of random thoughts

The Relativity of Time

a train rushing behind watches

Time is peculiar. Given how many things depend on, or are linked to time, there is very little we know about it for certain (on scientific and philosophical level; we usually know plenty enough about time when we are running late for a meeting). Despite the pseudo-technical title, this article offers observations on the nature of time as it appears to us, humans. Having enough time is not trivial and it plays an important part in the quality of life. As Seneca said: “There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living.” Continues » 

Haiku
Beauty in Simplicity

How simple can a literary form be while still managing to say something beautiful and interesting? Very simple. Consider the following two examples:

a frogfish
frozen to the bone
gets all chopped up

after his turn to wash
her sweater tighter
newlyweds

The language is straightforward – everyday even – there are no metaphors or similes in sight, it does not rhyme, the meter is free too, and it’s frighteningly succinct. I borrowed these examples from Shuson KatoTranslation by Minoru Fujita and Richard F. Fleck. and Katharine Hawkinson, two haiku poets.

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The Charms of a Pessimistic Workaholic

The top grossing film from Woody Allen ever, Midnight in Paris, is sweet and nice like a Belgian chocolate. It is like a dessert after some of the more substantial films of Allen’s career, even though – judged on its own – it is somewhat unsatisfactory.

That’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life is unsatisfying.

The movie is about human feelings – nostalgia, romance and disagreements – but more in the sense of the characters talking about rather than living through them. Contrasted with Allen’s lowest grossing film, September, where the characters also spend a lot of time talking about these issues, in Paris the protagonist and audience are somehow insulated from feeling the pain.

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Making Sense of 12th Century Philosophy

More than about philosophy, this article is about the thing I do to set my table: translations. I have avoided this topic because what I have to say is usually close to disclosing confidential facts about the company I work for and its customers.

Instead of talking about software giants of the 21st century and how they go about ‘localizing’ their products, I am going to discuss translations of the famous 12th century Japanese thinker Dōgen. His writing is characterized by elegant structures which often mix Chinese characters and quotations, and is notoriously difficult to translate.
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Gray Matter

After eleven years, there is a new adventure game by Jane Jensen who is best known for her Gabriel Knight Mystery series. Once again, the story is grounded in real locations and weaves facts with supernatural occurrences. The protagonists are obviously new – Sam, a street magician, and Dr Styles, a neurobiologist – and the chapters alternate between them just as we saw in Jensen’s two last full games.

A painting from Gray Matter

Sam is after an illusive Deadulus Club for magicians while Dr Styles goes to extremes to prevent his memories from ever fading

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PCWorld, ‘Really?'
How Bashing Might Not Win Readers

Windows Phone 7 start screen

Windows Phone 7

If you hold yourself to some standards, it is difficult to reach them when responding to something which does not have any. But I’ll try anyway. I know Vaclav Havel believes “the truth and love will prevail over lies and hatred,” but I figure that the truth might need a little help.

Microsoft has recently launched a new, great smartphone — there are many reviews online if you are interested in the particulars. But often when I did a Google News search to find out more, the top results were pointing to one or another PCWorld article — which one did not really make a difference, as a quick glance at the list of articles will attest.

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