Monthly Archives: September 2006

Fiction, Non-Fiction, and the Eternal Return

Bookshelf

As mentioned in a previous post, I have just finished reading one book and am in search of a new one. Since I began to work in FON, I have not had much time at all to read, but this summer I have read two very good books: “Another Country” by James Baldwin and “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow. What I have noticed is that there is a big difference between reading fiction and non-fiction, and the difference reminds me of Neitzsche’s concept of the Eternal Return. Basically, fiction is always alive, while non-fiction dies upon completing the book. Ironic, but here is what I mean:

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I have seen life in life, I have seen life in death, and I have seen death in life

 Egon Schiele: Conversion
Exactly one year ago, I received a phone call early in the morning. The caller was a friend of a friend telling me that he had bad news. He had never called me before, and yet I was not surprised nor did I panic. I simply listened. The news was that one of my closest friend’s brother had just died in a traffic accident. In the following two weeks, my grandfather and another friend had both passed away. Earlier in the year, my friend, Jorge, had died of a brain tumor. Nevertheless, 2005 was not a total loss of a year due to the deaths of loved ones. In May alone, four friends of mine brought healthy babies into this world. When I look back at 2005, I reflect upon what I experienced with these deaths and births.

I have seen life in life, I have seen life in death, and I have seen death in life . . .

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September

Picasso: Life 

It is September and I am a little sad. Well, I am not quite sure how I would define this sadness. It could be melancoly or end of summer-beginning-of-fall-nostalgic reflection (which gives the impression of sadness) or a strange sense of sorrow. I have always had a special relationship with fall, and after an exceptionally warm weekend, today’s change in tempature made me feel the oncoming autumn, the most beautiful season in my home town. I also had close friends come visit for the weekend, and we had not all been together in seven years, each of us with our own personal lists of changes, moves, wrinkles, and losses. Nevertheless, we had also all lived in very close corners years ago and shared important joys and growing pains. The complicity was intact and we all enjoyed our reveries. Literally minutes prior to their arrival, I had finished a book I had been reading every evening for the past month. Religously, I would get home from work, open the book, and read for at least one hour or until it was bed time. But when my old friends all finally left and I finally had regained my free space, I had no idea what to do with myself. I looked around my apartment and tried to remember what it was exactly that I do, or at least what I had been doing here for the past months (or for the last seven years for that matter). I then realized that the problem was that I had finished my book, and would have to find a new one to read. There is a line of books on deck in my bookshelf, none in any special order. Once you start a book and get into it, it is becomes part of your life. The problem is starting all over again and knowing which book to choose, and then picking it up and starting life anew.

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Hangovers?

Degas: Absinthe

I wrote an earlier post on how movies create unreasonable expectations of men. Now something else of late has begun to unnerve me. In recent weeks I have watched the first three seasons of Coupling (a British sitcom) and the second season of The Wire. I am even starting to notice the same type of disturbing behaviour in other TV shows and movies elsewhere. This is what bothers me: Everyone is always drinking alcohol and yet you NEVER (or almost never) see anyone with hangovers or debilitating hangovers, at least not anywhere near to the extent that I would suffer them were to I engage in similar activities. It appears that everyone and everywhere in the TV universe (where obviously I do not reside) can drink beer after beer, copa after copa, and guzzle down bottles of wine each evening afer work, and the next day they are back to business. Am I the only one disturbed? Worst of all I live in Spain where such practices are obligatory.

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Pim Pam Poom: Jornadas de Fútbol en FON

Black Power

Comenzaron las Jornadas de Fútbol en FON donde se enfrentan los de la Tercera Planta (Marketing, Jurídico, y Finanzas) contra la Planta Zero (Técnicos). En la foto parecen más vivos los Huevos Fritos y los Negros que en la pista. De todos modos, los Negros de la Tercera Planta partían de ventaja: 3 gallegos y 3 güiris. Y a pesar de ceder a Alvaro a los Huevos Fritos, los Negros tiraron de Cobra quien sustituyó sus tres Ps habitulaes (ignorando el pari pé de los paparazzi de Customer Care) por otros tres: el Pim Pam Poom.

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Math, a wonderful subject

Math

When I was a kid, I absolutely hated math (with the exception of long division). Because I despised it so much, I found much more fascinating ways of solving mathematical problems. Instead of actually “doing the math”, I always thought about the person behind the exam or problem and not the problem itself. Thus, I would ask myself, what answer would the examiner probably choose? I also started to notice certain tendencies in certain fields of mathematics. For example, I noticed that in Alegra, X was almost always 3, and was almost never an even number. When it was time to take the SATs, I would only read the possible multiple choice answers and never the questions. Then I would ask, what number would the SAT developers most likely choose to be the correct number? Let me tell you, if there was a 3 or even a -3, that was most likely the correct choice (or at least the one that I put). As a matter of fact, I recall my SAT tutor (yes, I had a tutor) was amazed at how quickly I was able to solve the math problems and yet I could never explain to her how I had solved them.

In any event, today math students are much more clever than I ever was. Click the photo above to see some interesting solutions to math questions.

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