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Misc. links

Pixar’s Andrew Stanton,  on story telling – “And that’s what it really is, is that we all live life conditionally. We’re all willing to play by the rules and follow things along, as long as certain conditions are met. After that, all bets are off.”

Meghan Daum on Nostalgia, Aging, and Why We Romanticize Our Imperfect Younger Selves – “But here’s what Older Self will not have the heart to say: some of the music you are now listening to — the CDs you play while you stare out the window and think about the five million different ways your life might go — will be unbearable to listen to in twenty years. They will be unbearable not because they will sound dated and trite but because they will sound like the lining of your soul. They will take you straight back to the place you were in when you felt that anything could happen at any time, that your life was a huge room with a thousand doors, that your future was not only infinite but also elastic. They will be unbearable because they will remind you that at least half of the things you once planned for your future are now in the past and others got reabsorbed into your imagination before you could even think about acting on them. It will be as though you’d never thought of them in the first place, as if they were never meant to be anything more than passing thoughts you had while playing your stereo at night.”

Pico Lyer and The Art of Stillness – “Going nowhere … isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply…It’s only by taking myself away from clutter and distraction that I can begin to hear something out of earshot and recall that listening is much more invigorating than giving voice to all the thoughts and prejudices that anyway keep me company twenty-four hours a day. And it’s only by going nowhere — by sitting still or letting my mind relax — that I find that the thoughts that come to me unbidden are far fresher and more imaginative than the ones I consciously seek out.”

Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova on Tim Ferriss’ podcast

Boyhood

Boyhood_film

A fascinating movie about various stages of life: childhood, growing up, parenthood. Richard Linklater is one of my favorite directors/screenwriters, and the Before series my all time favorites.

Here’s what actor Ethan Hawke said about the film:

It’s Tolstoy-esque in scope. I thought the Before series was the most unique thing I would ever be a part of, but Rick has engaged me in something even more strange. Doing a scene with a young boy at the age of 7 when he talks about why do raccoons die, and at the age of 12 when he talks about video games, and 17 when he asks me about girls, and have it be the same actor — to watch his voice and body morph — it’s a little bit like timelapse photography of a human being.

NYC marathon, Done

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03:45:38

Despite the strong wind and cold weather, my first marathon was overall a great experience. I was surprised by the number of people cheering throughout the five boroughs. The city is beautiful. If timing’s not a concern, it’d be nice to stop and take photos along the way (like what some participants did).

I didn’t come across any celebrities during the run, but managed to beat economist Justin Wolfers.

Training matters. I suffered much less from this marathon than any of my previous 10K runs.

Hong Kong

Pro or anti, for the better or for the worse, a historical moment nevertheless…

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Magic in the Moonlight

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Woody Allen continues his Europe shooting (in French Riviera this time) and provides a beautiful setting to ponder the meaning of life type questions (usual dose of Cole Porter, but also Nietzsche quotes and Beethoven music). I like the haughty rationalist that Colin Firth plays; reminds me of his 1995 BBC Darcy but also Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady.

I think we all need some magic and illusions in our lives.

Here is an interview with Woody Allen about the movie, and here‘s some real magic.

Ageing and Death

The author argues in this article why he hopes to die at age 75:

I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

I feel less strongly about death or the timing of it. And while I think I’ll get use to it, the thoughts of ageing still dishearten me.

But it also illuminates a key issue with aging: the constricting of our ambitions and expectations.

We accommodate our physical and mental limitations. Our expectations shrink. Aware of our diminishing capacities, we choose ever more restricted activities and projects, to ensure we can fulfill them. Indeed, this constriction happens almost imperceptibly. Over time, and without our conscious choice, we transform our lives. We don’t notice that we are aspiring to and doing less and less. And so we remain content, but the canvas is now tiny. The American immortal, once a vital figure in his or her profession and community, is happy to cultivate avocational interests, to take up bird watching, bicycle riding, pottery, and the like. And then, as walking becomes harder and the pain of arthritis limits the fingers’ mobility, life comes to center around sitting in the den reading or listening to books on tape and doing crossword puzzles. And then …

 

First swimming session with Sky

Swim with Sky

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