The White Ship by H.P. Lovecraft – Review and Thoughts

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I decided to start off my first review with a short story–you know, something small. But with Lovecraft it’s hardly ever as small as you initially think. I do really enjoy short stories and Lovecraft has some of my favorites. I was recently gifted his complete works so I’m sure his work will be recurring here frequently.

I read The White Ship late last night while in bed. The dim orange light from my salt lamp set the mood quite well–only could have been better with a fireplace and a storm howling outside. And, it has been awhile since I’ve read Lovecraft’s stories, so I went in with the expectation of being scared but this story was more…eerie.

Basil Elton is the narrator, and the story reads as if it is taken from a journal entry retelling events he experienced. And more than anything, this short story feels more like an experience.

There’s no great conflict but, for me, there was a feeling of being slightly disturbed throughout the work. Disturb in the sense of intrigue, on my part. I know I’m on this ride and things are going to get a bit odd before it lets me off.  I’m not going to go through the story point by point but I’ll mention the moments that stood out to me and my take on some themes.

Elton beholds the white ship emerge from the south while the moon is full and high. There’s a lot of mysticism and superstitions around the full moon and in general the color white notes angelic themes, especially in contrast to a dark sea. This goes doubly so seeing the white bird flying with the ship as they sail and further still, by its presence as navigation.

But first, he sees a bearded, stoic man beckoning him onto the ship–this was great; as it gave the ship an ethereal depth. It’s as if the ship came into being just to mesmerise Elton and draw him away. From here he goes on a journey to magical places of legend.

I don’t want to give too much away but here’s one line that stood out to me, “The wind grew stronger, and the air was filled with the lethal, charnel odor of plague-stricken towns and uncovered cemeteries.” That is unnerving–and that’s why you should read The White Ship.


Verdict:
While the language can get a tad lofty, and there’s no great conflict; this short story creates a sense of unsettledness by its contrasting elegant descriptions which will leave you wondering in unease as Lovecraft does so well.


New/interesting vocabulary from The White Ship
argosies
effulgent
colonnades
friezes
eidolon 
unalloyed
pagodas
lanthorns
lutanist 
porphyry
betwixt 
barque

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Decision of Google: Trivial or Profound?

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Where do I begin with this one? I came across this on a facebook group and I thought it was a trivial article that really doesn’t matter all that much and was completely benign. Have a quick read and see what you think.

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I’d be interested to read what your initial reactions are to this.

For starters the title is a misnomer. Google hasn’t made any principled stand for veganism which could be described as ‘Google goes vegan’. And the rage surrounding the emoji change is essentially just kicking around water in the kiddie pool of moral issues–while completely ignoring a torrential undercurrent of actual moral distress.

The more I analysed this, the more the mistake of Google’s decision was clear. The key line which I caught, as telling, was this: ‘The Internet giant has removed the egg from its salad emoji–in case it offends vegans.’ This is insightful as it provides the reasoning why Google has made this decision and, more broadly, an example of how they possibly operate as a corporation.

Google decided to do this ‘in case they offend vegans’– which comes off as incredibly politically correct. The possibility of offense was enough to stop their behavior in its tracks. Furthermore, they think that vegans are the type of people to be offended by something as trivial as an emoji. A vast majority people who become vegan do so as a principled stand about the use, and horrid treatment of, animals–as well as the animal industry’s immense impact on environmental issues.

This is why I made the decision go vegan–as a person who cares about doing what is morally just in relation to a serious moral failure in our society. Naturally, I felt Google’s reasoning for this decision was incredibly patronising. I don’t find emojis offensive, I find actual suffering and harm offensive.

I was never exactly sure what the term ‘politically correct’ meant; as it was used as a slur on the news quite often. But here the issue is crystal clear for me. Let me unpack the many levels of wrong happening in this line of reasoning.

Google, a global, multi-billion dollar corporation presumes themselves as a parent to free vegan adults who, as Google predicts, will act out irrationally in offensive to their egg salad emoji. A digital egg which, to be overbearingly clear, relates to no actual animal and therefore no moral mistreatment.

To counter this prediction, Google capitulates to this expected adult temper tantrum, ahead of it happening. Now, I am not a parent; but is it not bad parenting to give into a child’s temper tantrum? One should not mitigate their behaviour around someone else’s, especially irrational, behaviour–I think this should be even more clear on how a corporation should behave. 

Google has misappropriated the moral reasoning of veganism (which a quick google search would have informed them of). And perhaps even worse, they think of the public as superficial reactionaries and furthermore, assume responsibility to coddle the ridiculous outburst of those individuals.

Google thinks they are a parent to the public and the public are children–bad children at that. So they provide bad parenting as a solution. This is total wreck. And sadly comical in discovering how they’ve arrived at this decision.

This grave sign and I hope they start to see the error of this to avoid similar decisions in the future. Google is definitely cracking up and for the Humpty-dumbest reasons possible.


What do you think? Is this sound reasoning? Or am I completely off base? Let me know in the comments below.

Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

Here I am again after a long absence. I’ve had a hard time with direction in my life–as evidenced by the posts I’ve had on this first blog of mine over the past year and a half.

I’m a person who has many interests and passions. I’ve been realizing this can be a weakness too. It’s difficult to maintain focus. To get something specific done. I’m a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none.

My record has been one of fleeting engagement. I’m trying to juggle my interests in: philosophy, writing, history, politics, gaming, reading (and even add drawing to that list!). I get so enveloped within one I ignore the others and continue with it until I hit a wall. The passion-fuel runs low. I feel drained.

Then I rediscover another passion–the cycle continues.

I’ve made grand dictums in the past. For all the positivity and motivation I had in conquering this problem of my person–I still fall short to the trap. I doubt my abilities. I doubt myself.

This has come to a head, in a external reality check. Nothing life-shattering. But bitter nonetheless. A financial mistake due to this addled, distracted mind I have. Assessments from my classes done poorly, from simple improper planning, unsuitable drive and mismanaged time.

My ability focus, and lack thereof, determines almost every other factor in my life. I am mired in an erratic life of my own making. And I am seemingly unable to get out of this. However, now there appears to be a external factor that could knock some sense back into me.

I will (hopefully) graduate this year. My fluctuating will be even less practical then. I’m going to have to work towards one particular career. And that is what, I believe, I’ve been subconsciously avoiding for years now. I have to decide what is my work and what will be my hobbies. I only get one life to live.

I intellectually know this. But in my daily practices, I don’t act like I know it. Choosing one path means denying the others–at least for a time. This is my great test–the test against my own personality. Can I survive, in the real world, on my own merits? Which part of my person will rule the other?

That is what I will find out: for good or ill.

Bernie’s revolution will continue without him

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After having a good, active day today, I heat up a lentil and vegetable soup and have a couple beers. I browse my news feed to find Bernie Sanders giving a speech in Washington D.C. as well as the white house.

As of today, 10/June/2016, Sydney time, Hilary Clinton is the presumptive party nominee. And President Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vice President Joe Biden have endorsed her. Naturally this leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.

I am an unabashed Bernie Sanders supporter. Every issue his campaign is built on is my opinion on the issue. He is a candidate for the optimist. In his speech he reflected on his historical campaign. His campaign was the largest ever funded by single donations. It was paid for by the people, not the million or billion dollar companies.

Bernie Sander’s platform is built entirely to help out the average little guy–on the fundamental problems that hurt the common man from getting ahead. Growing up we often lived paycheck to paycheck, without healthcare for long stretches of time.

Now save for a morbid turn of events, the only way Bernie Sanders will become President is by the grace of persuading super delegates to change their votes to him instead of Clinton

Naturally I think they definitely should vote for him. I truly believe he is what will be best for the country going forward. Maybe they’ll see that–however unlikely.

I will vote for Hilary Clinton if it comes to that. For me she inspires no great cause. No major quest than the quenching of a madman out for his ego apposing her.

*Above was a draft that never made it to post–it remains as it was then. I’ll finish it with an update below.*

It’s now February and this is long been resolved…to a degree. The madman got his ego stroked to the highest office of my nation. I did what I could. I voted for Hilary Clinton from the other side of the world. And a democratic congressmen and senator. Unfortunately only my senator was elected. We got clobbered. But it doesn’t end here.

After the devastation, the resolve mustered. As Bill Maher has said ‘We are still here.’ The revolution Bernie started is going forward, full steam ahead. It’s been heartening to see protests and marches in response to this regression. It seems like liberals and progressives finally have a Tea Party. Hopefully this fervor has longevity.

I was never a Hilary supporter. To a much lesser degree, I was in line of the general criticisms of her. Besides that email scandal–that was just a ridiculous distraction that didn’t amount to anything. We expected her to perform perfectly and she pretty much did. Her opponent was, for some reason, allowed to stumble in like a buffoon and people rewarded him for it.

I still stand by my support for Bernie Sanders but Hilary Clinton deserved better from us. I think she would have made an alright president, at the least. She could have been pulled to the left more. More reasonable, more stable, less, if any, embarrassment. It would have been a much better situation than what is happening now. I have empathized with her and it must have been truly difficult for what she had to do. If anyone can go through such opposition and criticism and keep their sanity I admire them for that.

I don’t think by any stretch she deserved the amount of hate she got but that’s how it went. I’m intrigued by politics and her enough to want to read her biography eventually. I’m sure I’ll have a much better understanding at that point. I hope she doesn’t run again, just because I don’t see her winning a race pretty much ever. But I thank her for what she’s done, wish her well and hope she finds some peace from the chaos she’d had to endure.

Rejuvenation, Resolution, Revolution

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Extraordinary events occurred in 2016–2017 seems hellbent on following it into the toilet. Events which I am diametrically in opposition to. This world is taking the eerily uncanny step towards the Orwellian dystopia described in the book 1984. This step comes on the legs of alt-right movements across the globe. I feel it is a moral duty to do all I can to stand up and stop this catastrophe from solidifying in earnest.

I will make no qualms about my opinions as I write more and more. As they are informed by and change according to the evidence, logic, reason, science and truth. Being a philosophy major, I am primarily a truth-seeker, before anything else. Truth. Real, flesh and blood, truth. This word still means something to me. It means a lot to me. And if it means something to you, take this to heart–the death of truth will lead to the death of us all.

I feel truth is my largest political issue. Defending it now is more important than ever before. I will forever be an enemy of actions taken due to prejudices, irrationality, fear, and incompetence; these qualities in positions of power will cause the deaths of people subject to them. Instead we must demand and support candidates who exemplify the qualities of skepticism, humility, and gravitas.Since they seem to be in short supply, we must seek them out or become them ourselves.

As an American living abroad, I have been dismayed with how our political parties have been representing themselves; lacking these important qualities and often basic authenticity and integrity. I admit to feeling helpless at times, being so distant and watching my home country come undone at the seams. Nationalism had never been very strong in my personality but seeing Donald Trump sign executive orders made me realize the reverence I feel for the oval office. His mere presence there feels akin to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria personified.

We can no longer hold back and let ‘Alternative Facts’ hold any sway in our national or global discourse. It is my hope that truth prevails. The truth of Climate Change is the most important truth of our age. It is the largest threat to any nation’s security and well-being. This is it. This moment. It’s now or never. If Climate Change isn’t fought tooth and nail on an individual to global scale–it will end us. I’m not ready to give up. The best way I am fighting this is by living a vegan lifestyle as animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change. I urge you to watch the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix. And commit to the most important action you can take against climate change by adopting a vegan lifestyle for the all animals (including humans), and their future vitality, on this planet.

My other major, outrageous problem in the world is income inequality. The 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest. That is completely INSANE to me! We need to hold the rich accountable. Them having it all is causing immense suffering all over the world. When it all comes to a head,  I’m sure they’ll repeat the infamous words ‘Let them eat cake.’ I will repeatedly state that I care not for the woes of an excessively rich person. As the pockets of the richest individuals deepen so to does the suffering on this planet.

There are so many issues and topics to explore. Kindness instead of hate. Falsehoods to rebuke. Moral failings to change into proud moments of moral action. The goal is simple. Progress instead of regress. It is a hard path to walk. But it is the right one and at this exceedingly precarious point in our history…it’s the only path remaining.

Ramblings on Embarrassment -Writing Prompt #3

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The Daily Post’s Writing Prompt- Embarrassing 


I’ve never had a truly horrific embarrassing moment. I’m just reflecting trying to think of one. But the evidence that I have to think about it says I didn’t have a terrible incident. Least none that have shocked me to my core.

In second grade I think I peed my pants while going through the lunch line. Obviously embarrassing but I don’t recall scars of torment from other kids.

There’s always the potential embarrassment when you see someone reveal their inner imperfect-self through an accident of some sort, when we’re suppose to give a facade of perfection.

Just this evening while chit-chatting to pass time with the man cooking my spicy potato roti, I saw a lady with a kart tip her tote boxes off the side.

I hear the breaking glass and saw the broken clear plastic. Her face was more red then the wine pooling on the cerement. I felt for her. To help her through the moment best I decided to not give her my attention, as another passerby was already helping her clean up.

This anguish is common. We try to act normal and sane in front of a crowd or an individual and if something goes awry we blush, stay still and quiet. I try to be accommodating and help people through the embarrassment.

Coincidentally this can also be rather adorable when a women’s demure presents itself. In a nervous chuckle, red cheeks, small grins followed by looking away. Always brings a smile to my face.

Being Connected-Writing Prompt #2

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The Daily Post’s Writing prompt of the day.


And another lazy day passes. With a stretch and a sip of tepid water, waking with the sun this morning I was at odds with myself yet again. A drowsy mind that just wants to waste hours on my phone, than do something productive like writing, preparing healthy meals, or exercise. Not that I’d describe it as a permanent state of war within myself, it’s more like an insidious disconnection.

What a conundrum to be in … I have to have a giant will to be productive. I have to fight myself to read. I have to fight myself to play video games.  And these are things I like to do.

For the moment, the solution I can see is becoming connected with what life I want to be  living. It must be a constant reminder for me unti a habit forms. As living in the now, or moment, has a lot of wisdom but it can also distract from strategy that forms my future.

Being connected starts internally. This yields decisiveness. And without that, nothing, good or ill, ever goes forward.

Her Smooth Skin – Writing Prompt #1

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The Daily Post’s writing prompt of the day.


Smooth. My first thought to this was the feeling a woman’s soft, smooth skin. I’m not exactly sure what that means. I know it’s one of the first things I think about with a new potential partner.

I daydream about getting to feel her vibe–not just her skin. The harmless musings of yet another hopeless romantic.

I’m happy with myself that it is something I care and daydream about. It’s nice moment. For me it’s about the little things like that. A gentle squeeze of my hand. The adorable little sneeze a girl can do. Captivating eyes looking into mine.

If I linger on it long enough I start to get lonely. But also hopeful I guess. Hopeful for life to happen when I least expect it. A chance to sweep an amazing girl off her feet.

I Want It!

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The demanding words we all utter. It is the fourth cup of coffee on the other groggy morning that week. The extra veggies, black beans and guacamole on a burrito bowl. *drool* Or that mammoth of a computer we’ve been dying to have for years now. *drooling intensifies*

Consume. Consume. Consume. The guttural grunts of an insatiable monstrosity. It dominates and devours, finding only temporary satisfaction. Forever doomed to drone on to the next vain attempt at fulfillment.

The allure of an intriguing book or game is all too salivating to pass up. *Caah Ching* And what little money I have goes away, in small, harmless spurts of innocence.
This leads to nothing more than a shelf full of unread books,  a backlog of games that would make the most seasoned of players cringe merely adding up to an empty wallet.

‘I may as well get it now.’ The trickery. ‘I’ll read this later.’ The folly. ‘It’s like five dollars’ Ha, oh past me. The nerve of you for thinking such things.

Intellectually I know all the graphically endowed games that I could play won’t ever bring me true lasting happiness … but I still want them. In a way the idea of fun is more fun  than actually having fun. If I were a stereotypical old lady this would be my sewing, crocheting and bargain escapades at yard sales. I just go out and make a day of it.

I don’t think it’s wrong of me to want to play DOOM or Total War: Warhammer, which would melt my current laptop .Getting that large almond latte, over a lovely conversation, can be a real boon to a crappy day. The issue lies in the normality of wanting. The insidious pattern that develops.

The only weapon I can muster is vigilance. An awareness, by its definition, removes the mindlessness of incessant wanting; to pick and choose correctly. Maybe one new book/game for every two I complete – What a thing to master, right?

A Struggle for Modern Masculinity

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This has dominated my thoughts the past few months. I’ve been wrestling with the big questions…‘What does it mean to be a masculine?’ What does it mean to be a man in our modern world?’ Naturally, these questions arose from wanting to date and understand women better, but I’ve really started to live in my masculinity instead.

I call myself a feminist; it’s a given to me that women should be treated equally under the law in society. Society, the unsexy logistics of gender neutral society. But in dating the very thing that attracts me to a women is her femininity, not her neutrality. And I’m willing to wager a woman wouldn’t be attracted by me acting neutral either.

Growing up with two sisters and my mother most of the time, thanks to my dad travelling for work, I feel I grew up in my feminine not masculine. Not that I was raised poorly or anything, in reflection this just seems to have played a part in this masculine murkiness of dating I’ve had. Though my father is the pure embodiment of masculine I was not offered lessons on how to act from my own masculine core. So I often felt an imbalance of not acting on my masculine.
Once I got to high school, most of my peers were dating. Time after time I struck out. Never getting anywhere. I resigned myself as being terrible with women, that dating was something you’re born with and I just don’t have it. I gave up and just hoped to fall into a relationship one day…which of course never happen. Years went by with nothing but it did however happen for me when I decided to take masculine action.
I’ve taken action for the first time in my life to put myself out there and go after the things I want. It’s masculine to ask the girl out.  That’s why they want us to ‘make the first move’.
It’s like saying ‘I’m going this way, I want you to come with me.’ Instead of ‘oh I’ve been nice and maybe you’d think about letting me go with you.’  It’s simple confidence versus cowardice. Having the resolve and integrity to choose a path, even though I might fail – will likely fail anyway – and stick with it and fail with some personal flair, get back up and do it all over again.
Masculinity is having the fortitude to participate, despite not being good, and giving it your best shot. To own the shit out of who I am and embody it everywhere I go. The ability to take the reins of a situation and guide myself and others through to safety. To have a clear path, and not let anyone talk you out of it, because you know what’s right and what’s wrong.

This has been difficult to conceptualise, let alone put into words. The truth is that I am likely not the only modern man who is unsure of how to act from his masculine or to even question its relevance anymore. I’m likely wrong or off about something…or a few things. I showed up though, I’m having the conversation. I feel it is bold to ask these questions and demand answers for them. What are your answers?

The answers to simplify masculinity into something practical for us guys. It would benefit us immeasurably, as well as the women we pursue.

*Disclaimer. This article originally appeared in the Tertangala and has been republished with full permission.