Sara ex machina

The virtual cross-section of Sara's head. Guaranteed not to have wirey bits sticking out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

On Friday I will begin a new series of posts, entitled Running with Reviews. The concept is simple. I will get my lazy butt up to run in the mornings, and I will listen to my iPod from A-Z as I do so. This will take a very long time. And album by album over this veritable age, I shall run a commentary on the music, pun most certainly intended.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My new 'it' band is Fake Problems.

Werd on the interwibz is that they made a splash at SXSW 2011, to which I say, more power, Fake Problems, more power!

Today I had my first listen to their older of the two albums I've got. Titled 'It's Great to be Alive', this album is superduper packed with sexy riffs. Musically, it's beautiful to my ears, the soundtrack to a Prohibition era western saloon run by post-punks from the future. The lyrics are a lighthearted salad of biblical blasphemies and earnest entreaties. The only trouble with this album -- what collapses it in the middle like an ill-luck round of dough -- is that the songs kind of... fail to attain a critical mass. All the little 10 second melodic snackpaks never become a whole meal.

By contrast, Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, Fake Problems' 2010 offering is stitched together like a Coach handbag. Very melodically coherent, if a little less musically adventurous.

Here's a small sample of what kind of rollick Fake Problems offer on IGTBA.

Similar albums:

O'Death - Head Home,
Murder By Death
- In Bocca al Lupo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This is something I posted at Quora a few weeks ago, then discovered that I'd mis-answered the question totally.

The actual question was, what's the difference between Knowledge and Truth?

I actually answered this question, which is clearly a lot more interesting to me: what's the difference between Knowledge and Faith?

Typically I answer Quora questions after work, when my cognitive stores are at an all-time low. I'm going to chalk up the fact that I've mis-read questions and answered tangentially a few times to this. Otherwise I've got some strange dementia and I'm screwed!

Anyway, to the main attraction:


I'll start from the same precept as [a previous poster]: that knowledge is justified true belief.

But I don't think it's the truth bit that distinguishes faith and knowledge, but rather, the justification premise.

Knowledge is sedimented through a causal chain that's either implicit or explicit in reckoning about the candidate belief. This causal chain trails behind a piece of knowledge like neon rings in a slinky, and can be called on or reevaluated at any stage while that knowledge is held.

Faith is accessed through a kind of trust or resonance or emotional valence, without the need for a causal chain.

A funny side effect of this, which to me is both logical and unsurprising:

Knowledge always bottoms out in a faith-based element at some level, if we follow the causal chain backwards far enough.

For example: My belief in the solidity of this table comes down to my faith in the existence of unobservable atomic arrangements, or my faith in the sturdiness of inductive reasoning: "it was solid when I touched it just now, so it will be solid when I touch it again tomorrow, and it will be solid when I touch it the day after" etc...

I base all the knowledge I have about the world on my ultimate faith in the physical stratum and its constituents, and I'm okay with that!


Sunday, January 09, 2011

I've got words in my head today. Between the hours of 3 and 6, I slept a manic sleep, my entire body pulsing and my heart racing. When my skin warmed, I dozed soundly. An example of what my winter naps are like, but it had been a long time since I'd been cold and tired enough for this. It was glorious, all told. I woke up to the dark, and blotted streetlamps through my rickety bedroom blinds, like a row of uneven teeth.

I've got some things I have to do with words.

I have to write more letters, as pledged.

I have to finish reading Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, now that I'm incredibly close.

I have to buy a couple more poetry books - I've been looking into Naomi Shihab Nye and Angela Readman. I've never read either author, but am incredibly intrigued by both.

I have to find the glasses Leonard Cohen wears, when he examines the world.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Can this please be my house? Kthnx.

via the New York Times.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"When we were lions, lovers in combat
Faded like your name on those jeans that I burned"

- The Gaslight Anthem, 'We Did It When We Were Young'

Blogroll update!

Sad to see some of my old go-to blogs dead :( Blogs shed and are reborn from tiny shiny wordpress default-themed shoots.

One of these things that always throws me is making mixed CDs. I'm always so game before I begin, but once I start, I'm lost.

But this mix, today, was ace: it features Elton John alongside The Gaslight Anthem, and AFI and Weezer covering Lady GaGa. I hope the intended ears like it a lot.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Having spent three days sequestered in my squeaky bunker of a bed, my hair starting to look like a silken feathered raven put in a food processor and my eyes beginning to look like something out of a Michael Hussar painting, I think today's the day to do something else.

Yeah, I'm alone at the holidays. Yeah, I haven't talked to a person face to face since Thursday (skype bigtime, though). Yeah, I'm missing my favourite fellow hoomins, and it's been raining, and watching trashy episodes on netflix in bed is alluring.

But I must rally!

So here's the day-plan, in an effort to make it real.

1) Go run. Seriously. Now.

2) Change phone ringtone already. I've had it long enough.

3) Go work on writing at a cafe. Do not pass GO, do not skip the cappuccino and macaron.

4) Please wash hair. On the verge of starting a global epidemic with that horrendous petri-dish.

Hokai. Let's see where we get to :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

the one where my boyfriend is sartorially gifted...

In fact, he and I have matching watches. Mine is yellow. They make us look pimp, but also nauseatingly cheesy (like an entire cheesecake eaten in some mythic display). Because, god, we have matching watches.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I feel like I'm staring at the end of civilization. All the other denizens of the world seem to have fled to some underground cavern in the north pole constructed of gingerbread and illuminated by fireflies. What about me? I've got a good heart. I brush my teeth at least twice a day. And although I have a bizarre obsession with puffed-sugar cereals (Trix, I'm looking at you, buddy), which grips me at odd hours and results in a not-infrequent bowl of cereal gobbled down at 3am, when the more ordinary / well-adjusted might instead be waking up for a glass of water, I am at heart a soppy little bundle of sop-cooties.

I don't do festivities end-of-year. That one time with the Stolichnaya on the diving board in the compound's shared pool was weird and a little melancholy. Sometimes I like parties with lots of food and drink and laughing people. But what I do like is my good people and being around them.

Are they in the cavern under the north pole? Yeah, it's damn cold up there, but give me a duvet and a glass of wine and I'd gladly jump on the bandwagon right about now.

Monday, November 08, 2010

via Al Mashriq, the old lighthouse of Beirut, now gone and replaced by a spaceship needle looking thing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

two things don't make a post, but fuck it:

1. I cut my throat's little boxing bag on crackerbread. It proceeded to form a blood blister. This gross/creepy accident, by the way, results in the disconcerting sensation of a little wobbly mound of flesh perching on the back of your tongue. Here it is in its full injured glory :(

2. This is an amazing post about how facebook works out who, from your friends list, to expose you to.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ok. Who's behind my new 1 year Rolling Stone subscription?

'Fess up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You want to convince me of intelligent design? Forget bananas, personal sized watermelons are where you want to start.

Oh, wait. We made those. Oops.

Here is one cool thing: poetry on pencils for charity. Yeah I know, sounds full of win. It is.

I have been working on my Google Reader list. It was originally supposed to be purely a mixed feed of rss'ed poetry from around the interwbz, but I guess people don't feel so great about the idea of blogging their poetry. I can hardly see why not? Poetry never made anyone money in a million years but it most certainly makes people smile / laugh / emote.

So the plan had to be modified, and now the Google Reader list contains reviews, critique, poetic mixed media, some photography. In fact, of the three 'pure' poetry feeds I had going, one had to be culled within a week because it was making my muscles involuntarily attempt self-harm. Ever had alien hand syndrome where your own fingers are trying to gouge your eyes out through your nostrils? Perhaps if you read vox poetica you will feel the joy of this rare disorder too.

Srsly, I thought I was going to become more tolerant of diverse forms of expression in my old age, what gives? I appear to be climbing slowly but steadily higher into the saddle of my high horse.

But if there's anything I cannot stomach, it's shitty words.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

from the factbook.

Today has been the worst day for my heart in a hundred years.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A few items of note today!

a. Shuttertext lives! And breathes, and has its own interwebzite at Shuttertext is an art project my best friend and I have worked on for a couple of years, and we've just picked it out of a sandy ditch, dusted it off, and put it on the mantel again. Please visit our project and say nice things to it and pet it, for it is smarter, edgier, and more friendly than a housecat, and also way less likely to ribbon furniture with its sharp nails.

b. Sundays are for baboons. I don't like Sundays. Even nice ones where I convince myself to run an hour without grasping the headboard of the treadmill with sweaty rigormortis fingers. Strange habit, that, by the way. I think it was down to having the incline up too high.

c. I finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close today. Fuck, there was me tearing up over my cappuccino and tearing up again at the bus stop. You know, it's just one thing that did it, the fact that it never ever ever caved and used spiritual or religious motifs in discussing death and loss. It was such a humanist book. No, it was more than that: it was alive, human. And I think that, yes, I agree - love and death are these two poles of the same globe, and deep in the core of that chrome planet is this amazing molten fire of the things that double us over with gratitude, and the things that hamstring us with mourning.

I should apologise actually for rudely refusing to read this for a gazillion (googolplex?) years :) Silly me.

And I loved how 'Samuel Beckett' the grandparents' narratives were, at parts.

That concludes a few things of note. At ease.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

we were orphans before we were ever the sons of regret

Monday, September 06, 2010

after an hour in the amoeba records clearance aisles

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Yesterday started a bit rough but ended up being nearly perfect. I wore the new sweater and neck scarf my mom sent me in a package - along with three boxes of cup-a-soup and my karate brown belt, for future situations of karate level-up - and had a good rocking time at the salle de fitness. Although, of course, not in those clothes.

Dropped off some stuff for alteration and dry cleaning that I'd been hanging onto or wearing unaltered / unwashed for embarrassingly long. The tailor was the cutest, gentlest Greek grand dad ever, but at the end of all the pinning and piling of clothes, his little yellow carbon copy bill still cut me to the core. ouff. Must be good money in dry cleaning and alteration. Maybe I should switch career paths?

After all this, I had a killer protein smoothie to restore inner balance and inner ballast (shit, I was so spent after the gym I could have floated down the road like a piece of newspaper in the wind). I did my weekly shop, which entails looking intently at ever item in every aisle then choosing about six things at the end. Five, if you count the packet of blackberries I hoover down on the way to the bus stop. Ritual. I love my weekly shop.

Finally, I went to a late show of Scott Pilgrim. The movie was so Toronto. And made me smile :) Big :) And it made me laugh, and lots of people were laughing at the irony and the hipster jabs. We were just that kind of audience last night, you know? The movie did this excellent thing balancing super nerdiness with super hipster aesthetics. I don't think I would have cast Michael Cera, necessarily - not because he can't act but because he didn't seem the 'right' Scott Pilgrim to me. Nitpicking notwithstanding, the performances were excellent.

A Saturday wrapped in lotus leaf.

Onward Sunday.
I always knew we were all a bunch of pirates, آرررر*

*this is Arabic for ARRRRRR!, natch.

Cover your left eye if you want to learn to read arabic, me-hearties!

Also, what's with the passive aggressive science, Professor Zohar Eviatar?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Every time I go into a bookstore I get happy. For me, this is kind of like a visit to the zoo: I'm tempted to throw peanuts at all the pretty books and rattle their shelving units in wide-eyed glee.

Today I saw Kraken again, and my heart got big. At fifteen I had these feelings that could turn into books if I watered them and kept them in direct sunshine. Now, not so. But there's still something, some little bluebird (in the words of Charles Bukowski), that is a good and stout and tiny ascetic, living off mere scraps and the barest mineral content of the most infrequent filmy tears, but it's still there, thumping wings behind my ribcage. For that bird, I still need to read; I still need poetry.

I need poetry. (in the most forward moments of my solitude, I feel like we should all say that, every instant).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Link Dump owing to the upcoming closure of my fb account ftw.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This time is the real thing.

This is an experiment.

All my life is finally right, right as a delicate figurine cut out of a grain of rice.

Now to see if I can make myself create.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

My favourite lovesong, in three vignettes.

"your lips, my lips
your bones, my bones,
my heart, your heart,"

- Broken Records, 'Wolves'

Monday, March 30, 2009


I want my hour back.

My brain KNOWS full well it's not even 7 am yet, and no amount of steaming black Lady Gray tea is going to change that.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This day was a slanting misfire
Selfish infatuation -
All my lovers live on pages
It keeps me lonely, reading

-Sundowner, 'Traffic Haze'

Finally got my paws on this solid acoustic companion, Sundowner's Four One Five Two. Which is to say, The Lawrence Arms explaining their ethos and gifting haggard bleary-eyed truths to a Texan retirement home through interpretive song.

Bottoms up to you, Chris McCaughan, you rockstar!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Damascus' answer to Starbucks? Inhouse Coffee.

While competing with Starbucks for turf must be hard, competing with the concept of Starbucks in a spectator city, aware of the Goliaths of globalism but sealed tight to their havoc, seems to me the easiest venture imaginable.

Capitalism as wish fulfilment.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Me and the blog have been sitting across a fold-out table balancing china on our knees and taking quaint sips of tea, waiting and staring, judging how best to smooth out the wrinkles in time and tablecloth that have scrambled our easy co-existence.

I think I will fill in the Almost-One-Year in fragments and vignettes and let the rest of the story stay unearthed.

Another hurtling week smacking into a Saturday morning wall of sleep and coddling. I have been back in Edinburgh for almost a year - wide-netted sentences like this make me uncomfortable - and it has been hard to slow down enough to do anything introspective.

The reason the blog is back is that I do have to force my hand, and find that space again that likes to flirt with words and make sorceries out of simple ideas.

Here it all stands. Just like I left it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The blog is back!

Believe it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The more a gap opens up between myself and my past academic hijinks, the more I see how they relate to troo life. The weird thing is that what I love about philosophy is just how it doesn't tie in with life. I like the airy bits, the wild, uncontrollable connect-a-move of it, the exploits that give the finger to empirical verification and scupper benchmarks and prance around like intellectual trannies, jolly and outrageous. But for some reason, there are these two mini-case-studies that I've been getting massive nerd-milage out of in the dark chambers of my brain....

(Keys) Does anyone else get really nostalgic about the contents of their keychains? In particular, I find it pathetically comforting to carry around keys to my pseudo-domicilic places in other countries. And I think there's a solid reason for that. Keys are a dense memento, a piece of certitude, a chunk that evokes an uncanny mnemonic, recalling a way of being frisky with the world at hand, at point-blank short range, even though sometimes the extent of the world can seem so far removed, like a logic-laundromat of pressed and bleached concepts.

(Where in the world is Matt?) Correct me if this is not what those idiotic Youtube videos are called. But anyway, idea is, this feller goes to a bunch of famous tourist attractions worldwide and does a dorky dance in front of them. The cool thing about that is, again, the way it reaches into these fetishised scenes, these living postcards, and says, watch this, look how I am inside this landscape, and how I engage with it. And having so many different versions of the same dance scenario only strengthens that sense, because it itemises these sightseeing venues like they're a sequence on the back of a deck of playing cards, but at the same time it totally defies that alienation, doing its very hardest to fuck with the eerie stillness of the picture perfect, and to pretty much 'dance it back down to size'.

I am getting dirty overtures of 'please leave' from this cafe's staff. I mean, I didn't need the salt and pepper shakers or the lighting or the menu, but I don't think it would have hurt to just leave my table alone for a bit longer. Lame, but yeah, point taken.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A List of Things I Will Miss About Dubai, Heavily Biased By Things In My Photo Library.

1. My homeslice, Sumbuddy.

2. My karate club.

3. The symphony of (mostly nice) smells that accompany a run around the park.

4. My dodgy Mazda, short two of its door handles. And recently sporting a new injury.

5. The coffee at Caribou, Sassi Lassi juice at Tonic, dim sum buffet massacres on Saturday afternoon, Muffin Break muffins...

6. My family, obviously.

7. The delusional cat that fell from the fourth storey (pictured).

8. Fanta Light.

9. Glorious, glorious sleep.

10. My pride'n'joy bookshelf.