Monday, August 30, 2010

Outside Lands and a Grey Whale, otherwise Known as Time Management

This "phase" of this blog is turning into a reflection on finishing the phd thesis.  It's actually quite anti-climactic; the real story is in everything else.

Last week I wrote an entry about Outside Lands, the two-day music festival held in Golden Gate Park.  As mentioned below, I procrastinated on looking up a band name and didn't get around to posting it.  Written in the past, it seems silly to post it as its own entry.  And I make the rules here, so here's an "embedded entry:"

A week ago Friday, while perusing weekend happenings, I discovered this two-day concert called outside lands.  I never make it to the whole show for these festivals; it's more of a get-back-into-what-the-rest-of-the-world-is-listening-to thing.  And long days of music outdoors is always relaxing, whether it's classical (rare), metal (rare), or something in between (most things).

Al Green was amazing.  He does things with his voice that few even try.  Social distortion was fun, and their Johnny Cash closer was a great burst of outdoor energy.  Furthur was unexpected, since I've never listened to the Grateful Dead.  One of those random omissions; no real reason.  The music was great, and they played quite a while, which was a great close to Saturday.  Their cover of Time, was, of course, a fun surprise.  Some of the best music was on the smaller stages.  Favorites were Aterciopelados, from Bogota, and Beats Antique.  Each was far more original than many of the headliners.

Empire of the Sun I should say something about.  They were definitely…interesting.  Costumes and danceable electronica and an interesting light and video show.  But after the 5th song that was the same, I needed a reprieve.  I once had MIchael Jackson's Dangerous on in the car while driving my mom, since I was paying attention to rhythm a lot at the time, and it seemed pretty mom-friendly.  Halfway through she told she was tired of hearing the same song on repeat.  It caught me off guard, but I expect this was the same effect.

That's that entry.  Then I wrote this one, about a film I saw.

I rented Collapse the other night, since I was looking for a documentary that makes you think (about something other than quaternion math).   A man collapsing as he studies collapse.   I'm getting distracted away from movies a lot right now, since I have far too much work on my mind, but his emotional moments pulled me back in.  

i really liked the talking head staging set in a dark room.  It really tells you that this film is about him, and not so much about the story he is telling, although that gets your attention too.  The story is a theory of the in-progress collapse of western society.  Many points I agree with, but his expected conclusion I do not.  Personally, I think some people will put up with hardship of a growing world with limited resources, while others will jump at the chance to innovate.  The innovation is happening now, but it's crawling.  When energy loss really starts to affect a lot of people is when it will take off.  

After that entry was written, I rented The Man from Space, which was also really good.

Watching these is becoming a late-night mental release from the far--too-constrained mental efforts of rewriting the related work section of my thesis.  It was long and rambling.  I cut it in half in terms of length, and that's with more content included.  

Two days ago, it occurred to me that the real reason putting a thesis into a finished form, instead of scattered bits of writing, is hard, is that it's boring me out of my mind.  Finishing the related work had to be the worst, which I completed today.  There's still a few references to add, but the structure is all the way it should be now, and it stands as I want it.  That said, the creative work on this is long since done, so it's come down to time-management mind-games that I'm playing with myself to keep it moving.  

A few days ago had one of the most fun time-management mind games.  I ignored the thesis, I rented a car, and I took off to do four random hikes, without much of a plan.  Surprisingly, I saw a whale breaching off of Point Reyes (it's not the season for it).  I don't know that I've ever seen a whale, but I was endlessly fascinated by them as a child, and seeing one unexpectedly was really great.  

The other excuse for the trip was to draw.  Not to create drawings, but to draw.  Having done it intensely in the past and having set it aside while I was in the "thesis trenches, " as I call last year, it was way overdo.  They were fairly bad drawings, since it was more about the act of moving a pencil around on paper and picking and choosing what to show.  Landscape gestures from the top of Mt Tam.  I made a few more today.  It's a mental loosening-up, in a way.

That all said, the next part of the thesis will move more quickly, probably taking a week, and then the revision will be half finished.  Then there's some fun things to do. 

And to make the context of this entry even stranger, it was written a couple days ago.

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