Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 16 2003

I was at a bookstore yesterday, wandering around t…

I was at a bookstore yesterday, wandering around the magazine section looking at DV stuff, when I came across some of those Nice House magazines, like Places Extremely Rich People Live and Homes That Cost Crazy Money. Houses on the Riviera, people own their own island, shit like that. Next to this section was some kind of action/war/history section with a photo of a bunch of soldiers crawling up a beach. And although they didn’t look like they were having a great time, they didn’t look miserable. Granted, I’ve never crawled up a beach while being shot at, but having said that I have had a taste of the crawling-around-in-the-mud-with-a-gun kind of thing, and all of the sudden something dawned on me: I know myself well enough to realize that, if I lived in some incredible mansion on the Riviera or on my own island, I would most likely be sitting around worrying about stupid stuff just as much as I do now in my little apartment. I wouldn’t be any happier than I am now. But when you’re crawling through the mud, the needs you percieve suddenly become not only more basic and but extraordinarily more attainable as well as more satisfying. We have the assumption that a rich, easy life is better, better in absolute terms despite any variables such as personality, temperment, character, etc. Basically, the question is: where would you rather be? What would you rather be doing? What’s worth doing and what isn’t?

Duh! You’re probably saying. What exactly dawned on me? Probably something I knew all along, but never really thought about before. Most people know what they want out of life, but I suspect that if you gave most people exactly what they thought they wanted, they would still end up unhappy. Not to go all Matrix or Fantasy Island on you, but knowing what it is you really want is to know your real self, and the more I think about it, the less obvious it seems. I won’t start ranting about the reasons people’s priorities are the way they are, but it seems that knowing yourself is not an easy thing to do, but it is probably one of the most valuable things you can do. And it’s not for the faint of heart, either, because I’m gradually coming to believe that what is really going on inside people’s minds is not only quite complicated, but a bit scary as well. I wonder if people have a subconscious fear that, deep down, we’re driven by much darker motives, baser motives than we care to admit.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean to say that if you’re not happy you won’t ever be, just that perhaps the things we set up in our minds as “this will make me happy” aren’t necessarily things that will satisfy us. You just have to truly know yourself, which is not an easy thing, and be brave enough to experiment until you find those things that have the power to sate whatever thirsts you may have.

I watched the top-ten finalists for the directors competition Project Greenlight yesterday. I was surprised not only at how wonderful some of the entries were, but also at how crap some of the other ones were. The biggest surprise, however, was that some of the really good ones didn’t win, while some of the crap ones did. I suppose this goes to show that, no matter what criteria you’re using to judge films, it’s not exactly an exact science; everyone has a different take on things. I suppose they all work on certain levels, but then again, everyone has different priorities when it comes to what they want to see on the screen. Again, different thirsts.

What? Would you rather I go walk around somewhere and tell you about it? It’s fucking hot outside, in case you didn’t know.

Anyway, for my latest Sound of the Moment, here is Zhang Zhen-yue’s “0204”. For the benefit of those who don’t understand Chinese, here’s my rough translation of the lyrics:

“0204” by Zhang Zhen-yue

*sound of woman whining sexual innuendo over the phone* (don’t be like that…look…underwear…aaah)

Nothing to do at night, sweating in the summer heat, brushing my teeth as I sit naked on the toilet, washing out my yellowed underwear.

I’ll buy new ones tomorrow.

The air conditioning is less and less cool…it’s another pitiful night.

When I close my eyes, your face appears. You’re naked too, sitting on my thigh. You’re eating a cooked sausage and holding a big banana in your hand…but when I open my eyes, I realize that it was an illusion. Just an illusion.


0204, where’s my new girlfriend? 0204, get me through the long night, 0204, Japan, America and Europe, they all speak Chinese!

0204, single guys’ greatest need, 0204, it’s hard to express how I feel, 0204, long-distance calls are expensive, hurry up if you want it!

It’s been a month, I’m realizing that I’ve really lost it. Is it too much? I’ve spent all my money. I have to sit down on the street I’m so dizzy, and it hurts when I piss.

When I open my legs I realize that it was all an illusion. Just an illusion.

Spiffy, eh?

posted by Poagao at 7:51 am  

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