A wonder - how much intentionality versus intuition is good in writing (essays? stories? etc. are there differences between?).. In writing a story, is it better to think about characters and imagine their actions and consequences in a realistic world (emulator approach), or start with intuitions of a story arch or lesson and work to implement that? Do we respect the story or the characters more? I'm not trying for definite answers, but rather to understand the choices/results and how they relate to each other for various types of writing. Likewise, some people who write essays write something that resembles a formula or chart and transform it slowly into natural language - others create content out of intuition, and slowly refactor it into what they want as more is demanded of it. This is on some level analogous to programming - code usually ends up being refactored in the end (although some people refactor by understanding interfaces and replacing large chunks of code with new, designed (rather than organic) code, and there are gradations..)
Yesterday I had a dream that I was in New York City in a small, open-air art theatre (wood seats, vaguely ampitheatre shape). Woody Allen was there, semi-hosting the event (some play that didn't take itself too seriously, maybe a dress rehearsal?), and he occasionally ran off to get more tiny pancakes to serve us. Somehow, this dream has struck really strongly in my head.
- Musharraf's storming of Lal Masjid was, I believe, the right thing to do, but now that he's been forced to become more of a strong leader, he has difficulties to face, many stemming from weak leadership in the past. Large parts of Pakistan are largely exempt from his (moderate) rule due to "treaties" with tribal and religious militant groups, and repelling their attempt to stake claim on the capital endangers all those agreements. Hopefully he has enough political capital, military strength, and control over the military to move towards their subjugation. It's been claimed by the left opposition that his rise to power and military rule prevents the effective development of liberal values in the nation. I'm not sure how to evaluate that claim (although if democracy results in power going towards the theocrats, I hope it never arrives).
- The Roman Catholic Pope clarified its position vis a vis other christian faiths, stirring some controversy. From what I can read, it's an attempt to note that the practical goal of better relationships with other churches should not be a sacrifice on important doctrine. While I don't place any stock in the Roman Catholic Church (or any church or faith), I think it's a good thing from a philosophical point of view that they're considering the positions involved with due seriousness.
- Cultural problems in Switzerland...
- I was pleased to see that Gordon Brown, the new British PM, sided with the House of Lords in blocking construction of a large casino in Manchester. Casinos have always struck me as directly harmful to the welfare of the people, and arguing for them by jobs created feels very shortsighted to me, almost as if we were giving grants to have particularly effective thieves wandering the town. I admit that there's a difference in that gambling produces pleasure for some people, but I don't think it should be permitted to exist as an industry nor should the stakes ever be permitted to be large enough to be substantially harmful to people's quality of life. One of the good things about the House of Lords is that it's less suceptible to lobbying and public shortsightedness..
- Lebanon continues to crack down on Palestinian militant groups.
- A republican movement is dismantling the monarch's remaining power in Nepal.
- Starbucks got the boot from the Forbidden City area of Beijing. Hurrah!
- America .. well.. amuses me sometimes.
- Portugal, thanks to semi-recent elections of a Socialist party, legalised abortion (with typical European nuances). This is by-and-large a good thing (and a major loss for the Roman Catholic church - hopefully a difference that will lead to lessening of their political/social influence in the long-term)
- Not really news - an interesting perspective on values and education in schools. Note the nuances in the third-to-last paragraph.
- Just as the US got a number of (in my opinion highly politically undesirable) middle and upper class former Cubans in Florida after Castro took over, it looks like a number of Venezuelans hope to flee their country for the US for similar reasons - to plot some kind of a triumphant return so they can go back to exploitation. I consider it a shame that the ex-Cuban community exists in Florida (or, to be more precise, I despise their political influence - ex-Cubans and descendants who lack that attitude/aim I'm fine with) - hopefully the US won't allow for history to repeat itself in that welcoming.
- Worrying religious revival in Turkey.
Not long ago, I was in the southside and found that "The Library", a restaurant I've been to once or twice before, has occasional all-you-can-eat crêpes. It's a bit expensive (~$15), but very good.