Dependent Origination

Archive for October 2010

看了有几个星期了。还是很好看的。剧本写得好,很揪心,从头到尾就没松过。very well made movie。怪不得有人叫嚣是年度best picture。

故事里面真真假假,几乎所有主要人物都出来论述过了哪些是真的,哪些是假的。所以这里就不提了。看了之后最大的感想是is this my profession? 电影把nerd/geek/软件工程师的生活描写得仿佛(男人的)天堂一样,连招个intern都要一边喝酒一边coding,更不用说随处所见的groupie美女了。我看世界上凭空要多很多男人打算当软件工程师了。

话又说回来,hacker culture确实和我们通常的软工们不太一样,更何况facebook确实直到现在还是有很强的hacker tradition。两三百个engineer之后,原先的strong presence of a hacker culture就被迫退位了,至少在mailing list上面啊,冠冕堂皇的地方啊,都要politically correct了。所以这一点上看电影还是准确的抓住了这一个特点。

另外一个很显眼的地方,而且网上几乎没有任何人提,就是其实这是一个非常sexist的电影。为什么没有人提呢?因为大多数会看这个电影然后要发言的人都是男人啊。里面所有的女人,都是object of desire, 没有任何性格或者人生之说,也是hacker culture的一部分。另外的一部分,关于jewish guys and asian girls, 也是相当的脸谱化. asian girls贪婪,追逐名利,without shame, bitchy,看了会觉得如果我有个女儿, do i want her to grow up in a society with such stereotype for her?

从race这个角度讲,在asia长大的asian就不会在金钱,地位等等问题之外还要面对种族这个问题。种族问题,也是另一个亘古不变的问题,感觉上几千年里人类在这个问题上就没有什么进步。或者最多是有一些人类学会了不要当面表达自己的想法而已。在中国长大的汉族,可能连这个问题的存在都不一定知道。但是在美国长大的每个ABC,都会有自己的血泪史。

烂七八糟的就算讲完了吧。

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在等火车, 用wordpress的iphone app写写看,到目前为止还不错挺方便的,除了中英切换之外,所以要尽量用同一种语言的说。这对我有点难度,因为我的自然状态是混合型的:有的概念是完全从英文学习来的不知道怎样用中文表述所以如果不强加限制的话通常都是讲着讲着中文就变英文了,再讲讲又变回中文了。

这于我自己简直太正常了,如果不是和一些chinese aquaintances有所来往的话,根本不会自发的认识到这是个问题。可是为什么一定要用aquaintances这个词呢,而且一定要加上定语chinese呢,因为不够熟但又有很多先入为主的意见,而且还毫不犹豫地要把自已的意见表现给你看或者听。次数多了自然就会引起我的注意。鉴于人数大于一,我也要反省自己是否有不当之处,看看自己是否在无意之间确实有流露出对方所讨厌的崇洋媚外之意。我当然觉得自己没有了,但是也许自我认识有误差也是大有可能的,最不济也要有则改之无则加勉呀。

哩哩啦啦写了这一大堆,除了表达我对以前的遭遇当面无法发表的不满之外,其实还想说我的脑子现在就是这样工作的,和崇洋媚外一点关系都没有。另外我发现用iphone写中文的好处是就好象又回到了用笔写中文文章的年代,非常亲切,而且还可以联想比自己写还要快,标点都有,根本不用切换。

我走题走得太远了,本来是要写电影的。这个电影说是侯孝贤监制的,我怀疑是outsource或者franchise的,质量一般。故事有些意思,但是两个演员缓慢而木呆的表演实在让人受不了。看完有一种解脱的感觉。

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The movie itself is good, better than most of the recent productions from Zhang Yimou. The pace is a bit slow. I don’t think you need to be that slow just because it happened in the past or memory. People in the bygone times were not retarded. They were still normal. Also I don’t like the way how they use captions to show plot twists. That is lame. Only people who cannot tell a story resort to that kind of help.

I love the story, however. Was even more touched by the fact, later learned, that it is based on a true story. The movie itself even opened in Yichang, Hubei for that is where the original story happened during early 70s. The fact that there were people who loved so unselfishly is strangely comforting. It is almost like an announcement that love always exists. It is just you never meet her.

I read some reviews on douban and felt none of them grasped the key point. Well, the humorous ones are rather amazing, for example, this one. (Don’t check it out if you haven’t watched the movie. It is dissecting the movie into bits and pieces.) The marketing campaign of this movie was focusing on the innocence of the love. In everyone’s interpretation, that basically means there was no sex but still a great love. So people review it like crazy. Such as no sex does not equal to innocence. Innocence is about heart. If your heart remains pure, you can still be innocent (but promiscuous).  I don’t understand the logic at all. How can you be promiscuous *and* innocent? Just someone tells me how??? It sounds like someone wants it both but couldn’t get it both so they have to change definitions.

Anyway, coming back to the movie, after the initial wave of emotions set upon by the beautifully sad story, I came to the realization that this is an one-sided love story. It is about how a man loves a woman while the woman never really wakes up and responds with her own passion. It fits the frame of thousands of years of story telling from the man’s point of view. Woman is supposed to be passive and receptive and never someone with her own identity. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a feminist but I cannot help notice it despite the motivation from the hero is purely admiration and his lack of chance to fulfill his dreams is heartbreaking.

I don’t feel ‘pure or innocent’ is the key point to describe this story, although I understand sex sells so allusion to it also sells. It is more about how a man can love a woman without even a single thought about himself. Given the general truth that men are selfish animals (don’t throw bricks at me. i know every man reader out there is not selfish :), it makes the love so rare and so unattainable. In a sense, the hero served the purpose to display the existence of such love to us and died young so that we won’t be so regretful of our own choices. Good things are never meant to last.

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国境之南太阳之西

村上春树的小说封面不知道是谁设计的,好像都长得都差不多,经常是一两个美女的样子,俗得要命。

之前说不看村上春树了,可是在图书馆里面乱逛的时候还是抡了一本回来。是Philip Gabriel翻译的。这本还挺好看的。我觉得主要是没有那么玄妙和后现代,所以还能看下去。内容总的来说可以在bbs上面挖上很多大坑的说。坑一: 怎样才能得到女孩子的芳心啊大家帮帮我啊。坑二: 三角恋爱被女友发现怎么办。坑三: 工作巨无聊,大家的工作都这么没意思吗。坑四: 人生可能就这么回事儿吧想settle了。坑五: BSO, 心理脆弱的慎入。 坑六: (Dreamer发贴) 想离婚了。 坑七: (Dreamer 发贴) 想自杀了。

大概就是这样:)

其实没有这么庸俗。但是the topics it delt with are the same: what is love? what is marriage? 没有人能回答。还好的是,大多数人并没有这样一个可以全面反思自己的决定的机会。所以很多人就是无聊,落寞,懒得离婚而已。

以前好像提过,上学的时候系里的茶房有每天的纽约时报,没有人一起吃午饭的时候,就一边吃一边看,所以看nytimes的习惯已经很久很久了。有一次看到了Iris Murdoch的讣告,讣告是很有意思的栏目,这个以后再说。一下子被Iris丰富多彩的一生吸引,马上借了她老公为她写的回忆录来看。当时刚刚到美国不久,英文水平和现在不可同日而语,看了大半本,爱情细节很感动,关于她的哲学思想等等都没看懂。这本书择日需要重读的说。

这则讣告最重要的地方是它开启了我自己读书的时代,所以意义十分重大。国内上学的时候也看过很多书,但是来源无外乎老师父母或者同学的推荐。正经的书单上面多半是文学名著,作者一般都死了。 当代的作家,几乎很少出现在大家的视野里面。刚到美国的时候,中文资源困乏,平时也就是能看看新语丝,哪里有现在这般繁荣的景象。不过也正是中文网络的缺失才造成了我向英文资源探索的动力,今日来看,是利远远大于弊的一件事情。这个话题很有意思,还是日后拓展吧:)

回到Iris Murdoch身上,从她老公的回忆录开始,我开始了从nytimes上面寻找书看的历史。后面看的书,都是自己想看的,不是一定会在某个大众共同认可的书单上面的,是深深地带着自己的喜好和发展历史的,是一条自己独自向前,独自摸索,独自学习的路。个人和孤独,是这些年看书最大的标志。

Iris Murdoch虽然对我的读书有这么大的作用,但是我却一本她的作品都没有看过。前一个星期在图书馆闲逛的时候,看到她的collection,就随手抽了一本比较薄的,打算消灭掉这个盲点:)

看完很喜欢。但是也很欣喜自己十几年后才想起来看她。十几年前的我,恐怕很难理解很多人性上面复杂的问题和欣赏一份能够透彻的毫不犹豫的展示人的弱点的作品。十几年前的我也不大可能对宗教,或者Organized Religion这样的话题有任何兴趣。但是对于现在的我,is totally piqued by the question that why organized religion can exist and flourish how I should approach it. Murdoch用一个短小的故事探索了宗教,爱情,弱点和the darkness caused by the weaknesses.

Only one character survived the darkness, so I have to think of her as the heroine, Dora. Other characters received fairly significant treatment so at times it is hard to tell who is the main character. Dora started the story as a young woman, insecure and shallow, married to an abusive husband who she couldn’t tear herself away from. The husband, Paul, was studying an ancient manuscripts in a convent and lived in the lay community outside the convent. Dora joined Paul to live in the community to rescue her marriage. The community had an assortment of characters who wanted something more than what they could acquire in a normal life but were not determined enough to give up the world. Everyone came with an emotional luggage and thus despite their full wish to act out of pure belief in the goodness of following God a series of events happened around the introduction of a new bell into the convent. Dora ended up being the only one who thought of life differently and for the better and left the community with courage and confidence to face the turmoil which we call life and potentially love it. Everyone else was permanently scarred and there seemed no hope that they could recover from the damage and face their faith the same as before.

听起来很沉重,但是读起来并不是这个感觉。Murdoch writes in a beautiful and poetic language. At times, I would stop and recite her sentences many times just to savor the beauty of her lines. She is a writing master!

A few random examples:

1. It was a bright moonlit night and he could see as he looked out, intent and nervous, the great expanse of the lake, and the Abbey wall opposite to him, clearly revealed in the blazing splendour of the moon which was well risen above the market-garden. Everything looked familiar and at the same time rather eerie.

2. The boat came lazily to a standstill in the middle of the lake.

3. Dora Greenfield was wearing a spectacular dress of dark West Indian cotton and carrying a white paper parasol, which she must have purchased in the village, and, for some reason, a large Spanish basket. She wore the sandals deplored by Margaret Strafford. At Mark’s suggestion, she had drenched herself in oil of citronella to keep off the midges, and the heavy sweetish perfume gave to her person an allure both crude and exotic. Michael watched her, as they ambled along, with irritation. He has seen her, similarly attired and accoutred, in the market-garden that afternoon, and her presence had seemed to make their labours into some absurd pastoral frolic. There was something a little touching all the same about her naive vitality. Her arms touched by the sun were now a glowing gold and she tossed her heavy tongues of hair like a pony. Michael saw dimly how Paul might be in love with her. Paul himself was in a restless excited state and fluttered about his wife, unable to keep his eyes and his hands off her. She teased him with a slightly impatient tolerance.

4. It was the next morning. The sun was still faithfully shining, but a certain chillness and bleakness in the air at breakfast time made known the season, and then the eye was more quick to see the signs of the autumnal decay.

It has been a long time that I have written about any technical details or new knowledge recently gained on this blog. One reason is that I have started using personal Wiki pages to document the accumulation of my own tech knowledge. Another reason is that I have been so absorbed in working that except working anything else is considered a waste of time and not even time to stop and consider what I have learned time and again.

Luckily this has changed. I spent nearly a full day today to write a shell script that can hook up with my own pre-commit hooks for svn. Along the way, I discovered useful bits on writing a shell script faster.

1. Number one discovery of the day: how to debug shell scripts. Change the shebang line from #!/bin/sh to #!/bin/sh -x will do the trick.

2. On Ubuntu, /bin/sh, by default, links to dash, which is a supposedly POSIX-compliant shell interpreter for bash. Unfortunately dash still has bugs which makes it not exactly POSIX compliant. So if your script starts complaining about ‘unexpected operator’, consider using bash directly instead of the symlinked dash. That is, change the shebang line from #!/bin/sh to #!/bin/bash

3. if [ $transaction == ” ] complains about unitary operator needed. this is because if $transaction is empty string, it will vanish completely and leave the interpreter looking for another input parameter. use “” to wrap around $transaction will fix it.

4. on a similar note, spaces after [ and before ] for a condition are not optional. dash will complain about weird things while bash will tell you there is a missing ].

5. I don’t understand why most tutorials online says ‘if [] then … else … fi’ or ‘ if [] then … elif … else .. fi’ are acceptable if statements. In reality, for the latter case, it is actually ‘if [] then … elif [] then … else … fi’


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  • is reflecting on the past three years and reading the article on divided self aptly showing up at the top of my tweeter feed. 1 month ago
  • is having a nice feeling of connecting dots all over the place. they are now illuminating the same point. 2 months ago
  • Style Transfer is fun! TensorFlow rocks! #WTM17 https://t.co/zYP0IFIDfp 4 months ago
  • couldn't get over the jetlag, sleeping during the day from seven to four, for days. 6 months ago
  • is emptying trash and happily discovering the available disk space now ranks at 100G+. 7 months ago

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