F. M. Gleb's Blog

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L’Être et le néant

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(“Being and Nothingness”)

Having taken two years of high school French and then a semester of philosophy in college, I’m pretty much an expert in existentialism. Imagine my delight when brother Erik showed me this wonderful video of Jean-Paul Sartre quotes! I haven’t watched Star Wars, but now it seems like a pretty legit movie.

Written by Gleb

May 16, 2011 at 01:01

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Outside the club

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You know how sometimes little things happen to you, and you recognize that they’re interesting, but not so interesting that you’ll ever remember them again? Well, sometimes I write these things down–in whatever notebook I have open at the time, on a nearby newspaper, in a stray notepad window. Then sometimes I come across these records and feel pretty cool about recovering a lost memory.

Anyway, I was just looking for some notes on something, and came across this:

saw early 30s man in a leather jacket quickly brush past an old woman standing in line at an outdoor kiosk near Dionis and Sfera [a grocery store & a club]

he dropped something small into her jacket’s left pocket

she instinctively moved her hand a little, but then almost instantly stopped it in a slight jolt, and pretended nothing happened. her head never turned away from the back of whoever was in front of her in the queue

pretty sure it was drugs

06 may, 2011, about 4 PM

For completeness, I’m going to take a photo of that place. I’m always walking past it anyway.

Hey, here’s an idea: maybe this blog should be a record of some of the little things I’ll most likely forget.

Written by Gleb

May 8, 2011 at 14:51

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Surrealist Games II

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Ben Folds Five - Emaline (click photo to listen)

Emaline and I played some surrealist games (see previous post for explanation).

What is a black hole?
It’s what you get when you milk a dog.

If a woman were to hypothetically leave the kitchen,
Someone’s mother will most certainly swim into the deep end of the pool.

After these, there were a few brilliant, really on-target ones, but I managed to lose them.

What is crunk-metal folk-dragon viking warrior electronic ambientcore?
It’s the nicest trick a javelina on a skateboard can do.


Emaline: sorry for delay.
Emaline: went downstairs looking for something, forgot what, hung out trying to remember
Emaline: then forgot I was talking to you
Emaline: and now I just remembered it
me: haha
Emaline: I still don’t know why I went down there, though
Emaline: oh! my computer cord!
Emaline: argh, okay, brb

Act II:

When all of the church’s candles finally melt,
The dinosaurs will come back to life and start eating all the babies.
(me: second coming?
Emaline: could be the third for all we know. or twenty-fifth!)

Side question: What does one do in Belarus during the winter?

Emaline: become a great author
Emaline: isn’t that what all russians do?
me:  I’m going to blog

Sometimes things don’t really work out:

What is the last second of dusk?
It’s when two midgets ride the mechanical bull covered in liquid latex.

Written by Gleb

January 27, 2011 at 03:05

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with one comment

I was originally going to post all of this without any context, but I felt bad doing it without giving out some props.

When I was fourteen, my sister gave me a copy of A Book of Surrealist Games as a birthday present. I was a snotty brat back then (I am a little less snotty now), didn’t realize its true worth, and somehow managed to have it end up on my sister’s bookshelf, an entire state away from me. I finally rediscovered this wonderful book a few days ago, and immediately set out to read it. Before I even opened the cover, I had already begun planning strange surrealist drinking parties in my head. Of course, I had no idea what I was talking (thinking?) about: I imagined many more balls than are actually involved (zero).

When I was twenty-two, someone posted a video of a dog eating cabbage on my facebook. It’s kinda cute:

According to Wikipedia, “the surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and nonsequitur.” So then what are surrealist games? The book reads that “surrealist games and procedures are intended to free words and images from the constrains of rational and discusrive order, substituting and indeterminacy for premeditation and deliberation.” Well, I had to reply to the cabbage-dog video, so I figured I’d put this book to a good use.
The first game I tried was the most basic one: automatic writing. You do it like this: Put yourself in a receptive frame of mind, and start writing. Don’t think about what you’re writing. If the flow of words pauses, end the sentence and begin a new one with some predetermined letter.

I replied that I was going to reflect about watermelon, go into a receptive state of mind, and begin writing. Each new forced sentence would begin with a ‘w’, for “watermelon.” This is what I came up with:

while at a table, sharing a bad in the biblical sense, I am watching the screen of facebook. Face? Book? Why do we have a difference between a face and a watermelon. What is the difference between me and you, pole of beauty? Can we adhere to the important rules of solitaire and bridge, and can we decide where we live without talking to our dogs? World wide web is intense and is a home for us all, facebooks and watermelons and cabbage eating dogs.

Well, I don’t know if that’s really a good example of what one is supposed to come up with, but I posted it anyway. So, that was my first experiment.

My next experiment was a two-person chain game of definitions. To play this game, one person writers down a question and hides it. Then a second person writes down the answer (without knowing the question). Remarkable facts emerge! Of course, I needed a partner, so I video chatted with Nicole (who was like 1800  miles away! the internet is so cool), and we modified the rules to make things workable. We came up with this:

What is beauty?
It is when a chair has three legs too many.

The next game was similar, but with conditionals (one person writes down a sentence beginning with if/when, the next person writers down a sentence in the conditional or future tense).

If a butterfly had no wings
A string would be too short to sew a sweater

When a ship’s sails are torn
A butterfly will commit genocide against the winged

If I were to be a successful record collector
There would not be enough food for the winter

When a sturdy pair of military boots is worth its weight in gold
There will be no biscuits to be had

When a kangaroo’s pouch is already full
There will be a taco shop on the moon

If a child’s eyes lose their wonder
Humanity will shoot Christmas logs into space from battleships

Then Nicole had to go to sleep because of the two hour time difference.

So, all in all, it was pretty cool. I hope to play more games. The example results in the book are kind of more profound, but hey, Nicole and I are just plain old people from 2011 (happy new year!), not high-brows from ’20s.

Written by Gleb

January 2, 2011 at 17:49

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