Starlight Pavilion

Journal

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I finished Blood Meridian. It’s a great novel, horrifying and grotesque, but I enjoyed it immensely. It made me grateful to be born in my circumstances. McCarthy uses more unfamiliar words than perhaps any writer I’ve read, and I’ve been looking them up, a process I find very fun.

We’ve begun to coordinate the eventual purchase of a plot of land by a small group of friends—to build on, and to discover a way of American life that the liberal order aims to efface. Henry is driving up to the Bay this weekend to meet with Ian and Alix, and they plan to survey a tract up in Klamath County, Oregon.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

In the evening, I finishted the first three episodes of 鶴唳華亭 (absurdly named Royal Nirvana in English), which my mother has been pressuring me to watch. The cinematography is of the Chinese sort that I can’t stand: aimless cuts, uncannily clear focus, no sense of lighting or contrast. It also presents the fictional idea of a timeless Chinese imperial state, with free juxtaposition of different eras of dress and architecture and unrealistically orthodox CCTV pronunciation of semi-literary lines. These things put me off, but the plot is very good, and there’s a lot of depth to the screenplay if one looks into it.

Friday, April 17, 2020

In last night’s dream, I was in a cavernous warehouse teaching children the ethics of shoplifting.

My dream a couple nights ago involved Daniel and a brilliant mechanical surging of the waters.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I’ve been looking at a lot of architecture lately, including:

  • The work of Tigerman McCurry (Stanley Tigerman, 1930–2019, and Margaret McCurry, b. 1942), Chicago
  • The work of Tomoaki Uno 宇野友明 (b. 1960), Nagoya
  • The site of Taiwan Architect magazine (建築師, founded 1980)
  • The site of the Premio Rafael Manzano, a prize for new traditional architecture in Spain and Portugal
  • The work of Juan Cuenca (b. 1934), Córdoba, whose tourist information center in Córdoba I liked when I visited
  • The work of OnEarth Architecture 土上建築 (founded 2013), Beijing and Xi’an
  • The work of Emilio Tuñón (b. 1959), Madrid
  • Miscellaneous projects on ArchDaily
Saturday, April 11, 2020

I’ve been reading a set of Taiwanese middle school Chinese textbooks (國民中學國文,翰林民國九十七年版) that my uncle mailed us about a decade ago, before he passed away. They include a good selection: canonical Literary Chinese texts from throughout history, and modern vernacular pieces from the Yuan Dynasty to contemporary Taiwan. There’s a lot of the didactic material that Chinese people are so fond of, but also some genuinely good literature. I’ve listed my favorite pieces from each of the six volumes below, including works I’d read before.

一上

  • 唐 王之渙 登鸛鵲樓 詩
  • 唐 李白 黃鶴樓送孟浩然之廣陵 詩
  • 唐 張繼 楓橋夜泊 詩
  • 民國 胡適 四十自述 節選「母親的敎會」
  • 淸 沈復 浮生六記 節選「兒時記趣」
  • 臺灣 洪醒夫 懷念那聲鑼・紙船印象
  • 戰國 晏子春秋・晏子使楚

一下

  • 唐 孟浩然 過故人莊 詩
  • 唐 杜甫 聞官軍收河南河北 詩
  • 宋 歐陽修 歸田錄 節選「賣油翁」
  • 民國 朱自淸 背影
  • 宋 周敦頤 愛蓮說
  • 晉 陶淵明 五柳先生傳
  • 淸 吳敬梓 儒林外史第一回 節選「王冕的少年時代」

二上

  • 臺灣 陳冠學 田園之秋・九月七日
  • 漢 司馬遷 史記・張釋之馮唐列傳 節選「張釋之執法」
  • 古詩十九首 迢迢牽牛星 詩
  • 晉 陶淵明 歸田居・其一 詩
  • 民國 梁實秋 雅舍小品・鳥
  • 宋 蘇軾 東坡志林・記承天寺夜遊
  • 淸 劉鶚 老殘遊記第二回 節選「大明湖」
  • 南朝 宋 劉義慶 世說新語 選「鍾家兄弟巧應答」「王藍田食雞子」

二下

  • 唐 柳宗元 黔之驢
  • 唐 劉禹錫 陋室銘
  • 北朝 木蘭詩
  • 元末明初 羅貫中 三國演義 節選「空城計」
  • 淸 彭端淑 白鶴堂文稿・爲學一首示子姪
  • 民國 琦君 紅紗燈・下雨天眞好
  • 民國 朱自淸 春

三上

  • 民國 豐子愷 山中避雨
  • 臺灣 張曉風 第一幅畫
  • 孟子・告子下 節選「生於憂患死於安樂」
  • 南唐 李煜 虞美人 詞
  • 宋 辛棄疾 南鄕子・登京口北固亭有懷 詞
  • 三國 魏 曹丕 列異傳・定伯賣鬼

三下

  • 南朝 吳均 與宋元思書
  • 民國 徐志摩 我所知道的康橋
  • 淸 蒲松齡 聊齋誌異・大鼠
  • 元 馬致遠 天淨沙・秋思 曲
  • 元 白樸 沉醉東風・漁父詞 曲
  • 戰國策・齊策・鄒忌諷齊王納諫
  • 民國 夏丏尊 平屋雜文・生活的藝術
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Watched Hungry Soul, Part Two (續・飢える魂, 1956), another Kawashima movie. I missed the first part on Mubi. It’s a beautiful, sad film; an earlier, Japanese, not quite as perfect version of In the Mood for Love. One wonders if Wong Kar-Wai had seen it.

I’ve been adding my England trip to this journal, writing and backdating English entries. I had kept a journal while there, but I wrote in pinyin, and my limited Mandarin abilities restricted it to a sparse catalogue of events.

Updating this journal has been deeply enjoyable. I think I had always regarded writing as something that should be laborious and elaborate, and it’s been pleasant to settle into something that’s not that.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Skimmed through Crosscurrent (長江圖, 2016), directed by Yang Chao 楊超 and photographed by Mark Lee Ping-Bing 李屏賓. The scenes are beautiful, as expected from Lee; the film is the sort of contemporary Chinese art film that has minimal dialogue or coherence. Later, unsatisfied, I watched Kurosawa’s Rashomon (羅生門, 1950): great script, great camerawork, incredible acting. I really like early acting: how each character seems more emotional than they would be in real life, a crystallized version of themselves.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Watched Threads (1984), a fictional documentary on the effects of a global nuclear war on England. Bleak, well-made, disturbing.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Mom spent the morning making luobosi bing 蘿蔔絲餅, her first time doing so. It’s a tremendous amount of work: two types of dough, wrapped within each other, which is then used to wrap the filling. They turned out very good.

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