Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Game of Thrones

Last weekend was eventful although I failed to file my 2012 tax return which is due next week. I had hoped to finish my tax filing Saturday or Sunday night; considering that I may need to send my state tax paperwork by regular mail like last year.  Despite my failure in completing the most important task at hand, we were able to hike in the Conestee Nature Park for an hour, buy trees for planting from Lowes, finish Season 3 of the HBO epic ‘Game of Thrones’ – watching 10 episodes in a period of three days, watch the movie ‘Argo’ and view my allotment of DVDs from the library. I also cleared most of the stack of mail at my desk while searching for my tax documents, shredding and throwing away unneeded papers. I had planned to start work after finding my tax returns but that took up most of Sunday afternoon that I was tired and did not proceed as planned. But throwing and shredding all those junk mail was cathartic that I felt good despite my failure to complete the real goal.

While looking for my documents, shifting through the piles of paper and unread mail, I was listening to a lecture on creative non-fiction, a seven disk series that I borrowed from the library. The series was very good and featured writers that I read about recently like Truman Capote and Harper Lee. The speaker - an erudite professor who also talked about Mark Twain, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and Lillian Ross as the purveyors of a new journalism known by its literary flourish. The best example is the work of Twain, Mailer and Capote. I was able to complete disk 3 and look forward to the next disks that will feature Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe – the writer of the book ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ which was made into a film starring Tom Hanks. I am glad that my brain can still process or multi-task on these endeavors which I attribute to the vitamin supplements Gingko Biloba and St. John’s Wort that I started to take last week.  But the freshness of my mind is due more to the restful sleep I have been having for a week now since I started using the CPAP device – a true marvel of modern medicine.

The true highlight of the week aside from discovering the nature park, was watching ‘Game of Thrones’. A highly entertaining series that combines the spectacle and wizardry of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings,’ the Shakespearean medieval drama of kings and queens and the suspense and thrills of ‘The Wire,’ ‘Rome’ and ‘The Sopranos’ all delivered in a dark and stunning landscape. We watched 10 hours of Season 3 while I was squeezing through documentaries on architecture that featured Rem Koolhaas and Santiago Calatrava among others, an award winning film on Maya Lin - the architect of the Vietnam Memorial, and a film on Carl Jung, plus a 30-minute feature on the rise of Islam in Arabia that, inadvertently, preserved that teachings of Greece that led to the renaissance as the teaching where transmitted by Arab scholars after the fall of Rome. I should have paid more attention on the Jung film as I felt I will learn something new and meaningful, but the CD had problems and I could not finish the last minutes of the feature.

When one thinks about it, there are just too much ideas coursing through the mind in the weekend, dissimilar threads from literature, architecture, history and so on that it would seem impossible to focus on a simple task like filing one’s tax returns or writing a book.  Electrical signals sparking synapses in the brain, perhaps a biological bias driven by some genetic flaw in my DNA, something like an attention deficit syndrome that I control by writing or meditating or exercising; conducive in receiving a lot of information but unable to focus. Last Sunday I was watched the New York Times video magazine in Google’s spotlight gallery, a habit that I try to follow every weekend, like my usual habit of watching the Japanese series on restaurants every Sunday morning back in Singapore. But the novelty now seems empty, like I was cramming too much unnecessary information in my brain. Perhaps it is a subtle effect of getting a restful sleep via CPAP, when the brain is finally able to restore itself by slowing down as a sensible reaction.

No comments: