Random

On Sunday I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the floor wondering why the room was spinning. I haven’t exercised since then.

The healthy living section of my blog has been severely neglected (it should not have been created) so I decided to combine my attempts at healthy living in this one post. This is going to be short.

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To kill or not to kill?

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”  Frederick Nietzsche 

As I have gotten older, It has been interesting to see how mind has evolved and how my views on issues ranging from corporal punishment to abortion to the death penalty have changed. 

The death penalty is a contentious issue, and has been hotly debated for a long time. It is once again in the news thanks to the Bali Nine– a group of people who were arrested in Bali for various drug smuggling offences and sentenced to death. It is common knowledge that drug smuggling carries an automatic death sentence in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Some people feel the Bali Nine and other drug smugglers knew the risks they were entering and so deserve the death sentence. Others feel that the death sentence is wrong, especially as these people have already served lengthy jail sentences and have allegedly been rehabilitated.

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Angry Birds!

I just watched another Hitchcock classic: The Birds

The Birds came out in 1963 and it is classified as a thriller.

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), a wealthy socialite cum practical joker, drives from San Francisco to Bodega Bay in an attempt to play a prank on Mitch Brenner(Rod Taylor)- a man she had just met the day before in a bird store. She manages to find out where he lives and sneaks into his house to leave a pair of lovebirds, a gift for his sister’s 11th birthday. Mitch spots her as she tries to row away in a boat. He is pleased to see her and he drives to the shore and waits for her. As she rows to shore, she is attacked by a seagull, the first of many attacks to come.

Mitch takes care of her and invites her to dinner. There she is introduced to his mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) and his little sister Cathy(Veronica Cartwright). Over the next couple of days, flocks of birds-seagulls,crows,sparrows- launch random and inexplicable attacks on the townspeople, injuring and killing some. The Brenner family and Melanie barricade themselves in the Brenner house. Another bird rampage begins and Melanie is severely injured.

The movie ends with Mitch attempting to take his family and Melanie to San Francisco, so that Melanie can receive medical attention, driving quietly so as not to disturb the birds.

This is not the best Hitchcock film I have seen but it was alright nonetheless. However I wish the film was given a proper ending. Why were the birds attacking? Why did the attacks coincide with Melanie’s arrival? I like suspense but I usually appreciate a good resolution. Don’t leave me hanging.

I expected to find out something dark about Lydia. She was acting so mysterious in the beginning, always gazing off into nothing, like in the snapshot below. I thought there was something deeper, a family secret perhaps, but was disappointed to find out nothing.

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I did not really know what to make of Melanie’s character. She is definitely spontaneous, going to great lengths to prank a man she did not know. Tippy Hedren, the actress who played Melanie Daniels, did well, seeing as The Birds was her screen debut.

One character I have not mentioned is the local teacher Anne Hayworth. Like Lydia, Anne alludes to a dark secret in the Brenner household by pausing and staring ominously at Melanie several times. She reveals that she is Mitch’s ex lover but that is about it.

I did learn a few things from the film:

  • When you see birds starting to gather in one spot, walk away as quietly as you can. Be careful not to make any noise or they will attack.
  • Always have spare pieces of wood, some nails and a hammer ready, as you never know when you might have to barricade your windows from a bird attack.
  • Barricading your windows won’t do any good, as the avian gang will peck through the wood and break into your home.
  • If birds ever decide to gang up against we humans, we would not stand a chance.

Here are some more pictures from the film: vlcsnap-2015-04-28-09h48m35s187

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Fun Fact: Tippi Hedren nearly lost an eye because Hitchcock insisted on using real seagulls in one scene. This is an excerpt from her wikipedia  page:

…She was then assured that the crew would use mechanical birds. Instead, Hedren endured five solid days of prop men, protected by thick leather gloves, flinging dozens of live gulls, ravens and crows at her (their beaks clamped shut with elastic bands). In a state of exhaustion, when one of the birds gouged her cheek and narrowly missed her eye, Hedren sat down on the set and began crying.

The things people do for the sake of art. Hitchcock was a crazy man.

Side note: Those birds did not look real to me.

 

Look how pretty Tippi’s eyes are. #EyelashGoals

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Try a little tenderness

One thing I have realised from observing human interactions is our gross lack of empathy.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines empathy as:

The feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions. The ability to share someone else’s feelings.

We are unwillingly to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and to see life the way they do. I believe this unwillingness to empathise is responsible for a lot of the meanness in the world, including most forms of discrimination. If we could imagine ourselves as the people we are so mean to, would we be so forthcoming with our insults? If we realised that we could easily be/have been in the position that some people are in, would we be comfortable enough to humiliate them and rip them to shreds?

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Sorrow prepares you for joy

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” 

― Rumi

Food :)

I’m still in Abuja and  I was eager to try out a restaurant called The Charcoal. There is a Charcoal in Lagos and I was not sure if they were the same (they are not). On Saturday I was feening for some pancakes so my brother and I decided to have breakfast at Charcoal. I was all excited and dressed up to go when I started feeling ill. To top it up, my brother bailed out at the last minute, saying he was not in the mood as he had already eaten.

I was not about to let a little thing such as dizzyness, nausea and cramps keep me away from pancakes, so I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought nah forget it, yo holmes to Charcoal!

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The Master of Suspense.

I am on a mission to watch everything Alfred Hitchcock ever made.

The last Hitchcock film I saw was Spellbound (1945) starring Ingrid Bergman and the wonderful Gregory Peck. Aside being a Hitchcock picture, I was drawn to the film because of Salvador Dali’s participation. I think Dali is a genius.

The film is about a man (Gregory Peck) who has lost his memory due to some traumatic event and has now assumed the identity of of a certain Doctor. This doctor has been selected to run the clinic where Ingrid Bergman works as a psychoanalyst, as the clinic’s current head has been asked to retire due to problems of his own. Gregory shows up at the hospital and has everyone fooled for a while, until his own demons reveal that he is an imposter. He flees. By this time Ingrid has fallen in love with him (of course), and she goes after him, determined to help me recover his memory and deal with his troubles. The film sees them trying to dodge the police, as they try to uncover the mystery of what happened to the real doctor.

Now to the famed dream sequence.

In an attempt to retrieve his memories, Ingrid makes Gregory repeat his dreams to her. This is where the magnificent Dali comes in. He creates wonderful surrealist images, in the way that only Dali could. I only wish I could have seen the dream sequence in colour. The dream, while interesting, made little sense to me, until the end when Gregory gets his memory back.

Spellbound is a decent film. I imagine some people may not appreciate Spellbound as much as some of Hitchcock’s other works, possibly because of its strong psychoanalytic theme. I personally liked it, and I was fascinated by the workings of the mind. I did find it a bit silly, in the way that films from that era are silly; characters falling in intense love after knowing each other for a mere twinkling. I guess I need to fully suspend my belief and allow myself to be swept up in the romance.

If you have seen Spellbound, let me know what you thought of it.

P.S: I recently found out that Hitchcock often made cameo appearances in his films. How did I never notice him? Now I feel I have to rewatch the films I have seen and look carefully.