Thursday, July 31, 2008

Story Organizes

“Story organizes, connects, links together and makes things, memories, findable. . . We see how one piece is related to another, how the puzzle takes shape as the pieces, recognized by their complementary shapes, begin to form a whole.”
- Joseph Gold. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg 84

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blind Girl

"Hey girl, I don’t know what your thinking ‘bout yourself.
He’s playing with your heart, consider someone else
My temper flares when I see you standing there.
He’s treating you like shit.
You’re losing sight of your reason
and the problem is your vision is obscured
He’s taking you for granted ‘cause your vision is obscured

You’re just a blind girl, shame for such a kind girl
can’t see the darkness through the light
he’ll just confuse you, mentally abuse you
why don’t you get on with your life
just look outside yourself and see the hole within
just take your blinders off, and then you can begin
What does she see in him?"
- Vitamin Ted “Blind Girl” from their self-titled E.P

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recycled Bits & Pieces

“Imagination can’t create anything new, can it? It only recycles bits and pieces from the world and reassembles them into visions.
. . . So, when we think we’re escaping the unbearable ordinariness, and well, untruthfulness of our lives, it’s really only the same old ordinariness and falseness rearranged into the appearance of novelty and truth. Nothing unknown is knowable.”
- Angels in America DVD, HBO Home Box Office, 2004. approximately 37 minutes in.

Monday, July 28, 2008


“Hope never leaves a wretched man that seeks her.”
- Beaumont and Fletcher. The Captain.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Online Persona

“Identity. I go by the Tootsie theory; that if you concoct a convincing on-line meta-personality on the Net, then that personality really IS you. With so few things around nowadays to loan a person identity, the palette of identities you create for yourself in the vacuum of the Net—your menu of alternative “you’s” – actually IS you. Or an isotope of you. Or a photocopy of you.”
- Douglas Coupland. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 327

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nothing is Random

“Ethan said . . . that he didn’t believe in randomness . . . He said he’d prove it tonight . . .

We drove up to Redwood City and played electronic darts at a bodega there . . . Karla, Ethan, and I. Ethan and I grew up in suburbia, and we’re both pretty good dart players (those nutty rumpus rooms). Karla’s never played darts before tonight”

Anyway, it was three darts per person, per round. Ethan put in four quarters and selected a four player round. We asked him why, and he said, “You’ll see”

Karla went first, me second, Ethan third, and then for the forth round we had what Ethan called, the ‘Random Round’ where instead of any of us trying, we’d each huck a dart standing on one foot, gulping a beer, throw it backwards . . . as silly as possible. Ministry of Silly Walks.

Needless to say, the Random Round won every single game, and always by a minimum of 100 points. It was scary.

Ethan said randomness is a useful shorthand for describing a pattern that’s bigger than anything we can hold in our minds. Letting go of randomness is one of the hardest decisions a person can make.

- Douglas Coupland. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 326-327

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stay Between the Shores

You know a dream is like a river
Ever changing as it flows.
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes.
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores.
-Garth Brooks, "The River"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Greatest Crimes

“The greatest crimes in the world are not done by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules.”
- Bansky from Wall and Peace as seen on “The Word This Week.” on Book Television.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Best Teacher

“Experience is the best teacher, only the school fees are heavy.”
- George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Friday, July 18, 2008

It Takes People to Teach

“Christ adopted the teaching procedure of close personal contact because that remains the best method of teaching. Cold print separates precept from example, the style from the man; the greatest teachers convey their knowledge on a person-to-person level, and leave the books to the scribes.”
- Dennis Duffy. Canadian Writes: A Subseries: Marshall McLuhan. McClelland and Stewart Limited: Toronto, 1967 pg 24-25

I recently read a comment on ECD's blog that has stuck with me. Janice Thompson wrote about the material that teachers use or are required to teach. She wrote,

"...if the teacher him/herself doesn't appreciate it fully how does one pass this knowledge on to a child?"

I really like that. I think a teacher makes a huge impact on the lives of their students. The material taught may even be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

I have some fond memories of teachers and I don’t think it is because of anything they taught me in math or social studies. It goes way beyond the material of the course.

I have also seen studies that show the other side of this equation. Students will often refuse to learn or perform well for teachers that they do not like.

Definitely something for all teachers to keep in mind.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scares The Cat

“For what is story? The idea of story is like the idea of music. We’ve heard tunes all our lives. We can dance and sing along. We think we understand music until we try to compose it and what comes out of the piano scares the cat.”
- Robert McKee. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principals of Screenwriting. ReganBooks: New York, 1997. pg 19

What a great quote. It made me laugh.

Not everyone who likes music can play or compose it. And here McKee seems to say that not everyone can write a story either. Perhaps he is correct. But I believe that we are all in a large story and can, in effect, help steers its course. Our stories are tangled together and form one huge narrative, kind of like the story lines within the film Pulp Fiction.

But I think McKee is definitely correct when he says that we only think we understand story. There is so much more to it that we don’t know. That is why I am exploring this topic in such detail. I want to get at the truth of Story and help to prove that the universe and everything in it is composed of Story.

Photo by: Nikki Allenberg, Sarver, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Divorced It

“I was married to a state of mind and I divorced it.”
The Roots. “Living in New World.” from the album “Game Theory.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nothing is Ordinary

“There’s never nothing going on. There are no ordinary moments.”
- Peaceful Warrior movie

Monday, July 14, 2008


“Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it.”
Bulwer-Lytton., The Last Days of Pompeii

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Number Phi


Langdon turned to face his sea of eager students. “Who can tell me what this number is?”

A long-legged math major in back raised his hand, “That’s the number PHI.” He pronounced it fee.

“Nice job Stettner,” Langdon said. “Everyone, meet PHI.”

“PHI is generally considered the most beautiful number in the universe.”

As Langdon loaded his slide projector, he explained that the number PHI was derived from the Fibonacci sequence—a progression famous not only because the sum of adjacent terms equaled the next term, but because the quotients of adjacent terms possessed the astonishing property of approaching the number 1.618—PHI!

Despite PHI’s seemingly mystical mathematical origins, Langdon explained, the truly mind-boggling aspect of PHI was its role as a fundamental building lock in nature. Plants, animals, and even human beings all possessed dimensional properties that adhered eerily exactitude to the ratio of PHI to 1.

“PHI’s ubiquity in nature,” Langdon said, killing the lights, “clearly exceeds coincidence, and so the ancients assumed the number PHI must have been preordained with the Creator of the universe."
- Dan Brown. The DaVinci Code. DoubleDay: New York, 2003. pg 93-94

I don't know how much of this is based on fact. A quick Google search on "phi" didn't turn up much. But I really do like this idea. It seems to suggest an order to the universe.

It kind of sounds like the theory of Intelligent Design. Brown has Langdon state a few other natural occurrences of PHI that I will succinctly list here,

1. divide the number of female bees by the number of male bees in any beehive in the world and you always get the same number – PHI
2. nautilus – a cephalopod mollusk that pumps gas into its chambered shell to adjust its buoyancy. The ratio of each spiral’s diameter to the next is PHI
3. Sunflowers grow in spirals and the ratio of each rotations diameter to the next is PHI
4. Human bone structure –distance from tip of head to the floor, then divide that y the distance from your belly button to the floor – PHI
5. Humans cont. – distance from your shoulder to your finger tips, and then divide it by the distance from your elbow to your finger tips – PHI
6. Humans cont. – Hip to floor divided by knee to floor. Finger joints. Toes. Spinal divisions. PHI. PHI. PHI

Thursday, July 10, 2008


"Story is basic to how human minds see their world and to how those minds work. I call this story-thinking."
Gold, Joseph. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg

The above picture is from the children’s television show Blue’s Clues. In every episode, the dog put her paw print on three items. Steve finds the items throughout the course of the show and has to figure out what his dog is trying to tell him. When he has all three clues, he sits on his thinking chair and tries to figure it out.

I think that we all have a thinking chair and that we all try to organize things so that they make sense. We tend to tell stories of things that have happened to us or others. We remember things by the way of story and we organize our thoughts by the way of story as well. Story is the way that the human mind works.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Top of the World

"Now, this is a message in the bottle, like Robinson Caruso
I cant' feel the warmth of the sun, I'm like Pluto
So I open seven shakras, break the seven seals
Bust the dopest poetry rhyme just like Kaleel
Jebron, I bring the dawn to decepticons
It's that of the dreaded fist with Misfit and Red 1
I used to read the psalms and uhh, holy Koran
Now I only read the birds in the trees, then I'm gone
Like a breeze on a summer day, never run away
From the judgement day when armaggedeon come say
If I had 24 hours to live, here's what I'd do
I'd make everybody know G-O-D's inside of you
And spread love from Kelowna to Kalamazoo
'Cause no matter how many are called the choosen are few."
- K-OS from the Rascalz song "Top of the World" off the album "Cash Crop"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Being Brave Vs Being an Idiot

“You’re not brave to do what you really want to do, just an idiot if you don’t.”
- The Long Weekend movie

I caught this movie on the Movie Network because nothing else was on. It would have been a complete waste of time if not for this one line.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Cost is Nil

“Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.”
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Letters

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Start of it All

“A commonplace book is a place to collect extracts, poems, aphorisms, etc, for future reference. It is a place to reflect, to bounce ideas around, to observe and record. And that is what I plan to do.”
Chase’s Commonplace Book. September 3, 2004.

This was how I started my original commonplace book four years ago.

Wow, time sure flies! I only wrote 13 entries in between the covers of that book and then I started to record the entries on the computer. Right now, my collection includes 328 entries.

I didn’t record song lyrics when I started this series. I only decided to do so once I started this blog. I wanted to make sure that I would not run out of entries. But the good thing is that I am constantly coming across quotations and scribbling them down somewhere. I then add them to my Word file.

Now I comb through my Word file to find what I want to post up every week. I then try to find a photo to go with the quote and then post that up too.

I’m glad I started this blog. It really is that best way to collect and organize my commonplace book. And who said that a book had to be a book? This format is perfect for it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

All The Same Biologically

“We have, each of us, a life-story, and inner narrative – whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives a “narrative,” and that this narrative is us, our identities.

If we wish to know about a man, we ask “what is his story – his real, inmost story?” – for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us – through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives – we are each of us unique.”
- Oliver Sacks. The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Other Clinical Tales. HarperCollins: New York, 1985. pg 110-11

This is an inspirational quote. We are all the same on one level but completely unique on another. I like to think that this is the case, but unfortunately, if we are all Story, then we are equal on every level.

I believe that Story is the supreme building block upon which all of life is based. Everything can be related to, or explained, in some way by Story. And while our stories seem to be unrelated and unique, I think with further exploration we will find that they are completely related to form one story.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Give Up The Grudge

“Give up the grudge,
better shut your mouth,
Why ya gotta judge everybody but yourself?

Take a look around you,
they’re ain’t nobody home,
I might be a loser
but at least I’m not alone.”
- Gob “Give up the Grudge”

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

For People to Change…

“From the thrusting up of the rocky mountains, to the carving down of the grand canyon. Great change only comes from conflict. But where nature's greatest conflict consists of relentless pounding of water on rock, or collisions under the earth's crust, for people to change, it takes other people.”
- Narrator on Everwood