Hangin’ Around, Bangin’ Around

gymFrom the Guardian’s Photo Blog:

Little gymnasts stretch themselves on wooden bars during an exercise session in the gymnastics hall of a sports school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province in China. They have been in professional sports training since the age of two and their daily schedule involves four hours of athletic training a day. Photograph: William Hong/Reuters

Part of me wanted to make a “Look at them torturing those poor children!” joke, but the truth of the matter is, this is weirdly nostalgic for me; I remember that my own school had a gym with those bars lining the walls, and that we’d have to climb up and down them all the time, with teachers searching desperately for “exercises” that little six year olds could actually manage to do without complaint.

Calling Occupants

From the Guardian’s Photo Blog:

Buddhist monks hold candles as they walk around a Pagoda on Makha Bhucha Day at the Dhammakaya Temple in Pathumthani,Thailand. Makha Bhucha day is observed on the full moon of the third lunar month and commemorates the day when 1,250 monks gathered to be ordained by the Buddha. Photograph: Porchnai Kittiwogsakul/AFP/Getty Images

This looks like the world’s grooviest alien invasion movie ever, with the pagoda looking the way it does…

Look, Up In The Belated Sky!

It’s one of those weeks where, try as I might, work is bleeding into the weekend – I worry that next weekend may be the same, which is particularly depressing, as it means no days off for the foreseeable, and also that I’ll probably have to skip ECCC after all – and, completely lost in the swamp of stuff I had to do last week, my Time piece appeared on Thursday. At the request of the editor, I am switching formats towards a more “Why [X] is [Awesome/Terrible/Better Than That Other Thing]” approach, starting with a piece about why Superman deserves more respect as a concept. Unsure how this one went, and unsure how much of that unsurety – which has to be a word, right? – is down to me and how much down to discomfort with the format. File under “We Live, We Learn, We Move On,” I think.

Truth And Lies Truth And Lies Truth And Lies

There is something weirdly retro about this new Primal Scream song – I think it’s the saxophone riff – but the nine minute full-length version of the song is far superior to the four minute radio edit, just weirder enough, and somehow relaxed enough to give Bobby Gillespie’s pop culture auto-critique lyrics the space to be heard in a way that the shorter version doesn’t. This is a truly odd song, and something to appreciate because of that. Even with that terrible chorus.

(I do find the video creepily misogynistic, though.)

Boys Will Be Boys

From the Guardian’s Photo Blog:

That’s hard: a US marine drinks the blood of a cobra during a jungle survival exercise with the Thai navy as part of the “Cobra Gold 2013” joint military exercise, at a military base in Chon Buri province. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Yes, I feel so much better knowing that the U.S. military are engaging in ridiculous dares as part of official training exercises. Not shown: Another U.S. marine sticking his hand in a bowl of warm water and trying not to pee.

The Soloists

It was a weird dream, the dream I had last night; it was one of those dreams that sprawl, expand around all of your available brainspace and then some. The “plot,” such as dreams have plots, was that I was in some kind of… convention, I guess, or event, with lots of people I work with and know through the Internet, and at this convention and event, two people I know/have worked with, are rumored to have died. A strange thing, I know; it wasn’t that they were dead, but that they may have died but no-one was sure. In the middle of this, there was some kind of power cut or something, so we couldn’t use our phones to check on anyone, and had instead – for some reason I can’t remember, if there was a reason – to wait through the night and get an answer in the morning.

In the middle of this, The Soloists appeared; they were a roving, rambling band of performers who went to people’s house and apartments, followed by an eager, excited audience, to perform spoken word readings (or improvisations? I can’t remember). There was an excited throng that swept us all up, an electric feeling that people wanted to share, while I was concerned and worried and asking someone whether or not she believed the rumor that her girlfriend had killed herself.

It wasn’t a depressing dream, as such, but certainly an anxious one. What remains most clear in my memory, though, was the city we were all in. A nighttime, rainy place with the orange streetlights of the U.K., it was a city that doesn’t exist, but an amalgam of London, Amsterdam, Aberdeen (where I went to college) and New York. Somewhere that could have been friendly, in another time.