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Phantom Of The Opera: A Psychological Approach

Just watched the movie Phantom Of The Opera > with Emmy Rossum as the star.

Excellent movie, easily a 9 out of 10 possible, although personally I like the first part best. The song, the scenography... it's all absolutely amazing.

The Phantom, of course, is a man who, for most of his life, had to live with a seriously disfigured face and who endured endless abuse and exploitation as a child. Driven to murder by hatred, he seeks refuge in the basement of the opera and in there develops a serious psychological complex.

When he finds Christine, he takes her in and teaches her singing. She becomes his tool through which he can express the gifts that are resident within him -- gifts of architecture, composition and songwriting that has been dormant and covered beneath years of abusive behavior.

It of course turns into love - or rather a typical distortion of love with deep childhood needs that have gone unchecked for many, many years and finally turns to a flame of distorted passion, threatening his own psyche and the lives of everyone around him. Even Christine's repulsion towards him - not at his face, which is how he interprets it, but at his hatred towards the world - doesn't move him as love gives way to a flaming, unquenching desire. In projecting his problems onto those around him, she unwillingly has to play the part of his savior; and by denying him that part, she becomes the very one that can make or break his eternal happiness.

In the end, the matter is resolved when Christine finally shows him a sample of affection which is able to penetrate the deep, dark complexes of his soul and he retreats into darkness and slips away. Elvis has left the building.

Sometimes I think it would have been easier if I hadn't read up so much on psychology. The option of sitting back and judging people by the "good/bad character" seems unavailable to me as I'm forced to follow this exploited child in the development of his trauma and defenses; and instead of leaving me with a feeling of "good show, everyone", it leaves me irate and steaming at the inadequacies of the social services of 1870's France.

Troublesome; because in the end, the Phantom of the Opera was just a little boy, wanting to be loved.

WGN Radio

Sometimes I like to listen to a radio station from Chicago called WGN Radio >. I usually listen in the morning, which puts me right into the night shift over there in Chicago.

It's almost always the same guys. The programming web page informs me that it's "The Stevie & Johnnie Show: Life After Dark", and then after 5am (which is... uhm... noon over here), Spike O'Dell comes along with "The Spike O'Dell Radio Program".

It's kinda fun to listen to, because they're a bit wacky, a bit funny, they talk about Chicago news, events, weather and traffic. It kind of puts you in there as you listen to how the right lane of highway so-and-so is closed this morning, and the weather is going to be in the 60's with a light chance of rain.

I guess some part of me really wants to sit in my car and fight traffic in the morning, and work from a skyscraper office somewhere in downtown Chicago. It's a different life. (Then again, it's probably not that different. But I would like the change of scenery.)

Nature Calls

I don't know why this happened. Maybe it's because I ran into this interesting girl online, on one of those dating sites. Short profile, pretty face, and stationed in Alaska with the U.S. Coast Guard. Reading about her and about the USCG caused me to ponder a bit what it's like to be on a cutter plowing through the rough waters of the Aleutian islands. Feeling the cold, raw wind tear in your face, breathing salty fresh air, watching the rough waves splash over the stern...

And here I am, yet another day in front of a computer screen and poking bytes around. Now don't get me wrong, it's an interesting job and all, and in winter it's absolute heaven sitting inside with a hot cup of coffee in hand. But... sometimes, I just don't feel alive...

I'm trying to fight the urge to suddenly just take a day off and head into the wild with a backpack and tent on my back.

The V50 Moment

Volvo is running three little commercial spots called "V50 - The Moment" featuring a little romantically-hinted episode of two people stumbling into each other. In the natural setting of two Volvo V50 cars, that is. There's also a little book involved.

But it's the music that's really gotten to me. After much research, it turns out the music is a song called "Lou" by French singer Coralie Clément >. It's absolutely fantastic; aside from making me fall head over heels in love with France, it makes me want to go out and takes photos of falling leaves. Which is going to be difficult, I feel, as spring is just rolling in.

Another side of the matter is that this little commercial episode has made me start thinking about maybe buying a Volvo next time. One of those semi-sporty little things. A V50, perhaps. As I summed it up for myself in the shower this morning: "Darn it. Advertising works."

My Favorite Shop Around The Corner

I have my own little "shop around the corner". It's called Record (or Rekord?) and it's a little coffee/tea shop in my home town. It's a somewhat older type of store; one of these darling little stores where they have tons of stuff crammed into a very small space and one or two staff that know just about everything there is to know about their particular field.

I like to venture in there sometimes, because no matter what I ask, they can come up with it. Assam TGFOP? No problem. Ceylon Pekoe or Ceylon FOP? Right here, Sir. Blue Mountain coffee beans? Sure thing. I even saw a sign for Darjeeling First Flush when I was in there. Very impressive.

So I asked around a little bit about Rooibos; what is was, the flavors, etc. And the gentleman behind the counter started talking for several minutes with me, explaining what it is (a Red Bush growing in South Africa, not quite related to the teaplant, and caffeine free) and he seemed to enjoy it very much.

Too bad they don't take credit cards. But for the value you get, I'm more than happy to put up with such little darling nuisances. :)

Creating New Languages?

Just as I was about to fall asleep last night, my mind drifted away and got caught in the possibility of creating a new language. No, not a computer language, a real language.

It's interesting, because once you decide to create something entirely new, you're free to borrow any grammatical construct - or entirely invent your own - that suits you. And you're absolutely free to create any words you like, based on how they sound or generally appeal to you. I think J.R.R. Tolkien had the same feelings when he created his Elfish languages.

Maybe something like "E thi loriannen" could mean, for instance, "I love you". Obviously, "e" means "I", "thi" means "you"; indicating that the linguistic constructs form a sentence structure of subject-object-verb, kind of like a Japanese sentence form. "Loria" would mean the noun "love"; "lorian" would be the verb form, "to love"; and "loriannen" would indicate present-tense continual action. "Lorianna" would be past completed tense, "loriei" would mean future tense - "I will love you".

Choosing a grammatical structure so heavily inspired from Japanese necessitates a rich flora of particles with which the meaning of the nouns and verbs can be altered or modified. "E thi ai loriannen" means "I love you too", whereas "E thi aki loriannen" means "I don't love you". Of course, this could also be stated "E thi lorianna" - "I loved you", or very simply "aki loriannen" - "don't love".

Furthermore, it's interesting to ponder other grammatical constructs. The verb ending -nen could also indicate a form of completeness, that the sentence is hereby finished. Passive phrases such as "I think I love you" could be formed in a way such as "E mirian e thi loriannen", "mirian" being "to think" or in this present case, "thinking", but leading into a passive sentence form. It would not be possible to say "E miriannen", since that means "I'm thinking" and can not lead into a passive sentence structure.

Well, I don't really know where I'm going with this. Certainly there won't be a lot of people speaking this new language. But maybe I'll keep developing as just a sort of hobby project.

The next thing I'll figure out how to say is "You sure are one of a kind" because I keep getting that a lot. :-)


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