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Compare and contrast

I can't resist buying chocolate when it's heavily discounted

It was especially pleasing to see two varieties of sea salt caramel flavoured dark chocolate on special recently.

I love comparing and contrasting products.

The line "compare and contrast" first came to my attention in essay questions at school.

In more recent years I've learned the value of having two bottles of wine open, as it lets one evaluate their flavours against each other.

When I drank I'd start with a small glass of a cheap wine and it'd help me appreciate the following glass more fully.

When I eased up on wine and began drinking coffee again, I bought every brand of bean available and evaluated their merits before settling on a combination of two contrasting flavours.

A similar thing happened when I ate these dark chocolates.

First I had the Frey branded chocolate, noting the bitter and salt flavours -- particularly the lingering molasses-like liquorice taste.

Then I had the Lindt, enjoying the smooth mouth-feel and sweetness, as well as the burnt sugar toffee.

And, finally, I ate them both together and marvelled at how well they complemented each other.

Early bird gets the earworm

Dying in the arts

Summer means every major Australian gallery is advertising an imported 'blockbuster' exhibition

They're invariably dead males from another country and we're told they're important.

But these backward-looking shows are one symptom of an illness that sees art isn't recognised for having a role everyone's daily lives.

Art is dying up its own arse, seemingly happy to be the domain of practitioners with letters after their names and increasingly hiding in academic clothing.

I'd hope most people would agree that creativity, like exercise, is an important activity.

Yet we see very few role models.

Just like sport, art's cultural sibling, it ought to be promoted as needing 30 minutes a day.

But, also like sport, people are mostly offered to buy a passive relationship with the thing they claim to love.

Inherent Vice

Recently watched Inherent Vice a second time and thoroughly enjoyed it

Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel sits between Chinatown and The Big Lebowski, with many of the familiar Chandler-style LA detective plot points.

While there's some ambiguity about the femme fatale, it's got the mess of threads that reveal themselves to be deeply entangled and a sinister (former) psychiatric facility.

The post-'60s setting thrives on paranoia, and I mentioned previously how the film triggered an unsettling moment for me.

Anderson's movies are often grand and, while some of them have felt a bit sluggish for me, I think Inherent Vice should be regarded as a classic.

There are many amazing scenes and incredible performances, as well as revitalising the American Noir genre in a way I haven't seen since The Last Seduction.

New side project

Dream within a dream

Yesterday I awoke from a dream in which I awoke at a friend's house and discussed the dream I'd been having -- a dream within a dream

That nested dream had been about learning to fly on an eagle, which was a beaut image and I wrote a haiku to remind myself of it.

However, the conversation with the friend also included pointing at a newspaper written in Sanskrit and identifying a swastika on the page.

The friend had replied that it had another meaning.

I'd shared this detail with my partner yesterday morning, then it unsettled me when we watched the film Inherent Vice last night:

I'm not sure but I think the response in the film is word-for-word what was said in my dream.

Dreams are weird.

Pleased to Nietzsche

These are the social media influencers we need

Mere mail

Surprised to get mail today

At first I was disappointed that it only contained a handful of religious pamphlets.

Then I realised it shows someone is concerned about my spirit.