16. Mornings are for coffee and contemplation

[Jim Hopper ,

Stranger Things, S01E01, “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers” (2016),

Directors: The Duffer Brothers

Writers: The Duffer Brothers ]


Among gems (or as you would say in my language, pearls) like “Mouthbreather”, “Don’t take it so personally, okay? I don’t like most people” and “Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked”, Chief Hopper takes the diamond. The morning person in me adds this sarcastic line to my movie quote vocabulary and takes the advice to heart.

So the morning after I finished watching Stranger Things I spent the morning contemplating the story. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that there is more to Joyce Byers that being an absolute delightful Winona Ryder creation. It is not that performing an emotion-loaded scene with a ball of christmas lights is not great acting, because if she does not get an award not for it next year, I promise to not watch said award ceremony. It is, that within the universe, Joyce is, in my opinion, greatly overlooked though the lenses of bizarre and captivating El, quirky and real 80s crew and the most realistic love triangle that has ever appeared on the small screen.

First of all, Joyce communicates both into and out of the upside down. Yes, she communicates with the two people she loves the most, but nobody else can do that. What is more, she figures out a way to have an actual conversation with her little boy, not only receive information or overhear them.

Secondly, (I feel like I am writing an essay for an ESL-type test) she not only goes in and comes back seemingly unscathed, she can actually see into it through the walls of her house. Somehow only for her, there is no need for a gate or sensory deprivation device, she doesn’t need to go in to see. It is possible, that going through a loss of a child and feeling that there is conspiracy about it shut down her senses and adjusted her into only one frequency, but what is being done to El if not emotional and psychological abuse to make her reach some kind of potential?

And then there is this: Nancy Wheeler may be right that blood attacts the monster, but both her and Will get the monster to cross through the same walls with just their presence.

All Upside-Down topic aside, we are seeing someone who is completely unassuming and understands that neither of the existing worlds owes her anything. Joyce is aware of her own demons and shortcomings and sticks around to take care of what she loves the most. When that is taken away, she is willing to go to the end of any universe to retrieve and is not distracted by authority, laws, reason or even love. Also, just to put it out there – despite her grief and fear Joyce is the only one who really understands El during her trip in the bathtub and appreciaties what the little girl is doing for her.

Either way, she is a complete badass. Even if she cannot flip a van with her mind.

Or doesn’t know yet that she could if she had to.

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15. It’s strange to have a creation out there. A deeply mutated version of yourself, running loose and screwing everything up. I wonder if this is how parents feel.

[Dexter Morgan ,

Dexter, S02E12,  “The British Invasion” (2007),

Director: Steve Shill,

Writers: James Manos Jr., Jeff Lindsay, Daniel Cerone and Melissa Rosenberg]


I have tried to write this particular post since I have started the blog. The quote jumped out of the when I watched the show and have stuck with me. Like Dexter Morgan, I have wondered if this is how parents really feel. I guess the reason I couldn’t have written this note is because I hadn’t known. Until seven weeks ago.

My own creation (referred to as Upload in-utero and, appropriately, Download since) has arrived after the stormy V-Day weekend. He’s currently in the playpen, taking the mid-morning nap, farting up a storm, looking, depending on who you ask, just like his dad or just like me. Either way, he is cute like a baby, with my nose and his dad’s eyebrows. He hasn’t figured much about life yet, except maybe that someone always comes when he cries and plays the guessing game of “What is bothering Little Download”.

So, to answer your question, Mr. Morgan, it is strange to have a creation out there. Although you probably already know that. It is bizarre, because suddenly you realize, you, in a way, have multiplied. And yet, you have no control over that multiplication. The half of you inside this individual exists scattered all over the surface and in the form of deeply hiddent truths. The only control you have is the one in guiding it through the world and setting up boundaries within which it can shape itself out. Additionally, something that for nine months has been an internal part of me (although with its own … well … everything) is now a separated living thing, kicking his little legs and waving his arms. Strange, really, doesn’t even begin to cover it. It is zonky, it is mondo bizarre, it is almost outre. Yet as rum as it is, it feels like it has never been any different. Seven weeks have stretched behind their times, proving relativity in everything.

Through the series I have hoped for the writers to revisit the statement, especially when Harrison came around. If they have, I missed it. If they haven’t, I think they lost an opportunity there. The monologue was such an internal part of the show (and I get silence at the end, I really do!) and Dexter’s own creation deserved at least a line of recognition and one with a prospect of not messing everything up.

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14. Nothing is permanent. Not even death.


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009),

Director: Terry Gilliam,

Writers: Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown]


The day after Alan Rickman passed away I saw this anectode on my facebook wall:

“In Heaven a casting was announced for the Voice of God. Lemmy went as a joke, Rickman due to the sense of duty and Bowie went to inquire, why there is a casting for his voice.

Why have they even announced the casting at all?
Because a while ago Pratchett arrived and wrote God’s whole part from the begining.”


I shared it and translated it into English. And only then focused on how heartbroken I have been since finding out that Alan Rickman has died.

I have been in love with Alan Rickman since I saw him in “Robin Hood, the Prince of Thieves”. I was twelve years old, this was the first “grown up” movie I got to see in the theatre. I loved the movie but was highly disappointed that the best character in it got killed and equally confused that my favourite character was, indeed, the bad guy. I totally understood that he was not a hero, not an anti-hero, not even a morally ambiguous creature with complexity and alternate motives. He wasn’t even that handsome (Guy of Gisbourne and Will Scarlett were much better looking, and yes, in that order). He was, in many ways, butt of Robin’s jokes. And yet, he was my favourite character, even though it made me feel very in the wrong for liking him so much.

In all honesty, it probably did help him that Robin Hood was NOT Michael Praed.

What I didn’t realize until later was that I have been stung by the magic of the X Muse and mesmerized by an incredible performance. I demanded we stayed in the theatre so I could find out what was the name of the actor playing “George, Sheriff of Nottingham”. My dad and my brother thought it was a waste of time, but I refused to move as it was the only way to find out who that person really was. And no, I couldn’t have googled it as I was twelve when Alan Rickman was fourty-six and both those events occured years before internet was readily available so answer any trivia question.

I have been a fan of Alan Rickman for every single indelible impression he left through the movies he acted in. I wish I have had a chance to see him on stage, but I have never been in the right place at the right time. I have been looking forward to “his” movies, even when his roles were small and I am still looking forward to seeing him in the roles I missed.

He has gone behind the curtain, called by the whispering voices, and leaving a hole that on the personal level is as unfillable as they get. The event is definitely irreversible and there is no witchcraft nor wizardry needed to explain that. He has build a monument with his work that, although on celuloid, will last multiple lifetimes and exceed some bronze ones. But at much as Exegi monumentum is appropriate, so is Panta Rei. And as days go by, internet saturates with tributes, shocked sadness turns into nostalgia and appreciation and “goodbye” is not neccesarily a “farewell” and “irreversible” may be a synonym for “permanent”, but jumping from one magical word to antoher is still possible.

I truly hope to grow up to be at least sixty-nine, to be able to sit in my home with those, who love me, watch an “old” movie and, after all those years, still stung and mesmerized, I be able to whisper “Always”.

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13. I think if you are misunderstood you have something good going on.

[Mondo Guerra

Project Runway, S08E01, 2010

director: Craig Spirko]

I have heard that there are people who belong. Those, who don’t think that the whole world is grown up and they are just pretending to fit in, waiting to be caught. Those, who do not suffer from impostor’s syndrome, when asked to be in charge and have their stuff together and even when officially succeeding to do so. I have also heard they are awesome people.

Thirty-five years into this world, I am yet to meet an aware person that truly thinks that they belong.

I met some people who created the places, where they feel at home. I also know some people who adopted “fake it till you make it” attitude (also known as “practice makes perfect”), although whether they are out of the “fake it” stage I am not able to tell. The ones who get up, get their stuff together and do what they feel they were born to do, even if it means not being recognized, admired or looked up to.

And I know a lot of people, who have something good going on. Maybe not grand, maybe not famous, maybe not spectacular from the outside, but good for them. I see eye to eye with some and cross the vision with others and I know it doesn’t matter. We are all looking for our place in the universe, deeper or shallower inside knowing, that we are lucky if there is one other human being who can connect with us.

Who we are and what we do, what we create pouring our talents, emotions, and intelligence is constantly evaluated. It may be enjoyed, it may be criticized, it may be, objectively not worth preserving. But in the pursuit of the monument, while trying to project the creature inside us into a physical form we accept the fact, that misunderstanding is a part of the process. We don’t have to like it. But we take it as it comes.

I have had a few favourites in first nine seasons of Project Runway. That being said, nobody came even close to Mondo. Just like Tim Gunn’s socks, mine also flew off when I saw how his creativity transformed his life story and the point of view into something so trivial and yet so spectacular as beautiful clothes. But he had me right at that first episode, when I heard him voicing this – and making him one of my people.

He doesn’t know it.

He doesn’t have to.

He has something great going on.

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12. Up here, forget everything you thought you knew about the weather

[Agnis Hamm

The Shipping News, 2001

director: Lasse Hallström; writers: Annie Proulx & Robert Nelson Jacobs]

I would like to introduce you to the most reliable weather forecast on the east coast of Canada. It is going to be unpredictible, moody, it may change every hour. And it is going to be windy.

Life had brough me here eleven years ago. I have seen horizontal snow, I have been woken up by rain so heavy, I though the roof was going to be broken, I have encounter wind so strong, I couldn’t make it along the street when walking against it. I have seen Julys and Augusts with temperatures barely rising to teens and never dropping below twenty. I have observed fog that doesn’t bring any cold air raising over the breeze and have a picture taken in May on a pile of snow. Over that time I accommodated. Just like everyone here did throughout centuries.

First of all, you learn to do everything despite the weather. You adjust for the wind while playing any outdoor sports. You layer up while going out anywhere, anytime. All your pieces of clothing are either hooded or match a hat. You give up on umbrellas or, like me, keep dreaming on designing one that protects you from rain that varies up to 170 degrees in direction throughout one occurence. Over time you adapt your sense of style to simultaneously match or disregard both the weather and the time of the year.

But then when beautiful summers come – and they come – they are like jewels that everyone treasures.

There has to be something in the place that despite absolutely most unpredictable and unreasonable weather, not even remotely resembling anything you would expect on this georgaphical lattitude (thank you Geography teacher from grade 4 for NOT mentioning that) that makes people come and stay. Maybe it only applies to certain kind of people, maybe only those who see the rocks and respect the ocean. I know it didn’t prevent me from falling in love with the sharp cliffs and the steepest hills I have had to walk in high heels.

There is a view that I learned to love over the years – through a window, on the rooftops interwoven with street lights, in the dusk, as night settles over the city. I find it calming and reassuring – having no idea what is happening behind lit windows and along the streets – that I can at least imagine that there are people who are safe and warm. I am lucky to have a view like this from the kitchen of my current home. In the place, where I once had to forget everything I thought I learned about the weather.

And just so you know I mean what I say – I started writing this note on May 8th. It snowed that morning.

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11. Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.

[Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones, 2011

director: Brian Kirk; writers: Bryan Cogman & George R. R. Martin]

My grandmother was born in the winter of 1920 in a small town nearby Ashmyany, Belarus. She was born with vitamin D defficiency, which caused her body to be slightly deformed. A smart doctor advised her parents to keep her in the spring sun as much as possible to stimulate vitamin production.
She never grew past 1m 50 cm (5 feet, barely), but she always was thankful to the doctor for her straight spine.

She has never read “Game of Thrones” although if she got her hands on it, she would have. She read everything she could, even after the stroke in took away her ability to concentrate and focus. And yet once in my life she told me exactly what Tyrion Lannister says to Jon Snow. She knew better than I did then, that I will always be short, that I will never be the fastest and that most likely I will not be the strongest. But none of it prevented it from playing to my strengths. Strengths, which she saw way before I was able to realize them.

She single handedly taught me what ambition and preseverence were about. Without long speeches or pretentious examples, she could somehow relate to me at any age and point out what was the most important in life, success and relationships. I think she would be proud of who I grew up to be. Had she lived one year longer she would have seen me graduating with a degree that seemed impossible to reach.
I loved her. I loved everything about her – the criticism, even if it felt personal; the desire to make me a better person, even if by pointing out my flaws; the unconditional love. I still love her, even though she has been gone for a few years now. She was never a lovey-dovey kind of person, she was beautifully sarcastic, sharp and witty. But she knew how to convince an insecure kid, a confused teenager and a very shy adult that she can achieve whatever she desires in life as long as she is willing to work for it and not give up. I wish I knew how she did it.

When I heard this quote on the show, I actually thought Martin overheard the 67 year old grandma talking to the 7 year old me. I am pretty sure he didn’t – I doubt he traveled behind the Iron Curtain. But at the same time hearing a product of someone’s imagination understanding another product of imagination so well made me feel this bizarre connection between elements of the universe. The message Jon and I were getting is the same: be aware of what you are. Don’t try to fool yourself the world doesn’t see you the way you are. Don’t hope the world won’t point it out to you. And when it does, make sure to blow it in its face. After all, it is just noticing and labeling. You are the only one, who knows exactly what is behind the label. Be sure not to waste the knowledge. You paid a lot for it already.

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10. Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.

[Larry Flynt

The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996

director: Milos Forman; writers: Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski]

After an ultimate bitch snap and an ultimate invective here comes the ultimate riposte.

What I am hearing here, even though I do not want to, is that my thoughts and feelings on any matter are as unusual as the place on my body that is never reached by the sun. Unique for me, but possessed by every single living creature on the planet. Now that may sound grotesque, but if on commonality level my sentiments are comparable to my rectum then on the practical level they must be as crucial to my functioning as the said location. I couldn’t live without one. Not in a shape or form resembling the one I currently have.

The retort, that couldn’t more precisely point out that the fact that you care to make a statement means you are absolutely ordinary and average, says actually significantly more. Because as banal and commonplace as your thoughts on subject may be they have more than right to exist and be expressed. Their presence is fundamental for your survival on every aspect and it shapes, develops and describes who you are as a human being. You have an opinion, therefore there was some thought process behind it. It doesn’t make you any more important or valid than the next person, but it puts you on the same playing field. You think, therefore you are. And so does everyone else. At least one hopes so.

And just in case it was a play of words, as far as the figurative inner asshole goes, in my opinion everyone’s got one of them too. Unlike the literal one, we have a choice to engage him or not.

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9. It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.

[Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001

director: Sharon Maguire; writers: Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis]

a.k.a. something in your life will always suck.

What I adore about this statement (besides how elegantly it puts the italic statement above) is how it plays on literature. Because this quote is, first of all, a a paraphrase of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice opening sentence. And as such it is  neither particularly subtle nor requiring any amount of deep knowledge of either writers’ work to understand. Like it’s predecessor, however, it summarizes a very common concept, wildly spread around among the generation described in a respective book. Women in Jane Austen’s time were to believe every man needs a woman (or there is something wrong with him). Women in Helen Fielding’s time learned that one cannot have everything and if everything is under control someone is moving too slow. [quoting Mario Andretti]

This very quote, actually, got me thinking about parallels between these two books that are less verbatim than the quote. Both books present a set of characters representing various social and financial statuses. One could argue that Bridget’s society is significantly more comical while Elizabeth’s one is better characterized (or vice versa). I choose to believe, all are supposed to be symbols and that Fielding and Maguire on purpose made theirs to be counterparts of the original. First in line we have, of course, blatantly obvious Mr. (Mark) Darcy, played by Colin Firth (drool). Second one I thought of was a vulgar mother, which made me quite disappointed with my brain for going precisely there. But then, correlation between Natasha and Caroline Bingley could not have been any less subtle.  I also see Mr. Wickham upon traveling thorough time transforming into Daniel Cleaver without any difficulty, just like sisters convert into friends (Mary Bennett would make perfect Cosmo, while Jane would become Magda, the whereabouts of  Kitty and Lydia are not yet identified in my brain). I can even see (whoever thought of that in the second movie – brilliant) sweet little gay Rebecca being a counterpart of Miss Darcy.

But no matter how hard I try, Elizabeth just doesn’t become Bridget. With all the verbal diarrhea, with all the opinions and living according to the society but dreaming bigger than expecting, there is something that doesn’t quite transfer. Cause Bridget is … Bridget. In the society where the respected women are of Natasha’s and Magda’s kind, Bridget with all the lack of knowledge, poise and size zero is so … normal. While Elizabeth is who women wanted to be like, Bridget is who they acknowledge to be. And when everything falls down to pieces, they, just like Bridget, lay their heads on the bath tub ledge, pick up themselves and everything else that fell, put on a top and a skirt, change a job and move on. As figuring out feelings for Mr. Darcy does not need to mean sitting home and listening to the mother anymore. Thank God.


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8. Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.


Inception, 2010

director: Christopher Nolan; writers:Christopher Nolan]

So here we have Leonardo DiCaprio in Christopher Nolan’s movie talking about dreams. I guess fate could have given me Gary Oldman in Robert Altman’s movie talking about pride, but one really shouldn’t be overly greedy when it comes to circumstances.

Cobb is, however wrong. Well not wrong, just inaccurate. Only well designed dreams feel real. As soon as the brain makes dreamality too good to be true it starts questioning its own creation and resets it by letting you know you are dreaming.

So when we wake up we break dreams into pieces, looking for symbols, motives that repeat and reveal something about ourselves. Constantly asking what they mean and what we could learn from them. But as long as we are dreaming we are looking for confirmations. We may be overwhelmed by what we are immersed into, we may become our own Descartes, doubting it and wondering if what we see is really what is happening. We test our senses, we check our pain threshold. Some of us master a trick that allows us to be absolutely sure – we pinch ourselves, we try to scream (I cannot in my dreams, but then I cannot when I am scared in real life either. I think.) and yet even the most cautious of us still sometimes get fooled.
Cause something inside us (or outside us) wants us so badly to believe we are right we ignore bent dimensions and circular time. We give up on proportions and sound propagation, stop questioning our morales and duties and just go with everything that is presented to us. And I don’t think we do it, because it is the easier solution. I think we do it cause we think it is the only one.

I am, however, wondering what is up with this control. Only well designed dreams feel real. And if they don’t and we know they aren’t, why not experience them as they last?

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7. You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.

[The Mad Hatter

Alice in Wonderland, 2010

director: Tim Burton; writers:Linda Woolverton &Lewis Carroll]

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the ultimate invective.

I mean we are not talking about a simple “you have changed” at best hissed at worst pronounced with undertones suggesting that you are no longer suiting the imagination of the person who chose to point out this tiny yet relevant fact to you. We are not even talking about expressing the disappointment or calling someone “ordinary” or even “boring”.

No, no. None of that subjective kind.

And just to be clear, we are as far from constructive criticism as we can get.

We are talking muchness. Muchness that includes not only actions, choices or character features but, most importantly, imagination, faith, courage and potential. We are stating that someone lost not only everything they once were but also gave up all the things they could have been. That due to negligence and conformism one stopped following the inner self that once used to save imaginary worlds, live in fantastic creations different from everything that could be built, go through path that don’t exist and develop and grow in the process. We mean someone blended in with the world around them so comfortably that they care about moving out even a bit not to be called unreasonable or ungrateful by those who manage the surroundings. And at the same time the person would rather lose their muchness than upset the managers.

Muchness we are talking about.

Ability to be oneself.

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