Siege Diaries 3/19/2021

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Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What is the real cause of my irritations–external things or my opinions?

I think the real question for me is whether I am going to let irritations–which I define as minor things of no great import that are wholly out of my control–rule my life.  I’m a proponent of picking one’s battles.  You’re never going to win a battle against the weather, or technology that’s being a pain (in fact, irritation can hinder a solution in that case) or packages that are slow in arriving, or sour cream that’s gone off.  I try to acknowledge the irritation (because, again, burying it tends to lead to an explosion later on)–that it sucks.  Then I ask whether there is something that I can do about it.  If there is, I do it.  If not, I allow myself those moments of annoyance before moving on to things I can control.  Again, it’s all about acknowledging the emotions, that they’re real, and that they’re valid (even when they’re petty, they’re still real.)

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Today, a couple of videos. 

First, this achingly beautiful virtual rendering of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel.  The hotel opened the very day that a devastating earthquake hit Tokyo–and survived.  But by 1967, it had deteriorated and the land it was on had subsided, so it was torn down to build a more modern hotel.  The lobby and reflecting pool were salvaged and erected in an architectural park.  The virtual version shows parts of the hotel that no longer exist, and display Wright’s Japanese influences at their apogee, in a fusion with his own personal style that is just gorgeous.  The depictions of the hotel lit from within are stunning, as are the images of the Peacock Room, the massive dining room with its stunning decorative motifs.

The same folks also brought the lost Larkin Building to life a few years ago–another revolutionary Wright building that was tragically torn down, except for one piece of a retaining wall.

Finally, we rewatched Bridge of Spies tonight. When I saw it the first time, in 2015, the two things that struck me were Mark Rylance’s performance (it won him an Academy Award) and the depiction of Berlin in the early years of the Berlin Wall (including a significant amount of ruin porn. At the time, I barely noticed the scene that jumped out at me tonight. The mere mention of Shostakovich by a Soviet spy in 1957–and using a work that premiered that very year–was an incredibly clever reference.

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