Saturday, April 25, 2009

Your universe mostly devoid of matter too?

"If in touching their skin we are touching the void, why does it feel so complete?" ~Natalie Angier, The Canon

Being in this city has opened my eyes to the nature of human connection. Increasing the density of people surrounding you and increasing the number of interactions with other people does not, by any means, increase the number of actual connections made. Obviously there is no scientific algorithm for friendship (as much as Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would like to believe there is). So many people come to this city in order to "find themselves", and yet in a strange but cliche turn of events, I think that I've had to maintain a vigilant awareness of my goals in order to not get swept up in the swaying of the masses.

I really should be writing my paper right now, but because of a failed "free wifi" hunt, I opted to read a bit and enjoy an iced Spanish latte in the sun. Solitude with so many people walking/talking around me used to feel so strange- and it still does, but to a lesser degree.

Note about the quote | Natalie Angier is one of my favorite contributors to the New York Times Science section. Her ability to cross the worlds of all six Nobel prize categories demonstrates a rarely seen well-coordinated crossing of the brain hemispheres; one in a myriad of traits that I wish I could embody.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Dear Life,

You're breaking my heart.

(1) Nothing is ever fair in life.
Aside from social justice issues in the world, there are just some things that I think are truly unfair. Bad things happening to good people and vice versa- not that I'm any authority on what is "good". I used to think that there was some sort of justice in the world and that I just haven't been able to grasp the long-term consequences of today's minor-offense criminals. I'm not talking about breaking civil law, just simple disregard for fellow human beings. The few promoters of egalitarian thought are continually competing against the immediate consequences, the current needs, and the selfish tendencies that drive innate human instincts and self-preservation.

(2) That's it!
With my usual rants and criticisms of the American socio-political climate, I usually have a hard time putting my finger on what I am so frustrated about. And then it just comes out- surprisingly, during a conversation with my roommate (who is learning English and acquainting herself with American culture). Most American citizens can trace back to ancestors that voluntarily immigrated to the United States in order to realize the potential this country has to offer. And now for the realization: After all these years of incredible development, this country has yet to realize its amazing potential. What are we doing with incredible resources, diverse cultures, and the greatest minds of the world?

Instead most in this country get sidetracked with recreation and how to spend that "disposable" income. I say "disposable" because it is anything but disposable in my mind. I'm not saying that you can't spend some money on yourself, but when did regular spa treatments become necessary for a stress-free life? Those $5 you spend on coffee every day- set the equivalent aside for a month (if you can afford it) and do something with it. There are tons of organizations that do great things with your extra money (e.g. Kiva).

Check out what the developing world has been up to with its money. (*I haven't checked their data collection methods, but most of it is intuitive)

Friday, February 20, 2009

I don't care for fancy things...

"I don't mean to seem like I care about material things like a social status
I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls"
~ My Girls,
Animal Collective

Although I would like to think that I could live outside of the "material world" (I'm channeling karaoke and Madonna), it's really not as simple as it seems. I stress on a regular basis about how to pay for things- the necessary and the "unnecessary". Yet the unnecessary are often, in my opinion, pretty much necessary for my happiness and existence as a human being.

I think that I will always continue to work to carve my own path out of this nice system that society has created for itself and its participants. I'm not willing to remove myself from it and live "off the grid", but it gets tiring to maneuver through it, and at times, I really just want to succumb to the pressures. I think- no, I know- I'd succeed in the "corporate world", but aside from the comfort and stability, it really has never appealed to me.

Am I willing to give up some of my own desires for a bit of relief from the stresses of the "real world"? Not too sure. It's a slippery slope. Job after job can inadvertently become a career. I've always been involved in this intricate dance with fate; allowing chance to bring things into my life while working to consciously choose which doors to walk through and sometimes, figuratively, which windows to peer through.

I don't know if I've just convinced myself that I've out-smarted the system or if I'm just a victim like everyone else. Perhaps ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Granted we known each other for some time | It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine

Screen time keeps taking up more and more of our lives. Television screens. Computer screens. Cell phone screens. All of varying sizes and content, but nonetheless growing in their allotment of time in our day. (Ironically, I'm immersed in my "screen time" as we speak)

Lights, colors, images. These are all meant to bring excitement, a certain allure to the things we come into contact with every day. We are so caught up in a culture of sensationalism that our frame of reference is becoming narrower and narrower. Our nearsightedness regarding our actions has created a society in which it is acceptable to be impulsive and react instead of act with prudence and forethought.

We feel the need to have multiple sources of input at a time. Tickers running on the bottom of our screens. Scanning and skimming instead of reading. It's not surprising that we find more and more emphasis on image and presentation over substance and content.

It's a beautiful day today. I think I'll go and take a walk outside.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I can't stand it anymore!

It is "definitely", not "definately".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

As the fire alarm goes off...

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate!

I have finally felt the true stress of the holiday season and also some joys. Shopping, once a relatively enjoyable pastime, became the most painful task I could think of; not because I don't enjoy giving presents (believe me, I get more excited about giving than my receivers) but because of the time constraints, the elusive task of finding the right present, the long lines, and the parking.

But in the end, it is the holiday season and I love to place well thought-out gifts under the tree for my family and loved ones. And for those that don't celebrate anything at all...winter wishes!

Now I'll have an order of home cooking, oh and hold the kitchen fires please.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rationing Kindness

It has to be much simpler than this, much purer than this, much clearer than this.

Relationships of any kind used to be so much easier when we were in sandboxes and sneakers. Yes there was jealousy, fighting over toys, and maybe some name calling; but most of what needed to be said was said.

It may be idealistic (or naive) of me to think that people can just appreciate one another's company without having any ulterior motives, but I can't help but hold out hope for that ideal. I hate to think that I have to ration out my kindness and friendliness because of what intentions this may reflect on my part. Suddenly there are lines that I cannot cross, things I hesitate to say, and rules I have to follow.

If this is what growing up is about, then I want no part in it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

and I'll gamble away my fright...

Well it's been a long time, long time now
since I've seen you smile

and I'll gamble away my fright
and I'll gamble away my time

and in a year, a year or so

this will slip into the sea

well it's been a long time, long time now

since I've seen you smile

~Nantes, Beirut

This, I think, is my mid-semester crisis. Perhaps it is all this talk of elections, future, hope, and most importantly change.

Many of us have hoped to save the world one day. Sitting in a class with plastic chairs- feet dangling an inch away from the ground- and believing that reading the next chapter of this awesome "Goosebumps" book will somehow indirectly equip us with the knowledge and skills to change our world. We were so young and already we were taught to have lofty dreams and seemingly unreachable goals.

Here I am, 22, and still feeling the same way. We sit in class (some we don't like) pretending to debate things that matter, things that count. And they do. But talk is only useful if it incites action, and prudent action is the only thing that can create lasting change for the better. I've come to the conclusion that I may not be able to "save the world", but I can find the one thing I am passionate about and pour myself into that. Now to figure out what the heck that thing is...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Crossword Clue: "Mind blowing!"

I think I've found my new love. Wycliff Gordon was amazing last night (Dizzy's Club at the Lincoln Center).

There's really not much to this post. Just that the words "mind blowing" were the only things that could have been said. Worth it. So worth it.

Also, Halloween was quite the experience. Had a blast! Thanks to NY and some awesome people.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can you spare some change?

I'm often caught in an internal dilemma to "do the right thing". One of the things I've gotten used to is passing people on the street asking you for money. And lately, it has been the announcements/pleas on the subway for some spare change.

Can you spare some change?

Here I am working to eventually fight for those who have been systematically neglected and I sit there averting my eyes away from imploring eyes. I am not one to point the finger (I mean, who is really at fault? we could go on for days playing "devil's advocate" hah), but here is a quick story:

I'm sitting in the station. Waiting. The usual story for taking the train on the weekends. A family comes by and the father yells "sit down!". The mother pushing a stroller sits down and rolls her eyes. A young girl follows behind about 7 years old, and giggles to herself. The father yells "sit down!". She just laughs playfully and as a result really upsets her father. He starts asking her what she's laughing about, telling her he'll wipe that smile right off of her face, etc. All this yelling is getting to me and I'm just wishing for the train to pull up any minute so I can get lost in the crowd again.

Meanwhile, I'm looking down, reading something (or trying). The train arrives and the father starts demanding them to get into the train. He takes the baby boy out of the stroller and holds him. The moment he steps into the train he's hugging and kissing this baby completely different from the aggressive and hurtful yelling I just witnessed 30 seconds ago. They get in, and lo and behold I hear the same old spiel: "Ladies and gentlemen, can we have one moment of your time..." I can't but see this as twisted use of human capital.

So here comes the "choose your own ending" part of the novel: Do I give to this family and provide temporary relief while encouraging this unhealthy family dynamic to continue? or do I avert my eyes while telling myself that continuing to work for a greater net good in the world is more valuable than giving my one dollar?