15 March 2017

elective affinities

Elective Affinities by Rene Magritte

Yesterday, out of brain drain, I decided to take a short walk despite the horrid snow and bought a Rubik's cube and Yuval Noah Harari's "Sapiens." That's what happens when my mind gets fatigued--it craves even more self-inflicted torture.  Sapiens means wise in Latin.  So Homo sapiens literally translates to wise man. I'm only on page 9 of the book and I'm already captivated. Harari states "In Homo sapiens, the brain accounts for about 2-3 per cent of total body weight, but it consumes 25 per cent of the body's energy when the body is at rest."  I used to say our brain takes up about 20% of the stored energy in food that we consume...so it's apparently more than that. That's why I'm perennially exhausted. We're all perennially exhausted.  

I've been thinking--I've always been thinking. Thinking about things I should think about; yet, probably like most Homo sapiens, I wastefully think. It's a procrastinating kind of thinking. I'm not moving, but I'm thinking. I'm folding clothes and I'm thinking. I'm in the shower and I'm thinking. I'm walking home and I'm thinking. Imagine doing all those things with robotic wide eyes--being physically present but with your mind wandering. Somewhere unnecessary. Futile thinking. It's a bad habit.  I stand up as a distraction, do a bit of tippy toe action...pumping my gastrocnemius to aid the veins at my lower extremities. I breathe in deeply until I fill my inspiratory reserve volume then breathe out until I void my expiratory reserve volume. Anything to stop the superfluous thoughts. The thoughts aren't all that bad; most of the time the thoughts are nice. Nice thoughts, but just wasteful.

Harari also states, "The ability to create an imagined reality out of words enabled large numbers of strangers to cooperate effectively." And procrastinate gloriously. Like yours truly. I should get back to writing...oh wait, before I forget...so I rediscovered Adjustment Bureau last night and the last scene mentioned something related to free will...that we never know how to use it until we have to fight for it.  I tried to connect it to Disney's Moana theme where the song goes "Everything is by design...so maybe I can roll with mine...I'll be satisfied if I play along but the voice inside sings a different song, what is wrong with me?"

Odd connections, huh? A book, a science fiction movie, and a Disney film...oh and a surrealist work of art. Brain matter turning into mush, that's what it is.

Cheers.    

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07 March 2017

tipping point

I had been writing stoically lately and I am filled to the brim with desire to write the most nonsensical, unscientific, grammatically incorrect words I could possibly muster with my fingers...

Inebriated with the compounded infinitesimal sparks of the mundane hurly burly like the grass is so green but the sudden gusts of wind ruin my grin and smelling the flowers is probably a bad idea especially since pollen can be captured by the sputum of my postnasal drip and the guttural pleading of my silent intermittent exhalation is the impetus for my eyes to shut whereby a mascara-hardened eyelash provokes the sclerotic coat of my optic senses which then causes a sudden singing in my head by Bono: "everybody huuuurts sometimes..." Light up a match, turn on your pen light, lift up your mobile phone and wave it like you're in the middle of a random mosh pit at a concert you were dragged into going because all you really wanted was to be beneath a disheveled pile of fluffy pillows and a nice smelling comforter with earplugs

*haaah*

U2 didn't write Everybody Hurts---geez

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24 February 2017

on feminism


Since this morning I began to ponder on "The personal is political," which can be considered as the catchphrase of the feminist movement. I thought that my current break time was opportune to let my brain pass gas (lol). Feminism can be expressed and advocated in various ways--through one's lifestyle or through blatant protest.  My interpretation of feminism is precisely "the personal is political." Oftentimes, feminism tends to highlight the double standards that separate men from women. I tend to focus on feminism as the enhancement and celebration of other women apart from myself. 

Let's face it--women are inherently competitive with each other. That is something I've always recognized. My take on feminism is to enhance other women--to be the anti-crab mentality advocate. I read the recent issue of Fashion magazine with Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau on the cover. The issue celebrates feminism and how it can be achieved by uplifting fellow women--espousing "common goodness" as Gregoire-Trudeau stated.  

Women are definitely more hormonal than men--physiologically speaking. And the combination of external environment, personal predicaments, etc. molds the modern day hormonal woman. I know that, because I have PCOS and have a hormonal imbalance. I've always practised "mind over matter" and probably almost mastered a homeostatic emotional state. Like removing my consciousness and laying it outside myself as an objective observer while I make sense of the specimen that is--myself. I know, it's a ridiculous thing to imagine but I find it to be an effective coping mechanism. 

Of course, there are extreme provocations that can cause me to implode/explode (whichever spontaneously occurs) and my husband has been a solid support. I had to ask him again last night what he sees in me and he would just laugh. I now brand him as a feminist...with a weird taste in women. Exhibit A: yours truly.

I also think that a woman who is also a feminist is considerate of everyone. Everyone wants to be valued. Whether it be family, friends, acquaintances, strangers... Manifesting an air of "yes, you matter and I will listen to you" is very empowering. When you value others, you feel a sense of fulfillment. When that happens, you enhance your life. You enhance your womanhood. 

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04 February 2017

Placid


Among my favorite pieces of poetry, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, is the most meaningful for me. I consider it a sort of concise instructional manual on how to live.  Interestingly, I first began to fully appreciate it when I spent a summer at my Aunt's house in L.A. before I began high school because it was posted in her bathroom. Yes, bathroom...so that when you sit on the toilet, it's right in front of you. I kid you not. While I have linked Desiderata above, I would like to share my favorite sections:

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence...

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story...

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans...

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time...
...everywhere life is full of heroism...

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither by cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass...

Take kindly the counsel of the years...
...do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness...

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here...

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be...

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world..."


I am grateful to be here.

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25 January 2017

fascinating sophistication

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I have been enjoying looking at images of old Hollywood style and watching vintage lifestyle videos such as those by Lilly Jarlsson. Apart from the superficial, I think what I find appealing about the early to late 1900s is the culture of propriety and unwritten social protocols. Going back to the superficial, I particularly like the fashion. Especially in the 40s and 50s when there was an over-all air of neatness and attention to detail.  

I still see the essence of vintage glamour in contemporary designers. Being Filipino, I'd like to laud Monique Lhuillier, Amina Aranaz, and my former high school classmate Rosanna Ocampo for creating sophisticated pieces which are timeless. Monique, Amina, and Rosanna have no idea I've posted about them--hah. 

Of course, my day-to-day life requires a sort of utilitarian dress sense. I'm sure many would agree that reading fashion magazines is mostly for entertainment--or maybe getting ideas here and there--whatever fits one's lifestyle.  We do not need to wear clothes that are impractical or expensive. I remember my late mother who was always lauded about her fashion sense. She was a very pragmatic woman and is very thrifty especially since she wasn't from a wealthy upbringing. I suppose it was the way she carried herself--plus the fact that she was just plain beautiful (inside and out). 

So style is both external plus a certain kind of bearing. A grace that would be difficult to manufacture--somewhat borne out of one's experiences. Like my mother who was the proverbial calm duck on the surface but paddled like a beast.   

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24 January 2017

Gratiam


In the Philippines, utang ng loob is obligatory.  When one receives a gift or favor from someone else, the beneficiary is obliged to either return the favor or be subservient to the benefactor. As in the case of a homeless person being given shelter by another.  In many circumstances, many people take advantage of this debt of gratitude by using it as a means of exploitation.  Examples include Cinderella, Sarah the Little Princess, or when someone owes someone else.  But I suppose the worst case would be child labor or any form of slavery.  Especially when it isn't the debtor who actually pays, but someone else in place of. 

I'm hoping to find rainbows-unicorns-we-all-live-in-a-yellow-submarine inspiration to erase all this melancholia. Darn it hormones.

How about we change the topic and appreciate the resemblance between Justin Trudeau and Prince Eric? Where's Sebastian the crab and his back up singers?


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21 January 2017

happy to entertain (haiku)


External jubilation
Caused by one's demise
Schadenfreude, oh schadenfreude 

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20 January 2017

check yourself

And because I just posted the saying above--considering my past posts about humility--it goes to show how I completely lack this virtue. So now, how to achieve humility...do what needs to be done and disregard any thought or desire to be above any situation. That's hard, friends. Very hard.

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13 January 2017

To be untethered


I chanced upon a late night TV documentary about Norwegian history and the narrator discussed The Scream.  While this painting has been parodied as a symbol of horror, the artist was inspired to create it after a mundane walk with some friends. Edvard Munch witnessed a red sunset and he was filled with melancholy like a deafening scream from nature while his companions continued on their way. It seems as if he became disconnected from reality.  I understand that predicament in a sense that I can be consumed by angst especially when at a low point.  I'm sure everyone experiences the same situation, except that not everyone bothers to recognize that okay, I'm angst-filled right now or I am filled with melancholy. A normal person would be prompted to mask or bury that feeling by deliberately distracting him/herself--work, entertainment, social media, retail therapy...

I realized that I just removed myself from the normal category. Abnormal? Less ordinary? Philosopher-wannabe? Over-thinker? Self-centered? Crazy? Odd? 

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07 January 2017

the joys of domestic life and alternative careers



The scene above is from the movie Julie and Julia where Meryll Streep played Julia child (from this 2009 Time article http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1914995,00.html#).  A few posts ago, I've dreamt of being a sort of Nigella Lawson or maybe a super Martha Stewart...maybe even a humble mother from Sub-Saharan Africa. I know--why would one ever dream that. My train of thought is focused on the complex nature of 24/7 lifetime employment, that is, a housewife.  In at least 1/3 of my pregnancies, the strings of the universe have whispered that I may be destined for something noble and challenging. It's a truly altruistic profession, isn't it? Your target market and source of fulfillment are the same people, while outsiders (even kin) consider you lowly, unintelligible, and incapable of greater things. I am not a housewife, but I can relate to the prejudice that housewives experience. Perhaps, it's a woman thing. A woman can't drive, a woman isn't physically strong enough, a woman can't be as good as a man in politics, science, technology, math, engineering...etc etc. 

And you as a woman can only sigh a thousand sighs after exhausting all the vindictive scenarios you can come up with in your allegedly less intelligent mind. 

*** Out-of-time rice to be paired with anything (my husband's recipe--he is the exception to my hasty generalization that most men are misogynists): On day old rice, put an appropraite amount of your preferred butter/margarine (we like Becel's margarine with olive oil), a dash of garlic powder, some ground black pepper (a little salt too if you like but we don't do that for this recipe). Microwave for about a minute or so. Serve with any leftover meat or fish with vegetables. ***

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