Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dancing in the Rain

As I sit here at 12:17 in the morning on 12-12-10 on my silver, nearly deflated workout ball with a Nalgene liter bottle of water and recently baked chocolate meringue cookies I desperately think to myself:
I. Must. Roast. More. Almonds!
That was right after I barged into the house to quench my excruciating thirst (now aided by trusty Nalgene); and this beforehand was sustained by my good friend D who held me back with iron-man strength from dropping to my knees to drink from a street puddle. As we walked to the bus station from a thoroughly enjoyed Jon & Roy concert.

Yes, I have attended my second out of Third Annual Jon & Roy Holiday SPECIAL! And what fun it was. D and I waited amongst the antsy but ever-loyal J&R fan crowd outside of the venue doors, anxiously waiting to be let in, patted down, searched through, turned upside down, eye-scanned, finger-printed, ID viewed, out of the rain. Well, not exactly to that extent, but we were still waiting to be out of the non-stop downpour. Once 7 p.m. rolled around we joyfully leaped up the stairs, my newly bought Canon child being huddled closely to my chest, and we were graciously led into the magnificent cathedral of a church...that holds about 200 people or the like.
With fairly decent seats we witnessed the musical wonders of:
 Steph  MacPherson accompanied by Vince Vaccaro; absolutely incredible voice she has.
 The ever so talented Aidan Knight!
 Jon & Roy with guest singers from Current Swell, another amazing Canadian band.
 And last but not least the fantastic, talented, beat-jumpin', lovable Jon of Jon & Roy!
Two other musicians performed but with pictures too blurry I can only mention their names of Bahamas and Damien Jurado. Bahamas took us back to old folk-inspired tunes with a true western accent ringing out and made us laugh with an amusing love song by the name of "Hockey Teeth." Jurado haunted the audience with a 4 to 5 minute "ghost song", one that sent shivers down spines and captivated stunned faces as he screamed bits of song into the audience. Both were extremely talented artists with reputations of playing with other famous bands around the world. 
By the end of it all J&R had the crowd stamping their feet and clapping with arms high as they closed off with one of my favorite songs, "Little Bit of Love" and high above the dancing group hovered and looped a lazy, nearly transparent mechanical bird. Yes, someone brought a mechanical bird to a concert and flew it during the performances. It was amazing.

If you haven't had a chance to jam out to these new-on-the-market bands (well, some of them) it's about time you did. Although they're all Canadian, save Jurado who hails from the near Canadian city of Seattle, they are damn good at what they do and you are by no doubt missing out on some good tunes. Broaden your horizons and listen to something of what I love to call West Coast Reggae (J&R) and mermaid inspired melodies (MacPherson).

And I must roast more almonds now that my thirst is quenched.
-SJ

Friday, December 3, 2010

Footprints in the Sand

Our strive to be remembered is withstanding and never tiring as we move onwards in our lives. For some of us the want is easier to achieve than for others. Artists in both visual and concrete materials are recognized by the common stranger all across the globe. Political figures are acknowledged for their opinions, tactics and mistakes. Activists involved in a cause that strikes home can be picked out from a crowd and bowed to or cursed at. A musician's song or ballad sticks with us throughout time, reminding us of the memories we made sure to peg to our mind's cork board, simple or complex ideas that are felt important. On a more personal scale, each individual cherishes a close family member or friend who's had a significant impact on their lives, either positively or negatively or both.
Never throughout time has the person's aim to be remembered in such a way faltered. It's seemingly far fetched to hear someone claim "I do not care if no one remembers me" and nor is it possible. Even if someone were to sincerely say that, with no other motives, desires or regrets, would it be possible for the surrounding beings to forget that person. The being who would claim it, their actions and movements, their appearance, their smell and sound and their words would never, ever be forgotten, because even if one's brain is afflicted and overwhelmed with billions of other pieces of information or disease, the brain never forgets.
If the brain never forgets, why is it such an issue to us to be remembered? Why do we feel the importance of being recognized on the street or of being acknowledged of what we've accomplished or failed at? Of course, although some people really are significant to our lives (presidents, dictators, teachers(some), artists, parents, etc.) most people are not. As harsh as it may sound, I really do not care about the everyday call-center worker in India or even the scooter scammer downtown who insisted of asking for change for a taxi, when there was absolutely no intention of actually taking a taxi anywhere. I may begin to care for these people if I come to know them better, but the chances are, in my busy, short life, that I won't get to know the billions of everyday people in the world. It's the same with everyone.
The incessant need to feel remembered can be overwhelming and sometimes harmful in ways of trying to change oneself to gain that position in society. It all boils down to that other question so frequently asked (at least I constantly ask myself it) as to "Why do I care what they think?" "Why does it matter what they care?" For the most part of my days I don't care but then I sheepishly catch myself believing that I do, that I need to know what they think and that I need to know if they will remember who I am. This need or want doesn't only come from a personal insistence; social media, global advertisements and some of the remembered, influential people themselves encourage the ambition to "be remarkable."
A good friend of mine said "I feel like everyone in this city feels like they have to be a part of the arts to fit in, to be accepted here." I agree with her; this city is very art-orientated, very environmentally aware and conscious of its growing younger population. But I think that those pin-pointed people are more so trying to find their balance in the arts and finding something that they will be remembered by.
I have no doubt that that gnawing feeling of wanting to be simply remembered by someone who is deemed important in my life or by the masses will ever go away. I will always want to leave my everlasting footprints in the sand.

video
cred: Youtube

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Old Way

 Starbucks is out...but it kind of always has been.

There is no excuse as pathetic as "I was too busy" or "I've been so busy" to use to get yourself out of seeing or communicating with someone, feeling guilty for forgetting to do something relevant, or simply just looking after yourself and your surroundings. But this is a phrase that is used uncountably throughout the week and a passive way of shrugging off everything you've been meaning to do or even just want to do. I know this all too well because it's my own major fall back that I've come to more personal and shameful terms with; the reason that I haven't posted in over a month is exactly what I've distinguished in the first sentence of this post, the excuse of being "so busy" over the last few weeks.

Besides the infinite flow of homework and uni exams and exam prep (which I really should spend more time on) and my ever expanding and exploding water balloon of a social life I really have no "real" excuse as to why I don't spend more time writing. This blog isn't only for the pleasure of others to read (not that I think a ton of people have read it/are reading it) but a place for me to write for personal benefits, for critique, for whatever other reason that can't pop into my head right now.

Writing is only one aspect of my life that isn't done nearly enough or to my satisfaction; sketching, reading, exercising or merely spending more time outside or with people are all fundamentals that have fallen into the tiny, obscure crags of my conscience that deserve much more attention than what they've been getting. I personally blame the internet (and other forms of hyper-focused technology) and of course my lack of time-management skills. The Bertrand Russell quote of "the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" is something that I agree with but haven't come to satisfied terms with, especially if I log off my computer feeling hollow and ungratified (and sometimes a little bedraggled). Although it's fantastic to have a machine that holds an excess of information right at my fingertips and also a varied communication tool, I feel that the computer really hinders the time I want to use in other manors, i.e. the ones I mentioned above.

Although it's not even December and somewhat faraway from New Year's I want to start building up a complex yet feasible resolution for 2011. No, not just for 2011, but for as long as I can think of, starting today. With all of these things that make our lives easier, it's easy to forget that you actually have to use willpower to accomplish certain tasks. Simply put, technology, in some cases, makes us lazy and it's difficult to drag your mindset out of the bog and into the reality of where thinking actually takes energy. But it's an unreality to say "the computer is OUT the window from now on" because life today requires these means of technology. It's also a bit unrealistic to say "I vow to use the computer only half of the time of what is being used now"; with the rapidly changing world and everything inside it, it's more than easy to get swept up into that comfortable, think-less way of life, resorting to endless site-surfing to waste away those so called useless minutes.

So, my solution, is simple. Use the machine for what you originally bought it for. That may be communicating, gaming (if you say so), business, military extravaganzas or whatever. In my case it's writing. Primarily plain old essays but now more freelance writing and blogging. This is only a fraction of my New Year's resolution, but the rest is being sorted out from the mess in my head and being modified and polished, like those ever changing iPod models which have reached the 220 million sales mark as of Sept. '09 (thanks Wikipedia).

As the cliché goes, "out with the old and in with the new." Stop. Wasting. Time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It never ends..

Phew. I had no idea how hard it would be to come up with new and interesting everyday things to blog about. It's no excuse to blame it on school either; although the midterms and homework have truly caught up with me, I really want writing to have just as much place in my life as reading, cooking, socializing and homework does. It deserves a chance! So, I promise, myself more so (I doubt I have too many readers right now) that I will post at least twice this week. On what I do not know, something fun I hope...we shall see what I can find hidden within this little city!

And to those consistent bloggers out there...tell me your secrets!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Author vs. Character

If characters from books and films were actually real we would have the most chaotic and miscellaneous world ever. I would love it...or would I?

Having just finished Stieg Larsson's sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", I think I've actually created a profound love for his twisted and intensely secretive main character, Lisbeth Salander. Larsson takes his female lead to a whole new dimension, compared to other authors who pertain to the classified protagonists and antagonists, so I've found. After watching the first film while it was in theaters, I anticipate greatly what will be shown in the second film and can't wait to view the raw, articulate, Swedish version of the sequel. The fact that the U.S. has even considered making a Hollywood version of the first film is mind-boggling and lacks enormous amounts of taste, but that's another rant for another day. Salander portrays a head strong woman who is all business and sometimes freaky play, yet looks like an underdeveloped teen. She grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you immediately once you start the novel and doesn't let you go till the last sentence (in which you can carry on to the excruciatingly unfair teaser at the end of the book for the following novel, damn those excerpts).

Interestingly, Larsson created Lisbeth from a real live character from his own life. According to recent articles detailing Larsson's past life (ABC New's "Stieg Larsson Silent as Real-Life Lisbeth Raped", for example) Larsson had witnessed a gang-rape involving a woman named Lisbeth in the late 1960's. From then on he was haunted by the occurrence but plodded on to write critically about social justice and human rights problems in Sweden and globally. While other characters in the trilogy were based off of people he knew personally, Larsson never thought of himself as the male protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, but more like Salander herself, aside from some specific and unordinary traits. Unfortunately, Larsson died in 2004 of a heart attack and has been taken away the chance to write any more thrilling yet informative pieces about greatly significant issues that our world faces today; we, as readers, are left with the hollow yet equally satisfied feeling of finishing a good book, once those last pages of the third novel are turned.

Now, directing our attention to the point of this post (although admittedly, I truly am inspired by Larsson's novels; not obsessed, but impressed by both his plot and Salander's profile) the creation of fictitious and powerfully influential characters has led to greater imagination and weirdly enough, the lament of real life human beings. When James Cameron's "Avatar" was released to the public, it was reported that several individuals had given up their lives in despair for not living in a world represented by the movie. It's crazy yet I suppose realistic to understand why people fell into depressions after seeing the film; Cameron created a universe in which we can never even begin to conceive as being a reality here on earth.

Characters from books and films already have set personalities, goals, achievements, talents and so on, yet according to literate geniuses, each character is a reflection of some part, external or internal, of the author. It is possible to create complete strangers for our characters but its known to be difficult to carry their personalities, talents, etc. through the story because there is no connection between the creator and creation. So if fictitious characters were already a part of our norm, they would be representatives of their creators, or more simply, part clone. This is all speculation of course; it hasn't been "proven" that an author can't illustrate a character through a novel if they have no relation to it at all, just more or less generalized and guessed that that is the case. But besides that point, our world would be a mess of individuals and situations pertaining to those individuals.

I can't decide whether I'd be OK with seeing Lisbeth Salander saunter down the street in her iconic dark apparel and slip into gloomy alleyways. I'm not sure if I would enjoy seeing Edward Cullen stun passersby with his "sparkling", revitalized corpse. But I do think I would succumb to the incessant powers of Darth Vader, being a long-time fan of his. If he were around wreaking havoc in the resonant space beyond the Ozone layer, there would be no doubt that I wouldn't join the Dark Side ;)

Think about it; what characters would you want to stay between the covers of their books? Who would you be OK with stealing your cab that you were going to ride to Starbucks? What do you think of Stieg Larsson's novels and his characters?

P.S. One of Stieg Larsson's inspirational movies was George Lucas' "Star Wars"; maybe he shared my fondness for Darth Vader as well!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Turn left...It'll take you from what you've been searching for.

People like me shouldn't be allowed to blog. We shouldn't be allowed to click through links and create our own mini-worlds bursting with fat, egotistical thoughts. But oh, the opportunity that this bigger-than-life virtual world presents to us, how could we ever resist! The freedom to squander our chaotic thoughts all over a web page is ever too tempting. With that said, I am now unceremoniously welcoming myself to the blogging cosmos and dubbing myself a new-born blogger...
*cue unhealthy sounding noisemaker*

The thing is, I know that I am interesting (not to be overly modest or anything). But is it possible to be too interesting that all of the interests get jumbled together as if creating a new-age jambalaya? Could there be too many fun facts, quirky gimmicks or ponderous acquisitions of an individual to make them less interesting and just seemingly "lost" within society? The answer is a clear and relentlessly blunt "Yes". (Unless you're just a stupidly unorganized individual with little clue of the world; I could be that, but we'll just stick with the former assumption for now.) 

This is an experiment, to see if I can keep something in my life at a regular pace other than my classes. To see if I can reign in my thoughts which stray disobediently into awkwardly tilted areas of my mind. To see if I amuse people or inspire any other wandering souls. And I suppose, lastly, it is to spur my endless love for experiments. 

My vow as a new-born blogger is to write about whatever is interesting. Anything that comes up as being fun, odd, queer, exciting, disgusting (moderately, let me say), or moving I will do my best to present to you as interestingly as possible. Now, this is kind of a large vow to keep up with, so bear with me if I stray from time to time.

So, before I sign off and go live my life outside the virtual world, I would like to write two more things. Firstly, if you do not know me, I am warning you now that my mind is worse than a six-flag roller coaster and is sometimes let off the leash with only the slightest urge. And secondly, welcome. Welcome to my endeavor. Welcome to Imperfect Ingenuity.