Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poops and Boobs

Embarrassing as it is for me to admit, I occasionally browse the Celebrity section of Yahoo!’s website to catch up on the latest news.  Perhaps more than I care to admit.  Generally the articles themselves do not have much content of any interest but it is far more interesting to scroll down to the comments and see the reactions of many other readers.  Sometimes it is a prediction game; I will try and predict the readers’ reaction and gain some trivial sense of achievement if my predictions come true.

One of the easiest reactions to predict stems from articles on, unsurprisingly, Kim Kardashian.  However, I happened across an article one day with surprising results.  Instead of separate rants against how the celebrity in question had done nothing of import to deserve the attention and how “in other news, I took a dump today,” the internet seemed to have come together in an attempt to genuinely stem the flow of articles.  In lieu of separate comments, nearly every single commenter had written “dear yahoo stop with this kardashian junk” over and over again (assumedly until the comment character limit had been reached) and posted this same comment multiple times.  I was surprised by the unanimity of the internet as I kept clicking “View more comments” and was shown even more of the same save for the very rare heterogenous comment.

Even more interestingly, I believe that Yahoo! indirectly responded to the outpouring of a call to cease and desist.  An article was written about the popularity of the recent interview of Kate Gosselin and her two oldest children and how watching them crash and burn unconsciously gives readers pleasure about their own life.  The greatest part was reading the comments which continued to bash Yahoo! on their posting on “talentless” celebrities.  Luckily I did not have to read any more notifications of bowel movements though.  Some improvement, I suppose.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Yahoo! on their arguments.  Firstly, they pointed out that the People magazine sold about 3.5 million copies with the Gosselin twins and mom’s face on the cover and if the American public really wanted to show their “boycott,” then that number would have been much lower.  Secondly, Yahoo! pointed about that over five hundred comments had in fact been posted on the Gosselin article, a splendid number compared to any article related to politics or technology.  Taking into account my own behavior, I am sure there were millions of clicks tracked as well and each one is valuable to the company.  

So why is it so difficult to rid ourselves of this habit?  Pointing fingers at the notion that we feel better about ourselves by watching other’s downfall is a rather pathetic philosophical attempt to justify our obsession with celebrities.  I would rather attribute the phenomenon to simple boredom and laziness.  It is a rather simple proof; if you only had to choose between reading a dozen Kim Kardashian articles or go on an all-expense paid trip to visit the Taj Mahal, which one would you do?  Unless your mother-in-law is from India, I would wager that you would want to visit the Taj Mahal.

Any device that can sit on our laps is like a comfortable TV-dinner; comfort plus entertainment for minimal effort.  This desire to be lazy is truly what is behind the problem of excessive famous-for-being-famous news.  It is about time that all of us realize there is undoubtedly something more exciting around to do other than reading about the latest boob jobs and that that something will give us far more happiness than inflated happiness over the size of our own boobs.  Get out there into the real world and do something!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Maui Tides

Disappointment is a side effect of hope.  Hope comes from a need to make life better.  Making life better comes from a need to live life.  Living life comes from being brought into this world alive.  Such good intentions drive disappointment and sometimes, somewhere along the line, I become scared.  Perhaps it is when hope fails and disappoint prevails more than once in a row.  It makes me lose hope and lose the drive to make my life better.  I realize that I'm not doing too bad and there is no reason to try harder.  I stop living and sit around watching TV, numbing my brain.  And then I get restless and find hate.  Hate for not living.  So once again I hope, sometimes only to be disappointed again, but sometimes to be rewarded in the greatest ways that only life can give.  The seesaw of life flows like the Maui tide, in and out, in and out.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Giant Eagle

The United States of America has many names; glorious names like the “melting pot”, the “land of opportunity”, and the “nation of immigrants” to name a few.  America likes its diversity and respects “weird” people by these names.  What an honor it must be to be bestowed these names especially in a world where being different is wrong!  I’d like to bestow a new name to the USA today; I shall call it the “Giant Eagle.”

To be more specific, I mean the produce section of Giant Eagle.  Here, customers can browse through either fruits or vegetables.  It is pretty clear which ones are which; the fruits are all placed in the middle of the floor in baskets that do not require any water to keep fresh.  They are further categorized by type in easy to distinguish baskets.  The vegetables are placed in the outer perimeter of the section in bunches, although there are no physical barriers between the different types, in slightly cooler cases and occasionally sprinkled with water.  Vegetables get really thirsty, you know.

The fruits also tend to be a bit more diverse in color than the vegetables.  There are the yellows, the reds, the oranges, and occasionally some greens.  The vegetables are vice-versa; they are mostly green with a sprinkle of red, yellow, and orange with those bell peppers.  The bell peppers are not included in the water-sprinkler cases, though.  These two groups are meant to be as separated as possible, even outside of the warehouse arena.  The names stick with them forever and once a fruit, it can never be a vegetable.  Once a vegetable and it can never be a fruit.  However, there are a few edibles that baffle everyone's’ minds.  Things like tomatoes.  

Tomatoes are the plights of the world.  Why is it impossible to categorize tomatoes?  Some argue that they are fruits and some argue that they are vegetables, but the tomatoes seem to have no answer for themselves.  Neither the fruits nor the vegetables seem to want to claim them either.  So we are left in a state of limbo.  Limbo is no good at Giant Eagle since everything must be categorized to be easily found.  So they get their own little case towards the end of the aisle and either people hate them, or people are indifferent.  That’s just how tomatoes roll.  

At least the tomatoes are recognized, though.  There are some that are so elusive that their appearance seem to shock, yet their meager existence, when acknowledged by the experts, will only wow.  These are the spices:  

The spices are neither a fruit nor a vegetable although there are people to argue for either side.  They exist quietly minding their own business and when someone wakes up from a reverie to finally acknowledge them, to use them, they bring something extra to the table.  An unexpected perspective.  The crowd wows at their brilliance at the time and then they fade again into obscurity until another brave person decides to take the adventurous route.  The abnormality of this group resides with the fact that they can choose to help the fruits or the vegetables.  That is their independence.

Finally, within each group, there are the rotten ones.  Customers seem to ignore these brown-lipped fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, and spices.  Over time, these poor creatures make their way to the bottom of the pile of their respective groups.  Since no one ever purchased these, they collect and grow at the bottom until finally, Giant Eagle is forced to acknowledge them because otherwise, they will pose a threat to their revenue.  Then what happens?  Some unfortunate soul is required to dig them out, place them on a stool for a discounted price.  Enough is done so that the Eagle doesn’t go underwater and then once again, they quietly grumble and live their existence under the piles of gleaming produce.

This is the Giant Eagle.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Voice

I know it was only for my own good.  There will be countless reasons to defend my parents’ actions even after nearly a decade after the incident, but it still sticks on my mind to this day.  I cannot talk for my parents but perhaps they knew they did something wrong.  Perhaps they did something right.  I really don’t know.  I was largely brought up with the infamous “tiger-mom” style parenting but if I missed something of my childhood, it was my privacy.  Tears were worth very little when I grew and I was told that “tears solve nothing.” I was bottling up my emotions that begged to be dispersed at such a turbulent adolescent age.  Time and time again, I was denied the right to express anger, love, resentment, jealousy, weakness, and other emotions that plague the heart so easily during those teen years.  After tears, my second attempt was writing.  And this attempt was perhaps the most disastrous.

Writing is a very interesting mode of expressing emotions.  It betrays your most inner thoughts even those that you may not think will appear on paper.  Amongst the arts, there are many ways of expressing emotion, writing, music performance, acting, dancing, and many more.  The curious thing about writing is how distinct each piece of work can be.  Simply by reading a piece of work, it is possibly to identify the author.  It is also possible to discern some of the history and background of the author.  With the other modes of the arts, perhaps there is this transparency to some extent, but definitely not as much as writing.  Take for example music performance.  When performing a piece, the music itself was some story which you attempt to emote to the audience.  The story may or may not be yours, but you draw upon your life experiences to bring the emotion that the author wishes to emote.  The overall outcome is one of ambiguity: the final presentation is a mix of the song writer’s emotions and the performer’s emotive lens.  Acting has even less transparency since the character you perform is of someone else’s imagination.  Again, you draw upon your own experiences to emote as the character would, but the best actors betray very little of their personal personality to the public audience.

However, writing is ridiculously transparent.  It is possible to write as though you are someone else, but I fear that the true opinions that you wish to emote only appear in your natural writing.  And what more transparent writing can there be than a personal journal.  I used to keep one.  It was my second attempt at emotion.  There were a whole lot of emotions in that journal; I remember because I started writing it one day when the emotions were running the highest, the most powerful and worst kinds to befall on any human.  Ones that I needed to let go of somewhere, somehow.  And it was all written in that journal.  I am sure you know where this story goes: it was read.  The worst part of it was not that it was read, but by the subtle hints I received about needing to curb those emotions.  Randomly, I was told that certain emotions were bad, or not appropriate for my age.  And that was when I knew.  I took every single one of those pages to the shredder and never wrote again for the longest time aside from school assignments and the like.  I learned all sorts of tricks in the meantime: to write mirror image in cursive, to write with my left hand, to write so skinny that the individual letters were barely distinguishable.  Only now do I have an idea at perhaps what was going on.  I was unconsciously trying to find a secure outlet of emotion and hoping that one day I might be able to write again.

It took me a long time to gather strength to write again.  But I write publicly now and with a pen name.  It protects my emotions which are still regarded as weaknesses but I have learned other methods to relive them.  Although I appear to be bitter, I am not.  I know that parents are not perfect.  The episode has served its purpose and if nothing else, I know that I will never read another’s journal.  Perhaps I am also stronger because of it and have been able to creatively learn things I never would have done otherwise.  It has taught me much about myself and my limits.  And best of all, I have learned how to come out stronger and let my voice be heard.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Tiger of Thanksgiving

The plotting and the planning begins as yet another year of stampedes for the latest swanky gadget, the must-haves, and the Doorbusters (regardless of whether it is actually needed or not).  The ancient way of celebrating Thanksgiving has morphed into a sensational day of browsing through mountains of ads and figuring out a game plan with the members of the family who have come to share this supposed day of thanks.  A typical weekend goes like this:  Wednesday cooking, Thursday eating and planning, Friday shopping.  That it, if you even call Friday a shopping day… I would call it more of a hogging and dehumanizing day when people suddenly become primitive animals fighting for a low-demand resource.  Take any biology class and suddenly the relationship between humans and iPads becomes starkly similar to that of a tiger and the carcass of a zebra.

This year, it has been particularly interesting to watch the news as the day of doom approaches closer and closer.  Black Friday is now getting backlash (gasp!) as stores are now infringing on the day of eating and planning.  With stores opening as early as 8PM on Thursday, workers are now needed on the one day of the year that everyone is supposed to get off.  The worked are not really happy about that (after all, they also need to do some eating and planning, right?) and so they have threatened to strike.  Why strike?  Well it is so that if no one comes at work at 8PM then the stores cannot open at 8PM and corporations will back off on their idea to open at 8PM.  It is pretty simple and believable logic right?

Well, not so much.  Let us take an approach so that the shoppers are the tigers and the goods are the zebras and the corporations are some secret hunters that spear down those zebras.  If the tigers are really hungry for more zebra and the hunters are willing to send more dead zebras down, the workers that are threatening to strike are like the tigers that suffer from consciousness and are trying to prevent the hunters from sending more zebra by doing unpleasant things.  Perhaps they are doing a rain dance to prevent all the zebras from coming out into the open.  All of this to say, perhaps the problem exists amongst the tigers and not the tigers with relation to the other players of the ecological system.  Last year, we got a whole 24 hours to plot our attack of Black Friday and the corporations decided well maybe they only need 20 hours.  In fact, they are right; we don’t need 24 hours and we can more than manage our scheming with less time.  One of the great things about humans is that we so easily adapt to changing environments so the corporations at least got that right.  So there are four hours up for grabs and there is money at stake.  There are shoppers and therefore there is money.  Are you starting to see the same logic as the corporations are?  I am.  And what’s more, there are people who are willing to get 8.50 plus an extra 50% bonus to work those four hours; not all, but some.  And in this case, some is enough.

So you see, the problem of the destruction of Thanksgiving comes not from external sources like the zebras or the hunters.  It is all an internal struggle and very much a philosophical struggle between multiple humans and humans themselves.  If we are truly to bring back the spirit of the holiday and return to the olden days of simply giving thanks and not expecting any receiving gifts, then I fear it will take much more than a strike to realize this rather formidable goal.  To take the human out a tiger may be an easy task but to yank out the tiger out of the entire populace of human will take a far greater will.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sorting the Media

From my previous post called Chocolate and Media you probably can probably tell that I (usually) detest the media because of the sensational way they present even the most morbid news.  However I do depend on them, (where else would I get stuff to rant about) and I wish to alleviate the problems caused by sensationalism.

Well, one year from now, American citizens will be voting once again for their new/old president and I am going to start on the project of posting the most stripped down details about all of the presidential candidates.  Dang, that's going to take some work.  No bias, no politics, no nothing.  Just facts - only verifiable "news" about things that should matter in a campaign.  I hope that come next year, I will be able to make a wiser decision that will help America and I hope that this project will help some other people (who happen across the blog) too.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ditch the Stress

Thought I'd put up some ways that I like to de-stress... for your benefit.  Which ones are your favorites?

  1. Take a nap:  One of my favorites - I love to take an impromptu 10-15 snooze right after some heavy work.  If necessary (and if I have time) I might extend it to a half hour.  Want more proof that it is GOOD for you?
  2. Go for a run (or walk):  Love this one too.  I stick my iPod in my ears and day dream as I run.  Gets me away from reality for a while and the steady thumping of my feet is really relaxing.  The fresh air is really, well, refreshing and the blood flow increases oxygen to your brain.  Voila - a new and energetic you.
  3. Do a jigsaw puzzle:  OK, I know that not everyone is cut out for this kind of thing, but what I am trying to say is do something that is sort of mindless.  Keep your mind off of what "needs" to be done and focus completely on something else.  For me, jigsaws do this.  When going back to work afterwards, I have a totally fresh mind to start again with.  Anything that requires total attention will substitute for this.
  4. Take a shower:  Yes, even if you just took one that morning.  I actually feel like I can be more productive with a clean body.  It is like working on a groggy day as opposed to a sunny day.  When the sun shines, everything just seems a lot better.  Taking a hot shower refreshes my mind and I just feel better, which in turn, helps me get rid of stress!
  5. Switch it up:  I hate doing things for a long period of time because after a long period, I tend to get distracted.  For example, right now, I was doing some work and I took a break to write this post.  It's something I like to do.  Keep track of the time you have been working and treat yourself every hour or two, even if it is just a tiny stretch break to chat with someone or to go and have a bite to sustain yourself for the next stretch.  
So basically, with all of these: Give your mind rest time.  Make it a point to do so and hopefully you should feel a lot more relaxed and stress-less!