Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goodbye America. Oh wait, no, I will still be in America.

Update: Arrived safe and sound! I am in my hotel room now soaking up the silence (a precious and rare commodity in a door-less room in the Shire).

Initial impressions of Calgary: it's flippin' COLD, everyone is actually really nice and polite, and French accents are bangin'.

This is random: I finished The Sun Also Rises on the way here. You know how sometimes you find out about things that you probably should have known about a long, LONG time ago but for some reason or another that information just slipped through the cracks of your education/upbringing? And then when you realize the truth you're like OHMYGODMYWHOLELIFEISALIE. That is what happened to me when I read about bullfighting in this book. Prior to today, I'd always thought bullfighting involved a man dressed in silly clothing waving around a cape and angering a bull that would run through the cape many times. And then that would be it! Ta-da! Clap clap clap, great show, encore!

...Yeah. I had no idea that matadors would actually KILL the bulls. That there were swords and steeds and trophies in the form of severed bull ears. Seriously, what the fuck? This is not a sport, this is a disgrace to mankind (and animalkind!) It's fucking ridiculous, pitting men and animals against an beast that has been bred to be aggressive, armed, and uh, HUGE. And for what! Just for a few claps and shouts from a fickle audience? There is no pride to be had in killing an innocent animal. I liked my PG version of bullfighting much better.

--

15 minutes before I set out on my Calgarian adventures! I am 50% nervous, 33.2% excited, and 17.8% sure that I will get lost and | or die before I ever set foot in the office.

I do not know how much time there will be to blog once the 10-11 hour workdays kick in. But I do have a small set of goals and regimens that I plan on keeping whilst traveling, and maintaining some semblance of blog posts is one of them. It does take a surprisingly large amount of planning, thinking and editing to make some of my "bigger" entries, so I may have to sacrifice quality/size for regularity...but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I am determined to make the very most of my traveling experience. Calgary might not be the most glamorous place in the world, but it is still a new city in a country I have never been to before. There are people to be met, beers to be drank, memories to be made!

But first, I must tackle getting on the Red Line with my stupid luggage.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Digg 4.0 needs to be buried.

People always inevitably bitch about change. Whether it's for the better (Bush --> Obama), for the worse (Sears --> Willis), or for the homeless, change is always greeted by anything from mild skepticism to outright, disdainful rejection. 

Our human tendency to reject change manifests itself in no better place than on the information superhighway known as The Internet. Each time Facebook reformats its layout, the angry masses respond with complaints, opposition groups (ironically, on Facebook itself...), and threats to quit. But come on, who among us has actually closed our Facebook accounts because of a change? Less than a handful, I'm willing to guess. For all our grumbling, we always wind up adapting to the new whatever anyway and within a week the world goes back to normal until YouTube tweaks a feature and gives us a new reason to roar "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!1!1" in slow motion-ed agony.

Over the years, I have become jaded by all of this and have grown somewhat skeptical of skepticism itself. I observe all the outrage from the sideline, roll my eyes, and wander off to find some tasty snacks.

But not this time, no. The snacks will have to wait, because I cannot stand for the new Digg and I am totally grabbing my pitchfork, smearing on my war paint, and jumping - no, catapulting myself upon the bandwagon of hate towards their awful new site.

Things that suck about New Digg:
  • The elimination of the word "bury" for Digging down stories. Come on! Digg was founded upon this whole "digg" vs "bury" notion of rating stories, not this new up and down arrow crap. That's like opening a store called "I sell hotdogs" and then selling fine jewelry inside.
  • I have to click "Load More" to see more than a couple of comments. This is the worst idea in the history of mankind. Digg's comments/community are probably some of the best on the Internet, and are definitely half the reason I have been a loyal user of the site. We Diggers all share a rare love for twisted humor, The Oatmeal, bacon, and sending Justin Bieber to North Korea. Without visibility to its users' comments and feedback, Digg would be no better or different from any of its rivals.
  • Responding to a comment opens up a text box in which the font color you type against a white background is...wait for it...baby blue.
  • Threads are automatically expanded. Annyong.
  • When a comment has 0 diggs, its contents are hidden but the thread still displays, "Comment is hidden." These take up a lot of space. Also, when a comment belongs to an owner whose account is deleted, it will say so, which also takes up a lot of space and benefits the reader in no way ever.
  • There is no upcoming stories feature anymore. This one just kills me.
  • The homepage is set to "My News" instead of "Top News". For Lurkers like myself who haven't integrated Digg with Facebook or RSS, having to click to the tab next door every single time is immensely annoying.
I feel cold and empty inside. I'm even contemplating heading over to Reddit to fill this void in my soul. Damn you, Digg. Damn you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I didn't shoot as much footage as I would have liked, but I made do with the snippets I did manage to capture and put them against one of my favorite songs ever. Hope you like.

And a couple of updates:

A huge thank you to everyone who has given me feedback regarding which laptop to purchase. I received some very helpful advice from all sorts of different perspectives. I've decided it might be wiser to hold off on taking the plunge for two reasons: 1.) My student loans accrue interest every day that I do not pay them off. 2.) There is a rumored-but-let's-be-honest-with-ourselves-it's-probably-going-to-happen Apple event taking place in the second week of September. If S.J. even hints at a processor upgrade for the MBP, I will feel infinitely better for not having purchased one now.

I finished reading The Winter's Tale, lol'ed through Barrel Fever by David Sedaris, and am now tiptoeing into Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, which many claim is his best work. As is always the case with any Hemingway I pick up, I find myself already immensely annoyed by all the insipid and selfish main characters in the novel, but at the same time I am curious to see how the story unfolds.
  • <-- a typo made by my silly roommate when we were goofing off on my computer
I can now play "Epilogue" pretty well. Which is not saying much, because it's only like eight chords. I am still struggling a lot with barre chords, and the switch from the G chord to the B chord is pretty rough at the moment.

I am slowly teaching myself Java using HeadFirst Java. Yesterday, I programmed "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." Today, I am learning about encapsulation. It's actually quite fun to go at my own pace - I can reread portions that I do not immediately grasp or skip sections that I already understand. The logic puzzles in the code are engaging and serve as good mental challenges. I find myself wishing more and more that I had given my computer science courses the time of day back in high school.

Project Shire Upgrade is going swimmingly. Last night, we framed a beautiful record and album cover set on our newly-painted walls. We're now waiting for a map of Middle Earth (hehe) to come in the mail - I cannot wait to frame and place it above our mantel.

Oh, also I may or may not be leaving for a project in Canada next week...!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mellow Yellow

Above: Summer 2010 Shire Family Portrait

Last night, our apartment threw a going away party for our roommate Anna, who is apparently too cool for domestic school and will instead be pursuing her studies in various parts of the world through UChicago's study abroad program. I cannot pretend that I am not jealous - after Bangalore, I have definitely been bitten by the travel bug (and a million other bugs, as the scars on my leg would prove).

We went all out for the festivities, dressing up, makin' food, and drinking white russians:


As if all that wasn't exhausting enough, today we got up, hauled ass to Ace Hardware, picked out a paint color, and got to working on our long-neglected and relatively-tragic living room. Here's the before:


We (rather spontaneously) picked a lovely marigold color with the very strange name, "Golden Bounty".


Painting took the four of us three hours. It was thoroughly exhausting - all the moving of furniture, spreading of dropcloth, taping of edges (and boy, we had a lot of those), and of course, applying of paint definitely wore us out. But I think the end result was worth it - I love our new living room:


It's amazing what a touch of color and a bit of rearranging can do to a room. Tonight we had some friends stop by and some of them even asked if we'd gotten new light fixtures because they looked so different (in a different light, perhaps? groan) with the new wall color.

It's late, and I am tired and making bad puns. Time to sleep.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hodgepodge


Hello. Two completely unrelated things:

1.)

Unless you are Amish or have been living under the sedimentary specimen that is sometimes referred to as "a rock", you already know that today's Groupon was quite the deal: for $25, you get $50's worth of credit at Gap retail locations across the country. What you may not have known is that this was Groupon's first real foray into the corporate world and that its success is raising some interesting questions.

As of approximately 5 PM CST, close to 18,500 Groupons have been sold in the Chicagoland area alone, making this the most popular offer in the history of Groupon by far. In fact, the sheer amount of traffic that the site received caused it to shut down for a solid chunk of the morning. I admit that I was among those 18,500 suckers who got incredibly excited and clicked that big tempting "Buy" button. Immediately afterwards, I asked myself when was the last time I'd actually shopped at the Gap. Eloquent words like "uhhhhhh", "durrrr", "I don't remember", "maybe never", and "I think I forgot to feed Bellatrix Babystar this morning" popped into mind, but I would've felt like a jerk calling in and canceling my order to some poor frazzled Groupon worker, so I didn't. And I guess I like some of Gap's stuff. (And I could always use the coupon for gifts. Or socks.)

But nevermind my (wasted) money - let's get back to the bigger picture here. Typically, Groupon gets a 50% cut of the margins from its partner. So in this case that basically translates into: Groupon is making a shit-ton of money and the Gap is taking a hit from its usual markup but will probably still end up doing just fine after everyone surpasses that $50 sweet spot and winds up purchasing their $69.95 jeans anyway. But what happens after this? Will Groupon return to its home-town roots and continue to feature local restaurants and businesses? Or has Groupon's appetite for the big corporate bucks been whet by this outrageously successful deal? What about its dozens upon dozens of imitators - what if they set up these mass-scale deals with corporations in light of Groupon's refusal to go mainstream? So many hypothetical questions that I suppose only time will answer - I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

2.)

Yesterday, after a day of browsing through Ree Drummond's fantastic website and repeatedly having to wipe the slobber off my poor traumatized keyboard, I went home determined to make my ancestors proud by cooking up some sesame noodles. I altered a few bits of Ree's original recipe, but I think it came out pretty well and more importantly, required very little time and effort, so it was a winner!

Ingredients:

A handful of somen noodles, or any thin and preferably Asian noodles will work just fine
Some soy sauce
Minced garlic
Sesame oil
A tablespoon of sugar
A spoonful of water to dilute the sauce
A tablespoon of rice vinegar
Canola oil or EVOO
A dash of chili sauce
A half cup of chopped bok choy
An egg

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients (minus the bok choy, eggs, and noodles duh) in a bowl. I recommend adding roughly equal parts soy sauce, sesame oil, and either canola or extra virgin olive oil, but you should just make it however you think will taste best. Mix well and set aside.

Throw noodles into boiling water and keep an eye out on them - thin noodles cook real quickly! Add some more garlic and bok choy into a pan, drench in EVOO and soy sauce, and let cook on high heat for three or so minutes. When it's done, remove the bok choy, add a bit more oil, and crack an egg over the residual heat. I looooooove my eggs really runny (salmonella really makes it taste better, I swear), but you can cook it as thoroughly as you want.

Pour the sauce over the noddles, add the bok choy, and place your egg on top. Enjoy with a nice glass of merlot and you are all set for a nice and kind of healthy meal, I think.

Sorry for not taking any photos - I completely forgot :( But I know I'll be making this again soon, so I will try to remember then.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Decisions, decisions.

I have, as of late, been spending a relatively ridiculous amount of my free time reading about laptops, especially during the early hours of the morning when I can't fall asleep. Dells, Macbooks, HPs,  VAIOs - you name it, I've probably read up on it. And what did I learn from it all?

...that searching for the perfect laptop is a fruitless, unyielding activity and I should probably just stop stalling and pick one already, damnit.

The problem with buying a laptop is that the market offers such an overwhelming array of choices, features, and models that it quickly becomes nearly impossible to settle down on just one machine. I actually have to make myself stop browsing CNET sometimes because I start having problems thinking straight after poring over tables and tables of specs for hours on end.

(Yes, I'm aware that probably all the laptops I've looked at so far will probably do what I want them to do just fine. Yes, I acknowledge that computers go out of season faster than you can say "Leroy Jenkins". But at the end of the day, I get to be stubborn and choosy and shallow about things like this 'cause it's my money. You'd be surprised at how pissed off people get at others for buying what they consider to be "inferior" machines or ones of incongruent value to the purchaser. If it makes the user happy, then that's the point, right? To each their own! Laptop compatibility is in the eye of the beholder! Etc etc etc, hurrah!)

My current personal laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1420. My dad and I picked it out exactly three years ago, back before I'd even started school at the UofC. I still remember the conversation I had with my family at the time about which features we wanted to add:

Me: "I dunno. I just want to listen to music. And um, I like the color red."
Mom: "IT NEEDS TO HAVE A WEBCAM SO I CAN SEE MY DAUGHTER OVER THE INTERNET EVERY DAY TO MAKE SURE SHE HAS NOT BEEN STABBED."
Dad: (mumbles something about memory/processors that none of us understand)
Mom: "YES BUT DOES IT HAVE A WEBCAM"

also,

Dad: "Actually, how would you feel about owning a Mac?"
Me: "Aren't those expensive?"
Dad: (through clenched teeth) "Isn't your tuition more expensive?"
Mom: "WAIT THOSE HAVE WEBCAMS RIGHT?

In the end, my mom and I both got what we wanted - a red laptop with a nice webcam. Over the years, my Inspiron has served me well. It's been there for me when I've toiled through papers, it's the vessel through which I've made online friends, and it's endured many a party, download, water spill, and keyboard change. I would even go so far as to say that I love my Inspiron...but now it's just shitty and needs an upgrade, much akin to the lamp in this Spike Jonze commercial which never fails to make me laugh:



After my hours of research, I think I've finally narrowed it down to two contenders. They are: the HP Pavilion dm4-1065x and the Spring 2010 Macbook Pro. And they often engage in fiery faceoffs. I've documented one here:

 Above: This took an hour and three image-editing programs to make

This chart may look biased, especially in lieu of the huge price difference. But to be quite honest I think that despite everything, the two laptops are still about on par in my mind (i.e., if the MBP were $799 I'd snap it up in an instant).

It's been a week and I have been mulling over this nonstop. My brain hurts because it has been forced to engage in activity for more than the usual 15 seconds per day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hipsters

I spent a chunk of this weekend hanging out in Wicker Park, gawking at all the crazy types of people walking around that neighborhood. I've decided there are distinct factions that exist among hipsters here in Chicago. All of them kind share certain hipster-umbrella qualities (single-gear bicycle ownership, Pabst Blue Ribbon, a penchant for the unusual), but they are also different in distinct ways. The following are my interpretations (none of which should be taken seriously):

Hipster Type #1

The Woodland Hipster


The Woodland Hipster is all about nature and energy and love and peace. Perhaps the least pretentious of the bunch, he loves spending time under the stars, preferably with an acoustic guitar and in front of a crackling bonfire. Woodland hipsters don't think they're better than anyone else, per se, but they do sometimes engage in activities that may be offputting to the rest of society, such as breaking out in song at random times, eating with their hands, and not understanding the concept of shaving.

Likes: flannel, candlelight, vegan/vegetarianism, Fleet Foxes, human rights, Greenpeace, asparagus
Dislikes: razors, meat-eaters, Facebook, politicians
Closest stereotype: hippie

Hipster Type #2

The Beautiful/Trendy Hipster


The Beautiful hipster has been cooler than you since elementary school and will always be cooler than you. She is lean, mean, and maintains a scarily-low BMI in order to fit into her latest trendsetting outfit, which is usually a mix of vintage and designer clothing. The Beautiful hipster has little to no interest in anti-consumerism - in fact, she embraces and thrives on the thrill of expensive clothes and people who are equally beautiful. Out of all hipsters, she is the most likely to work out. Or de-tag herself in Facebook pictures. Or snort enormous amounts of cocaine. In fact, truth be told, the beautiful hipster is not really any different from the rich & popular kids from high school, except her dad might've loved her less and she owns 8 pairs of Frye instead of Ugg boots.

Likes: Alexander McQueen, being photographed at loft parties, Lady GaGa, buying expensive clothes that aren't supposed to look expensive but everyone knows they are expensive, black eyeliner, black nail polish, Ray Bans with the labels still on them, the Strokes, iPhones, backcombing
Dislikes: ugly people, fat people, Forever 21
Closest stereotype: "Plastic"

Hipster Type #3

The Intellectual Hipster


Oh boy oh boy. This guy has more knowledge about obscure literature/film/music than you could ever hope to accrue in your lifetime. He has a liberal arts degree from a small, expensive private college and will do everything in his power to make you acknowledge that he is smart, whether it's defeating you in chess or reciting an an eggplant-tuna-salad recipe to you or tricking you into joining an Ayn Rand discussion in which he will inevitably counter your every point, out-reference your every quote, and leave you mentally destroyed and prostrate before him with his stupid tie and stupid-er smile of satisfaction.

Likes: David Eggers, sweaters, Intelligentsia coffee, Tumblr, Datarock, The Economist, cats, Pitchfork Media, horn-rimmed glasses, chess, Woody Allen, maps, obscure historical periods, androgyny, Apple, Yann Tiersen
Dislikes: blond people, frivolous people, McDonald's, happiness, Yahoo! Answers, being called a hipster
Closest Stereotype: library nerd

Hipster Stereotype #4

The Batshit Insane Hipster


The Batshit Insane Hipster is determined - no, dedicated - to get your attention. To do so, he will wear outlandish outfits, perform outlandish activities, and generally confuse the fuck out of you. Out of all his hipster comrades, he always gets the drunkest and is usually slumped over in a seedy-looking girl's lap by the end of the night. He also enjoys removing his clothing at questionable levels of appropriateness. His real name is something boring like "William White" but he goes by something ridiculous, like Bazooka Bill or Dill Pickle Powaaaa!!!####@$

Likes: drugs, booze, women, Animal Collective, crowdsurfing, ridiculous eye makeup (if female), shag rugs, smoking all sorts of things, pornstasches, Fuck Buttons
Dislikes: sobriety, people who are hardasses about things, Yankees fans
Closest stereotype: stoners

Hipster Type #5

The Awkward Hipster


Hey! Um...yeah! So...I'm kind of awkward, but that's okay because I acknowledge it so it becomes really cute! Ha. Ha. Ha...I sort of maybe probably have some deep fears of real life but I express them by wearing lots of colors and accessories. The good thing is, I am loving and can be everyone's friend as long as you put up with my eclectic choices. What is my true hair color, you ask? The world may never know.

Likes: Michael Cera, indie pop, candy, DIY, Threadless, tie-dye, weird sandwich combinations, rainbows
Dislikes: mean people
Closest stereotype: punk/emo boppers

There you have it! Hope this doesn't offend anyone. To be honest, I like most of the things hipsters like too...but I also like other people, so ha.

Rockamole. Also, Chicago is beautiful.

Wednesday night was girls' night. We made food and drink, painted our nails, and watched a delightfully awful episode of Jersey Shore.

One particularly fun and tasty appetizer we made was Nigella Lawson's famous "Rockamole" - that is, guacamole made with Roquefort (blue) cheese. Yeah, it sounds weird - I was definitely skeptical at too when my friend Stu from TWU first raved about it to me. But now I think I'm a complete "Rock" convert:


Here's the recipe we used:

4 ripe avocados
1 plum tomato, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 lime, squeezed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash paprika

Peel and pit avocados. Place in a large bowl, and mash 'em real good with clean hands! (But leave a few bits chunky, we don't want guac soup.) Mix in uh, everything else, and serve with corn tortilla chips. Soooo easy, and serves four.

---

The other day, I was walking out of the office, strollin' down Michigan Avenue with some of my coworkers like I have done so a million times before when I was rather suddenly taken aback by how incredibly awesome the buildings looked. Maybe it was because the day/blue backdrop itself was so beautiful, or maybe I was just tired and in a crazy mood, but I felt the urge to take pictures like a lame tourist in my own city.

Above: Wrigley Building (left) and Chicago Tribune tower (right) at Michigan + Wacker. Also, a limo!

Trump Towaaaa!

South-facing view from The Point
I have never been to another downtown district that has been as aesthetically pleasing to the senses as Chicago is. Here, the buildings are white and gleaming, the streets are wide and clean, and unlike many other places, the air smells quite good. The kind of sad thing is that it's very easy to stop noticing these things after you live in a big, busy city for a long time. It's easy to overlook our incredible skyline or our painstakingly-kept parks because we've all seen it so many times before. It's easy to sneer at that too-oily pizza at lunchtime because we're used to deep dish that takes 40 minutes to perfect. And it's easiest to ignore homeless people and dorky tourists and sharp-dressed businessmen because most of the time, everyone ignores you back. Now obviously there are exceptions, I'm not saying nobody talks to each other ever here. In fact, the Midwest is probably one of the friendlier metropolitan areas in the U.S. But still, on the whole, everyone walks around briskly with big sunglasses and earplugs, in their own bubbles, following their own agendas, most of which do not involve you whatsoever. 

I dunno, most of the time I really am quite content with just walking around, pretending like I'm invisible and enjoying the chance to people-watch and indulge my creeper tendencies. But then I realize that to them, I am invisible, which is kind of depressing. Whereas in India we were blatantly stared at ALL the TIME, here I feel like a nothing, a nobody on the streets. I don't know which situation I prefer to be in - both get pretty old at times. Guess the grass is always on the other side, eh?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Courage


I wrote something for my cat:

~*bellatrix babystar*~
 
small picky grey paws
patter on wood; soft but true
crazy little bitch.


After you recover from that mind-blowing haiku, you should read this.

http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1

aaaaaaand check out today's Beartato. It's grand.

www.nedroid.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come on!


I may have reluctantly scrubbed the last of the henna off my ankles, but my fond memories of TWU, Bangalore, and all the friends I've made in India are far from fading. If anything, they have only grown stronger.

I have been home for a week, and while things are really wonderful here - and I mean that wholeheartedly - I still find that the little everyday things that I associated with ThoughtWorks University keep coming back and opening the bittersweet wound of my experience abroad. The feeling is akin to that of trying to get over an old boyfriend - on one hand, you want to savor in the good old memories and experiences, reliving them over and over again in your mind, but on the other (more practical hand), you realize that time does not stop for you to indulge in silly nothings that will never again happen.


It bothers me that this bothers me.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Rose's Rambunctious Risotto


The previous night, I made a chicken & mushroom risotto for a few guests and it turned out to be very easy and (dare I say it?) kind of tasty too! It could have used a little more salt but I'm quite pleased with myself on the whole for not botching it up.

I made it according to a weird amalgamation of recipes I'd found online, but the gist of it was: cut up a lot of stuff, throw it all into a pot over medium-low heat, add chicken broth, stir. I've reached the conclusion that risotto is simple, elegant, and best enjoyed with the favorite crew and local brew:

R is for risotto. And revenge.

 M has green hair.

  Oh, how good it felt to be reunited with Goose Island products, at long last.

On another note, I am learning to play Epilogue on the guitar. It's a lovely song - definitely in my top 3 off of Hospice - but the lyrics are horribly depressing and not campfire sing-a-long material at all (unless your campfire is in a cancer ward). I am determined to get the chords down and add this song to my little repertoire collection but after this I am definitely going to learn to play a frivolous and happy song, like one by The Beatles or the Red Hot Chili Peppers...or Justin Bieber.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Exit, pursued by a bear


I found a copy of The Winter's Tale that had been lying around a nook in the Shire. As usual with everything in our apartment, I haven't a clue as to whom it belongs, but I hope its original owner doesn't mind that I've started bringing it back and forth to work.

Sometimes when I read works by really talented authors I start to feel dejected about my own writing and how it will never be as great as theirs. It's like when I used to hack away at the violin for hours and hours, scrutinizing over every inflection of every note until the perfectionist in me would get too frustrated to continue. My masochistic self would then go onto YouTube and watch a video of Heifetz playing the song like it was child's play - eyes closed, head a-jerkin', lips arranged in that sort of half smug, half bemused smile, the kind that only world-class violin virtuosos get to wear as a badge of unattainable perfection.

The great thing about reading Shakespeare is that his literary genius doesn't stem from his ability to play with words, per se. Instead, the guy makes up ridiculous new terms and expressions, assigns meaning to them, and basically announces to the rest of society, "Here, add this to Webster's. It's legit now." To me, this inventive quality of his, this stepping-out-of-the-box-and-running-a-mile-away-and-turning-around-and-blowing-a-raspberry-at-convention approach to writing is wonderfully fun and inspiring.

I haven't made it very far into the play yet, mostly because I felt compelled to read through the five million introductions (bad idea, spoiled everything ever) but here are a few of my favorite quotes so far:

"One good deed dying tongueless slaughters a thousand waiting upon that." (I.1.2 93-94)

"Would I knew the villain, I would land-damn him." (II.1 142-143)

"Happy star reign now!" (I.1.2 362)

Sometimes when I'm reading Shakespeare's more outlandish verses I imagine what it'd be like if I burst out in Shakespearean tongue from time to time. "Yessss there's pizza leftover in the kitchen! Happy star reign now!" Then I laugh out loud, usually on a crowded bus full of exhausted crabby people. Then it's awkward for the rest of the ride.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pan's Labyrinth

is what I'm currently watching as I type this entry. What a brilliant movie. I remember watching it for the first time back in senior year of high school and being simultaneously horrified and fascinated by Guillermo del Toro's monstrous, fantastic universe.

Today was the first day of work. Boy it was weird, walkin' around downtown and seeing all them pretty blond girls wearing pencil skirts and clean-cut boys in their boat shoes and pressed pants. I can't believe these people (and I am one of them!) exist in the same planet as the type of pedestrians I'd see in India. Besides the obvious physical and socioeconomic differences, I think what sets these people apart the most from those in developing nations is our sense of entitlement. Young urban professionals know they're entitled to the best jobs, the best educations, and the best pampering because they (we! so difficult to keep myself in check here) have been used to it from day one. We have choices, and as a result, we walk with a spring in our step that announces to the world, "Hey, I'm here. Watch out."

The average Indian pedestrian, however, is probably a young male with just enough education to get a decent salary to bring home to his family. He works long hours in a position he's had for years and years and has no intention of  quitting. The choices he faces - both day-to-day and in the long run - are much fewer in number, and his priorities are simple and straightforward: support his family, find a good wife, honor his gods. The focus of his life is set on those around him, and not himself as an individual. I think that beyond the material wealth or luxuries, it is this sense of individuality that money breeds - and that that's what gets out of control the fastest - the expectation that life will continue and only improve at this privileged pace.

Fuuuck, the bottle scene just happened. I looked away but the sounds were still crunchy and horrifying. On that note, I'm going to close my laptop and stop being antisocial, my roommates must think I am craze-o.

Hi, I'm back.

And it feels soooooooo good.

Almost.

It's a bit strange because I came back to almost the exact same Shire that I'd left six weeks ago. We had a dinner party with the same delicious food, the same old friends, the same circle of inside jokes and shared memories that has united and kept us together as friends all these years. It felt like I'd never even left the cozy comforts of my orange dining room. And yet, my thoughts were as far away tonight as they had been the last time. They were with the new friends I'd made over the past month and a half, the new jokes, and the new experiences, most of which I know I will never ever have again - or at least not for a very long time.

I know that this longing for the way things were will pass quickly. There's no real point reminiscing about the past and thinking futile thoughts anyway. Just gotta let time do its thing and enjoy the present state of where I am and who I'm with.

Going abroad has definitely instilled a sense of confidence in my ability to adapt to new situations and learn new skills. Over the course of my six weeks in India, I found myself vowing to start this or improve that or restart blah many, many times. Here they are:

- Read more books, and not just novels
- Improve guitar skills and find the courage to play in front of people
- Learn a programming language
  - Or at the very least, learn CSS/HTML/Javascript
- Play around with more image-editing and design software
- Try to make risotto out of pizza box ingredients (lol)
- Take more interesting pictures and figure out a way of storing and sharing them effectively (this weird Flickr/Facebook combination is not working out)
- Blog more
- Figure out what the fuck happened in Inception

Reading should come easily, as I have a 40-minute commute every day. I'm hoping to set aside an hour each day for the guitar, but I already know that's a relatively ambitious and unrealistic amount of time. I'm going to get started on those two for the week and encourage myself by blogging about them.

Waking up in seven hours to go back to ThoughtWorks, only at a different office. I'm determined to make this jetlag my bitch.