Rude Awakening

•June 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Only 4+ years in between posts. Not too shabby, eh?

I did have a well thought out post prepared which compared regular employment to prison, but thanks to a fateful back button click on my mouse while proof reading (and an apparently well known wordpress bug), that post has dissipated to the vast ether and is alas no more. Rather than waste my time attempting to recreate a post from memory, here’s a funny picture of an orangutan:

Apparently orangutan is not spelled orangutang. Years of mispronunciation down the drain.

Apparently orangutan is not spelled orangutang. Years of mispronunciation down the drain.

I think this applies in more ways than one.

Concerning Relationships

•December 22, 2009 • 4 Comments

As I sit here, sipping coffee from my “Powered by Metallica” mug, listening to a 33 of Funeral by Arcade Fire (ironic, I know), I can’t help but wonder at the remarkable variances possible in and between human relationships. Relationships are in themselves complicated things, this is true. It’s just that I find myself in awe when I think about how fast relationships can change. The simple can become the complex, the complex can become the simple. The changes can take place over a period of months or years, or in as short a time as days or hours.

I think that possibly one way to view human relationships is to compartmentalize them. Some major aspects, or facets, of a relationship could include friend, work, romantic, acquaintance, neighbor, family, with some descriptors being new, old, strong, weak, positive, and negative. I feel that often, a relationship might be considered simple only when it has a single facet. For instance, two people might be friends. Simple, at least on the surface. Now, just for kicks, lets add another facet to that relationship. Neighbor, shall we say. Again, at first, seemingly simple. However, consider the implications of such a relationship. A friend who is also a neighbor might just be the best kind of friend to have, a friend who’s always there (literally) when you need them, and you’re always there when they need you. Or, that friend might become a friend one wished they didn’t have, a friend who’s too close and who encroaches upon our desire for space and privacy. A “familiarity breeds contempt” situation, if you will.

Another example could be the work relationship. You go to work everyday, you see the same people, you talk to the same people, you go home. Once again, simple. Lets add the friend facet and see where it takes us. Now, you go to work everyday, and instead of seeing every person as simply a workmate, you see one or more as friends. This can be a good thing. It can mean that we finally have someone at work that we can talk to on a level higher than just as workmates, a person we can ask for advice concerning something that doesn’t involve work, a person that we can complain to about work assignments, working conditions…..our bosses. On the flip side, when associating with that work friend on a social level outside of work, does that mean that we essentially always have some aspect of our work life to think about? Could we never truly escape work while hanging out with a person who reminds us constantly, perhaps verbally, perhaps simply by their presence alone, that we have to wake up ridiculously early on Mondays and start a fresh work-week despite how much we might want to just leave it all behind? It’s impossible to say. Each situation is different, and some people are better at making relationships work than others. This is not pure negativity. This is a fact.

Now, I personally find that the relationship that has the most unpredictable outcome, at the same time both beautifully sweet and potentially devastating, is the relationship that includes the two facets friend and romantic. It’s true that throughout history, there have been countless instances of best friends falling in love, often followed by living happily ever after. Sometimes we can even find instances of such happenings in our own family lineage. Sometimes this has happened to us. And sometimes, perhaps even more often, this particular combination of relationship facets results in total and absolute failure, bringing with it the most crushing and frustrating confusion that we have ever felt in our entire lives. In my opinion, the only thing worse than lost love is lost love followed by a lost friendship. I think that much of the time, attempts to take a friendship up to the level of friendship/romantic relationship can only lead to double heartache. It can complicate things, making the simple pleasures of friendship suddenly awkward and off-putting, destroying the beautiful simplicity of just being together for the sake of being together.

But really, who am I to say? What I’ve written so far may be accurate and true. Or, it might be so far off from reality that it is negated entirely by factors I haven’t even begun to consider. The point is, we can never know for certain. The thing that doesn’t work for one person might work fantastically for someone else. Things like this aren’t set in stone. They change, they morph, the fluctuate, they can go from being negative to positive or vice versa in a heartbeat.

It’s just that sometimes it helps to look at things through someone else’s eyes. Maybe we’ll learn something new and realize something that we’d never thought of before, or perhaps what we see will be the same thing we’ve always seen. Either way, at least we tried.¬† Relationships might be the most complicated thing on earth, but I’m fairly positive that it is the most important area of our lives, an area where we should be willing to take risks and, maybe, just maybe, wing it. Life is so short. Really, what do we have to lose?

Of Funerals And Weddings

•October 25, 2009 • 6 Comments

Yesterday, I attended the wedding of my cousin. It was a very beautiful wedding, in some kind of building that looked like it might have originally been built around 60 to 80 years ago, with vintage stylings and beautiful original wooden floors. The music was impeccable, beginning with some classic music, some of which was off 78 records played on an original Victrola wind-up turntable (gramophone?), and then gradually merging into pleasant, mellow club/dance/electronic music, then subsequently a well-chosen mix of many different genres.

I actually felt rather apprehensive about attending this wedding, as I personally prefer to attend funerals instead of weddings. Yes, I do realize that must sound strange, but I actually have solid reasons for preferring funerals to weddings. Here are the main aspects that draw me to funerals:

1. Free food.

2. I get to meet with friends, some of which I may not have seen in a very long time. Our meetings usually result in eating the free food while people-watching (observing random attendees).

3. There is almost never an awkward moment at a funeral. Except for the especially emotional ones where one or two people are sobbing uncontrollably, which is perfectly understandable, and indeed desired in such an instance as it assists in the grieving process, but which can still make things a tad awkward for those of the attendees (such as myself) who are not, in fact, crying.

4. Being at a funeral actually makes me feel at peace. There’s a general sense of completeness that I almost always feel while at funerals. I know that the person I am attending in honor of lived a life through to completion. They did the things they did in life, and they didn’t do the things they didn’t do. It’s simple. There’s nothing complicated about it. By attending the funeral, I actually feel like there’s some sense of order in an otherwise insane existence.

5. When I’m at a funeral, I feel like there’s just that slight chance, no matter how remote, that I might be privileged enough to have such a gathering held in my honor when I pass on. Now don’t get me wrong. In no way do I feel like I deserve such a function, but it is somewhat nice to toy with such a notion. Putting it on a pedestal and kind of looking at it from a far, admiring it but knowing that my chances for having such a gathering in my honor are slim to none.

On the other hand, here are the main things about weddings that, to me, are deterrents:

1. The fact that it’s generally socially unacceptable to not attend a wedding once invited, especially if said wedding is that of a family member or relative. Funerals, on the other hand, can be avoided if necessary on the basis of either “not knowing the deceased very well”, or “being in too great a state of stress and emotional anguish to attend the funeral”.

2. The random relatives and people who come out of the woodwork that I really have no desire to talk to or meet, and who in fact give me the heebedy-jeebies. These include the people who become so drunk that they ruin the night for those who (unlike me) are enjoying the wedding.

3. The combination/ratio of food and dessert that almost always leads to indigestion and stomach pain.

4. The generally hot average temperatures of the facilities usually used for weddings and receptions.

5. The music. Except in the case of this recent wedding. I found the music for this wedding very enjoyable.

6. The obligation to dance. Now, on the one hand, I actually really enjoy dancing. Given the right conditions, I am more than happy to go out on that dance floor and make a complete idiot of myself in the name of a good time, and I really couldn’t care less what other people think about my dancing skills. But, unfortunately, the conditions are rarely met. This generally results in one of two scenarios. The first scenario involves my dancing the perfunctory dance with my mother, and both my sisters if they are there. The second involves me feigning indigestion and an upset stomach so as to get out of the dancing scene entirely, although sometimes I don’t even have to feign the upset stomach. It’s just there.

7. Weddings often make me bitter, because to me they just serve as a reminder that the newly married couple was successful in finding a loving partner to share their future with (or in some cases, they “think” they have found the person they want to share their future with). I, however, generally interpret this as a reflection of their success, contrasted with my failure to find such a person. Now, contrary to what you might be thinking, I am in no position to even consider marriage at this point in my life. I do however feel like one colossal loser/failure whenever I see most newly married couples. However, in contrast, I also sometimes feel a sense of relief that it’s them, and not me, who are getting into such a relationship. I know, it’s a confusing emotion.

However, there is at least one redeeming factor for most weddings. Although the food offered is often poorly thought-out and inferior in both taste and quality (there’s nothing like eggs that have been sitting out for several hours on a table in preparation for the mass exodus to the food tables…), at least it’s free.

Here’s a picture of the DJ at my cousin’s wedding. I am filled with jealous rage for his Victrola.

The DJ

The DJ

The DJ's magnificent Victrola.

The DJ's magnificent Victrola.

Vinyl

•October 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

I have a new hobby. Well, actually it’s more like a “hobby-in-progress” if you will. My new hobby is this: vinyl records.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to acquire an old gramophone, one with a big metal horn. As of yet, I haven’t acquired said desired item. But I have, however, recently purchased three 12 inch vinyl LP’s. They’re brand-new, still in the plastic wrap, and are all albums released in the last decade by fairly well-known bands. So, without further ado, I now introduce the first three LP’s that I have ever owned:

The Postal Service – Give Up

Arcade Fire – Funeral

The Shins – Oh, Inverted World

All three LP’s were purchased for reasonable prices through the local Urban Outfitters store. Unfortunately, I do not have a turntable which I can use to play them. Although I am saddened by this fact, I will soon be able to purchase a low-cost (and no doubt entry-level) turntable. It should cover my needs adequately for the time being, until I can inquire of some local vinyl stores as to what kind of vintage turntable I should look into getting. I’m hoping for a portable turntable with built-in speakers (with the option for external speakers), a headphone outlet, and a compact suitcase-styled design. Ideally something similar to the portable turntables sold by Crosley, but perhaps of a higher caliber, quality-wise.

Even though three LP’s might not seem like much, to me they represent a phenomenal breakthrough. They are my first steps out of a world dominated by cold and calculated digital sound, and into a world where warm and soft analogue tunes are the order of the day. I may never come back. I suppose I’ll just keep you posted.

Concerning Sleep And The Deprivation Thereof

•October 8, 2009 • 2 Comments

I am really tired. Beyond tired. In fact, I’m in more of a zombie-like state, as opposed to just being plain sleepy. I suppose this comes from countless nights staying up till the wee hours of the morning…and the fact that since I now have a job, I have to actually get up in the mornings. Before 1 pm. This is a fact I find most disagreeable, but seeing as I receive financial compensation for working, I’ve learned to live with early wake-up times.

As for my being in a zombie-like state, I was not joking. As some who know me personally will no doubt testify, I am often seen staring off into space with no apparent reason, I can be told instructions and I won’t remember them even a few seconds later, and people tell me things that I don’t even hear. I have two rates of motion: slow, and slower. I’m constantly squinting and screwing up my face because the outdoors seems so ridiculously bright and harsh, and I would much rather be sleeping at any given moment.

I personally don’t mind these “symptoms”, if we must label them as such. But I know that some others do. Perhaps I should work on getting more sleep, even if its only to be more productive at work. I guess it would the “responsible” thing to do….

Reasons

•July 29, 2009 • 6 Comments

Why do we do what we do, every single day? Why do we wake up, take a shower, have breakfast, go to work, come home, sleep, and get up again the next day to do it all over again? Why do we bother living lives of repetition, a mere mundane existence based on ritualistic behaviours and attitudes?

The reason is that we all have values. By values, I mean the things in life that we place on the pedestal of importance. Family, friends, loved ones, beliefs, nature, learning, freedom, to name a few. If we didn’t have anything in our lives that we valued, we would have no need to wake up each morning. These valuable things I mentioned, although only a few of a far greater number, are our anchors to sanity, and if not to sanity, to reality.

Think about it. If a person did not value anything in life, what would be the point of their existence? Being an independent individual in a world full of symbiotic relationships is one thing, but being a single person with the sides of their puzzle piece so distorted that they don’t fit into the puzzle we call humanity, is quite a different thing. To value nothing is to have no interest whatsoever in anything that exists. If we don’t value anything, then that means we don’t value or lives. When we don’t value our lives, our heart grows differently, it becomes distorted. The regular “tick ticking” of our heart becomes an irregular dull thud. Food loses taste, drink loses flavour. Hobbies become futile and face eventual neglect. Relationships fade into the night, and bridges are burned. You can smile, but you don’t mean it. You can laugh, but it is a hollow and empty laugh. No longer does the beauty of nature interest you, nor the consumerist purchases available in the many shopping centres of the concrete jungle many of us call home. We sink inside of ourselves, and as we do so, our exterior selves collapse inward. We are no longer the full person we used to be. We are hollow, we are darkness, we are shadows. And the worst part is this: we prefer it that way.

This is why it is so important to have things in life that we value, such as our family, our friends, or our various skills and abilities. These are the things that allow us to be able to endure living lives of ritualistic repetition, for we know that there are others out there that are having to do the same thing as us. When we have something of value in our life, even if it is just one single thing, then we have a reason to wake up in the mornings. We have a reason to enjoy what life has to offer. Our disinterest and apathy can transform into eagerness and empathy. We can build ourselves back up, piece by piece. It takes a long time, to be sure. But remember, the person we rebuild ourselves¬† as will not be the same as the person before our collapse…whether that be for better or for worse is for each of us to decide.

The One

•July 28, 2009 • 2 Comments

This is the first post on this blog in a very long time, and for this I apologize. Life caught up to me, and the payment it demanded was my time. However, I’m going to try to post much more regularly in the future…

I wrote the poem below a few months back, and I was just thinking that it might be nice to share it. Here goes:

Noises,
voices,
they surround me,
enveloping me in a shroud of pain.

One hundred
or a thousand,
they are all the same,
causing me to falter,
my strength,
to wane.

My only armor,
brittle after years,
offers not its comfort,
its power,
and it is worn in vain.

These things are true,
I know them well.
To survive,
exist,
I have formed a shell.

A shell with the power
to block out the light,
to shut out all fear,
and bring on the night.

The night is black,
but so am I…
And it is cold,
as cold as my heart,
on which hard ice does lie…

These people,
these crowds,
I know they mean well.

They simply want to save me,
from a dark and endless
hell.

But little do they know,
and little do they see,
that the person I am running from
is here,
it’s me.

And so I enter my abode,
lonely with forgotten tears,
to quell my frightful thoughts,
to fight my hidden fears.

In doing this,
I spare them,
the cold and heartless rain,
showering my skin,
showering with pain.

I know they think they help me,
I know they think they care,
but in the end,
when all is done,
and all have left from here,
I know that they will realize,
that I’m the one they fear.