Monday, October 29, 2012


While I understand that how a person comes to understand ethics is likely to change throughout his or her lifetime, I seem to be especially confused when it comes to how I should center my own life.

Our local cultures, our widespread media, our beautiful entertainers, our powerful politicians and other  bewilderingly impressive leaders send the most confusing messages on this topic.

Selflessness is often considered the highest of virtues in that it enables us to remove the pressures our ego allows us to enjoy life by experiencing it through  the joy we give to other people. Plus, it's just plain nice.

But, our modern way of thinking, particularly in America, which focuses heavily on individual rights and general individuality, completely opposes the previously mentioned system of morality. We have all heard "you have to do what's right for you," "just worry about yourself," and a whole host of attempts to beat down  co dependence. In hand with this often comes selfishness with a healthy helping of hedonism, at least it has in my own life.

Still, if I were to be totally selfless, I could be taken advantage of, in fact, my good will has been abused pretty extensively in the recent past.

So, what is to be done? How do we orient our lives in a way that is balanced?

Today is not about my wanting to make a specific argument, it is a genuine question. It could go in all sorts of directions: from very simple thoughts, to sharing personal experiences, to an argument on the interpretation of Jeremy Bentham's writing.

Your thoughts and experiences are always appreciated.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I hate hipsterism. I have said it once and I will say it again.

I know most people "hate" hipsters, but they don't seem to be going away, so someone is producing them. And by someone, I mean small radio stations, record stores, galleries, and other places meant for optimum smuggery.

Originality for the sake of originality can be so damn obnoxious, it becomes just another way to stratify society and ostracize certain groups.

One thing I hate about hipsters is the fact that they hate labels.

This hatred only applies to certain labels, however. They don't like terms like "bisexual,"nor do they want to be identified by race, ethnicity, or even gender. But hipsters do like telling you about how vegan they are. They also would also fuckin' love to tell you about psychological profiling, and they will repeatedly tell you how much you embody a  particular Briggs/ Meyers type.

They will also freely identify religious affiliation, so long as it isn't Christianity.

They prefer to use words no one else has heard of, in order to gain intellectual superiority, if only they themselves perceive it.

The spirit of sharing knowledge can be so hard to find among these kinds of young people. Knowledge becomes a weapon to use against others. It is hideous.

I want hippies back. Real hippies, not the ones that judge you for not being alternative enough. Just nice, peaceable, unshaven hippies.  


Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm not a super political person. I do have opinions, but I don't typically become this angry rage monkey about politics.

However, most people in my life, and these people can be categorized on all ends of the conservative to liberal spectrum, are very, very emotionally charged when it comes to these things.

I have spoken briefly about this before, but how wonderful would it be if we actually listened to the candidates that don't represent the party we normally vote for? When Mitt Romney comes to a podium, every democrat I know tenses up like someone just tried to put a stick or something in their butt. The same goes for Republicans with Obama. How can people who speak the same language interpret what one person says so differently? I know this is where human nature and selective hearing comes in, but seriously?  

Just listen, put predisposition aside for a while and really consider what is being said, and don't take it personally, law and politics are meant to be participated in by people who are capable of being objective, and we fail at this daily.

 Also, why do we pay such careful attention to what the wives have to say? I'm not so oblivious that I don't know why people care, older generations like familial people, people who implement values in both their professional and personal lives. But ultimately, they are a mere figurehead, they will not be interacting with congress or big businesses, bringing in a cabinet, or overriding the supreme court.

This is where our focus needs to be, on the individual being elected who will participate in the processes, we don't need lectures on what it means to be a moral person in a marriage...this detracts from the morality of single individuals, and their recognition as contributors...but that's for a whole 'nother post.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How we deal with death

There is this idea in Buddhism (well, at least it pertains to certain sects of Buddhism), that we should not avoid thinking about death, because when it does hit, it is more of a shock to the system.

I do not agree with this principle.

On one hand, death is inevitable, and we must, to a certain extent, accept it.

However, in the many years that we as humans live, our death is a very small part of those years, it does not merit as much focus as does our actual body of life does.

There is a contradictory ideal within Buddhist thought that suggests that rather than lending attention to thoughts that bother us for the purpose of letting go of those fears and worries, we should channel energy into meditation on other more positive things in the world.

I'm not saying you should never seek catharsis by sharing a concern with those you trust, or never think about dying, I am saying that when it comes to the depth of our analysis, we would do better to think of the wonderful aspects of life and be present in those wonders. That action begets positiveness in one's individual experience, as well as interpersonal experiences.

Regardless of how well you mentally prepare for death, whether it is your own or that of someone you love, it will be a bit of a shock, so investing too much time in that kind of preparation really seems unnecessary. I can understand a level of acknowledgement, acceptance, but we must prevent a phobic obsession from taking hold.

As a tangent to this topic, it should be noted that death in western culture is seen as a very dreary event. We would do well to look to the East and to Mesoamerican traditions which, when the time comes, embrace death, and appreciate this very natural transition.

This Halloween and All Souls Day, strive for an appreciation for the whole life cycle, do not let your ego take over, simply be a vessel of experience that seeks to marvel at both your individual life and the life of the universe as a whole.

I am not one of those f*cking gurus. I just thought I would share, since all Saints Day is coming up and I was thinking about it.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Age Spirituality

I've blogged about religion before and my opinions about it, and had made it clear that I am not religious nor am I irreligious. But I am a spiritual person, and yes, people effing HATE that word, but I don't care.

One thing that frustrates me are all these gurus, they pop all the time, and Oprah endorses 3/4 of them. These people have good intentions for the most part, but they are so convinced of these seemingly random, romantic, but esoteric theories of life happiness and the soul. And all of their philosophies deviate from others' in their field.

I don't think that these people, nor the Joel Osteens of the world are trying to pull a fast one on us, I think the sleep well at night because they genuinely believe what they are selling. But so much this just seems contrived, this odd form of wishful thinking that gets more and more creative as they go along.

The frustrating part I guess, isn't that each spiritual leader is different or even that they are thinking wishfully and avoiding logic, it's that they profess their beliefs with such conviction that it is both compelling and offensive.

Never ever have I heard of a guru whose teachings align perfectly with my own, and I rarely encounter everyday people who do either. So when these people who sound so sure of what they are saying get my attention, and they would not agree with my thoughts, I naturally question their legitimacy.

There isn't really a solution, this isn't necessarily a problem, it's just a frustration; having to agree to disagree on the really big questions of life. My one wish is that people would not force their beliefs on others, at least not at the dogmatic level. We can appreciate one another's intuition without analysis, and continue towards a more respectful society.

Vices parte deux

I'm watching "Super Size Me" and wondering if fast food is really so bad, or if it's just made bad by the portions in which it is served.

We all know it's low quality, and not the best for you, but is really any better than what you would find in a grocery store? It feels like the difference between a lean cuisine and a fast food meal, really are the portions.
I also wonder if the way we collect information about bad habits as far as health is concerned, is really accurate.

Alcohol has long been considered "bad for us" bad for our livers, and our brain cells. But alcohol, while it can be dehydrating, is also a blood thinner, just like the baby aspirin we are told to take to limit our chances of blocked arteries, strokes and heart attacks.  So, is it possible that we both drink and smoke, or drank and eat foods rich in saturated fats, would something get canceled out?

These health problems seem to be distinctly, though admittedly not exclusively, American. We overdo things. We overdo work mostly, that seems to be the biggest problem with health. Stress is directly linked to premature death and a myriad of diseases: heart diseases, cancer, and addictions. Everything is about productivity and as a result not only are we ridiculously stressed, but the products and services we provide in our businesses get cheapened, so that they are made more profitable. Soda, something as American as Coca Cola isn't even made with sugar anymore, not in this country at least, it's made with Corn Syrup.

The solution: This really isn't about dieting or limiting your tobacco and alcohol consumption, those things would become more moderate if our attitudes were better. We need to lessen our emphasis on work. Life is about life, it should be enjoyable, it's not about some achievement you can put on paper. Things like money and title are awesome, but they are not everything.

Body Odor

I was thinking about the way people smell and how that seems to translate, depending on the culture. Generally I think it's pretty gross (with a few notable exceptions, both male and female) If I can smell someone's armpit, or that greasy hair smell, it makes me want to gag. But, I have to wonder how much of that is societal.

From an evolutionary standpoint, it would make sense that we like the smell of other people, particularly people of the opposite sex. That usually isn't the case - why? Our sweat and sebum could be compared to the savory smells of cheese which wet our appetite. And why is it preferable that we smell like a flower and not like a human being?

Perhaps our repulsion is in line with evolution, maybe the things we smell under others' arms are the result or residual bacteria, or the the expulsion of toxins, neither of which are sexy or appetizing, they can be downright hazardous. It could be a territorial thing, we are often put off more by other peoples' stench than by our own- the same goes for other peoples' poop and fart smells. Don't act like you don't know.

Like many digressive thoughts, this could be pointless, I fail to see how exploring this would propel the scientific community into a series of studies which would objectively better the standard of living for mankind. UNLESS we discover that we can train our brain to like the smell of other peoples' unwashed skin, and find that is boosts the immune system, reduces insulin resistance, prevents the re-uptake of serotonin, and kills cancer cells...but I find that very unlikely - actually I don't know, how common is cancer, diabetes and depression in the middle east?

Until that discovery is made however, I will continue to launder wash and deodorize. I hope y'all will do the same.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Things I hate about being a girl

 Something I don't like: when people refer to my bag as a "purse". My grandmother carried a purse, purses have prescriptions, off-brand candy, old receipts and silverware stolen from restaurants. More than that, I think what I don't like about that word  is that it is distinctly feminine, and there are often times when I feel extremely uncomfortable with being womanly. The thing I carry might be pink leopard print with ruffles and I would still call it a bag because the gender neutrality names me comfortable.

Now, there are a couple different directions we could go with this, it could be that I resent society for making women seem weak, it could be a subconscious gender identity crisis (doubtful) or it could be that I am not comfortable with the kind of attention women typically get. Realistically, as much as I try to avoid thinking about it, it is the latter much more than either of the former.

This rule fluctuates though, for instance, I like flirting, I really do, but there always reaches this threshold point where I will pull away. This is by no means an uncommon phenomenon, but girls, why do we do this? I'm not talking about creepiness, just put that aside. If a guy asks for my phone number, I may or may not give it to him, if I like him, I will, but the chances of me letting me pick me up in his car, and go through the normal dating rituals are very slim, so I just don't call him back. This isn't digression I promise, because it's more than just dating and insecurities thereof, it's the pressure of filing a specific niche well.  I have dated a few guys, but never had a serious boyfriend, and this is why. I feel like if I don't look a certain way and act perfectly I have failed at being a girl. Does this make sense? This has caused an enormous amount of stress in my life.

What does it mean to be successfully female? Is this a healthy conversation for me to be having? Should I not be thinking of myself in terms of my gender, and characterize myself more individually? There are things about me that are incredibly girly; I'm emotionally a girl, my tastes in literature and film can be super girly, I like the company of other women in book clubs and stuff, but I am afraid that there is something in the way that I present myself that just comes up short. Whatever the shoulds are, I know that I feel pressure to be pretty, graceful, and just generally feminine, and I feel like I suck at it. If I were good at those things, I would be able to call my bag a purse.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Things I love

I love to write. I love how, not only words, but entire story lines, can flow through you onto a page or screen with fully fleshed out characters that your own subconscious has developed. Sometimes these characters are drawn from people we know, other times they are total stranger to us.

I love smells. I often wonder if people perceive aromas and colors the same way I do. Some of my favorites are jasmine, rose, gasoline, marinara sauce, coffee, pine needles, beer, freshly cut grass, cigars, laundry soap, firewood, the ocean, and body odor, depending on the person its coming from.

I love quiet babies. except the ugly ones.

I love music, all kinds really. There was a time when I hated elevator-type jazz, but even that I can associate with fond memories of working in an office. I like the sounds on tracks you aren't supposed to hear like fingernails on a guitar bridge, or a small burp under the microphone. Those things make a recording human and add to the actual composition.

I love when embarrassing things happen to other people. You might think this is mean spirited, and it is, but I also think it's funny when embarrassing things happen to me, though slightly less so.

Jalapeno poppers, and most savory junk food. This can easily be extended to Cheese-its and hot Cheetos. They are awful for you but, I don't care. It washes down best with a coke slushy or a Hansen's cream soda, f.y.i.

I love having people draw on my back and play with my hair, the best part of getting your hair done at a salon is the shampoo they give you, hands DOWN. I think I'm just one of those creepy people that really like being touched.

I love my friends and having heart-to-hearts, and the idea that I will make more of them before my life is over.

Men with stubble and unkempt brows

Thai food.

This could be a long ass list. more to come.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Halloween is awesome. I love the history associated with it, I love dressing up, and I love that being scared can be torturous fun. One thing I hate about holidays like Halloween is the pressure to have fun just because of the day it is on the calendar. When looking back at the past few years I can't help but be disappointed with what I ended up doing - there ends up being so much pressure to have a good time at one particular time that almost anything you do doesn't meet the expectations, especially because things like Halloween involve preparation, costumes and whatnot. Don't you hate that? This gets distributed to all matter of fun Holidays - N.Y.E. Independence Days, Summertime in general, Birthdays, and of course the most obnoxious to singletons V.Day.  Christmas and thanksgiving usually have the cushioning of family time, they're not those "get out there, dress up and party" type things.

This got me thinking about how there are so many things I have found difficult about the last few years, and while I am most certainly not alone in experiencing hardship, it makes me resent the idea that one's twenties are supposed to be the best time of their life. So far for me, it's just been one big impoverished and heartbroken identity crisis, if this life's best, we're in trouble.

 Hopefully our attitudes as a culture are changing, because, your whole life should be the best part of your life, there is fun to be had at every age, and there are inevitably ups and downs in each season. And, of course, the undo pressure of what "fun" is, often ends up sucking joy out of that which is supposed to be enjoyed and out of the things that are unexpectedly delightful.

Case in point: I love just talking, I could just talk for days. I don't have to be doing anything active, I don't have to be drunk, I would be perfectly contented on a Saturday night talking to a stranger at a coffee shop, or a friend in my living room. That is genuinely fun to me. But when I explained this to someone, they looked puzzled, "you're a young person, you should be out having a good time." That made my heart sink. Somehow my standard for an enjoyable time was beneath those that stood in bars trying to have sex. Make no mistake, I do like drinking and socializing, but I don't think it's any better than any other activity that one might partake  in to relax.

This is annoying for a couple reasons. One, because it presumes that there is only a few respectable ways to enjoy one's self, and that those ways, especially those specific to my age range, involve risk, brain damage and general irresponsibility. The second reason: I was made to feel bad about myself for that, that I had failed in the way I choose to spend my leisure time because my weekends don't always involve high heels and bar tabs. And what did this person know about me? Would they have said something different if I had been in AA or had trouble with drugs in high school? It's a dangerous norm we have set for young singles.

I guess my hope for this post is just that people would be less concerned with appearance in this way and more focused on the way an activity makes them feel. Stay in and play with a Dreide on Halloween if that's what lifts your spirits most. Knit by a fire in your twenties and party at clubs in your fifties if that suits you. So long as you're not harming anyone, who cares how you have fun, or with whom?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: Bossypants

Today I am running through a list of books I have read in the last year, and since I can't have the book club I always dreamed of, I thought I might as well confer my opinions on this sad little blog. If by some miracle you have a comment, please leave it. If you haven't read this book, maybe this post will help you decide to.

Bossypants is a good starting point because I adore Tina Fey. And the book is hilarious, even if you're a man (you might not believe me).

What exactly makes it good? Like most memoirs, it's honest, and self deprecating. It offers period jokes at the beginning and things about towards Alec Baldwin at the end.

One problem I had with this book is that it seemed like the beginning really packed all the punch and as the story went on she got more and more matter-of-fact about her life - this is the opposite of most autobiographies I have read - usually childhood is the lull, it might include a bit about abuse and why that person is so fabulous now, but generally things get more exciting as the story progresses, I didn't necessarily feel that way about Bossypants. The strongest parts are her awkwardness growing up.

In her defense, if she hadn't included the bits about being exhausted on SNL, from trying to appeal to Lorne Michaels, and the launch of  30 Rock, her fans would not have been happy at all. And it is useful, she offers concrete advice to people entering showbiz, particularly girls who are ready to sabotage one another Mean Girls style.

I think you will enjoy this book the most if you go in thinking it's not meant to be funny, which is hard, considering the author. But really, towards the end, it kind of becomes a to-do manual, okay, maybe not that dry. Again, this could be because of my age, I can't relate to a lot of the things later in the book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

smoking n stuff

I was thinking today about all the vices we have that may or may not take a toll on one's health. We eat poorly and drink heavily, those are extremely common ones, but why is it okay to chastise smokers? I'm not so sure it's worse for you, if done in moderation, than drinking daily or being obese. The difference has to be the number of lobbyists who get funding to work against big tobacco.

I suppose there is a culture around cigarettes that makes them unhealthy. They can be enjoyed at anytime during the day without affecting your productivity. They are smoked in conjunction with coffee, cocktails, meals, or just conversation.  If we took the attitude we had towards cigarettes and replaced it with the one we take with alcohol, things would be different.

Among people in my age bracket, it is much more socially acceptable to smoke weed than it is to have a cigarette. I cannot figure out why. There seems to be this myth that marijuana and mushrooms are 'natural' and tobacco isn't. You know what else occurs naturally? hurricanes. earthquakes. mean people.  The likelihood of getting any of the mentioned substances without any additives is slim. The effect on your lungs is going to be the same or worse with weed, and the altering of your brain chemistry is much more significant with weed than with nicotine or even alcohol.(

One argument I have heard is that cigarettes don't offer up any high, and thus they are a waste of bodily harm. Well, I think they offer about the same high as a cup of coffee, and I can say that from experience. Again, coffee isn't really bad for you...point is let everyone pick their own poisons. Our liberties are getting fewer and fewer in the political forum, let's maintain a little more acceptance in the cultural forum. I would like to be able to enjoy an occasional cigarette without a sneer, it is your prerogative to sneer if you chose to, but remember that what you're suckin' out of that bong with three four times the frequency, is just as bad if not worse.