Archive for August, 2010

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la di da.

August 29, 2010

I don’t often write about the music I listen to, despite that fact that I constantly have music on and I love hearing about what other people are like. Ultimately, it boils down to the same reason I don’t like to visit museums with other people – I just don’t have the much to say. I decide a like a band or a song and that’s the extent of what I can articulate. But then I thought, I can’t accept what other people share without contributing on some level.

  1. Florence and the Machine – When I first got her Lungs CDs, I was not a fan. I had heard Kiss with a Fist and the rest of the 2-disc album did not sound like that song. But after listening to the album several times (mostly in the car), I’ve grown to love it. Despite the fact that I hate her videos, I think she’s amazing.
  2. The National – Yes, I’m behind on this one. Yes, I know they recently released High Violet and I haven’t listened to it at all. But I just recently listened to the Boxer and I’m in love. Something about his voice is very soothing for me. You can play it at any time and it’s good.
  3. La Roux – It’s catchy. That’s about all I can think to say about it.
  4. Francis and the Lights – Originally I liked it because I like his dancing and the music videos. Then the music grew on me too.
  5. Cage the Elephant – I really only like Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. But this group basically makes me understand why people like Southern Rock.
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wins.

August 21, 2010

Inspired by Min’s post on pet peeves, I thought I would come up with my own. And then, as I started, all my pet peeves are either totally ridiculous or make me feel hypocritical. So that idea was out. Instead I made a list of things that win you major points with me – pretty much regardless of everything else you would do.

  1. Dressing well. I may just be biased toward good-looking people, but dressing well is major plus points.
  2. Being vetted by the family. My family has a weird ability to weed out bad people.
  3. Story-telling ability. Some people have it. Some people don’t. If you can make even the most mundane story interesting; I love you.
  4. Making decisions – it’s strange how much this matters to me, especially since I am terrible about making decisions

Then, after making this list, I realized that I’m a really just a sucker for charming people. Ask anyone and they would come up with the same list I just did. I just like likeable people! There must be more things I like than just the basics. So here is my list of automatic wins.

  1. Be able to discuss music – I don’t have to like your music, but I’m friends with very few people who can’t carry on the music conversation. If you can’t do music, movies will suffice.
  2. Be judgmental – I will pass judgment on your outfit, your taste in music, your Facebook interests, pretty much everything. I like people who will do the same – though not to the extent of actually being prejudice or closed-minded.
  3. Get excited about the little things – I just watched my co-worker get super excited about a graph he made in Excel. He proceeded to show it to everyone and the grin on his face was so big. It made me really happy (and it was really cool).
  4. Be a little bit random – pull questions out of nowhere, have a random thought. I dislike people who are too ADHD, but I also dislike people who just stare at you when you make an off-topic comment.
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sacrifice.

August 17, 2010

Ayn Rand describes sacrifice in a very specific way.

“Sacrifice” does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. “Sacrifice” does not mean the rejection of the evil for the sake of the good, but of the good for the sake of the evil. “Sacrifice” is the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don’t.

If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is. If you achieve the career you wanted, after years of struggle, it is not a sacrifice; if you then renounce it for the sake of a rival, it is. If you own a bottle of milk and give it to your starving child, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to your neighbor’s child and let your own die, it is.

If you give money to help a friend, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to a worthless stranger, it is. If you give your friend a sum you can afford, it is not a sacrifice; if you give him money at the cost of your own discomfort, it is only a partial virtue, according to this sort of moral standard; if you give him money at the cost of disaster to yourself—that is the virtue of sacrifice in full.

A friend and I discussed making sacrifices in order to move your life in the direction of your choosing. To be clear, I’m not against changing your life based on some new direction you want to take. But I am against viewing it as a sacrifice. I believe that if you feel like you’re making a sacrifice, you need to rethink your priorities.

The example we discussed was me moving across the country for my boyfriend and the fact that I do not consider this a sacrifice. My more accessible example is if you’re offered a dream job. Would you consider giving up your current job a sacrifice; the answer is no. But you will be giving up your current city , being close to your current friends, and if you have a family, uprooting them as well. And this is where your priorities come into play. If your city, friends, or family are more important than your career, then taking that dream job is a sacrifice. It is also a choice you shouldn’t make – because essentially you making a choice that’s not in line with what you want in life; you’re choosing to be less happy.

It’s not the act of giving something up or even having a sense of loss at giving something up that’s my issue. It’s purely the word sacrifice and all it implies. It implies you gave up something for less than its value. It implies a strange sort of regret. It implies that your choice was not the best for you, but the best for someone or something else. And I personally think, it somewhat implies that it’s possible to not have to make difficult decisions (or rather, that you’re somehow special for having to make those decisions). Oh, I sacrificed my career for my family. Who doesn’t have that fork in the road eventually? You just rarely hear the other side: I sacrificed my family for my career. Because that sounds terrible. And probably because most people in that situation don’t feel like they sacrificed anything. Every single decision you make, you could think you’re sacrificing something. Every time I choose a salad, I am sacrificing a hamburger! But life is choosing what’s important to you.

So in my case of moving. Sure I’m giving up certain parts of my current life. But I don’t think any of my friends would think they should come before my boyfriend. And I don’t think anyone would tell me that I should stay at my job (despite me loving my job) if it also means staying in an indefinite, long distance relationship. When it comes down to it, choosing friends or my current job or Wisconsin, is essentially not choosing my boyfriend – and then, why am I even trying to make it work? Moving, while somewhat awful, is just a stepping stone to getting where I want to be. The same as choosing to work my butt off at Cornell was a stepping stone to getting an Ivy League degree. I don’t feel like those four years were a sacrifice, even though one could argue that I gave up a very different college experience than I would have gotten at a tiny school or a party school.

But if it’s not a sacrifice now, why wouldn’t I have just picked up for California right after college? Aren’t I basically saying my last two years were filler, that there’s nothing that would keep me doing what I’m currently doing? And here again is where my priorities ultimately make the decision. At 22, it was more important for me to have a job, to be self sufficient, to do the whole “adult” thing than getting married and being “the girlfriend”. Now at 24, I’m a little bit over the work world, and I’m ready to get married, and eventually have kids (which is still significantly in the future but requires planning out a few stepping stones to get there). If my priorities were the same as they were two years ago, moving would be out of the question.

It’s really all a way of thinking. And if the word sacrifice comes to mind, it would prudent to rethink.

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phl-nyc-atl

August 14, 2010

I’m home again after three weeks of travel – Alabama, Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta. It’s felt like a crazy three weeks. I feel like I haven’t seen my housemates in weeks and all I want to do is sleep in my own bed. But it’s definitely had some great highlights

Philadelphia highlights

  1. I’m too old to be pulling all nighters. I didn’t in college and now is not the time to be picking up the habit
  2. Interesting stories from the cab driver taking me to the train station on crazy ladies and non-tipping bartenders.
  3. Never eating at the Hard Rock Café again. They have decided to put calories on their menu. It is not helpful and it makes everything unappetizing.

New York highlights

  1. Fancy dinner at Telepan. Four-course meal – all of which were delicious.
  2. Dancing at R Bar. Though it’s not a place I would have chosen (ew, red lighting) and their music selection was somewhat ADD. I haven’t been dancing in a while.
  3. Bubble Tea – I miss it so much
  4. Subway navigation – I am getting so good even though it still kinda freaks me out.

Atlanta highlights

  1. Airport love – ATL needs to teach every other airport how to run. Security in the US’s largest airport took less time than it usually takes me in MSN.
  2. Dinner at Nava with Erica.
  3. Everything about Atlanta is sprawling. The hospital, the airport, the city itself. Even compared to New York, everything I saw, I just thought “Oh my god, it’s so BIG” <do not insert that’s what she said joke – my blog is too classy for that>
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restless.

August 10, 2010

Due to a recent upswing in travel (both personal and work-related), I’ve been feeling restless. In the last two months, I’ve spent time in seven other states (and airport layovers don’t count). Now I might be antsy partly because it’s hard to find the motivation to work after vacationing. But it’s also partly because when I travel it feels like I’m constantly going. And then when I finally get to pause, things seem to move in slow motion. It’s a strange feeling. Not that I don’t enjoy when I can just watch a movie and do the laundry. But it tends to feel like resting between races – which isn’t really resting as much as it’s waiting for the next thing.

I never understood people who “can’t settle down”, whether it be in relationships or life in general. It was a foreign concept to me. These people always seemed to be searching for something better – a case of the grass is always greener. And I’ve been of the opinion it’s better to find your green pasture fast and stick to it.

So this restless feeling. I haven’t quite decided if I think it means I need to start moving on. Or if it means that I’m starting to settle down. On the one hand, I think there’s a pretty obvious argument for the moving on. Clearly, if my routine is making me antsy, it’s probably time for something new. On the other hand, it could be a sign that I just need to keep up and keep going. Or rather, perhaps all the travel and running around is better for me than staying in one place. I feel a life changing epiphany coming on soon.

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inception.

August 4, 2010

I feel way behind on seeing this movie. It hasn’t even been out that long, but all the rave reviews I kept hearing made me feel behind the times. So much so that I almost went to see it by myself. On a Saturday night no less! Luckily, the housemate convinced me to go to a matinée on Sunday – which turned out to be an awesome idea because Sunday movies before noon are $5.

Overall, I was impressed. I have to note here that I did not have very high expectations. I love Christopher Nolan, but I was skeptical that he could continue his streak. That and the trailers made no sense – seemed like he was resting on his laurels. That being said – it did make sense. The concept clearly outshines the actual plot. I guess that’s to be expected when you have to do so much explaining. And on a totally unrelated note,  I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

So the big question – dream or not dream. My interpretation is that it wasn’t all a dream. And it wasn’t a dream at the end. This is completely based on nothing more than my personal belief that if the entire movie was a dream (or really even the end), then it’d be super lame. Essentially, if it’s a dream, anything can happen. Which results in freedom from any sort of logical scrutiny. Oh that didn’t make sense? Well, it was a dream, it didn’t have to. And the end? Seems a little bit like a cop-out – kinda Lady or the Tiger-ish. But, I like happy endings where things work out as planned. So I guess that’s how I’ll interpret it.

I also read two interesting articles on how Inception is mirroring movie-making, with all the characters playing the major roles of a production team. It’s the idea that film makers are essentially creating imaginary worlds for us – the audience – to get lost in. I love that. Thinking about it as this kind of parallel kinda wins me over. Nolan gets major points for this.

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