Tag Archives: writing

This sucks, thanks for reading

26 Apr

I’m pretty fucking angry. I’m angry because I’ve forgotten how to write. Or how to entertain myself while writing. And I’m now a certified lame-o for boo-hooing about my writer’s block when I’m not even a goddamn writer to begin with. I’m just a chick with a blog.

I’m also pretty fucking angry at how shallow I am sometimes. I choose to twirl my hair and think about how much I enjoyed being sexually harassed by a New York City bartender instead of working on an overdue spreadsheet. I click on the Lindsay Lohan throws glass at girlfriend’s head headline before reading what Stephen Hawking thinks about our attempts to communicate with aliens. And fuck it, yes, I go to the gym because I want to be healthy and live a long life, but more than that, it’s because I want a really hot body.

I’m angry because I’ve yet to begin researching the fourth dimension theory that is so imperative for the brilliant sci-fi thriller that’s in my head. I read a little here and there, but the info I want is inside books found at the library. The library where I owe $60 in lost titles. They aren’t lost, really, they’re just somewhere in my apartment. My apartment that is perpetually messy, since I’ve decided not to clean until it’s time to start packing for my move. My move into the new place I’ve yet to measure out to ensure I can bring all of my furniture. All the furniture I’ll probably end up selling in order to get brand new stuff because I’m a spoiled brat who spends on furniture and tattoos when she should be saving her money with a credit union that is less likely to fuck her over if financial reform doesn’t pass or gets pissed on by republicans, thus enabling irrational booms to plummet a decade from now, wiping everyone else’s savings except for mine.

I’m angry when I read the disgusting lies uttered by republicans trying to shut down the financial reform bill. Bull-fucking-shit such as claiming government should simply allow banks to fail, that existing derivatives contracts should be exempt from new regulations, that the proposed bill will hurt the markets beyond repair… are you confused?

So am I. But I’m not confused enough to know that we will NEVER allow banks to fail within our existing system, where they’re too powerful and hold too much of our money without any backing. Because if we did let them fail, the fuckers at the top would wipe their hands clean and take their business elsewhere, while Americans scramble through another recession. And do you know what derivatives are? If I’ve got an apple, you and I are gonna bet on the FUTURE VALUE of that apple. If my apple’s worth $5 or more in 2015, you pay me $1. If it’s worth less, I pay you $1. That’s how these institutions make money. Does that sound like some crazy game made up by a four year-old? Yes, it does. But did you know it’s a HUGE market that is largely UNREGULATED? Did you know that Warren Buffett himself once called derivatives “weapons of financial distruction?” Did you know that one of the measures republicans want to stop is of forcing these institutions to set aside their own bailout money in case of severe loss in their derivatives investments? Doesn’t that sound like it makes sense? Well, the republicans don’t think so. Apparently their outrage at bailing out the banks one year ago was… for show. To rally the American people against the democratic president and gain support for themselves and their money grubbing friends.  Who would’ve thunk?

I’m angry that people like the Arizona governor exist and that she has supporters who somehow can rationalize the legalization of racial profiling, abuse of power, and violation of civil rights. I’m angry that a guy like John McCain, who once seemed like a good dude, has actually supported this law because he’s so happy that this shit is happening under Obama’s watch and may score a few conservative votes now that he’s left behind Palin’s dust.

But mostly I’m just angry I can’t just burp a blog post like I was doing two weeks ago. Hopefully my writing class starting next Thursday will get the juices flowing again. Either that or I haven’t been watching enough porn.

A Clockwork Orange

18 Mar

OK, this is my opinion on the significance of the 21st chapter of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, which was excluded from earlier American editions of the novel and the film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick (fucking. awesome.).  I’m certain a bazillion people have written about it and it’s probably all over the web, but the same could be said for pretty much everything else in the world, so what am I supposed to do, not speak at all? Ha ha.

Needless to say, but saying it anyway, if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie (WHY?), this will be a super duper spoiler.

I think a reading of the book without the 21st chapter is a deliberate disregard for the central message and debate that Burgess brought to the table. The sadist in us all – that devilish side we so often repress – rejoices in a story that unapologetically affirms: “I’m naturally inclined to ravage you and fuck you for thinking you could ever change me.” Maybe it’s a direct result of America’s persistent Puritanism – the more righteous you try to be, the more obsessed you become with fucked up tendencies (see: Priests with little boys; Mormons and the similarly-crazed; Japanese porn). I feel a lot of people see a villainous hero in the mischievous Alex, the guy you don’t fuck with, who has threesomes with teenagers, the fearless ring leader – and they want to see him wreak havoc.  I feel that way about Freddy Kruger, not Alex DeLarge. Alex is a much more interesting character; he’s charming, cunning, humorous, a mature thinker, and is surprisingly discerning of, and has a passion for, real beauty.  All the while being youthful and carefree (there’s an understatement). I think we forget that Alex is fifteen, sixteen years old at the height of his ‘evil’ – not that age is an excuse for his actions, but to ignore this fact, and his environment, is to reject the effects of nurture and notions of cause and effect. And that is simply naïve and detrimental to the process of understanding oneself and human behavior at large. I can’t know for sure, but I’m willing to bet that, if Burgess wanted readers to extract any one thing from his novel, that it’d be this kind of introspective discussion. That’s what the best literary pieces do.

So he gave us a brilliant set up; a bright and youthful male, in a colorless, hellish, survivalist, brooding environment with absolutely no genuine parental or pedagogic involvement. Add to the mix completely daft, easily manipulated minions and a bit of the hallucinogens… it’s like fucking Candy Land and it’s easy to see – not justify – why Alex turns out the way he does. And what Burgess thrusts upon us at the height of the novel is such a gift; a real picture of the UGLY in people – I’m referring to the government officials and doctors involved in the Ludovico treatment (during and after). The ugly is the enjoyment derived from stripping humanity off another for personal material gains; it’s the incessant desire to oppress and manipulate. These guys are the real monsters in the story, not Alex.

What I love about that 21st chapter is its audacity to proclaim faith in human nature. I’m not talking about Charles Manson types here (though I’m sure someone would be willing to make an argument in his defense) – I’m excluding the people who are actually really fucked up in the head because that requires an understanding, that I don’t have, of repercussions of chemical imbalances and such. But everyone else; I think we all have within us what we need to see life – all life – for what it is: all we have, and equally deserving of existence in all its forms. Once this insanely basic concept is practiced by any one person, the idea of right and wrong takes a waaaaay back seat to simply living decently with yourself and everything else around you. It’s that fantastic concept of self-governance; where there is mutual respect and empathy, there isn’t need for dictation and punishment.  The final chapter alludes to this concept as Alex undergoes genuine self reassessment – maturity, if you will. Do I like the idea of Alex dreaming of a government job and raising a family as the manifestation of this very enlightening personal journey? Not particularly, but it’s a reflection of the middle class dream, and that’s very graspable and relatable, so we’ll leave it be.  It’s probably very smart of Burgess, actually. Or totally ironic?

So yeah. The 21st chapter rocks and that first American editor/publisher was just looking to maximize profits by maximizing shock value at the cost of truth and art.

[mmm… gee  wiz, I can’t think of anything or any one like that *cough* tabloids *cough* Fox News *cough* Lady GaGa]

But then again, I love the movie as it is, it’s brilliant, it’s beautiful, it’s perfect, it stands on its own, and it is so because of how the book was published in the US. So… it is what it is. Didn’t I just say that? What?

If anyone has any thoughts, other than on what I’m wearing right now, I’d love to hear (read) them. Even if you think I make no sense and should shut the fuck up. Just tell me why, at least.

For instance, my friends L.E.O. (that’s his DJing name-acronym that stands for nothing.. except good music) and Dmitriy had the following to contribute:

Leo: Juliana, leave philosophy to men. You were OK being funny. I’m pumping out quotes here.

Dmitriy: I wanna say something funny! I did it. It’s a self-referencing funny statement. It’s an infinite loop.

Then my boss walked in with no shoes or shirt on. True story.

An experiment: three cups of coffee, one muffin and one cookie. And a pipe.

15 Mar

Oooooh Panera, how I adore thee. You have a large parking lot, filled with SUVs that mask my presence inside a tiny hatchback, engaging in illicit behaviors. There’s one of you in nearly every town, and you all have wi-fi. You also offer free refills on coffee (I think. If you don’t, sorry, I didn’t know), delicious vegetarian options, muffins, cookies… comfy seats one can almost fall asleep in, but not. You have Brazilian cooks that speak amongst themselves in Portuguese, thinking I don’t understand what they’re saying. It is true that you have child-proof thingies on every outlet, but it’s OK; I was only embarrassed once, and learned how to operate them from then on out.

I’ve caught a glimpse of the future, thanks to you. I saw myself as one of the elderly in mid-day café gatherings, sporting my very own distinguished-old-person hat, laughing quietly at the 30-something middle manager guy who pretends to listen to his dull boss while he’s really taking peeks at the cute girl who may or may not be slightly intoxicated while staring at her laptop for hours, enjoying the day off courtesy of a little plumbing issue at the office.

Thanks to you, Panera, the soundness of my “sorry, mom, I don’t think there will be any grandkids for you from me” position is reaffirmed. The mother of two who can’t get any reading done because the little ones haven’t mastered a fork just yet is a reminder that dogs make better babies for me. I’d hate to give my child salmonella for feeding it milk in a dirty bottle. Is that possible? I don’t know, but it’s one more thing I’d have to learn before deciding to sign up for many hours of agony and vaginal stretching followed by a lifetime of extra responsibilities.

You provide me with peaceful space to people-watch, eat, put my feet up and think about Mark Twain quotes, such as:

The difference between a perfect word and a near-perfect word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

About 60% of the time, most people would agree that Mark Twain was right like, all the time – this is no exception.  Carefully chosen words have helped me connect with many minds, enter different worlds, feel a myriad of emotions, and have been the tool for sharing my own. Reading and writing never get boring. Sometimes I do, though. Sometimes there’s no juice left to be squeezed out of my foamy brain; then I’m forced to recount the time I fabricated a story to make up for my lack of real-life excitement.

It was an eighth grade statewide writing contest;  students were informed that whatever they came up with in the next thirty minutes would have to be the basis for contest entry. I always loved writing. I just didn’t enjoy being forced to do it.

Does it have to be the truth?

No, I guess it doesn’t.

Awethome. While everyone blabbed away about soccer tournaments that changed their lives, I decided that to win, I’d have to give these common people a little sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. I was tired of using the immigrant card and I didn’t trust the white judges to pick the is-she-hispanic-if-not-what-is-she kid. Inspired by my viewing of Christiane F., I made up a story about suffering through a close cousin’s battle with heroin addiction. In shocking detail, I recounted unreal tales of discovering her passed out on the bathroom floor and finding condoms in her backpack – she was only 12 at the time. Ooooh!

I like to think that it was my writing – my careful word choice – that brought these silly people along for that roller-coaster ride. That and maybe the fact I gave them a happy ending of a recovered and back-in-school adolescent fighting to salvage her innocence. When word got around that I was a semi-finalist, I, the immigrant kid with an accent, was hounded by my white peers for details on my cousin’s sleazy affairs.

Oh, I made it up. I couldn’t think of anything to write about, so I made it up. They said I could.

My English teacher asked me after class if it was true that I’d made up the story. I confirmed. I wasn’t reprimanded for it, but I didn’t win either. Some other kid did, just because he wrote about a Jewish grandfather who fought in the war. Yawn. And stupid me; I should’ve lied to everyone or at least gone with an embellished version of my hard times as an immigrant with too much coca-cola and candy at my disposal.

Thuper Thanks Post!

4 Mar

I joined 20-something Bloggers last week and all these awesome people are on it then all of a sudden they started reading my blog when before it was only like, four of my friends and not only are they reading it but some of them actually like it and one of them likes it a lot so she gave me an award and now I get to write seven honest facts about myself! Mmmm…

Thank you, Mercurial Wife! You are lovely! I hope I have a pretty vase for my award 🙂

OK, here go my seven things:

1. I like dares for money. I’ve samba’ed on the sidewalk for a dude playing “drums” with buckets in The Alley for $3, I picked my nose in public and took a picture for $5, and I drank vodka that had been left unopened for months and had collected fruit flies – which I also ‘drank’ – for an amount of money I cannot recall (I wonder why).

2. I like some very stupid things and I’m ashamed, but only a little bit. Things like this and this. I also like disgusting things like this. They may be stupid to you, but they make me laugh over and over again. And sometimes vomit in my mouth a little.

3. I blog in part because I’ve had awesome and encouraging friends willing to read, critique, and give excellent advice, such as: “not everything will be great. you have to write a large volume and the best stuff will float to the surface. like poop” and “Can I be honest? You use too many words.”

4. I have watched porn on my iPhone. Things don’t seem as… big.

5. I used to think panic attacks were bullshit and/or for the weak minded. Then I had one. That shit sucks. And I’m not weak minded. I’ll kick your ass with my mind.

6. There is a very obese girl living inside of me. She eats pints of dulce de leche Haagen-Dazs and mozzarella sticks while I’m sleeping.

7. I think marijuana smoking can make a helpless addict of its victim within weeks, causing physical and moral ruin and death. That was not honest. See tags to the right.

Sha-weeeet. OK, now it is my duty and honor to pass this award (not my vase, get your own) to seven blogs I enjoy. I think these ladies and gents are original, talented, and I’m always entertained by their posts. Also, it would be my pleasure to read seven sordid secrets from each. Check ’em out!

Mewlings
Subject-Verb Agreement
Signed Sincerely, Me
My Masonic Apron (pssst! vote for him for featured blogger here)
The Anarchist Project
TwentySomething Test Dummies
John F. Sullivan

Anal beads and microscopic warfare

1 Mar

I’m sick, slightly delirious, and am having a hard time finding energy to focus on an attempt at quality writing. But I’m trying to write at least once a day, so here go a bunch of words thrown together until I’ve sufficiently bored myself.

I’m a pathetic miserable sight right now. The loudness of my frequent sneezes makes my dog jump each time. Breathing out of my mouth with a tissue stuck up my nostrils, sweating all kinds of nasty, and munching on Lindt chocolate. I remember something about healthy eating habits in a distant past, but the memory escapes me.

Being sick can be a drag when you live alone. I remember when I had the stomach flu a couple of months after I’d first moved out on my own. I was so miserable and tired of vomiting, I cried sitting on the bathroom floor in my underwear with my head barely out of the toilet. Seriously, how fucking sad is that? It’s all my mother’s fault. She was too good to me; setting alarms so I could take my antibiotics right on time in the middle of the night, homemade soups, whatever-I-wanted for breakfast… clearly trying to set me up for lifelong failure.

I don’t mind sickness alone anymore. I just make sure to change my bedding so my nasty germs don’t get recycled, shower twice a day (for the same reason), take meds, drink water, wear my glasses to give my eyes a break from the contacts, and rejoice in the extra time to catch up on my readings and movie watching. I still take the dog on (shorter, slower) walks, so I get some fresh air too. When necessary, I stumble into CVS Pharmacy looking like a drugged out hoodlum version of Rudolph and wander the aisles talking to myself until I find all the things I can buy to feel better. Walking by the feminine hygiene aisle is always a blast; why do we need so much crap for our vaginas? Take this, for example:

"exploding quietly inside you for unparalleled comfort"

What the hell IS that? Reminds me of what I once found at the gynecologist’s office:

now that I think of it, I shouldn't have touched them.

Those are anal beads and I won’t hear otherwise. I just wasn’t aware of the liquid vagina beads. But then again, a quick search for “fetish” on PornHub should render one un-fazed by most things.

Where the hell was I? I don’t know and my brain is tired. I sign off with an excerpt from the most righteous of dudes, a man whose words everyone should read, especially if they like intelligence, satire, badassness, truth, common sense, hilarity, and distinguishable writing. It’s from his book Kingdom of Fear, which I so fortuitously just picked up on Saturday and will have the pleasure of reading as my immune system and its chemical allies wage war against this Nazi virus. This bit made me laugh because, as a writing enthusiast, I’ve found myself guilty of lame “wrap up” attempts too many times…

The Author’s Note – if it exists at all – is invariably the worst and lamest part of any book, my own included. That is because it is necessarily the last and most blind-dumb desperate “final touch” that gets heaped into a book just before it goes to the printer – and the whole book, along with the two years of feverish work and anguish, is doomed to failure and ruin if the author won’t produce the note in time for publication.
– Hunter S. Thompson

I ate someone else’s post then pooped it out

28 Feb

I love pictures. I vacationed with eight friends in Puerto Rico two months ago, and one of them is a very good photographer with great gear and an eye for kodak moments. His pictures are some of my favorites of me and my friends; we were all so happy to spend a week under the sun, away from work and snow, and he quietly captured our huge smiles, silliness, and camaraderie. My friends and I browsed those hundreds of pictures for days, IMing each other the same “put me back there NOW.”

A blogger wrote about love and his desire to make his time with the girl he loved “stand still.” Sometimes we feel so intensely – and because we are such selfish creatures – we must own these perceived perfect moments. But one can lay out hundreds of pictures, perfectly aligned to “recreate” minutes or hours that once were present… and to our dismay, these don’t suddenly tele-transport us back. As I sat in my office post-Puerto Rico, fantastically tanned, sipping Fefo’s coffee, and looking through the pictures, I smiled at the memories but felt a bit of sadness for having been brutally pulled back to ‘reality.’

Photographs should be held dearly, but one should also understand well what they are: a representation of something that has passed. What we have that is infinitely more intense than reliving good times is the present. It’s a chance to feel through skin, mind and heart, with vividness and complexity that only exists now. Right now. Looking through pictures of vacations, of a romantic dinner with a boyfriend, of a night of beautiful music that flowed right through the body as though it weren’t solid… looking at all this long enough will eventually lead to frustration. Memories can give us short jolts of happiness and inspiration, but we can only truly live in the right now.

Aldous Huxley has made me beat my chest and holler in aliveness with some of his writings (which themselves are only “representations” of the intangible).  Maybe I should’ve scrapped this whole post and just quoted him:

At the back of the World’s Biggest Drug Store, among the toys, the greeting cards, and the comics, stood a row, surprisingly enough, of art books. I picked up the first volume that came to hand. It was on Van Gogh, and the picture at which the book opened was “The Chair” – that astounding portrait of a Ding an Sich, which the mad painter saw, with a kind of adoring terror, and tried to render on his canvas. But it was a task to which the power even of genius proved wholly inadequate. The chair Van Gogh had seen was obviously the same in essence as the chair I had seen. But, though incomparably more real than the chairs of ordinary perception, the chair in his picture remained no more than an unusually expressive symbol of the fact. The fact had been manifested Suchness; this was only an emblem. Such emblems are sources of true knowledge about the Nature of Things, and this true knowledge may serve to prepare the mind which accepts it for immediate insights on its own account. But that is all. However expressive, symbols can never be the things they stand for.*

So let us put down the pictures, books, movies… and step outside, breathe fresh air, talk to a person, pet an animal, ride the subway, sink our feet in sand, drink a cold beer, play an instrument, touch someone else’s flesh… because none of these experiences can ever be contained in an album.

*From Doors of Perception

Widgets: Blogging of the future

22 Feb

Yeah, I changed blog URL and layout one more time. I have a problem. Except this task takes longer than the usual re-arranging furniture at 3am, so the likelihood of sleeping is super tiny. Though I must say, I love all-nighter snacks.

My mom thinks I don’t take care of myself and eat crap all the time. I told her she’s cuckoo; most of my friends don’t even really grocery shop; their fridges are empty, and when there’s something in them, I usually hear, “uuuh I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.” Then I check the expiration date, and it’s been bad for two months. Saturday night was an extra special similar moment. My friend had some chips, cheese, and tomato sauce. I figured I’d throw it all in the microwave for some ghetto nachos. “Uh, I don’t know how long that’s been in there.”  Well, it’s tomato sauce, it lasts for a long time. I opened it and the smell was pretty freaking fowl. It had expired in June of 2009. He probably had that thing for two years in there.

I, on the other hand, try to keep a stocked fridge. I’m a poor planner, so I might have to pop into the market more than once a week, but my shopping’s mostly done on Sundays. With a stocked fridge and a well-rested body, staying up doesn’t seem so scary.

To give the blog a face-lift, I tried to create a new wordpress username with an e-mail address I rarely use. It was already registered and so I was reminded of a forgotten blog I once created. It only had one entry (I guess I got bored REALLY quick). It seems I wasn’t into capitalization that month. Here it is:

i had a blog while in college. a livejournal. it was a lot of fun; write down your thoughts, your friends read it, next day you think “wtf did i make that public,” and change the setting to ‘private only.’

wordpress.com’s layout is rather sleek and important-looking and nowadays respectable people and drunk students alike are socially accepted members of the blogging community, so why not?

i’m a big fan of customization. i even enjoy customizing professional hair cuts (because years of schooling and experience do not a perfect stylist make – if i fail, i call it “wearable abstract art” and maybe invest on bobby pins). so before writing a post, i head on over to the elusive ’settings’ section (wordpress is pretty but it’s not quite intuitive) only to find that i can apply some widgets to my page and/or change the css. i don’t know what this means. i was hoping i’d be able to enter some html tags to change some colors and fonts around. I check Wiki for ‘widgets’ and get: “bladibla bla social networking bladibla.”   i ask my friend ben for help. he’s gonna be an IP lawyer one day. he taught me what IP lawyers are. he said: “it’s like a functional “banner” of sorts. basically used to describe a miniature functional application that links to some bigger functionality/site.”

now, why wikipedia couldn’t just have put that on their definition, i don’t know. after all this, i realize i need some widgets on my page, and so i add them. but i still don’t know how to change fonts and colors. so we’re back to zero.