Saturday, April 30, 2011

On Loneliness

"On Loneliness"

Apr. 20, 2011

I have heard that when death comes for us, he is accompanied by a welcoming party. They are all there, the gossiping grandparents who smelled like tangerines, the sweet neighbors who made god-awful lasagna, the pet snail named Squinky who got flushed down the toilet. Privately, I suspect, that these are stories concocted to soothe our fears. We are so alone in life that we can not bear to think that we will be alone in death too.

When death comes, death wraps a thin hand around our ankle and tugs until we slip away. And all of us— from the forgotten madmen who die in the gutters, to the best beloved who explode out of world leaving behind trails of fire and smoke —all us find ourselves walking down a valley to whatever comes afterwards, and we walk alone.

Perhaps this is why I am forever asking myself how far the bonds of love and friendship will stretch. In the face of debilitating illnesses, sudden poverty, accidental amputation, who will take care of you? Who, other than one or two relatives, will write checks to float you through a month or two?

Even in the event of minor tragedies, the hour when you wanted someone to hold your hand and say nothing but “I understand”, it is difficult to find someone. People are asleep, abed, abroad.

It makes sense, but the desperation grows. There is friendship, and there is family, and then there is silence swollen with the murky fog of almost but not-quite forgotten sins, the jagged shards of broken promises that have not quite dulled with time, and the slimy residue of wounded feelings. There are so very many things that are never talked about. Instead you shut your eyes, you tell yourselves this is friendship and this is love, and you never say, where were you when I needed you, and you never wonder why you are attacked by sudden, terrible bouts of loneliness.

“No one is always there for you,” I told a friend once, and I said it so sadly, he got down on his knees and said, “I will. I will always be there for you,” and it was sweet, and when I dialed his number once, he picked up and he was there, and then I dialed again and again and again and he lost patience with me. You see how it is.

And it is even harder to look up from this loneliness, to see how everyone else is surrounded by packs of people, and then you wonder, what you did, why it is you have gone wrong. Sometimes, the loneliness is so terrifying all you can do is rush from one party to another, anxious to meet more and more people, so that when the sky falls down, at least someone will know it fell down on you. Paradoxically, when you rush from party to party, you become lonelier than ever. You can not meet people at parties. Too much noise for conversation.

Or you cling. You leap frog from relationship to relationship, preferably romantic, and maybe it is bad so you get out, but, worse, maybe it’s good, good but a little off, a few streaks of something sour, a couple discordant notes, but it’s good enough, so you stay, and you stay, and you tell yourself you are very lucky and you are not lonely. Of course you are not lonely. Lucky. The words are book-ended by the same letters, but the substance of their centers is completely different, do not confuse the two. Lucky, not lonely.

And it is strange, but if you look up and look at the people who walk in packs, you will see how their shoulders and hips pull away from each other, how wide the spaces between each of them are. Note, if you sit next to a stranger on a bus and smile in just the right manner, they will tell you their life story. If you go out to dinner with a friend, and say, how are you—and then look them in the eye when they smile, and say, no really, how are you?, and then listen as if they speak divinity, your friend’s face will crumple, your friend will love you forever. Everyone else is lonely too.

I thought once, because I could not find someone who would be always be there for me, I would be there for everyone. I would single handedly make sure no one ever feels as lonely as I have felt. For a while I stood by the side of the road and wore a sign on my chest that read: “Will Always Be There.” I held hands of friends, friends of friends, strangers, offered a shoulder, and when my phone rang at midnight I picked up and I picked up and I picked up and I found out that the first time they love you, the second time they are grateful, the third time they are blasé, and the fourth time, well, there should never be a fourth time, but the fourth time they yell at you for taking so long to answer the damn phone.

There is so much loneliness. You throw yourself at it, and you are swallowed up by other people’s misery, you can find yourself comforting a friend at the door, while IMing with someone else in a crisis, and then your phone will go off the third time and suddenly it is evening and you have not yet had your lunch, and everyone is still lonely.

I don’t recommend going into the business of saving people. Helping them, certainly, but not saving. You can’t save another person. You can only save yourself.

When I moved to a city where I knew no one, I imagined there would be days when I said nothing but “Hello,” and “Goodbye” and maybe, “How do you do?”. Or perhaps there would be weekends and holidays, stretches of two or three days at a time, where I did not see anyone I cared about, did not run into anyone who cared about me, and I did not know how I would survive. If I could not tolerate loneliness surrounded by friends, what would I do by myself? What would I do to myself?

And indeed, whenever a visitor came or a friend calls, they ask—How are you? Are you very lonely?

And I am silent. There have been days of silence, weekends of silence, and in this silence I have heard myself begin to speak. I do not know myself, I may have once known her, but for a long time I shut her up in a cupboard in some dank corner because I was lonely and I did not want her to remind me of how lonely I was, I wanted other people to help me forget about her, and it is only now, in the silence, she rapped on the door and said politely, it is time you let me out.

This person is easily amused. For instance, she likes to walk around the city naming the birds. Of course she does not know the names of any birds, she is not very knowledgeable and would not care for birds except they have wings, so she makes up the names, oh look, a cheepcheep, a chirpchirp! Sometimes she uses different languages instead—burung! Burung! And for hours there is nothing except the wild joy of the swooping vowels soaring through her head as she watches the cheepcheep and the chirpchirps fly, burung burung burung!

Other days there is just staring into space, looking at the rain crawling down the window, and then she will dip her fingers into childhood and yank out a half forgotten bundle of white wool, tangled up, knotted, and she will turn it over in her hands, card it with her fingers, until the knots unsnarl and bits of yarn begin to form. So this is what that meant. Oh, so this is why such and such happened. Ah, I do not care anymore about that. It is over. It is time to let go.

She comes along whenever there are dinners now. Even as everyone chatters, she is sitting cross legged, jaw half open in wonder. She is very fond of company, it must have been all those years in the cupboard, but she is forever turning cartwheels in my head whenever someone speaks—oh look! How clever. Or, My God! What an asshole. Why are we here again?

Let’s go, she’ll say, and we’ll go. We’ll sail out into the night, sit on an abandoned park bench, and look up at the stars are spread across the sky.

In her presence, I forget to tally up the multitudinous sins committed in the name of friendship—who forgets to call, who doesn’t call at all, who is an absolute pain to call. Instead we watch the sky and listen to the creaking sounds of the city as it settles down to sleep.

She doesn’t believe that friendships are lifelines because you must always measure the strength of a lifeline to see if it will bear your weight, and that is dangerous. Anything measured may fall short. Rather, in times of need, fall, and trust in the goodness of human nature, strangers, friends, enemies, indifferent acquaintances. Better yet, know that you are made of rubber and you will bounce back up.

This girl, being alone with her, it is not so bad.


Superhero Alphabet

A – Aquaman, B – Batman, C – Cyclops, D – Daredevil, E – Elektra,
F - The Flash, G - Green Lantern, H – Hulk, I - Iron Man, J – Justice,
K - Kick-ass, L - Lion-o, M - Mandrake The Magician, N – Nightcrawler,
O – Orion, P – Punisher, Q – Quicksilver, R – Rorschach, S – Superman,
T - The Thing, U - Ultra Boy, V – Vision, W –Wolverine,
X - Xavier (Professor X), Y - Yukk!, Z - Zorro

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Whatever, I like being single...

Movies Included:

The Princess Bride | Bride Wars | Oklahoma | Father of the Bride (1950) | Bridget Jones's Diary: The Edge of Reason | The Birdcage | Disney's Cinderella | Gone with the Wind | It Had To Be You| Fools Rush In | Little Shop of Horrors (1986) | Gentlemen Prefer Blondes | Big Fish | High Noon | The Best Man | The Graduate | Four Weddings and A Funeral | The Rocky Horror Picture Show | Love and Death | William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet | The Jerk | Love Actually | Father of the Bride (1991) | Disney's Up | Frivolous Lola | Imagine Me and You | Honeymoon in Vegas | The Bachelor | 27 Dresses | The African Queen | The Quiet Man | Monsoon Wedding | Yours, Mine and Ours | The Best Years of Our Lives | Sex and the City | Mamma Mia | My Best Friend's Wedding | Mrs. Winterbourne | The Other Sister | Betsy's Wedding | Muriel's Wedding | Runaway Bride | Robin Hood: Men in Tights | Much Ado About Nothing | The Palm Beach Story | Seven Brides for Seven Brothers | Disney's The Little Mermaid | My Big Fat Greek Wedding | The Wedding Singer | Notting Hill | Indiscreet | Sense and Sensibility | Pirate Radio | Secretary | While You Were Sleeping | What's up Doc? | Disney's Robin Hood | Pride and Prejudice


Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Review: Something Borrow

WARNING: This particular review will contain tons of spoilers and opinions. If you are faint of heart or easily offended, I suggest you stop reading this post immediately. P.S. Don't say I didn't warn you. Thank you! Enjoy!

I first picked up Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed over a year ago, in between reading hordes of historical fiction. It seemed light, fluffy, and easy to read - the perfect transition in between two such verbose and informative material.

The minute I picked it up, I was immediately hooked. Ms. Giffin certainly has a way with words. She is able to write and create characters that are so relatable, you feel like these are ordinary people that surround you in your daily life. Reading her work, meeting her characters, feels too much like catching up with old buds. Her characters are obviously human beings - they are flawed, they are repentant, but not overly so. Their world moves fast, just as ours. There's no time nor luxury to wallow in self-pity. It's difficult to find fault in a scenario so carefully and meticulously carved that it closely mirrors our own.

However, beneath the enjoyment with her world and words, I found myself suffering with mixed emotions regarding her characters, as well as her plot. Clearly, Ms. Giffin's gift is not just in writing but in storytelling as well. In case you haven't surmised as much, this is not your run of the mill chick-lit. Maybe in some aspects, there will always be similarities within all romance-centered novels, but there's something about Emily's books that provokes thought. It is not something that just passes your time; it stays with you. You mull over it. You ponder. To think, it has now been a year later, with a film adaptation coming out this May, and I still can't decide on how I well and truly feel about these novels (there's a second book called Something Blue).

"Rachel White and Darcy Rhone have been best friends since childhood. They've shared birthdays, the horrors of high school and even boyfriends, but while Darcy is the sort of woman who breezes through life getting what she wants when she wants it, Rachel has always played by the rules and watched her stunning best friend steal all the limelight. The one thing Rachel's always had over Darcy is the four-month age gap which meant she was first to being a teenager, first to drive, first to everything

... but now she's about to be first to thirty. And Darcy still has a charmed life. On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Rachel is shocked to find herself questioning the status quo. How come Darcy gets a glamorous job at a PR firm and the perfect boyfriend, while Rachel grinds away at her despised job as an attorney and remains painfully single. Is it just luck? Or, looking back at their friendship and their lives together, is it a bit more complicated than that? Then an accidental fling complicates everything, and it's time for Rachel to make a few hard choices. And she's suddenly forced to learn that sometimes true love comes at a price ..."

To summarize, perennial good-girl Rachel, and her BFF wild-child Darcy have always had a friendship alien to most females. There's no competition. Or so they thought. While Rachel thought and felt she has never begrudged Darcy the limelight, nor does she mind taking second place next to Darcy, there was always that slight resentment brewing after every silver medal. Now, years later, Rachel finds herself in love with Darcy's fiance, Dex - the man Rachel has loved ever since they attended law school together, and way before Darcy ever came into the picture. When a drunken, or rather not-so-drunken on his part, chance fling occurs after her tete-a-tete with Dex on her 30th birthday, Rachel comes to realize that you have to fight to get what you want in life, and the cost can kill you in the attempt.

To begin, what kind of person sleeps with her bestfriend's fiance? Rachel was written as a paragon of virtue, a person you should aspire to be. However, can you really juxtaposition a sin this big beside a saint? It is a testament to Emily's skill as a writer that she was able to do this. Rachel, our protagonist, was sold as a good girl. She was a victim of circumstance, and I guess you could say the same about both Darcy and Dex as well.

Darcy, on the other hand, has always been the devil-may-care type. She was selfish, narcissistic, and rude. But can you truly say that she deserved what was done to her by the two people she loved and trusted the most? She had her failings, but does that mean that the punishment was Rachel's and Dex's to give?

Yet no matter how large the faults of our two female leads may be, none of them compare to that which belongs to our leading man, Dex. Dex justifies him cheating on Darcy with Rachel by admitting that he has always carried a torch for Rachel, but never thought she returned the sentiment. He felt like it was a crime against nature not to act on the feelings he and Rachel had for each other. How very much like a man to not consider that there was more to this torrid affair than him cancelling his wedding. Never did he think of the effect it might have on Darcy's and Rachel's relationship.

The biggest problem I have with this book, and the cause of my apprehension, is how I feel it romanticizes and glorifies cheating. Rachel, someone who is so great, cheats with her bestfriend's fiance. Yet amidst the tawdriness of the entire scenario, it is difficult to not root for Rachel. She is an underdog and she doesn't mind. It's about time she received something she deserves... but at what price?

Some of the questions I found myself asking after reading this book is how far could you go for love? And how far should you go? And would you go? At what point do you tell yourself, I have crossed the line and I'm not willing to go any further? Or would you rather throw caution to the wind and not care about who you run over in the process, including the person who loves you the most? What sacrifices can be fairly made for love? Can cheating be justified when it involves real, honest to God love? Is it okay to purposely hurt someone if you feel they aren't good enough people?

Something Borrowed, while truly an amazing novel, is a book that can be misconstrued as a justification to cheating, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's important to me to have clear feelings with my novels and characters as I tend to re-read and re-visit and re-connect with these friends of mine. I always learn something new from them, and they just seem so full of knowledge and wisdom -- a veritable fountain of never-ending advice. As of right now, I still haven't re-read Something Borrowed and I'm still unsure of my feelings. I guess, with more time, I'll come back to see if my view on it stays the same.

Welcome to the 20's

Absent Treatment — Dancing with a bashful partner.

Airedale — A homely man.

Alarm Clock — Chaperone.

Anchor — Box of flowers.

Apple Knocker — A hick; a hay-shaker.

Apple Sauce - Flattery; bunk.

Bank’s Closed — No petting allowed; no kisses.

Barneymugging — Lovemaking.

Bee’s Knees — See “Cat’s Pajamas”

Bell Polisher — A young man addicted to lingering in vestibules at 1 a.m.

Bean Picker — One who patches up trouble and picks up spilled beans.

Berry Patch — A man’s particular interest in a girl.

Berries — Great.

Biscuit — A pettable flapper.

Big Timer — (n. masc.) — A charmer able to convince his sweetie that a jollier thing would be to get a snack in an armchair lunchroom; a romantic.

Billboard — Flashy man or woman.

Blushing Violet — A publicity hound.

Blow — Wild party.

Blaah — No good.

Boob Tickler — Girl who entertains father’s out-of-town customers.

Brush Ape — Anyone from the sticks; a country Jake.

Brooksy — Classy dresser

Bust — A man who makes his living in the prize ring, a pugilist.

Bun Duster — See “Cake Eater”.

Bush Hounds — Rustics and others outside of the Flapper pale.

Cancelled Stamp — A wallflower.

Cake Basket — A limousine.

Cake Eater — See “Crumb Gobbler”

Cat’s Particulars — The acme of perfection; anything that’s good

Cat’s Pajamas — Anything that’s good

Cellar Smeller — A young man who always turns up where liquor is to be had without cost.

Clothesline — One who tells neighborhood secrets.

Corn Shredder — Young man who dances on a girl’s feet.

Crumb Gobbler — Slightly sissy tea hound.

Crasher — Anyone who comes to parties uninvited.

Crashing Party — Party where several young men in a group go uninvited.

Cuddle Cootie — Young man who takes a girl for a ride on a bus, gas wagon or automobile.

Cuddler — One who likes petting.

Dapper — A flapper’s father.

Dewdropper — Young man who does not work, and sleeps all day.

Dincher — A half-smoked cigarette.

Dingle Dangler — One who insists on telephoning.

Dipe Ducat — A subway ticket.

Dimbox — A taxicab.

Di Mi — Goodness.

Dogs — Feet.

Dog Kennels — Pair of shoes.

Dropping the Pilot — Getting a divorce.

Dumbdora — Stupid girl.

Duck’s Quack — The best thing ever.

Ducky — General term of approbation.

Dud — Wallflower.

Dumbbell - Wall flower with little brains.

Dumkuff — General term for being “nutty” or “batty”.

Edisoned — Being asked a lot of questions.

Egg Harbor — Free dance.

Embalmer — A bootlegger.

Eye Opener — A marriage.

Father Time — Any man over 30 years of age.

Face Stretcher — Old maid who tries to look younger.

Feathers — Light conversation.

Fire Extinguisher — A chaperone.

Finale Hopper — Young man who arrives after everything is paid for.

Fire Alarm — Divorced woman.

Fire Bell — Married woman.

Flat Shoes — Fight between a Flapper and her Goof

Fluky — Funny, odd, peculiar; different.

Flatwheeler — Slat shy of money; takes girls to free affairs.

Floorflusher — Inveterate dance hound.

Flour Lover — Girl who powders too freely.

Forty-Niner — Man who is prospecting for a rich wife.

Frog’s Eyebrows — Nice, fine.

Green Glorious — Money and checks.

Gimlet — A chronic bore.

Given the Air — When a girl or fellow is thrown down on a date.

Give Your Knee — Cheek-to-cheek or toe-to-toe dancing.

Goofy — To be in love with, or attracted to. Example: “I’m goofy about Jack.”

Goat’s Whiskers — See “Cat’s Particulars”

Goof — Sweetie.

Grummy — In the dumps, shades or blue.

Grubber — One who always borrows cigarettes.

Handcuff — Engagement ring.

Hen Coop — A beauty parlor.

His Blue Serge — His sweetheart.

Highjohn — Young man friend; sweetie, cutey, highboy.

Hopper — Dancer.

Houdini — To be on time for a date.

Horse Prancer — See “Corn Shredder”.

Hush Money — Allowance from father.

Jane — A girl who meets you on the stoop.

Johnnie Walker — Guy who never hires a cab.

Kitten’s Ankles — See “Cat’s Particulars”.

Kluck — Dumb, but happy.

Lap — Drink.

Lallygagger — A young man addicted to attempts at hallway spooning.

Lens Louise — A person given to monopolizing conversation.

Lemon Squeezer — An elevator.

Low Lid — The opposite of highbrow.

Mad Money — Carfare home if she has a fight with her escort.

Meringue — Personality.

Monkey’s Eyebrows — See “Cat’s Particulars”.

Monog — A young person of either sex who is goofy about only one person at a time.

Monologist — Young man who hates to talk about himself.

Mustard Plaster — Unwelcome guy who sticks around.

Munitions — Face powder and rouge.

Mug — To osculate or kiss.

Necker — A petter who puts her arms around a boy’s neck.

Noodle Juice — Tea.

Nut Cracker — Policeman’s nightstick.

Oilcan — An imposter.

Orchid — Anything that is expensive.

Out on Parole — A person who has been divorced.

Petting Pantry — Movie.

Petting Party — A party devoted to hugging.

Petter — A lovable person; one who enjoys to caress.

Pillow Case — Young man who is full of feathers.

Police Dog — Young man to whom one is engaged.

Potato — A young man shy of brains.

Ritzy Burg — Not classy.

Ritz — Stuck-up.

Rock of Ages — Any woman over 30 years of age.

Rug Hopper — Young man who never takes a girl out. A parlor hound.

Sap — A Flapper term for floorflusher.

Scandal — A short term for Scandal Walk.

Seetie — Anybody a flapper hates.

Sharpshooter — One who spends much and dances well.

Show Case — Rich man’s wife with jewels.

Sip — Flapper term for female Hopper.

Slat — See “Highjohn”; “Goof”.

Slimp — Cheapskate or “one way guy”.

Smoke Eater — A girl cigarette user.

Smooth — Guy who does not keep his word.

Snake — To call a victim with vampire arms.

Snuggleup — A man fond of petting and petting parties.

Sod Buster — An undertaker.

Stilts — Legs.

Stander — Victim of a female grafter.

Static — Conversations that mean nothing.

Strike Breaker — A young woman who goes with her friend’s “Steady” while there is a coolness.

Swan — Glide gracefully.

Tomato — A young woman shy of brains.

Trotzky (sic)— Old lady with a moustache and chin whiskers.

Umbrella — young man any girl can borrow for the evening.

Urban Set — Her new gown.

Walk In — Young man who goes to a party without being invited.

Weasel — Girl stealer.

Weed — Flapper who takes risks.

Whangdoodle — Jazz-band music.

Whiskbroom — Any man who wears whiskers.

Wind Sucker — Any person given to boasting.

Wurp — Killjoy or drawback.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Steve Jobs

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

- Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address 2005



It's been awhile, but I'm alive. I thought you should know.

Isa likes brandy and the way it hits her lips
She's a rock 'n' roll survivor with pendulum hips
She's got deep brown eyes
That've seen it all

Working at a nightclub that was called The Avenue
The bar men used to call her "Little Lisa, Looney Toons"
She went down on almost anyone

From the hard time living 'til the Chelsea days
From when her hair was sweet blonde 'til the day it turned gray
She said:

You've got more than money and sense, my friend
You've got heart and you go in your own way
What you don't have now will come back again
You've got heart and you go in your own way

Some people wear their history like a map on their face
And Joey was an artist just living out of case
But his best word was his letters home

His standard works of fiction about imaginary success
The chorus girls in neon were his closest things to friend
But to a writer, the truth is no big deal

From the hard time living to the sleepless nights

And the black and blue body from the weekend fights
He'd say:

You've got more than money and sense, my friend
You've got heart and you go in your own way
What you don't have now will come back again
You've got heart and you go in your own way

On my last night on earth, I won't look to the sky
Just breathe in the air and blink in the light
On my last night on earth, I'll pay a high price
To have no regrets and be done with my life

You've got more than money and sense, my friend
You've got heart and you go in your own way
What you don't have now will come back again
You've got heart and you go in your own way

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life lessons

1.) Never become emotionally involved with any other person.

2.) Never seek to know or share the emotions of another person.

3.) Remain aloof.

4.) Deal with facts.

5.) Always seek out the reasonable course of action in any situation, avoiding impulse and emotion.

6.) Never feel anger. It is counterproductive. It is also unnecessary.

7.) If something needs to be said, say it. if something needs to be done, do it.

8.) Never feel anger. Above all else, never show anger. Anger is a mark of weakness.