light

At the end of each day, when I get out of the shower and brush my hair in the reflection of my steam-coated mirror, I contemplate quite possibly every decision I’ve ever made. I feel the water trickle down the arch of my spine and across my lower back. I let it drape over my shoulders, forcing together flexibility with stillness. I look at myself and no longer criticize. My head turns to the right side as I study the curvature that makes up my exterior. Every night a light seeps into me, it gives me the ability to feel and describe. I feel everything, every drop of water or word spoken. They mean something to me, my mind feeds off of the ability to experience a sensation. My vertebrae twist and my chest crawls outwards, My feet no longer touch the ground and I levitate upwards, the light carries me. My fingertips fall numb and the air expands. A million particles and breaths fill the vastness of the atmosphere. I am nothing and everything all at once. The light swarms me and slithers across my surface. It intertwines with my fingers and the crooks of my neck. It mangles my hair, stretches my skin. It opens my eyes and locks my jaw. It wrenches my shoulders back and opens my throat. I am not me, not without my light. I can’t control her, she flows within me. Her essence seethes through my bones and brings life to my nerves. Her glow leaks out of my mouth and ears, dripping off the tip of my tongue. The layer that separates the world from my organs melts away and leaves me with only a soul. My body means nothing, the only truth I know is my mind and soul. She festers within me. At the end of each night, I look into her hollowed eyes, and thank my tired light. She lets me feel.

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pc:me

cry, the beloved country

I watched a new movie this week that by any standards is brilliant and moving. And in my opinion, one of the most underrated films.

“Cry, the Beloved Country” is based on a heartwrenching book that deals with really complex topics in such a unique way. I can’t even remotely relate to the characters yet I still suffered with them. This movie deals with issues of segregation and protests against apartheid in such a beautiful and moving way, combined with topics of fear, corruption, death, and forgiveness.

James Earl Jones was incredible. He manages to convey and make you feel so many things through really minimalistic acting. He doesn’t waste himself on meaningless gestures & histrionics, he lets you see the suffering of his soul.

The movie does a great job illustrating the battered country of Africa– where the land itself is described to be the essence of a man– as he navigates through Johannesburg and experiences all its corruption and violence. Many of the political, economic, and societal issues within Southern Africa in the 1950s are brought to light in this film,

This is a movie about black and white. A well-known theme in Hollywood, but I’ve never seen a movie deal with this subject so excellent as this one. The plot is unlike anything I’ve ever read or seen before. Alan Paton, the author of the book it’s based on, is one talented man.

PC: https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/cry-the-beloved-country-1995/EB19951220REVIEWS512200301AR.jpg

Meh.

I just suck at writing anything important

like literally what is the point? 

I surely am not a writer 

Im yet to get any better 

Even when I try 

Lela writes some ballad 

And mine are overlooked.

Honestly, 

I just kinda feel shitty. 

I mean 

It’s such a vulnerable thing 

For so little reward. 

When I write for college 

I get something out of that 

When I write essays 

I can see the reward 

But blog posts 

Another 10 points in my derelict grade book 

Im writing bad poetry right now 

So at least 

People will know I didn’t try 

And that way 

When im vulnerable 

I can just blame it on 

Not caring 

Seems to be the trick 

No matter how much you actually care 

If people think you don’t 

You have nothing to lose 

If you care 

Emotion gets in the way 

And feeling conflict with each other 

So why don’t we just play cool 

Put our feet up 

Relax 

And pretend 

Nothing really matters. 

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pc me

scent of a woman

Of the many many movies I’ve watched, only four have made me cry. “Scent of a Woman” was one of them. This movie is more touching than Forrest Gump, funnier than Airplane!, and makes my heart pound more than Whiplash. It is just dripping with passion, has fantastic characters, and in my opinion, is home to one of the best cinematic scenes in history. I can’t think of enough adjectives to praise this movie. You can watch it with high expectations and you will be satisfied.

SPOILERS: (PLEASE don’t read if you haven’t already seen this movie)

This movie. I don’t even know where to start. I went into it totally blind (haha get it). I watched it just because Al Pacino got an Oscar for it – but I was not emotionally prepared for this 2 hr plus rollercoaster.

To be honest I was not very impressed in the beginning. Before he got to New York, I didn’t like Frank Slade’s character. But oh boy does he grow on you. His wit, constant bellowing and all. Even though it was really rocky at first, his relationship with Charlie is moving. Mentor-mentee dynamics are one of my favorite tropes. Also, I relate to aspects of the movies because every week I help elderly people, and they remind me sometimes of Slade- nosy and upfront.

The best moment in the movie -and one of the best in cinematic history- is the powerful scene where Frank Slade comes in defense of Charlie against Baird’s directors and that anal principal. It was so good I replayed it right after my first time watching it. I have never heard a more powerful, intense, and moving speech. I hoped he would keep going after every line. I hoped he would never stop talking. The Gettysburg address wishes it was as eloquent as this.

When Mr. Trask yells to Lt. Slade that “he’s out of order,” Frank just goes off, it is just so satisfying- the expressive way he talks, the words he chooses. I wish I could be half as articulate as he is.

I believe I cried during that one, pivotal scene in the hotel with the gun. I almost cried during the family dinner one too- but back to the hotel. Wow. When Charlie was crying and telling Slade his reasons to live, my face looked like his. Such a stressful and intense clip. Dead Poet’s Society is a cakewalk compared to this.

You need to watch the movie to feel the whole experience. “Scent of a Woman” is a movie that masterfully displays drama, comedy, and sadness. It will move and provoke in you an internal reflection of how you act towards life and its burdens.

PC https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYjQyNTRkYWEtYzQwYy00NDA1LTk0NTItZWE1MzI0ODU4OWY4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUwNzk3NDc@.V1.jpg

here’s the best scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd10x8LiuBc&t=70s

What makes good music 

I’ve always appreciated music, but for most of my life, I never listened to it. I consumed what my parents and friends listened to, there were songs I liked, and artists I didn’t, but never did I voyage to discover “new” music. Even in high school, I was the kid who said “oh I don’t really listen to music”, then, one day, something changed. It came in leu of befriending Adam who I greatly looked up to, he, like the others who have surrounded me, changed me through pointed jokes towards my seemingly ever-lacking personality. The first songs I listened to I played relentlessly and then disposed of when they no longer brought me joy, were decades-old pop songs such as 99 Luftballoons, You Spin Me Right Around, and Kiss. I liked these songs and still do, but they still didn’t feel right for me. These songs have millions of plays on Spotify and thousands may consider them the best of all time—at least in their respective genres—but I still couldn’t connect to them in a way I now knew possible as a result of the passion I saw in Adam for excellent music. I didn’t know it yet but I was in search of the perfect song (something I likely will never find). After old pop, I moved into rap, not the good kind, honestly like bad music, although I do appreciate them for what they are artist like bbno$ and Young Gravy has no place in the search for the best song of all time. It’s not to diss them but they create music not for the soul but for the pleasure of the masses. Now, I think I know what you’re thinking, “this kid just said popular songs can’t be good, twice.” While I do think there is a correlation between production for mass markets and production for emotional expression, many popular songs are that way because they truly tap into a deep human feeling that people can’t turn away from. Latino artists do this incredibly well. I recently played mi gente in the car with Logan and he called it “cringy” still, that song, despite its incredible popularity infuses you with energy in a way most songs could never do. Is Mi Gente the perfect song? No. Is it worth listening to? Absolutely. Another artsiest who accomplishes this emotional feat is Lauryn Hill. I know I’ve already talked about her but she has the infusion into her music that grabs your soul and holds it right in the rhythm and beat of the music. I think this is the beginning of a formula for a perfect song. Though like John Keating with poems, I really don’t think there can be a “formula” to a perfect song, rather, qualitative aspects add up to create something perfect. 





what i’ve been playing on the piano

Nujabes’ music is so fun to play. I don’t care if he’s mainstream. Almost all of his music is brimming with these beautiful chords and his progressions are fantastic. My favorite pieces by him for the piano are Flowers, Lady Brown, Luv(sic), Battlecry, and Kumomi.

This is weird but I like playing what’s meant for the guitar in like rock songs, for example, Breakthru (Queen) and Big shot are a blast.

Another fun thing you could do is take classic jazzy pieces (misty, autumn, blue in green whatever stuff for old people from like Bill Evans, Chick Correa, Miles Davis, and J Coltrane) and just add like bossa-y chords think m7 or m9s, with a hint of blue scales here and there. Ok, someone who does this really well is this guy on TikTok who wistfully plays. I LOVE what he does.

Obviously, I’m a sucker for big pretty chords. R&B music is a good place to find these, think Bruno Mars, and ok this isn’t the same thing but bossa- Japanese songs (Masayoshi Takenaka) often use like the same chords. Somewhere you can find more eccentric and weird chords -which I also love- is surprisingly in rap. Some of these songs sample really unique piano tracks that are really fun to play. Seriously: Tyler, mf doom, nas, jid and like all the classic rap artists have some songs with super chords.

PC: https://www.gramophone.co.uk/media/206995/t958_artur-rubinstein-1.jpg?&width=780&quality=60

Tom Lehrer Is A Genius

There is a very niche genre of songs my Dad loves.

They’re a blend of weird slapstick-parody comedy. Think Weird Al but more archaic.

Artists like Dr. Demento and Allan Sherman (Camp Granada guy) produce music in this genre. My Dad’s favorite, Tom Lehrer, however, stands out to me.

Like the rest of these creators, he is really smart. In fact, he graduated from Harvard. When I was a kid, I remember watching his song “New Math.” Besides being really catchy, it is overloaded with subtle jokes like the rest of his songs. Anyway, he’s a really clever guy and is one of my favorite satiric songwriters.

I feel like I need to write more so I’ll talk about Weird Al, I guess. I have first introduced to him a really long time ago one night while I was eating dinner. Someone thought I ate too slowly so she started playing “eat it.” I thought it was really funny. Anyway, he’s a cool guy too like Tom Lehrer, really smart. And guess what, he went to Calpoly. Like what’s the deal with all these comedian-songwriters and their impressive educational backgrounds.

PC: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Tom_Lehrer_-_Southern_Campus_1960.jpg

The Best Story

The best reality documentary on youtube is a Vice series titled “North Korean Labor Camps” where they sent a Canadian Journalist, Shane Smith, to investigate the hermit kingdom and bring back cultural learnings with him.

It has everything: politics, humor, wit, fear, camaraderie with absolutely random people, realities of everyday life of common people, getting banned and kicked out, and going into the endless unknown (Siberian Tiga) like a spaceship.

It’s in a blog, video diary format with a pretty bad camera (it was 10 years ago), and it’s just so cool. All seven parts of the series are just insane. He gets in trouble with the FSB, there’s a car chase in the wilds of Siberia, and he befriends the local mob. My favorite part though is all the random people that just helped and tagged along: a cop, ex-chief of police, freelance journalist, and some crazy Russian guy who saved the journalist from angry authorities.

It all started in North Korea, with a video titled “We Tried Sneaking Journalists into North Korea.” In it, you see how unsettling and just off North Korea feels, at least 10 years ago. Anyway, soon he finds out that Koreans are being sent to logging camps for like several years at a time in Eastern Russia and so begins the aforementioned series. I want to do something like this one day.

Besides what he manages to uncover, what’s most shocking is how calm the journalist was despite the tense circumstances. From intimidating drunk guys on trains to North Korean camp leaders telling him no, he just kept his cool and kept asking questions. That’s a Journalist!

PC https://static01.nyt.com/images/2010/12/06/arts/SUBVICE/SUBVICE-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

frog and scorpion

famous fable I like:

One day, a scorpion wanted to cross a river, so it approached a frog for help. “I’d like to,” the frog said, “but if I let you get on my back, you’ll sting me.”

“Of course, I wouldn’t!” the scorpion said, “that would only kill us both.”

And so the frog let the scorpion onto its back. They swam out into the river, and once they reached the middle, the scorpion stung the frog. The frog called out “Why did you do that? Now we’ll both die!” The scorpion said, “it’s in my nature.” And so they sunk.

“But can’t you resist your own nature?” The frog pleaded, “you could have at least waited to sting me once we crossed the river and on land!”

“Ah,” the scorpion said, “but this is guaranteed to work. You can’t blame me for being a profiteer.”

“No” the frog retaliated, “now you haven’t just done something stupid, but you’re also too afraid of apologizing. You’ve convinced yourself that profiteering off greed is the way of the world- but you’re wrong because the world isn’t fundamentally unfair, the world is just full of creatures that make it so. You’re the problem, convincing yourself that everything is futile so you can give into your cynical impulses.”

“Just apologize and I’ll forgive you, even now, even at the end.” The frog said. “Oh, I never apologize” The scorpion replied, “it’s not in my nature.”

PC: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/70/30/3c/70303c3b108574fac7e07d0043ee20d2.jpg

A little thing on Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago is a feminist artist, whose work, although initially rejected, pushed the art world to accept feminism and has defined feminist art to this day. 

Judy Chicago was born in 1939 in Chicago (initially with the last name Cohen). She was raised in a wealthy Jewish family who supported her career in the arts, this support allowed her to begin pursuing art from the age of 5. As a result of this early start, each of Chicago’s later pieces is defined by her adept artist skills and technical feats. Being a woman in the art world hegemonized by men pushed her towards her radicalized artwork. In 1965, Chicago released a modern art piece of a series of rainbow beams leaning against a wall, when art critic Walter Hopps saw the piece he largely ignored it and talked to the other male artists in the room. Years after, Chicago and Hopps met again and he told her, that his ignorance was a result of surprise at the high level of her work. Sexism from the world and critics was and continues to be, the major inspiration for her work. The most famous of these pieces is “The Dinner Party” 

In 1979 Chicago revealed an enormous project that covered over 1,100 square feet and marks her most influential piece. The piece consisted of a tile floor, three 48-foot-long tables which created the perimeter, and 39 ceramic plates which gave a spot to an influential woman in history. This piece required years of work to complete and the help of over 400 volunteers. In order to complete this feat, Chicago and her team threw, handbuilt, slab built, and slip-cast the pieces. They also employed painting, sewing, and building skills. Inscribed on the tile floor were the names of 999 influential women whose names were largely unknown or forgotten. The piece is both a respectful homage to the powerful women who came before her and a satirical understanding of the nonsensical notion of man’s power. Each of the 39 plates took a vulvaic form, this, although initially thought of as pornographic and unnecessary, defined the piece as a straightforward and “audacious” piece of art that holds a firm grip on what it means to be a feminist in art. The New York Times described the piece in 2018 writing on Judy Chicago as “a repository of women’s history” and remarked on the assumed humor of the piece had it been released in the modern world: “The audacity of “The Dinner Party,” its rhetorical energy, its humor (the vulva plates are, among other things, a play on what it might be like if women took as much pride in their anatomy as men did)”. 

Despite its initial rejection from the art world Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” has been tremendously influential to art in its category and marked the first of its kind of feminist art piece. Chicago trailblazed as a leader in the largely male art world of the time and continued to this day as a radical artist and strong feminist. “The Dinner Party” is now a permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and continues to inspire the feminist movement and female artists and non-artist alike. Judy Chicago and “The Dinner Party” remain the unambiguous “Godmother” of feminism in the arts. 

Pc: New York Times