Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Ungame

Yes, I know, I’m behind on my posting. Moving on.

A couple weeks back, I went to the IVCF Leadership Retreat, which was all kinds of awesome. It’s always cool to meet up with people who are very much like you, along with the rapid expansion of your friend circle. And while the main focus of the retreat was to prepare the incoming executive for the year they had ahead of them, we spent a significant amount of times playing games. And while playing UNO like Yu-Gi-Oh is an unique experience and pretending to kill your friends in Mafia is rather disturbing, there is no game quite like The Ungame.

From the name you can guess that this game isn’t really a game. There is no board, no objectives, and no game pieces. Just two piles of cards with random questions on them, and some that allow you to ask another player a question. That’s all. You sit in a circle and answer questions in turn. And the questions, by the way, aren’t regular trivia questions. They’re more like “What is your secret desire?” or “I feel the loneliest when ___” and other personal stuff like that. It may sound pretty boring, until you realize that these little questions bring out some of most unexpected answers from people. The emotional intensity that develops as the game progresses is sometimes too much for some to handle. I played the game with people who I’ve known for a long time, and found out far more about them than in all the time I knew them. I even found out some things about myself. It’s also a game that could get you in a tidy bit of trouble. I like to call it “Jumaji in real life”. It’s fun at first, but you can find yourself in some very deep doo doo while playing it.

The Ungame has rather unique origins. The woman who created it didn’t originally mean for it to be a game. Fearing that a medical procedure would remove her ability to speak, she wrote down some questions that she’d like to ask her husband and children. She was shocked at the revelations that came the first time she played the game, so much that her husband is quoted as saying “I've learned more about all of you in these twenty minutes than in the past five years." The game spread as she began sharing it with neighbors, and soon there was an entire market for the game to be produced.

The thing is, we think that to find the answers to the most complex of problems, we need to ask complex questions. The truth is, all it takes is the simplest of questions to solve the most intricate of puzzles. Questions like “Where do you want to be in 5 years” or “What’s your favorite holiday” may sound cheesy or unimportant, but they can tell you a lot about a person. And, who knows, maybe that person may just waiting for somewhere who they can share something with.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rubik's Cube

I'm not going to waste an entire post on why I'm only now coming back to posting. There was school, and then the play and then exams, and then the leadership retreat and then the rapture, so this is the first time in a very long time that I have had time to post. I should be able to post more regularly for a while.

Many people ask me why I'm doing engineering if I like writing so much. The truth is, I really do love engineering as well. Probably not as much as writing, but I really do like what I study. You see the core of engineering isn't building stuff. It's understanding stuff. You can't build a car, until you understand how every thing in a car works. Engineering takes the simplest of things and breaks them down even further. Like how a length of PVC pipe is made, or why a beam sags or exactly how the heat in a room is circulated throughout it (which I frankly still don't understand). I guess the reason why I like it so much is because I like knowing. I like having all the information that I need before I make a decision. I like understanding a system, so that I could have a firm grasp on it.

One thing, I have come to understand however, that the skills engineering skills that help you understand physical systems, in no way help you understand human systems. And I don't mean biological systems. I mean mental and emotional systems. I was never really one to have many friends, but recently I found that my friend circle has exploded exponentially. The thing is, that sometimes, out of ignorance, I may do something that may offend, upset or seem weird to some people. I try to learn from my mistakes, but there is just so much to learn. You can never have all the variables for a human system. They are constantly changing and evolving. The harder you try to understand someone, the more difficult it becomes. And perhaps the most frustrating thing about human systems is that you can't fix them. If you snap an axle, you can always get it fixed. If you break someone's heart, that could take years to heal.

Humanity is hard to understand, but we crave to understand each other anyway. Perhaps we are confused with ourselves and try to find the answers in each other. Whatever it is, we gladly throw ourselves into frustration for one moment of clarity. For that one time that you feel you can truly understand someone. And perhaps in the vein of trying to understand others, we make it easier for others to understand us.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday?

So I had something completely different in mind for this blog post, but I just felt as if had to change it for this. It's all about a song named "Friday" sung by a 13-year-old Rebecca Black. Now the name of a song doesn't really give away that much. In fact some songs I know have nothing to do with their names at all. But this song, has very much to do with it's name. In fact it has too much to do with the days of the week to begin with.



Yeah. So if you don't make it through the first minute with clicking escape or attempting to rip your ears off from the side of your head, don't be alarmed. Those are both very normal. The song is well...well it's terrible. When ever somebody says that a particular song is horrible, I try to play the devil's advocate and find something that's good about it. I couldn't find anything good about this song. At all.

Now the obvious first response on the internet is to flame it, the same thing they do to Justin Bieber's videos. But as I looked at my friends Facebook, and some of the YouTube comments, it became apparent to me that the first response may not be the correct one. Everyone was complaining about how much they used Auto-Tune and how meaningless the lyrics were, both of which are quite true. But a lot of the comments were targeted at Rebecca herself, and many of them I wouldn't even repeat. I wanted to know why everyone hated this girl so much. What exactly did she do?

So I did a little research. Rebecca Black is a regular girl, albeit very talented. Her profile page on the Ark Music Factory websites reads of several achievements in the realm of acting and singing, but even those aren't too extravagant. They were mainly things like school plays and music camps. Ark Music factory allows young artists to record a song for a small fee so that they can experience what the music industry is like. Naturally, like anyone would, she took the opportunity to record a song. Who didn't want the chance to record and actual single and make a real music video when they were 13? And so...Friday was born.

To be honest, the whole debacle wasn't Rebecca's fault. She didn't write the lyrics. No, that came from a lyric writer in the Ark Music Factory by the name of Clarence Jey who should be fired forthwith. She was merely given the song to sing. And she didn't Auto-Tune it either. I'm pretty sure that a girl who's spent most of her life singing in front of audiences wasn't worried about her voice. Auto-Tune is the fad these days, and I'm sure that's why Ark Music Factory did that. Either way, all these insults and attacks on Rebecca are meaningless and ill aimed. If anyone should be blamed it's the Ark Music Factory. They did the bulk of evil.

So Rebecca Black, I do wish you the best. You may have gotten off to a bad start, but you currently have the world of publicity and I'm sure you have many supporters. At the rate at which you're going, everyone would be clamouring to listen to you're next single. Good luck with your bright, bright future.

But don't sing "Friday" again. Ever. Seriously. Don't

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Return To Blogging

I don't remember exactly when it was that I stopped blogging or why exactly. All I know that everything had suddenly converged on me suddenly. I was confused, lost and worried. I could not see a clear path forward. The feeling lasted for a while and somehow, I was able to finish and succeed in all that I had to do. I don't remember how. The past couple weeks were a blur, all the events smashed together.

And now that I'm back, there are so many many things that I want to talk about. About the play that has changed and gone through so many iteration that it bares little resemblance to the original. About a friend who, well, is still a friend, at least for now. About the Japanese earthquake and the eerie vacation house in Tobago. I have much to talk about, but so very little time to do it. I have so much to say, but so little time to say it. Projects and midterms, Bible study and play rehearsals all swim around me, threatening to devour my mind. I will not fall. I will fight to the bitter end, to win to or to fall, sword in hand, knowing that I did not give up. My break from blogging has renewed me, and I charge into the unknown, yelling the battle cry of some long forgotten age. I am reborn

Forgive the melodrama that the previous paragraph runs thick with. I'm reading a fantasy novel of the might and magic type, so it's sort of influenced by that. There will be a new post tomorrow and hopefully many to come after that.

See you guys tomorrow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mythical Creature Saturdays - La Diablesse



YES!!! I am back after a very long and confusing hiatus. More on that tomorrow. Right now, I have an old favor to fulfill to a friend. I ended MSC a long time ago, but one of my friends from school had begged me to do a MSC on a La Diablesse, a myth the features prominently in Trinidadian folklore. What is exactly is a La Diablesse you may ask? Well, she sorta looks something like this:


Anyway, on with the blog.

What is a La Diablesse?

A La Diablesse is on those myths that target men specifically. They are usually defined as a very beautiful woman wearing a broad rimmed hat that drops down over her face, hiding her eyes. She's dressed in rather vintage clothing, usually a long flowing dress and a lace bodice, mostly all white. She has the most beautiful voice and enchanting laugh. She is said the enchant men, leading them off into the night, where they are never seen again. To the naked eye, she may well be the most beautiful creature in the world, but there is one this off about her though, and it's this: one of her legs is in fact that of a cow, complete with a hoof at the end. Since the La Diablesse usually wear long dresses, this leg isn't seen, but once seen, it is enough to break the spell she has on the man.

La Diablesse Origins

The La Diablesse has it's origins in the European myths of the succubus and other myths of beautiful supernatural creatures, beguiling men into infidelity. The origin of it's hoof comes from the idea that whenever the devil manifested, he, for some reason or the other, could not change his feet. Hence many demonic creatures have been associated with having cloven hooves. These thoughts came together in the boiling pot of the Caribbean and created the La Diablesse.

La Diablesse Abilities

La Diablesse have the ability to make men swoon unnaturally. Most men don't remember anything before their appearance, often leaving their girlfriends or wives at the appearance of the creature. In most myths, she would lead them to the silk cotton tree kill them, similar to the Soucouyant myth. They also have the ability to suddenly appear and disappear.

How to defeat a La Diablesse

Legend says that if you turn your clothes inside out and where them, then you'd for sure avoid encountering a La Diablesse, which one, seems somewhat non-sensical and two, would probably make you look stupid as well. However, if you ever did meet a La Diablesse, a lighted match or a lighter would instantly drive her away for fear the her leg would be seen. Once discovered, a La Diablesse would not approach the same man again.


Why La Diablesse are awesome

1) They're hot! No seriously, they are. Demonic and evil, yes, but still hot!!
2) Once under they're spell, it's very hard to escape.
3) They can't be killed, just chased away and avoided.

Why La Diablesse suck

1) They have a really crappy weakness when it comes to that's fire thing.

Personally the La Diablesse is one of my most favorite myths ever. What about you?

Stay tuned for a regular post tomorrow. Bye!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Kill Giants

On Monday, one of my friends lent me a graphical novel entitled "I Kill Giants"by Joe Kelly. The cover seemed innocent enough. Just a picture of a the face a of a cartoonishly drawn little girl. When you turned the cover of the book at a particular angle, you could see the light outline of little fairies scatter all over the cover. The back of the book had no synopsis, just some review comments. When I asked him what it was about, all he could say that it was about a little girl and that anything more than that would be a spoiler. He also said that it would make me cry, which it didn't by the way (well the tears were there but at least they didn't leave my eyes).

Now, to tell you about this, I'll have to tell the story contained within the novel, which is pretty much the spoiler to end all spoilers, so I'm not going to tell you. The book is way way WAY too awesome for you to get a crappy summary on a blog. I'll tell you this much though. The little girl, the protagonist of the story, has a very unique way of dealing with some serious issues affecting her life. It's a book about fighting against something so very hard that you don't even realize that that isn't what you're supposed to be fighting against. Sometimes the enemy isn't out there. Sometimes the enemy is in you. It's in your denial to accept the truth, in you struggle to believe in your self-righteousness. Sometimes the giant is of our own creation.

On the very first page of the book is this little quote from the author. It goes "To those fighting their own giants, you're stronger than you think". It's a theme echoed throughout the book. We always feel that we can defeat outward threats, but inward threats are the most difficult.It's hard to fight yourself, because you are your own limit. But remember, that you are stronger than you think. You can overcome anything, even your own giants. I really do suggest you read that book. It's one of the most wonderful things I've ever read in my entire life.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Singles Awareness Day

Everyday on the 14th of February, people all around the globe celebrate Valentine's Day, where they give gifts to their loved ones and the people they consider more than just good friends or hope to one day consider more than just friends. I, personally, have never celebrated Valentine's Day. (Ok, I lied. I celebrated Valentines day in 2007. That was a good year.) I instead celebrate Singles Awareness Day, also known as S.A.D (because it is impossible to come up with a better acronym than that). It's less complicated, a whole lot less expensive and somewhat sadder, depending on how well your Valentines Day goes.

My parents were never really big on the celebration of holidays when I was growing up, so natrually, I never particularly cared that people were giving each other weird cards when I was younger. I guess this disconnect sort of carried over into my teen years, only then, I actually started wanting to give people card and flowers and stuff. The only time I ever felt the need to ask someone to be my Valentine was the day that I mentioned above. It's weird. I want to celebrate Valentines Day. I want to be one of those guys who walks to school with a dozen roses and hands it to a star-struck girl. And at the same time I don't want to be that guy. The guy who believes that his future happiness depends on how much money he can shell out.

I've always been confused on this day, wondering exactly what I should do. The only thing that I'm really sure about is how acutely single I feel on this day, hence the whole S.A.D thing. For some reason this year, either because I was bored or because my inner masochistic tendencies began acting up, I decided to make a S.A.D playlist. It's probably the most emo thing that I've ever done, despite liking all these songs separately. If you wish, you can listen to them on YouTube here. I meant for it to have a particular progression, but I'm not sure I got it right. The thing is, while I was roaming YouTube for songs, I cam across this one:



And I must admit, it's the most comforting all the songs I listened to. To think that there is someone else, maybe celebrating Valentine's Day or S.A.D, who is waiting, even though they themselves don't know it. It may sound like a pipe dream, but I do honestly believe that each one of us has a special someone that's made just for us. That's the way God made us. And maybe next year, I won't be celebrating S.A.D.

Which means I should probably start saving.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Auditions

So this Thursday and Friday, I had auditions for the IVCF play. It was the first time I've actually been a part of something like this. All the other times that I've been a part of a play all we did to get the cast was ask,

"Hey, do you want to play the crazy guy that nobody likes? No? You want to be the princess? But how can you be the princess? You're a guy. What's that? You're not a guy? Oh, sorry about that. I just thought you were a guy. But the fact that you're wearing pink dress should have told me that you weren't. Ok, you can be the princess."

These auditions were different. Myself and two of my friends sat at the back of the classroom while the acting populous of our IVCF body improvised the characters we gave them. We graded them according to their varying ability and came out with a final cast. We're supposed to start rehearsals this week.

It was really amazing though, watching people perform. There was this one girl who was so very amazing that she made me feel sad for my own fictional character. I've always imagined out scenarios in my head where my stories take place in real life, and now, for the first time ever, I have people who are willing to step up and fill those shoes. Needless to say, I am unbeliveably excited for this play. I could see that something amazing is going to unfold. Good amazing or bad amazing, well, only time will tell. But there is one thing I do know. That if I weren't surrounded by so many wonderful actors and actresses, it didn't matter how amazing my script was. I might have well used it for toilet paper. I am nothing without those guys.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

Wednesday, I got home really late from school which is why did post anything. You see it all started with doubles. Yes, doubles. And for those of you who have no idea what a doubles is (yes, "a doubles" is considered proper English seeing as how a "doubles" is one unit), it is a delicious snack consiting of curried potato and channa (or chick peas) on fried flour patties called barrah that could be found almost anywhere in Trinidad, much like Chinese food. Now the doubles aren't (yes, the plural of doubles is doubles) actually vital to the story, but I felt the need to explain it before I continue.

So anyway, the design group that I'm in stayed back after class for an hour to finish an assignment that's due next week, because we're studious like that. During that time of one my friends and group members, decided that she wanted to buy doubles. So, we were all like, "Ok, cool!" So we finished our assignment and went to the doubles vendor and stood in the line. It was then that my friend pushed here hand into her pocket and realized that she was walletless. Now this girl happens to be my first and best female friend in all of university. So I did what you'd expect me to do. Myself and one of my other friends decided to help her find it. We scoured the place she had lunch, searched that classrooms we were looking in, asked the store clerks where she last bought stuff if they'd seen a wallet ("a big brown man's wallet" as she described it) and generally went in circles around to campus, making sure that we had exhausted ever possible possibility, and still no wallet. We eventually ended up in to campus police station so that she could make a report.

Time literally flew by while we were searching for it. By the time we left the police station it was dark. My sister called me and told me that I was supposed to be home by now, since no one else was there. I told my friend goodbye, hugged her and wished that everything would work out right. As I walked towards the gate to catch a taxi, it struck me exactly how late it was. I had tons of stuff to do and I had just spent a fruitless afternoon walking around UWI. Now I'd have to put some very important things on hold. Normally, I'd be really mad at myself for wasting time like that. But instead, I felt good. I had helped my friend through something that would have disoriented that crap out of me if I were in her shoes. If I were home, I'd probably be wasting time on Facebook or something. I realized that time spent helping someone is never time wasted. It's time invested in a friendship. And it's the one investment is life with the greatest returns.

By the way, she got her wallet back to following day, money and credit cards intact. Thank God honest people still exist.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Knowledge of the Universe

I have some pretty cool courses this semester, seeing as how the majority of them are non-mathematical and, well, I don't like maths. And with cool courses come cool lecturers. One of the particularly cool ones goes by the name Dr. Ruel Ellis. He was born and grew up in Trinidad, but he's gone on to study all over the world. The course he teaches is called "Database Design" and I must say, the guy makes me want to learn. For example, when most lecturers have a tutorial class, they usually just scrawl some stuff on the white board and walk off. Dr. Ellis, on the other hand walks into the class, sits in the back, and makes us scrawl stuff on the whiteboard, correcting us where we go wrong. This guy doesn't just teach stuff from a book or slides. He makes us learn the stuff ourselves. He's more of a guide than a teacher.

Today, he was explaining the reason behind his teaching methods to us. You see, the word "education" comes from the Latin word educere, which means "to bring out". For some reason, what we consider as education these days only has to do with putting in, and regurgitating it back onto an exam paper. We store and expel, ending up with nothing in the end, no futher from where we started. Real education is supposed to bring out the knowledge that is already inside of you.

But what knowledge would that be? How can we learn something that we never knew before? Well, I love the way Dr. Ellis said it. "At the moment of our conception the knowledge of the universe is written onto our DNA. All I do here is stimulate that knowledge to make sure it rises to the surface." At first it may sound weird and mystical, but think about it for a second. Every single thing we ever learned at school, where did it come from? It came from people who knew it before us, right? And where did they get it from? The people before them, and so on and so forth. With the exception of God's imparting of the scriptures to us, every single thing we have known, do know, and will ever know, would come from within humanity itself. We already have all the answers. We just need to figure out how to reach them.

To think that we have to knowledge of the universe in our hands is quite an amazing thing. For me, personally it makes me what to learn more, research more, do more. There is a world of knowledge waiting for me that is mine for the taking.

And I don't even need to leave my room

Monday, February 7, 2011

Long Lost Friendships

I found it rather annoying that sometimes, when I scroll through my phone book that there are several numbers that are utterly useless to me. I know I don't need them, but I think "Ehhh...maybe someday it'll come in handy", and so I pretty much leave them there. Well today, I finally decided to get rid of them and free up some of the meager memory that there is on my phone.

As I went through the numbers, I came across several familiar names, and remembered several faces. Like the girl who coined me the nickname "Snowflake", despite the fact that I'm probably the blackest guy she knows. Or that guy who I befriended during the numerous lesson classes I attended. The girl who I befriended during CYSF, the one who I think cried way too much for someone who is that beautiful. The twins that I've known ever since I was five, who have been in every single class with me in primary school, and in high school as well. The first girl I befriended on my very first day of Form Six. The dude who I hung out with when I repeated Form Six because all of my other friends had gone off to college. The girl who was my absolutely best female friend in primary school, who has changed so much (for the better) that I barely know her anymore. These and many many others.

I usually smile to myself when I hear people talking about cellphone addiction. I pride myself in the fact that all I need to get me through the month is a bare minimum pre-paid card. I usually only ever use my phone to call me parents, or my friends when I need to find out something from them, or the rare occasion where I text someone to tell them Happy Birthday. I think I'm pretty good to have avoided addiction to a cell phone. But I remember there was I time when I used to use my phone a lot. When I would call my friends and talk for hours, for no reason than just wanting to talk to them. The days when I'd need at least 3 prepaid cards a month, and when I actually paid attention to all the calling plans that the phone company advertised. I don't remember when those days stopped. All I know now is that they're not there anymore.

So I'm going to change all that. I know that everyone is a lot busier now than they were back then, and maybe they too don't like using their phones anymore, but I have way too many friends and way too many memories to turn my back on them. I plan to call every single person in my phone book who I haven't spoken to in a long time, even if it's just for a minute to see what's up. I know some people may find it weird, but I feel that I can't let these bonds go cold. And there is Skype and Facebook and Messenger and a host of all other connecting mediums that I can use.

I'm off on an adventure to rediscover long lost friendships. Care to join me?



I almost forgot. I started the new Christian blog I was talking about. You can see it here!
Christian Engineering
It's pretty bare now, but I'll be putting up some stuff soon.
Bye!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Life Has Changed

As you would know if you read my post on Friday, you'd know that I was on a retreat (yes, a retreat, not a camp. But in my defense, we use the words interchangeably in local vernacular) over the weekend. It was hosted by the IVCF organization of which I am a member. I've been to several Christian retreats over many years, and I pretty much enjoy them all. It's a pretty wonderful thing when you are surrounded by people who have the same passions as you. I've always come away changed from these retreats. But this on was different. This one really changed me. Not like "Oh-wow-that's-great" changed me, but more like "Grabbed-me-off-of-my-current-path-and-pointed-me-in-a-completely-different-direction" changed me.

It came yesterday afternoon, while were having a session on homosexuality. A group of doctors were field questions from an audience of students, about any and everything that they could think of. Just when they were about to leave, the camp coordinator said there was a girl who wanted to share her testimony. For those of you who don't know what a testimony means in Christian circles, it's basically a story of something God did for you in the past. I've heard more testimonies than I could remember, and some of them were pretty good. I assumed that this was just going to just like any other one of those. I assumed wrong.

The girl, named Anna Lisa, began talking about her life and how she herself was a lesbian for a time, and how she left that life behind her. As her story unfolded, it shocked me. At first I wanted to cover my ears and stop listening. I didn't need to hear this. It was too...too...gosh, I don't even have a word to describe it. The sheer horror and sadness that laced every word was almost too much to bare. And yet she said all of this with a completely straight face, almost as if she were telling us of a dream she had before. I can't even find it in myself to type what she said. to tell you the degree of it. However, since her testimony changed my life, it would be selfish of me to not share it with you. If you wish, you can read it here, as written by her. As you read it, imagine sitting mere inches from her while she talks about it.

By the time she was almost through, I was crying. I kept crying after we were done, and the session was over. I tried to wash up and talk to her afterwards, but about a sentence into the conversation, I started blubbering like a baby again. She was sweet and kind and completely normal, so much so that if someone else had told me that those things happened to her, I probably wouldn't have believed them. She gave me some information on where she went when she was searching for an escape, so that I could share it with others, and then she gave me a hug. And through all this, she was humble enough to remind me that she didn't do anything, that it was all the love of God.

Why did I cry so much, you may ask. Was it because her story was sad? Yes, it was sad, but that's not why. Was is because she's no longer a lesbian? While one may believe that that was the focus of the testimony, it wasn't and it wasn't why I cried either. I cried because of where I saw her today. Even with all the darkness and horror that she passed through, she came out on top. She fought and struggled, and won a battle that I didn't believe was winnable. I've always believed that God could do anything, but listening to her speak, was like watching a miracle unfold. I've always wondered if there was a sign that could prove that there was caring, loving God, and now I've seen it. It wasn't some elaborate miracle, or a beautiful powerful piece of writing. It was a girl brave enough to recite a her life story before a crowd of strangers. God really does work in mysterious ways.

See you tomorrow.

PS: When I started this blog, I made myself a promise, that this would not be a "Christian blog" but a "blog written by a Christian." It has come to the point however, where I need to write some exclusively Christian stuff. So instead of altering this blog, I'm going to start an new one, specifically for Christan stuff. I'll add the link for it soon. This blog will still keep going and I'll still update it everyday (or as soon as I can). I'll update the Christian blog less often, probably bi-monthly. There'll be more info when I'm done making it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Cause To Live For

Hey guys. So this weekend, I'll be going to a weekend camp retreat. Seeing as how it is a retreat and all, I'm not allowed to carry my laptop, cause well, tech kinda defeats the whole purpose of going to camp in the country. As such, I won't be posting anything tomorrow. However, since I have my laptop here at school today, I figure that I could probably post something while I'm here.

I was about to name one of the characters in my play Jacob (which I happen to be re-writing again), when I remembered the faux monopoly that the Twilight series seems to have on the name. So, on a whim, I decided to go look up what Jacob means to see if it would be appropriate to still have it in my play. It turns out that the name means "heel-puller" since apparently, the biblical Jacob came out of the womb holding on to his twin brother's heel. For some reason, it wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be. The thing is, that in my searching, I came across the name of his wife: Rachel. And, as I do anytime I happen to be on Wikipedia, I went along and searched for stuff just because it was there to be searched. Cutting a long search story of the "Rachel" short (which include me reading the biography of the Animorph character) I came across the name "Rachel Aliene Corrie."

Do you know who she is? No? Well, neither did I. Turns out she was a 23 year old American art student, who died after being crushed by a bulldozer in Gaza (the real Gaza, not the dumb dancehall version). She was part of an ISM (International Solidarity Movement) who were protesting the demolition of homes by the Israeli Defense Force. She was using her body as a human shield by kneeling in front of the bulldozer. Whether the machine had rolled over her and crushed her by accident or on purpose, is still left to argument. Her death was treated as a martyrdom by those who supported her cause. The story spread, even spawning a movie.

But, that's it. I don't mean to look down on her sacrifice. Her death brought her cause to the front, but with her gone, it would eventually die away. People would forget, and the world would keep turning. We won't remember her in a few years. We all like the dark romance the accompanies martyrdom, the fame and nobility it wears. But when we're dead, there is nothing we can do. It's like a star bursting into a supernova. All sound and fury and then it's gone. That's how dying for something is.

We should instead aspire to live for something. A star like ours may not be as spectacular in the Universe, but it keeps us alive. A supernova couldn't do that. Living for a something may not get you as popular as dying for something may, and you may not even see the impact. But you can do so much more in your lifetime, reach so many people and grow and become better at what you do. You may not be remembered, but your effects would be felt for years and years to come.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tears

I saw you today. It's not very often that I see you, but I don't really think that that's a big deal. You must admit though, you do tend to stand out in a crowd, though that's no fault of your own. So here I was walking along my merry way, when I saw you. Had everything been normal, I would have just thought "Hey, look, it's her.", and then continued on my way, without even giving a second thought about you for the rest of the day. And it almost happened. Except that you were crying.

I don't why, but tears affect me. The tears of friends, of enemies, of perfect strangers. They stop me cold in my tracks, make me forget about what I was thinking. I didn't care why you were crying. I didn't care that I only met you once and that I never really spoke to you before. To be honest, I didn't even care who you were. You were crying. And for some reason, deep down inside, it hurt. I felt as if I had failed something, though I had no idea what it was. I try to make the world a better place, and here you are crying. Surely I've failed. Surely I've done something wrong. And yet there is a little voice somewhere that no of this wasn't my fault. People cry everyday. Hurt and pain exist around us, and there is no way that we could possibly eradicate it. There will always be someone who is sad, someone who is hurt, someone who is crying. But that didn't make me not want to stop the tears any less.

I walked away thinking about this all afternoon. I spoke to you a while after, for the first time, possibly due to some misguided feeling that I had to. You were normal. You even smiled. And it was then I was reminded of the most important thing. That the most wonderful thing about tears, is that no matter how painful how tears may seem and how much they hurt, they never last forever. And that one day, they will be eliminated altogether.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Carefree

With the new semester comes some of the things that I had to bear throughout the duration of the old semester, including the weekly IVCF executive meeting, that now happens to be on a Tuesday. February in Trinidad and Tobago is Carnival month, and no not a carnival with fun rides and clowns. Carnival as in a bunch of people in extremely revealing outfits jumping up and down in the streets, dancing with each other. Yeah, that's what it is. I've personally never been a fan of Carnival. Too much revelry for my tastes. But the one thing that accompanies Carnival that I do like, is the steel drums, or as we call them in Trinidad, the steelpan.

On my way home there is a band camp that practices the steelpan every night up until Carnival Monday and Tuesday (which is in March this year). The steelpan is a pretty loud instrument so it can be heard from some distance away. While waiting in the car for my sister, my attention was drawn to a little girl across the street. She was about six years old, or probably even younger. She was standing at the front an appliance dancing to the sound of the drums. It was probably the happiest dance that you'd ever see, the kind of dance they feature in movies when the characters find themselves in the middle of a field of flowers. It didn't matter what you were feeling the moment before, your heart would have just been filled with joy.

Then something else caught my attention. The fact that she was still in her school uniform. Here was a little girl, who had most likely been sent of to school at probably seven in the morning was here, nine at night, still wearing her uniform, meaning, most likely, that she was yet to get home. Yet to find time to relax from a full day of school and having to wait for her parents, who were probably working at the store to get home. And here she was, dancing with all the joy she could possibly muster, her shoulders not bearing a hint of a burden, displaying carefree innocence. Here I was, supposedly older and wiser than her, and I was stressed and tired. Granted, maybe I had more to do today than she did, but our burdens are always proportional.

Right there and then, I wanted to be a child, just for a second, so that I could remember how to be that happy. That I could remember how to be carefree and just for a couple minutes, dance as if I were the only one in the world, so that I could keep it in my adult life and carry with me, so that I would never have to be sad or angry or stressed again. Maybe as we grow up, we learn more things worth knowing, but it's important that we don't forget the thing we already do know, because one day, we'd wish that we still had them.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Revolution

As I write this, the country of Egypt is mired in turmoil. Men and women are pouring into the streets demanding that their president/dictator Hosni Mubarak leave office. Inspired by the removal of the dictator of their neighbouring country Tunisa, the Egyptians are up in arms, pushing forward, and not willing to take no for an answer. Hosni Mubarak has tried several things, from disconnecting Egypt from the internet to deploying the army, which apparently severely backfired seeing as how all men in Egypt are required to serve some time in the military, making the army more or less and extension of the people. It looks as if Mubarak will have to leave his office before the week is through. It looks good for the people of Egypt. It seems that their revolution has been successful.

Only, to think that their revolution is over, would be a fatal error. The revolution has just begun. We like to think flashy, attention attracting protests and the emotion and violence that accompany it is what revolting is all about, and sure, that is part of a revolution, but it's not the whole thing. It's like a fire. The violence and emotion is the spark that starts it all, but it's not the flame. Just because Mubarak would be ousted doesn't mean that Egypt will be all honky-dory by the end of the month. Without a leader, it is very possible that the country could desend into chaos, the likes of which would be far worse than what is happening now. Or even worse, the person who replaces Hosni Mubarak could a worse dictator than he is. All you need to do is look at the French Revolution to know that a revolution by the people could end up worse for the people.

In a few weeks the situation on Egypt is going to quiet down and we're all going to look away and think that it's all over. But it won't be, and that's when Egypt is going to need us the most, to make sure that their last state isn't worse than their first (I have used the word 'worse' way too many times in this post).

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Killing Joke

I recently started reading comics and though I've been a fan of the random superhero for the majority of my youth, I have sound something quite different in comics. For one, the idea that comics were written for children is a fallacy. The kid of stuff that goes on between those glossy magazine covers shouldn't be touched by children with a ten-foot pole. Comics are made for teens and up. Also the stories are just made of guys in tight suits fighting villains with superpowers. Some books contain great rhetoric and some rather deep themes.

For example, one rather popular Batman comic, The Killing Joke was written in 1988. In this comic, The Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and attempts to drive him mad by showing him graphic pictures of his daughter, whom the The Joker had shot and stripped. This is inter-spaced by flashbacks of The Joker's origins, from a struggling comedian to a criminal psychopath. The Commissioner retains his sanity long enough for Batman to rescue him. While Batman is pursuing the Joker through a demented fun house, the Joker recites to him what has become known as "The Killing Joke":

"So I see you received the free ticket I sent you. I'm glad. I did so want you to be here. You see, it doesn't matter if you catch me and send me back to the asylum. Gordon's been driven mad. I've proved my point! I've demonstrated that there is no difference between me and everyone else. All it takes is just one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. Why else would you dress up like a flying rat!? You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else!! Only you won't admit it. You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that's there's some point to all this struggling. God, you make me want to puke!! I mean, what is it with you? What made you what made you what you are? Girlfriend killed by the mob maybe? Brother carved up by some mugger? Something like that I bet. Something like that. Something like that, happened to me. I'm not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes I remember it another. If I'm going to have past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!! Hahaha!! My point is, I went crazy when I when I saw what a black awful joke the world was. I went crazy as a coot! I admit it. Why can't you? I mean, you're not unintelligent. You must see the reality of the situation. Do you know how many times we've come close to World War Three over a flock of geese on a computer screen? Do you know what triggered the last World War? An argument over how many telegraph poles Germany owed it's war debt creditors. Telegraph poles!!! It's all a joke!! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for, it's all a monstrous demented gag. So why can't you see the funny side!? Why aren't you laughing?"

At the end Batman captures The Joker and offers him a chance of psychological help. The Joker responds with another joke before bursting out laughing. Batman stares at him for a second and then bursts out laughing as well, implying that Batman is in fact as insane as The Joker, but handles it differently.

And I read this, I couldn't help but wonder if The Joker was really crazy. We look at people and think, "I'll never become like that," or "How horrible! What did they do to get like that." And sometimes, all it really took was just one bad day. I have my family and my friends, people who love me and people I love. They are what keep me together, what keep me sane. What would I do if it were all taken away from me in an instant, would I be able to stay sane. Would I be able to survive just "one bad day"? I'd like to say that I would, that I'm strong enough to survive, but the truth is, I honestly don't know.

So please, never look down on others who may seem to not have lived up to any sort of expectation. Sometimes the only thing that stands between you and them, is one bad day.




Friday, January 28, 2011

Never Write Alone

Today, I met up with some of the IVCF members, so that they could have an idea of the script and what exactly the play was supposed to entail. I must admit that I was rather proud of this play. It was the first one that I had ever written. My friend Elizabeth had recommended a special program to me for writing media, and I had pretty professional looking manuscript. I had shaped the characters with my own hands and created them in my mind. This was to be my crowning glory. This would be my play and everyone, would be amazed at how awesome it was.

I must admit, I was a bit proud of my creation, but what else could I be? I had done something that I had never done before, and I had succeeded. And so, brimming with pride and confidence, I presented my manuscript. The others weren't even a minute into reading it before they began suggesting changes. Changes!? This was my play! My creation! My child! What right do you have changing it? What right do you have walking into my perfectly ordered world and turning it all topsy turvy? I was mad. Not mad enough to show it, but I felt insulted. They didn't think that I was good enough to write a play.

It was in that moment that I remembered something that made me feel foolish. I remember listening to John Green, a young adult novel writer that I look up to. He said that many people would assume that a novel is written by just one person and reflects only that person's ideas. Then he showed a list of several people who some way or the other, adjusted his first book, to make it into the award winner that it was today. It was then I realized that no writer is an island. We all get our inspiration from somewhere and from people. They may not have come up with the idea or done all the writing, but without their input, we would never get anywhere.

Before I knew it, I was accepting the advice from my friends, and getting excited as I imagined their ideas. Maybe when this is all said and done, my name may go down as the playwright, but it would have been written by many many other people as well. I don't roll solo.

I don't write alone.

P.S. Yesterday, in all my procrastination, I didn't realize that I had hit 100 blog posts!! Yay!!! I hope that there would be many more where that came from.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Well...Umm

This was supposed to be an actual post, but due to the high level of procrastination that I displayed throughout the week, I am currently trying to finish something that should already be done, and as a such, I am unable to write a proper post. I feel quite foolish indeed. I figured I should still post something so that I don't slouch into the habit of missing posts like I did during vacation time, (though admittedly, my life is a lot more boring during vacation time, which kinda makes not want to post). I'm really sorry and there will be a proper post tomorrow. Bye!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doubt

I have a confession to make. I have doubts. About God. Not about whether something is what God wants me to do or not. I mean I doubt the very concept of God, of Christianity, of religion. I may be the Bible Study coordinator and I may have been a Christian for most of my life, but that doesn't mean that I'm always 100% sure of what I believe. Every time I read something about submitting yourself to God, there's a little voice in the back of my head that says "What if you're being a slave to a god that doesn't even exist?' Every time I think or hear about depending on God to supply all of your needs, I think "Why am I depending on something that I'm not even sure is there?" I wonder time and time again, whether or not I'm just being a blithering idiot.

I used to think that this was a bad thing. That I was a bad Christian because I had doubts about my religion. I used to think that maybe I wasn't even Christian because a real Christian doesn't question God. They obey, without thinking or asking anything, because that's what all good children of God do, right? I felt as if there was something wrong with me.

But the more thought about it, the more I saw that this wasn't a bad thing, or something that I shouldn't be doing. I, in fact, came to see it as being something healthy. If God wanted us to mindlessly agree with Him at all times, then He probably wouldn't have given us free will. I came to realize, that if I never doubted or questioned anything, I would never learn. I would be blindly trudging a path only because it was the only path that I knew. Doubt helps us grow. It helps us learn, and most of all, it gives us faith. If there was nothing to doubt, then there wouldn't be anything to have faith in. I'll never be 100% absolutely sure about God, but I guess that's the way it's supposed to be.

It's ok to doubt, just as long as it doesn't overpower you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memory

I'm still struggling to master the piece that I'm supposed to play on the guitar by tomorrow. I've gotten pretty good but I still need to iron out some kinks. I know that to most people it's be pretty obvious, but the more I practice, the better I get. It becomes automatic. My fingers fall on the strings at the same time, all in the exact position that they are supposed to be, while the other hand strums exactly when it's supposed to. They say it's called muscle memory, that if you practice a particular movement over and over again, your body remembers it and does it without you thinking. Needless to say, even though it's pretty common place, I'm pretty amazed by it.

And while playing the guitar and thinking about muscle memory, my thoughts led me to thinking about actual memory. The thoughts of things gone. They're more than just thoughts, pictures in you head. When you remember something, you remember everything about it. The way you felt, what you were thinking at the time, and even small things like scents and tastes. The most wonderful and the tragic of things remain with you as if you were expreiencing them all over again. You feel as if no time has passed at all, that you were back there when it all happened. God may not have allowed us to travel through time, but we have a pretty good substitute. Our memories are all we ever truly have. Keep them close. Each and every one of them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

First Day

My first day back out to school, was, well not what I expected. About 5 minutes before the very first class of the day, there was a power outage in the room where the class was supposed to be. The lecturer, who is pretty much the demi-god of engineering, said that there was nothing he could do about it and in such case we should "go home and drink" to use his exact words. So I spent the majority of the morning wasting time at my grandma's house playing with my 3 year old cousin, because my actual home is way to far away to go to and then get back in time for my next class.

As it turns out, I should have probably went home seeing as how the next class was supposed to be 2 hours long, but only lasted 20 minutes. If this serves as the mold for the rest of the semester, well, this is going to be a crappy semester. But mostly likely it won't so that's good. The last class of the day was the only one that actually had some substance to it, but by then I was far more concerned with the fact that in a few minutes we'd be able to leave school and see sunlight, which is something I haven't been able to do for quite a while.

I've always liked the first day of a new semester, being able to meet old friends and catch up with them. Make new friends and get to know them. And of course the chaos that comes with being in your twenties. I might as well enjoy the semester while it's still fun.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Last Day

Tomorrow, I begin the second half of my sophomore year in university. The last 5 weeks of vacation has come and gone and as much as I look forward to school tomorrow I can't help but look back and get and look at how my vacation was, and imagine exactly how I could make it better.

For one, I'd probably have tried to get up earlier. I love waking up and looking at the sunrise and smelling the fresh air...but I absolutely hate going to bed early. Even when I try to do I end up just lying their just staring up at the ceiling and I end up falling asleep pretty much the same time I would have if I had just decided to stay up normally, and now that I'm going back out to school, I'm going to be awaken every morning by my alarm which sound like a rooster crowing. If you ever see me strangling a rooster, now you know why. Another thing I pretty much regret was spend two weeks of my vacation watching Ghost in the Shell. I mean, it was pretty good, but I felt as if I could have spent my time doing something better, like...and this is my guilty confession...finishing my novel. Yes, I am yet to finish my novel and I haven't written a single word of it all vacation. Way to be a novelist. Hopefully be able to finish it during the semester. I always find time to do things other than my school work during the semester.

But my vacation wasn't all that bad. For the first time I was able to write a play and experience the new challenges that come with it. I got down with my guitar practice and now I'm scheduled to play in public on Wednesday. Yeah, it's only at church, but its still a long way from strumming in my bedroom. And most importantly, I got to spend time with two of my best friends who I don't see very often. All in all, I wouldn't say it was the best vacation, but it was pretty good.

And now, here comes school. Oh joy. /sarcasm.

I do really which sarcasm would work better over the internet.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Too Serious

I think that I try to be too serious at times. To serious with people, too serious with life, too serious with my blog. I try to find life lessons in everything. There's always a reason why someone does something, and there's always a lesson to be learnt. Life is a giant school from which we graduate from in a coffin. I ignore the lighter side of things. Sure they are what makes us happy and what makes living worthwhile, but there are always more important things to talk about, important things to learn so that we could be better people and make a better tomorrow. Sometimes, I think that I just forget about today. I forget to laugh. I forget to impart joy to others in my writing. I forget that sometimes the lesson learnt is that there are times where the lesson isn't all that important. So from today forward, I'm making a decision. I'd stop trying to be serious all the time. I'll be more happy, more free, more funny. Because sometimes, it's just the thing to do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Play Writing

Hey everyone. The main reason why I haven't posted in the last couple days is that I got caught up in writing a play for a production that the I.V.C.F is going to have in March. Today, I sort of finished a horribly cobbled together version of a first draft and let me tell you, play writing is hard. Novel writing may present its own challenge, but writing a play is a completely and totally different thing.

Now, you're probably thinking the exact same thing that I was thinking before I started writing this play. Writing a play shouldn't be much different from writing a story right? All you have to do is pretty much write a story, take the dialogue and put the characters name in front of it with a colon and then voilĂ ! You have a play. When, no. That's not how it works at all. For example, say you have character that does has pretty dangerous habit, say jumping up and down off of furniture. Pretty simple to write into a story, right? If the guy falls, then he just has to get back up again. In a play however, seeing as how the guy is real, when he falls, there's just a chance that he won't just get back up. He may actually get hurt. When you're writing a play, you need to keep in mind at all times that this is being written for a real flesh and blood person to act out. You need to write you story within the realms of human abilities.

Another problem I ran into is interpretation. Say you want to give some history on a person. In story, you just pretty much write it in.

"Cassie went to a pre-school a little way from her home. She didn't remember much, but she remember the feeling of the cold air blowing against her cheeks."

Pretty simple, right? Now try putting that into a play. You pretty much can't convey that unless one of the characters say that. Now what about a page long flashback description. You may end up having to write an entirely new scene which has the possibility of coming across as boring to your audience. You just can't write down your ideas. You need to write them in a way that the audience would understand exactly what you're saying and you risk looking weird or stupid.

There are a bunch of other challenges that come with writing plays, but I think I filled my quota of literary whinny for the day. As the day draws nearer for prop purchasing and casting auditions and all that, I can't help but feel nervous. I've never done a play that's going to be performed before the students of the campus. But its something new and I'd never refuse an opportunity to do something like this. It's a new type of writing and it'll help my artistic side grow. And maybe, I'll learn something new about myself in the process.




See you tomorrow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Digital Connectivity

Facebook boast some 500 million users and and counting. Twitter has around 145 million users and other networking sites boast of large numbers. Though these may seem common place in today's world, it truly staggering if we step back and look at those numbers. Over half a billion people all use one central website which allows them to connect to each other. There has been no other time in history when the world has been connected in such a wide scale.

Stats say that 1 in 13 people in the world use Facebook. They have to opportunity to find old friends that they haven't seen for years, speak with family they would never speak to normally, see pictures they couldn't access otherwise, and foster a sense of harmony by playing games with their friends, (and yes, this does work). Even the adding of random people, whether it be for apps or maybe just because you happen to like their profile picture can result in long lasting friendships. I can tell you from experience that a person I added on Facebook who I didn't know, changed my life forever and they still are. Without Facebook, I think my life would be in a very different and most likely more boring place.

But can Facebook connectivity replace real life connectivity? True, real life offers far less options, but can ({) ever replace a real hug when you really need one? And what exactly would happen if these networking sites crashed or something happened that didn't allow us to use it again. What if we couldn't Skype? Would all those connections be for naught? Would they die along with these sites? And what about things like Facebook and Twitter addiction, a negative side effect that affects the lives of those around us?

While all these questions may have more complicated answers than they at first appear to, one thing is clear: digital connections can never replace real life connections. However, the question of whether real life connections are better than digital connections are as the Buddhist say, a question wrongly asked. They can't replace each other and neither is better than the other. They do very different things and have different methods of delivery, but in the end, they still bring us closer. We are closer because of the digital era, and it is because we can experience both digital and non-digital connections simultaneously.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Science And Faith

Having loved science since I could remember, and see as how I'm currently studying engineering, I spend a great deal of my time looking up the latest science has to offer and admiring how we as a civilization push forward and break barriers. Also, being a Christian, I also spend a significant amount of time on religious things, drawing closer to God, and watching how good will and morality in Christians bring about a better world for everyone. It has long been argued that these two things, science and faith, cannot exist side by side. But I think, that like the difference between science and art, we tend to make that gap bigger than it really is.

Lets take the science side. The extremists' on this side major claim as to why religion is bad and not to be regarded alongside science is that science more or less disproves many things that religion claims is true. For example, today I came across and article about a 34,000 year old bacteria found in California. I saw one person say that now the Young Earth creationist had nothing to say to this discovery since it clearly disproves their belief that God created the world between 6 to 10 thousand years ago. Here's the problem with that statement. No one believes in Young Earth creationism without believing in a religion, namely Christianity. And seeing as how Christianity concerns talking snakes, parting seas and resurrection from the dead, it's pretty safe to say that everything in religion isn't based on science. Yes there are parts that agree with some scientific theories and some parts that can be reasoned out, but not everything can be. Religion is at least part supernatural and the supernatural is based on faith. I believe in Young Earth creationism solely because of my religion. Religion aside, I believe that theistic evolution is the most plausible scientific theory.

And the religious side, people claim that everything that science finds that does sum up exactly to the Bible is wrong and sometimes even claim that their discoveries are tricks from the Devil, which to be honest with you is quite stupid. If it weren't for scientific discoveries, I wouldn't be here typing this. In fact we would be able to do a lot of things. Many of the discoveries that are claimed to be of the Devil are what we live off of today. Science is as accurate as humanity can get to finding answers to the questions around them. Science is based on observation and application and is therefore physical. It cannot and will not measure the supernatural, and if science doesn't match up with the Bible, it doesn't mean that science is wrong. That's just not what science is for.

I guess the real problem with both sides is assuming that they are right and only they are right. They fear that admitting that the other side is right would make them look wrong or weak. It's not true. Science and religion play an extremely large part in or civilization and if they were to work in harmony, I am very sure that we would have far greater achievements and a far better world. Try to be more open-minded. You'll find that you'll learn a lot without having to give up what you believe. And is the scientific maestro Albert Einstien once said:

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Science and faith should go together. Just like the "The Script" album shows.



See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Violence is Never Ok

The news of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords attempted assassination has been flying around all over the inter-webs. I usually don't concern myself with politics, but it's hard to ignore something of this magnitude that no doubt has cause worldwide ripples. The true tragedy of the whole thing is the six people who were innocent bystanders that were killed, including a 9 year old child. The shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is to have shot at her due to the answer to a nihilistic question that he had asked her 3 years ago, though they are not exactly sure if that was the motivation behind his attack. What ever it was, there was a difference in the belief difference wide enough that Mr. Loughner deemed wide enough to warrant the use of extreme measures.

The world in which we live is made of a myriad of people, and as numerous as the people are, so are their beliefs. No two people share the exact same beliefs. You may meet people who believe many of the same things that you believe but you can never assure that they would agree with you 100% of the time. Now, usually this differences in belief are so small that we don't recognize them. However, there are those wide enough to cause conflict. There are times when people see it fit to insult and trample upon the things we hold dear or promote the very things that we are against. It hurts and pains us so badly that it seems as if we have no choice but to strike out and stop them. Well here's some advice for the next time you feel like that: Don't do it. No matter what the difference in belief is, lashing out never solves anything and invariably makes the situation worse.

Take Mr. Loughner for example. Let's say, for the sake of argument that he had some really good points in what he believed that could lead to a better tomorrow. He could have started group discussions at school. He could have written a book or a manifesto of some sort. He could have made himself heard through more traditional and legal channels and before he knew it, gathered as following and been able to tell the world what he needed to say. But does any of that matter now? No. Because every time someone hears his name, they won't think about the idea he had or how he could have impacted the world. They'd think about the life of an innocent 9 year old, with bright ambitions whose life was tragically cut short. It doesn't matter what good he could have done. Nothing would ever cover the evil that he has committed.

There are many ways to express ourselves and the internet gives us the opportunity to do so on a worldwide basis. But whenever we do something evil and claim that it was in the name of good, we defeat any good purpose that we made have had. Jared Lee Loughner lost his battle the moment he pulled that trigger. There is nothing ever important enough or good enough to warrant hurting others. If we could all bring our beliefs to the world wide table with less violent means, we could work together to form a brighter future. And maybe our 9 year olds could live to attain whatever beautiful dreams that their hearts desire.

R.I.P Christina Taylor Green. A bright light extinguished far too soon.





Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Potter's Hands

We all tend to admire hand-crafted objects, such as pottery more than mass produced ones that are fashioned by machines. There is something beautiful and intricate about these pieces that make them stand out from others. Potters go through several stages of crafting so as to make sure that the piece that they have made fits the idea that they have in their minds to become the perfect vessel or a beautiful ornament.

Needless to say no potter is perfect. No one gets the piece that they want on the first try. So if the potter realizes during the molding of the clay, he'll smash it, knead the clay back again that start all over. To someone watching him, it may seem they had made the perfect piece, and it would seem foolish to them that the potter would destroy it to start again. But the potter knows that clay, he knows how he wants to mold it, and he knows that he can bring out the beauty and perfection in it that makes people gape at it in awe.

Imagine if the clay could talk the the potter, what do you think it'd say. "Hey, I know you may think you know what's best for me, but I think that I'm just fine that way I am. Breaking is painful and messy and I'd prefer not to do that again." And imagine if the potter agreed with him, and let the clay go. It'd probably be nothing more than an unremarkable piece, with half the beauty it could have had, a piece that no one would even think about looking at twice, deluded into thinking that he's the best.

We'd think that the clay was stupid. We do everything would can to be perfect and beautiful and have the best life we can, so surely we'd go through a couple breakings. But the truth is, more times than often we are just like that clay. Sometimes God wants to mold us into something greater than what we want to be, and to do that sometimes He has to break us. We don't like being broken though, and we view it as a bad thing, not as an opportunity to become a better us. Ans sometimes, when confronted by the idea of radical change, we choose another option, one that doesn't involve us changing our entire lives. We fail to see the whole picture and fail to understand that the destruction of this life would lead to the construction of another.

And perhaps you don't believe a God exists (I don't judge, but I'd advise you look into that.) There are things in your life that you are afraid to do because you can't see that outcome. You choose to play it safe and you never achieve the best that you can. You need to shake off the mediocrity that holds you back and take a risk. I'm not saying that it's not going to hurt. In fact, more likely that not it is going to hurt. But you'll invariably become a better person because of it. Don't fight the potter's hands. They are what make us the best we can be.




See you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Eye For An Eye

It has come to my attention that many people see it fit to respond to unsavory interpersonal relationships by mimicking the attitude of the person who caused the the incident in the first place. In less flowery English terms, you do to someone the exact same thing that someone did to you. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. And despite the fact that many people claim not to agree with that statement, their actions speak differently.

Now may people attribute "An eye for an eye" to Christian teachings as the phrase originates from the Bible. Let me clear that up before we move on. The verses in the Bible that mentions this verse invariably refer to the actions of the law, not interpersonal disputes. Meaning that if you took someone's eye, the law reserved the right to take your eye. And even then the meaning is misconstrued. Judaic law never actually maimed someone for injuring another. Most punishment came in monetary form, so better understanding would be that the law reserved the right to punish you equivalent to your crime.

Glad that's over with. As I was saying before, I see this a lot lately. From simply observing my friends, to the political conflicts of world leaders, to random internet forums. Passive resistance isn't all the rage these days, and everyone wants to respond to force with force. We assume that if we could beat down our opponents to the point where they can't fight back, we'd win.

But I want to ask you this: Then what exactly is the point of winning. You'd just have become what you're fighting against. Sure someone did something to you, but you'll just become exactly who they are if do what they do. Like I usually ask : Who's more stupid? The idiot or the guy who's copying the idiot? If you really want to win out in a conflict, do exactly the opposite of what your opponent. Shame them with their own behaviour show them that you could rise above petty squabbles. You don't have to do anything at all. Their own actions with condemn them. If you and others around the world would do this, I can safely say that we'd have a more peaceful world.

See you tomorrow!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Your Body Is You

I've often heard the phrase "It's what on the inside that counts." I must say that I do indeed agree with that statement. Many of us spend unnecessary time in front of the mirror fussing over appearance so for the sole purpose of impressing those we come in contact with. We spend hundreds of dollars buying makeup and clothing to make ourselves appear more fashionable. So much time and money is spent on this that sometimes we forget all the important things that cannot be seen at first glance like personality and friendliness. We judge people without knowing them and sometimes miss out on the most important thing about that person. We forget about what's on the inside.

But then people take it to the extreme. They start talking about how the mind takes priority over the body. So they spend hours studying and education, neglecting to eat properly, sleep properly or exercise properly. They purposely dress stupidly and neglect basic things like combing their hair or ironing their clothes claiming that they shouldn't be judged on how they look but who they are, along with a bunch of other crazy things.

I think that sometimes when it comes to philosophy, our bodies get a bad rap. Sure we spend a lot more time fixated on our bodies than we are supposed to, but that doesn't mean that it's not as important the mind/soul. Everything we see, feel, hear, taste, smell, is because of our bodies and it's from these outward stimuli that our minds can build thoughts and idea. Everything that goes on on the inside, every thought or feeling that we've ever had is because of the we interact with the world, and every interaction passes through the filter of our bodies. It's how we interact with each other. We shouldn't judge people solely on their outward appearance, but it's not as if we can see someone's soul. Our bodies are all we have when it comes to interacting with others (until telepathy is discovered of course).

So please, don't assume that your body takes second place to your soul. What is on the inside does count, but what's on the outside matters as well. So today, do something good for your body that your mind probably thinks is whack. Dance like crazy. Workout like there's no tomorrow. Dress up. Pamper yourself necessarily. You may feel weird doing it, but your body would love you for it. And every time someone tells you something like, "The body doesn't matter, but it's what inside that counts", remind them that without an outside, there'd no inside.

See you tomorrow!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Unstoppable

Today, I ended up on an impromptu lime with my friends ('lime' being a Trinidadian slang word for 'a social event with friends') at the mall. We decided to go see "Unstoppable" which I thought was a pretty good movie. Apparently some of my friends didn't like the idea of a movie based around stopping a train using brakes. For those of you who don't know, or who have never seen the movie, it's about Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (Captain Kirk from the new Star Trek) trying a stop a runaway train that's carrying hazardous material. All in all, its a pretty good movie, and I recommend it if your looking for something to go watch.

Now, apparently the movie is "based on a true story", the 'true story' being that of the CSX 8888 incident. According to Wikipedia article on the incident, the producers of the movie actually used a great deal of the actual happening of the incident and incorporated it into the movie, from the job experience of the people who stopped the train to the chemical that was being transported. However, the whole Denzel jumping train cars at nearly 70 mph thing, yeah, that was made up.

Like any good thriller there were points in the movie that had you on the edge of your seat, wondering if your beloved protagonist were going to survive the perils thrown at them. It's easy to forget that you're watching a movie and get caught up in the action on the screen. But there's always something in the back of my mind that reminds me that despite the fact that the characters may be in trouble, the actors face no real danger. When the director yells "CUT!" everything for them would revert back to being normal.

And that got me thinking: what about the real life people who stopped the train? They had no script to follow and they had no assurance of a happy ending. For them, the danger was real and imminent. And yet, if it had not been for a Hollywood production of the incident, I would have never known of the brave men who risked their lives to save thousands of people. While everyone will remember the names Denzel Washington and Chris Pine but probably only a handful of people will remember theirs. Yet if they hadn't done what they had done, there would have been the lost of many many lives. I guess that their job, though less known, was all the more important.

Sometimes, we struggle hard and we overcome what may have seemed to insurmountable problems and won great victories. And even after that, it may seem that people don't really care about how much effort and sacrifice you put into you struggle and flock to someone who probably did something less difficult but more flashy. Don't feel discouraged and don't belittle your achievements. What you do could be far more important than they'll ever know, and as long as you know that, there's no need to worry. You may not be Denzel, but I'm pretty sure that you'll do greater things that stop a runaway train.

See you tomorrow!!