actuality.log


All entries tagged 'spotlight' — Page 2

Wednesday, December the 12th, 2007

Hobble into a room with a cast on your leg, and everyone will eagerly await your tales of drunken rock-climbing. Hobble into a room because your mind is just too disoriented to process your senses, and no one will feel comfortable talking to you about your misfiring brain.

Not even you.

I’m not sure why this is, but while most people deem it acceptable to talk about and seek help for physical issues bothering them, there’s a huge stigma against bringing up problems of the mind. Perhaps, it’s because unlike obvious physical abnormalities, much of our craziness can be hidden from life’s casual observers; and people don’t see the need to talk about things that can be swept under the rug.

But screw social norms, you know I’m going to.

Can you imagine how scary it is to have your mind and eyes wake up, but not the rest of your body? When you feel awake, but paralysed as you lie there in the harsh realisation that the rest of you often functions independent of your mind. What if you’re prone to sleeping on your tummy, and you occasionally find your mind waking up, only to realise it can’t turn your head to prevent you from choking on your pillow because your body is still asleep?

Do you then shut your eyes real tight and hope that it’s just a nightmare? Can you even tell the difference? What if your memory is just a blur and you can’t always clearly tell if something you’re recalling is an event you really experienced, a dream you had, or just something you were thinking about? When desperately devoid of feeling, you concoct something and convince yourself it’s real.

And if you can’t tell the difference, is there any?

It’s ironic that the authenticity of your experiences is really a moot concern, as failing memory is one of the first signs of a faulty brain, aside from spotty hallucinations and spooky convulsions, of course. If you can’t even remember clearly over a few weeks into the past, why would you care if what you’re recollecting is real?

Alas, another thing that’s easily affected is speech patterns. Slurred, incoherent ramblings soon replace any expressive flair you might have possessed—further evidencing your dulling senses and intellect to the world. And worse, reducing the likelihood you’re going to coherently talk about what you’re going through with anyone.

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Saturday, November the 10th, 2007

If you are expecting this entry to be some sort of misguided rant on the menstrual cycle, you’re going to be quite disappointed.

While most people imagine themselves “navigating their way through life,” I envision myself standing rather inert, allowing life to flow past me. As with a lot of other things in this world, I find it pointless to question why this is so, and instead just acknowledge that things are the way they are.

As far back as I can remember (which, arguably, isn’t very long), I cannot recall making any significant decision with any degree of surety or conviction; I seem to just lie there as eventualities take their course, and the decision is conveniently made for me. (And no, choosing just the right caffeinated beverage from the plethora of delicious choices from the nearby vending machine does not count.) Be it my academic choices, or choosing parts of the world in which to pursue them, to determining what kinds of relationships I engage in, with whom, or for that matter, even when those relationships dissolve—the sorts of decisions that ought to shape the core of my existence—I find myself more as a passive observer of events unfolding rather than an active participant in the intricate tapestry.

If you think about it though, this in itself really isn’t a bad scheme of events—as long as one’s happy with the way things evolve. And therein lies the unfortunate twist in our tale: Recently, I’ve been hating everything in the picture. And what’s worse, I seem to have gotten so used to sitting back and allowing things to “fall into place,” I’m not sure I’m even capable of weaving the fabric of my own life any more.

Friday, August the 10th, 2007

It wasn’t hard to understand the confused glances I was receiving from Elaina on the couch across my coffee table. As clearly as I’d explained to the lady I’d spoken to when I called the escort service that I wasn’t looking for sex, that information hadn’t been relayed to the timid East-European woman staring bewildered at me upon hearing the question I’d just presented.

“You heard me right, my dear, I’d like to take you out,” I continue to push. “What kinds of things do you do for fun?”

I’d assumed it ought to be possible. After all, she was from an escort service; and all I was asking of her was to escort me somewhere, anywhere she fancied. Without seeking too much pity, I briefly chronicled to her the social handicap I was attempting to overcome. I believed I’d gotten through; hoping that interacting with her over a delightful dinner, or shopping for fancy shoes together, or ridiculing the production values of the cheesy movie we’d just watched, or anything else, really, would provide me a relatively anxiety-free opportunity to carefully observe—and hopefully make sense of—how a woman responds to varying social cues. Like I tried explaining to her, “… to get a handle on the social dynamics associated with dating.”

But it wasn’t to be.

Her top faded soon thereafter, along with her timorous demeanour.

I’d just like to point out that this entry is entirely a work of fiction, and is, in a sense, a set up for the next. You see, with the structure of my doctoral dissertation slowly beginning to crystallise, I’m beginning to spend hours working on serious, scientific and technical content. My brain was itching to pen something fictional.

There, I’m glad we cleared all that up.

Wednesday, June the 6th, 2007

As surprising as it sounds, I’ve been paying attention to what the numerous presidential candidates have been saying recently. This is surprising not only because I’m usually of the opinion that politics is balderdash and the elections under discussion are well over a year away, but also because I’m not a citizen of this country; my opinions don’t matter and the election’s outcome is of little consequence to me.

I don’t recall paying any attention to politics back home, but that’s probably because I didn’t live there long enough after turning old enough to vote. And often times, arguments about things I don’t care about were made in languages I don’t understand… or care about.

Anyway, returning to the U.S., what baffles me about the state of affairs here is how the system still manages to hold onto a (predominantly) bipartisan system, especially when there are so many issues worth arguing over. One would assume that these differing opinions, principles, ideas… would soon spawn a multitude of parties. At least, definitely more than two major groups. I mean, even if you just looked at the “hot-button” issues, there’s a good chance your views won’t align perfectly with one party or the other. How then do you make a choice? Why then would you?

Let me put things in concrete terms here. If, hypothetically, I had a vote that mattered, I still wouldn’t know who to vote for (or even see the point in voting), because on certain issues, my views line up with the Democratic party and on others, they match the Republican party. For instance:

I believe that the country ought to be fenced, and all business should be conducted only in English—forcing everyone inside to learn the language. I also believe people who’ve entered unlawfully, or outsiders who are generally a thorn in your sight, ought to be booted out. The last thing any country needs is an erosion of its culture.

I believe that the Iraq war is unjust, and puts a tremendous undue burden on the country. It’s not the U.S.’s problem if Iraq falls apart—does anyone really give a fuck?—they have to cut their losses and retreat as soon as possible, saving money and lives.

There is no war on terrorism, it’s a bumper-sticker slogan designed to distract the public from real problems, and an umbrella under which to silently erode human rights. From illegal wire-tapping, to the PATRIOT act, to secret prisons in Guantanamo Bay, you know things have gone too far. The people we’re supposed to be fearing are not as technically-sophisticated as the fear-mongers and war-mongers would like us to believe. Iran and nuclear warheads? Hah! How old is their nuclear science program again?

I believe in tax-cuts for the richest portion of the populace. They’ve worked hard to get where they are today, and they’ve done a lot of good for society during their ascent, like creating a ton of jobs for the middle-class. They deserve to enjoy the fruit of their labours. Besides, I fully intend on being one of these rich folk and enjoying myself some day; I’ve worked at it long enough, and the last thing I need is 40% of my income being taxed away to help someone else.

I believe in science, and that theology has no place in science classrooms. Humans evolved from apes as apes did so from their predecessors. It’s the way it is, and did not require the “hand of god.” Evolution is not a “theory,” it’s a fact. Global warming is not a “theory,” it’s a fact. Study of human embryos is not “killing innocent babies,” it’s exploratory science; science that will help you some day. Lumping all that you don’t understand under the actions of the “glorious hand of god” is the reason why this country is so anti-intellectual. And the reason why this trend has to be reversed, if the U.S. wants to compete, technologically, in today’s global economy.

I don’t believe in social programs like “universal health care” for all, because I know all this means is that the rich will be made to pay for it, while the poor will just sit down and reap all the benefits. That’s not fair. If you want your medicines, pay for it like everyone else. Or move to Canada.

This does not mean I don’t believe in helping my fellow man (or woman). By all means, support an orphan or three. I just don’t believe mandating it through taxation and social programs is the right way of going about it.

I believe that sexual preferences play no role in determining how good a person you are, and that gay people should have the right to marry and enjoy all the benefits married couples enjoy. Where one sticks their penis is their own business, and besides, is there anyone out there that doesn’t find the concept of two women naked together hot? Remember people, gay people includes lesbians too.

In fact, I strongly oppose affirmative action, favour vaccinating girls against cervical cancer so they can have safer sex, favour the death penalty, favour strict gun control, support a woman’s right to abort her foetus, if she’s talked to the father about it.

So, what could I do? What does everyone do?

Apart from starting their own party and declaring themselves a candidate… only to be later lambasted as a “spoiler” in the race, of course.

Update: Some of the comments below, originally published under a public domain licence, are reproduced from digg.com.

Wednesday, July the 26th, 2006

During a recent flight, I came across, arguably, the hottest mom ever; and I really mean that superlatively so. She was barely in her 20s, had a gorgeous face, soft-flowing hair, was super slim with a teeny waist and yet oh-so curvy. She had the tiniest shirt on and the tightest jeans riding down to her mid-thighs, cutely exposing her purple-string bikini.

But, I really wasn’t paying attention.

I, was generally cooing, peek-a-booing and gurgling throughout the journey, as I was having fun with my new single-serving friend. She was gleefully cuddling up in my arms and bouncing away excitedly on my lap; and her serenely-happy, somewhat-tired glow later indicated that she was as pleased with this bonding as I was. Now, it was time for her sippy-cup filled with orange juice.

You must realise, of course, that I am speaking of the woman’s most adorable little few-year-old girl. You know, the kinds with a smile that can melt a glacier or three? Yes, one of those kids.

As I was getting off, this other woman—also arguably (superlatively) cute—approaches me all-excitedly (and gurgley!) and tells me that she’d observed me playing with “my little one,” and found us adorable together. She then animatedly began to talk to me, using words implying that she was thoroughly impressed, somewhat amused and quite entertained.

I am unsure who was sadder as I was informing her that she wasn’t my little one.

Sigh.

Friday, June the 23rd, 2006

I’m writing this with Crayola sleeping peacefully on top of me.

I call her Crayola you see, for I love how we behave like a bunch of kids given a piece of paper and some crayons. Me sitting up close behind her on the floor, barely able to take my focus off her as we draw; we just sit and draw for hours and hours. She’s so talented and expressive, I’m perpetually mesmerised; as my fingertips can’t help but trace those creative, long hands of hers. Before long, the drawing we were creating takes a back seat—the drawing with my broad, abstract strokes with her lush detail making it come so alive.

And now she’s asleep. So peacefully, raising and lowering slightly as I breathe. Her slender arms still wrapped loosely around me. Her hair so elegant even as it’s dishevelled. One look at her lazed form sway softly over me, and every delicious event since I first sat down behind her to draw flashes before my eyes.

She’s so beautiful you see, I’ve been unable to go to sleep—I’ve just been lost staring at her soft form. Watching her breathe, hearing her murmur and whimper so cutely from time to time, the soft vibrations of her body—oh goodness, she’s delicious—I can’t take my eyes off her. It’s taken so much out of me to part my palms from her delicate, soft back to grab this letter-pad. It’s so dark, and I can see very little, but my dear Crayola I see so clearly. She doesn’t know how much she has me mesmerised. Oh, her nose is totally blocked, she’s snorting and grunting slightly, trying to ease her breaths. And I’m whispering softly and reassuringly in her ear each time she mumbles in her sleep, perturbed. I can’t bear to see her perturbed, I want her forever peaceful and protected in my arms; with me still deep inside her.

Oh, I can’t take it anymore. I have to leave—to kiss her forehead, those tired, closed eyelids and that cute, blocked nose.

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Thursday, May the 4th, 2006

On occasion, I’m overly drawn into a program on “Lifetime,” a woman’s entertainment channel. And by “overly drawn into,” I obviously mean that the remote is missing, I’m too lazy to move, and watch whatever is on; even if it’s the Lifetime channel.

Yesterday evening was one such occasion. I happened to chance upon a most ‘B’ of B-movies, whose name I’ve already forgotten; or probably never knew in the first place. It was such an experience that I must share its wonderful story with you. Enjoy! (Suckers).

This story is about a young couple who’re madly in love—and sexually hyperactive—a detail that’ll play an important role in the story’s progression. Besides, it’s some unwritten rule somewhere that no-name actors and actresses must show a lot of skin, or they don’t stand a chance. Anyway, all is well initially as the guy who’s a PhD in astrophysics (and this has no bearing on the story whatsoever) and the woman who’s a children’s book author—and relatively cute, by B-movie standards—go about their wonderful life.

But one day—cue ominous tune—it all starts going horribly wrong.

It turns out that this young woman has some seriously terminal illness, like lung cancer or something, and about a quarter way through the movie, is very ill, and is soon doing gross things like coughing up fake blood. Since I doubt that few people would want to sleep with someone who’s throwing up blood (other than the odd lazy vampire, I guess), their sex life begins to suffer.

But our poor man has needs. Of course he does. So he soon begins cheating on this wife with this other B-movie-league-attractive woman who happens to be a real-estate agent. The side perk of this being, that they then get to copulate in all different sorts of bedrooms in fancy homes she’s supposed to be selling! Meanwhile, the poor, sick wife (who’s still hot in a sort of, “you can get to be totally protective of her, and she’ll be all yours,” way) joins a support group.

A support group for people who also cough-up blood while waiting for other people to die, so that they can hopefully get the lung transplant they need to live. Yes, your typical fun-times crowd.

Riveting stuff, if any of these people could act. You’d think they’d have just ended this train-wreck right there with a message like, I don’t know, “smoking kills” or something. At least the kiddies would have learnt something.

But noooo, our writers have other plans.

Friday, April the 21st, 2006

No matter how much you’re concerned for your friendly neighbours and would love to give them an evening off; don’t give-in to the urge to volunteer baby-sitting their baby—especially if the (now-not-so-)darling little angle is progressing through the final stages of her teething phase; or you don’t know what you’re doing.

Whatever you do, if in the process of baby-sitting her, she spits up into your tee, let it go. You can change later. Really, it’s no big deal.

As you begin to change—after gingerly giving-in to lowering her for a bit and keeping her in plain sight—whatever you do, put on another shirt before returning to her; even if she’s begun to wail. Really, it doesn’t take more than five seconds.

Whatever your “instincts” tell you, do not cradle the wailing baby to your exposed chest while attempting to console her. No, really. Presenting a decoy, non-functioning teat to a baby with tiny (but surprisingly effective) teeth is just asking for it.

But it’s not like you’d ever get yourself into such a situation now, would you?


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