Monday, 26 December 2011

Ghosts

It's that time of year when apparitions make appearances, and I'm reminded of things and people that I'd nearly forgotten. ..well, seemingly forgotten.  Perhaps, I never really did forget.  I remember far more than I let on...

This isn't to say that I hold any grudges, because that is far from the truth.  I just .. remember.

...and through light-hearted, unguided chit-chat with folks, my mind aimlessly wandered and settled upon vague recollections of things and times past.  Things and times that - dare I say it? - I had nearly forgotten!  There were fond memories of moments that I've long since put out of my mind.  And that's a shame if for no other reason than because they really were happy times.  (If there's anything I gain from my sudden recollections, it's that for years I'd been telling myself quite the simplified version of my life.)

For too long have I been looking at my life with tunnel-vision.  But at least now I am realizing (or rather recollecting) that it was far more complex than I have given myself credit for.  The actual chronology of my life tells a different story than the one I've been telling myself ... and others, for that matter.

There were people.  Lots of them.  There were things that happened.  Lots of those, too.  And I've accumulated a colourful collection of tales worth remembering.

I am who I am, and every day I remember that ever more.

I don't like good-byes, but I wish you well.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Waiting is Bad

Good things come to those who .. ask.

Incremental Improvement

Practice makes better.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Rights

Sometimes you have to ask for what you deserve.  Other times, you have to fight.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Aims

I was looking for some glue yesterday, and as such I began to sift through old boxes.  (Last year, I had purchased an awesome adhesive that worked very well on cloth, and I know I wouldn't have discarded it.)  I don't know where anything from my room specifically went.  It's all in boxes, compartmentalized in a fashion that makes no sense to me because I wasn't the one who did it... And in my quest to find my glue, I got my hands one of my many journals.  Naturally, I peeked inside...

I found task lists and goals that dated back to 2004.  I wrote consistently in it until about 2005.  After that, it contains only sporadic posts, the most recent one from this past June.

When I picked it up in June, I didn't reread it fully.  What I did was glance back to see what I had been thinking six or seven years prior.  Yesterday, though, I read through it more thoroughly, and here is what I noticed:

I accomplished every goal I had set out to accomplish.  Every secret hope that I wrote about to myself came to be.

I spent years being disappointed, and feeling like a failure because I didn't accomplish more.  I felt upset whenever I was told that I didn't want some things enough to make them happen.  But they were right, and it was true.  There were just some things I didn't care enough about; some things that I didn't really want.  I got everything I aimed for.  If I'm to be disappointed, it should be because those things didn't give me the happiness that I was looking for.  I was wrong.

I've outgrown my dreams...

Time to find more.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Renaissance

I overheard a slowed-down, feminine cover of The Beatles' I Wanna Hold Your Hand in passing today.  It left me itching to Youtube the song when I got home.  I ventured to find the cover I heard.  Upon searching, I stumbled upon a video from Glee of Kurt singing this song about his father.


I had been singing the lyrics "Oh yeah, I'll tell you something/I think you'll understand/When I say that something/I want to hold your hand" in a romantic context all day, that this version of the song struck me.  In the episode that it aired, Kurt was singing it to his unexpectedly potentially terminal father.  Watching this video, and listening to him sing this song made me think of my dad.

I know it's trouble to pinpoint a moment as the cause of something.  (That is, why stop at that moment?  Why not any one of the infinitely many other moments preceding it?  For some prereading if I ever get into my thoughts on this topic, see P. Lipton on Contrastive Explanation and causal triangulation.) But my father's passing effected a lot of change.

I had said that calendars give days power when my father went into cardiac arrest on Valentine's Day 2010 because every anniversary of that date was going to be a reminder.  But I neglected to consider the effects time, and new memories. Calendars remind us, but they don't affect how we feel about the memory.

Next week is the first anniversary of when my life turned upside down, but next Thursday will mark a far more important date for me for now, and for every year thereafter.  So much can happen in a year.  Here's to new beginnings!

Existentialism

Intro

In his Will to Power, and Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche diagnosed the modern problem of nihilism. He proposed the Overman as a response to this problem as a general framework of what a new meaning for life would be. But the Overman is not a full response – It is more of an open call for answers. In the twentieth century, the existentialisms of Sartre and Frankl provide attempts to establish new bases for the meaning of life: one a philosophical perspective, the other a psychological one. In this paper, we will describe Nietzsche’s problem of nihilism, explicate Sartre’s and Frankl’s existentialisms, examine how the existentialisms of Sartre and Frankl are responses to Nietzsche’s articulation of nihilism, and decide if either/both are sufficient.

The Problem of Nihilism as Articulated by Nietzsche

Starting from the assumption that God existed, European society built a meaning of life. Christianity posited a heaven and a hell, and propounded values that gave meaning to life; a Christian God that dictated the nature of good and evil. Since science undermines presumption of existence of god, a meaning of life that was based on God had to also be thrown out. That is, if the meaning of life was to be retained at all, then it would need to be for different reasons, on a different basis. If nihilism is the idea that we can't find value in morality that does not lie in God, then science has thrown society into nihilism. The “highest values” of Christianity are at once devaluated: god, Truth, Morality, and Divine Justice. Nietzsche is saying that since it was the concept of God that led to the development of science, then it was us that threw ourselves into nihilism. To Nietzsche, society could respond in one of 2 ways: passively or actively. To respond passively meant to ignore the problem, or give up on life in its wake – it is pessimistic, and hedonistic. Active nihilism referred to viewing this epiphany as a challenge: as an opportunity to find new meaning. He advocated the active form of nihilism.[1]
In particular, he put forth The Overman as an answer to the ultimate meaning in life. He considered the current man a ‘bridge’ between beast and Overman.[2] There are four possible interpretations of what Nietzsche meant by “the Overman” for the meaning of life:

1. The Evolutionary Interpretation
The Overman will become both slave and master moralities. He challenges us to live dangerously[3] as the preparatory men paving the way for the Overman. This is a progressive development of a higher type of man.


2. A Higher Type of Human Being
Man must create this higher form of human being; “synthesize” the positive qualities of both the Noble and Slave moralities[4]. In this interpretation, the Overman is one who knows a highly spiritual happiness, not the escapist happiness of the last man. One that is akin to the happiness of the Noble man as a true embracing of life and reality the way it is. This man embraces asceticism, but only the positive qualities: self-observation, self-discipline, self-restraint over instincts, master of oneself, self-conquering, and intelligent, self-reflecting, self-understanding. In particular, to be like the "Roman Caesar" with Christ's soul - a complete synthesis of positive qualities of Noble and Slave moralities. This is all still ambiguous. Sometimes he says that these are the qualities of the overman; sometimes that this leads to the overman. He also doesn't fully explain what he means by 'spiritual'. He says that the overman is 'spiritual'.


3. A Higher Class/A New Type of Aristocracy
The Overman is a new class/ caste in society,[5] with the ‘Overmen’ at the top because they are suited to be at the top. The mediocre are at the bottom because they do not strive for more. It is important to note that there is ambiguity even in this interpretation with regard to the purpose of the “last man”. In some places he says they're worthless; in others he indicates that they're necessary for the Overman to develop[6].

4. A Higher Type of Man, Not Realized
In this interpretation, man is always “overcoming” himself. The Overman is an ideal as yet unattained, but can be through a constant process of self-transcendence, self-overcoming. He can't say exactly what form the overman takes, but says that if we are going to overcome ourselves, it would involve self-overcoming; otherwise we wallow in the meaningless existence in the face of nihilism. Perhaps he's vague or conflicted about his accounts precisely because he believes that it is up to us to bring it about.


Sartre`s Existentialism

Sartre provided an answer of sorts to Nietzsche’s modern problem of nihilism with his existentialism. It is based on the idea that “existence precedes essence”[7]: we make our own choices/choose our actions, and this defines who we are, our “essence”. This is all embedded in our particular "facticities" - the contingent facts about our existence that we do not choose. The world that we're thrown into constrains and opens possibilities for being. Meaning in life is defined by us in on this basis: we do not ask what the meaning of life is, rather it asks us.[8]
Sartre’s existentialism also provides a description of his morality as an analogy between it and art[9]: there is nothing established about it. Each individual case must be considered. What are brought out by our actions are our values[10]. He say that we, as radically free, self-determining beings, make decisions that express our values, where our values are chosen by us. For Sartre, even not-choosing is a choice so that “what is impossible is to not choose.”[11] Insofar as we are free, self-determining freedom thrown into the world, even if we consider objective values it doesn't always help us. We simply make a decision, and it can be based on something not "rational" - our feelings - because we must decide. This is not to say that morality is something capricious.
For Sartre, the existentialist is opposed to the view that seeks to suppress God “at the least possible expense”[12], and accept a priori the way of life as if God existed. That is, to accept Christian morality a priori in spite of the fact that it was based on a premise that is no longer considered ‘true’: the existence of the Christian God. Sartre wants to say that this doesn't mean that we choose selfishly: when we choose, we affirm the value that contributed to that choice. Values are subjectively chosen, but have universal applicability. For example, when we choose a over b, then we are affirming that value. In so doing, we are implicitly painting a picture of what humanity should be in our minds. In a choice, there is an implicit universal image of humanity that is being affirmed. Because we can only be who we are in an inter-subjective world, and since I find "others" in this collective being, then I should always take others into consideration in the choices that I make in the world. That is, we should ask "What would happen if everyone did so?" Our choices should reflect the idea of "What if everyone did so?" - Would it make sense? This is not to say that there is a script on how to do this.


Frankl`s Existentialism

Meaning in life, for Frankl is something that is determined by the individual: man is responsible for his being[13]. Life may give us ideas, meaning, fulfilment, and purpose, but meaning in life is determined at each moment. You are responsible for creating meaning in your life. His response is at a practical level. To Sartre's point that our life is a life-long project, Frankl also sees this as a constant/always changing life-long project of creating yourself. "at any moment, … man must choose what must be the monument of his existence[14]" Frankl says that we need to recognize that we all make mistakes, and that moving on from them is a healthy response; that this way we stay in control of how we respond to life. This is, to Frankl, an empowering thought. He articulates three ways of discovering meaning:
1. Creating a work or doing a deed[15] to make any struggle to reach your goal worthwhile.
2. Experiencing something or encountering someone
3. The attitude we take towards unavoidable suffering: adopting a tragic optimism

Suffering becomes bearable when we find a meaning for it. He describes this as "maintaining a tragic optimism" in the fact of the “tragic triad” of pain, guilt, and death.[16] We can choose to respond to the tragic triad by:
 Turning suffering around into something positive by finding redemptive qualities from it.
 Deriving from guilt a lesson: the opportunity to change oneself for the better
 Deriving from life's transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action

He sees this as empowering to the individual; as an "aha! experience" in understanding or recognizing the existential vacuum as source of noodynamics[17]. How we choose to perceive a particular situation is like a Gestalt experience: we take responsibility for taking the steps to change the situation. “Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time”[18] is Frankl’s Maxim of Logotherapy. Reflect on your current situation, and shed some insight into a mistake you make now, and make a decision now before we make a bad choice. This is similar to Sartre’s doctrine, in which we have say and create our own lives and well-being where If we recognize opportunities to change ourselves/our lives for the better, then we take responsibility for taking concrete steps to reach that goal, and we create meaning for our lives on that practical level.


Sartre & Frankl: Response to Nietzsche’s Articulation of Modern Nihilism

Nietzsche’s meaning in life is based on his concept of the Overman, and it is an objective ‘super-meaning’ that would apply to everyone. In all four interpretations of it given above, it is found to be either vague or ambiguous. At no point does he unequivocally define the term. The only definitive character that the Overman is given is that he goes beyond ‘good and evil’; that is, his sense of morality is not based on Christian morality. We are even unsure as to whether he means that the Overman is attainable for all humanity (#1 or #2), or a class in society (#3), or an ideal that is sought after (#4). This aside, Nietzsche’s meaning in life is defined as achieving/becoming (depending on your interpretation) the Overman. We know that the Overman ‘goes beyond good and evil’, as just described. Therefore we know that for Nietzsche, part of the meaning in life involves striving to embody a sense of morality that goes beyond good and evil.
Sartre and Frankl want to say that meaning in life is determined only on an individual basis. There is no objective meaning. Both also have a conception of morality that is intertwined with their conceptions of the meaning of life. Both also expound similar views on choice, freedom, self-determination, and responsibility for man:

Choice. The individual has to make the choice[19] at every moment, because what's not possible is not to choose.[20] Man constantly makes a choice among the massive number of potentialities.

Freedom. For both Sartre and Frankl, we are always free to choose how we respond[21]. Back to Sartre, we can't choose our "facticity", our "thrownness" into existence. It defines our potentials, and limits. However, even within our constraints, we have freedom to choose how we respond to life. Sartre's "Neurotic fatalism" is a concept that denies our freedom – This he refers to as "Bad Faith". For example, consider someone who has a bad temper: bad faith is blaming a bad temper on our biological constitution. Sartre says that we still have the ability to choose how we respond. It is a freedom to take a stand against the conditions that you're in.


Self-Determination. For Sartre, man determines himself, as he creates himself. Man is always determining in every moment what his existence will be. This has the consequence that every human being has the ability to change at any instant.[22] Frankl says something like this in his example of Dr. Jay, a satanic figure who chose to become a different person. This is a dramatic example to illustrate his conviction that we choose who we are, and can always choose differently. Man is both potentialities within himself. What he becomes is his decision.[23]

Responsibility. This refers to who and what we are. Without a God, both Frankl and Sartre believe that only we can determine ourselves, and only we can be responsible for who and what we are. For Sartre, who and what we are is our "essence". We create ourselves: our life is our project, and it is our responsibility to create it. "Thus to life he can only respond by being responsible."[24]

Nietzsche said that confronting the problem of nihilism actively means that we have to acknowledge these realities described by Sartre and Frankl. That is, that man is a free, self-determining being that is responsible for all of his actions and choices is a direct consequence of there being no God. This is Nietzsche’s “active nihilism”. Sartre’s and Frankl’s existentialist is a man who dares to "live dangerously", or wind up being a 'last man'. That is, if there were an omnipotent, omniscient being such as the Christian God who was responsible for everything we do, then free will wouldn’t be possible, nor would we be responsible for our actions. (i.e. there is someone else to blame for all of the pain and suffering we experience – God.)

Both of their outlooks regarding meaning in life are individual – they require that each person determine for his/herself a meaning in every moment. In this sense, neither Sartre nor Frankl address Nietzsche’s question of the meaning of life. They both answer the question: why do we do something in particular in a given instant? And Nietzsche wants to know why it is that we live and continue living? In Frankl’s words:

“The super-meaning – This ultimate meaning necessarily exceeds and surpasses the finite intellectual capacities of man; in logotherapy, we speak in this context of a super-meaning. What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms.”[25]

Nietzsche wanted man to find a super-meaning to life. However, if one lives by Sartre’s or Frankl’s interpretations of morality, then one begins to “goes beyond good and evil” and “live dangerously” in Nietzsche’s senses of the words. For example, consider Albert Camus’ Meursault, the protagonist in The Outsider, as an expression of Sartre’s existentialism. His actions and words brought to life those of a free, self-determining being responsible for his actions. Was there ever a better illustration of the empowerment endowed to one who so clearly accepted the truth of there being no God? He accepted life’s challenge, and in being Sartre’s existentialist, for Nietzsche he was able to go “beyond good and evil”. Recall his words to the priest at the end of his life, in jail awaiting executive for committing an act he knew he very well could have not done:

“He seemed so certain of everything, didn’t he? And yet none of his certainties was worth one hair of a woman’s head. He couldn’t even be sure he was alive because he was living like a dead man. I might seem to be empty-handed. But I was sure of myself, sure of everything, surer than he was, sure of my life and sure of the death that was coming to me. Yes, that was all I had. But at least it was a truth which I had hold of just as it had hold of me. I’d been right, I was still right, I was always right. I’d lived in a certain way and I could just as well have lived in a different way. I’d done this and I hadn’t done that. I hadn’t done one thing whereas I had done another. So what? It was as if I’d been waiting all along for this very moment and for the early dawn when I’d be justified. Nothing, nothing mattered and I knew very well why.”[26]

In an indirect and unintentional way then, such as Frankl’s paradoxical intention[27] whereby one achieves a particular outcome by not striving for it, through living the life prescribed by Frankl’s and Sartre’s moralities, as illustrated by Camus through Meursault, one finds oneself “paradoxically” (in Frankl’s sense) “becoming” (in Nietzsche’s) the Overman in a combination of the 3rd and 4th interpretation(s) as described above. Well, this works if we, say, assume that “becoming” the Overman would undoubtedly include adopting his sense of morality.

Concluding Words

We looked at the path laid out by Nietzsche for a meaning in life, how it involved a basis in morality and an attitude towards life, and the question that arises from modern nihilism – i.e. what is the meaning of life? We looked at Sartre’s and Frankl’s existentialisms and saw how similar they are, and how they serve as responses to Nietzsche’s question. We found what may not be satisfying – that through Frankl’s paradoxical intention, by living the life of Sartre’s existentialist, one can be characterized as one who ‘goes beyond good and evil’, which happens to be the morality that was prescribed by Nietzsche to be inherent in the Overman. However, I am assuming that in adopting certain characteristics of Nietzsche`s Overman that it necessarily means that one is on track to become the Overman. This isn’t necessarily true. Then again, nor is the fact that the Overman, in all of its vagueness (and/or ambiguity, depending on your interpretation of it) provides the meaning of life. But it is believable. Then again, the question posed was whether Sartre’s and/or Frankl’s existentialisms respond to Nietzsche’s question. And that, I hope, has been answered.

Bibliography

Camus, Albert. 1961. The outsider. Harmondsworth [England]: Penguin Books.
Frankl, Viktor Emil. 1984. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. New York: Washington Squares Press.
Kaufmann, Walter Arnold. 1975. Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre,. rev. and expanded. -- ed. New York: New American Library.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. 1989. On the genealogy of morals, eds. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Walter Arnold Kaufmann. Vintage Books ed. ed. New York: Vintage Books.
———. 1982. The portable nietzsche, ed. Walter Arnold Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books.
———. 1968. The will to power, eds. Northrop Frye, Walter Arnold Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale. New York: Vintage Books.

________________________________________
[1]Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.On the genealogy of morals, eds. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Walter Arnold Kaufmann. Vintage Books ed. ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 1989) Pg. 160

[2] ———. The portable nietzsche, ed. Walter Arnold Kaufmann. (New York: Penguin Books, 1982) Pg 124

[3] ———. The portable nietzsche, ed. Walter Arnold Kaufmann. (New York: Penguin Books, 1982) Pg 124

[4] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg. 463

[5]———. The portable nietzsche, ed. Walter Arnold Kaufmann. (New York: Penguin Books, 1982) Pg 645

[6] ———. The portable nietzsche, ed. Walter Arnold Kaufmann. (New York: Penguin Books, 1982)
Pg. 463-464

[7] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.
Pg. 353

[8] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.
363

[9] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.363-364

[10] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.354

[11] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.
363

[12]Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.352

[13] Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 133

[14]Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 131-132

[15]Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984) Pg. 97

[16]Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 161

[17]Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 169
[18] Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 131-132

[19] Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 128

[20] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg. 143
[21]Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg 153

[22] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg.154
[23] Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984)
Pg. 157

[24] Walter Arnold Kaufmann, Existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre, (New York: New American Library, 1975) Pg. 131

[25] Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984) Pg. 141

[26] Albert Camus. The outsider. (Penguin Books, 1961) Pg. 115

[27] Viktor Frankl. Man's search for meaning. Rev. and updated. -- ed. (New York: Washington Squares Press, 1984) Pg. 150

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Breaking the Rules

I don't mention names, and I don't write explicitly about what's going on in my life. These are my two rules. I adopted them upon creating this blog in September 2009 specifically for the purpose of ensuring that no one feared spending time with me lest I blog about them, but also because I didn't want to regret any of the posts and this seemed like the best way to do it.

The trouble is that I can't write about what's really plaguing me at any given point in time. Or rather, I do: I mask everything in stories from the past, thought experiments, and poetry. But this can be a tiresome task when sometimes all I want to do is scream out to the world.

Well, maybe I can just blurt out the bottom line without the long-winded, self-serving prologue:

I AM HAPPY!

That is all.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Insight

I'm rattled at the moment by recollections of all that has transpired in the last year, and find that it renders me sleepless.  There were moments of heartbreak, self-loathing, paranoia, anxiety, depression, emptiness, excitement, adventure, danger, joy, bliss, disappointment, and heartbreak.

I set out to accomplish my goal of slowing down time by "making every moment memorable".  But somewhere amidst all the commotion, I lost direction.  I was so focused on doing what I'd never done before, that I neglected to consider what I wanted, and what I needed.

So yes, since adopting this practice, I've managed to make each moment memorable..

...but here's the thing: was it meaningful?  

Saturday, 1 October 2011

My Cue

When I was a teenager, I hair modeled and participated in pageants.  This was mainly for free gifts and compensation because quite honestly, ideologically I was opposed to those sorts of activities.  Until it didn`t anymore, the free stuff outweighed the self-betrayal.

I still remember vividly the day I quit.  I was on stage with a dozen other girls working on choreography for the opening number of an upcoming pageant.  The choreographers, in all their unwarranted arrogance, nitpicked each of our bodies.  Unlike so many times before, this time, I couldn't continue.  I demanded everyone immediately stop what they were doing so that I could say loudly and clearly in one swift go that I no longer felt this was the right fit for me.  I had to leave.

I remember so distinctly the moment that it clicked. There was this out of body moment during the rehearsal when I just looked at myself and wondered why I was there.  It just stopped making sense.  I was growing and changing--it was my teen years. I genuinely didn`t expect to face any opposition as I left.  I laugh and call it `diva-like` in retrospect, but it wasn't out of some diva-like attitude that I did it.  I just expected that in spite of all of the money and time invested in me, that my decision to walk out would be supported; that it would be understood that I was fully cognizant of the consequences of my actions.  I was not looking for attention.  I did not want to be begged to stay, or reminded of my potential.  I just had to go.

The trouble was that I couldn't be anywhere I didn't want to be.  I got claustrophobic, and felt like everything around me was collapsing in on me; I couldn't breathe. I have to come and go, as I must.

Not all such situations were like this.  That is, where I was slowly worn down to the point where I had to either act or crack.  Other times, there was a cue - a clear trigger.  Sometimes it could have been avoided.  Other times it was a miscommunication.  Other times yet were just unfortunate events.  Whatever the case was, once it happened there was no going back.  Once I was done, I regurgitated some reason offered up as an explanation just before being on my merry way.

I don't know if I've gone trigger happy, or if I'm more in-tune with myself, but I have hit "my cue" on so many occasions this past year.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Full Circle

At the start of this year, I was asked when it was in my life that I felt most confidently.  At the time, I said **.  It was the last time that I felt like all of my efforts were rewarded and recognized, and the last time I felt fully appreciated for it.  I didn't worry; I didn't fear.  I knew what I wanted, and I went for it.  I didn't get bogged down by the things that didn't matter.

The next question this person posed to me was: how detached do you feel from that confident **-year-old?  ...

It was this question that got me thinking, and that had me bothered ever since.  My answer at the time was very, very detached.   It was so easy for me to spit out when it was that I last felt most confidently, but absolutely startling when I realized how unlike that confident girl I was so many years ago I am today.  This person told me that most people spend the rest of their lives trying to reclaim that confidence (unconsciously).  I had begun to think of that confidence as naive youth, and to believe that age only revealed our humanly limitations.  I began to fear the possibility that such confidence was impossible to regain, and fear that I'd spend the rest of my life on a wild goose chase.

//

Somewhere back there in the mess that was life, I began to make goals that I didn't meet. I began to see myself as constantly "derailed".  But from what?   What was it that was so important that all other life paths were secondary? that all other accomplishments were distractions?  The answer was nothing.  

The future is filled with opportunities shaped by our past. There is no objectively ideal outcome. Neither are we "derailing" or "missing opportunities".  This vocabulary is loaded with regret, but for what?  For what never came to be.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  and who cares?  It's this uncertainty that makes life worth living.  I'm dying to learn how the story ends but not as a prediction.  Rather, in due course. 

Stories can be empty or epic depending on how they are told.  Similarly can they be tragic or triumphant.  It's a mindset.

There will always be at least one reason why you shouldn't do something.  Ask yourself if the one reason you do have is worth it.

This life is a short one: make it memorable.

Monday, 29 August 2011

My Return

It was seemingly if not accurately an erratic move back when I upped and left.  If you know me, then you have an inkling as to why, and if you know me well, then you know the details.  And if you don't know me at all, then you must think I'm crazy or unpredictable, and that's fine.  There were a lot of good reasons, but really, I just needed to detach myself from everything going on and approach it differently.

At the time, I had sought a lot of help to deal with the stress.  Yoga, massages, workouts, meditation, counselling, psychiatry.  One professional had asked me what I did to relax.  I went through the list of things that I pencil in.  He said that that's nice, but asked if I like to do those things.  I couldn't answer.  I still can't.  All I have are my recommendations of things to do to destress and my checklists that I use to keep track of them.  But they hadn't been working.  He told me to take some time and "find myself" and discover what it is that "energizes" me.  He said that I was running at 20% and that I need to get up to 100% before I go on.

This was a tall order given that I'd never done it before.  As far back as I can remember, I've basically just jumped from one thing to the next without stopping.  I want to find what "energizes me" but I don't know how to take time to "find myself".  I don't know how to stop.  How do you do something you don't know how to do?

The answer is that you don't.  (Not well, at least.)  I had spent months trying to relax by doing the things that are typically relaxing and all I would find is that those things did not work for me.  So, I did the only thing I knew how to do: I picked myself up, dusted myself off and got out there.  I met people.  I saw places.  I learned things.  I pushed my limits.  I did what I do best.  Succeed.  Succeed in non-ideal circumstances.  And I remembered what it felt like to get excited about something.  I remembered what it felt like to be happy.

I returned because my sister and my mom were moving.  The reason for the move was a huge source of my stress.  However, it was a welcome excuse to return because I'd been curious to see how I would feel after being misplaced for so long.

It turns out that it feels like nothing.  It was like I was in a warp zone.  Every moment I was away felt exponentially longer.  That is, the first week, I felt like I was there a week. The second week, I felt like I had been there a month.  The third week, I felt like I'd been there a couple of months and by the end of the eighth week, I just felt like I had been there forever, like it was "home".

But when I returned, I felt like I hadn't been gone at all.  How could so much happen to me, but nothing change back home?  Did anyone even notice I was gone?  Why should I have stayed?  Why should anyone have asked me to?

I have been told by everyone who has seen me since my return to Toronto that I look happy and that they see a certain glow in me that they haven't seen in ages.  I have been asked What happened? since they last saw me.  What has made me so happy?

I'll tell you what happened: I took some time.  I found myself and what energizes me.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Crashes, Beaches, and Bystanders

What is it about tragedy that is so intriguing that it catches our attention and leaves us dying to know the details?  We rubber-neck for a reason, right?

I drove past a car crash on my way into town this morning.  I did my absolute best to get as much as I could out of viewing it out of the corner of my eye while driving past it pretending to be attentively watching the road directly ahead of me.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick up very much.  (I make a poor spy but an excellent ignorant bystander.)  However, this much I did catch: there were three people sitting by the side of the vehicles; there was a trailer, and a sedan; no vehicles were totaled - just tipped over.

As I made my way past, I thought about why I or anyone else would want to view it.  I thought about the people involved and how they must be feeling.  I thought about the hassle that it is to deal with insurance companies.  I thought about my own personal experience in dealing with my auto insurance company, and it was this train of thought that led me to recall my first auto collision.

I thought about how I felt when everyone passed by me when I was in distress.  I thought about how a handful of people came to my aid, and how dozens more just walked on by.  I thought about how it was rush hour, and how the streets were packed.  I thought about how the teenager who hit me called all of his friends to show up and pretend they were witnesses.  I smiled when I thought about how I shrugged it off at the time.  I smiled again when I thought about all of the people who waited by my side and helped me.  And then, peculiarly, my mind drifted right back to the people who didn't react and continued to walk on by.

The week following that collision, I went to the beach.  My sister and my best friend convinced me to take a day and just go relax.  On the drive out, my sister mentioned that there had been a number of drownings at that beach that summer, and that it was imperative that we be careful.  I remember scoffing as I said aloud, "With so many people around, it would truly be a tragedy if someone drowned."  So, when I got caught in the undertow of three, large, consecutive waves, it was these words that came to mind.  With every available breath, I screamed "help" as loud as I physically could.  It wasn't immediate, but it came.  I lived.  And here I am.

I do find it a tragedy when people don't get the help they need when there are so many people around, available, and who would be willing to provide it.  But then I think about car crashes that hold up traffic.  I think about how rubber-necking is discouraged because it further holds up traffic.  I think about myself, and how curious I am to know what happened, and then I ask myself "Why?"  Why do I need to know?

I like to think it's because I empathize, and that it's not out of some crazy compulsion to be entertained at someone else' expense.  I think that I need to know because I wonder if it could very well have been me.  What's the difference between me and the person who was in the car crash just ahead of me?  The answer: perhaps nothing.  Perhaps it was just timing.  Perhaps it was just some particular combination of the myriad of seemingly insignificant other factors that altogether amounted to my safety, and to someone else' demise.  Perhaps.

And similarly, perhaps not.  Perhaps I have nothing in common with the person ahead of me.  Perhaps there were unmitigated circumstances to which that person was exclusively subject, and of which I neither may nor am able to ever be aware.  It's hard to gauge.  In any situation, I'm sure, we have some inclination as to which it is, but in the end, it's just a guess.

So, I sit and I wonder.  I rubber-neck and feign disinterest.  I help or at least ensure someone else has.  I ask for help when I need it, and give it when I can.  These are the things that I do.

What about you?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Home, Roots, and Tumbleweeds

I used to think that there were few things that I could know in life besides that I belonged with a certain someone and in Toronto.  Fast-forward five years and here we are.

I have changed residences so frequently over the years that I have to keep a log of all of my previous addresses just so I can keep it all straight.  I don't even know if there's anything in my possession that I've had for longer than a year.  I donate my things with each move partly to reduce moving costs but mostly because I change - my tastes shift, and I get bored of things.  Am I nostalgic? I may not hold onto items, but I definitely hold onto memories.  I enjoy reminiscing fondly about les temps pass├ęs.  Do I long to have them back? No.  Letting go is essential in appreciating the true beauty in a moment.

I have always managed to make each place I've been feel a little bit like a "home".  I get entrenched so quickly.  It's that I find people so fascinating, and given the opportunity to indulge socially, I begin to find it difficult to uproot myself... But I always do, eventually.  I see myself as a tumbleweed: I survive in the desert, disengage from my roots, and leave a little bit of myself everywhere I go.

Someone recently described me as 'flittering about aimlessly'.  I don't think that's the case.  Some people have a home about which they navigate, and towards which gravitate for comfort, strength, and courage.  I don't have a home in this sense.  There is no place, set of things, or network of people that I will always come home to.  Some situations may mimic home in this sense for me, and admittedly, there were times when I thought I found one, but I was wrong.

I've learned that I am my home.  Wherever I go, I will have comfort.  Whenever I rebuild, I will have strength.  And whatever the circumstances, I will survive.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Risk, Favours, and Misrepresentation

When opportunities come, before you accept or reject them, it's important to ask yourself 'why'.  If I reject one, I do it without regret of missing out on the pros, and if I take it, then I do it fully cognizant of the cons.  There is a lot of consideration to be taken.

I've done aggressive sales.  Opportunities can be sold as a big picture, a logical path, an opportunity for personal growth, etc... depending on the person you're selling it to.  People are differentially satisfied, and what's important is that that person's concerns are satisfied.  A 'pro' for one person may be a 'con' to another.  Decision-making is very subjective.

In searching for advice, I've found the best question to ask myself was "What do your instincts tell you?"  It's a great question.  I can draw out all of the trees of possibilities, but in the end, I have an inclination.  It's important to understand why that inclination exists, whether it be negative or positive.  The answer would be very telling.

It's difficult to put yourself out there by going after your dreams and giving everything you've got to try to make them come true.  It's similarly as difficult to put yourself out there and say what you're really thinking, and feeling.

Well, life's true pleasures can only be unlocked when we do both.  Here goes nothing... Or perhaps, rather, "there it went..."

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Keywords

If you know me, then you know that I love to check my traffic sources.  If you know me well, then you know that I check referring sites, browsers, OS', and keywords.

I occasionally learn of fun things, like people visiting and spending time on my site after googling "remarks on the self karl popper", "leathercraft process of america", "analogy between faraday and ampere", "entity realism", "the problem of induction genuine problem philosophy", "the experiment as mediator between subject and object", and the closing words of Sucker Punch.

As of late, I've been getting hidden messages in the keywords from an ever-so-brilliant person who knows that I will check.  Yes, I read them, and yes, you have found a new way to say 'hello'.

Mostly, I get to see how often people google my name, my name + my city, my name + facebook, my name + my country, find my blog, and read it.

I ... just ... don't quite know what to make of that.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Spoiler

Tell me how the story ends!
I just want to know.
It's hard to see beyond the moment
when you're dealt another blow.

Tell me I'm the distressed damsel -
a knight in armour on his way;
The Deus Ex Machina 'round the corner
to materialize and save the day.

Because I don't need to be the hero,
the shining star that steals the show.
I'm not desperate for attention
when I'm feeling really low.

I need help because I'm cracking
under the pressure of the weight
of every little tiny thing
with which I've struggled as of late.

So don't tell me I can do it.
When what I need's a helpful hand.
Not just empty, pleasant words
that suggest but don't mean you understand.

Because I know who'll be the hero,
The steady hand that saves the show.
I asked you how the story ends,
but I guess I damned well know:

I'll suck it up, and take the hits.
Maybe a couple times I'll fall.
And when they ask me "How much credit..."
I will say, "I take it all."

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Making It Memorable

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." ~Albert Einstein

How do you slow down time?  That is, the perception of it.  I speak not of time dilation...at the time being.

I declared this past New Year's (or was it the one before...) that my attempt at slowing down time would involve making it memorable.  How best to hold onto a moment than by making it impossible for forget?

This has basically involved saying 'yes' and being open to new adventures, and saying 'no' to anything less.

What's curious is the reception of this new attitude of mine: since adopting it, I've developed something of a following...

I don't think life was meant to be spent unhappily.  I don't think that my new outlook should be rare.  ...but so few people ever even consider what makes them happy, and of those that do, significantly fewer actually do something about it.

This life is a short one.  Don't waste it.  Go after your dreams with everything you've got!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Plans, Hopes, and Dreams

Since my dad passed away, everything's changed.  He was a big part of my "why": why I work, why I study, why I manage my life the way I do.  We talked about life - plans, hopes and dreams - every time we got the chance, which was usually during a drive.  He would drive me from home to UTM to study because it was one of my favourite places to study.

When I was a child, I felt as if he spoke to me as if I were an adult.  He would ask for my thoughts, and valued my opinions.  He let me reason out my own decisions, and taught me to be strong and live with all of the consequences, whether good or bad.

As a teenager, when things got busy and all we had was breakfast, then breakfast was what we did together every single morning.  He'd share a story from his youth, or talk about current affairs, and I would dribble on about my plans, hopes, and dreams.  I talked to him about what I wanted out of life, and how I planned to get there.  I talked to him about any obstacles I was facing and how I planned to overcome them.  I told him about my principles and how I'd never betray them.  I talked about my shortcomings and how I planned to address them.

I loved my father, and every day that he's gone is a reminder that I need to carve out my own path without him.  A lot of things became startlingly clear following his death, but none more so than the fact that I built a lot of my plans, hopes, and dreams around his being here to share them with me.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Maybe

In my first salaried job, whenever I got tired, there were two coordinators who always told me that sleep was for the weak.  "You can sleep when you die!" they preached, and when I thought of the thousands of participants who counted on our efforts, I would buckle down and power through.

*

In my second salaried job, everything was about balance.  Family - work - self.  Balance.  Workshops, courses, mantras were all centred on finding the right balance, and how balance was the key to achieving our dreams.   Life is a marathon, and you have to learn to pace yourself.

**

In a short stint in a miserable environment, there were no motivational words.  Neither words to keep me going when I was tired, nor words to slow me down to keep me from burning out.

Each day was neither busy, nor slow; neither interesting nor boring.  I stopped learning, and growing.  I stopped thinking, and feeling.  I stopped being passionate.  I stopped being me.   The position was neither fulfilling nor worthwhile.  Monetary gains could not make up for the personal losses.

***

I was in DC this past weekend, and I had dinner with a friend that I had made on my trip there the weekend prior.  I told him that after two weekends in the DC area, I didn't ever want to leave.  I admitted that the only reason that I may have felt this way was because I was running from everything back home.

My friend told me that it's running when it's irresponsible.  Maybe you're running to something, he said.  Maybe.  Maybe you found something you've been looking for, something you've needed but never knew you did.

Maybe, just maybe, he was right.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Sucker Punch (2011)

Who honors those we love for the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us and at the same time, sings that we'll never die? Who teaches us whats real, and how to laugh at lies? Who decides why we live, and what we'll die to defend. Who chains us, and who holds the key to set us free. It's you.

...deliciously atheistic sentiments, if ever there were any!  Well, they're certainly existentialist, but that's all besides the point..

The message was motivational, even if the movie wasn't.  Our minds are powerful.  We can control that power.  We can either take what comes at us passively, or we can be creative and do what we can to participate in the determination of any outcome, even when all that means is how we handle it.  The final words resonate with me:

You have all the weapons you need.

It's true.

Now fight!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

All Of The Lights

Turn up the lights in here, baby
You know what I need
Want you to see everything
Want you to see all of the lights


This song strikes a chord with me.  It isn't so much the the lyrical content, because I can barely relate to the verses, but the timbre of the instrumentation, layers of vocals, and the chorus all get to me.  They remind me of .. something.

For one thing, the song has the sort of bounce to it that you don't hear in the mainstream so much anymore.  It has an anthem-like quality, and is emotional.

And although lyrically, it doesn't reflect anything I'm going through right now, or have been going through for the past couple of years, it strikes a strong chord with me.  I get lost in it the way I used to get lost in music, in love, or in life.  It reminds me of when I used to feel passionately about things, and how I would get excited about things.  When I blast it, I remember that I really did used to feel alive, and not just like a zombie making my way about.  It wasn't a dream.  It was real.  I used to feel things.  I wasn't always this cold and dead inside.

I know I can't relive my naive youthfulness and be moved by people, music, and experiences the way I did when it was all new, but neither does that mean that I must continue to feel so empty.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ready or Not

I was writing to myself in my journal the other day, and stopped when I scribbled the following:

...always being ready for the worst makes you miss out on all of the best.

It's so simple and yet I didn't see it.  I've always seen the opposite of optimism as negativity, but I never considered how destructive paranoia and over-preparedness can be...  Sure, I didn't expect the worst, but I considered and planned for it the way I planned for 'best case scenarios'.  It seemed like the most reasonable way to go about planning.  It still does...

I suppose there's a reason why they say 'ignorance is bliss'.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Worry

In high school, I usually had crushes on the smartest boys, but in my OAC year, I had a crush on one of the average guys.  Everyone knew, too, not because it was obvious but rather because I had a big mouth.  I wouldn't have admitted it then, but I told people because I figured that if word got around that I was interested that he'd be confident enough to make the first move.

Anyway, one day after school, he was in the gym playing soccer.  I think it was tryouts, but it could have just been a pickup game.  I was with a bunch of our friends outside of the gym doors peeking in and watching the game.  After much coaxing and teasing, my friends convinced me to go and talk to him when he was benched.  So, I took a deep breath, and walked into the gym.

My heart raced as I walked along the side of the gym towards him.  He was at the opposite end.  My palms got all sweaty.  The yells and screams of the teams on the floor and their audience grew increasingly muffled behind the loud, clear sound of the beating of my heart.  I tried to play it cool by casually averting my eyes from his gaze until I got closer, walking at a steady pace that was neither awkwardly fast nor peculiarly slow.  And when the perfect moment came for me to raise my head (that is, when I was close enough to say 'hi' without having to scream it), I looked up, made eye contact with him, and smiled.  I raised my right arm to wave, opened my mouth, and BAM!  The soccer ball whacked me on the left side of my head.  One of my friends, who was playing, accidentally kicked it right at me.

What I should have done was not move, and perhaps nurse my head.  What I actually did was awkwardly run right through to the other exit at the opposite end of the gym in utter embarrassment - an exit, I might add, which was just past him.  Eye-contact was broken.  Opportunity lost.  Confidence shattered.  My friends and the teams, all came running after me to see if I was okay, and they remarked on how odd it was for me to run away, but no one seemed to pick up on my actual purpose: going and talking to the guy.

I never did try again.  He and I remained friends for the rest of our high school careers, and all of it is of little consequence.

Months after the incident, on our graduation night, after the ceremony when everyone congregated in the courtyard for hors d'oeuvres, pictures, and good-byes, when he and I were saying our 'good-bye' to each other, he said something to me that has stuck with me ever since, "I don't worry about you."  He went on to talk about how I'd be fine, and that he never wondered or worried that I'd go on to do 'great things', and how I'm "just that kind of person".

This comes to mind now because these are words that I have heard many times since.  They are words that have been spoken to me by so many different people recently.  They are words spoken to me all too often.  When I'm down, they feel insulting.  When I feel better, I see it for what it truly is: a nice compliment.

I don't worry about you.

Thank you, everyone.  I guess I don't worry, either.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Pride

The older I get the clearer it becomes how affected I have been by the opinions of those around me throughout my entire life. I can see it  in my blogs and my personal journals.  I see how others' opinions affected my definitions of success, the goals I set and dreams I had.   It has taken me years to realize that I disagree, and to discover what really makes me happy.  Most importantly, it's taken me years to have enough humility to swallow my pride and fail in others' eyes.

But as much of a barrier as our pride can be, we still need it. Without it, we may crumble. What is 'dignity' if not a sense of pride?

So, to what degree do we concede (swallow our pride)? Or to what extent do we persist (keep our dignity)?  What's sad is that there is no chosen point on the spectrum of answers that can be defined as the optimal spot.

"Success" is relative, and not necessary for "happiness".

Okay.

But if this is the case, then how do we set a goal and aim for it? How do we guide our actions The answer must be subjective, but that's not really settling. It feels arbitrary.

I hope all of you find this as troubling as I do.

Greg Hilado's Manila Hair Design

I had met Greg Hilado one fateful day when I was fifteen while wandering around downtown looking for a hairstylist. The sign read "Manila Hair Design", and being Filipino, I thought I'd check it out. When I walked in, he asked me if I had ever modeled, and on the spot, he invited me to be a model for his hair designs. Long story short: below is a video of my first hair show.

I was thinking about getting highlights when Greg Hilado came to mind. I googled his name to see if I could find him, and what I found was this video posted on Youtube. I never thought I'd see this again.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Apathy and Agnosticism

Voter turnout is affected by a variety of socio-economic and hereditary factors, but I've always taken Canada's ever-decreasing rate as a sign of its general political stability.  What is political apathy, after all, if not a symptom of a content society?  and what better way is there to celebrate contentment than to not take action (i.e. vote).  No vote is a vote for the status quo.

Ah, sweet, ignorant indifference.  What does it matter if it is a Conservative or Liberal government if our general standard of living is upheld?  What about ethics and morality?  Questions surrounding freedom of speech and disclosure?  Privacy?  Rights?

It's easy to be indifferent when the consequences don't directly affect your life, or anything you think about.  Holding an opinion becomes an intellectual exercise.  What would I do if... ?

All it takes is one event to throw you into a circumstance where you can definitively see how politics noticeably affects your life.  When that happens to you, how can you go on being indifferent?  How can your opinions remain only intellectual exercises?  They become your reality.  You can either rise to the challenge, or cower in shame.

I hid for months out of a confused and misguided sense of remorse.  I had been terrorized into silence.  Well, silence won't speak the truths that need to be told.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Leathercraft Process of America

Back in what I surmise was the Fall of 2003, I purchased a maroon vintage leather trench from Brava on Queen St. (before they stopped being an awesome store for vintage items).

I was conditioning the leather today.  I was curious and thought I'd Google the information on the label:

Leathercraft Process of Ameria

This is what I learned: "the leathercraft business moved to NJ many years ago and was sold just a few years ago. The new owners have nothing to do with the original business and are fairly new to the leather cleaning side of the business. One of the original owners son, that was trained in the leather industry by his father for 20 years has his own leather cleaners in Cranford, NJ. He does all the work himself on premise and is very meticulous with everything!!!"

I enjoy hunting down vintage clothing.  There's charm in finding something precious amidst piles of used items.  Knowing that the items have a history gives them so much character.  There's also excitement and mystery in investigating where it came from.

Here are some pictures of the coat:

Wearing my vintage maroon leather trench

Maroon Vintage Leather Trench - detailing on top back

Friday, 28 January 2011

Blame

Imagine a clumsy person with her hands tied behind her, standing on one leg, and holding a spoon in her mouth.

You ask her to hold an egg in the spoon and promise to not drop it.  She agrees.

When she drops it, do you blame her?  or do you blame yourself?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Perspective

Consider walking into a clothing store that sells clothing that you don`t typically wear.  Initially, you don't want to buy anything.

BUT!  What if you were trapped in that store indefinitely (perhaps because there was a snow storm that rendered all shoppers unable to leave, or because of some other such unlikely reason)?  All of its inventory becomes your only lot to choose from.  At some point, would *something* start to look relatively`wearable`?

I say 'yes'.  You can't be equally as disinterested in every item in the store.  At first, you dismiss them all, but eventually for some reason (such as boredom), you begin to carefully examine each item, and realize that there are degrees to your disinterest.  That point may come sooner for some, and never for others...

I think this idea can be applied to situations in life that we put ourselves in (such as jobs, or schools).  We may walk into these situations that, when fresh, we realize we don`t like, but after some time, if trapped in it, we start to see some good in it.  We are, after all, taught to find the good in things; that every cloud has a silver lining.

Sometimes we get trapped for so long that we forget our initial instinctive reactions to it.  Consideration of visiting other "stores" begins to happen decreasingly often.  We find contentment in what relatively satisfies us, and no longer strive for what independently does, in and of itself.  And worst of all, we continue on in the delusion that this 'relative' sort of happiness is all that is attainable.  Perhaps all the other stores are only equally as good, or worse.  Perhaps I have already stumbled upon the best store.

Why?  Fear, I imagine.  Fear of the unknown.  This store may not be filled with all of my favourite items, but at least I know everything inside it.

Well, everyone, I have recently remembered what all of my favourite stores are.  Time to go shopping!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Rogers

For the last month, according to Rogers' records, my phone has sent upwards of a 1000 sms' to shortcodes 89824 and 89825.  This would be fine, except that I didn't send these messages, and there is no record of my sending them on my phone.

Three days, 5 Rogers Tech and Customer Service people with 5 different recommendations (including the addition of costly Rogers Wireless features, a factory reset, and changing my phone number) later, still no fix that has worked.

All I want to know is:
1.  What these shortcodes are
2.  How it would have started so that I can prevent it going forward
3.  A surefire fix

Until I have answers, I don't know who to hate.  Rogers?  RIM?  a third-party application?  all of the above?

I just got another recommendation from a tech person.  Here's hoping it actually works...
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