Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gray Morning

Wordsmith Studio Poetry Prompt: Pick one small moment out of your day… one moment that frustrated you or made you smile. Reflect back on a moment that you spent with your children or talked with an old friend. Did you experience a  moment of peace or witness an act of kindness? Did you come to a realization about your life or discover something new? Choose one moment out of your day and write a poem about it.

Gray Morning

clouds blending with thoughts
nothing ceases to exist
stories and ideas churning
finding answers to questions
making new questions form answers

it's 8 AM, I should have slept
but I never stay to to ponder
the morning sunrise
even if it's a gray morning

fluffed pillow clouds mixed in
everything is beautiful
ideas, ideas, here at last
answers and questions
epiphanies and lessons

it's 9 AM, I should sleep
but I'll never know the truth
the answer to the question
I stayed up to ponder

...

Read more poetry.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blogging From A to Z


I've been thinking about the A to Z challenge a lot. Must be because their Twitter account has a constant stream of neat links. But, maybe I think about them a lot because last year I "participated" without actually participating. See, last April I did 2 poetry challenges, 1 platform challenge, AND the A to Z Challenge. To say that I didn't enjoy all the challenges is unfair, but I could have enjoyed the A to Z challenge a bit more. I could have visited the thousands of challengers's blogs. I could have posted more comments. And I could have written better posts.

That's probably the real reason I am thinking about the challenge. I'm thinking of 26 posts that deal with the small press industry. These posts will highlight small magazines (such as mine, my friends, and wonderful new people I've met), and a few writer's resource sites. I want to make 26 amazing posts. 26 carefully created posts about what I love as an editor.

I've probably been thinking too much about this challenge because I'm too excited.
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Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi



I'm reposting my first collection of anything. The first major project in my young life, a collection of 13 movie reviews. You can say that these movie reviews spawned my hobby of watching movies and sort of "learning" from them.

You can read the entire collection here.

...


Rabe Ne Bana Di Jodi

I think Surinder (Suri) is the best character Shahrukh has ever played! Suri is shy, introverted, kind-hearted, a hopeless romantic, and an average office employee. He falls in love with Taani, the daughter of his former professor. The film begins with Suri leading Taani to his grandfather’s home in Amritsar.


“Yesterday, I saw her for the first time,” Suri narrates, “and fell in love instantly.” Taani is gorgeous and any ‘geek’s’ dream. She’s definitely Suri’s dream. He meets Taani during the preparations for her wedding. They exchange a few pleasantries and she continues with the preparations.

“Yes, it’s true.” He continues, “I fell in love with her the moment I saw her, her beautiful face, her joyous dance, and her unhesitant laughter. I thought I was seeing a girl for the first time. It was a strange feeling, I was happy and in pain at the same time.”

Then, fate twisting news change her life story. Her fiancĂ© and his wedding entourage die in a road accident. These news cause Taani’s father to have a heart attack. In the best interest of Taani, the professor requests that Suri marry Taani. Suri agrees, as he’s already in love and Taani tearfully agrees for her father’s sake.

Before dying, though, the professor gives Taani one last piece of advice: “in life we make some relationships and some are made by God. You just think that God has chosen Surinder for you.” This leads to the present. Suri takes exceptional care of Taani. He lets her have his bedroom to herself, gives her all the space in the world, and won’t/can’t tell her how feels.

In turn, Taani makes it clear that she will try to be a good wife but that she can never love him. She’s convinced that nothing can fill the void her exfiancĂ© left. Still, Suri loves her and gratefully accepts her wifely tokens like filling his lunch box. Thus, he proceeds to give her anything and everything she wants. This leads to a boring matrimony, and the most they do together is watch song and dance films that appeal to Taani’s fantasies for romance and dancing.

Soon enough, she asks for Suri’s permission to attend an expensive dance class. Suri realizes that he can never compete with the masculine heroes from the movies and asks his good old friend “Bobby” for advice. Bobby gives Suri a total makeover and turns Suri into a “western-style” bombshell. At first, Suri wants to spy on Taani at her dance class and then surprise her at home, but things get confusing. Thus, Suri becomes “Raj Kapoor,” the crude, loud, and humorous hero and Taani’s dance partner.

Raj is embarrassing to watch. Half the times I cringed and hid my face, the other times I looked at the screen and said “please stop!” The first embarrassing thing Raj says is, “never say goodbye. Always say, we are traveling the love lane down the road we will meet again”

Stupid, right? Well, it’s more stupid that Suri decides to lead a double life. By day, he’s meek and introverted, by night he’s boisterous and annoying. But, in a way it brings his self-esteem up, I guess. Suri’s logic goes like this: Suri reminds Taani of tragedy and sadness. She can never be the old Taani around Suri. However, with Raj, she can be herself. Plus, out of all the people he could have been paired up he ended up with Taani.

Thus, it’s an act of God and God is saying, “there I have started your love story. Now dance with Taani all you want, get to know her better, make her laugh, give her heaps of happiness so that she forgets all her pain and becomes your fun-loving Taani forever. As Raj, you can tell her whatever is in your heart. All that you could never say as Suri. Now go live your love story.”

Despite Raj’s initial loud behavior, a byproduct of being a Geek, he and Taani become friends. After a while, Raj declares his love for her (Suri’s love). But this double life makes problems for both of them. Taani learns to love Raj even though she’s a married girl, and desperately wants to elope with Raj. Yet, Taani feels she must stay with Suri because of the promise she made with her father.

Suri also has a problem. See, as Raj, Suri arranges with his coworkers to display the words ‘I love you,’ with the city’s lights to Taani and she falls madly in love.

“What is this Raj,” Taani questions him.

“It’s love Taani partner, swear to God, it’s true love.”

“See I am a rough tough guy (yeah right) had I gone to express my love in words something stupid would have come out. So I thought, let the whole of Amritsar express my love. Do you not like it?”

“Like it? Every girl dreams that someone loves her this madly. But, this kind of madness, no girl can ever dream of. I really liked it Raj but at the same time, I’m feeling sad. I have made a huge mistake. I should have told you that I am a married girl Raj.

That’s when Suri realizes that Taani hates Suri but loves Raj. It’s kills him. Yet, Suri still thinks it’s a match made by God, and he can only love her as he sees God in her. Now, Suri feels he has to prove his love for Taani as Suri. Suri invites Taani to a trade fair where he attempts to prove his love.

It’s really stupid what Suri does. Suri fights a Sumo wrestler to win a trip to Japan for Taani. Surprisingly, Suri wins. He holds his “prize token,” in his hands and looks into the crowd to see if Taani saw, and instead of finding a happy Taani he finds a very upset Taani. Taani tends to his scratches and bruises all while reprimanding him.

“What was this drama? What was the need for you to do this? Aren’t you aware that you are an average working class man. Who everyday puts on his glasses, sits in a 4x4 cubicle, and works in front of a computer. You’re not a hero to go and fight with someone four times your size. What were you trying to prove? Huh? Please tell me what was the need to do all this?”

Suri responds that he did it for her and she throws it back at him saying, “Please stop worrying about my happiness. I am happy, but I can’t keep jumping around all the time. If I’m quiet it doesn’t mean I’m not happy, and if I want something I’ll ask for it. You’ve already done enough for me. Please don’t do so much that I am never able to pay you back with my life. Please don’t do anything for me. Please, I beg you.”

Of course, Suri didn’t do it as a favor. He does everything because he fell in love with Taani the instant he laid eyes on her. Taani and Suri watch another movie, and halfway through it Taani daydreams of Raj. She then runs to find him; Raj and Taani decide to elope. Later that night, Suri confesses to Bobby that he is going to transfer his house to Taani, transfer to Delhi, and sacrifice his love for her.

On the day of the competition, Suri takes Taani to the Golden Temple in order to receive God’s blessings for her competition that night.

“God, Let my Taani be happy wherever and with whoever she may be. I don’t want anything else from you.” Prays Suri.

“He says that he sees God in me but I am nothing like you.” Prays Taani. “In what way do people see you? Even I want to see you. Please show me God too.” She opens her gorgeous eyes and sees a man wearing slacks and a work blouse. She squints and notices that it’s Suri. Taani realizes that Suri’s love is wonderful and that she can’t run away with Raj.

Taani tells Raj that she can’t leave her husband. She leaves him in what appears to be a state of “shock,” but really Suri is just too happy. In the end, it’s Suri who dances with Taani, it’s Suri who goes to Japan with Taani, and they are happy. It’s all so brilliant and heartwarming.

Watching this movie changed my feelings for Shahrukh Khan. I knew that my silly love affair wouldn’t last long. I knew it because life called. I had decisions to make, people to direct, magazines to design, bills to pay, and memories to make. I also have love to give, a family to understand, more work to do, and a long road to wander.

I also came to terms with myself, the “real self that my selfishness clouds.” I realized a lot of other things. For example, some people watch sad movies so that they can cry with the actors instead of crying by themselves. Also, that not enough people care

about people. Like, all this time I’ve been worrying about myself. “Crap, I don’t have a real job yet.” Owning your company isn’t a real job if it isn’t making money to some people. “Yikes, my goals, dreams, and aspirations don’t mean anything if I can’t make a ton of money with them.” Is another thought that I repeat in my head. I think I cried through all the past twelve movies, and knew the last would be the biggest tearjerker.

There’s a rhythm to the movie order. The first movie had painful unrequited love from a prostitute, second had painful unrequited rebirth love, third is dangerous love, love for your team, love for your slow developing country, love for lust, love that breaks relationships, love that blossoms from friendship, love for family, eternal love, dream love, and love for God.

None of the movies have “love for yourself,” as a theme. That’s exactly what I needed and why my love affair was possible. I needed a break from reality and myself. It’s really hard to take a break from yourself. I wasn’t sure if I would be OK, but I’m never sure if I’m OK so it doesn’t matter much. It doesn’t matter because I’m darned good at pretending I’m fine. It’s a good talent and sometimes writers are better liars than politicians (well yah).

Anyway, My Name is Khan is the last movie. That’s when I decided to move onto the real world. But, apparently I didn’t move far away enough because I ended up writing about it. Either way, My Name is Khan is about the love for humanity.

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...

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Monday, January 28, 2013

MM 28 Jan 2013


Short playlist this week.


Track List:

  1. Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In - The Fifth Dimension
  2. Signin' in the Rain - Taco
  3. Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops
  4. Spinning Wheel - Blood, Sweat, and Tears
  5. Everyday People - Sly and the Family Stone

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Perfect Fruit and Dairy Smoothie

Fruit.

I like recipes that are interchangeable and not fussy. Like, with the lemonade recipe, I can change it around to make different variations. It makes me happy, and removes a lot of the stress from trying to cook. Because, really, everyone can cook; I can cook. But, sometimes I become too anxious when there are multiple steps and ingredients to a recipe.

With that in mind, I searched for a perfect low fuss, minimal step smoothie recipe and I found none. Everything seemed to have weird proportions, extra headaches... so I made my own recipe. (Out of desperation of seeing some bananas ripen on the kitchen table!)

The perfect fruit and dairy smoothie recipe can be broken down into three parts: fruit, milk, and yogurt. Semi equal parts too.

Ingredients

1 cup of fruit
1 cup of milk
6 ounces of  Greek yogurt

Tools

Measuring cup
Blending Device
Glass

Directions

Put your desired fruit, yogurt, and milk into a blender. Blend, and enjoy.

I like this variation because it will make more of a liquid-creamy drink. Oh, and it's easy. I'm all for making things easy. Additionally, I've come to the conclusion that you can make an equally great tasting smoothie using 1 cup of fruit and 1/2 cup of milk. It's less creamy, but still delicious.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ringing


Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, just use it for direction. Today's word is ringing.

...


"Don't let go!" The child called. He ran toward me, my vision grew dim, his body became smaller and smaller. The ringing of my alarm clock bullied my head.

"I'm coming," I whispered and hit snooze.


...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Write a Great Story: A Fiction Writer's Handbook by Othello Bach

Sopphey Says: How to Write a Great Story: A Fiction Writer's Handbook by Othello Bach


At first, I'm going to say for the first two chapters, I was really in love with this book. It was love at first read, the first sentences caught all of my attention. The author presented the material in a very straightforward manner. And I like that in a book.

The whole book is a great resource for every type of writer. But, my favorite chapters have to do with the storytelling aspect of writing. Things like the top postulate in writing: show don't tell. It's interesting, as an editor, I always tell my writers to show and not tell. But, I never use the phrase. I ask for examples of what the character is doing, for tension, for emotions, and sometimes I condemn the poor character and instruct the writer to “Make it Hurt.” To really, drive in the point of what is being conveyed in the most brutal, honest, and visible way.

But, Ms Bach on the other hand... she is nicer in her instruction. In the first chapter, titled Painting with Words we get an instruction that great stories are made by great writing. “Learning to write fiction stories,” she states, “begins with learning to write exciting sentences.” In turn, these sentences become great sentences. An example in the book deals with this sentence:

The sun was setting.

Revised as:

Long, golden fingers of light stretched across the evening sky and lingered there, as if pointing to tomorrow.

This example has to be the easiest, most poignant example of “show don't tell.” It's also a lot nicer than condemning characters to hurt. There are many more straightforward examples throughout the book. The author discusses writing to fit publishing standards, writing dialogue, creating memorable characters, and even touches up nicely on how to create plots.

The plot chapter has to be the most straightforward section in the book. It's good that it is, because I know that finding the right plot is difficult for me. Especially, if I'm writing something that doesn't follow a typical plot line. In this chapter, Othello Bach warns us of Coincidence Plots, Idiot Plots, and White Elephant Problems as well as others. Bottom line, though, if the goal in the plot is not worth achieving, then it's not a good story problem.

Great, great little book. There is absolutely no reason why you should skip this book. It's timeless, just like great writing books are.

***Note: This book seems to be free for Nook/Kindle readers. You can also find it at Smashwords.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge



I'm reposting my first collection of anything. The first major project in my young life, a collection of 13 movie reviews. You can say that these movie reviews spawned my hobby of watching movies and sort of "learning" from them.

You can read the entire collection here.

...

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

This movie established Shahrukh Khan in the romance comedy genre. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge roughly translates into “the big hearted will take the bride,” but I think “bride stealer,” is more accurate. On the scale of, I liked this movie to I really could care less about this movie… I really didn’t like it that much. It was like watching the season of Dragon Ball Z with “Garlic Junior” when you haven’t seen the first Dragon Ball Z movie.

Nonetheless, the story is nice. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is about the love affair between Raj and Simran, two first generation British Indians born and raised in London. Raj is the spoiled only child of Dharamvir, a wealthy widower. He’s also a party boy, the first student to fail at his institution, a riot, and insensitive. Simran is the eldest daughter of Baldev, a socially conservative convenience store owner. Raj meets Simran’s father by tricking Baldev into selling him some beer after the store closes. Baldev denounces Raj as a disgrace to Indians and is proud that his two daughters aren’t anything like Raj.

Well, his two daughters are strange regardless. His youngest is too mature for her age and his oldest is a dreamer and a poet. She dreams of a stranger: “This is the first time it’s happening in 18 years. Some stranger I have never seen comes to my mind like a shadow before my eyes. Someone raps on my heart; deep eyes want me to give myself up. When I look at my hands, there I see a face etched. A silken breath brushes my cheeks. My hair still smells of the odor on is hands. Yes, it’s happening for the first time in 18 years. I’ve never seen this stranger who comes to my mind.”

That’s quite poetic and exactly how I feel about my two true loves. Just like Simram, I hold out for that day that I’ll meet the embodiment of my dream lovers. However, Simran falls into some bad luck, a letter arrives from Ajit, Baldev’s best friend in India, saying that his son Kuljeet and Simran should marry each other to fulfill the promise the two fathers made to each other when Simran and Kuljeet were infants. Simran agrees to marry out of respect for her father, but she begs for the chance to go on a trip to Europe with her female friends. It’s the last chance she has to see the world before her marriage and relocation to India. Baldev barely agrees, but since he knows his daughter is a proper woman, he lets her go.

Raj and Simran meet as they both barely make it onto the train. They’re outside in the entrance space that leads to the main seating. Raj tries to open the door, but fails, and Simran’s clothes have fallen out of her suitcase. She puts her clothes back in the suitcase, sits down with a book, and Raj sits next to her. He then reaches under his butt for something; it turns out to be Simran’s bra.

“Excuse me,” he says holding the bra and points at it. She grabs it and places it in her handbag while he says, “I thought so,” and grins.

Raj continues to hit on her while Simran tries to read. He puts on his shades and turns to her “Haven’t I seen you somewhere? At Robbie’s party, no?”

“I don’t go to parties.”

“Great! Nor do I, ever. I don’t like them at all.” He takes off his glasses. “Your eyes”

“What’s wrong with my eyes?” She turns to him and glares.

“Remind me of someone.”

“Of whom?”

“My grandmother. Like you, her eyes too had hues of yellows and blues.”

“Please leave me alone.” Simran says with disdain.

“OK. I don’t mind..”

Simran continues to “read” holding the book upside down trying to ignore Raj. He turns his head upside down and tries to sneak in underneath the book. “Keep reading,” he adds, “I only wanted to find out how you read upside down. Very interesting style.”

“This is the limit!”

Simran is obviously pissed with Raj and lucky for her Sheena, a friend, steps into the compartment and disrupts the scene. However, Raj immediately flirts with Sheena making Simran even angrier. Raj doesn’t take Simran seriously and plays a couple of tricks on her, but then he falls in love with her. Simran realizes she loves him at the railway station in London at the end of their trip. She goes home and confesses her love to her mother, and Baldev over hears the conversation. Baldev is furious and refuses to break the engagement with Kuljeet. He packs up the family and they all move to India.

With his father’s blessing, Raj follows Simram to India. He meets her in private and assures her that he will save her from the arranged marriage. Simram asks Raj to run away with her, but he refuses, saying that he will only marry her with the consent of Baldev. Raj befriends Kuljeet and pretends to be a friend of the family, at the same time Preeti, Kuljeet’s sister, falls in love with Raj, and somehow Raj and Preeti become engaged. Raj’s plan is to make everyone love him so that he could “steal” Simram away; however, this plan fails when Baldev sees a photograph of Raj and Simram in Euprope. Baldev realizes Raj’s identity and flips a switch.

Baldev confronts Raj as Raj is leaving. Raj sees the photograph and drops his backpack.

“Babuji, I wanted to tell you,” Raj begins. Baldev slaps Raj.

“You were right. I failed to recognize.” Baldev interjects and slaps Raj. “You enter my house, and before my family, you play with my honor?” Baldev slaps Raj again. “You have deceived me! You have taken advantage of our trust! You made a joke out of our cordiality!” Bam, one more slap. “How dare you have an affair with Simran? Did you imagine you’d marry Simran? You aren’t even worthy of yourself.” One more slap. “How can you be worthy of Simran? I was right about you. Liars, wastrels like you never improve. They only become worse!” Boom, boom, bam, slap, slap, and more slapping.

Simran hears this and runs down to Raj. “Didn’t I tell you to take me away? No one cares for your love! Didn’t I say, let’s elope?”

“No Simran, don’t. You can only run from strangers. But not from the ones we call our own, our elders are our parents. All our lives they’ve brought us up. They gave us so much love. About our lives, they can decide better than we can. We have no right to make them sad for the sake of our happiness. Babuji is right. I am a liar, a cheat. Even if I lied for your sake, a lie is always a lie. Babuji is right. I’m not worthy of you.

And so what if I can see nothing beyond you? And so what if I can remember no one but you? Babuji is right. I’m a wastrel. How did I think of marrying you? So what if this wastrel loves you like a madman? Love isn’t everything, is it? Babuji is right, Simran. Babuji is right.” Raj then walks to Baldev.

“Here you are Babuji. Take your daughter I didn’t come here to break anyone’s heart I just wanted to win hearts. Maybe I fall short of expectations. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t win you over. If you think Kuljeet will make Simran happier, then you’re right. What’s best for Simran, you know best. Forgive me.”

Raj also apologizes to Preeti and then leaves. Simran falls to the ground, Baldev rips the photograph, and the wedding preparations continue. Raj joins his father at the train station. Raj’s father visits Baldev while Kuljeet and his cronies show up at the train station with poles to beat up Raj. Somehow, Raj’s father goes back to the train station to stop the beating but he gets beat up too. It’s epic, Raj points the rifle to Kuljeet’s face, Raj’s face is covered in blood, Raj lets go of the rifle, and punches Kuljeet. Word of the beating reaches Baldev and they all go to the train station.

“Stop!” Baldev screams as he holds Raj back. By this time, it’s seems as if blood is pouring out of Raj’s eyes. Raj puts his hand down and his father takes him back to wait for the train. The train arrives and so does Simran. Simram runs to the train, does some begging, and then Baldev let’s her go, saying that “no one can love you more than him. Go my child. Go to your Raj.” Simran runs to the train and Raj pulls her up, they hug, and it’s over.

I think this is the real reason why everyone loves this movie. I just like the fight scene. Well, I also like when Shahrukh Khan does some dancing. Which he does a lot in the next movie, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

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Do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

MM 21 Jan 2013



Another electric playlist this week. Maybe, I'll switch up genres next week.



See playlist on Spotify.

Track List:

  1. Cannibal by Fan Death
  2. Shake it Up by New Order
  3. Someone Great by LCD Soundsystem
  4. One Life Stand by Hot Chip
  5. Cruel Intentions by Simian Mobile Disco
  6. Constellations by Darwin Deez
  7. The Magic Position by Patrick Wolf

Saturday, January 19, 2013

White Spacey Design

I made some promotional fliers for Enhance.

One for general submissions.

Sopphey Says: Enhance Submissions fliers

One for the all-poetry issue.

Sopphey Says: Enhance Submissions fliers

And one for the all fiction issue.

Sopphey Says: Enhance Submissions fliers

I really like the way they came out. I'm a huge fan of white space. I wasn't always, but I began my conversion my first year in college when I started designing books. I love designing books, like the interior, you know where all the white space is. Ideally, I'm going to plaster the town with my fliers. But, ideally does not sit well with environmentally friendly. I still intend to pass out fliers, but to only writers and artists that I know. Or, will know. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Forgotten


Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, just use it for direction. Today's word is forgotten.

...

I don't remember why I am the way I am. I don't try to understand myself. I only live, and dance, and live and dance. I don't fret and and worry about regrets. I'm in the center of the universe.

...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Brief Interviews

Sopphey Says: Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
Film Poster

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (continued)


I've really wanted to put these thoughts into words ever since I saw the film, then read the book, and created the first blog post. These thoughts, though, are challenging. Not in a good way challenging. I just don't have a mechanism in place to share my feelings in writing or other places. But, I do my best. This is a bit long.

I mentioned, that the reason why this collection sank deep in me is because the author killed himself. Depression and especially long term depression that leads to suicide is not a game. It's not something to praise, and it's not something to tease about. It's often misunderstood, though.

In that way, the Brief Interviews in the collection are misunderstood. Each interview is distinct, some are short, and some can seem downright immoral in the perceived normal sexual sense. In the book, they are presented in question/answer format with the question notated by the letter “Q.” In some instances, where the interviewer is exasperated by the interviewee, the question is notated as “Q...”

In the film, the main character is portrayed to be a woman and a handful of the interviewees are close to her, or exist in her daily life. These interviewees happen to be her professor, a student  wishing to discuss an essay, a classmate, and her ex boyfriend. The film is more than just questions and answers, it tries to connect the interviews, instances, and relationships to create a maze of stories.

The first interview, known as BI #14 in the book, is a bit comical. “It's cost me every sexual relationship I ever had,” it begins and sets the mood. It's straightforward just like the rest of the stories are. In this case, the interviewee speaks of his uncontrollable urge to scream a phrase while experiencing an orgasm. The phrase in question, “Victory for the Forces of Democratic Freedom!” makes it fun.

The first interview convinced me to continue watching the film. It waded through other stories, some varied on relationships, break ups; the usual themes people discuss when discussing the collection.

My second favorite interviewer, BI #42, details the working conditions of a bathroom attendant. Bathroom attendants... never knew that job existed. The detailed retelling of the environment, from stark white bleached shoes to the human waste smell that followed the bathroom attendant made me sit up. The sounds, the smells, they clouded my synapses. It's a disturbing portrayal of workers in the service industry. It is real.

The realism in the Brief Interviews and the other stories in the collection is what clicks. Watching the film, reading the book; creates a landscape that made me want to look away yet kept me glued to the narrative, to the story arc, and the disturbing plains that are called the human dark side. Dark side, what does that even mean? Is this dark side everyone talks about the black hole in the hearts and underbellies of people where everything just disintegrates into subatomic particles?

Is this dark side a culmination of loneliness, alienation, fear, despair, mockery, misunderstanding, guilt, shame, failure, and judgment where one becomes something that is neither dead nor alive? That dark side is discussed in BI #46 where the narrator explains that rape victims and Holocaust survivors have something in common. That these two groups share the realization of knowing the dark side intimately. In the book, the interviewee goes into an analogy of rapes, feminist perspectives on rapes, Victor E. Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning, and violence and degradation of rape.

The interviewee changes the subject of the analogy bringing the relation of the abused person closer to his person. In the film, the interviewee does this too, repeating several lines of the rape until he discloses that he is the abused person. Abused, degraded, every bit of him is lost in translation from his corporal self to his psychological self. Yet, the interviewee knows something about himself; he experienced that dark side.

See, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men isn't just about men's different sexual thinkings. It's also about that perceived dark side. It's about the unexplored darker side of depression, too. The author suffered from chronic depression that led him to commit suicide. That fact is the only way I connect to these stories. I had to read this book, because through it I've come to understand a bit of my lows. I now know something about depression; about the choice I make every minute to stay in this reality as opposed to joining David Foster Wallace and other notable writers.


~~~

Do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

MM 14 Jan 2013

Catch this week's playlist in the embedded player below or at Spotify.


Track List:

  1. Genesis by Grimes
  2. Lafaye by School of Seven Bells
  3. O Green World by Gorillaz
  4. 1988 Girls by Futurecop!
  5. Rio by Duran Duran
  6. Golden Age by TV on the Radio

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spiced Orange Almond Horchata-Like Drink


I wanted to make horchata, sort of. In Mexico, horchata is made with rice and it tastes pretty good. I had no rice milk and so decided to make an horchata-like drink, but at the same time wanted something fruity. What I came up with is something tangy, spiced, and sweet.

Ingredients

1/8th tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cups of vanilla almond milk
*1/4 cup of sugar (Optional pending choice of almond milk.)
1 cup of ice

Tools

measuring cups and spoons
glass
blending device

Directions

Take a blender, add your orange juice, sugar, almond milk, cinnamon, and add ice. Blend until ice is smooth, like a smoothie. Pour into glass, and drink.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Inspire


Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, just use it for direction. Today's word is inspire.

...

Lingering smell of lavendar and juniper covered his senses. He turned around, the tail ends of a 6 foot orange and yellow dragon bobbed and danced. Danced around him; slithering its scaly body into an embrace. He danced too, their bodies transcending the darkness. Lifting higher, and higher; shining like the sun.

...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Newspaper Diapers by M. T. Johnson


I have no idea why I'm fascinated with reading crazed tales. Especially, tales that are very similar to the premise of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. I think, it's mostly because the crime, or the abuse is so inexplicable. Or, because it's so out of the norm.

M.T. Johnson brings together a collection of stories pertaining to life at a group home for children (from very horrifying pasts). Each story is unique, detailing the life of a child or a coworker. The stories are brief; the horror is real. A few pieces give you a glimmer of hope, especially from the perspective of a counselor wishing they could show unconditional love in a way the broken children could feel it.

In addition to the broken stories there were a few "I can do it" stories. Little bits to encourage the narrator of the story. My favorite of these stories is three paragraphs long:

I feel like I see life clearly. I’m in a difficult transition period, but I know I’m exactly where I need to be. I’ve seen the writing on the wall and what the future holds for me if I don’t change. I’m so sick of not being present  – here, now, in the moment. The years seem to be over before they even begin, and the feeling that time used to pass slower continuously intensifies. I can’t take it anymore. Time didn’t go by slower when I was younger because I had less cares, less stress, and less responsibility; it was because no matter what I was doing, that’s what I was doing  – I was there, present. Of course I remembered the past and thought about the future, but it was different. It wasn’t mourning, romanticizing, yearning for, or getting angry about the past. And thinking about the future wasn’t turning so many moments and decisions and periods into preparation for something that never comes. I wasn’t locked into my debt or bad experiences. I was present and in the moment, whether I was crying or laughing.
I’m so fed up with this lifestyle, one where it feels like no matter what I do, I’m stuck with certain things that get me down or worried or stressed. I need to relearn how to be present, how to not waste so much time in my mind, how to not let my negative thoughts control me. It seems like the people deemed the healthiest are those who use their stress to better themselves, those with the safest, cleanest forms of escapism. But while jogging might be a more productive and positive outlet than getting drunk, you still need to deal with life once the activity’s finished. And I aspire to a life I don’t want to escape from.
I want to unplug myself from all my bad habits, everything from my destructive criticism to my negative trains of thoughts that waste time and energy. I finally recognize these habits for what they really are: addictions–addictions that still get the best of me way too often. I need to be better to myself. I love being alive; I know it and I feel it. But I need to be it.

This bit connects to more than abused children, broken people, or haunted souls. Some people wake up one day wondering "how did I get to this point," and then time becomes an enemy. The last half of the third paragraph is something I see people struggle with. (People and myself, to be precise.) Addictions sometimes get the best of us, and they become habits. And a lot of habits are hard to break; but the bottom line is that no matter what habits we've created or what criticism we receive; we can still change things.

We really can. It may take a long time, and it may not be pretty. But change is possible! Reading, or watching these crazed tales reaffirms my belief that things can change. Like the narrator in the story, we just have to change. Take that first step, do that first action.

~~~

Do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Profound Delusions


Find me in my fort
Sniffling and coughing
Rearranging used tissues
Stirring instant coffee mix
Into a large glass
Thinking, thoughts
To steal the Chips Ahoy
or to not steal the Chips Ahoy

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace



I never really read a book and watch the film. Or watched a film then read the book, it's just not something I do. I saw the film Brief Interviews with Hideous Men first. I then harpooned into the land of Google and Wikipedia for more information about the film I just experienced.

This led me to the book, and mentioning the book to a writer friend who tried to dissuade me from reading it. I ignored the advice to read David Foster Wallace's nonfiction work and plowed through 20 of the stories. This short story collection is broken into unique short stories about strange and stranger things and an ongoing short story series titled Brief Interviews.

I just had to read this book. I couldn't explain it to my writer friend, and I'm not sure I can make a clear explanation right now, but I'm going to try. See, Wallace killed himself. Taking that fact and reading the stories through the perspective of his depression really made the collection worth it. Worth it isn't the right word, it made the collection click. Having this pre-conceived notion that the author suffered from depression for a majority of his life and ultimately hung himself made the collection click. It's the only way it made sense. It's the only way it made my own low points make sense.

The meaning (or meaning I deducted) begins in the passive, maybe even harmonic, story “Death is Not the End.” Wallace's coiled and lengthy prose sets the scene of a 56 year old American poet sitting idly, drinking iced tea. Which is, almost too plain. None of the individual short stories (not including the Brief Interviews) actually had any revolutionary new story. They all seemed a bit average. They are stories of daily people with normal desires and some with abnormally morbid dreams.

Of the stories the three that stuck are: “The Depressed Person,” a narrative of a woman suffering from depression and her struggle to grasp at life. “Adult World,” a half laid-out narrative of a young woman self conscious of her desires and or ability to be a sexual being. And, “Church Not Made With Hands,” a surreal retelling of a tragic event and the snippets of existential wisdom. I recommend them all, and will refrain from commenting too much on the stories in hopes you read the collection.

Of course, after you brace yourself for the harshness of it. Because, it isn't a light read nor is it a breezy read. It's dense, it's neurotic, and it's soul tingling. Soul tingling pieces like this bit from “Church Not Made With Hands:”
The sky is an eye.
The dusk and the dawn are the blood that feeds the eye.
The night is the eye's drawn lid.
Each day the lid again comes open, disclosing blood, and the blue iris of a prone giant.
I really want to talk about what really spoke to me in this collection, but this post is getting long. Will you come back for the second post? It will discuss the Brief Interviews series, my favorite interviews, and other thoughts.

~~~

Do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Writing Swap


My friend Nathan Alan Schwartz (or as I like to abbreviate as Na.S.) and I have known each other for years. Like a lot of years. We've also edited and written together for years. It's kind of like this habit. I send him a bit of what I've written, he sends me a bit of what he's written. After a while, we kinda figured out each other's style. So we tried a writing swap. I wrote a silly piece and he wrote a semi-erotic piece. I wrote in my “sober moving,” style. He wrote in his “sing songy” style.

The result: two hilarious pieces.

You should read his rendition on his blog and then come back to read mine.

Get down.

Get down. Get down, the music from upstairs blared. Tom closed his book and walked to the second floor where his housemate, Hank lived. Tom had one intention, to scream at Hank and then return to his cozy corner in the first floor before their other two housemates returned.

Tom reached the second floor, turned to Hank's room and stared at the ridiculous pose Hank made while standing on his bed. The sight repulsed him, Hank wore navy shorts, long orange socks, a bright yellow shirt, and a golden glitter sash.

“Just what the,” he began.

Get down. Get down. Get down. The music continued as Hank thrust his pelvis forward and backward to the beat.

“Stop!” Tom searched for the source of his agony. He found the pink iPod attached to a white speaker. Tom rushed into the room, unplugged the iPod and his nerves settled.

“What the hell!” Hank jumped off his bed. “What's your problem?”

“My problem.” Tom shook his head remembering Hank's thrusting pelvis. “You're my problem.”

Hank made a fake gasp. “Excuse me?”

Tom shook his head again and pointed at the speakers. “Your music is too loud.”

“Now, that's a problem with my music.” Hank took his ipod back. “I'm just working out, man. Not like you ever do.”

“What?” An offense of the highest order. “I so work out.”

“Really? Like pushups or closing books?”

“I can do pushups.”

“You lie.” Hank walks to the speaker and plugs the ipod back.

Get down. Get down.

“Show me that you can do pushups.” Hank maneuvers his body over the floor. His eyes focused on Tom.

Tom didn't speak. He pushed his body into position and did one push up. Hank grinned and did two. Tom grunted and did three. And they did four, five. Six.

The other two housemates arrived, walked to the second floor to find them red-faced. Sweating, attempting to do pushups faster than the other to the tune of Get down. Get down.

MM 7 Jan 2013

New playlist!


Track List:

  1. Magic by Ladyhawke
  2. Shadowplay by the Killers
  3. State Farm (Madhouse Mix) by Yazoo
  4. Crimewave by Crystals Castles VS Health
  5. Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above by CSS
  6. Meddle by Little Boots
  7. Blind by Hercules and Love Affair
  8. Kiss (When The Sun Don't Shine) by Vengaboys

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lemonade and Variations


I make the best lemonade. I swear that I found the recipe online once, then I changed it a bit. But, I can't find the original recipe online... so we'll just have to go with I changed it a lot.

To make the perfect lemonade you're going to need some math. The math of liquid conversions (don't fret, just made it up) states that you need to mix in proportions when mixing liquids. I talked a little about proportions in the post Best Honey Practices, discussing that the recipe called for equal proportions.

The step-up from equal proportions drinks is drink in eights. Eights, because I'm a print designer and print geek at heart and am just too used to the inch! The proportion for lemonade is:

1/8th lemon juice + 1/8th sugar + 7/8th water

Now let's convert the proportions into measurements.

...

Lemonade For One (1 serving)

Ingredients

1 tbs of lemon juice
7 tbs of water
1 tbs of sugar

Tools

glass
tbs spoon
stirring device

Directions

Take your glass. Add your ingredients starting with the lemon juice, water, and finally add the sugar. Stir, and enjoy.

...

Lemonade For a Dinner Party (8 servings)

This is just as Lemonade For One, except for a few details.

Ingredients

1 cup of lemon juice
7 cups of water
1 cup of sugar

Tools

measuring cup
pitcher
stirring device

Directions

Take your pitcher, so pretty. Add your ingredients starting with the lemon juice, water, and finally add the sugar. Stir, chill, and enjoy.

...

Lemonade Vodka (8 servings)

Yes, lemonade with vodka. Because lemonade likes to party more than you'll ever know.

Ingredients

1 cup of lemon juice
6 cups of water
1 cup of vodka
1 cup of sugar

Tools

measuring cup
pitcher
stirring device

Directions

Bring out your party pitcher. Add your ingredients starting with lemon juice, water, sugar, and finally add the vodka. Stir, chill, and enjoy. Oh, and don't drink and drive.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Coffee Holder

A slight play of design terminology. What is place holder text anyway?

100 times out of 100, a person unaccustomed to designer practices will read place holder text and wrinkle their foreheads. Is it latin? Is it Spanish? The client will think. But the truth is it's not even gibberish. Lorem Ipsum is dummy text or place holder text adopted by the printing and typesetting industry since the 1500s. So basically, since the beginning of Print! We use place holder text when clients don't offer their design copy to us, but not always. Sometimes we use "description here" or "website title" there as dummy text. In the end,  though, dummy text is every designer's friend and this is a mug for designers.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Midnight


Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, just use it for direction. Today's word is midnight.

...

Does he see it, she wondered. See her blood tainted eyes follow the line of his neck. See the pumping and gurgling of her organs adjusting to the new surgically made void. He turned to face her in the small bed, the only person she'd needed after her surgery. The Vicodin lay on her desk, as well as the condoms, and a large pitcher of water.

...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard



I have learned that it's best to not have any pre-conceived notions about the work you're about to jump into. It's just easier if you don't read reviews, if you don't see trailers... ok maybe this is ideal. I like ideals.

I had no idea what The Writing Life was about before I opened the first page. This, gave me “wiggle room” to appreciate its writing for what it is. A metaphorical, allegorical, perception of what it is to be a writer from a writer. There are snippets of writing, snippets of Dillard's life while she wrote. There is even a study of an inchworm.

I found this study to be most accurate in describing my writing life.

Dillards study:
Few sights are so absurd as that of an inchworm leading its dimwit lie. Inchworms are the caterpillar larvae of several moths or butterflies. The cabbage looper, for example, is an inchworm. I often see an inchworm: it is a skinny bright green thing, pale and thin as a vein, an inch long. It wears out its days in constant panic.
Every inchworm I have seen was stuck in long grasses. The wretched inchworm hangs from side of a grassblade and throws its head around from side to side, seeming to wail. What! No further? Its back pairs of nubs rear back and flail in the air, What? It searches everywhere in the wide world for the rest of the grass, which is right under its nose. By dumb luck it touches the grass. Its front legs hang on; it lifts and buckles its green inch, and places its hind legs just behind its front legs. Its body makes a loop, a bight. All it has to do now is slide its front up its had and front legs, flings its upper body out into the void, and panics again. What! No further? End of world? And so forth, until it actually reaches the grasshead's tip. By then its wee weight may be davening apocalyptic prayers sway the grasshead and bump it into something. I have seen it many times. The blind and frantic numbskull makes it off one grassblade and onto another one, which it will climb in virtual hysteria for several hours. Every step brings it to the unverse's rim. And now—What! No further? End of world? A, here's ground. What! No further? Yike!
I often feel like the inchworm described when I write. Sometimes, things come in unorganized spurts. Other times I finish a scene, and then my brain kicks into What! No further? End of world? mode. Actually, it's that mode that creeps along too often. It's why I never finished a novel. Why some poetry books never got tied together.

Interestingly enough, it's the reason why I don't consider myself a serious writer. And according to serious writers writing is their full time job. They don't sit around waiting for inspiration, they just sit down and write. Somehow this translates to never having writers block, too. Other times, it leads to having slow writing days.

These serious writers emphasize, and reiterate that amateur writers do not have discipline to write. That if amateur writers were serious writers, then they would just pick up a pen and write! But all that is hogwash. Serious writer or not, writing is a different process to different people. Some people are so practiced, so adept at creating writing on a scheduled basis. Other people are not. Discussing the seriousness of a writer based off of that fact is pointless.
...

Do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.

...

Thoughtful
Joined in Thoughtful's From the Bookshelf.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

State of Mind


sleep comes swift when working
for long hours from sunrise
to three hours before sunrise

thinking, blinking, analyzing
over analyzing, thinking, measuring
where do thoughts go afterward?

no echoes, silence. alone.
the cold breeze tapped my foot
like a dog begging for food

...

Read more poems

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mohabbatein



I'm reposting my first collection of anything. The first major project in my young life, a collection of 13 movie reviews. You can say that these movie reviews spawned my hobby of watching movies and sort of "learning" from them.

You can read the entire collection here.

...


Mohabbatein



That night I watched Mohabbatein. Regardless to what Wikipedia and the media might say, Shahrukh Khan (he plays Raj Aryan Malhotra) doesn’t have a “major role,” in the film. Yes, he’s an important character, and yeah he and Amitabh Bachchan (he plays Narayan Shankar) have pivotal roles in the story… but no. Mohabbatein is about the tale of three young men who fall in love with three young women.

Sameer likes Sanjana, Vikram likes Isika, and Karan likes Kiran. The story of the three loverboys is told between the love story of Raj and Megha. Which, honestly, that’s the only part I paid attention to. If you want the lo-down on what happened to Sammer, Vikram, and Karan watch the movie or go to Wikipedia. It’s actually a very decent description of the film and promises no confusions.

Now, onto the love affair of Megha and Raj. In the film, Megha and Raj fall in love while Raj is a student at Gurukul. Narayan, Megha’s father, expels Raj for falling in love with his daughter. Megha becomes distraught. She can’t forget Raj because Raj completes her and she loves Raj as much as she loves her father. But, since she’s incomplete without Raj and would be incomplete without her father she decides to commit suicide.

But, even though she dies she still stays with Raj. The film says that she’s just in Raj’s imagination but I truly believe that it’s her energy and soul that lives with him. That she’s sort of like a spirit. I say this, because in the end of the film, she appears to both Raj and Narayan and the three of them hold hands. Therefore, throughout the film, it’s like Megha and Raj conspired against Narayan to show him the meaning of love.

See, according to Raj in the scene where the three loverboys want to forget their loves, “There are no conditions in love so there shouldn’t be any regrets.” Thus, even though Megha is dead he still loves her because loving her makes him happy. Raj continues, “Love is just like life. It’s not always easy and it does not always bring happiness, but when we do not stop living why should we stop loving?” The boys retire to their room and Raj remembers Megha saying, “Love is just like life. It’s not always easy and it does not always bring happiness. But when we do not stop living, why should we stop loving?” Then “the ghost of Megha” runs her hand over his shoulder.

“Hi,” he says and takes her hand into his.

“Hi,” she responds.

“Made you wait for a long time?” He asks, Megha pouts, and crosses her arms. “I’m sorry,” Raj says and leans forward.

“It’s ok.”

“Dance?” He asks as he leans his face closer to her ear. Megha smiles, turns around, and nods. They fall into a waltz and dusty memories of two of my favorite characters in my life story seep into my brain.

I created a tale while in high school of the most beautiful, elegant, and amazing man. He never had a proper name but I referred to him in the story as “Death.” Death is tall, gorgeous, has brown hair and brown eyes and the emptiest heart in the world. He is sad by the loss of life and the void that consumes us all. He finds warmth in a young girl whose sanity borders along the lines of imaginary and reality. In the imaginary realm, she dances sweet melodies with Death and embarks on strange, magical adventures either to meet with him or to find him.

Death is the first character I created to represent “my true love” or “dream love.” No, he isn’t death and dying he’s the embodiment of the void. The void is everlasting, numb, dark, and cold. I admit that having a love affair with the void is not normal but it’s a different type of romance. The romantic aspect drew me in and I created an ongoing short story series on the character. He’s my first “true love.” I have two.

My second true love is Lady Life, she’s the embodiment of love and everything that is not the void. She’s also a character in one of my stories, but not really. Death spawned in my imagination before I wrote him on paper while Lady Life expanded out of ink. She took my hand and pulled me onto a beach five years ago. She shows up every now and then to slap Death and kiss me on the forehead.

The three of us have this strange affair. He keeps me safe when the void consumes me and she pulls me out when it’s time to visit the real world. Maybe things would be different, if he would just kick me out when I need to get out. But, every time he tried kicking me out I would scuttle back to his clutches.

No one knew of my love affair with Life and Death until the day after I watched this movie (or right around the day). One of my friends took me aside and said, “yeah, I had this really weird dream last night of you on a bed with this girl. She immediately left though, when she saw me.” Yeah, Lady Life is like that. She’s elusive and hates for others to see her with me. This is why she slaps Death when she catches us together. But hey, it’s not her problem, he showed up first.

Just don’t tell her that you know what she looks like. She has long brown wavy hair, a semi-pointy nose, and medium size lips. Her flawless skin makes the moon blush, and her heart is purer than gold. When she holds my hands the whole world turns grey, and color vibrates from her fingertips as she unveils life, nature, and humanity. It’s truly beautiful how she provides ecstasy to the happiness in me. But, life isn’t always happiness and shit happens. It is then that he steals me away and nurtures the aching loneliness and fear that lies in me, keeping it from spreading until she takes me away.

It’s how I survive. It’s almost like the love that Raj has for Megha… everlasting love like in books. Better than any trivial tiny love story I’ve met in this lifetime. The two films I watched after Mohabbatein deal with love. The first deals with young love with people changing power and the second deals with eternal love.


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Do you like reading books; watching movies? Have you ever come across a book or movie that inspired you to write about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers.
...

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