Sunday Currently

Reading Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. I am enjoying it thoroughly, although I found that I’ve slowed down a bit with my reading. Rushdie’s style is really something else; it’s more elaborate and adorned with so many intricate little details, sometimes I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to look or what to think first. I admit, I havent been as committed, too, unlike when I was reading Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. I was so engrossed with the brothers that I made it a commitment to read at least 100 pages a night.

Writing (or trying to write) questions for my interview tomorrow. It’s for a feature story in this food and culture magazine and I’m trying to research about the person so I can come up with questions. i’ve done this so many times, but the feeling is always the same. I always get nervous and agitated before interviews. Maybe because I’m not a social person ~personally~ and stay away from people most times, but I always feel as if I’m gonna botch the interview or do something stupid. I know it’s all in my head, but it still doesn’t take the worries away. I also have to write a draft of a one-act play for something… The manuscript deadline is this Wednesday and I’m already far too late into this shit, but I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of submitting. I don’t want to reveal much about this and what it’s for because I don’t want to pre-empt anything; I’m always like this when it comes to my creative writing, but that’s because I’m also more insecure and conscious towards my creative writing as compared to, say, my news and feature stories. I find that I am more naked and vulnerable when writing literature. Is it strange that I also hate myself more in this kind of writing as compared to journalism? Eh, I’ll leave it at that. Cringe……

Listening to Ludovico Einaudi. His compositions are the only thing that calm me down and help me write. Apart from Yann Tiersen, Philip Glass, and Erik Satie, of course!

Thinking about how much I hate Mondays. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. I’m such a juvenile, but aaaaaaah I’m so tired!!!!

Hoping to talk to and see more of this certain person. No I’m not infatuated, but I’ve since been honest with myself about my feelings for this person. Of course, my feelings are a secret and is only made known to my younger brother. Feelings are sucky and messy. I wish I were asexual and didn’t feel.

Hoping I get to watch Shape of Water tonight!!!! We were supposed to watch last night (my brothers, my dad and I) but the whole cinema was sold out, so we ended up having late late dinner instead which consisted of lame fries and parfaits, and a trip to the book sale. Anyway, I’m crazy about Pan’s Labyrinth and anything by Del Toro just calls out to me!!! I hope it exceeds my expectations! One of my favorite writers Neil Gaiman said it’s Del Toro’s best since Pan’s, and that’s saying something! I trust cooky Gaiman’s word with all my heart! Crossing my fingers!!!

Wanting to be more active and reenergized. I’m such a slob. I havent worked out in 2 years and here I am wondering why I feel so tired and bloated all the time. I need to eat healthily and work out regularly again.

Feeling tired all the time. It must be because I’m working now and the job really is tiring. I have to write 5-6 stories every day, and the range of my stories is frenetic. For example, I’ll write an entertainment article first thing in the morning, and the next story is about hard politics and/or a metro crime story. Working in a daily newspaper is really hard;  we handle the online/digital platform and it’s more difficult because we have to take data analytics into account and there’s always the need for new stories every minute. Idk, I’m just so so tired all the time. Not that I’m complaining, of course, it’s just I really am so weary.

Eating chili lemon peanuts. And this chocolate protein bar I was halfway into eating when I realized it was 8 months into its expiration… Oh well, I still ate it all!

Loving … Dostoevsky. Brothers Karamazov changed my life, for the best and worst! Now I’m damaged goods. I’ll never ever stop talking about my love for him!!!

Will start soon with: Perhaps not soon, but after Midnight’s Children I’m thinking of having a go at Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon or Proust’s Remembrance of Things past!

New books: From last night’s book sale! I went at midnight and found Salman Rushdie’s memoir, under the pen name Joseph Anton (Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov! Cheeky!!!). I also got this historical novel called Russka by Edward Rutherford. I admit, I’ve been obsessed with Russia ever since I started reading Dostoevsky and now I can’t get enough of it. I keep reading about Russia; its places, its history, its language, its culture, the people, their weird knack for long nicknames. I’ll probably never be able to see Russia in my life, but still, there’s something so magical about the place.

Forgive my really dirty pottery shed…. I’ve stopped cleaning it meticulously when I realized I’m gonna end up dirtying it anyway when I start throwing clay on the wheel, so I stopped… cleaning it… haha



Ode to Little Things

Portrait of Dostoevsky, Klimt & Goya posters, Lorca’s drawings, a voodoo doll, polished shoes, and chapter 1 of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

Untitled 3 (Common Things Series)

2:13 am

I just drank two cups of coffee (with a bit of cinnamon) and am waiting for my garlic heads to finish roasting in the oven. I wont be sleeping tonight; I’m really adamant about getting some writing done. I was able to finish the draft of one short story last night and I know it still needs vicious editing, but I’m now ready to move on to my next one. I just find that I really cannot write in the daytime, no matter how hard I try. I know everyone will say that I should discipline myself and force myself to write; I do do that, it’s just that I do it at odd hours of the night, from 12 midnight to 6 am. Last night (this morning) I got to bed at 4 am, and slept until 10 am. It might bet he same thing again tonight, although I’m starting a bit late because I’m waiting for my garlics to finish. I’d like to have a bite while doing some work done. Not much has been happening lately. I graduated two months ago and last week I got a job offer from the biggest daily paper in the country; I start work on the 28th. I’ll be writing content and news, with a little bit of digital marketing and social media thrown in the side; no, it isn’t lucrative, but I’m more surprised at the fact that they’re willing to pay me a cent for something I’d do for free. I’ve been freelancing for a couple of years now, since college started, and I’ve had some of the best (and worst) experiences ever; let’s face it, the writing industry, regardless if it’s journalism or creative writing, doesn’t get enough respect. And it pays peanuts. Until today, I still have withheld checks from the publications I used to contribute to. I’ve since given up on those; most days I feel as if I’m the one accosting them for following up on my checks. It’s nasty and exploitative and clearly unfair, but it’s something I have to accept if I really want to go this way. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m fine with this for now, as my first job, at least I know I’ll be getting a salary and benefits; there’s some kind of security as opposed to freelancing wherein you can be gunned down on the job and nobody would know or care. I know I have to start from the bottom pit of Hell, but I guess what I’m surprised by all this is that I’m not moaning about it. In fact, I am excited to get to writing again. I’d like to believe, like Odysseus, that I am still staying centered to my mast. If I really want to do this, if this is what I really want to pursue and make a career out of, there will be some huge sacrifices to make and I’m ready to accept that. I’ve moonlighted in a lot of jobs, and at the same time, also moonlighted as a writer while being bound by other responsibilities but this time, I don’t want to moonlight anymore. There’s just no point in lying to myself, trying to convince myself that I can work corporate and find time to write because that’s never going to happen. So there. I am actually quite happy with how things are working out. Hopefully in a year or two I can start pursing my masters; I’m still torn whether I want to pursue philosophy, anthropology, or literature—but I’ve always been partial towards anthropology. I don’t want to get ahead of myself; I don’t know, still, how to go on about this life, but at least I have some idea—although vague—about what I want to do. I think I’m gonna be alright. I always remind myself of Szymborska, that there is nothing wrong with not knowing and we, in fact, spend our entire lives in uncertainty. I can live with that, I’m not insecure about it; certitude is beautiful, but uncertainty is more beautiful still. And I don’t know is such a small phrase, but it flies on mighty wings. I will be alright, I think.

On another note, I am not best friends with my best friend anymore. I talked to her a week ago and, well, I ended our friendship. I don’t want to dwell on it too much, but I’m just not happy anymore. I’d like to believe that our friendships and relationships with people reflect our inner lives, and I hate what I see when I reflect about our friendship. She was my first best friend in college, having met her in freshman year, and now she’s on her first year in Law school without me. I though we could make it, but I guess things just really change. I’m not pointing any fingers and I’d hate to, but I don’t think we’ve been fair to each other, I to her, and her to me, and it’s something we cannot ignore. I don’t want to pretend it’s alright when it’s not. It makes me uncomfortable to label someone a ‘best friend’ when in reality, I cannot trust this person nor be completely open with her about myself. I wish it didn’t end this way, but I’m now at the point in my life wherein I have a strong sense of what I look for and want in a friendship/relationship, and I’m very clear about that. It just cant be called friendship—nor a best friendship— when I dread it every time, when I feel drained and depressed, fail to recognize myself, and hate myself every time I talk or see this person. I wish it didn’t end this way; I am just as devastated about it, but I cannot continue lying to myself anymore. When I told her, she didn’t contest and told me she understood; she even told me that she hopes that one day, we can be friends again, and that she loves me. I told her of course, that I would never close my doors, and that I love her too.  It’s just that right now, I cannot do it. I need to put myself first. After we talked, I went to bed and cried the moment I woke up. It was that sense of loss that dawned me, the feeling that I lost this special person in my life, and that we’ll never have the same relationship again, that things would have to be different now and we have to continue living our lives without each other. I am still so heartbroken about it, and there are times when I want to reach out to her and say, I take it back, but I stop myself because I know this is for the best. I don’t think I made a mistake, and I don’t regret my decision.

It’s something I’ve struggled with all my life, making friends. Frankly, I find the term “best friend” problematic and refuse to call anyone that. I know some might say it’s sad, but I don’t find it sad. I just don’t like measuring my friends that way, putting them in a hierarchy like that, and singling out the Good, Better, and Best. I don’t even like thinking of people in superlatives and to begin with, I don’t even have much friends, and so when I do call someone a Friend, I know deep in my heart that they are exceptional and extraordinary people who I deeply trust, respect, admire, and love. I am confident in never having to label a Best friend, because I know that all my Friends, with a capital F, (and they are very very few), have already surpassed the superlative. I know most people won’t understand this, but I think thinking of people in superlatives just cheapens them As a child, sure, because it definitely sounds like that kind of thing you’d say if you’re a kindergartner and you’re in the playground and you tell someone you meet, Let’s be best friends! I just find it so immature and juvenile. That’s just me, though.

It’s now 3:00 am. I just finished eating my roasted garlics. God, they’re so delicious. How come I’ve never done this before? So I roasted four baby garlic heads and one regular sized one until they were soft and creamy; I mashed them in a bowl and ended up with about 2-2 1/2 tablespoons of garlic mush? And I spread them on some butter crackers and holy fuck, they’re so so delicious and silky, like butter! I’ve never tasted anything like this, and the taste is so simple yet so exquisite, and all I did was put olive oil, salt, and pepper. It doesn’t even have the astringent taste of garlic; it’s so creamy and nutty and melts in the tongue. Hay. It really is the simple things in life that matter the most! I’ll most likely eat the same thing tomorrow and the next day and the next day, until I tire of them (or run out of crackers) but I just can’t get enough of them. I’ll try roasting a bigger batch tomorrow.

I know I’ve said there is nothing wrong with uncertainty in life, but I’ve been talking about certainty in what I look for in relationships and friendships, with how I look at friends, how I go about my (budding) career as a writer, pursuing graduate school in the near future, and all that. Well, there are just some things I cannot compromise anymore, and these are those. And to add to that small list of certainties, I would also like to confess (to myself! listeners, are there even listeners out here in the void of cyberspace??? lol) that I am certain about my feelings for this person. I don’t want to dwell on this too, but I’ve reached a point where I’m not even denying myself of these feelings. These are all normal and I know I’m very late to this whole thing (being 21 and being single since birth), but I mean, my emotions are valid. I really like this guy. The word “like” is something I find banal and “attraction” sounds too robotic so I guess the word I want to use is tenderness? I feel tenderness towards this person. He is very special to me; I’ve known him for a few years now and he’s actually a friend of mine, so that’s sort of a problem here, but I enjoy his company, I love hearing what he has to say, I love talking to him, and well, like what I said, he has a tender and sentimental effect on me. That’s all, HAHA. I don’t plan on telling him; I guess I’m more afraid of ruining our friendship and losing him. I hope someday when I’m not bound by my own frailties I’d have the strength to tell him, but even now, I am more than grateful and indebted to the friendship he has given me. I cannot ask for more (I guess, unless, my emotions get too strong and it starts affecting me in a negative way, then perhaps I would have to tell him at some point).

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I don’t have else to say. I have to write. Goodnight. I’ll attach some pictures below just for the sake of it.

I canceled my attendance to my graduation march, but I went to the recognition.
Duchamp’s Fountain. I know it’s rooted in absurdism and dadaism, but the more I stared at it at the SFMoMA, the more I was convinced that life is not absurd. At all.
I don’t drink, but this sweet wine was really good. I know sweet wine isn’t really considered wine by wine snobs, but I liked this a lot! It’s only 5% alcohol lol
Rothko’s No. 14. You have to see the huge canvas in real life for it to have some kind of effect on you. First time I saw this on Google images, I thought, “How is that art?” But being there, standing in front of her, looking up at her, I was overcome with a wave of emotion, both profundity and melancholia. I was moved, I will admit, and I don’t know why.
Finally got a copy of Charles Burns graphic novel, Black Hole. I enjoyed this thoroughly.
Something of Raymond Carver’s. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship, never been a lover, and in turn, a beloved, but I also think that I shouldn’t wait to love, that love doesn’t just happen when you’ve found “that” person. I’m in no hurry to have a partner nor am I desperate, but I’d like to believe that I do love purely everyday. I just find it highly simplistic and insulting to look at love as just romance.
Reminded once again of Alan Moore’s greatness and brilliance. It’s why he’s in my top favorite writers, among the company of my highbrow literary writers, sitting right beside Dostoyevsky. They are both unmatched.

Untitled 2 (Common Things Series)

It’s 9 pm. I am wondering how long I can keep ranting until I start to doze off, having swilled down some sleeping pills with cherry Nyquil. I’ve never had a peaceful night of sleep, always waking up twice or thrice in the middle of the night and staying awake for two to three hours. I’ve done everything, and the only thing that seems to help are the pills. What do I say. Well, I just got back from a little shopping and got three new trousers and a pair of shoes. For breakfast, I had a hawaiian roll. For lunch, I had a cup of squash soup and half a turkey and fuji apple sandwich. At 3pm, my aunt gave me a small cup of grass jelly and lychee sugar water. At half past three, I had my cold pressed beet juice. In the car, at 5:30 pm, I drank my cold pressed spinach juice. I had some crab legs, wanton soup, turkey neck, steamed bokchoy with XO sauce, and sticky apple pie for dinner. It seems I’ve been eating with no regard to ethics–and my waistline–whatsoever, but I also lost a pant size, apparently. I’m now a size 8–if half-starving/on good days. Most days, I feel like a 10. Or a 12. Most days I just feel like a whale and refuse to go out because I don’t have enough esteem and I slouch too much.

Eh, enough self deprecation. I am almost/halfway into Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish. I’m loving it so much; if you could see the pages, there won’t be any without stripes of underlines. Today I read a bit about Yvonne Rainer. And Godard. And Barthes’ obtuse meaning and Susan Sontag’s radical juxtaposition. Today I looked at the trees and saw the leaves were a full green, tapering to a yellow and finally a soft red at the top, and I wonder why I never found decay so interesting. (Interesting, because Sontag said Beautiful has become too banal). The fallen leaves on the pavement are brown and crunchy. I bought three new books from the secondhand bookshop in San Mateo a week ago: Bukowski’s Women, Roy’s The God of Small Things, and Lahiri’s The Namesake. Two days ago, I finally convinced myself to splurge on some books–a personal graduation gift to myself–so I got on Amazon and got used ones available for Amazon Prime. Let’s see if I remember them all: Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, 100 Tales of Ray Bradbury, Adrian Tomine’s complete Optic Nerve comics, Black Hole (can’t remember the author), Robert Hass’ Human Wishes, short stories of Alice Munro, and Jack Kerouac’s journals. I don’t regret anything. I am also getting some books from my cousin; she told me to get whatever I want from her shelf before she disposes of them, so being self-indulgent, I grabbed all that I wanted. But I cannot remember all of them now, though there is a beautiful illustrated copy of Jane Eyre, David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, The Godfather, a hardcover of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Birth of Venus, Flowers for Algernon, Memoirs of a Geisha, Richard Wright’s The Native Son, Sophocles’ plays, and many many more. I’m so excited. My book haul deserves a separate post, obviously, so I’ll stfu and save it for that!

Elizabeth Fraser croons in the background; she is singing Cherry-Coloured Funk from her Heaven or Las Vegas album. I love her so much, but I love her Treasure album more, and her duet with Jeff Buckley in All Flowers in Time, perhaps one of my most favorite songs in this world. Next to Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley’s and Imogen Heap’s versions duhhh). And Eva Cassidy’s Wade in the Water. And Gabor Szabo’s Galatea’s Guitar. And Ryo Fukui’s Mellow Dream.

Two days ago, I hung out with my girl cousins with their boyfriends… It wasn’t as bad as I thought. We had Chinese food, and then went to a beer garden after. I had a strawberry bellini; it was gross. Or maybe because I find liquor gross in general. I liked the guacamole and fries a lot though. We might go out again next weekend…

I deleted my Facebook because my best friend is too toxic, I have realized. Sometimes she is shallow and conceited and it ruins my state of mind and most times I wonder if I’m more peaceful without one, if people are just lying to themselves when they compromise and accept a person’s “uglies” because apparently nobody is perfect (but if i may, let me say, we should never enable someone in manifesting their terrible qualities), if I really need a best friend, and if our search for a “best friend” in this life is really just our sorry, pathetic, and futile attempt to either reach for some kind of perfection in self actualization or a sad excuse of a bandaid to cover the gaping hole that is our personal inadequacies. Sorry, but I am neither.

It’s 9:39 pm. I’m yawning. I think the pills and Nyquil concoction worked. My mom is bringing my grandma to the hospital tomorrow for check up, so I will be alone with the dogs, Dimitri ad Benjie. Perhaps I’ll go to the library when my mom gets back and walk the entire 10 kilometers. Goodnight.

Untitled (Common Things Series)

My eggplant and tomatoes are baking in the toaster oven and I sit here, my stomach grumbling in wait. Remember when I said I would stop buying books for a while and get to reading? When I said I wont buy another warm book until I’ve read all my pending books in my book list? Well, I lied. I think it’s better to just come clean to myself right here and right now: I can’t stop buying books. That’s the problem. But the bigger problem is, I don’t want to. Perhaps I am unconsciously building my own library and I just don’t know it yet… Last Saturday after my philosophy class, I took my route home and stopped by the secondhand bookshop that my daily commute passes by. I got down and told myself, I will just look around. But I ended up with a copy of The New Yorker, a collection of Henry James’ short stories, and, finally, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. By then, I was already thinking, There is just no point. I will always love books. I cannot put a stop to acquiring them, because I know deep inside that I don’t want to.

So there. And yesterday I went grocery shopping with my dad. I had no list in mind; a first in many many months, because I never set out and go on about my day without a list, so I didn’t really know what I was going to buy. Or at least, I havent had the time to sit down and thinking about what I needed to buy. So I went around and just grabbed whatever I thought I needed: a fat Korean radish, two eggplants, three bundles of spinach, three bundles of basil, two blocks of white cheese, chili bean paste, a jar of kimchi, and… four-ply tissue paper. While my dad was paying I told him I’ll head on over to the bookshop and just have a look; of course I ended up buying some books again. I got a special issue of Granta magazine and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; while I was paying, I spotted a Salman Rushdie by the counter and asked the cashier if they had any other Rushdies around. He told me it was the only one. I felt my insides wince; I saw a battered copy of Midnight’s Children in that same bookshop two months ago and hid it in the very back of the highest shelf, and now it’s gone. I was naively hoping it would still be there, but any wise man would never pass up Midnight’s Children upon seeing it. Especially when it’s for two fucking bucks. My dad, seeing my disappointed face, pointed at the Rushdie book and asked me, “Do you want this?” I thought about it for one second; “Sure!” I said, even though I’ve never heard of that Rushdie book. It’s called The Ground Beneath Her Feet; it’s not really my priority Rushdies in terms of having; I wanted to get a copy of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses before anything, but still, The Ground Beneath Her Feet’s had stellar reviews, and I’m excited to read it. And who knows, perhaps I would love it.

My eggplant and tomato bake is finished and I am eating it. It’s 10:36 am. The reason why I am eating breakfast so late is because I made my own pesto this morning and it took far longer than I wanted it to take. I washed the basil and spinach until no mote of dirt was present in the water and I blended and blended until it  resembled a very creamy mousse. Yes, not ideal pesto texture, but whatever. I guess I can call this a brunch instead. I am loving it thus far, creating my own food. It’s why I rarely eat out nowadays; there’s something so intimate in knowing and touching and slicing and washing every ingredient I will use in my dish, and being aware of everything that goes in it gives me conciliation. I love cooking so much; I’m not very good at it, but it’s so meditative for me. I am eating my eggplant with a slice of coconut pie; it’s nothing special, I think our helper got it from one of those tourist souvenir shops and she got a box. It will do; I warmed it a bit and drowned it in four tablespoons of sweetened cream—with no regard to my waistline whatsoever.

Yes, I am indulging myself. No, this isn’t vegan. The egg and white cheese on my eggplant bake is not vegan as well. I’d like to air this out because it’s something that’s been nagging me for the longest time. My foray into veganism has never been easy, and never linear. My attempt at veganism has been going on for about a year and 5 months now, but I’d be lying if I said I did it perfectly. There were a lot of slip-ups, some accidentally, and most were deliberate. I wouldn’t call myself a vegan spokesperson, nor would I go around preaching to my friends and people on why they should go vegan. I try to share what I know when they ask, but that is all. I try to stick to a strict vegan diet, but I will be honest: Sometimes, I just hate it. Not veganism in itself, but I hate it when I put a leash on something, whether it’s myself or something else, as an act of controlling or curbing it. I know there are alternatives, but sometimes I just want the taste of cheese and egg in my mouth, even though I know where it comes from and is not ethical at all. Sometimes I want to eat dessert and it has cream and I’d still want it. And eat it. Do I still say I’m vegan when people ask? Yes, I do. But perhaps I should say, Struggling Vegan instead. Most would say I am vegetarian, with what I am doing and eating. Perhaps, but I’d prefer to call it Hypocrisy. The animal activists from PETA do not have to call me a hypocrite; I’d be the first to call myself one. And that is what I am. A Hypocrite. Someday, I hope, when I’m not ensnared anymore by my endless frailties and fallibilities and hypocrisies, when I am not enshrouded by social pressure, perhaps then it would be easier. But right now, it is a struggle, a constant struggle, and I’m starting to think that perhaps in this journey, and any other journey, of mine and of others, struggle is always a constant thing. I’ve finished my eggplant and tomato bake and my coconut pie, by the way. I ate it all. I loved it all.

Moving on. Yesterday was my last day at the MET museum. I do not want to linger on this; it was a good ending, and we parted ways with “See you soons” and none of “Goodbyes”. And I will see them soon, mind you, especially since I now have free access to the MET at all times, lectures and workshops included… I cant wait! Last week was also the opening of our new exhibit from the Venice Biennale; I do not wish to linger on this as well, but it was a long long night of hors d’oeuvres and many glasses of wine. Being part of the curatorial team was a fulfilling experience for me. I’ve learned so so much, that I can say. On my last day yesterday, my friend and I had our last lunch together and we indulged ourselves in cups of ice cream. I do not regret it. He’s been a great companion thus far, and I will not miss him; we promised we’ll see each other again, and I’ll see him soon, this December, and we’ll visit the MET together. I’m looking forward to that.

I also switched emails by the way. I am having problems with my AOL email, which is my default email, and I’m afraid I will be locked out soon because I cannot access my recovery email anymore because apparently my recovery email has been breached due to hacking and security reasons (or lack thereof! I’m looking at you, Yahoo and Google Mail!) and now I cannot log into any of them, so if my AOL gets locked out, I have no way of accessing it again. So to put an end to all of this—and the nagging worries in my head post-Snowden—I finally made a ProtonMail account and plan on using it as my default email from now on. I spent an entire day researching about ProtonMail and I think it is the best choice for me. I am loving it thus far and I am ready to make this change. If you wish to know more about Proton, you should check out their site. I wouldn’t trust myself; I am not very good in articulation, but their servers are based in Switzerland, which have very strict security laws, you have the choice to use a domain that isn’t .com (which is under the US, so if the USA filed a case and brought ProtonMail, they can  seize all their data), the creators themselves do not have a copy of your emails nor of your password; everything is encrypted, so they only have encrypted data, so should the US bring them to court and seize their data, all they can give is encrypted data. The creators themselves cannot access your email, so if you get locked out, you are locked out forever and since everything is encrypted, your emails are sent with a password for the receiver to access and you must find a way to give them the password, through phone or text, so they can read your email. Lastly, all e-mails are destroyed within 28 days, if I remember correctly, or earlier, depending on your Settings. These are enough reasons for me to switch, knowing how paranoid I am. Yes, I will probably still use Google and its many features, such as Google Drive and Google Docs, but I’ll make a throwaway email just for that. I am not comfortable with Google spying on my emails and even though you can encrypt your emails in Google, they can still access your message because they have the decryption key; that’s why they can plug those stupid ads on your emails! They totally do not care for privacy, at all, and when it comes to privacy, you can never be too safe. Financial and banking wise, ProtonMail is the way to go, but I’d use it for everything. Mind you, I am not paid to advertise them ha-ha, I am just very paranoid with security so suddenly and made the impulse change last night. I know it’s such a mundane thing, switching emails, but this is so momentous for me. Sorry hahaha

I sent pitches a couple of weeks ago to this new local arts and culture magazine and the editor in chief replied to me after a week and told me to see her today. So I’m meeting her after lunch and I don’t know if I should feel nervous or not. Either way, I am excited. I want to write again, and it’s been a few weeks of dormancy. I hope it goes well.

My flight is also in three days and I have not packed my bags, nor do I have any plans to do so until the very last minute.

What else? I finally convinced my brother to help me with my little project. He’s a Fine Arts student and between the both of us, I have to agree—painfully—that he is the more talented one when it comes to visual arts. My special friend who is in the process of grieving his younger brother’s suicide is in despair. He wants to die and sees no point in life anymore. I want to do something for him in  hopes of making things a little lighter for him, even though I know there’s no certainty that it would. There is so much to live for, and it breaks my heart seeing my friend hurt so silently. I was planning on giving him a book, but it would be too banal. I thought of something the other night and was adamant about it. I’m going to give him an art piece. I don’t want to give it away, but I’m going to make a sculpture. I wont reveal anymore because I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I am writing it here to remind me that I must finish this project and give it to him come Christmastime. With the help of my brother, I think we can do it. I am confident. I’m so excited. I hope my friend likes it.

I am not the best in words, can never articulate myself well enough, but I hope in this little attempt he would know that I thought so much about this and put everything I wanted to say but couldn’t in this project. My only problem: I cannot use my stoneware clay. I do not have a kiln and some glazes. It would be so nice to use ceramic clay, but I’d have to resort to polymer clay for this one. My other problem: I don’t think I can make a life sized bust sculpture, because I’m not sure if it would fit in the gas oven. We’ll have to see, but I am really adamant about this. I don’t want to be ambitious, but I am more pigheaded than I care to admit, and I will make sure this project is successful. For my friend. As a visual letter to tell him, There is so much to live for. There is still laughter and beauty in this life, there’s still dance and song and love. And I will beat myself so hard to make this right and beautiful because I do not ever want my friend to wish  to die again. And I want him to know that I am so worried about him and I hate seeing him hurt so silently, that he doesn’t have to suffer alone because we can share the burden, we can share his personal hell, that he can trust me, and I can only hope my sentiment and intention will show because there is no point, no point in all of this, if my friend still doesn’t feel any different.  To hear someone say they wish to die because nothing matters in this life anymore—that is something I never take lightly. I have so much reverence for life, but I’d be lying if I said there aren’t any days I don’t wish to die. Life is so cruel and unsparing, with all this clubfooted morality and random injustices, but I do not draw breath everyday only to scream myself hoarse for death to come take me because that’s not what living is about. So I will do my best for my friend. Any real friend would do the same.

It’s 11:24. I have to read a bit of Man and His Symbols for our exam tomorrow, and get ready for my meeting with the editor in chief. I shall be fine.

Pappardelle affairs and modern dating anxieties

I caved in, people. It was Monday night when I finally brought out the huge bag of flour from the pantry and started rolling to make fresh pappardelle pasta, despite the boxes and boxes of different pasta shapes on the shelves. I was so desperate and my craving atrociously strong that I couldnt stop myself, but it was worth the hassle. Mind you, I didn’t have a rolling pin so I used a Japanese ceramic tea cup instead……. Don’t ask me how (it’s an experiential thing) but to cut it short, it went well. Perhaps I could’ve rolled the pasta a tad thinner, but all in all, it came out great and soft, and paired with my experimental sriracha bolognese sauce, I’d like to say the gastronomic affair was an orgasm in my mouth. And I finished everything in 15 minutes (compared to the 1 hour and 30 minutes of preparation).

On another note, I’d like to believe my “I have my shit together!” moment is when I am finally living alone in a wallpapered middle-kla$$ apartment and able to cook perfect fresh pappardelle for dinner while looking like 1980s Suzanna Vega—cropped hair and little pretty Tinkerbell face and all. And while my pappardelle bubbles on the stove, I—slim, feline, and doorframe-leaning—will announce, “It is I, Solitude Standing.” Self Transcendence! I mean OK I’ve got the fresh pappardelle down, I just need a proper rolling pin.  And perhaps lose a bit of my jigglies. And be more graceful. And a lover who can come by any time with cheap wine. Or not. Ahhah I gross myself out.

Or, you know, if I end up becoming a bum, at least I’d have an excuse to look like trash and dye my hair orange and wear blue eyeshadow and call myself Cyndi Lauper, you know??? I’ve accepted my two possible Fates, but I really need to cut it down on the carbs because I’ve been overeating pasta and bread everyday since Monday. It’s because it’s that time of the month; I’ve fallen to the Communists….. (please don’t make me explain this terrible joke further).

Anyway, I was just thinking and I realized I’m 21 and I’ve never been on a (romantic) date and never had anyone to call Beloved or whatever, although I’ve hung out with guy friends alone that felt inadvertently romantic, but those don’t count because there’s no agreement saying we both know and acknowledge that it is a romantic date. Am I making sense? Not that I’m bummed about it or desperate or anything because I don’t need an other half the way people look at other halves; I’d like to believe I’ve been whole my entire life; how can you only be half of yourself? But my best friend was messaging me last Monday night (while I was making fresh pappardelle) and she was on the way to a hotel to meet some horse-dicked guy she met on Tinder and apparently they were going to have loads of fun playing Chess all night or god knows what (Aha) and well, I just couldn’t relate…. At all…. So I told her, I’ll stay up all night, if you don’t call me at 3 am I’m calling the cops! So she gave me the hotel and the room number and she texted me around 12:30 am, but I—lame and a  terrible best friend—fell asleep and only got back to her around 2 am when I woke up from the scratching sound of a baby mouse trapped inside my Post-it box (and before you clutch your pearls, FYI the baby mouse was harmless and was far too cute to exterminate, so I set him free, believing that it knows Compassion and Gratitude and will one day help me create the best ratatouille in town. I’m probably reaching here, but it’s why I don’t eat animals, Deborah). So all my fears didn’t come true. She wasn’t raped and murdered and thrown in a barrel and covered with cement and dumped in a ditch, and I don’t have to be summoned by Forensics and look at my best friend’s body, see her dangling falsies, and identify that it is her, but well, I told her to be safe anyway. There are far scarier things than death. Like STDs. And pregnancy. And internal bleeding. And a bruised cervix. And feelings. I’m joking, if you couldn’t tell… Don’t hate me.

So let me cut this senseless rant short. The reason why I’ve never dated is because… I never really tried. I mean, I never sought it out, so I cant really sigh and say, Aw I’ve never been on a date, because I’ve put everyone at arms length all my life. But, I mean, what if I do go out on a date? And what if the guy I go out with isn’t… human?

What if he purchases things in MSRP? What if he laughs at me upon discovering that I’ve read only the Garnett translation of Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and not the Pevear and Volokhonsky? What if he doesn’t read Dostoevsky? (Forgivable!) What if he doesn’t get my Bradbury and Alan Moore references? (Unforgivable!) What if he asks me where I want to eat and I can’t answer because I can never decide where and what I want to eat and have to do extensive research days before eating out? What if he’s bothered with my teeth grinding when I sleep? What if he doesn’t like long, winding handwritten letters? Would he hate poetry too? What if he likes cars? What if he finds out I hate cars and is the reason why I’ll never learn driving or bother with a license? What if he doesn’t like pappardelle pasta? What if he’s loud? What if he doesn’t like Japanese jazz and Gabor Szabo? What if he isn’t openminded to listen to Japanese jazz and Gabor Szabo? What if he doesn’t love Eva Cassidy’s effervescence in Wade in the Water? What if he doesn’t read, at all?! What if he asks me about Game of Thrones or some other popular TV series or movie and I wont have anything to say not because I think I’m too edgy for such things (ha-ha) but because I don’t have cable TV, paying for a Netflix subscription gives me so much anxiety, and I super abhor the concept of Torrent? What if he uses Twitter and Instagram? (Just kidding, social media whores!) But what if he works a corporate job? How bureautragic! (Ha-ha, just kidding corporate slaves!) What if he gets grossed out by my seasonal eczema? What if he doesn’t like being the small spoon? WHAT IF HIS NICENESS TOWARDS THE WAITER IS ONLY PRETEND??!??!

Bah! Why bother! I have to read Man and His Symbols before going to The MET in an hour. I have more than a hundred pages to go and my quiz is in two days. I simply wont have the time tonight since tonight is the opening of our new exhibit so I’ll be overstaying for cocktails and fake small talk with a bunch of bougie millionaire saps from the government and the private sector. I don’t mean any offense; it’s just that it sucks that when we cry, they get to use hundred dollar bills to wipe their tears away while I only have Kleenex. Hopefully I’ll find me a rich single Senator who doesn’t believe in buying things in manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Did I mention I was joking? I hate Senators. Goodbye.

PS: Here’s something way way way cooler and more exciting than romantic dates. My reading list for today! Read them with me!

Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus-

Emerson on Self Reliance-

Chesterton on Wisdom and the Weather-

Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Keeping Quiet-

Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife-

When I Said I Wasn’t Going to Spend Money on Books This Month

I lied. I was quite surprised when I went over my purchases for the last month and realized that I had bought fifteen books in less than 30 days… but, well, I don’t really have any vices other than reading, and buying and borrowing books, so I thought this was better than, oh I don’t know, snorting lines of coke up my nostrils or nymphomania. So I passed by a secondhand bookshop on my way home today and told myself I was just going to have a browse. An hour later, however, I already had a stack of books that I wanted to buy propped up in my arms. Of course I had to kick myself and force myself to only get one, but after debating with myself for a couple more minutes, I finally settled on two: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and Selected Fiction by Henry James. I had to put Sue Monk Kidd, Leo Tolstoy’s biography, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a collection of letters penned by soldiers during the Vietnam War on the back burner for now, much to my heartbreak.

To be honest, though, the real real reason why I went to the bookshop today was to look for the book I hid there a month ago. I was planning to buy it, but never got around to because 1). I was already buying too many books at that time so I thought I should just go back for it some other day and 2). At that time, the book didn’t call out to me as strongly. I was adamant on going back for it today though, in hopes of still finding it. I wanted to give it to this really special friend of mine whose younger brother took his own life just this week. The book is called An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness and I searched and searched and searched with pigheaded devotion until my fingers were covered in soot, but I couldn’t find the book anymore. I’m honestly so heartbroken that I won’t be able to give it to my special friend, but I’m looking at other options. I am not the best in comforting and communicating my emotions, and most of the time I wish I knew the right words to say, so when I show my concern and love to others, I’m not very upfront about it, and I hope the warmth that I want to convey shows through little things I do such as penning long and winding letters and giving books that I believe is a perfect match to the receiver because spoken words always fail me. I can only hope, but hope is never lost.

Rereading Wislawa Szymborska’s New and Collected poetry collection. This poetry collection is the closest thing I have to a bible, and Szymborska is my favorite writer. If I were to choose only one writer across multitudes of genres–although I hope no one would ever make me do that because that’s fucking criminal–Szymborska would always be top of my list, right next to the Dons of my dreams Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorcaaaaa!!

Reading Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung (for my Philosophy of the Unconscious graduate class)

Continuing When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom

Something mundane: I finally utilized the full potential of my Evernote and made a separate notebook for all of my terrible poetry drafts and fragmented thoughts, AND made a separate note for each poetry draft. This is it, this is my life coming together… hahaaaa I hope to work on these soon so I don’t continue hating myself.

My forever mantra: Dr. Manhattan’s monologue on Mars. As I was on my way home today, I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken over what my friend is going through. I will never know his pain, and I will never know what it feels like to lose my younger brother, but in these darkest hours I believe that my friend is more resilient than he thinks, with an unmatched reverence and vitality for Life. I know he will keep on. I have the utmost confidence and faith in him. And so, while I was lost in my reveries, I pulled out the small folded paper from my ID case to read while walking; I keep this with me every single day, for times such as this. It’s got Daily Mantra scribbled on it. Here is what it says:

Thermodynamic miracles, events with odds against so astronomical they’re effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter… Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold… that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle.

But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget… I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take our breath away. Come… dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes… and let’s go home.

Most days I try to be like Dr. Manhattan and improvise a monologue in my head while, say, walking or sitting by myself during the morning commute, but I never sound as poetic as him, and never as articulate. But I try.