Sunday, March 21, 2010

Magical Realism

Dionysia Circle, 28, died in a freak accident while performing practicals of Apparation Course as she reappeared on to the path of a runaway thestral, 2 feet away from the emergence area.

Ms.Circle who moved to London to study magic after 6 years of IT service industry work was remembered as a enthusiastic student who was older than most teachers at Hogwarts Magical Education of the Elderly program.

She is known to have frequently remarked that learning to apparate would reduce the onsite-offshore resourcing charges not to mention any travel related per diems leading to competitive quotes that translate to more projects thus increasing profitability margins in the third quarter results of the IT company. "Classic Di", remarked one of her apparating class friends," so funny with her irreverent jokes that no body got except that they were absurd and made up words!".

Her apparation ed teacher Mr. Silverfield commented on the unfortunate circumstances of her death. "Quite senseless it was", he grumbled from disgust, "there it was galloping away, minding its own business when she apparated right in front of it, scaring the beejeezs out of the poor thing". He went on to mention that if she had reappeared within the marked circle, the exercise on completion of which she would've gotten her license, the needless Thestral Trauma could have been avoided. "All she needed to do was be less of a cretin but noooo". This is the first recorded case of magical death from being a cretin.

The statistics of trampling accidents involving invisible creatures is growing and so are drunk/underage/unskilled apparating related accidents. Since Ms.Circle's sad demise fits on the union of 2 such large sets, it stands to reason that it would be all the more likely.

The thestral involved, Inviorse, has been admitted for intensive therapy to examine why its feelings of unadequacy about its appearance (wanting to look more like a unicorn), a bane from the media images beamed into every home, lead to its running indiscriminately into a field marked for apparation practice. "Tell me about your mother", we overheard its therapist asking of Invi, as its known to friends. Dr.Fried was addressing the blank space on the opposite corner of the thestral and had to be physically turned around, by our news team, to face his invisible patient.

The IT service company has issued a statement saying "BCP will be implemented and We are happy to announce the Cathbert HR plan to reanimate Ms.Circle's corpse so that she may track to schedule on her allotted tasks after the short rejuvinating vacation provided by the Thestral incident".

Friday, March 12, 2010

My so called names

Having just read a fluff piece in Telegraph UK about having a drab forgettable name which people tend to substitute with another drab name when in conversation; I suddenly recalled a couple of times when I was named on the go.
These were two most worth remembering among the countless other times that I have been called other names (most often by my sister's name).

First incident was when I was talking to a friend who I was supposed to meet at church for the midnight mass (first time), that we were going to as a group, more than a year ago.
When I expressed concern at being the first to arrive, not knowing if I would be let in, being hindu and also not a parishioner of that church, he said "If someone asks, introduce yourself as Lilly"
I was transfixed by this and questioned, albeit inanely "Why Lilly?" to which he replied "Well, you seem like a Lilly."
A short time after that, while still basking in the glow of understanding that I had been compared to a serene flower, I found out that Lilly is usually the short form of Lilith who happens to be Adam's first wife who left him because she refused to let even God dictate that he was better than her in anyway and (or perhaps therefore called) a demoness to boot.
Additionally, she is known to be a succubus and a very prolific mother. Now I really liked that I seem like a Lilly. Pretty sure P (my feckless friend and Lilly Namer) had no inkling of all this but I like to think I naturally inspire people to acknowledge my independence and female power.

The second anecdote is from last fall when I was exploring the cramped, confusing stair cases in the USS Intrepid very close to lock up time when a guy from a separate group asked me to not go away alone to places that seem deserted.
In his defence it was days to Halloween and he seemed high as a kite - potent combination for paranoia.
"Because if we were the last to see you", he explained, "and they would say", then assuming what I think was his idea of a cop voice he continued with, " what did you see..."
He reverted abruptly to his normal voice with the inquiry of, "what is your name?".
Then just as suddenly, without a pause, he replied to his own question with an utterance"..Isabella ".
I had not said anything at all and to this day I wonder how and why he pulled 'Isabella' from what appeared to be thin air.
Going back the story, the guy proceeded unimpeded by anyone present,"So cops would ask -what did you last see Isabella do and we would say she was climbing down some creepy stairs to a dark room, all alone...we told her but noooo...Isabella just smiled".
That unceremonious end of the sentence was our clue that some slasher movie bimbo blonde's fate befalls this Isabella girl who dared to walk down to an exhibit of the first officers room on a New York landmark at 6 PM in the evening of a busy weekend.
I laughed merrily with all of them and the group moved away with their parting wishes of "Bye, Isabella!", "Isabella, Take Care now" and "don't go anywhere I wouldn't go, Iz" [which I guess means I can go anywhere else except where I was currently headed]

It is really interesting to me that an average melatonin challenged american group would find me to be a 'Isabella'. Surely that seems so very classic italian or spanish?
Very often people speak to me in spanish, mistaking me for a fellow Mexican, near the Mexican embassy, which is on my walking route to work. But that the extent of my international look.
Did those people think I was mexican, one called 'Isabella'? The likelihood they would've called me 'Maria' is more. Sad but true. All of us stereotype.
Where they so sloshed off their minds that I looked like a white Isabella to them? Possibly but only if they had spent quite a lot of time and effort getting to a physically ambulatory yet mentally LSD-ized state.
Did I remind that guy of someone he knew named Isabella? Far more likely. And it even seemed like the whole group knew this Isabella and were okay with her. even friendly.

I wonder what you (that is basically anyone) would call me if you didn't already know my name.
This would give a huge insight into what the namer thinks of the namee. If you thought someone was a Jane or Jim you probably think they are boring or conventional while someone you think is distinguished and interesting looking you would pick Portia or Adrian.
I should probably trademark this idea for a psychological profile or test. Anyway, I hereby state that I (not Lilly, not Isabella) came up with this idea right here and you read it in my blog first so if anyone uses this idea better find me and buy the idea from me or face my wrath.
A sample set of strangers are flashed on screen, the photo of the subject and asked to associate a name with that. they will additionally be asked on what factors did they think the subject qualified to that name like - cultural context, personal association, stereotype, stoned (therefore no f*king idea why)
As a control to those findings, a group of equal number of acquaintances (not too close) should be repeating the same activity with the subject's photo.
There should also be multiple subjects in each session so that any extreme variances in the findings can be compared to the readings of the non-main subjects.

The interpretation of the results will be a separate project in itself to ensure that each picked name is taken in consideration with all factors concerning the name picker and the country/ethnic background.
For example, I wouldn't pick Priya or Divya to be very exotic but everyone in this country (not of east asian descent) would look at a mysterious beauty (without any Anglo Saxon features) and associate her with that option.
Who knows? It may even have applications in understanding race relations in mixed demographics that our world is increasingly becoming.

inventor of WhatNameCanPeopleSpeculateYouHave(a mere placeholder for future cool name) psych profile,

Future Gen-e-us ?

Ever since I read about the life cycle of the stars I imagine this scenario in my mind a lot.
The idea of using genome to separate the grain from the chaff, which is the leading moral question about genetics lends itself to such a future situation...

if this is the present, I would like to return it please!

What the Frac (tal)

I have recently begun reading a column about maths in the NY Times.
Considering my love of physics and space and the contradictory dislike of maths...I realize I am softening my stand on the number side of things with this advancing in age!

Strange but true,

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Luck and Love

It was Lent season, Fat Tuesday came before Ash Wednesday.
On Fat tuesday, there is a special cake made called the King Cake and figure of baby Jesus is put into the cake. Whoever uncovers the figure when they take a piece are supposed to have the luck for the year.
I cut into the whole cake (previously uncut) and in the very first piece saw the tiny plastic legs of the baby sticking out and therefore picked out the figure and am the owner of all luck for 2010.
This surprising show of luck comes in the (almost) heels of me winning the lucky draw at the Holiday Party in december 09 (I think of it as Christmas still).

This leads me to think on a bigger picture question. So far in my life, all my problems have been little and I have had zero short term/small sized luck.
Upside being that whenever there was potential for me to be in deep muck (about twice) I've had a miraclous smooth sailing when the way emerges out of nowhere (which I call good karma and grace of god) that everyone is happy with.
But now that I am sinking into pretty deep muck (best way to describe it without getting explicit) and do need a helping hand into all that is great and good, I am getting this small installments of luck which do make for immediate gratification but have no impact on the overall quality of my life.
That has me worried.

This is the oft heard puzzle/joke/question - if you had a choice between small payouts peppered more frequently through time (with an unstated addendum of you being left to your own devices for any crap that you might get subjected to) or substantial bonuses that come between larger periods of small difficulties (that are well within your limits of tolerance/being able to overcome it)
what would you rather pick?
It seems to greedy to expect to have both short term and long term luck, so we will leave that option out of the pick.

I passed get another made up day that causes a lot of unnecessary grief among my peers in this country with stereotypical company of my own self.
Let another few years go by and the stereotype would be for me to start collecting cats and treating them like people;I am a cat person (but also jell well with dogs, cattle, birds...other species) and proclivity to a conclusion that seems both foregone and dreadful is not pleasant to consider.
To amuse myself on this Hallmark (the company) day, I resorted to watching and reading like I do for the rest of the thankfully ordinary days.
Valentine's Day (the movie) was predictably bland and lifeless. My pattern for picking the one guy as a hawt one and him inevitably being a gay character...continues.
But on the reading front, happily, I am rediscovering my taste for poetry.
Due to my natural pull towards anything celt (I must have been scots-irish in some previous birth), I randomly started reading Robert Burns (To quote "Better off Ted"-Irish drink too much and write overly depressing poetry)a few weeks ago and felt great resonance to his take on life/love in "Thine am I, my faithful fair" (which I always remember wrongly as Thine I am)-
What is life when wanting Love?
Night without a morning:
Love's the cloudless summer sun,
Nature gay adorning.
In poetry, Love is always associated with sunshine and warmth and Depression (or sadness) with darkness and cold. Scientists have shown links between night owl teenagers (who I used to be before I became a night owl adult)who rise late and miss the sunshine being less effective and happy.
I guess either poets had a scientific observation or that its just common instinctive sense of what goes together.
But getting back to the quote above, I liked the imagery evoked. I am in no hurry to get back to Sylvia Plath (Daddy was dark!) because I would like to not get to that place (like ever).
My 'embrace the inner darkness' phase is gone or atleast waning so I don't want to encourage anything that will increase its potency. I mostly want it gone because the people I interact with (not at professional capacity) are clueless to deal with the likes of me in the full throes of delirious joy from acceptance of my inner demons.
Its predictably disturbing to them. I might as well go goth all the way for the kind of unease I inspire in them even in a faceless interface like a text chat.

My sis and poet/blogger sent me some Pablo Neruda poems yesterday. She is well versed in espaniol (writing, reading and speaking) and enjoys spanish language movies and songs.
I recently saw "Like Water For Chocolate" (subtitles!) and I didn't like it at all [interestingly, the lead made king cake in the movie]. Magical realism doesn't go well with me which is also why I was left with a bad taste in the mouth after completing "Mistress of spices".
Spanish literature seems strewn with that keyword ('magical realism'...not 'mistress' you dirty dirty thing you). I didn't like 'Love at the time of cholera' but did like 'One hundred years of solitude'. So I approach Neruda with the mindset(its unfair but I am a bad bad girl) that I will probably not find the resonance I feel when I read (say)"Passionate Shepard to his love".
I mean, C'mon - "Come live with me and be my love and all the pleasures we will prove." what beats that? [mind turns to mush and subject starts drooling]. That one hits the spot every time.
Ol Shakesy is pretty good too. I read his poem on Aphrodite called "Venus and Adonis" that interestingly gave a backstory to why love is also so much pain; she apparently curses after Adonis dies (foolishly, not heeding her words...[men!!!])-
'Since thou art dead, lo, here I prophesy:
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend:
It shall be waited on with jealousy,
Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end,
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low,
That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.

'It shall be fickle, false and full of fraud,
Bud and be blasted in a breathing-while;
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile:
The strongest body shall it make most weak,
Strike the wise dumb and teach the fool to speak.

'It shall be sparing and too full of riot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures;
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,
Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures;
It shall be raging-mad and silly-mild,
Make the young old, the old become a child.

'It shall suspect where is no cause of fear;
It shall not fear where it should most mistrust;
It shall be merciful and too severe,
And most deceiving when it seems most just;
Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward,
Put fear to valour, courage to the coward.

'It shall be cause of war and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire;
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire:
Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy,
They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.'

How very true...huh? Pretty Awesome!!!
You'd think for someone who likes his work and who's thinking around the theme of V day, I would put in a good word for the seminal 'Romeo and Juliet'.
But fat chance my dear...I remember reading out passionate lines from that very play to Jay and B in the library, while all 3 of us were bubbling in mirth. Yes, we are the kind of people who laugh when Juliet looks at the dead body of her love and chides him for not leaving her any poison.
Judge away. Play was well written and everything, I just find young love comical; they were 15 yrs old for gods sake! at that age we were worried about school and exams...not comparing anyone to a freaking summer's day.The more intense or earnest they got, the more funny it was (is?) to us.
Think a line from Valentines Day sums it up best - Young impractical.
Back then, in school, my taste in poetry ran more into the intensely religious William Blake stuff and the other extreme...the very wonderful, light tone of Ogden Nash's poetic take on everything from going to the dentist to mosquitoes.

Coming back to the V theme, I am listening in a loop for weeks together to the song Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine. It has very dark lyrics on the subject of feelings for a lover that attracts me-
"The Sun, The Moon, They have all been blown out
You've left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight;
In the shadows of your heart."

and also - " So darkness I became"
Ladies, this is a must when you are trying to accept your rage against a one who is senselessly dropping laundry around the house (for you to pick up, presumably) when all you want to do is love him, having given up practically your entire life.
Guys, you will not like it. But if you do, let me might be worth knowing (or going by my pattern - gay; but still worth knowing)

In all, I am thankful for the little luck, presence of love and support (regardless of lack of the cupidy, red colored, heart shaped kind) and the abundance of knowledge and creative art (learning & expressing) for me to feast on for the rest of my life.
These are my joys and I am truly grateful to have them.

Also On 23rd Feb...I went to the taping of the show that comes on night after night (yet not called the nightly show) and blurted inadvertently loud words of love to the host and he returned the words sweetly (and made up pretty much the entire 28 yrs that I have spent not saying anything romantic). Thankfully those are my lovely memories and were not shot on camera or broadcast.

I am definitely the lucky one :)