Sunday, May 30, 2010

Interesting BBC Article

Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'

I prefer the phrase 'simulating schizophrenia' myself. ;o)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Taking a Break...

Dear Readers,

I'm going to take some sort of break from blogging regularly... I can't predict how long it will be, but I feel like I need some space to watch myself grow (and in some cases grow out of certain NLP patterns). I suggest you catch up with me in a month or two!

I appreciate your interest and hope you have a pleasantly intense online experience over the coming weeks!

Thanks for understanding ;o)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Day In May

I wanted to hold back, I really did... if only I could hold back phrasing my distaste in emphatic terms it would be a sign that I had grown out of the need to reject everything about a person once I ejected them from my circle of friends or life partners. But I couldn't help reverting to the kind of accusing and damning retort that had typified my earlier rejection of her, and it was pointless to try to sugarcoat my anger and disdain this late in the game.

*

I'm not a mellow or easy-going kind of person. Unless you are an acquaintance, for whom I have idealistic hope mingled with resigned disapproval, or someone I'm sometimes friendly with on the odd occasion, in which case I have a cultivate a mellow sort of overview of our relationship which prevents me from investing too much in you, I either love or hate you. With a fiery passion. Sometimes both at the same time. In any case, I have strong reactions to people, and am not for the faint-hearted.

*

My dream trip is slowly being simulated with greater detail and intensity in my mind... The conceptual spaces of the cities I'll be passing through still seem too large for the trail I have placed them on... getting from point A to point I makes every and no sense. Not that I want to prioritise sense, my dear postmodern fans. I'm just borrowing this expression because words are presently failing me.

*

I have decided that my next trip (after this one) is likely to be to Asia again... There are very cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur from Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, and ridiculously low fares to places such as Penang, Taipei, cities in India (Bangalore, Kochi, Trivandrum), Colombo, Bali and Clark (Philippines). There's something about Asia that is beguiling... it may be a beautiful surface that 'face'd-up faces represent, but below the show for appearances lie beautiful, haunting secrets. Eyes waiting to light up in empathy, respect and jubilation. The legendary openness. I put my defensiveness on hold, and eventually aside. I start beaming at whoever will observe me in the act. I feel like I am standing naked in public, but the vulnerability is protected by the respectful distance of the people on the pavement. Now and then I need to run for cover.

*

I have never stayed in Asia longer than two or three months. I wonder what will happen when I do... It's mostly a matter of money and humidity - but when both are approached with moderation and creative thinking, they seem to fall into place as part of a long-term strategy.

*

As long as there are interesting and inspiring people around, I'm happy. ... Maybe I should give Brian a visit in Myanmar... I love that name (Brian).

*

I have 71 unread Tweets. I have recently noted that I consume more information than I can process to my satisfaction. I'm aware that some people's entire careers consist of being on mental (and hence emotional) overload. Amongst the Tweets I investigated yesterday, I found a competition for which the prize was eight free trips to places around the globe - the winner would blog about them for a general audience, and they could bring a friend. I'm currently plotting to resume reading the details of entering... but I am tempted to finish any one of the four books I am reading "urgently" (The Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing, Planes, Trains & Elephants, Shantaram and The Trial), or tuck into my shiny new Lonely Planet guides.

*

My mother keeps reminding me to get my act together and contact an agent. Is 'when I come back from Europe' procrastination?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Obscure References Reign

Thailand. It's like I can't live with or without it. Sometimes when I'm there I feel such disdain for the majority of it. I daydream of my soft bed and clean, bright salmon walls. When I come back, I miss the freedom I had there. The freedom to see new things, to always be welcomed, to integrate into the sidewalks with ease, to shine, to marvel, to smile at everyone, to dream.

Can't seem to see the obscurity? Is it really there?
Did I reverse-psych myself?

You'll never know...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Meandering w/ Confidence

It's not quite yet winter, but the night air chills me to the bone... I walked through solid rain to get chocolates I didn't want. I read an interview with Lady Gaga which made me proud to be her fan (here). According to my iTunes library, I have listened to Paparazzi 1084 times so far. It's both the celebration of one's own importance and the importance of another, for me. The yearning for the revered love interest while searching yourself deeply and earnestly to lay everything you've got out on the table.

I should probably go to bed. It's 5am.

P.S. Have you noticed that I'm making many of my posts shorter than usual? While writing for Orble I was instructed to make my posts at least a few hundred words long. Blogger lets me do whatever I want, and I'm savouring the short text... while still getting used to my new e-home. :o)

P.P.S... Don't stop, for anyone... we're postmodern, and it's so much fun!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Musing On The End Of A Toxic Friendship

We started out in all of the same classes. I had had lots of Asian friends before (even an Asian girlfriend), but she became my first Asian best friend. For a long time she was the person closest to me. And yet only people who haven't known us very well over the years are surprised that we are no longer friends.

For the best part of a decade, I had been proud and protective of the friendship, thinking that it kept me in place. There were a lot of things that threw me off about her, but I convinced myself that the good parts greatly compensated for any sense of discomfort. Eventually the discomfort became more pronounced, and before I was willing to admit it, chatting with her became painful. I noticed that she, too, was on a diet of slowly but surely proliferating gaps and silences when we last spent time together. She seemed so different to the other people in my life when last we spoke in person. So, a few months ago, I started the process of terminating all interaction with her. What had once been a source of warmth and assurance had become a breeding ground for bad self-esteem practices.

Even though I knew her very well, it was still a shock to hear her make fun of idealistic self-help-oriented folks, and dismiss the entire self-help genre with extreme scorn. I saw lots of ego, and someone who had been burnt early, and often. It was a repulsive picture. We were only on the phone. I kept up appearances, not knowing how to deal with such attitudes which flew in the face of everything I was about.

I love self-help books, and often write in the genre myself. She either knew this and had forgotten or had assumed that I had changed over the years. I realised that I was not prepared to be hurt by this person anymore. But still, I wouldn't let go. Loneliness seemed too overwhelming. My other friendships weren't as well-developed. We had tons of history. A lot of positive memories to fuel our pursuits, even though those pursuits only pushed us further apart, and the memories became less feel-good with the encroachment of the present's persistence.

I suppose I could have ended it on a better note, but I was so sick of mustering up enthusiasm for this woman who wasn't really my friend after all. Who was boosting a totalitarian economy by lending her creative and innovative skills to it, and re-investing in it by buying property there. Most people in the country would like to get out to countries like Australia, yet here she is going back.

What have I learnt from this? Better to be yourself in full all the way in your personal relationships rather than hold back and hope the person will eventually change in a way that is more complimentary to you. If a person has to change something about themselves in order to be a great companion, then they are less than great, and they don't deserve you. Honesty is the best policy. I don't ever want to find myself in another situation where both me and my supposed friend are holding back big parts of our personalities for the sake of being nice and harmonious.

I've also learnt to constantly re-evaluate my closest relationships... something I need to work on. Think of it this way: If something is good, it is likely change over time in a positive way, and you want to be open to the benefits of the change. Taking for granted doesn't encapsulate emotion, it simply deprives you of pleasure.

Keep enjoying yourself, though the things you enjoy will change.





Robyn says (in Fembot):

There's a calculator in my pocket / that you aren't in check /

Believe In Your Own Beauty

Did you know that there is no other being like you in the cosmos?

Why be a very good version of yourself when you can be the best?

Don't you know you already are?



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Postmodern Piece & Looking Forwards, To Bulgaria

I love self-reflexive writing, and although Sarah Menkedick claims it's a reluctant departure from the norm for her, I celebrate this piece

A few days ago I learned that I will be able to stay in Sofia, Bulgaria, as long as I like once my paternal grandmother is no longer living. 

Ever since my last visit to Bulgaria, I discovered within me a longing to explore this country's contours (psychological, geographical, economical, socio-political, etc) in some detail. I'm not sure how long I'd like to stay in the three-bedroom apartment we have there - I might very well get fed up with it after a couple of months - but I think making my own friends in Bulgaria (that is to say, ditching the prejudices accompanying the paradigms of the rapidly aging friends of my parents, and mingling with the savvier, more progressive young things of the landlocked Balkan nation) would be a revealing and even life-changing experience for me. 

Almost all of my immigrant friends in australia are more in touch with the culture of their birth than I, probably because I rebelled against mine in a very systematic and intense way, and it's tempting to completely break with it at the first sign of its weaknesses. Yet the weaknesses of Australia abound on my radar too (as do that of any nation). I must conclude that there are many powerful life lessons I could learn by going back to Bulgaria for a while, soaking up the culture, reclaiming, re-rejecting and finally making peace with my roots at a pace that suits me. (For without my parents to prod me with emotional cues, and without my grandma to vouch for the stagnancy of the Communist era, I am left to my own devices, to charm and be charmed, confound and be confounded, as I please.)

Some Australian DJ with an Eastern European background whom mashed up Britney Spears and The Prodigy for fun (this sounded like it could be interesting enough, until I realised that the songs used to illustrate that particular example were 'Smack My B#tch Up' and 'I'm a Slave 4 U' - hellooo to the misogyny implied!) is the only person in recent memory to guess the Eastern European part of my accent's heritage - he noted that people from that region spoke with sharper consonants than usual. (I'm used to getting diverse accounts of my accent, ranging from American to Scandinavian to South African to Irish, though the latter three tend to be from people who haven't been to, or don't have much experience with, America.) I've always enjoyed that enthusiastic, emphatic quality to my consonants, as much as I enjoy the elongated and flowy vowel sounds that people who learn English as a second language often have trouble wrapping their tongues around. 

Well, anyway, I wanted to stay in Sofia at the end of the 5 weeks I'm going to spend in Europe this winter/summer, intending to peruse the atmosphere, evade my relatives and travel as extensively within and without the country as possible (hello to Greece, Turkey, Romania, Serbia and Macedonia! And lets not forget the gorgeous discount fares!!!), but I was flatly refused no matter how inventively I represented it as win-win situation. My parents fear that I will place a deathly burden on my eighty-something year old Leo grandmum, and that she will fabricate costs of my upkeep which my dad won't be able to deny. 

It's nice to know that it won't always be like this - as much as I don't want a relative to die, I guess there's a bright side to every dark, gloomy event. 

Bulgaria seems to have a bright future ahead of it, one way or another: Now that it is breathing democracy in and out, its produce is so much the more interesting, creative and internationally lucrative. How much it gears itself up for innovative lifestyles remains to be seen, but it seems to have a lot of potential. No doubt it will anger and frustrate me a great deal of the time, but I can only hope that I also enjoy the freedom of being able to understand a language that is not English, be able to communicate with ever-shifting sensibilities, and get a feel for a nation that few outsiders of a less Slavic make-up would.

Here's to exploration, folks!~

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Say Ciao to Calcata

Over the past few years I have poured a lot of passion into discovering hotspots of artistic innovation around the globe. I've almost always been a city dweller, but a nine-month period in a university village in California saw me appreciate smaller communities and made me realise that a place didn't have to be conservative and small-minded just because it didn't fit into the city mould.

It was with a great deal of interest that I went about learning about progressive small towns - the ones I immediately think of are Santa Cruz & Berkeley in California, Boulder in Colorado, Brighton in the UK, Sitges in Spain and Byron Bay & Lismore in Australia. I have only visited the Cali towns (briefly), plus Byron Bay... I don't think driving through Lismore really counts. The odd place out is Nimbin, Australia, an art-obsessed village where marijuana may as well be legal (just don't smoke it in front of the police, the locals will tell you). 

I treasured the discovery of each of these, opening as they have, new worlds of possibility over the years. For as much as I love cities, the prospect of the laid-back atmosphere and friendly vibes, a small, familiar and walkable locus... these things animate and soothe me in equal turns, an alternate and just as interesting mode of living. (It was no surprise that, longing for some peace of mind, I found myself gravitating to small towns throughout my trips in Thailand... alas, there is no 'bohemian paradise' (that I know of) in the Land of Smiles, so I made do with other attractions.)

It is my pleasure to have learned of a village in Italy, not far from Rome, which is almost exclusively inhabited by creative, unconventional types, today. You can read about it by the travel writer who put it on the international version of the Italian map, David Farley, here. I then recommend reading his story of how the article he wrote for the New York Times impacted Calcata, and his relationship with it here.

Calcata is so emerging a tourist attraction that it is not yet in Lonely Planet, but tourists are starting to drip in, and next time I find myself in Italy, it will be one of my #1 attractions... who knows, maybe I'll find a postmodern eccentric or two to hang out with! ;oD

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Outlet Of Writerly Expression

Dear, esteemed reader,

Remember my idea of starting my very own travel blog? Well, here is Eccentric Travels. I am most proud of my creation, and hope you will also enjoy reading, as it touches upon many different themes, utlising many different approaches. You know me, I like variety as much as depth of insight! :o)

You know, I have such a relatively sweet life... the main threats in my life are being consumed by academia or the work force; meanwhile, I find myself in the position to travel quite often. I live in well-kept surroundings with some creature comforts, keep my spending low but nevertheless live well.

Society has both given me and tries to prevent me from accessing my potential.
I am simultaneously encouraged to be at my best and systematically harassed out of my well-being.
I'm one of the lucky ones.
My complaints are not seen as 'real problems' - better to disdain than feel threatened by something, the philosophy of my critics.

I'm lonely, but that, too, is a privilege... The darkness that haunts my soul won't be on any politician's priority list for many centuries... I try to keep things in perspective. :o)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Full stops... or question marks?

Every day I get a thought question delivered to my inbox, enhancing my love of questions, but I have also learnt over the years that it's also the question mark's marginal role in the practice of punctuation which makes it novel and endearing. I still think reversing the usage of full stops and question would have a huge benefit to writing cultures and stimulate all kinds of growth, but I have come to recognise that I can love narratives which utilise the full stop in an enchanting way. Ultimately it's about how you use the system you've chosen to work with.

You may wonder why, if I'm so in love with question marks, don't I use them more often? Whilst writing for Postmodern Critic, I was seeking to fit in with the other bloggers to some extent. Why present content in such an unusual new format? I asked myself. Often I felt like I was fighting the urge to slide into question-after-question mode. I wonder which direction I will take Postmodern Epiphanie in?

I have no doubt that the readers who have stuck with me this far would enjoy such a change, so it's up to me to ask: What am I capable of?

What are you capable of?

Richard Florida is capable of presenting economics to me in a way that makes me want to purchase his book(s). (Why is there something comforting about a statement? Does it imply a change of tone? Tone is something that is not conveyed through text, something the reader is in charge of constructing for themselves based on their own educated guesses.) He's currently promoting his brand new The Great Reset, in which he proposes that more people need to feel comfortable renting as opposed to owning their homes, we need to facilitate the growth of megaregions (for example, imagine New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Buffalo and Toronto as part of a much more networked, much busier and more interconnected superspace), and we need to knock down the artificial separation between work and non-work life.... just to name a few (it can be hard to keep up with him at times).

While I keep thinking about questions and my receptivity to throwing them out there, I'll tuck my toes under the covers and see which of my internet contacts are online...

Oh, that reminds me: I would like to work from home, somehow. Maybe I could be an editor and travel writer (I'd say postmodern travel writer, but Rolf Potts is already hugging that category close to his chest). Maybe I could create a separate blog for travel... I don't really like compartmentalising my life, but it would be easy to monetise and possibly even make some kind of income from it...

I need a contact in Berlin... perhaps CouchSurfing is my friend for that purpose. :o)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dancing On My Own by Robyn


I think the above version will be the version that is released on the radio, but there is another version as well (embedded below for your aural diversity needs). I'm impressed with Robyn's new offerings, even though I've only heard 3 of the songs from Body Talk, her new album. Her revamped webpage is quite postmodern, allowing you to move around the various windows into aspects of her public persona. You can even upload video of yourself listening to her music, and become part of a giant postmodern videoclip - driven by the listener. :o)



I love this song because I can relate to a pining for someone to notice me... inevitably what comes out of this unsatisfied longing is that I realise that, no matter how much I want someone else to become part of what I'm doing, or how much I want to become part of what he or she is doing, I need to renew my enthusiasm for what I'm doing, and why I need to stay alone, to enjoy everything out of life that I so deliberately want to enjoy.

Plus, Robyn is my favourite voice (of all time) in the music industry. Kylie Minogue's is second.

Friday, May 7, 2010

iReform

Good Book or Chapter titles:

Your Ambiguity of Choice

Celebrating the Unknown

iReform: How to seek out transformation in everything you do

The I in Innovation

Intuitive Innovation

... if you want to reproduce any of these phrases, you're welcome... but you have to give me credit! ;o)

I just listened to a Simon Sinek talk on Ted.com which reminded me of a few things worth being reminded of. Here it is:

Fragments of Resistance

Reading back my post before last, I should point out that my enthusiasm for visiting Thailand earlier this year were so low because I had just returned from there in November... While I only dote on Thailand so much because I love it, there are many other places in the world I am anxious to know and love, which is why my expectations were subdued. All the same, I had a super time and came back with a big, radiant grin on my face... and I plan to visit again many times, to discover the secrets of the other southern hotspots (everywhere from Ko Chang to Songkhla), and chase after more northern gems like Mae Hong Son...

Have you heard of narrative therapy? (If not, here's the Wikipedia page.) I am considering getting some counseling over the web from Ash Rehn, the guy behind 'Forward Therapy'. He's probably not the first or only person to offer help through chat, emails or Skype, but he appeals to me due to his focus on gay and lesbian culture. The only problem is that I'm kind of short on cash at this moment. Maybe I can just work on my problems by writing about them? (Or typing them out, as the case may be...)

This new blog leads me to savour new styles of ensconcing vowels between consonants. I often heard words, phrases and sentences in my head before I type them out, and I think it's artificial... like I won't communicate if the components don't seem plausible from a certain view of what is socially acceptable, although it's only my view that I hold. I guess I'm placing undue consideration upon various voices that I encounter and reproduce inside, even though I know they're not productive for me. I'd like to thoroughly cleanse my mind from this cacaphony I create inside my head, yet I don't feel I can open up to just anyone... in fact, deep thinkers and feelers are often not available when I'm in need.

I guess I could be doing more to attract them.

Are you getting what you want out of life? What about what you need? Is this a worthwhile distinction?

For the first time, I'm realising that travel can have some drawbacks as well... for example, I don't have any motivation to create a sustainable work practice which will last for a long time because whatever kind of routines I introduce into my schedule, I will have to throw out the window when I leave for the northern hemisphere this June. In some ways, I look forward to my return in August! :o)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The U and 'Oh' of Innovation

The multidisciplinary concept of Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland

The ground-breaking habits of... the pornography industry

Locating Serenity

I have never looked forward to a trip so much; my favourite places in the world, I've discovered by accident (San Francisco though living in Stanford, Barcelona due to going along with my parents' vacation plans, Shanghai through following a friend to her home town, Tokyo by way of a stop-over, Sydney due to having lived here for ages) - and now I'm sure to discover a place (or a few) that makes my favourites list.

This overwhelming anticipation is in stark contrast with my last trip to Thailand. I was looking forward to clearing my head, but I also felt like I would be losing something - a higher level of mental operation that comes through being linguistically stimulated.

I just read that Seoul, Berlin and Stockholm are considered by Richard Florida to be some of the most innovative cities in the world - along with Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto, Taipei, Osaka, Paris, Helsinki, Austin, Boston and Seattle. Tokyo, New York City and San Francisco scored even higher than these.

So, I am behind on everything... I have forgotten all about maintaining my newest contacts from faraway places; I have stopped actively networking intently; I am looking inward now.

My friend Anne Marie asked me to never stop being myself, because if I do then I am more likely to attract the kind of people I need in my life.

Right now I am reaching a stage where I no longer desire approval, yet it has been deeply ingrained in me to seek approval for my well-being. Just a smidge of the subservient about my manner. I battle with myself every day. Sometimes I feel alert without being intuitively wise.

I sometimes forget that I am solely responsible for 'the world' I see.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fleeting Sense of Wisdom

Today I found myself being bumped into numerous times on the famous beachside walk from Bronte to Bondi. I heard a multitude of fragments of semi-interesting conversations, but nothing worth the invasion of my personal space.

I have been thinking a lot about letting old obsessions and fixations go... Sometimes I am amazed at how much potential there is in the world. :o)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Males Be Going GaGa

We start with a live performance of Poker Face from an American stage...



Go all the way to Afghanistan where Allied troops have decided 'we might be in hell, so we might as well party!'



And now for the finale!