Saturday, August 29, 2009

Luxury & the Pursuit of.

Sometimes a girl just needs to write. And there are times when a girl needs to write but cannot find a topic to write about. And in those times, this here girl goes to do a google search on "random journal topics" and chooses luxury.

Luxury and the concept that to every person, luxury is different, is interesting to me. The Mega millions lottery was recently $325 million and it got me thinking about just what I would do with such an amount of money.

Interestingly enough I found that I wouldn't really do "much" with it. If you consider the topic of travel, broadly, I don't want to do much. If you consider the many different places I'd like to visit, then it gets to be substancial.

The short way about this, is that luxury, to me, means the ability to do whatever one wants without much thought to their personal finances or work that is viewed as a chore rather than the pursuit of something that they enjoy.

Allow me to provide an example: I won the $325 million lottery. After paying off all of my small debt, I would be in the lap of absolute luxury. With that amount of money I feel that I could just drop anything and go and do anything, purchase anything that I wanted to do without any thought to my current job. I am replaceable, and easily so. I could take a private jet to a far away country or countries, shop in the most expensive stores, drive the nicest cars, eat the highest quality foods and still have plenty left over. I'd also be able to consider my photography "work" as it wouldn't matter if I sold any pieces, really. It would be something I did to keep me busy, and entertained but could also bring in income, which would be work but not a chore.

For me, luxury is not the car itself, or the clothes or fine jewelery or the art pieces. For me it is the somewhat effortless ability to have them.

And thinking about that, I realize that you can't just have luxury to be happy.

I wrote out this list of things I would do, in some sort of order, if I should have won the lottery. I would take better care of myself was the sum of the very first things I would do. Hair, spa days, reliable transportation, personal trainers and language education. Then came the travel to dozens of other countries and the education on their history by my own personal expert historian. The shopping and the self expansion via exploration in those countries.

The pursuit of other topics of education came after the whole travel bit as well as donations to charity (I need to find some close to my heart before I just give) and then after that there I was with this blank space. I don't want to buy a house before I have someone to share it with romantically. I don't want a dog until I have someone to romantically share the responsibility with.

(and this is where I let out a big fat sigh).

Bottom line: I guess I don't really need too much to feel my life is luxurious enough. But I'm going to keep my list going. Because if I can feel like I am in the lap of luxury without having billions of dollars, I suppose I'd really be on top of my own personal universe.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"I'll Follow The Sun"

If you should decide to read this entry:

Keeping this window open, open a new internet window and look on MySpace music for the song “I’ll Follow The Sun” by the Beatles. Play it. Read from this point on.

A record spins in its player. Newspapers surround the antique looking apparatus in the warmly lit apartment. The wood blinds are slatted open and the orange setting sun shines through, leaving a sequence of bright and dark linear patterns on the wood flooring.

The walls are bare and dirty in places his hand prints had polluted in all the common places he would lean while talking to her after a hard day at work. A box populates the open floors that she stands on. She looks around her at the picture frames and packing materials on the floor. A picture of the two of them in a sweet embrace, some old love notes and movie tickets from various dates surround her. She looks at her hand, the mark of the ring still present on her finger. She runs that empty hand through her hair, exhaling in bereavement.

She walks into the hall between the bedroom and the bathroom. A bare mattress stares her in the face. She freezes for a moment to confront it, then continues into the small restroom. No towels inhabiting the rack and no shower curtain upon the rod. She opens the medicine cabinet she already knows is empty, looking herself in the eye as she does. It’s spotless. “And now the time has come/and so, my love, I must go” the song echoes her heart. As she closes the cabinet, she has a slight grin upon her face, though a tear kisses her cheek.

With a last look around, she realizes that what she is looking for is not going to be found in any cabinet or upon any wall of the apartment. It was gone and no matter how long she searched, the answer would not be found. She returns to the living room, unplugging the record player and placing it, the last of the pictures, and the unused newspaper a into the empty box on the floor. A dispenser of khaki packing tape runs over the top of a crisp new box and seals it. She leaves the gold key on the lit up and otherwise cheery window ledge, and the somehow-romantic image stays imprinted in her memory. She reaches towards the front door.

“…And though I lose a friend/ In the end you will know/ Oh/ One day you’ll find/ That I have gone/ But tomorrow may rain so/ I’ll follow the sun” the song finishes in her mind. She turns the bottom lock for the last time and closes the door behind her. With the crisp crunch of the door setting sturdily between it’s frame, everything has ended. Her dragging footsteps are heard as she walks reluctantly down the concrete stairs and through the gate of the courtyard with a grin on her face.

Life isn’t ending. It has just begun.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Miley Cyrus

I just started watching a commentary on some news station about kids growing up too fast. Miley Cyrus was the spark to this flame.

The commentators started talking about her dancing with a pole and how the US is sexualizing children too early and we are asking 8 year-olds to figure all of this out.

I happen to disagree. I happen to feel that, for one, kids start to pick up on sexual cues and innuendos at a pretty young age. Secondly, I think if people stopped focusing on just the now they would be able to look back at the 60s and see that this has been going on for a very long time.

So it isn't okay for Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears to sing about love or lust beyond their years or be in an intense spotlight and revealing their individual sexuality, but it is okay for Michael Jackson to be singing in a very high pitched voice "Shake it shake it baby, ooh ooh!"? What was he. like, five?

I look back on my middle school days and I knew plenty of kids that were already doing drugs and having sex at the age of 12. This is just something that is very real and I think unavoidable. I can try to look back and see if there was a super star when I was 12 that was out there being sexual and being an example to cause kids to want to be this way and I can't see one. The Spice Girls were the hot thing and I didn't see them promoting sex, but rather a confidence in one's femininity and in close friendship amongst young women.

Sexuality is simply a part of reality. A part of life. The difference between today and the 40s and 50s is that we are not suppressing people's communication and saying, so much, "don't talk about it". Sex and the topic of it has simply become less taboo. Not any less present in human nature.

Now, in Miley's defense: The kid will be 17 in November. When I was 17, I know that I certainly had a strong sense of my own sexuality. Put a child in the spot light and they naturally mature faster mentally and intellectually. You can't expect them to be healthy individuals if you want them to grow up quickly in one way but not the others.

In terms of her performance at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, my personal opinion is that you cannot consider what she was doing on the stage as dancing with a pole. None-the-less on one. She was wearing Stiletto heels on a stage and dancing and singing, walked over to an ice cream cart on wheels and stepped on to it and was being wheeled around the stage. What was she supposed to do? Just hope her balance was good enough while multi-tasking? As a performer you cannot sacrifice your own safety for an act, first of all. And secondly, you can't just stand there holding on to a pole. You do need to wiggle and move a bit for the entertaining aspect of it all. That is why any performer is successful. Because they are fun to watch and don't just stand there singing. There is always some sort of visual appeal.

What I think the issue is in today's society is a desire to control too much. Control what kids are watching, eating, saying, doing, thinking. Safety and balance is important yes. But if you squelch individuality too much you get teens who push the envelope simply because it is there to push. If you let a kid "go" and do, it is my personal opinion that they will find who they truly are as an individual.

And I think that is precisely what the world sees with Miley.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It is amazing what the small things in life can tell you about a person.

From their handwriting to the way they ride a bike, to their body language, there are so many small things that can be so revealing about someone new in your life. Or some revisited friendship.

Biking, until recently, has not been a part of my life. But when I finally found it back in my life I found that I have a need for speed. I'm not one who likes to just cruise and take things at a slow pace. Once I find my path I like to hit the road and race towards my goal destination.

When in a formation, however, or a group, I tend to neither assume the role of a leader nor a caboose. I am perfectly in the middle, maybe sometimes hanging back to pay attention to what is behind me, to lessons of the past, and sometimes striving a little more forward, toward the one ahead, looking at prospects of success in the future. I guess my comfort with my space and my speed may represent that I am comfortable enough just where I am in life at the moment, and taking in whatever needs to be processed along the way. I'm looking to be guided, and in terms of adventures (at least recently) I'm rather reluctant to take the reigns and go out on the road "alone" with others following me.

A dear friend who I have such admiration for, and his daughter, who I have been learning about slowly over the past several days and who I am coming to really admire also, have been my biking buddies. Gene tends to lead, and by a pretty fair distance. My interpretation of this, is that he likes his independence. However, at times, he will hang back and ask someone else to lead or keep him company. Like sometimes he needs a break from being so in control. He seems mostly easy-going in his pursuit of distance in his biking, however, at the same time it seems that he has some goal he is trying to reach or point his is trying to prove to himself or to others. Whether it be getting to such a destination in his head more quickly or making sure he makes it over that challenging hill. He wants to succeed. More for himself than anything.

Summer, on the other hand, is almost always in the very back trailing further behind in distance then I would to Gene. My interpretation of Summer's biking habits in correspondence to her personality is that she is very easy going and a little more tentative than either Gene or myself in her ventures. It seems to me that whatever she does she observes her surroundings in great depth, which may slow her down physically (in terms of biking) but this gains her a deeper knowledge of the workings of things around her. From people to places she seems to really have a grasp on what she takes in. At the same time, her age could also contribute to her cautiousness. Being 16 there are a number of things to be wary of, from friends to habits, activities to opportunities. Such things must be weighed, which also may weigh down on her and cause her to take things at a slower and more leisurely pace.

Just some observations I've had while on the road. Finally a chance to verbalize (though it always is so much better on a screen or on a paper than when it would fall from my mouth).