Archive for ‘Recs’

March 3, 2011

Not For Profit

“Thirsty for national profit, nations, and their systems of education, are heedlessly discarding skills that are needed to keep democracies alive.  If this trend continues, nations all over the world will soon be producing generations of useful machines, rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticize tradition, and understand the significance of another person’s sufferings and achievements. ” – Martha Nussbaum in Not For Profit

Oh so very true.  It’s also as Cory Booker says “you cannot have a superior democracy with an inferior education.”  There is such a huge emphasis in gross profit security.  And many would and will sacrifice much in order to establish it.  Education, and moreover, learning should not be a sacrifice.  And yet it is.  Clearly we, as a society, should reassess just exactly what it is we value before carelessly eliminating concepts and programs without any regard to the consequences.

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February 5, 2011

Owing, Value, and Worth

[Forgive me, for this will be a rather messy post.  Emotions are complicated, and it’s difficult for me to discern my own emotional philosophy at times.]

Before I start, I think I should state my concepts of “value” and “worth” because they have such similar implications.  According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, “value, worth imply intrinsic excellence or desirability.   [However,] Value is that quality of anything which renders it desirable or useful.  Worth implies especially spiritual qualities of mind and character or moral excellence.”  [I will always have issues with concepts that are placed on a moral scale, but that is an argument for another time.]

I have some serious issues with the connotations of “owing” and “worth” when they pertain to people.  Perhaps it is because I have issues with the socially constructed term “commitment” as well .  As a good friend pointed out, my greatest fear is to be confined.  Quantizing the  worth of a person or relationship is certainly confining to me.  The value of a person or relationship should not be quantized.  Relationships–at least meaningful ones–are so much more than a payment style of interactions.   I feel that just because I become involved with someone in any manner (emotionally, mentally, physically), it does not mean I owe him/her parts of myself.  And vice versa.  The other person, also, should not feel that he/she owes me something–love and affection, parts of himself/herself, or otherwise.  People are whole parts unto themselves.  Pieces of his/her truth must be freely given.   And I will treasure what is willingly volunteered.  But have an understanding that although the parts I end up volunteering of myself  are given as a sign of trust, the other person is not entitled to the majority of myself.  The same goes for him/her.

Want is a whole other territory.  Me wanting to give someone my affection, time, and loyalty is just that.  I believe that to be unconditional on my part.  And while I cannot predict the future, I can currently say that with conviction.  But more importantly, the other person does not owe me any affection, time, loyalty, etc. in return.  It would be much appreciated if they were returned, but it is not a condition of my own choice to give them to someone.   Which is a rather true statement of my contradictory nature I think, for  I am a major believer in reciprocation.  If someone does something for me, I feel an urge to do something in return.   Because “it’s only fair” as they say.  And I would hate for someone else to put in effort without putting in my own effort.

I guess in the end, it’s all about putting in the work for something of personal import.  But with a mental framework of willingness rather obligation.  I actually severely dislike it when people exclaim “you’re working so hard!” about my academic work ethic.  And I don’t like it any better when it is in reference to a relationship.  When it comes to academia, I don’t feel that I work hard at all.  Rather, I feel that I have a willingness to do what needs to be done in order to get where I want to be in life in the future.  Not to mention, to produce a result that I feel is fulfilling.  [I would normally say “worthwhile,” but I having enough issues with the concept of worth at the moment.]  For this, I believe that I am giving value to my academic choices.  But back to “work” in a relationship.  I believe that to be the compromises that people are willing to make.  Again, my stress on willingness–a willingness to set or shift boundaries, a willingness to voice concerns, a willingness to have frank discussion.  Anyone who I am involved with does not owe me this; he/she must, rather, consent to interact with me in this manner.  After all, promises and platitudes are all good and well, but they are nothing without the explicit consent of the person making them.

The topics of “worth” and “owing” has come up often enough in my life lately that I felt an urge to jot down my thoughts on them.  That and having just finished The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua had remarked that “Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything…[and that] the understanding is that Chinese children must spend the rest of their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud” (Chua, 52).  Maybe it’s some latent teenage rebellion rearing its head, but I vehemently disagree with that sentiment.  I can certainly feel gratitude towards my parents for pushing me to succeed (although, you know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell…), but there is a huge difference between gratitude and obligation.

So there’s my take so far on my personal interactions at the moment.

January 14, 2011

Thoughts on Sex

“Our best definition here is that sex is whatever the people engaging in it think it is.”

-Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt

Amen to that.

November 30, 2009

Techie Makeup: The Face of the Future

Not only is apple hitting its stride with recent technological launches, it is setting out to cash in another lucrative industry: the beauty market.   Everyone knows that there are apps for practically everything, but this is really becoming a popular trend.  Women are downloading apps in order to experiment with make up without actually buying it (which can result in a score or just something delegated to the very bottom of one’s make up bag never to resurface again).  Not only that, there are beauty tips on-the-go as one browses through the gigantic array presented at Sephora, which helps make the search a little less daunting.  Famous names are adding to the list of apps all the time: Lancome, L’oreal Paris, Avon just to name a few.  Not only that, there’s apps to play with one’s features.  One can see how they’d appear with that certain nose job or collagen injection (ugh.  Not that I would ever advertise cosmetic surgery; however, I do realize it is still very much a part of our lives). Or the less drastic such as smokey eye or thicker eyebrows.  In this age of technology where most people seem permanently attached their blackberries, and iPhones, this isn’t really all that surprising.  So are you fascinated yet?

Here’s a NY times article on it.

March 12, 2009

"The Meaning of Sunglasses" and Whatnot

I do believe that this is the slowest that I’ve read a book in a good long while. I’m quite a fast reader, probably due to how often I do read books, but this time around, I spent most of my time contemplating what is being said as well as the implications. It was quite like when I read philosophy and have to pause and reread in order to interpret meaning from it. And that makes this book quite different from any other fashion book out there, as well as making as far removed from the evil connotations fashion has picked up over the years. Yes, I am highly fashion obsessed. Yes, I monitor fashion week and read fashion magazines such as Vogue. No, I am not a childlike entity that has no free will. And yes, I am quite vain and arrogant, that does not making being aware of fashion a frivolous activity. It is a hobby, one that makes me quite happy so all the critics and jealous people can shut the fuck up. I am quite able to balance my intellect and self-awareness thanks.

ANYWAY, this book is highly amusing, utterly truthful, and a must-read for everything. In essence, this book is a satirical encyclopedia on fashion, the best kind of course. Hadley Freeman is able to capture audiences with her dry British wit and her intimate writing style. As the summary puts it she writes “with both insider’s relish and layman’s exasperation.” Perfectly put. Now go out and read it. I assure you that you will be highly entertained.

February 16, 2009

Oufit/Book Rec

My outfit today was inspired by Emanuel Ungaro RTW Spring 2009.

And as it is freezing outside because Seattle weather appears to like winter, my version is a little bit warmer:

Diesel blazer, Raw screen tee, Forever 21 skirt, leggings, Nine West Shoes

Now for the book rec:

The Meaning of Sunglasses (And a Guide to Almost All Things Fashionable) by Hadley Freeman

This book is hilarious and awesome. It’s a satirical encyclopedia of fashion. The first thing on the inside jacket is : “Is the fashion industry one big nasty conspiracy to make women feel inadequate? Um, no.”hahaha It is a must-read for those in the know and those who scoff at fashion. And no, fashion is not some insipid cult that turns women into bimbos. I am sick of people thinking of it as that way. And thus the need for this book rec.

Full summary:
“In this satirical encyclopedia of fashion–the world that is, and the clothes that are–Hadley Freeman, deputy fashion editor and columnist for London’s Guardian, suggests that maybe women aren’t total idiots for riffling through fashion magazines or shopping at H&M. Fashion is fun, it’s a means of self-expression, and it is definitely for women–not for the men who love them. How else to explain skinny jeans?
From (C) Celebrities–when bad ones happen to good fashion–to (V) Vanity, Freeman has cracked the codes behind what we wear in a series of lightly philosophical and instructional mini-essays to gladden the heart of everyone with a slight to obsessive interest in fashion. How did Kate Moss ruin your wardrobe? What makes Karl Lagerfeld so nail-bitingly fabulous? Marc Jacobs, fashion-show etiquette, the perils of flats, the genius of H&M, and the subversive pleasures of ankle-high boots: all are subjects for Freeman’s satiric wit and qualified rejoicing.
Encompassing both the insider’s relish and the layman’s exasperation, The Meaning of Sunglasses attackes an dcherishes the joys, the silliness, and the occasional insanity of this relentlessly fascinating world.”

February 12, 2009

Ecofont


(my own humble photography. Don’t you love taking pics in the rain?)
I’m just discovering all sorts of cool things today. Ok I’m not exactly one who’s passionate about the environment (especially tree-hugging) but I do realize that we have to live on this planet for as long as we are able without completely wrecking it in the process. There’s little things we can do and this is pretty cool. Ecofont is a new (free!) font that can easily be installed on the computer that uses up to 20% less ink in printing while still being perfectly readable, and thus saving us a whole lot of cash since our ink cartridges last longer. As a student, I have to print out a shitload of labs and papers, which wastes enough paper already. And being the poor student that I am, I would like to spend less time at the office supply store to stock up on expensive ink. This is really cool and effient. Not to mention incredibly easy. So if you end up reading nothing else on this blog EVER, read this post at least. Cuz it’s something cool.
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February 11, 2009

OneBusAway

If you are a college student like me, waiting for the bus is very common occurrence. And more often than not, the bus is either late or too early, but never ontime. You are left to stand there in cold while your bus is off somewhere else. Well a brilliant UW student has a solution. OneBusAway requires a cell phone and the bus stop number (which is conveniently posted on the actual stop schedule or roof of the bay). Dial 206-456-0609. A voice asks “Where’s your bus? Let’s found out.” You give your bus number and stop number and voila, it tells you schedule in real time. It’s like a bus schedule that works! And makes my life so much easier.

For more information: Go to the source