CELEBRITY STATUS

Hello everyone,

 

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a celebrity? I certainly do sometimes. It would be kind of cool to have people pay for your drinks, be seated earlier because the whole restaurant recognizes you, and have the general public aware of the good you do in life. Of course, it’s not all perfect. In fact, it’s probably harder in many way to be a celebrity than to be someone more average. For example, because your every movement is tracked, it certainly seems possible that if you ever had an affair that the whole world would know about it. Which maybe is fair, since cheating is a pretty immature thing to do in life.

But lets say its something more innocent, like, let’s say that you, being rich, decide to splurge a bit and buy a fancy car that isn’t the best for the planet, around the pollution levels of an average car, then you are questioned about your commitment to the Earth and its well being. You say you love the Earth and want to see it flourish. A magazine writes that you are misguided and a hypocrite because you have the money to afford a car that will actually help the planet. Now, for you, have things really changed? Probably not, but the world would see you as someone who could do better, but decided not to, simply because you bought a nice car.

It’s things like this that make the position of celebrity a blessing and a curse. Leonardo di Caprio is another example of a celebrity where this is potentially true. By being extremely outspoken about Global Warming and other aspects of society, he puts himself out there to being ridiculed for various issues. I mean, lets say he just goes out with some friends, and one of those friends drives a Hummer. And the paparazzi takes and publishes photos of him getting out of it. Suddenly there’s a whole story about how his caring for the planet is some false public rhetoric in order to gain support for liberal candidates that are also hypocrites.

See how easy it is to be the blame? Some celebrities have accepted this and even embraced it. Take Kanye West, he’s a prime example of a celebrity that has accepted all the hate and shot it right back at the world—calling the screams of his haters his superhero theme music. Then again, Kanye is often seen as the kind of person that we should try not to be. Generally selfish, vain, abrasive. He’s not really a stand up citizen. He is, however, one of the biggest names on the planet. So I suppose there’s something to be said about that. Meanwhile, the celebrities that are doing good for the world—including Leo, Emma Watson, and a slew of others—are kept relatively in the background of the media coverage. So…maybe we should critique the media as well as our own television watching selves, rather than the celebrities? Is that fair? Let me know in the comments!

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REMEMBERING GENE WILDER

Hello everyone,

 

Wow it was hard to get out of bed this morning. What happened? Yesterday it was so easy! Today there are a lot of things to talk about, and so little time. I woke up with this song in my brain from a TV show that made me cry, and then I check Facebook to see all the videos shared of Gene Wilder, which reminded me of his death, and then there’s general stuff that I always want to discuss more. How do I choose?

Well, it’s not really a choice. Now, for me, Gene Wilder was not really a massive influence. I mean, I certainly watched him when I saw him play Willy Wonka, and I was fortunate enough to have parents excited to show me Young Frankenstein. And I suppose those are perhaps enough to have made a significant impact on my life. I’ve probably seen Young Frankenstein a dozen times, and I can remember singing along to Pure Imagination.

But maybe we should take a look at what his work meant in a more abstract way. He brought smiles to people’s faces through his humor, but he was also a serious enough person in character to make him seem human. Take the moment where Willy Wonka snaps at Charlie for going against the rules. That’s a very human thing to do. Sure, perhaps this is how it was written, but Gene Wilder brought it to life.

Or maybe take a look at his role as Young Frankenstein instead. This movie was full of giggles, silly jokes, and sexual innuendo (What knockers!). Yet take the opening lecture scene, where Gene’s Frankenstein struggles with his name. There’s the vanity struggle of a person who is ashamed of his heritage yet proud of his intellect. And then he stabs himself with a pencil. That takes a lot of heart to pull of without breaking character.

Of course, he was more than just a film icon from an era of the past. He was also just a good guy. Amidst all the posts about pure imagination and Frankenstein, I found a quote about religion that I think anybody with a conscience should read: “I’m going to tell you what my religion is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Period. Teminato. Finito…I have no other religion. I feel very Jewish and I feel very grateful to be Jewish…” That’s just so beautiful, isn’t it? He went on to say he didn’t believe in God or anything to do with Judaism. But that’s less relevant than the core message of that quote—which is that, in life, your religion only extends as far as your heart does. Any person can claim to be anything, but in their actions you will find their true being. A person could claim to be a good Christian, and yet they would condemn the poor to suffering, and preach hate rather than love. An person could claim to be a follower of Islam, yet the would denounce and attack other groups in the name of Allah. An Atheist could claim to have all the answers and denounce other religions, and yet they have shown a lack of understanding for respect of others belief.

So be sure to keep the hearts of others in mind when you go forward in life. Gene Wilder was a wonderful inspiration to many, and a comedic genius to most. So I’ll end with one of the less quoted lines from his most popular singing role. “If you want to view paradise / simply look around and view it.”

MORE DATING THOUGHTS

Hello everyone,

 

Good afternoon! This Monday doesn’t quite seem as Monday-ish as other Mondays for me. Funny, isn’t it? Anyways, I had another thought about dating that I wanted to bring back for further discussion. Hopefully you all have read some of my different discussions about dating etiquette. Guys pay, etc, and how some of these aspects can cause for unfair expectations on women to reciprocate feelings.

That being said, I do want to talk about the other side for a little bit. Which is that a guy paying is technically sexist to some extent. Now, it’s super easy to say “that’s not sexist, it’s simply a nice thing and it’s customary for guys to do.” To which I would say, yes, that’s true. It is indeed a nice thing to do, and it is a customary part of being an American male courting a female. That being said, it also was customary for men to expect women to put out for them whenever they wanted it once they were married, regardless of how the woman felt that night. So you know, not all customs are good, even if those of the time with a voice don’t see a problem with them.

Here me out. I agree that men should pay based on the societal standards we live with now. At the same time, this baseline is engrained in the societal standards that a woman inherently is incapable of taking care of herself. Which is not a good thing. Men pay because they have their lives more together—at least, this is the thought.

Or maybe it isn’t that. Let’s take another look at it. Let’s take the position that a man should pay because any man would want to treat his woman special. This is one that I hear a lot. Men should treat their woman as though they were a princess. Where did we get this idea? Disney? First of all, what does that statement mean? Well, it means that a man should put his woman first. Which is probably true. But it also means that there is no expectation for the woman to do the same. Seriously, I’m all for treating women equally, but that means equal, not unequal. How many women you know would say “treat your man like a prince.” The number probably hovers around zero, because what kind of woman would want to take orders from a man?

I’m not saying this is entirely a bad thing—I mean it pressures men to respect women more, which is something that our society has struggled with for literally thousands of years. But usurping the idea of men being dominant with the idea that women should be the gender that is held up on a pedestal is not the proper way to implement equality.

I don’t have the answer either. It seems like a bad idea to say that men should always pay for dinner. But it also sounds like a bad idea to say that everyone should always pay for their own food. At the same time, maybe this is the only way to move toward more equal treatment and respect between the two most prominent genders in society. What do you think? Am I being unrealistic about the gender roles and what they imply? Let me know in the comments!

LOVE POEM #4 – THE QUESTIONS GAME

What do you do in your free time?

I like to go out to the beach.

Do you prefer red or white wine?

Either, there is plenty of each.
Do you have a favorite movie?

Oh, I like Beauty and the Beast.

How come you are such a cutie?

Shut up! Not when my hair is greased.
Babe, what do you want for dinner?

I think we should go out to eat.

Want to help me be a sinner?

I’d like a night between the sheets.

 

It’s so nice to be here with you,

In the dark, with space just for two

READING POETRY

Hello everyone,

 

Today I was forced to take a day off work to watch my brothers. I mean, it wasn’t all bad, but a day off work when you are a college student can feel a lot more meaningful to a person than someone who is in a career job. Perhaps this is because your life feels a little less secure, in the sense that money can often feel very tight. I mean, I got free pizza out of it, and I got to sleep in, so I probably shouldn’t be complaining at all.

Moving on though, today I wanted to talk a bit more about poetry. If you read my piece yesterday, then you know a little bit about how poetry is written. Of course, that just compiles the structure of poetry. Many people include other aspects of poetry in order to make it more meaningful and prestigious. For example, I have toyed with this myself in Under a Starry Sky. As you have probably noticed, there is a reference to Venus and Mars. This is kind of obvious, but many other writers will use these references more subtly. Some people, such as T.S. Eliot in The Wasteland, have lines full of references. I think his poem has a couple hundred lengthy references within it.

When reading poetry, it is often hard to pick up on these references. Take, for example, this reference in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings ,“All that is gold does not glitter.” At the base level, this is a pretty simple line about how things that are of value are not always that which people perceive as valuable. But did you know that this is a reference to William Shakespeare’s line from The Merchant of Venice, “All that glisters is not gold”? Even if you are well read, there is a none zero chance that you have not read this play, which causes it simply to seem like a good line, rather than a line with weight behind it. People like T.S. Eliot take this to an extreme.

To some extent, I think that this can detract from the reading of poetry, since because an expansive amount of references can often lead to scenarios where either A) the reader does not understand the meaning of a line or B) they are stuck reading footnotes, which breaks up the rhythem of a poem. Now, I know my English teachers would tell me that any dedicated reader of poetry would be willing to figure out the meaning in a first read through, and then reread it so that they could understand the references in time with the rhythm. Personally, I think that’s a load. Contemporary writing has to compete with so many other forms of media. And a good poem in contemporary writing will convey it’s messages clearly, without a person struggling to understand everything. However, it should also make a person think. This push-pull is a fine line that people have to tread nowadays, and when you are reading poetry, consider it when you pass judgment on the poem. Of course, it is up to you to decide if the poem was good, but realize that the days of 50 segment poems, made up of segments with 4 stanzas each, riddled with references that all readers are expected to take the time to understand, are probably becoming a thing of the past. Frustrate someone, and they will just go back to watching YouTube.

Agree? Disagree? Have thoughts on the subject? Let me know!

CRAFTING POETRY

Hello everyone,

 

Here we are again, with Wednesday coming to a close. Though at the time of writing, my Wednesday has just started. Today, I’d like to talk about writing poetry, mostly because I really like doing it, but also because someone asked me how I write poetry so easily. Typically, a 3-4 stanza poem takes me about 40 minutes to get right, though if my rhythm is working well it can take less time.

In terms of structure, one of my preferred poetry styles is to mimic the style of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam. This follows the pattern A, B, B, A—which means lines one and four rhyme, and lines two and three rhyme. Additionally, each line is 8 syllables in length. These are just aspects I’ve noticed while reading his poetry. I don’t know if it consists of iambs, sorry. That being said, there are a lot more forms of poetry. One I’ve been toying with lately is A, A, A, A, which is a lot harder than it would seem, mostly because the style can feel forced and redundant. That being said, it certainly makes a person rack their brain more.

One of the popular poetry styles nowadays is a Free Verse poem. Free verse poetry typically is more…well, free form. It’s just line breaks. There’s no need to rhyme, or follow a pattern of syllables, and so on. While this can often be interesting, I don’t really like this type of poetry that much. I’ve used it before, and I have no doubt I’ll use it again, but it sometimes feels lazy to me. Maybe this is because I make deadlines for myself, and in doing that I have some inner expectation of what a “poem” should look like. That being said, one of my most “liked” poems, Stand Up Citizen uses this style.

A sonnet is one of the more difficult styles for me, mostly because iambic pentameter can be a bit hard for me sometimes (quick note: iambic pentameter means lines of 10 syllables, which alternate unstressed and stressed. I.E., I like to ride my bike—“I,” “to,” and “my” are all unstressed, where as “like,” “ride,” and “bike” all have more emphasis on them). A sonnet’s rhyme pattern is A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D, E, F, E, F, G, G. Of course, there are many, many, many ways to craft a poem, and it really should come from the heart a lot more often than forced. That being said, any time you write as often as I do, sometimes writing from the heart doesn’t come as easily.

Choosing a topic can often be difficult. I stray toward love poems quite often, but sometimes writing about internal frustrations, or other aspects of society are good as well. Take I’m Looking for My Friend, which another poem that people have received fairly well. It’s about other aspects of society besides romance. The key, I’ve found, is to find something you can cling to and ride it out until you feel good about it. Then reread it, clean it up, and see what people think.

Am I wrong? Do my ideas make sense? Let me know!

PRODUCTIVITY AND CONVINIENCE

Hello everyone,

 

What? 20 minutes till I have to do something at work? AH! Ok, time to type fast. So I was curious what everyone thought about convenience and productivity, and have decided to go into a discussion about it today. First of all, if you don’t know these terms, or have a different definition than I do, I’ll share how I define them. Convenience, in relation to business, is effectively the idea of a drive-thru of a McDonalds or Starbucks. It’s quick, easy, and at your disposal in minutes. There’s one close to nearly everyone, and it’s relatively cheap (at least, McDonalds is). It’s also lower quality.

To contrast this, productivity is loosely antithetical to convenience. Productivity I define as something requiring more work, and then following through with it. For example, at the small business I work at, productivity overall is fairly low. Typically people on shift don’t do a whole lot. I like to think of myself as the exception to this rule, but I’m sure I have taken more lax days. Typically though, the store will fall into states of minor disrepair, and to compensate this I will clean things up, as well as organizing things so that they become more streamlined. Alphabetizing things often helps with this, but in general maintaining a level of consistency throughout organization is typically more important.

Sometimes, sorting too much can cause for a lack of productivity as well. Eventually, if everything is sorted, and then sorted again, and then sorted again, the time spent sorting again becomes a waste of time. I said a few moments ago that productivity was antithetical to convenience. It’s somewhat true but also is a bit unfair to say, because they take up separate roles—the role of the consumer versus the business. The higher productivity at an establishment, the higher the level of convenience available for the consumer. This provides an avenue for customers to feel less stressed about their shopping.

Alright, well that’s all I have time for today, have a great day!

COLDPLAY LIVE

Hello everyone,

 

Ah, Monday has returned, and it’s time to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I had quite the weekend. Saturday night, I saw Coldplay live at the Rose Bowl! In all honesty, this was my first major concert in something like 15 years, if memory serves. Which was quite an experience. First of all, parking was a killer. Seriously, it was $40 for general parking. That is like legit highway robbery. Then, getting into the stadium was a pain. There were such huge lines that my industrial engineer of a sister pointed out were horribly inefficient.

You would think that, with all this negativity I would be somewhat put out. But I couldn’t have been happier! Coldplay has been a long time inspiration for me. And sure, you may not like their music, and that’s ok. You’re still capable of understanding my experience has led me to pull a lot from them. So, when the lights finally went out and they started playing, I was understandably ecstatic. When they walked out, the wristband that somehow everyone except my family had gotten all lit up. Which means something like sixty thousand lights the size of your wrist were illuminated. It was a sea of red, then yellow, then blue, and so on. And it was moving, which was absolutely gorgeous. It was almost like seeing the a sky full of stars (see what I did there? No? Here).

Of course, Coldplay is about a lot more than simply lights and showmanship, The reality is that they are seasoned veterans of touring. Apparently in about a month with be the 20th anniversary of their group’s existence. What’s even more amazing to me though is that they aren’t just a band in it for the money. I mean, sure, it’s possible that they well surpassed the amount of money they could possibly spend in their lifetime many years ago, which could nullify my next statement, but I like to think it won’t. What’s great about Coldplay is that they are out for the betterment of humanity. Although their love songs are typically the most popular (Yellow, Fix You, A Sky Full of Stars, and so on), many of these have a tone of being more that just a love song. Take Yellow as an example. Certainly, the primary tone is to say “I love you so much that I’d write this song for you,” but what does that tone mean? Does it have to be a love song? No.

You see, Coldplay’s song’s have depth. They don’t have to be about simply romance. They can be about something more common than that—like a friend, or a family member. Which tells us a bit about how they as a group think. To attempt to decipher that, I would say that the group believes something along the lines of this: everyone suffers in life, some more than others. And in spite of this pain and suffering we must rise above. Rise above and make each other better people, together.

LOVE POEM #3 – EMBRACE

Do you ever wonder about me and you,

And all the different things that we do?

The old, the boring, and the new,

And every time we say adieu?

 
Do you ever wonder about what’s to be,

And all the things we cannot see?

The breaths and smiles; being free,

And something just for you and me?

 
Do you ever wonder why we’re here,

And all the people we hold dear?

The sense of love that’s always near,

And how it’s something we come to fear?

 
No, but I often wonder what is true,

And who in life will pull through.

The fact that good hearts are so few,

And yet I found my way to you.

TALKING ABOUT GOSSIP

Hello everyone,

 

We’re here, we’re beer…wait. Ok. No. Anyways, today I wanted to talk about conversations really quickly. Specifically, I wanted to talk about how people talk about others behind their back. Lets face it, everyone has done it at some point. Even if the intentions weren’t the same as what “behind their back” sounds like, it has still been done. It’s a part of human nature—we talk about each other, because, inherently, we talk about our experiences as social creatures.

That being said, anyone can take this too far. Talking about how one of my friends is pregnant behind her back isn’t that harmful. Saying something like, she’s slept with 15 different guys and doesn’t know who the father is, would be very hurtful. Especially since it’s false. Yesterday I experienced some of the worst smack talking like this from some coworkers at one of my jobs. Two people who I was driving with that I didn’t know personally but have interacted with over the last couple years were discussing the other members on staff. Now, while they made some fair points of when the staff was being unreasonable, they also made claims like “we are the only two people that do anything here” and “Mrs. X is awful at her job because she takes 6 weeks to sign anything.” Now, I’m a pretty low level employee, so in all honesty I don’t know all of the goings on, but, at the same time, I know that these claims are hyperbolic. In addition to that, to make these claims seems blatantly unprofessional. I mean seriously? What is this, high school? Can you not just nut up and tell this person that they need to do a better job signing things?

It may seem really obvious but this is not my first experience with immaturity at the office. At my other job, where I am a bit higher up on the totem poll, I get to see people who don’t do work and am constantly annoyed with them. At the same time, the owner of the store I work at will refer to people as “lazy” or “not hard working” instead of actually asking them to do a better job. Now, I’m not some high level employee, I can’t go around ordering other employees to do a better job. All I really can do is say something like “hey, you should get off your phone and get to sorting.” Which I do, though it’s their choice to ignore me or not, and the former of those happens quite often.

This immaturity is something a bit stressful for me, because the reality is that if there is a real issue, it should be brought up with management. And if that management is the issue, then it should be brought up with their superiors, or you should go directly to those people. If it isn’t important enough to bring up, then why is a person inclined to talk to their coworkers about it behind their backs? That’s just a divisive maneuver that lowers a team of work’s self esteem. What do you think? Is it ok to talk about people behind their back, even if it won’t get back to them? Let me know in the comments below!