Addictions

It’s been only a week, and I’ve already fallen off the wagon – no posts in the past week, coffee in the morning, and red meat.  Need to start thinking about maintaining these juggling balls, slowly changing lifestyle habits if only to prove to myself that I am not my impulses.  It’s not so much control as knowing that you can be good to yourself.

Oh but a warm cup of coffee feels so comforting in the morning.  And barbecued ribs, charred and juicy, goes so well with rice-wine chicken soup and rice.  And sometimes the idea of having to put another thought out into the digital ether doesn’t sound as appealing as watching the latest episode of 30 Rock.

Giving into the small impulses feels so GOOD.  It feels good partly because you know it’s bad too.  And for a millisecond that little 5-year old part of you smiles because she knows she got away with something, before the 30-year old part of you finds out and brings a big basket of guilt.

This is the dilemma that every New Year’s resolution eventually encounters, and every self-help diet book tries to cure — the hope that you can make yourself a better person by divesting, purifying desires and instilling discipline, through a self-imposed Lent.  Does it work?  Just have to get back on the wagon and see.

Eudaimonia

There is a tendency among us (those of us not clinically depressed anyway) to overestimate our ability to control what happens to us.  As long as I perform such and such actions in a particular way and in a particular order, I can determine the outcome precisely.  The almost universally desired outcome is ultimately happiness.  We’d all like to be happy, however we define that subjective and elusive experience.  I’ve been reading Stumbling On Happiness by psychologist Daniel Gilbert, who warns that what we believe will make us happy changes with time, and might not give us the satisfaction that we thought it would.  The grass always looks greener on the other side, so to speak, and even when we manage to get to “the other side”, there’s always another “other side” to look at and desire.

Where does this unreasonable optimism come from?  I’ve been thinking about this in the past couple of days as I read this book – the cycle of belief and control.  Some people believe to the core of their being that they can determine their future, act accordingly, and then get what they want.  At least that is the Steve Jobs/American dream.

American Dream.  Like happiness and love and democracy it’s been simultaneously maligned and celebrated.  In these desperate, hard times, it still means something, whether it’s bitter irony or a lofty hope.

So the title of this entry comes from Stumbling on Happiness, and it describes a state of well-being that combines a sense of control and effectiveness with a deep sense of satisfaction.  Human flourishing, and a life well-lived, a sustainable “happiness”.  Gilbert describes it in more detail in his TED talk.

Push push push

Writing and producing and creating when times are easy is, well, easy.  I want to strive and progress and keep reaching, stretching.  The difficult part is pushing through those moments when you’re out of breath, don’t want any more, won’t and just CAN’T do it and feel as if you’ve reached the limits of your capacity.  When it might feel as if you’re only going through the motions, even, and can’t see the immediate fruits of your labor.  Those moments too are full of teaching.  That too is a test.

Gaga

The woman could eat a chihuahua tomorrow and I wouldn’t be surprised.  I love her weirdness and total disregard for normalcy in her diva-life.  For someone who’s 24 (and younger than I am!) you have to give her credit for toeing the line between genders, between insanity and brilliance, and respecting her pop culture/music forebears while creating an image that is totally her own.

More power to you girl.  That’s what I think every time I see a woman walking down the street in a crazy outfit, strutting her stuff and looking good.  Nice.

What is it about aggressive female sexuality that is so fascinating?  Ever since seeing Sigourney Weaver kick alien butt with a flame-thrower in Aliens, I knew that’s what I wanted my superhero self to be.  We all have that little fantasy alter ego, like Batman, vampires, James Bond, GI Joe and all other pop culture tropes that persist through the decades.   The personas are so over the top that they become more like empty vessels for our own identities, a pre-made suit to try on once in a while, even if it’s just in our heads.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

Sigourney “Get away from her, you bitch!” Weaver.

Asian girls can do it too.  And by “it” I mean kill their boyfriends and get it on with each other. K-pop girl group gone bad: Brown Eyed Girls in “Abracadabra”

每天寫幾句

好久沒寫中文了。 我答應自己每天要寫幾句,終有一天會找到我未來的目標。再想一想,我認為自發地創造和思考也是一種自制力。能夠看青自己的才能和自己的弱點,這也是一種能力。

慢慢地打漢字,感決像剛從深度睡眠醒來的生物,要從新學語言。讓我想到這部影片:The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

努力地創造。為了紀念,為了發展。

Do you remember Sesame Street?

Remember all the animation shorts and stop-motion numbers lessons?  Remember Thomas the Tank Engine?  Compare this 2010 video of a day in New York City filmed using tilt-shift photography, with Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street circa 1985(?).

The Sandpit by Sam O’Hare

It’s a bit like comparing a Hiyao Miyazaki film with an episode of Peanuts, but there’s something about both that seems childlike, nostalgic, wonderful, and yet unsettling.  Uncannily real, yet dreamlike.  In stop-motion, time is literally hijacked.

Love-able

There’s so much white noise that it becomes an effort to focus.  Even silence becomes noise after a while, when I’m so used to being stimulated.

I’d like to find the time to think deeply and fully, but life has a mind of its own, and decides to either go into overdrive, or slows down to a snail’s pace.  I know what it’s like to hit that sweet spot between exhaustion and slow-motion.  It feels like flying.  Like you’re a well-tuned machine on a smooth road, racing yourself.

There’s still so much to do.  There will always be much to do, and to learn.  In our half-conscious demands to be constantly, passively entertained, we forget that it’s possible to do away with boredom as long as we can change the way we see the world.  The present moment is always full of possibility, subject to endless change if only we would allow ourselves to see it.

Time to step away from the screen.