Friday, February 21, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Faces: Delores

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Delores, Melrose Plantation, Louisiana, 1950. Photo by Carlotta Corpron


Source [We Had Faces Then]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review: Chronicles of the Host: Exile of Lucifer by D. Brian Shafer

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Chronicles of the Host: Exile of Lucifer by D. Brian Shafer
Rating: 3/5

If you are familiar with Christianity or Judaism you probably know the story of Lucifer/Satan/The Morning Star/The Anointed Cherub (or other names given to this biblical character), and the archangels Michael and Gabriel. Or perhaps you've seen various movies which talk about Satan in the biblical context like The Prophecy, The Ninth Gate or Dogma, etc.

I say all that to say, many are familiar with the basic story. Lucifer was a beloved angel living in Heaven with all the other angels until one day he got the idea that he wanted more power or to be as powerful as God. So he hatches a plan to gain control of Heaven, but surprise, surprise, the plan fails because, well, he was going up against God (remember he's all powerful and all knowing and all that). So he's kicked out of Heaven with his cohorts to reign terror and strife on earth. The end.

But this novel, tells the story from the viewpoint of the Angels. It gives us details about life in Heaven and what "really" went down with Lucifer being kicked out of heaven.

I found this novel rather intriguing (even though the writing at times is a bit flat and many one dimensional characters) because it's like reading a story you generally know, but with extra details, so it makes it a quick read and you're interested in how this author will spin things. I also liked that this novel wasn't all "preachy" about right and wrong and all that religion stuff (not that there's anything wrong with that, but just not my cup of tea).

So if you're a fan of angels, and want the back-story of what went down in Heaven, give it a go.

Oh yeah, do I even have to mention, this is fiction (for some reason I feel like I have too).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review: Boogeymen (Star Trek: The Next Generation #17)

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Boogeymen (Star Trek: The Next Generation #17) by Mel Gilden
Rating: 3/5

Oh Wesley Crusher, your anxiety, curiosity and intelligence will destroy The Enterprise one day, I swear!

The crew is faced with the two separate dilemmas which suddenly become mixed together. Will they survive? Will the Enterprise be destroyed? Did Troi really come up with the solution? Is Beverly going to hook up with the Captain towards the end? My friends, you will all find out if you read it...

Ok, ok, this is NOT the greatest TNG novel, nor is it the worst. It's pretty average on the cusps of being slightly bad. It starts pretty well, but towards the end of the novel the events get more and more ridiculous. I already mentally giggled every time Captain Picard said the word "boogeymen."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

these are the facts...

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these are the facts:
cigarettes will kill you
yes does not always mean yes
how kind you are to people
sometimes does not matter
coffee is bad for you
8 hours of sleep should not be a goal
it should always be a reality
green vegetables will keep you
young for as long as you eat them
nothing will ever be as beautiful
as your solitude
breathing deeply can calm you down
in any situation
mediation will center you
but only for a short time
love will hold you together
when you are falling apart

- Esperanza Friel, The Truth


Source [an open window]

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Review: Decadent Dreams by Ty Langston

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Decadent Dreams by Ty Langston
Rating: 2/5

A really simple and short story. A girl meets a Russian guy on a dating website called "A Foreign Affair". They chat for over 6 months until she decided she wants to meet him in person. He travels to New York City and that's when the erotica comes in... I have to say, on the erotica scale, this was pretty tame. FYI - As of writing this review, the ebook is free on amazon if you have a prime account.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A horse in the rain...

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Image Source [KLAXON HOWL]

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Review: How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

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How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

Rating: 4/5

Spinster, Tessa is a matchmaker for wallflowers, that is, until she meets Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne who requests her services to find him a bride. Tessa comes up with the novel idea (today it's a reality TV show called The Bachelor) of gathering 24 girls from whom Tristan can select. But! While Tristan is trying to fulfill his legacy by getting an heir he finds himself attracted to his matchmaker - oh, what the scandal!

Meanwhile, we learn more about Tessa and find out she has a secret in her past...

At times (about half-way in) I found it difficult to put the book down, I just really wanted to know how this was going to turn out and what secret Tessa was harboring. The author did a good job telling a good story.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Miles Davis' Hand

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Image Source [The Educated Field Negro]

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The people you love...

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"The people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive"

i get this.

Source [invincible]

Friday, January 31, 2014

Double loneliness

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"We each had a loneliness. I thought they would cancel each other out. Nope. Double loneliness."


image source: personal message

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hello darlings...

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Pauline in a Yellow Dress, 1944 by Herbert James Gunn

I love this painting. The yellow dress, the pose, her expression. Perfect!

Source [Suicide Blonde]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

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Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
Rating: 4/5

While reading this novel, I often thought about what I learned about slavery in school and the many films I've seen on the subject, most notably, the television series Roots , which is probably most of our first visual representation of a slaves' life – but I thought, "Noooo, they got it wrong! Slavery was 50 times worst than any representation I've ever seen on a film."

Solomon Northup, was a free born, African America man living in New York state in the early 1800s. He had a wife, three children, and was able to provide for his family working various jobs, depending on the season. Solomon is kidnapped and forced into slavery for 12 years, in the deep south.

What makes this novel so compelling is his story telling. He goes into great detail explaining what is feels like to be a slave; the constant state of fear (scared of waking up late, scared of not working fast enough, scared of being in the wrong place at the wrong time if your master is in an angry mood), the whippings (which happened more often than I originally thought), the brutal labor, the little food (yet being forced to work at 100% at all times with little nourishment), and the depressing feeling of being separated from your family (being sold to another master was the worst nightmare of most slaves, more fearful than the whip). His prose paints a clear picture of what it feels like to be a slave.

I highly recommend this non-fiction novel (did I mention, this is a TRUE story) to any and everyone interested in American or African American history.

This novel is currently being made into a film by director Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender. I have to admit, I am very eager to see this film (it's slated for release Sept. 6, 2013) because I'm curious to see if they will be true to the original work, and go hard and showcase slavery in its most brutal form, even if it will make audiences uncomfortable, because as time goes on, I think we forget how truly horrible an institution slavery was.

NOTE: I wrote this review before the movie was released. The film was excellent!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Can you spot the devil?

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One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes: The Howling Man.

Monday, December 23, 2013

melancholy

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Beatrice Tetley, psychiatric patient at Wakefield Hospital for melancholy, 1897

This photo is just... 
Source [FYeah Victorians]

Thursday, December 12, 2013

8 Qualities Exhibited by Civilized People

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A young Anton Chekhov (left) with brother Nikolai in 1882

Russian author Anton Chekhov wrote the following letter to his brother Nikolai who was troubled with alcoholism, who " despite being just 28, had for many years been plagued by alcoholism to the point where he often slept on the streets, his days a blur."

In this wonderfully written letter, Anton drops some serious tough love to his brother. It's good. Seriously, read it. I place the bits I loved in bold and pay attention to the 8 qualities he explains should be exhibited by "civilized" people.



Moscow, March, 1886

My little Zabelin,

I've been told that you have taken offense at gibes Schechtel and I have been making. The faculty of taking offense is the property of noble souls alone, but even so, if it is all right to laugh at Ivanenko, me, Mishka and Nelly, then why is it wrong to laugh at you? It's unfair. However, if you're not joking and really do feel you've been offended, I hasten to apologize.

People only laugh at what's funny or what they don't understand. Take your choice.

The latter of course is more flattering, but—alas!—to me, for one, you're no riddle. It's not hard to understand someone with whom you've shared the delights of Tatar caps, Voutsina, Latin and, finally, life in Moscow. And besides, your life is psychologically so uncomplicated that even a nonseminarian could understand it. Out of respect for you let me be frank. You're angry, offended...but it's not because of my gibes or of that good-natured chatterbox Dolgov. The fact of the matter is that you're a decent person and you realize that you're living a lie. And, whenever a person feels guilty, he always looks outside himself for vindication: the drunk blames his troubles, Putyata blames the censors, the man who bolts from Yakimanka Street with lecherous intent blames the cold in the living room or gibes, and so on. If I were to abandon the family to the whims of fate, I would try to find myself an excuse in Mother's character or my blood spitting or the like. It's only natural and pardonable. It's human nature, after all. And you're quite right to feel you're living a lie. If you didn't feel that way, I wouldn't have called you a decent person. When decency goes, well, that's another story. You become reconciled to the lie and stop feeling it.

You're no riddle to me, and it is also true that you can be wildly ridiculous. You're nothing but an ordinary mortal, and we mortals are enigmatic only when we're stupid, and we're ridiculous forty-eight weeks of the year. Isn't that so?

You often complain to me that people "don't understand" you. But even Goethe and Newton made no such complaints. Christ did, true, but he was talking about his doctrine, not his ego. People understand you all too well. If you don't understand yourself, then it's nobody else's fault.

As your brother and intimate, I assure you that I understand you and sympathize with you from the bottom of my heart. I know all your good qualities like the back of my hand. I value them highly and have only the greatest respect for them. If you like, I can even prove how I understand you by enumerating them. In my opinion you are kind to the point of fault, magnanimous, unselfish, you'd share your last penny, and you're sincere. Hate and envy are foreign to you, you are open-hearted, you are compassionate with man and beast, you are not greedy, you do not bear grudges, and you are trusting. You are gifted from above with something others lack: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of people, for there is only one artist for every two million people on earth. It places you in a very special position: you could be a toad or a tarantula and you would still be respected, because talent is its own excuse.

You have only one failing, the cause of the lie you've been living, your troubles, and your intestinal catarrh. It's your extreme lack of culture. Please forgive me, but veritas magis amicitiae. The thing is, life lays down certain conditions. If you want to feel at home among intellectuals, to fit in and not find their presence burdensome, you have to have a certain amount of breeding. Your talent has brought you into their midst. You belong there, but...you seem to yearn escape and feel compelled to waver between the cultured set and your next-door neighbors. It's the bourgeois side of you coming out, the side raised on birch thrashings beside the wine cellar and handouts, and it's hard to overcome, terribly hard.

To my mind, civilized people ought to satisfy the following conditions:

1. They respect the individual and are therefore always indulgent, gentle, polite and compliant. They do not throw a tantrum over a hammer or a lost eraser. When they move in with somebody, they do not act as if they were doing him a favor, and when they move out, they do not say, "How can anyone live with you!" They excuse noise and cold and overdone meat and witticisms and the presence of others in their homes.

2. Their compassion extends beyond beggars and cats. They are hurt even by things the naked eye can't see. If for instance, Pyotr knows that his father and mother are turning gray and losing sleep over seeing their Pyotr so rarely (and seeing him drunk when he does turn up), then he rushes home to them and sends his vodka to the devil. They do not sleep nights the better to help the Polevayevs, help pay their brothers' tuition, and keep their mother decently dressed.

3. They respect the property of others and therefore pay their debts.

4. They are candid and fear lies like the plague. They do not lie even about the most trivial matters. A lie insults the listener and debases him in the liar's eyes. They don't put on airs, they behave in the street as they do at home, and they do not try to dazzle their inferiors. They know how to keep their mouths shut and they do not force uninvited confidences on people. Out of respect for the ears of others they are more often silent than not.

5. They do not belittle themselves merely to arouse sympathy. They do not play on people's heartstrings to get them to sigh and fuss over them. They do not say, "No one understands me!" or "I've squandered my talent on trifles!" because this smacks of a cheap effect and is vulgar, false and out-of-date.

6. They are not preoccupied with vain things. They are not taken in by such false jewels as friendships with celebrities, handshakes with drunken Plevako, ecstasy over the first person they happen to meet at the Salon de Varietes, popularity among the tavern crowd. They laugh when they hear, "I represent the press," a phrase befitting only Rodzeviches and Levenbergs. When they have done a penny's worth of work, they don't try to make a hundred rubles out of it, and they don't boast over being admitted to places closed to others. True talents always seek obscurity. They try to merge with the crowd and shun all ostentation. Krylov himself said that an empty barrel has more chance of being heard than a full one.

7. If they have talent, they respect it. They sacrifice comfort, women, wine and vanity to it. They are proud of their talent, and so they do not go out carousing with trade-school employees or Skvortsov's guests, realizing that their calling lies in exerting an uplifting influence on them, not in living with them. What is more, they are fastidious.

8. They cultivate their aesthetic sensibilities. They cannot stand to fall asleep fully dressed, see a slit in the wall teeming with bedbugs, breathe rotten air, walk on a spittle-laden floor or eat off a kerosene stove. They try their best to tame and ennoble their sexual instinct... What they look for in a woman is not a bed partner or horse sweat, [...] not the kind of intelligence that expresses itself in the ability to stage a fake pregnancy and tirelessly reel off lies. They—and especially the artists among them—require spontaneity, elegance, compassion, a woman who will be a mother... They don't guzzle vodka on any old occasion, nor do they go around sniffing cupboards, for they know they are not swine. They drink only when they are free, if the opportunity happens to present itself. For they require a mens sana in corpore sano.

And so on. That's how civilized people act. If you want to be civilized and not fall below the level of the milieu you belong to, it is not enough to read The Pickwick Papers and memorize a soliloquy from Faust. It is not enough to hail a cab and drive off to Yakimanka Street if all you're going to do is bolt out again a week later.

You must work at it constantly, day and night. You must never stop reading, studying in depth, exercising your will. Every hour is precious.

Trips back and forth to Yakimanka Street won't help. You've got to drop your old way of life and make a clean break. Come home. Smash your vodka bottle, lie down on the couch and pick up a book. You might even give Turgenev a try. You've never read him.

You must swallow your pride. You're no longer a child. You'll be thirty soon. It's high time!

I'm waiting...We're all waiting...

Yours,
A. Chekhov



Source [Letters of Note]

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tokyo - Akihabara

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Akihabara (秋葉原) is the big electronics district in Tokyo. It's the center of Japan's otaku culture, and many places are devoted to anime and manga. I have to admit I found it kind of hard to traverse and get my bearings. Or rather, I think I should have spent more time there walking in and out of various stores. I had a plan to visit a few of the bigger stores, but when I go again, I will plan to spend all day there walking inside more stores.

Also, I went to Japan with the idea I could buy cheaper electronics, but sadly, I found most of the prices on par with the US and at times more expensive! That was kind of disappointing, but I realized I didn't really need to buy any electronics anyway. How would I get a 60 inch TV on the plane back?

My Vine inside one of the toy stores:



Here are a few shots from the area:

Super Mario Bros!

I did go to one of the Maid Cafes and found the experience really strange and I was awkward and uncomfortable. I doubt I would ever visit one again, but I suggest everyone do it at least once.

Remember SEGA? Here's one of the arcade game shops.

The stairs inside this cool video game store (I forget the name).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

don't you dare...

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I miss you
But you don't seem to care

So
Don't you dare start missing me
When I'm done missing you
- t.t.


Yes, this! Selfish manipulative jerks. You know who you are.

Source [hiiiya]

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When actors play real people...

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Daniel Day Lewis (Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln)

Ashton Kutcher (Steve Jobs, Jobs)

Lindsay Lohan (Elizabeth Taylor, Liz and Dick)

Helen Mirren (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen)

Kristen Stewart (Joan Jett, The Runaways)

Salma Hayek (Frida Kahlo, Frida)

Denzel Washington (Malcom X, Malcolm X)

Meryl Streep (Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady)

Ben Kingsley (Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi)
Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn)

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network)

Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel)

Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman, Sid and Nancy)

Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx, Ray)

Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr., Chaplin)

Image Source [My Modern Met]

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No, I'm not...

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Source [invincible]

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tokyo - Subway

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My Vine of Tokyo subway:



Some footage walking around the subway during rush hour in Tokyo. It was interesting how most people seem to wear the same thing to work (dark suit), but then again, I guess everyone looks the same walking around Wall Street (NYC) at rush hour too (sorry for the crap video):



Sunday, December 1, 2013

this.

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"Realize you can be happy this moment for no reason. Otherwise, you eternally depend on conditions for happiness. Unconscious of this moment, you remain a victim of circumstances."

— Arthur D. Saftlass

If only I actually did this on a consistent basis... I can often make myself happy with simply my thoughts, fantasies, day dreaming, but they don't always last. But if I truly did this, it would be a game changer. I love this quote because it's the truth. I don't want conditional and stimulant happiness.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

cool tattoo

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Source [ballad of a comeback kid]

Friday, November 29, 2013

School of American Ballet

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school of american ballet new york, 1936, eisenstadt
School of American Ballet, New York, 1936, photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Source [flickr]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tokyo - Shibuya Crossing

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The famous all points crossing in Shibuya.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Trying to be Rocky...

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Just hanging out in Philly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

so true...

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yup.

Source [oh. your. god.]
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