What I Hate About Society

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I hate people. Sort of.  Not really. But sort of.  Also, I don’t hate all people, just people in general as a group.

  • Greetings (awkward)
  • Etiquette and manners (awkward)
  • Greed (I think the species is powered on it. Face it. We all are.)
  • Hypocrisy (not doing what they claim to believe in/contraindication)
  • Obsession with money clouding what’s important (oh well, it doesn’t matter if it destroys all that if it makes a lot of money…I mean we’re probably eventually wipe ourselves off the planet if we all keep doing that, but hey we made a lot of money!)
  • Lies (unless they are so ludicrous and blatant that they are hilarious)
  • Fake laughter and smiles (I can see you’re faking it. Stop it! It’s not “nice” either.)
  • Fixation on shallow things (reality shows, video games etc)
  • Obsessing on the current health “recommendation/warning” of the day (that is later proved false and probably had questionable validity to begin with or for sure we’ll be laughing our socks off in twenty years and future generations will be rolling around laughing  in a century from now…)
  • The assumption that humans are the greatest species to grace this universe. Ever. Seriously, the species superiority of humans is outstanding.  (Animals? We’re not animals, we’re people! As if people are some sort of category completely independent from all other living organisms.)
I also hate people. Such as these types:
  • People with no sense of humour
  • People with no sense of sarcasm
  • People with no sense of logical reason (unless again, it is so ludicrous that it is hilarious then I like it because it’s funny)
  • People who are obsessed with manners, greetings and other social norms
  • People who are obsessed with “cleanliness”  (like dirt…I mean really? Please.)
  • People who keep trying to greet me even though it’s clear that I’m having none of that
  • People who are overly strict
  • People who assume I’m a dictionary (or even a thesaurus sometimes!) because I’m an English major even though I somehow manage to suck at spelling
  • People who are evil. Duh.

Highlights: Everyone Fell Off!!

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Well, not everyone. Just most people, according to the highlights anyway. A little late, I know but I just didn’t publish this post on time!

The mainstream sports media amuses and annoys me for their coverage of equestrian events this Olympics (London 2012).

This is especially true with the cross country “highlights” on July 30 for eventing.  Their idea of “highlights” for that sport is basically “today on the cross-country course, everyone fell off.  Especially the Canadians.”

Seriously? “Everyone fell off” is your idea of  so-called “highlights? I thought highlights were called highlights for a reason! To you know, tell you how it’s going and who advanced – the high points of the day. But these eventing highlights were sort of  like having a figure-skating highlights full of people falling on their butt.  Maybe there are figure skating highlights almost solely consisting of skaters falling but I don’t think that is the norm…they normally mention who advanced at least.  This is all admittedly kind of funny in an odd/pathetic way.

But people (and/or horses) falling are not “highlights”! Unless these sports journalists are actually shocked that sometimes people fall off the horse…since apparently the rider just “sits there”, which is totally not true. Maybe it sounds weird but the rider has to do something too, besides stay on!

Also by the way, most riders did not fall off during the cross country course, it’s just the alleged highlights made it sound they did. True, most of the Canadians did get eliminated somehow but most people did complete the course. It’s funny how they barely mention those that made it through and decided to focus on people and horses falling instead. So it was more like “spectacular ways to get eliminated”. Not exactly the pinnacle of sport, you know? But the thing is that didn’t even happen to most riders! I guess the everyone who went clear was too boring so they went for the thrills and spills.

It also annoys me with some of the sports broadcasters refer to “equestrian” as one sport. It’s not. They are somewhat related but they are three different sports: dressage, show jumping and eventing (dressage, cross country, jumping).

I’m not an eventer (besides, I’m a big chicken and haven’t jumped for years) but I do ride recreationally.  Of course, I’ve fallen off many times and I can’t say it was an “highlight” necessarily…maybe the highlight of hilarity in hindsight and/or excitement and/or great stories but not exactly the “highlight” as a sport.

So everyone fell off.  Well, they didn’t but the highlights made it seem that way. Well, at least people can remark less on “the horse does all the work”. Also, I think anyone that says “the horse does all the work” should be made to do a English riding lesson (not a leisurely trail ride) at at least a trot and/or canter, on either a really lazy and/or really strong horse, possibly without stirrups (especially if the horse is bouncy) and then tell us that “the horse does all the work”.   And then tell us the same thing the following day. Hmmphh.

Ginger

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Originally written Fall 2009.  Edited 2012.  Based on the character of Ginger from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

In paradise, under
the apple trees at Birtwick
we would graze, prance and talk
Black Beauty, Merrylegs and I

Back when I was young and
ready to learn my job, the men
were all force, holding me down
forcing me to endure the
uncomfortable harnesses and painful bits
shoved into my mouth
but still I fought.

In London they drove
me with a checkrein
forcing to carry my head high,
uncomfortably high for endless hours.

I couldn’t stand it any more,
couldn’t take it any more
so I broke out of the harness and
soon found myself in a new home
under the apple trees.

I then met Black Beauty,
my noble carriage partner
who carried his own share
and was easy to get along with
becoming friends
in and out of harness.

The barn caught fire
the world cloaked in a haze of
smoke, heat and panic
I didn’t know what to do
but then from outside, I heard
Beauty’s familiar whinny
luring me out, beckoning me

But our lovely days together under
the apple trees came to an end
I went to various homes each one
getting progressively worse
each time my lameness came back.

At the end of the line, I ended up
in a horse and cab rental string and
lent out to a man, just wanting to get his
money’s worth.

He starved my body, my soul and
with the constant lashing of the whip,
kept me working, working, working
every single day.

All pain
I could barely stand,
could barely breathe,
no longer the fiery chestnut
I once was.

I saw Black Beauty again,
though he barely recognized me.
I told him what happened and then
admitted that  “I wish I was dead.
I have seen dead horses, and I am sure
they do not suffer pain”.

For a split second a bang echoed
into darkness.

All was silent,
painless
and all was paradise.

Finding Home

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I want to go home. I want to a place where I belong.  I’m tired of being stuck in a place where I don’t belong. I’m tired of pushing against the currents of normalcy. I’m tired of lagging behind in just about everything (or so it feels). I’m tired of not knowing…about anything.

But I am lost.  I turn around to face nothing but shadows and silence.  Except for breaths – my own breaths, the only indication that tells me that I’m still alive.  Well, or at least I think I am. I look around to find nothing.  Where is home?  What is home anyway?  Did it ever exist?  Did it once exist but slowly disappeared?

Logically, of course, I have a home (not that I’m remotely close to living on my own).  But can any safe, quiet place with a computer (and maybe a bed) be my home as long as its familiar? Do I even really have a home? A place where I feel like I belong? A place to settle, to be “the place” of what I am to be?

A Houyhnhnm for Sale

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I amuse myself in various ways. This is one of them. This is spoof horse sales ad for a Houyhnhnm (pronounced wín-im). For those without an Literary background, the Land of Houyhnhnm is the last land from Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift. There Gulliver finds houyhnhnms, which are a breed of super intelligent, rational horses with a society based only on reason. They are very peaceful and have no word for lying or falsehood. They regard humans as dumb “yahoos” and generally disregard them. However, houyhnhnms do not feel love or happiness or grief or anything really (very non-emotional) and are racist to the point of eugenics when breeding (they breed based on what’s best for their species, not on love). Yes, it’s a satire (this is from the same guy who wrote that we-shall-eat-poor-Irish-children essay “A Modest Proposal”).

Maybe I have values dissonance (and thus, sort of missing the point) but I don’t really feel that their “human” price of their obsession for reason is that bad as it makes sense to me and it is perfectly logical.  Okay, so maybe breeding not for love seems cold – but if most of your species agreed to it and it made your species stronger – what’s the problem? Love is irreverent if it never really existed in your species.  See, I think that is the problem with humans – we are completely unable to look beyond our own values as a species/society but that is another rant for another time.  But that is probably since I don’t have a lot of human/emotional connection at all and love is just abstraction to me…or maybe I’m a Houyhnhnm is disguise!  It would explain a lot of things, really…

Oh and 1726 is the publication year of Gulliver’s Travels I think…

Background Info

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houyhnhnm
Gulliver’s Travels Part IV: A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms- a Project Gutenberg ebook

Authentic Houyhnhnm

1726 16hh jet black Houyhnhnm stallion. Beautiful, sophisticated black Houyhnhnm imported from the Land of Houyhnhnms. Learns very fast and is extremely, extremely, extremely smart! Be the owner of one of the most intelligent equids…ever! Huge personality! Very honest. Never spooks, very rational. Very clean – will pick up after himself and even help clean the farm. Enjoys deep analytical, logical, philosophical discussions. Will be excellent for the disciplines of debating, logic competitions, championship chess and other logic-based strategic activities. Excellent for single philosophers, debaters, scientists, geniuses and self-proclaimed “geniuses” or anyone who enjoys intelligent engagement with a being in civil, rational ways. Fluent and literate in native language of Houyhnhnm, understands Yahoo Language (English variant) but generally does not care to speak it (though is able to). Prefers to communicate in Houyhnhnm.

Never gets attached to other herdmates. Never fights, is peaceful and nonviolent – believes everything can be solved with calm and logical thought. Is not easily distracted or moody. Detests displays of affection, finds it too primitive. Enjoys naturalistic art. For companion only – is 100% sound but constantly engages in deep logical argumentative discussions as a form of protest. For experienced people only as will get into a philosophical argument that rivals Plato every time something is asked of him. May not respect humans he does not know very well, assumes them as “yahoos”. Not to be stalled as he will scientifically and rationally figure out how to escape a barn and will be extremely cross. Not recommended for beginners, yahoos, bleeding hearts, emotional people or those who think or reason emotionally. Is ridable if one a Houyhnhnm whisperer (not to be confused with a horse whisperer) or has a IQ of 300 with exceptional arguing and logic skills who can convince him that it is perfectly logical and reasonable to have a yahoo on his back and physically exert himself. Can be gelded if you can convince him that it is a good idea – (he claims gelding is a profound inference with nature, especially for a fine genetic specimen such as himself). A great spouse replacement for an intelligent person who feels that his/her mate (or ex-mate) is irritatingly too emotional and also annoyingly not bright or logical enough.

For more information, contact Lemuel Gulliver or Johnathan Swift (by mail or in person – telegraphs, phones and the internet do not exist in their time bubble. They apologise for any inconvenience.)

Implosion

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The world is imploding
collapsing, falling on itself
the weight too heavy to bear

Fairness falls into greed
its spectre of wealth
all too alluring

Harmony tumbles into destruction
destroying the planet, societies
and ourselves

Love trips into hate
cupid arrows transform to gunshots –
missiles, bombs for reasons no one could remember

Understanding blurs into ignorance
from what other people have said
even though its only speculation

We dream of the stars, distinct galaxies
as if it could save the rainforests, oceans,
disappearing species all over the globe
as if it could stop the violence, greed
and corruption that stifles so many
as we desperately hope that
we can save ourselves from ourselves
before it’s too late

The world is imploding,
everything collapsing into itself
as we pretend that it’s not happening
try to believe that everything is alright
but it’s not.

My Pets, Fear and Pessimism

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Okay, I admit it.

Fear and Pessimism have long taken over my household of my brain. I let them romp around the place and fight over scraps of confidence while I go out and wander around in my daydreams. I know I shouldn’t do that  but these two beasts are difficult to tame and I just don’t want to deal with them.

Meanwhile, I wander underneath the trees, pondering my existence.

Could it be just a decade ago that I was twelve years old, the world was at my feet and everything seemed possible? I guess so, but that moment in time seems so long ago now.  Another decade has passed, now twenty-two and everything seems impossible.  Dreams, once so vibrant, once seemingly so achievable appear increasingly unattainable.  Burning passions I began back then, now fade as I realize how it failed to achieve anything I wanted — including a sense of achievement. Things that I knew, things that I thought I wanted are no longer as clear.  I don’t know what I really want and I don’t know how to get anywhere.

I’m grown up now and jaded from the world.  I’m tired of feeling inferior.  Tired of watching everyone one ahead while I walk slowly from behind. Tired of every day being like the previous. I’m tired of being stuck here, in a world that I don’t seem to belong in.

If I had a time machine would I want to travel back a decade? I’m not sure.  True, that I have grown increasingly jaded and pessimistic but I’ve learnt so much (good and bad). Ten years ago I was a child.  I’m no longer a child, as much as I wished I still was one or continue to live like one.  But I’m not sure what I am either.  “Student” has been a very good catch-all descriptive label without admitting the label of “adult” but I’m in my last year of university and I don’t know what I’ll do or what will happen.

The canyon between me and the world has only widened as I gotten older as my eyes dart fearfully towards its edge.  But I’m still desperately clinging into the cliffs of the known.

Fear and Pessimistic trot through my household, littering scraps of fur along the way. They come to me, looking bigger and bigger at every sight. I sigh and feed them, while I walk out the door to dream under the trees, again. Every day goes by and nothing changes, unable to go forward as I lean against my walls.

It’s as if I’m waiting for something yet waiting for nothing at the same time. I don’t know. Time slips away day after day and yet I stand here, clinging to a lump of rock, flying through the universe – and I do not seem to change or move.

What I Like About Writing

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I often prefer to write than speak.

Writing goes me a sort of eloquence, rhythm that never really quite makes it out of my mouth unmutilated.  I can also endlessly revise things until they are just the way I want.

I don’t think speaking is really my language.  It’s clumsy, there’s no backspace.  I’m not the greatest articular and I hate repeating myself. Complicated tales rarely make it out of my mouth in one piece.  For some reason I can never really quite tell what my audio levels are so I end up speaking too loudly or too softly even though it seems fine to me (I can hear fine, just not myself evidently).  I also hate greetings and other stuff like that.

But I don’t think writing is really is either.  So what it is it? It must be that monologue in my head! (Or the motion picture  in my head. Or both.) I like it sometimes. I really do. It’s so poetic.  So much more graceful and elegant than the other sloppy ways of communication. Writing is the closest to it though…except when I get writer’s block.  In that case, everything feels shoved through some sort of extruding shaper – like a play-doh machine or something along those lines.

But aside from that, writing does feel a lot clearer than spoken words.  It feels a lot more elegant than the spoken word for me, more natural.  But I don’t think in written words. I think both visually in moving images and audibly in words – but while the words are mine, they are spoken by my inner voice which is a lot more eloquently than my own!  But writing is a solitary activity.  Speaking isn’t.  I’m a solitary creatures, so writing wins.

Strangely, I’ve never really liked physically writing things – I’ve always preferred typing even though I’m not the greatest typist.  I vaguely remember loving essays because I got to type it out! I do know that I switched to typing almost all homework and assignments at around grade 10. I haven’t looked back since.  This is probably because 1) my writing is not the neatest and I often have trouble reading it and 2) I can’t spell very well.

I know, maybe you’re thinking that hey, you’re a writer – or at least an English major.  You must be good at spelling!  Well, um…no.  I’ve never quite figured out myself but I do know that I was very happy when I finished elementary school and never saw a multiplication or spelling test again! (It could be that I suck at straight memorization…hmm).  But now there’s spell check and it sometimes helps.  Admittedly, I sometimes use spellcheck as a word-completer when I’m really not sure what word I’m looking for but yet I sort of know the word. Being a inaccurate typist doesn’t really help too much with the spelling either…

So there, I’m an English major and a wannabe writer.  And I’m not so great at spelling (relatively) which is sort of odd, really.

But anyway, writing is one of my favourite ways of communication. It’s amazing how words can be so rhythmic, so powerful, so moving and so poetic when they are not coming out of my mouth.

Gone With the Wind*

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*because titles are much better as an allusion to a classic story that you have never actually read…or watched for that matter.

I know some people don’t like the wind. They complain how cold it is, how it makes a mess and how chilling it is again. Okay,  fine that makes sense, in the fall and winter. I’m not too fond of chilling winds either, the ones that walk through you as if they were winter ghosts.

But I love the wind that blows on a mild day.  I don’t know why people don’t like the wind in spring or summer but long for the sticky heat f0r some reason.  It baffles me.  But to each their own.

Still,  it’s the cold that makes me feel alive. The heat just makes me sticky. The wind rushes across my skin, chilling the surface and for that moment I know that I’m alive. That I’m in this world and the wind is with me.

But what I love most about the wind is the illusion of movement.

I’m tired of being stuck, of being chained to the ground. But when I face the wind, it’s as if I am moving without actually moving. I can feel the rush of air through my hair and on my skin. It’s as if I’m moving through the air, moving somewhere, going somewhere. But I’m not and the air is moving past me. But it’s the illusion of movement that I love –  that just for the moment I can forget all the chains, all the walls and all the fences and pretend that I am moving. Pretend that I’m actually moving forward.  That I am free.  I spread my arms as if I could catch the wind and fly.

I now know why birds have wings.  And so to the bats and the bees, the flies and some seeds of trees. Even the flying squirrel (okay I know it doesn’t really have actual things called wings per se but it’s still aerial right?).  They have wings so they can harness the wind and let it take them away. Take them to new places to find food, to make themselves a home, to explore.

But here I am again, still grounded – not quite able to achieve liftoff from my mundane life.  So I wait, eager for the next windy breeze in the sticky summer sun for the feeling of coolness, freshness and oh yes, freedom.

Typography, Typography

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I have played around with fonts a lot of this site. And I mean a lot. Then why did you settle on the unbelievably boring and over-used Georgia then? Well, it could be worse…I could of used Arial. Yes, Arial. I was seriously considering it. (I actually hate helvetica because of the way it renders, or fails to render smoothly on my Windows XP computer. Please convince me of its merits when it renders so choppily on some browsers. Especially Chrome of all browsers…but we’ll get more to that later.)

Anyway. Yes. Fonts, fonts, fonts.  Now that there is some choice in fonts at least.

Too bad they are sort of…not choices.  Why Google Chrome doesn’t play well with Google Web Fonts? I’m not sure. It’s sort of how Windows Explorer (the freaking file browser!) crashes windows sometimes.  Although I’m not sure if Safari has the same web font problem or not…both Chrome and Safari use the same rendering engine, Webkit.

I originally was going to use serif fonts for the text and headings.

So I experimented with a few Google Web Fonts and finally settled on a nice font called Amaranth (you can download it here) which just happened to be sans-serif. Aside from the letters not always aligning at the baseline, I quite like it. I eventually switched to @font-face (a newish way of embedding fonts. I used a kit from Font Squirrel in this case) when I got annoyed at the load time. There may still be a bit of a flash but it doesn’t seem to be as bad.

Well, I quite like Amaranth for headings. It looks terrible as body text or small text in general since beside the chrome issue, the regular is still quite bold.  But that’s fine for headings.

As for the body text – with the heading font in place,  I seemed to be going back and forth between serif and san-serif font families. I tried almost all serif websafe fonts with varying levels of success (Georgia, Palatino) and a few others. But I found they weren’t as clear as I wanted them to be. So I tried for sans-serif. I tried Tahoma (which was okay but meh) and  Trebuchet MS.  The Trebuchet seemed to not quite clash with the headings but looked oddly too similar to me as if it was some sort of “off version” of it so I changed it. Arial looked really clear though.

Then I tried a web font (for testing before I go embedded)  Surprisingly I discovered that Chrome (on Windows XP, on my sucky machine anyway)  really sucks at font rendering. Oh, I always sort of knew that it sort of sucked since it won’t render small cap HTML entities (though it does okay on my Windows 7 laptop). But this web font thing is not just slightly annoying – it’s so blurry and pixated that it’s hard to read. It also really sucks at rendering Google Web Fonts, ironically (yes, it’s ironic. I was so expecting Google Chrome to be great with Google Web Fonts. Apparently not.).  Equally surprisingly, Internet Explorer 7 renders the Google Web Font fine and much, much better then Chrome. Yes, the same browser that can’t even load my sidebar or my navigation bar or my footer properly can render the web font smoothly.  See Google Chrome, you should be ashamed of yourself!

I can’t ignore Chrome like I can with Internet Explorer. Well, I can I suppose. But I use Chrome and its fine for everything else but the font-rendering issue. So there goes that…and I’m not sure if Safari has a similar problem (on Mac or Windows) or not. Chrome isn’t going away in the near future. Safari isn’t going away in the new future. Internet Explorer 6/7/8 should go away one day…maybe (hopefully…it can’t even render the stupid sidebar!).

So much for that. I was going to use Alegreya – it’s nice serif font (unless you’re looking at it in Chrome on my computer evidently).  It even was originally designed for literature and long-form text which is just perfect for me…but it looks terrible on Chrome (on my computer anyway).

I know based on the font name,  it sort of looks like I choose my font based on the first thing I saw…and maybe I did. Ha!

So….

Dear Google Chrome,

Since you like auto-updating so much please fix your stupid excuse of font-rendering so I can use the font I want! Also, fix it so you don’t look like such an idiot unable to render your own freaking font library smoothly.

Sincerely,
An Annoyed Person (one of many I’m sure).

Yeah, that’s why I wound up using regular web safe fonts for the body text instead.

I played with a few serif fonts but eventually settled with Georgia since it seemed to be the most readable and clear.  Boring, but it gets the job done. “Boring but practical“, indeed.