Thursday, April 4, 2019

Of Men and Women and Semantics in Between


A Woman is much more than what seems to the eye

I have a lot of single friends or more accurately friends and close acquaintances who are still single. And, I have learned much from them, especially over these last few years. While most of them are considerably younger than I am, I find myself incredibly drawn to them, to their wit, to their charisma, to their charm, to their take life by the balls attitude, to their wanting to harness fun at any cost and "take it for a ride" attitude.

Maybe it's just their ebullient "youth" that I am drawn to, maybe it's that feeling we sometimes get as we approach yet another birthday - that somehow "when we were their age" - we didn't have half as much fun, or that we somehow missed something, just saying? 

Regardless, even though I love my friends and while I have lived and loved and learned from and with them, I also believe that there are moments when I have been able to impart some small measure of - dare I say "wisdom" upon them... Case in point is what they think of woman and sex especially. 

Let’s admit it. Everyone likes sex. Some of my youthful male friends’ label women who want sex or have sex frequently as "freaks" or “nymphs”. And they, good-naturedly of course, also kid some of our common female friends as being exactly that. And more alarmingly they think it's okay to say such things.

The lingo and semantics of today's "younger" generation have, of course, changed dramatically over time but alas, much of the meaning behind their innovative verbal expressions has not. Take, for instance, terms like "slut" or "ho", these are words, which interestingly enough haven't' changed much in the past 50 years. A woman who sleeps around, who enjoys sex - is today- again - exactly that. And, just as in the past, the use of the word still has a strong immoral and derogatory connotation attached to it. A pity - especially in this day of feminism and an internet age where expressing one's sexuality is such an "in" thing to do. There are some things as women it would seem that are destined never to escape. 

I have, nonetheless, as of late, been pleased to hear a new variation on this particular vernacular - "male slut" - seems to be as apropos as its feminine derivative. There is some small measure of satisfaction in that as even in this day and age, all too often, the man who sleeps around is still apt to garner kudos as a "Stud", a "Player", a "Romeo" or a "Casanova," or simply as "The Man" - while the woman of similar appetite will probably only get a bad "reputation." Yeah, it reeks of the old double standard, patriarchy and gender bias to be sure. 

Sometimes I wonder if we will ever truly out run our own stereotypical and generationally engrained propensities. And so as I meander along it would seem I have garnered a re-education, an enlightenment of sorts, from my youthful friends on the evolution of semantics, but what is it exactly they have gotten from me? 

I would like to think that over the last couple of years I have managed to show (some of them) that a woman is more than the sum of her parts - that she is much more than legs and breasts, much more than full lips and willing hips... That just because two people might throw caution to the wind and act upon their sexual impulses - that they might "hook-up" - decency and courtesy, and good old-fashioned politeness should still be part of the bargain. 

That women aren't always the ones who get taken advantage of - that a woman is just as likely to chew up, spit out and take everything a man has to offer, before throwing it all away without even batting an eye. That people get hurt, and in the end what really matters is how your heart feels, and how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror.

Certainly, times have changed, and yet they have also stayed pretty much the same. Nowadays we are just more apt to express how we feel openly (and sometimes publicly) than keep it all under wraps. And so, yes, such nuggets as these I try to impart to my ignorant friends when the timing seems right and perhaps somewhere, somehow, down the road, between my generation and theirs, there will be a correct evolution of these derogatory terms and gender specification will cease to be part of the equation.

Somehow, I doubt if I'll live to see that parlance of the human race but I can always dream about what it might be like and in the meantime, I'll keep passing along my random bits of yoda wisdom and publishing here in this little blog.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Romance for Dummies


There is no love, when there is no romance

I often get asked why I write about love and romance. Does it not scare me? Or am I really so desperate to be loved? The words love and romance scares many people. It’s true, and matter of fact sometimes scares me too. Often, it conjures up thoughts of having to dramatically change yourself into someone else, to metamorphose into a new being and most of all, to feel appreciated and accepted.

In reality, romance and love are merely a life enhancement, not a real change. You can love someone without romance but without romance, the love fades away. It is the art of awareness and an awakening of the importance in your life of those you love. It is a reflection of the heart, and of the mind, a way to find something meaningful through shared experiences with someone else. 

Romance is also truly the way to a person’s heart and beyond. We all want and need to feel loved. It is the core of our existence to feel that we are important to someone, that we matter. Romance is not a college course, as it requires no degree. It quite simply entails getting in touch with your own heart then touching another's. 

It has been said that if you follow your heart, you will never go wrong, but how many of us actually open that part of ourselves that is the heart? We think we do. We tell ourselves we do. But do we really? We pretend at best, bad actors doing bad acting or feel intimidated. More often, we block than open up, confuse than confide, doubt than trust and to make it worse, we fight, we battle, we go to war. 

To make romance and not war is the challenge. It’s not really a difficult path really. We can enrich the relationships we are currently in, or those of the future, by bringing into our relationships a greater awareness of what is really important, communicating with clarity and adding a little imagination in our love. Take, for instance, the word ‘romantic interlude’. It sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? The mind immediately conjures up all sorts of settings from tropical islands to medieval castles. Everything from mellow moonlit nights and sensual candlelight dinners to clandestine makeouts in the car parking. So, in essence, romance is all in the mind, and the only way to get to it is by unlocking the imagination, by opening the heart, and expressing what is inside. 

Whether you are single, engaged, in a relationship, married a short time, or a long time, romance is important to maintaining strong love and lasting robust relationship. It’s the glue that connects. The possibilities of love are endless, limited only by that willingness to follow the heart as far as it will take you. 

If today was to be your last day of life, what would you have at the top of your list of things you would miss the most? Gone would be the money and material goals, for they, like life, are short-lived. What would you want to be remembered for? The possessions you attained? The success you were in your career? Personally, I would much rather be remembered that I truly loved and was loved. This is not to say we must sacrifice one for the other. It is merely a position of the importance of the things in our lives. 

In these sad times of short-lived marriages and even shorter relationships, there is always a great deal of fear, suspicion, mistrust, and insecurities. So we must aspire a return to romance in our lives and open ourselves to romantic notions, even if we are already in love. This will help restore the value of giving that little extra to our love lives that enriches and touches deeper into our hearts and melds into our minds.

Not only will you improve the life of the one you love, but you'll also improve your own as well. By giving someone the key that opens the treasure chest of who we are and what we feel, we can create a map to that treasure, follow it, or follow your heart, for romance is merely a way of expressing love, and that is the greatest treasure of all. 

If nothing else, you’ll realize life is a wonderful journey that can be enriched through romance, love and a little imagination. So, take that moment, that chance, and explore some wonderful ways to enrich your life, and your relationship. And I hope you find a smile, an opportunity, or just a deep sigh that signals the beginning of something more. Good luck! Happy romancing! 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Jackie Brown and the Blaxploitation Revival


Remembering Pam Grier, again! 

Pam Grier, this legendary name brings an image to mind instantly. Jive-talkin' dope pushers, cat-fighting go-go dancers and, of course, a kickass afro woman who can hide anything from razor blades to a small handgun. And she's been thrust back (periodically) into the mainstream with a vengeance. Her last big comeback vehicle was the 1997 blaxploitation themed crime thriller - Jackie Brown where she plays a struggling midddle-aged flight attendant caught up in a dirty money crime tangle. Jackie Brown incidentally was the third full-length feature film from Quentin Tarantino, Hollywood's favorite former video store clerk. 

Amidst a growing anti-Tarantino backlash, the director hoped to quiet critics with Jackie Brown, his adaptation of Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel, Rum Punch. The unlikely star of Jackie Brown was the then-48-year-old Grier, best known for Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974), Sheba, Baby (1975) and a host of other AIP classics. The question was whether Tarantino's latest disco-era muse will be able to capitalize on the same magic touch that introduced Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, 1992) to a new generation of film buffs and made John Travolta  (Pulp Fiction, 1994) filmdom's $20 million man. Fortunately, Jackie Brown lived up to the expectations grossing $74.7 million, against a budget of $12 million and earning Pam Grier several awards and nominations including a Best Actress at the Golden Globe. Her co-stars Robert Forster and Samuel L Jackson also benefited with Forster getting an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Jackson winning a Silver Bear Best Actor award at the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival where the movie was also nominated for the Best Film Golden Bear.

Not every '70s comeback case is as lucky. Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan saw his US career finally take off with Rumble in the Bronx (1995), but subsequent films, merely re-releases of older Hong Kong films, didn't catch fire at the box office. It was only when he started making US features, like the 1998 action comedy Rush Hour with Chris Tucker, that he was able to maintain his buzz in this country. 

The difference between them may be this. The genre of film that Grier is best known for is (still) undergoing something of a revival. From the resurrected career of Rudy Ray "Dolomite" Moore to the remake of Shaft (1971), Blaxploitation icons are everywhere. Why have these films, and the people behind them, become such critical darlings? 

What many in the mainstream press are finally picking up on has been known to film scholars and students for at least the last decade. These films are among the most important and best documented examples of ethnographic filmmaking available. They were, for the most part, produced by black filmmakers, with black casts and crews, for a black audience, much like early "race" films of the teens and twenties that have become required viewing in film history classes. 

As such, they present a view of 1970s America from a black, urban perspective, something missing from even the best intentioned, Norman Jewison directed mystery drama  In the Heat of the Night (1967) or Stanley Kramer's comedy drama Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - both starring Sidney Poitier or other racially tinged, socially conscious films of the previous decade. 

It was almost a comically distorted view to be sure, a world of pimps in velvet suits and kung-fu fighting call girls, but it addressed issues like social and economic injustice from both within and without the community. "The Man," specifically the crooked white cop or politician, was the least of the problems facing those inhabiting the world of Blaxploitation features. More often than not, much as it might hurt some egos, "whitey" was only a passing presence in the hood, a cop on the take or a mafia figure out for a cut of the action, not a central part of urban inner-city life. 

Ironically, most of the major blaxploitation films people remember today were second generation films with a Hollywood pedigree. Films like Shaft and even Pam Grier's biggest hits were signaling the death of the independent black cinema of the '70s through assimilation. With Jackie Brown, and later, the new Shaft (2000), or Robert Downey Jr's risky role in Tropic Thunder (2008), filmmakers have been hopping on the same bandwagon, some would say honoring, others would say harvesting, the morally ambiguous feel and flavor of this genre. The most notable examples have been Pootie Tang (2001), the very funny Undercover Brother (2002) starring Eddie Griffin and Black Dynamite (2009) starring Michael Jai White besides the more recent Taraji P Henson and Danny Glover starrer Proud Mary (2018) and Superfly (2018)

With a big budget and even bigger stars, it may be, as fellow pop culture connoisseur (and, some would say, washed-up hack) Bono would say, "even better than the real thing". Long live the Blaxploitation revival! 

P.S. Remember to checkout Brown Sugar, a reliable Netflix-style VOD streaming service that claims to offer the “biggest collection of the baddest movies” in the Blaxploitation genre on the internet. Pam Grier, now 69 is coincidentally the Ambassador of the Brown Sugar Network! 


This post originally appeared in the Axiom magazine. It's been updated and revised to make it more relevant to current audiences.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hunting Treasures on the Internet Highway


Finding love in the cyber universe and other little things 

Last night, I watched the 1998 hit “You’ve Got Mail” starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks on the telly. Directed by Nora Ephron, it’s a bittersweet romantic comedy about two harried souls, who aren't aware of the fact that they already know each other on the earthly plane of the real world, but find each other in an online chat room under anonymous screen names and slowly develop a robust relationship. 

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I won’t spoil it any more of what happens next. It’s ironic though that this sugary story of computer love that transcends into real life still resonates with relevance, even in 2019. After all, all they do is predominantly chat throughout the movie. And despite being bitter enemies in the physical world, they proceed to virtually fall in love. You might think, how? With what and with whom are they falling in love? Thoughts? Passions? Humor? Fantasies? Hope? Or the person itself? 

Like old-fashioned love letters, you’ll have to admit; an incredible thing happens when two people simply correspond in writing. The brain feels liberated, unhindered by the bodies automatic social responses that occur when people communicate face to face. There’s nothing to worry about - how you look, how your voice sounds, whether you are black or white, what gods you follow; there are no judgments and if all goes well, no inhibitions later. There is just the mind working to be understood in a pure realm of trust and communication and opening up to a receptive soul. And soon it becomes much more than just an anonymous chat. 

In the real world, when we meet someone very attractive, we are pulled to them instantly. When the physical attraction is strong, it simply overpowers and takes priority over everything else. Then, it soon fades into oblivion. Lust over reason so to speak, confused for love rather than listening, understanding and accepting. But in the virtual space, you may not fully understand the other person chatting with you but you do have to listen. And vice versa. And by actually listening, you open up to a lot of understanding and that is the wonderful beauty of this exercise.

Of course, in these days of online perverts, sly scammers and dangerous stalkers, you’ll have to be very careful who you are interacting with. And many would tell you that people lie in the online worlds. I have had to endure the concerns of those who believe I'm out of my mind or simply that they are more cautious than me. "They could be lying about who they are!" I've been told. As if to say people you meet in person never lie about who they are? Oh, here's another one, "Anyone who has to put a personal profile on the Internet must be a real loser" or “simply wants to just get laid tonight”

Would you call someone who can type at least 100 words a minute, has the intelligence and literal eloquence to communicate his or her innermost thoughts and feelings, and has the self-confidence, focus, and motivation to actually do it - a loser? And why go through this elaborate ritual for sex when sex is now so readily available, free and cheap. 

Well, meeting someone in the flesh can be far more deceptive and dangerous these days than getting to know someone from afar. We humans are slaves to our senses first and to our hearts second. Remove all of the armour and the sensual desires and we are left with consciousness and communication in their purest forms. 

Thus, I highly recommend the Internet for your next romantic interlude. Of course it helps to know what you are looking for ahead of time. The most important thing when looking for your soul mate is to know exactly who you are. If possible, I suggest you sit down and make a list of everything you know to be true about yourself - down to the last detail, positive and negative and everything in between. Be completely honest. Then write down every detail about the person of your dreams, but that doesn’t mean you ponder up the Dead Pool or the Wonder Woman. 

There have been periods in my life where I have thought hard about the perfect woman I wanted in my life - if at all that was possible. I had a mental image of her down to the last detail - her face, her work, her body, her personality - everything. Obviously, the conventional methods of meeting a woman held no water with me. Did I really believe that the woman of my dreams could be living in the same city I was in or somewhere far off, 1000s of miles away? 

And my online profile too had to stand out. I want the woman to think that here is a man astute enough to know that his profile is just casual enough to make him not appear needy, and just alluring enough to attract a smart woman who knows the difference, or that he is just being honest. Either way I couldn't lose, could I? I’ll be truthful, all completely legitimate notions there trying to attract the best mate possible. 

If you cross this stage, understand that the person of your dreams may still not be ready for you in your present state, especially if you have plenty of emotional baggage. So you have to be insightful and objective enough to realize that you’ll have to shed the excess kilos, be willing to wait and also find someone who is willing to take their chances with you patiently. Patience is scarce you see. 

Typically, we choose only the people we are ready to be with. Every person in our life that we chose before finding the final “Chosen One” - was there because of either unavoidable circumstances or life wanted to teach you a particular lesson at that time. Our needs and wants change. Sometimes, we want to be drowned in affection so we would choose a needy, insecure soul who would smother us with affection. Then, we may want to go to the opposite extreme, pretending we could be with someone who loved you but let you be like a free bird. 

At any given time, we all have an image in our mind of the features that we consider attractive or desirable in the person we seek. As we grow older and possibly wiser, these requirements turn to virtues and traits we pursue and it goes much more than just looks. It’s as if, we have found a new realization dawning on us. 

On the Internet, deception is possible but unnecessary and obsolete because only we know who we are and what we need. Don't be a crafty jerk. Unlike the anonymity of the "You've Got Mail" era, we now have authentic power, the power to search the cyber cosmos incognito to find what we seek so what’s the point in faking an artificial persona? After all, we are looking for love and companionship, so why fake it. 

In the end, finding someone who loves and appreciates you is no easy task on the internet but remember, you’ll be astounded at how the cyberverse can sometimes throw an irresistible surprise at you, who would blow you off your feet and turn your life upside down. And what can happen next could be an incredible exchange of deep thoughts and crazy ideas; of all your hopes and dismal fears; of incisive messages and risqué gifs; of long emails and anticipated notifications, and of course, of carnal lusts and bodily desires. In essence, an emotional outpouring of the souls between two strangers on opposite ends of the city or far corner of the planet, depending where you find your match. A friend, a lover, a mate, a spouse...only time can tell. 

So, my fellow wanderers, start your engines and drive into the vast internet highway and take your chances. And you just might find the treasure to treasure for the rest of your life. Just dont forget to wear your seatbelt though. 


Friday, December 28, 2018

Relish the Past, Welcome the Future


Remember, the past is always tense, the future perfect 

This week, I was a reluctant invitee to a glitzy Christmas party - a glorified gathering less of friends and more of snobbish acquaintances - dressed in fancy clothes, indulging in fine spirits and ‘artisanal world cuisine’ whatever that actually means. Having arrived directly from my office, I was not only late but also clearly out of place - standing out from the crowd with my disheveled hair, a wrinkled cotton shirt, and crumpled khakis. 

Seeing me obviously lost, my gracious host welcomed me, consciously ignoring my faux paus and tried her best to make me feel at home. So, with a blue cocktail in hand, I mingled a bit -meeting immaculately dressed strangers, making small talk and chit chat until I found a vantage spot to sit with a boisterous Australian middle-aged couple for friendly banter. 

Let me admit, the party was not bad. after all. The décor was flamboyant yet amazing, the floating grilled starters were delicious and the fizzy drinks concocted with consistency although a little too fruity for my taste. If there was something lacking, it was the sugary retro music from the 60s and 70s with a smattering of hits from the 80s and 90s. I wouldn’t normally complain under normal circumstances but the music was a mismatch for the splendorous aura the party was trying to create. 

Listening to some of the music, reminded me of my childhood (Lionel Ritchie, Inxs, Steve Winwood, Pet Shop Boys, a little George Michael and Phil Collins for good measure too) but the rest of it was the sort of soul music my parents sometimes listened to and for a while at least the nostalgia was comforting. But, then, gradually as one aging track faded slowly into the next, it began to dawn on me that I actually wished I was somewhere else entirely. The nostalgia, you see, had run its course and I found myself, as that realization took hold, feeling suddenly wanting and hungry - to listen to current radio hits, anxious for the here, for the now, for the present. Foster the People, Cold Play and even Martin Garrix came to mind but no more Simon & Garfunkel, please. 

Think about it, funny how this struggle often occurs within each of us. Sometimes, longing for what was, faced with what is (and occasionally overcome by dreams of what's next) and sometimes, just longing for the present, for the moment. It's not so unusual really but just illustrates for some of us the motivations behind how we choose to live our lives. 

Looking back isn't such a bad thing and as my Christmas party experience points out - often offers comfort, nostalgia, and a way to stay connected with who we are and where we came from. The danger, however, is in never learning how to move beyond the then, the then of the past. How many of you have known (or know) people like that? The ones who can't ever get over whatever it is they're so connected to, running from, or longing for? Be it work, relationships, family... Sometimes, I think I am one of them. Maybe you are also one of those people, or maybe you just pity and feel sorry for them. 

And, why is it that some of us are able to appreciate our yesterdays, no matter how bad and still move forward. How are some of us able to cull the good from the bad, and thrive in the here and the now? How do we move beyond the then? In truth, who can really say. If I were to attempt an answer of any kind it would be simply that some of us want nothing more than to live. And by live, I mean so much more than life. 

And then, there are those of us for whom life offers so much that we scarcely know where to start – so much excitement, so much exploration, so much energy, so much passion, and so many opportunities. Thus, how can we possibly afford to waste too much time reveling in (or complaining about) the past when there is so much now and so much to look forward in the future.

I guess there are no right or wrong answers but I think our experiences and memories (both good and bad) and our circumstances drive our primary motivations. Very few of us are smart enough to make conscious choices or analytically study the path we choose to explore. Food for thought right? When I look back now, it's amusing how a piece of party music that evening lead me to these complex life-centric questions and surprisingly - ridiculously simple (and probable) answers. 

Lastly, as this is most likely the last blog post of 2018, let me add that this Blog for me (as its curator) - is a labor of opinions, ideas, and passion for web wanderers like you. A little ezine curating the best I can find on the web juxtaposed with my thoughts that I have attempted to keep alive over the years. It’s my creative outlet, my solace, and my escape when nothing else can be and, if I can't do it right, it isn't worth doing at all but I reassure you, I won’t kill it as many of you think I would. And believe me, I do read all your comments (even though I don’t publish them) so don’t stop sending your comments and emails. 

And with that, I won't say anything more other than I trust you'll enjoy the New Year ahead  with postivity as much as you nostalgically savor and relish the year that just went past by and all the ones before it. As the existentialist Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said, our life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Aloha and wishing you a happy 2019 with lotsa fun, joy and success!

x

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Mad Pursuit of Happiness and Contentment


Finding Happiness needn't be that hard, after all 

It is rather ironic, that I would choose the above title for this blog post. In fact, I've had this title lingering idly on my laptop with vague views of how to title this post for a number of weeks now. Russia had such a happy effect on me but paradoxically, of late, that much needed happiness - for me - has seemed to be or become somewhat elusive again. Just like failing to post any new blogs the last few weeks after the new found rush I rediscovered in October.

The Dalai Lama wants us to believe that happiness is more than a state of mind and that it is a way of life, and so on. Of course, he mostly linked it with religion and spiritualism. For me, I have no such notions about gods or religions or getting karmic illuminations leading to divine joys. There might be a heaven and there might be a god too but like my greasy kebabs, I want my happiness, right here on earth, not in heaven after I die. 

Happiness, it seems such a simple thing but how often many of us struggle trying to desperately find it in our lives – both personally and professionally. And, often we fail to realize how tied we are to the conditioned views of happiness being so entangled and reliant on upon the close relationships we make with others around us – our loved ones, our parents, our friends, our colleagues…this list can be perennially extending based on how we perceive how important these connections matter to our happiness. 

While on the surface this may seem accurate, I have come to realize that it’s a mad pursuit when in fact, it's definitely not how you achieve a persistent state of sustained happiness. But, rather happiness and fulfillment in my opinion (based on my own costly experiences), is a combination of multiple wisdoms or realizations (and I shall borrow from the Dalai Lama again) of worldly satisfaction, wealth (and we're not just talking about the money alone), spirituality and eventual enlightenment to look beyond your flaws. And when I say spirituality I am referring to realize and analyze oneself, not necessarily getting religious. 

While all these critical elements are essential factors in the quest for happiness - it is how those factors are deployed and the state of mind of the individual wielding them that will determine whether or not a contented and satisfying life can be enjoyed. You can become a happiness magnet only when you employ these correctly. After all, ultimately, we are each responsible for our own contentment and the personal mindset how we level upon the world is the cornerstone of whether we fail or succeed in this pursuit. 

Some of you may wonder what does any of this have to do with an erratic blog like this one? Actually, a great deal. Maintaining and writing this blog brings me, much personal happiness. It is one of the many escape mechanisms I employ (besides my work, my music, and my photography) to find fulfillment when other options fail. And, while this blog may not be anyone's baby but mine, it does make me happy. And thus, that happiness eventually, I like to think - carries over to those around me and those living in the far-flung corners of the world reading this blog. 

And as you may have noticed, it would seem that I've managed to momentarily zig-zag my way back to a point as I so often do, where I can now safely say a few words about why I am still telling you all this. 

Well, much in my life today is in a state of continuous flux and I have no idea really where I might be a year from now or even a few months from now and if all my hallowed musings here on finding happiness and contentment will have amounted to anything at all. Nonetheless, there are some things I remain quite certain and hopeful of - and that is I will find my happiness wherever I may be or whatever I am doing at that time. You should too. And you should be hopeful. 

Hope is not a bitch, we simply give up sooner and just don’t try hard enough. May each of you find your happiness and whatever joys you seek. And as I read it somewhere, enjoy the pursuit to your happiness, as it just might be your greatest source of your happiness after all.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Russia Effect


From Russia with love and positivity! lots of it! 

Let's me put it this way: I love Russia. Every time I am in Russia, it makes me feel better. Maybe it has a cleansing effect on me. The soul refreshed and my body revived, so to speak. Maybe it’s the company of great souls I have been fortunate to meet or the chance to finally enjoy the company of some special folks I hold dearly, some very dearly. Usually, its just Saint Petersburg, my fav russian city and Russia's cultural capital that I like but this trip, Moscow has been so nice and the happy shiny folks there even more nicer. In fact, I met some of my friends from the virtual space who I've known for years (online) for the first time (offline). It was surreal but very pleasant. 

It seems that whenever I am in Russia, I grow a renewed appreciation of essential virtues – courtesy, chivalry, friendship, family values... my friends find it baffling! It actually felt really good that I had always had some of these already but something I don't self-realize very often. Even my semi-close and close friends over the Internet I have learned to appreciate greatly. This newfound wisdom I’ve suddenly realized in my midlife... what's wrong with me? It's just been thirty-something years... or it's already been? It’s the Russia effect. 

Somehow this blog post was kinda difficult to write. It is always easier to think about what you will write instead of writing it. I guess the threat of a keyboard in front of you makes thinking un-easier. When you are free to think with just your brain and inspiration, it's just so fluid. I guess feeling angsty and thoughtful makes for easier writing and absurdly, smoother train of thought for me. Though I was quite pissed at a couple of people this week, the general feeling of contentment and happiness still reigned upon me. And since I am feeling good, I must conjure up ideas that are not of the normal personal sob story sort to kick start the writer inside me. And the result is this blog now. 

I just hope this new found positivity continues for a while as I do not want to take two steps backward, now that I have made this good vibe running. And It's rare that I have caught myself in these pages in a positive happy mood, so let's celebrate. This is a great day to be happy. You must be too. Happy weekend! And have a Banana!! 


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