Friday, December 24, 2010

Humanity for Sale: The Failure of an Economic Mindset in the Developing World

The following is an essay I wrote for my Global Health and International Society class, in which I word an argument that I've wanted to write about for a while.
Basic economics tells of supply and demand.  With supply and demand comes the concept of scarcity and surplus. When any good is less available than it is wanted, it is scarce. Its value invariably increases. The opposite is also true: when there is too much of a good, its value plummets. Economics offers a cogent lens through which the world can be viewed, but its systematic manifestations often fail to account for the inequalities they create. Increasingly, the earth faces a so-called “surplus” of bodies, in the face of a high rate of population growth. This “surplus” consists of marginalized populations who lack access to basic health needs.  However, the presence of a large population is not the root of the problem: it is their maldistribution, with higher populations existing disproportionately in the global south, and the present global economic system that stacks the cards against them. The global marketplace is rife with mechanisms that drive inequality – creating a world wherein a lucky minority has too much, and a vast majority has too little. These mechanisms are sustained by policies embedded in our current economic system that systematically deny rights from the poor and submit them to disproportionate risk. The following paper will explore the mechanisms by which the value of human life is diminished by structurally violent policies, resulting in negative health outcomes on a global scale in the face of uncharted population growth.
The rapid urbanization of recent decades has resulted in an increase in structural inequality and resulting negative health outcomes. With the expansion of urbanism in the developing world has come the expansion of slums, as a corresponding growth in urban planning has not accompanied population booms (Davis 7). The negative health effects of this rise in population have been compounded by Western interventions aimed at including the developing world in the global market, especially the 1980’s structural adjustment programs implemented by IMF and the World Bank. These programs succeeded only in structuring risk. Contingent upon liberalization of trade, privatization and deregulation, these programs were based on the assumption that inclusion in the world market would allow for growth of the developing economy. In actuality, most developing economies’ manufacture of raw materials does not give them a competitive edge in the global economy. Loans given as part of these programs were eventually paid for with funds accorded by slashing social programs in a time when they were needed most for burgeoning urban populations. The removal of social programs results in a much higher health risk to already vulnerable slum populations. Structural adjustment programs were founded on principles that valued economic growth more than it valued individual experience within the developing world—principles that blindly assumed that economic growth would present a rising tide to lift all boats. In reality, these programs widened the gap between the developed and developing world, creating parallel gaps in health and experience between the rich and poor within developing world urban centers. Other economics-based policies, including the “IMF-enforced policies of agricultural de-regulation” as cited by Mike Davis, displaced rural farmers, giving them no choice but to travel to cities in search of work (10). Just as population began to rise, the need for labor began to decline in most industrial cities—leading to a surplus of labor that eventually settled along the edges of cities. Inherent within all of these changes is an implicit devaluing of the human life of the “excess” population: the manner in which slums are overcrowded and unaided represents an oversight of both the international and national governance. This is exemplified by the fact that reforms in favor of development tend to value the country’s economic stance in the global market over the health of the majority of its citizens. These errors in prioritization—the importance placed on the country’s position on the international scale over its health on a national scale–lead to dire health outcomes for the world’s poor, in the form of increased risk and lack of access to social services.
Attempts at population control in the name of “development” have also reflected implicit devaluing of human life. In the 1970’s, the Indian government, under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, implemented a slew of policies in the Emergency period that undermined the rights of India’s poorest and most marginalized citizens. In favor of “beautification,” slums were broken up and displaced peoples were moved to the outskirts of the city (Tarlo 245), their placement by the government mirroring their placement in society. The Family Planning scheme emphasized more the value of sterilization than it did forethought; what really came of this policy was the creation of a “pyramid of pressure” for sterilization (Tarlo 248). If a government official reached his sterilization quota, he would receive a reward, while failure to meet the quota would result in a punishment. These quotas would be fulfilled by two methods.  An official could force his subordinates to be sterilized through coercion or threat in a top-down manner. Conversely, to avoid submitting to sterilization, the official’s subordinate could fulfill the sterilization quota by exerting pressure on his subordinates to be sterilized. In this manner, pressure for sterilization increased down the “food chain” of social strata, leaving the most marginalized people of the society with no choice but to submit to it. The so-called incentives for sterilization offered by the government exhibited a gross devaluation of the livelihood of those facing sterilization; tins of ghee, electric clocks and radios, and a small sum of money were considered a fair exchange for the right to bear life (Tarlo 250). This gave rise to underground markets where certificates of sterilization were eerily similar to currency. Later, when the Delhi Development Authority had exhausted the number of sterilizations it could obtain from its own staff, it made sterilization or presentation of a sterilization certificate a requirement for settlement in DDA housing for those that were displaced by urban development schemes also implemented by the DDA. The pressure of sterilization closed in on all sides around Indian slum-dwellers as part of an exploitative system that created a motive for the poor to exploit the poorer. In the name of development, the rights of the poor in this society were eroded by a system that directly targeted and grossly undervalued their right to fertility.
            The global market puts the poor at risk by subtly tipping the scales against them and by explicitly allowing their exploitation. In many cases, the poor pay dearly for their attempts to earn a living, giving up their health in the face of poor regulation of business and market practices.  As Scheper-Hughes writes, “The problem is that markets are by nature indiscriminate and inclined to reduce everything—even human beings, their labor, and their reproductive capacity—to the status of commodities” (193). The recent illegal trafficking of human organs shows how an economic system can manufacture risk exclusively to the poor by allowing the impoverished to give up their lifelong health for a quick sum of money, while a wealthy person would likely never even consider such an action. This speaks to the desperation that is arranged by the inequality of this system, and the lack of regulation within the global marketplace.
A globalized marketplace allows also for direct exploitation in the name of efficiency and expediency. Because of the lower costs and regulations, corporations increasingly outsource labor to developing nations. In many cases, this has resulted in a relaxation of both safety standards and accountability in industrial settings. Notably, the Bhopal disaster is an example of a Western company outsourcing its risk. In the early hours of December 3, 1984, a toxic gas leak coming from the Union Carbide pesticide plant covered the industrial city of Bhopal, killing thousands of workers and civilians and leaving many others with lifelong health problems (Fortun 194). Compensatory efforts did not begin to cover the costs of the lasting health effects on the population. The poor of Bhopal lacked the political might that Union Carbide’s legal team had; they had no recourse. In the developing world, failures of regulation coupled with economic exploitation can result in irreversible negative health outcomes for underprivileged populations.
 The above examples represent a mere fraction of the ways in which the global economy gives rise to increasing inequalities between the haves and the have-nots. A measured examination of all exploitation and risk that the current economic system affords is far beyond the scope of this essay; indeed, it is likely impossible.  The difficulty in measurement lies in the fact that the subtle devaluation of the poor underlies the system over which all commerce is built; the economic system is structured on inequality. However, where economic models allow a restoration of balance, there is no such balance in the real world. Use of a solely economic mindset when considering global inequality is a mistake, as a misplaced belief in economic development and growth as a panacea undoubtedly oversimplifies the problem. This oversimplification undervalues humanity, causing a marked decline in quality of life, as the disenfranchised fight to stay afloat, paying the debts with their liberties and their health. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

words i feel were created for my use

lovelorn, adj. unhappy because of unrequited love.

wanderlust, noun. a strong desire to travel.

quixotic, adj. exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical.

whimsy, noun. playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor.

ennui, noun. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

swell, verb. 1) become larger or rounder in size, typically as a result of an accumulation of fluid. 2) become or make greater in intensity, number, amount or volume. 3) be intensely affected or filled with a particular emotion.

swell, noun. 2) a slow regular movement of the sea in rolling waves that do not break. 3)a mechanism for producing a crescendo or diminuendo in an organ or harmonium. 4) informal, dated: a person of wealth or high social position, typically one perceived as a fashionable or stylish.

swell, adjective: informal, dated: excellent, very good

ameliorate, verb. make better

nightfall, noun. the darker stage of twilight.

disposition, noun. 1) a person's inherent qualities of mind and character. 2) the way in which something is placed or arranged, esp. in relation to other things. the action of arranging or ordering people or things in a particular way. 3) the action of distributing or transferring property or money to someone, in particular or by bequest. 4) the power to deal with something as one pleases

replenish, verb. fill something up again.

candor, noun. the quality of being open and honest in expression.

behest, noun. a person's orders or command.

crimson, noun. of a rich deep red color inclining to purple.

sorrow, noun. a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others. an event or circumstance that causes such a feeling. the outward expression of grief; lamentation.

dream, noun. a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep. a state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings. a cherished aspiration, ambition or ideal. an unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy. a person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Music Imitating Life or Life Imitating Music

Music is kind of like another way of measuring reality. Just as I can measure my life over time, or by classes taken or places I've lived, I can measure my life by what music I was learning and listening to and singing.

To give a brief history, years zero through six were oldies for the most part: Joan Baez and Simon and Garfunkel and songs my mother sang to me when she woke me up, Sound of Music,  and Disney music. Songs from old Hindi movies and snippets of Wham's Last Christmas, and "Kissed by a rose!" and Fleetwood Mac as my first few years of life took place between India and Britain and Illinois and Madison. Music was so ubiquitous in my household and to me, it was normal and natural to break out into song.

In Springfield, IL, my mother had to implement a "no singing at the dining table" rule because my sister and I always singing pieces of songs as our hot food became cold. Throughout elementary school, I sang to myself during worktimes and recess, and sometimes got yelled at by my peers, while my teachers didn't always have the heart to shut me up. (But they had plenty of opportunities to, nonetheless, because I was really talkative.)

My actual point
I won't bore you with 15 more years of history, it suffices to say that I've always felt that we have a natural connection with music and it seems with every year that goes by, it grows stronger.
To me, music seems irreducible. That's not to say that you can't lift a melody and still do it justice-- but it means something different. It means something different with an addition or a subtraction from it, and thus, to me, anyone's cover of a different song is entirely different from the original. And to me, each element is of equal importance in a song-- lyrics or lack thereof, rhythms, melodies -- vocal or instrumental are all on the same plane. You may like a song for only one of them, sure. But each is important to the entire song.

And I think that beyond all of these things that may be compositional arguments, music runs through our veins and in our brains. Sometimes, I'll be going through a rough patch in my day or in my life, and a perfectly applicable song will run through my mind. Sometimes Come on Eileen will pump through my head while I'm taking a test, or Crown of Love will come and sing to my broken heart.

Something I've been wondering about for a long time now (I think I may have asked it in a previous blog entry) is whether the songs that get stuck in our heads are in the right key. Think about it. It's bouncing around in there uncontrollably and at times you just want to say "Get out of my head, you!" But it occurred to me that it was stuck in my head, and maybe I couldn't sing the words or anything, but it was still running like a recording. So I started to wonder if the songs that get stuck in our heads are in the right key. My theory is that even though we might not be able to reproduce the elements of the song, but we remember it right, as if it's a record playing in your head. I've tried to test it by waiting til a song gets stuck in my head and singing it as close to the key as I can. Then I check it with the actual song. And it worked! And it makes me think that music hits us close to the soul more than we can express.

Today I found out that researchers at Tufts University have found that the minor third in music (the traditional sad interval in western music, everpresent in my band's new song, Becoming Real and in pretty much every traditionally minor sad song) is used in Western speech to convey sadness the same way it does in music. This brings up questions about music's effect on life, or life's effect on music-- a more far-fetched-sounding argument. The lead author, Megan Curtis, says she's interested in studying Hindi speakers use of intervals in expression of sad speech to see whether those intervals are different, suggesting it's culturally learned. Else, if Indians do speak in minor third, maybe the minor third is universal. (I'm not sure that she'll find a pentatonic sad tone in Indians.)
They've looked at macaque monkeys that emit higher octave-like tones when they're jubilant, and descending tones when they're sad. Curtis says (on To the Best of Our Knowledge) that the study suggests that speech and music have a common ancestor... maybe singing came first?

It's weird that once a song is sung or released to the universe, you don't own it anymore. It has a life of its own-- it's free to get stuck in some stranger's head. And yeah, that's life, and everything you do always affects someone else somehow, but for some reason, people are realistic with music! The music someone chooses to listen to, alone, when no one's around or when people don't know what you're listening to, is like a direct path to their soul. It's feelings that you can't help but wear on your sleeve. Do you notice that when you meet someone you really like who shares a musical interest with you, you automatically listen to that music more? Or, when you sing a song to yourself and someone joins in, you like that person so much more? I know these are really silly things to point out, maybe I'm overexcited... but I think it's kind of crazy that we have this relationship with music. It's not just the music that has an effect on us, we have an effect on the music, I argue, and music is a very effective means of touching and connecting with one another.

(A link to the Curtis study:

Monday, December 06, 2010

new additions to music library

- janelle monae, The ArchAndroid very catchy, album flows one song into another, danceable and singable win-win-win

- local natives, self-titled

- of montreal, false priest

- cee lo green, the lady killer

-garfunkel & oates... note: hilarious

-putamayo a new groove

soooo excited!!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


for this week:
  • complete homework/projects in timely manner, read for class.
  • finish planting for monday. finish planting for friday. TRANSPLANT
  • come up with new and creative ways to eat new favorite staple (hummus).
  • listen to broken bells, local natives while walking to class. make new exciting playlist for listening on wednesday
  • try to change default thought processes away from tangible life things to bigger ideas. interact with what is learned about in school.  stop thinking about material things so much. 
  • get pumped for an excellent show next sunday, and this means-- practicing lyrics that i don't know well so i don't forget them on stage and not spontaneously gaining 10 pounds making dress unwearable
  • do stuff for hindi class, don't forget to do so
  • do a really great radio show! 
  • choose a child 

  • once school is over:
    -keep up with lab work over break
    -go on at least one fun day trip; don't forget to enjoy time with friends!
    -forget all about the pain of ochem
    -BUY genetics textbook and get deals on other texts
    -cook things with peppermint in them
    -read like 10 books-- create new traditions with self

    Saturday, December 04, 2010


    7 blunders of the world according to mahatma gandhi

    1. wealth without work
    2. pleasure without conscience
    3. knowledge without character
    4. commerce without morality
    5. science without humanity
    6. worship without sacrifice
    7. politics without principle

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    reiterating song lyrics and otherwise being inarticulate

    lately i've had little to say that's of any worth or any productive worth anyway.
    i've been hooked on a feeling (high on believing!) and have just been singing and listening and thinking the same things over and over again. what's funny is that i'm stewing and brewing and not really doing much in the form of doing. anything. i did maybe 3 things this week that i'd say i was proud of. but in contrast to the maybe 134 things that i'm not proud of which are not limited to:

    -starting my problem set early and then waiting to 11 o'clock the night before it was due to think about looking at it again
    -lying to myself
    -overthinking when i said i wouldn't
    -underthinking when i said i wouldn't
    and it's always the wrong thing that i'm doing the thinking act about!
    -exhibiting the fact that i'm stressed in situations where i'm usually calm and collected
    -bumping into stuff
    -letting someone hinge on my confusion

    it just reminds me of the feist song that i'm listening to right now. she says, "ooh i'll be the one to break my heart." she's saying it in the context of a breakup, but i'm saying it in a context of me. i have control over everything in my life, and i'm really the one who breaks my own heart. this isn't even really the case with a lot of people. some people fall for people who give them the wrong idea or something, and then their hearts get broken. no, me, i'm the one who breaks my heart.

    sometimes i feel like i'm all talk. i'm always thinking of stuff. i'm always distracting myself into some dream world that exists in this weird musical Fth dimension. i'm always thinking of really good interesting thoughts that i'd be too shy to bring up with the people i want to talk to them about.
    i think that all my worlds can be described through song lyrics and poetry-- this isn't true. lately it's been working because i've been holding some rather cliche emotions: the perceived lack of control, apathy, dark humor related to my general hopelessness-- and i know i'm not alone in this.
    i've noticed over the course of biocore that people are casually getting meaner over dumber things. not everyone, but i can feel the vibe. and some are addicted to caffeine pills.

     to be honest, the reason i feel like i'm being inarticulate is because i haven't really viewed my life with real honesty in november. i've just been getting by, day-to-day, living the unexamined life. it's not that i don't care about stuff, i care about so many things, perhaps too many. it's that i feel like my life is like a badly written essay that demands structure (similar to the rambling nature of this post.)
    everything looks perfect from far away

    i hate it when i can tell that i'm being boring, or a broken record. i've been thinking too much about the green revolution and corporations so much that it gets abstracted and i can't even explain it properly (stay tuned for that). and lately i feel like i've been letting it slide when i do something out of line, or mean where i wouldn't before. maybe this is what it's like to be jaded. this is a shitty side of me that doesn't need to have a home here.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2010

    it's way too late to be this locked inside ourselves...

    so i'm unlocking a little bit.

    some things about me that are true.

    -if i go out of my way to talk to you, i probably like you a lot more than i let on.
    -i'm actually really neutral about a lot of things
    -i wish people could read my mind and act accordingly but not as though they are reading my mind.
    -there are so many parts of me that i feel i want to improve, but it's hard for me to actually improve. for this reason, i don't appreciate it when people try to predict my behavior, because i want not to be the same me tomorrow as i am today at least in some facet or another. evidently, it does not always work out. changes for me are gradual but real, sometimes as reflected as change in mindset more than a huge shift in actions. i like to do things with the hope that they will inspire me to do other things i want to do, like buy post-it notes or borrow books. i like to surround myself with options.
     -i generally try to avoid helping people when i don't know if i can actually help them. i feel like it's better for us both.
    -i have little expendable time. but the time i do have, i do a great job of expending.
    -i have a zit on my nose which is in a terrible terrible place because it would be irritated if anyone were to rub noses with me. but rubbing noses is kind of unsanitary.
    -i like to walk too fast while listening to music and imagine that everyone is looking at me and thinking i am so cool.
    -sometimes i just wish that i'd been a different person so i could do something drastically different in a different place than i am now. i think this comes from a desire to feel what it's like to live somewhere else and to be in a place where people don't know me. i'm sure everyone has the same feelings as i do on this matter.
    -i forget what i look like all the time.
    -i am pretty sensitive about weird stuff.
    -i rarely give up on things, even when i probably should.
    -i block things out of my memory quite frequently to avoid dwelling. left to my own devices, i dwell. i need to do things and see people and see the world with renewed excitement everyday in order not to get lost in my own head.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    picking battles

    there are different types of arguments: there are the kinds that are carefully, methodically lain out, with no clear opponent-- the fight for truth against falsehood; there are arguments created to make way for better, deeper arguments; there are playful arguments between potential lovers; and there are angry, bitter arguments between two people who care about one another very much.

    when is the argument worth it? when will it damage more than it resolves? when does a joke argument turn into a real argument? when does a statement of observation become a jab?

    where does an argument start from?
    it starts from a "difference" that two people have. "having differences" has become a rather stupid colloquialism that connotes an inability to agree on something with the person with whom you have that difference. i think it's dumb because, dur, we all "have our differences."
    this difference could be minute like "coke or pepsi" or slightly less minute like "republican or democrat" or maybe still minute like "do you eat your food right away or keep it for when you know you want it?"

    what fuels an argument is two things:
    1. you feel your side of the argument is legitimately true and you believe that you're right
    2. once the argument is started, you want to win at all costs

    a little bit of both of these elements fuels a good argument... but i'd say you can characterize by how much these two factors are at play.

    so like, if you're exhibiting a 2:1 ratio of feeling like you're right and wanting to win, then you are probably having a structured debate, not unlike those that occur in a high school debate situation. if you have a 1.5:1 ratio, you might be a pretty "good" politician (in that you care more about what's right than winning but if you're a really good politician maybe you want closer to a 1:1 ratio, because in order to achieve number 1, you've gotta be able to do #2.) i feel like the ratios exhibited in most passionate, spur of the moment fights with people you care about is a 1:2 for the offensive arguer. sometimes it's even more in the direction of #2 because the arguer is very often not even arguing about the thing, but the greater meaning behind that thing. they want to get the attention of the other person in some way, by getting mad at them, by being right. oh and the ratios between people who are being playful don't matter really at all.

    so where is this coming from?

    i guess i just never know where or when to pick my battles with people. this might be because i don't think of them much as battles as they are sharing opinions and putting down evidence for them (that is until #2 takes over). i don't like it when people dismiss arguments before they are fully formed. but i also realize that some arguments are a lost cause, like preferences. (or can you? what causes preferences? to be discussed at a later date.)
    i always get all tangled up when people don't share my preferences because i think they just need to see something in the same light as i do and then they'll understand. what i should realize is that our world is richer because people have preferences.
    then we wouldn't have people who knit or people who paint or even computers. i think that argumentation can be particularly harmful when one person tries to say what's best for everyone. often, it's simply not what's best for everyone. people are different, they have different modes of operation, different comforts, different weaknesses, different fears.
    what i guess i really wish, though, was that people (self included) would be more open-minded about people, places, things and ideas encountered in life. i feel like so many things get dismissed "on" some "principle" that's founded in some preference that someone else has. sometimes it gets dismissed on circumstance... e.g. "i was in a bad mood when i met this person and misjudged him."

    enough rambling for tonight, i still have plenty of orgo to keep me warm.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    the definition of insanity

    is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. - albert einstein

    as demonstrated by aarushi, this weekend, and last weekend, and the weekend before that.

    will i ever learn? will the benefit of being a good girl early ever outweigh the cost of staying up late on sunday screwed as hell? will i write my global health paper before the day before it's due the day i get back from boston?

    more importantly, will i become less selfish? lately, in my attempts to be me-first/independent, i think that i am becoming increasingly self-absorbed.

    maybe i'm just pupating

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    they don't love you like i love you

    i am not always the biggest fan of karen o -- but i fully believe in giving credit where it's due. this song, from fever to tell, has this feeling about it that i guess does this thing where it encapsulates a feeling that i think gets had more than people want to say.

    she kind of pulls from some really tender place probably located somewhere in her id and she feels like she can say something so upfront and polarizing- "they don't love you like i love you." the idea of simple devotion, care and shared laughter seems so alien these utilitarian days of college life.

    i sometimes wish that what i want in my heart of hearts-- which i fully believe is something really unselfish-- could be justifiable or even possible in this universe.
    i mean, of course it's possible... anything is probably possible given time and resources and will. but it's really not that easy, and it's really hard to know why you want something and if just wanting something is reason enough to pursue.

    all this time i thought that i didn't have a wall up against the world. i thought that others kept people out with their pretend callousness and their cavalier attitudes toward others, but i am slowly realizing that i have slowly but surely and maybe accidentally constructed some kind of barricade against the world. i know because i frequently bump into it when i try to express my feelings to someone or another. for some reason the prospect of showing any weakness or regard for what other people think can seem so daunting.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    i need to be nicer

    to start, some offensive words
    -cock: to describe someone who is a pompous, arrogant jerk. someone can be this and still be a good person.. usually used with a qualifer as in that guy we studied with was kind of a cock but can be used more outright john mayer just seems like such a cock

    -turd: to describe someone mildly jerkish as in quit poking me you turd or that's my guac, you turd

    sorry to anyone who may be offended by this post. it's a post. get over it.

    i really have become a lot meaner lately. maybe it's the fact that all of my time is allotted to doing something. i never do nothing anymore (intentional double negative).

    sometimes it just comes with the territory of being honest and sometimes it's in self-defense. but i mean, i get it. chances are if you're my friend, you're my good friend. most of the time, i'm a linking force between people i know (it might be the middle child in me) and thus, people feel like they can rag on me because they know me and if they rag on others it's not as okay because they don't know the others all that well. it's like what they do to relate to other people in the group. and i get that this is probably a good position to be in, and also that i'm sometimes just up for a fight.

    i need to stop being so caring. this is what it all comes down to anyway. people never try to mess with people who are elusive and cold. but when i don't care, i'm automatically mean. it's an extinction vortex!

    i feel like meanness stems from the fact that sometimes i just feel like i wish people would be more honest about things. i really believe that people would do better to say what they think instead of pretending like they're cool with stuff to avoid clashing with people.

    i think it's cowardly to say one thing and do another, to act in a way that's misleading. being nice is not about telling people what they want to hear, it's about telling the truth while minimizing the stress of others. it's about treating others with real respect.

    regardless of this, i'm going to burn up into flames because i am goddess sitala and then be reborn like the phoenix that i am and then i'll be super nice to everyone.

    also, check out this great music.

    Monday, October 04, 2010

    I never do as much as I want to do.

    Also, I wish I were Salma Hayek. You slay me, beautiful woman.

    Apparently, Becca's and my Unrequited Love show got everyone depressed. I'm sorry. Unrequited love sucks for everyone involved... we all know it.  Thankfully, we have our platonic friends and our 30 Rock and Mexican candies to get us through all the hard times and that's all we really need, I think.

    It's getting colder outside, which means the layers and the feelings of not wanting to get out of bed ever are back, my friend. Tomorrow I'm going to have a great, productive day. And by tomorrow, I mean today.

    Goals for the upcoming week:
    -Do well on Biocore Test
    -Study successfully
    -Finish Global Health Essay and get a better grade than Jason does (So doable if I keep my head up)
    -Find innovative ways to look good in cold weather
    -Become more aware of political issues
    -Brainstorm song ideas for the Rose Lights

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    i have confidence in sunlight

    so... the only way to live such a hectic life is to not second-guess myself.
    -i often sing this song to myself when i feel down:

    and i remember what connie wu constantly repeats to me:
    "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent" via eleanor roosevelt...
     and also what my friend meredith walsh said, "when you're confident, people just think about you more, and you won't even realize it."

    i am in a good mood, because i was not too shy to request a couple of things i needed and am now better off! i think we all spend too much time hesitating.

    "Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, "I am of no value", is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought- so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master."

    "With the realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in ones ability, one can build a better world. According to my own experience, self-confidence is very important. That sort of confidence is not a blind one; it is an awareness of ones own potential. On that basis, human beings can transform themselves by increasing the good qualities and reducing the negative qualities."
    Both quotes from the Dalai Lama

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    it's been an interesting few days at the apartment

    in general, i think things are coming along nicely...

    as roommates we're pretty close, but we're not insufferably close... it's a little like living with parents, because i feel like connie and becca are always looking out for me, and i definitely stay up the latest and make the most noise, and have the most drama of the three of us. i am also the least initiative taking as it comes to things like cooking, and i'm the instigator of all the apartment hangouts that have happened thus far.

    (i'm definitely the baby of this roommate situation, as i am in a lot of other cases-- my band although i think i share that position with scott, and at home, despite the fact that i have a younger brother, and in the lab.)

    school has made me busy, busy, busy with purposeful activities, so i'm quite pleased to be quite honest. i'm delighting in the discoveries that make me feel so young, when during the summer, i felt that i'd seen it all. this cuts into my time to explore my hobbies, but i'm bettering so much as a person in such a short time that i almost don't care. living with such good examples as becca and connie is very beneficial for me; i couldn't ask for two roommates that care more about me and offer stimulating conversation.

    i just did a little bit of ochem conquering with the help of gina and jessica and jason, and now i'm off to bed to have another busy day. this might be a boring post, but i just wanted to note my feelings for the moment.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    i wanna be forgotten, and i don't want to be reminded

    here it comes, the raw angst.

    i swear, i'm so one of those pathological, use humor as a shield people, and i didn't even see it coming. me? yes, me.
    see, it goes back to that idea of self-sabotage. what makes us do things we know are wrong?!

    shuck, shuck me.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    dare i say that i'm excited for this semester?

    i am excited for this semester. yes, i doth deigned to say such a controversial statement and i stand behind it. today was so busy. today was awesome. i mean, not all of it, but it was packed full of life experience and learning, while retaining the sheen of newness that i hope will never fade, although i know it will probably inevitably grow dull.
    i woke up at 7 (admittedly much too early) and failed to fall back asleep for long enough to add hours to my sleep-account. i fumbled and put on clothes that weren't the best choice for the day, but i still wore them the whole day through. my "i fought the law" (points if you knew that it's by the clash covering bobby fuller four) shirt and my tight jeans that jason bought from re-threads and then re-gifted to me because they were too tight and had no pocket space (and they were girl-pants.)
    i packed a lunch! small triumph. little did i know that it would be delicious despite the fact that becca refused to buy real pepper jack, opting instead for the imitation pepper jack cheese product singles.
    i went to organic chemistry and totally zoned out and had nothing to say to my "neighbors" when we were forced to kamikaze "discuss" NMR. that's a class i'm going to fall behind in fast.
    failed to make good conversation with guy in my ochem II class that i met last semester in a discussion, accidentally told him that recognizing strangers like him on the street was a "plague" that i suffer.
    got a cappucino before going to hindi, amazingly had enough time to do so.
    failed at speaking hindi in hindi class but did not fail at making people laugh.
    ran into my entire lab convoying to a lab lunch while walking down the hill.
    interviewed my friend priyanka for my radioshow, got glimpse into freshman life and into newly renovated chadbourne and best veggie quesadilla i've ever tasted. good till the last bite. did an interview in a stairwell, lent a real authenticity to the reporting.
    answered questions in the lecture of the class i have with all upper classmen, professor learned my name, felt intelligent.
    drank some kind of caffeinated water beverage on hour-long commute to work sitting in front of terribly obnoxious people who caused me to suffer temporary hearing loss because i tried to drown them out with headphones.
    suffered four and a half hours at work with a stomach ache although my boss sang the song that it says on my shirt. ("i fought the law," remember? that was foreshadowing.) apparently he's seen every band from the 70s that is on my iPod at least 309483048 times. very cool.
    my dad picked me up from work to save me from staying there until tomorrow, which is now.
    went to the radio station, pre-recorded my radio show for thursday.

    voila, my 16-hour day. sorry to those who bore with me.

    Friday, September 03, 2010

    and we're back

    school is back in session, la dee da and i am already tired.

    between ochem ii, biocore + lab, hindi, international health and global society, lab job and simpson street, i barely have time to feel a little bit insecure before i dive into a nervous breakdown just thinking about it.

    already, i have to pre-record my radio show in advance because there is no time on the schedule that becca and i and the studio are all three available.

    adding to my stressors is the fact that i have to print out all my readings but anyone will agree with me when i say that binders are the shittiest invention for holding paper for which nothing better has yet been invented, it's a pain in the ass to print stuff. also, my beautiful blue textbook came in the mail today and then my sister saw it and went Ohmygod, you're using the same textbook as me! I got the International edition MUCH CHEAPER on EBAY!! RETURN THIS NOOOW!!! so i live in fear until the international edition comes, next wednesday, the day of my first lab. meanwhile, i have to stare at the beautiful textbook that is pretty and has a nice cover that i just can't have unless i can say bye-bye to a sweet deal.

    i haven't even started any of my homework yet. also, i am like 2 or 3 days behind in my lab work for lab. god help me.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    30% of couples met online according to Time

    i've thought as much about work in the past few days as i should've been thinking about it all summer.

    so i've decided to use post-it notes and put them around my head-side of the bed to remind me what i have to do otherwise i'll totally forget.

    to-do list for tomorrow:
    -get early start, which means go to bed soon
    -find ways to drink milk before its due date (i am drinking maxwell house instant chai tea latte right now-- so good!)
    -buy eggs, other forms of protein (maybe those pre-cooked chicken strips you can put into salad and also some turkey), redhot sauce (which people don't know is actually buffalo sauce, yum) to eat with non-recalled eggs, and random other foods for jason's birthday celebration
    -guilt trip parents into giving some of chobani yogurt stash. maybe just buy some of the strawberry kind since that's the best anyway
    -pack lunch
    -find bike lock holder thing and summon courage to take bike for a spin (but not tomorrow, no time)
    -mail Becca's Mad Men DVD back
    -go to work in Gilroy lab, fix problems with plants, read more of paper on aquaporins, become intelligent.

    Friday, August 20, 2010


    you know it well.

    as humans, we know what's best for us.

    for example, if i have a big test this thursday (i don't), i know it would behoove me to study. but instead, i often just procrastinate until i near the point of no return.
    why do i do this? maybe i like the drama.
    maybe the thought of improving my life or myself in some way summons in me a fear of change. maybe i fear that if i get what i want i'll miss something else, or somehow be unhappy.

    i'm kind of sick of this self-sabotage thing. too often do i look at life as a win-lose situation... i think that if i gain something, i inevitably lose something else.
    i don't know if that's necessarily true.

    lately i've just been in this spin where i waste all my time thinking and worrying about my problems and not doing anything (save a few runs) about it. so many things are fixed by taking the initiative, by focusing outward, by remembering the big picture. i'm always apologizing to people, but the person i really need to apologize to is myself. i can't think of life with this "oh what will they think of me" "oh am i doing this right?" mentality. i just have to figure things out by myself and instead of saying "sorry i made you have to do this," i should say, "thank you for doing this for me."

    i need to stop thinking about what i have to say and just say it sometimes. i need to feel rather than think.
    i can't just worry about whether or not i have what it takes to make someone care about me. i just have to be someone who i would want to care about.

    and who is that person?
    that is someone who is kind and selfless. someone who is courteous and gentle. someone who takes pleasure in simplicity, but appreciates and comprehends complexity. someone who sees beauty in roughness and reality. someone who is just friendly. someone who will do something even if the end-result is not clear. someone who is strong enough to ask for what they want. someone who sings to himself despite not knowing the words or the melody. someone who doesn't mind spending a day alone. someone who is innately curious. someone who reads. someone who believes that people are inherently good. someone who believes in love. someone who is content with waiting for what they want. someone who makes the most of things. someone who sees the value in others.

    i'm gonna work this new attitude.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    does it bug anyone else that...

    quaker's steak and lube has the word "lube" in the name and the menu boasts of different types of LUBE you can LUBE up your sandwiches with? cute, but kind of sickening, which kind of goes for the whole place. i got the sauce that was 10X spicier than regular hot, and it wasn't that hot, so pat on the back for my spiceholding capabilities.

    sorry for the asinine, boorish commentary, but i paid $4 (for an iced chai) to get on the internet and out of the heat today and I'd like to get my money's worth from this "free" internet. there ain't no such thing as free wi-fi.

    so i've grown to really enjoy having the two-roomer to myself. i walk around in my underwear and listen to music whenever i want and boil eggs all the time, having extended my bedroom to include the whole apartment. i watch a ton of daria, but i've finished it as of this morning... also, my bike is in the apartment because i don't want to teach myself how to use the big scary Kryptonium lock yet so i have to step around it to make coffee. as everyone knows, moveout day is in 2 (two) days and cohabitation will commence yet again with becca & connie... two of my best friends, strong women who are very, very different. naturally, i'm really excited to see how this goes. i just feel like it'll be really interesting.

    whoa, i've been writing this for a while.

    yesterday night, becca and i met michael moscovitz (princess diaries, anyone?) or his real self, robert schwartzmann of rooney. this is the man whose voice narrated each and every heartbreak i've had since 7th grade when i bought their CD. we were at the rooney concert, which was chock full of girls like us, who love boys who sing about breaking girls' hearts. robert totally gave us hugs. good ones, too, that he initiated. point for team beccaarushi. that looks funny.

    don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter. life's candy, and the sun's a ball of butter.
    don't send around a cloud to rain on my parade!

    things i like (fall 2010 edition):
    casual friendships. hanging out during the day with nochem hanging over my head. going out to lunch with checca. non-deep conversations. not worrying. falling asleep on a bare mattress with daria. combining words. being happy with myself. the strokes. rooney. the shins. i gotta learn how to write songs like these people. things, like friendship or thinking for example, that are free, but super awesome quality anyway. knowing in my heart that i've got it going on.

    things i don't like.
    the fact that my id talks before i can stop it, and then my superego has to step in and explain that my id is overactive, and it never makes it better. my beloved 80 gig iPod may or may not be slowly nearing its inevitable end of life. stupid blogger won't let me move around my cursor without use of the arrow keys. moving & everything associated with it. the feeling that i'm not being productive when i could be. oh well. falling for someone even though i should know better.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    i wake up every evening

    "I'll always be honest with you-- painfully so. All I ask is that you're honest with me, too."

    Sunday, August 01, 2010

    i suck at posting.

    i say this not because i haven't posted in a while... it really has not been that long. i say this only because i always start writing a post and then abandon it halfway through either because i'm not sure i want everyone i know to read it or because it feels half-baked in some way.  (also, half-baked ben & jerry's is overrated. yeah, i went there.)

    i'm thinking it's better when i'm stream of consciousness anyway.

    one of the best things in the world is hanging out with my family, especially my little brother. but i don't know that i can really handle being at home anymore, if not only because there's way way too much food in this place. for breakfast, i ate 3 eggs, half a bowl of cereal (the rest of which i pawned off on chet as any good sister would) while watching fareed zakaria GPS and then reliable sources. fareed zakaria ROCKS, he is very good at interviewing people and getting real answers out of them. he's one of those people that stops CNN from towing the bipartisan line by just getting out the facts. that's because he just really knows his shit about foreign policy. he talked to john kerry and the ambassador from pakistan about the state of affairs regarding the Taliban and the Pakistani govt and got kerry to say that the republicans are putting a huge block in Congress against anything left and it just straight-up sucks more than it ever has before and it's allowing people like China to get ahead on things like carbon credits-- something that's just going to make them even more powerful than us as a world power.

    then i went and took a nap and did ochem on chet's bed while listening to his music, (which is just kind of a mix of soundtracks to tv shows and random musical numbers from musicals and beatles... the kid has pretty good tastes in that i don't have to switch the song very frequently). it was the first of two naps. i woke up because my dad had randomly decided to make mango lassi (it's essentially a mango-flavored indian yogurt smoothie) and bring it to me, because it's only like, my favorite indian beverage. so i drank a glass of that, but then papa decided it wasn't mango-ey enough, so he made me another glass. so that was post-breakfast. later, i was called upon again to eat the aloo ki sabzi, which is only my other favorite indian dish in the whole world, which according to my dad is the "uttar pradesh comfort food."
    so that was my lunch-ish.
    after that, i got distracted because chet was playing the glee soundtrack over the bose system, so naturally, there was a singing-dancing interlude before mom started getting stressed that maybe the neighbors/golfers could hear us because the windows were open and made us turn it off.
    chet is like, one of the only people who understands how fucking wonderful a release it is to have a musical interlude. i miss this at college. no one likes it when you sing at college! (except for the gilroy lab.. they've been pretty understanding of it.)

    so i went and wasted time on my computer for two hours, but got told i was beautiful/respectable, so that was cool. then i ate again. this time it was beef soup that was too bland so i added salt and crushed red peppers liberally. mom tried to tell me not to put salt in it ("maybe you should try not to....") and then just trailed off because she realized what kind of poor taste decision she was expecting me to make and how she herself would not have been able to follow it. my mom's a doctor so she's just trying to prevent us from all getting hypertension. (but she's also an indian cook, so she realizes how necessary salt is.) apparently, it's a problem for indians because our food is so damn salty, but it's not as big of a deal because in india people sweat a ton more to compensate. this was kind of my dinner, so i ate a yogurt (chobani, holla!) and a chocolate skinny cow thingy.

    then i studied again, but had to use the computer, which means i talked to jason more than i'm really supposed to, and then printed off more ochem stuff. then chet and papa decided they wanted to go canoe-ing without me (well, they decided they wanted to go canoe-ing whether or not my studying schedule would make it impossible for me to go) so the whole family left as i studied ochem further. to wake myself up, at this point, i felt really tired. i started to look for ice, because i didn't want to make myself boring coffee, but then found frozen raspberries, and then i got really excited and made myself a raspberry-pineapple-orange juice smoothie. then, as dessert, i had a shitty cold coffee, because our ice machine sucks.  (smoothies consumed today: 3)

     so then i did more ochem, and then i finally gave into tiredness and took a nap, knowing my family would wake me up when they got home. they brought me my favorite type of salad from culver's because they felt bad for me... the strawberry fields salad. (favorite things consumed today: 3)

    and now i'm here. gotta go do ochem.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010


    if you don't know the word "truth" when used as a verb, you probably never heard the song "these boots are made for walking" by nancy sinatra.  i know this song because my Nana sings it.
    she looks so sexy in that video, i pity the fool who lied when he should've been truthing, and samed when he should've been changing.

    so i thought i could truth a little bit before i head off to ochem. i gotta use this free internet somehow!


    -i found a french radio station on iTunes a few seconds ago. it ROCKS. like, for real, it's so nice to hear the french talk. i can totally understand it when it's slow enough. i'm going to get fluent in french. i can feel it. une energie joyeuse c'est positive. mais, aussi la musique n'est pas toujours la meilleure. mais la phrase precedente n'etait pas francais. i'm currently listening to "du contrat social" par jean jacques rousseau.

    -you should watch this video. it's hilariously done.  it's part of a project by Joseph Gordon-Levitt of 500 Days of Summer / 3rd Rock From the Sun/ 10 Things I hate about you fame to consolidate the talent of young awesome directors and actors over the internet and make freaking amazing stuff. watch the video, i implore you.  it's exactly the kind of thing i'm into.

    -we have neurons in our brain that make us like the music that we've heard more than once. at first, it hates music that seems not to have a pattern it can understand, but soon they work very very hard and decode the music so that we can love it. i learned about that from WNYC Radiolab's podcast entitled "Musical Language,"  which you should download and listen to if you ever get the chance. i've been getting the chance because i work in relative solitude in the lab all the time.

    -i have to find more new music to listen to. it's a constant struggle.  i've decided i like phoenix, but  i don't want to make music like theirs. in general, i've decided i don't like the way music encapsulates a feeling that is oftentimes a destructive one, like the one of falling into stupid unabashed first love or the one of dwelling on the relationships you're not in. i think it's weird that our band has no love songs under its belt. the closest thing is "a study in blue" but it's not really a love song at all. it's more about finding meaning.

    -i did my laundry by my lonesome last night and made a friend in my building who is a psychology post-doc from chile, who witnessed me drop my underwear no less than 3 times in the puddles in our laundry room due to flooding from the recent freak tornado/thunderstorm.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    tornado schmwarning

    so... i'm stuck in birge hall, the hall in which i work due to tornado warning stuff that's been happening today.

    so of course this is one of those poetic times where you're stuck at the hands of some higher power that has control over you. your 500 days of summer dates get canceled and you're just sitting there at a big computer and thinking maybe probably you should be doing something more intellectual or at least take advantage of this time by getting ahead on seed planting...

    no matter. i'm writing a blog entry because how much internet do i really get access to?
    actually a lot. despite the fact that i don't have internet between the hours of 7:30 and 10 in the morning on an average day, i still get to use it in crowded, public places from insecure ports. so my knowledge of current affairs has suffered a bit.

    i've been trying to think of more interesting things lately...

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    this was my first weekend spent totally downtown.

    with that comes some observation:

    -i think i decided that platonic friends are the best kind. since i'm single, that makes that everyone, which is good. this is probably a bad thesis to reach right before my radioshow tomorrow about sexual tension, but whatever.

    -it's not a good idea to miscategorize people into different categories than they fit into. in my experience, it's a bad idea to force anything or think of things in a what-if sense.

    -i am in birge hall trying to do ochem because kohl lent me his key and i keep hearing ghosts but i don't really mind them that much.

    -um, it's like, super easy to forget when to eat. also, it sucks to not have internet. it just does. internet is such a nice thing and i will never ever take it for granted again.

    here is a small list of things i'd rather do than ochem:
    -join the circus for that tongue rolly thing i do
    -become a cruise ship singer
    -callgirl for charity
    -oh yeah, singer in a band
    -walk the perimeter of campus
    -go shopping at urban 3 times in preparation for the exam (this i actually did)
    -eat indian buffet and make chem-related metaphors to describe my love life

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    one true friend in the universe

    i haven't really been having real emotions lately. i find it hard to cry or feel anything but ennui when i try to consider my life, because honestly, despite moments in my life that i regret, there has been hardly anything that would merit a single tear.

    but all the same, it's nice to cry. it's nice to feel. that's why i believe in the power of fiction. it's easier for me to cry when considering the plights of others. i watched seussical last night, starring my brother and a bunch of other 16 and under-year-olds. i used to feel weird when i went to his CTM shows, because when i was little i was in CTM and made way too big a deal about everything. but in truth, i really miss the adrenaline, glamour and teamwork of putting on a show- that's probably why i'm in a band now, or why i'm such a dramaqueen or why i watch and love glee.

    i'm constantly missing the old me. the person who was small, powerless, but still a person. full of hope and energy and life and love. i have to remind myself that it's still me, just in a different, wiser way.  watching my little brother, with his newly-changed voice and clean canvas on which he'll paint teenage experiences, depict an elephant who'd be jailed and rained on and get sick all to protect what he loves reminded me of what i stand for in the world. it was like an encapsulation of everything that's good, pure and yet unblemished by wrinkles and jadedness.

    all you need in the whole wide world is someone who'll face it with you. someone who'll love you for you, who'll stand by you, who'll have a good, riveting conversation with you and make you laugh. and sometimes you need to be that for yourself. i'm lucky- so lucky-- to have my two best friends in the world (the only two people i can count on to read this). and i want to spend my life fighting for other people like they do for me.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    there are some things that should not be important.

    these things:
    -where you lie on the gradient of complexion color
    -religion of lineage
    -giving or taking of 15 pounds of body weight
    -how many cavities someone has
    -waist to hip ratio

    things that are important:
    -ability to make you laugh
    -willingness to stay up late and/or wake up at a weird time just to talk to you when you're sad and have things to say that may or may not disappoint the listener
    -loving the same songs as you
    -sporcle skill
    -letting you be yourself and loving you because of it, not in spite of it
    -knowing you so well, just knowing what's up without having to ask you about it, sometimes telling you what's up even though you don't want to admit it a la that scene in hercules where meg won't say she's in love
    -your cute nose
    -street smarts & heart smarts

    fuck anyone who says otherwise.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    i sometimes say things that i don't mean.

    i figured i should start off with a disclaimer.

    i've been in a kind of off mood lately, which is admittedly odd for me because i feel like the past year has been this kind of unending mood typified by sinusoidal feelings ranging from YAY I'M SO HAPPY TO BE ALIVE IN THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD and ...oh that could've gone better...with a period of about a day. having this range of emotions allowed me to just compartmentalize my doubts and feelings and go into any situation with the fresh attitude of "okay, let's do this!"

    but alas, it's summer. the season of dwelling. and boy, do i have a lot to dwell on.

    right now i'm just in a funky, cranky mood, which makes me irritable and hard to live around, like when becca gets mad and it's all your fault even though you didn't do anything wrong and just happen to be sitting next to her when she's got 3 tests next week. and it's REALLY annoying to be upset-like, because normally i chide people for letting things they can't control control their emotions, and i've been doing this a lot lately. i was sitting on the hill today, writing in my notebook about how i feel like a cat that wants a mouse but has gotten a lobotomy and thus has no will to chase after this mouse. that was literally the most eloquent thing i could summon to describe my mood.

    i'm sitting in steep & brew because the person i was stealing internet from's internet is not working in my apartment and i needed to download some answers to problem sets that i've been trying to do for ochem that i'm trying to be motivated for.

    but i just keep thinking about people and things and how my cell phone which is quite possibly my only mode of communication with the outside world other than the hole in my face and fleeting bouts of internet is going to give me a tumor, how nigeria has oil spills galore that america has not made a big deal about despite the fact that we get oil from nigeria all the time and how i've cultivated this introverted personality inside of my extroverted self and it doesn't make any sense when i talk about it with people... how i don't really like people that much, but it seems like i'm like, obsessed with them due to the fact that i'm vocal about the liking that i do have. also, something i've always pondered...
    when you have chemistry with someone is it visible to that person as well? is chemistry just the nature of an interaction you have with someone, visible to the whole world? or is it deceptively only connected to your synapses and that person has a different idea of what chemistry you have, if you have any at all? basically, like, is it like an accelerator that connects directly to the fuel in your car, or is it a hybrid accelerator that sets of an electrical mechanism, which thus dictates to the car to send out fuel? does this make any sense? i have been wondering about this  a long time. i asked my roommate but she said she doesn't really know what chemistry is in relation between people.

    steep & brew is a surprisingly loud hangout place twenty minutes before close.. the staff here makes me a bit uncomfortable because they always make lewd sexual innuendos to each other in a flirty way, but i mean, this place has free wi-fi and good coffee and it's open until 11.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    dear everything.

    1. i do not like boys at all period. i know that sometimes my actions conflict with this general viewpoint, but i have to admit that this is my truth. guys are too impulsive and they don't plan and they do things like "improvise" and "get hammered," and think you're "beautiful" and admire you for the qualities you have and they don't, like planning, looking nice in floral prints, and talking to people. and it's like, enough already... why can't you just be my best friend, why can't you just rag on me instead of trying to impress me... i like a challenge.

    2. i went to costco with my parents, and ate a bunch of samples instead of eating the indian food at home yesterday. this makes me upset because this was my one chance to eat sambar and i didn't get it. and i effing miss my home-cooked cooking.

    3. i think becca is mad at me over something stupid.

    4. i really don't believe in the concept of shy-ness. why are people shy? it's not fair that i'm not shy. it puts WAY too much pressure on me.

    5. i am going to go see modest mouse this weekend.

    6. i haven't listened to any music in the past 4 days except for the mix CD i made my dad for father's day, which OMG he loves! he loves it, i'm so proud of myself because my dad scrutinizes all of the music that i listen to/get for him/sing for him. but he likes it and says it's great. i think i made my dad like guster. and over time, regina spektor. i'm really proud of myself.

    7. i really really want to re-re-record a study in blue. it's too soft when you play it through speakers. and there's some vocal stuff that could be better. why did i write such a difficult song? it's a truly difficult song to sing and to get the dynamics right on... oh well.

    8. i'm just kind of pretending ochem doesn't exist until class today.

    9. i sometimes wish you could like, find out statistics about how much people think of you. and that could be the way you decide who your friends are instead of blindly having to you know, assess their personality, and make possibly-accurate assumptions about people

    10. i wrote a song last night but it sounded too much like death cab for cutie. 

    11. i feel like i really don't believe in love the same way anyone else does... it's just another thing i'm "too cool" for.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    i have to take an ochem test soon

    very soon. here's caution, you wind!

    i don't understand why people shorten organic chem to "orgo." what the heck? there's no O sound in the second part of the word. you don't shorten physics to fizz-o, do you? you can say bio. that makes perfect sense.
    but i digress.

    i haven't been posting that often because i have yet to establish feelings of normalcy. i still feel odd, like the main characters of my life have left to go be on a different show that pays them better, and the tv show of my life is now adding new characters or making more minor characters that you've seen around develop larger roles and get more lines.

    just a thought.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    you're a dream to me, dream to me

    I just woke up from a dream that seemed like it was trying to tell me something important... been kind of combining aspects of the universe and aspects of my dreams to piece together and answer. And no, I'm not crazy, but to be honest, my dreams have been pretty successful in revealing what I want. Sometimes they're just spooky.

    For example, there was this time when I was excited about my first day of middle school and I had gotten a kind of shitty touch screen calendar fake palm pilot thing. I had wanted to get up super early so I could look nice and maybe fall in love. Yes, this was a ridiculous thought, but I was a crazy child who believed in love and peacemaking and unity and all that bullshit. I was pretty insane about it. I used to draw pictures of earths with smiley faces over all the land masses. I was not prepared for the reality of many things until I actually did fall in love and got smacked in the face by it. Anyway, none of this was relevant.

    The only thing that is was the fact that I kept having this dream that I was waking up, picking up my palm pilot to check the time and that I couldn't read the time. I kept picking it up, waking up and not being able to see it-- it replayed over and over until I got bored of the repetition and I woke up. The time was 20 minutes before my alarm was set to ring at 4:30. My dream essentially woke me up and told me something. Yes, it was stress-related and could've happened anyway... but I'll tell you another story.

    It was a random day just after school ended a few weeks ago. I was having this dream that was kind of convoluted (as dreams often are). In this dream, I decided to check my grades... (In real life, I hadn't been supremely worried about grades since I was tired from the semester and busy with other things, I hadn't thought about it too hard.) I kept checking my grades. All the grades that I already knew appeared, but then my Geography 339 class seemed to have a B in the slot, but I couldn't see. There was some stress that I might end up with an AB because I had to write this really intense research paper that I hadn't known much about to begin with, and it was basically the first hard writing-related thing that I'd ever done in my life. The dream consisted of me constantly trying to recheck my grades and being unsuccessful. When I checked my grades when I woke up, the grade was an A. It was weird that my dream would envision that whole scenario (how do YOU pronounce the word scenario. Is it scenArio or is it scenARio?) when I hadn't been thinking of grades at all. I had literally forgotten that I had grades yet missing.

    This happens a lot. Dreams sometimes save my life (or tell me exactly how I'm feeling based on the way I act in a dream.) I could share other dreams (I have a recurring one that I have to go onstage because I'm in a play and it's my cue and I have to do a costume change but I can't find the clothes and the clothes don't fit when I do find them and then I go onto stage and like, my mom's there) but I think I've made my point. I've always thought that I'm like, a little psychic about some things. It's not that I think I'm anointed with some mythical psychic power. It's just that often I just KNOW something's going to happen, because of my running, annoying analysis that goes on in my head. But I might be insane, because often, I do things over and over expecting a different result (which is the definition of insanity according to Albert Einstein). In my mind, things are different in different situations, so I'm more of a scientist.  At this point, I've probably lost you. So, I'm sorry. Suffice to say that I think about everything too much and therefore, sometimes with that, I end up figuring people out fast and being able to read their behavior really well and not-all-the-time-but-sometimes I can tell what's going to happen next. And it's really more of a curse than anything.

    But anyway, I'll tell you what the end message of my dream is... I need to be more self-reliant, self-motivated and other words, independent, brazen and less neurotic. I'm gonna do it.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Read this article.

    That is all.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    So...about that quest

    I don't know if all of those goals will be accomplished. My family is in town, including my aunt and uncle Monu and Sonali from England and their relatively new son, who I've now met for the first time, two-year-old Anant, my Reenu Bhua, and my sister. I'm having tons of fun because the family makes me realize where I get all of my spunk from. Some interesting liaisons of influence worked together under just the right temperature and pressure to make me. (I sound like my dad describing how cooking works.) There is not a dull moment when you get the nine of us all together. I wish I could give you a more vivid image of this fun phenomenon; it's a good time-- that's all I can really say, without getting anecdotal, which I could, but I'm not in much of an anecdotal mood.

    Suffice to say that my family is incredibly cute and funny. I am constantly thinking that I wish I had the video camera so I could remember these moments forever, or better, have some kind of paid camera crew to follow us all around so that we wouldn't have to carry the camera everywhere. We are so temperamental- all of us. One moment we are getting into a fight, next, we are laughing together. We're also all very different from one another, which makes our similarities even more interesting.

    I've recently been getting nostalgic. I started reading my xanga from high school. I basically started my xanga in 8th grade, circa my musical renaissance because I wanted to be able to express my opinions without someone finding it from Google or something. I'd say that was about the most creative time in my life as far as thinking about things pretty deeply. Back then, I was kind of caught between being a high-schooler and a middle-schooler, meaning that I had all the desires of a seventeen-year-old girl, but all the freedom of a toddler. My computer, my magazines and books, the library and my friend Cassie, were the sole portals I had to some cooler form of life. That's when I started to get into some really great music, and thank god I did that before high school. I started remembering when Becca and I first became friends, and what we talked about. I remember thinking she was so cool because she did stuff for herself and went on adventures that I couldn't dream of going on like secretly taking buses to Chicago to meet up with her boyfriend.

    I look back on myself now and think I was such an idiot back then with the way I looked at people and the way I acted, not considering the reactions of other people. But I guess you have to be an idiot sometime so you can learn from it or else you'll be an idiot forever and no one will want to remember you.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    Today I begin on a quest

    A quest, you ask?
    Yes, a quest.
    What for?
    To make my life interesting.
    And I know what you're thinking. Oh, Aarushi, you are sooo melodramatic! You are interesting. You're so interesting that you're downright weird.

    Yes, well. I'm in an interesting rut.
    The most interesting thing I did today was to go to the doctor with my mother and realize a condition I've had since puberty may never go away. I have to come to terms with the fact that I need to treat myself for conditions although girl, I have no faith in medicine. Well, not really. I just hate going to the doctor much like everyone else. Also, it's rainy and my flip-flops have slid off of my feet literally five times today.
    It's unfortunate that I only have 3 pairs of shoes because they all were accidentally donated.

    The second most interesting thing was rushing to the Humanities building to attend choir only to realize that I was an hour early for the she-bang. Yes, an hour early. How did I make this mistake?
    I blame This American Life, analog clocks, the rain and a general malaise.

    So I've been standing at this kiosk next to strangers trying to go on the internet to web sites that make me look interesting to bystanders and eavesdropping on phone conversations. Having phone conversations and wondering if the bystanders are listening. Wondering if that one guy in a huff has had a restraining order against him. Which, yeah, is interesting. But I want to do fun projects. I want to accomplish a variety of solitary things in my time each week. I want to not rely on others for fun.

    By this time next week my goals:
    -play a board/card game with someone
    -learn a new name
    -read the wikipedia article for each of TIME's influential people
    -plan next week's radioshow

    Stay with us.

    Sunday, June 06, 2010

    place matters

    it seems that the more i get older, the more everything becomes wireless
    phones that used to have curly cords that i would use to tie myself up in my room when i was six years old
    were replaced with cordless ones, then mobile ones
    and you know that the desktops so quickly were switched to lap-warming boxes

    humans have been wireless since birth
    but we don't notice it until we're alone, until we realize it's me, myself & i,
    moreso when we're alone in the world
    connected to nothing and no one
    and this is what i want to be

    the problem with wireless things is that you have to back them up
    you want to have a hard copy of what you have on the computer
    you have to have something to live by, someone to notice you once in a while
    something in your world to be connected to
    pictures that are framed are  more beautiful than those that are flicked through quickly on a screen
    things are so much more significant when they take up physical space
    you remember more when you feel something with your hands, when you write something down

    but... wireless things can go more places, see more beauty, try things out and throw them away
    they don't take as much energy or effort or money to sustain
    they take up less space and are less cumbersome on the whole.

    am i more likely to fly? 
    no strings attached
    look ma, no hands

    but i guess at the end of the day, everything that is wireless has to be plugged back in, recharged, revitalized for a new journey to somewhere...
    maybe it's no way to live.
    when you don't have a homebase to recharge at...
    you flit from place to place, trying to pick up energy from something or another. you have to find little pieces of solace... use toilets you're not used to and eat food you don't like, find rooms that you really like in the library.
    i never thought about it, but place is so important. movement is all fine and good but you have to have something to come home to. you have to have self-infrastructure to rely on.

    does it make you crazy to think that many of the people who will change your life unalterably you have not even met yet?
    does it make you feel weird that you'll have to impress them with some innovation you come up with the future... that you'll have to make brand new first impressions and brand new efforts and that what you've already done can't be the best you can do?
    does it make you nervous that maybe one day, every song that could possibly be written, will have already been written?

    good thing we're all plugged into the matrix and nothing is real.

    the wizened field before me where i saw you, we were frolicsome and hapless

    of course i miss you.

    even if i didn't, i'm constantly reminded of everything about you.

    i hear the noise from my window that we used to hear when i stayed up late in your arms... i see the dancing couples and remember being one of them. i dress up pretty and wonder how much you'd like it if you could see.

    but then i have to remind myself that although it's scary to be alone and it's easier to be with someone i've already won over, i need to win myself over.

    i just gotta stop thinking so damn much.

    Tuesday, June 01, 2010

    dear loving friends

    where the hell are you?

    i'm leaving today

    to move into my new apartment/chapter/abode.

    songs that i know that i love (that don't make a big deal about themselves)

    -new slang by the shins : turn me back into the pet that i was when we met/i was happier then, with no mindset/ but if you'da took to me like a gull takes to the wind/well, i'd'a danced like the king of the eyesores and the rest of our lives would'a fared well.

    -no surprises by radiohead: no alarms and no surprises, silence

    -missed the boat by modest mouse: of course everyone goes crazy over such and such and such/ we made ourselves a pillar/ but we just used it as a crutch/we were certainly uncertain/at least i'm pretty sure i am/well we didn't need the water/ but we just built that good, goddamn

    -kiss off by the violent femmes: behind my back, i can see them stare/ they treat me bad, but i don't mind/ they treat me bad/ they do it all the time

    -nowhere man by the beatles: he's a real nowhere man/sitting in a nowhere land/ making all his nowhere plans for nobody/ doesn't have a point of view/knows not where he's going to/isn't he a bit like you and me?

    -i'll make a man out of you from the mulan soundtrack : mister, i'll make a man out of you/ tranquil as a forest, but a fire within/ once you find your center, you are sure to win/you're a spineless, pale, pathetic lot and you haven't got a clue/somehow i'll make a man of you.../you must be swift as a coursing river (be a man)/ with all the force of a great typhoon (be a man)/with all the strength of a raging fire/mysterious as the dark side of the MOON! gotta love that song! it has an a cappella breakdown!

    -between love & hate by the strokes: never needed anybody/i never needed anybody/i never needed anybody/i never needed nobodyyyy.

    -defending the paint by the soft drugs: well, i heard it was you/ those guys don't know/just how thorough/ a plan can be/ but now they're working for me

    -she's fantastic by sondre lerche: all the girls that i know/suddenly seem so-so/suddenly no one quite can compare to her/why? she's fantastic/ i don't know what to do/what is a guy to contribute?/ all the girls my own age/ have me turning the page/ there so eager to try/ she don't do nothing/ why? she's fantastic!

    -i know there's an answer by sonic youth: i know so many people who think they can do it alone/ they isolate their heads and stay in their safety zone/ but what can you tell them?/ and what can you say that won't make them defensive?/ i know there's an answer/ i know now but i have to find it by myself.

    -myla goldberg by the decemberists: this song reminds me of becca for some reason. must be the jewish-ness.

    -everything i want to be by save ferris: i find myself, i'm just a-wasting my time away/ no matter what i do, it always ends up the same/ one minute moves into the next/ my life was simple but now it's complex/ and it doesn't seem to mean anything at all/ and everything i wanna be/is just another silly dream, you see/ but i keep dreaming just the same!

    -the way you look tonight by frank sinatra: someday, when i'm awfully low, when the world is cold, i will feel aglow just thinking of you-- and the way you look tonight.

    -all of the time by locksley: because everywhere she is i want to be/when i'm holding her, it makes me weak/we've got a kind of love that's hard to see/but your lies are tearing her away from me

    -all my life by the foo fighters: this song was one of the first songs i listened to when i started listening to real music.

    -intervention by arcade fire: you say it's money that we need, as if we're only mouths to feed

    -walk away by franz ferdinand: why don't you walk away?/no buildings will fall down/ no quake will split the ground/won't you walk away?/ the sun won't swallow the sky/ why don't you walk away?/statues will not cry.

    -everywhere by fleetwood mac: my parents loved this song when i was a wee child. naturally, it was one of the first songs i ever knew.

    -dreams by the cranberries 

    -kiss me by sixpence none the richer

    -time is all around by regina spektor : but leaves become most beautiful when they're about to die, when they're about to fall from trees, when they're about to dry up! why am i supposed to love if i don't want to love? why am i supposed to, i'm so tired. why am i supposed to love if i don't want- i don't want- i don't want to.

    not inclusive, duh.

    albums i'm gonna listen to in my new room:

    windsurfing nation - broken social scene
    it's never been like that - phoenix
    this is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about - modest mouse
    clandestino - manu chao
    peaceful - prasanna

    i swear i'm going to like not listen to a mix for a week. really. hopefully.

    not inclusive either.

    favorite albums (could listen to all the way through and enjoy the whole thing  without skipping songs or albums that i have developed a relationship with):
    comfort eagle -cake
    in between dreams - jack johnson
    chutes too narrow - the shins (also: wincing the night away; oh, inverted world-basically everything mercer has ever written)
    is this it- the strokes (also: everything else by the strokes- i literally like all of their songs)
    you could have it so much better - franz ferdinand
    franz ferdinand- franz ferdinand
    funeral, neon bible- arcade fire
    begin to hope, soviet kitsch- regina spektor
    the doors- the doors
    ok go - ok go
    vampire weekend - vampire weekend
    picaresque- the decemberists
    her majesty- the decemberists
    give up - postal service
    parachutes - coldplay
    i'm wide awake, it's morning - bright eyes
    the stranger- billy joel
    rubber soul, abbey road, revolver - the beatles
    yours to keep- albert hammond jr.
    ok computer - radiohead
    good news for people who love bad news - modest mouse
    white blood cells, elephant - the white stripes
    who's next - the who
    hairspray OST (i think this one is cheating, but whatever)
    twentysomething- jamie cullum
    dark side of the moon -pink floyd (i know i'm super original)
    every breath you take: the classics- police (this is also cheating because this is a greatest hits album)
    [i want to say something by death cab for cutie but i can't think of one album by them that i totally loved to death, except that i didn't really like narrow stairs. but that's the opposite. i guess i could say plans or transatlanticism, but i know that i still skip stuff on those CDs.
    but on the relationship criterion, i'll say: ]
    plans, transatlanticism (um, this one has a lack of color by far making it have to be on this list)
    nirvana unplugged in new york
    louise attaque - louise attaque
    how it ends- devotchka
    the velvet underground & nico - the velvet underground & nico
    dear catastrophe waitress- belle & sebastian
    frank sinatra reprise collection disc 1
    keep it together - guster
    antics - interpol
    curbside prophet- jason mraz (nobody better give me shit for this)
    pale young gentleman (self-titled)
    don't make me wait - locksley (except, all of the time and into the sun were better on the EP version, which is weird, but i lost the full EP in transferring music files between computers)
    more adventurous - rilo kiley
    the sound of the smiths  (another best of)

    nothing else that i can think of right now makes the cut.  wow, i just wasted a ton of time.

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    just a little thought

    he's gone.
    maybe, forever.
    he left me
    a guitar
    an amp
    a book he says reminds him of me
    a movie that we watched today that made us cry
    about explorers in the sky
    he loves me more than i could ever hope to be loved.
    and i sent him away.

    one day, maybe i'll see him in the sky from atop a mountain i've already climbed.
    he'll wave at me from a very tall tree.
    and i'll wave back at him.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010

    and it is true what you said... that i live like a hermit in my own head

    i'm isolating myself on purpose today. i know i'm letting people down.
    i'm in my room trying to make sense of my infinitely growing expanse of clothing yet again
    it's kind of depressing... all the clothes i didn't wear, all the tattered, broken articles: bras with underwire poking out, leggings with holes in them, jackets with missing buttons, shirts that i bought from being part of a school program that are all either a little too big or a little too small for me. i had a fashion show for myself; that was exciting.

    i don't have the heart to throw anything away. i throw things out on an impulse, and regret it later. everything seems to have a story, like the pink bra that i made my cousin buy for me in a high fashion mall because it was a fraction of the price it would've been in america, prompting my aunt to ask me why i would ever need such a luxurious bra. the black polka dot tank top i no longer have that i have the exact inverse patterned boxers for. all the kurtis i bought dirt-cheap from a low-quality outlet in delhi that i should've already thrown out by now.

    i try on basically all of my clothes during these cleanup sessions- i like to imagine i'm some kind of fashion forward princess, and i wear around my tiara because i can. i dress like i'm one of those New york fashion week models, next a librarian, next like regine cassagne, then like a "hipster." i'm not a hipster. i'm lucky i never throw anything away otherwise these illusions would be hard to support. probably the only time i'll allow myself to wear leggings as pants.

    can you tell i'm not often alone for long periods of time?

    i'm going to be alone a lot more starting tuesday or wednesday depending on when exactly i'll move in. these are the things i will do to fill that time:
    - practice guitar
    - walk around by myself, appreciate the beauty that our campus is, and read books
    - explore state street and monroe street
    - cook for two
    - go to the nat and swim.
    - listen to a lot more music. review a lot of CDs.
    - try to write poetry, try to write songs
    - decorate new room
    -write emails to boy
    - for the love of god, get my bike fixed.
    - write storylines for "Who shot the serif?" (my radio show with becca)

    things i haven't been doing enough of
    -having real full-out emotions; crying
    -reading the news

    things i've been doing too much of
    -hanging out with people
    -feeling/being awkward
    -trying to make mix CDs
    -charging computer/iPod
    -being a know-it-all

    i really want to...
    -forget my troubles for a bit
    -get this damn room clean, my damn stuff packed up, my damn bike fixed, my damn act together
    -cry a lot
    -fast forward through the next two weeks of transition and just take ochem in peace.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    it's hard having fun, it's much easier said than it's done [lyrics post]

    hold me like before, hold me like you used to, control me like you used to...
    you don't move me like before, and i'm glad that you don't, because i can't take it anymore

    you wanna know, what's that godawful sound? something's dragging on the ground. the machine is breaking down.

    secret heart, go on and share it. this loneliness- few can bare it. could it be three simple words, or the fear of being overheard?

    if every scrap of marble contains a beautiful woman, then all that it takes is the patience to chisel her out.
    tell me anything you want. any old lie will do. 
    i read the body count out of the paper and now it's written all over my face. 
    no one ever plans to sleep out in the gutter. sometimes that's just the most comfortable place.
    you can't stop my happiness, because i like the way i am.
    let the music smother me, whole weekend recovery.  dancing on a friday night.

    one day i'm gonna be a star. then i'll get to hang in a bar. i'll go to vegas with the playas, just to forget my scars.
    oh, oh, oh, oh, i'll get him hot and show him what i've got.

    my love, she throws me like a rubber ball. and she won't catch me or break my fall. with rings on her fingers, and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.
    it's always better on holiday, that's why we only work when we need the money. 

                                       it's way too late
                  to be this locked inside ourselves. the trouble is that you're in love with someone else. 
    says here an astronaut put on a pair of diapers and drove 18 hours to kill her boyfriend. in my hotel room, i'm wondering if you read that story too. and if we both might be having the same imaginary conversation.

            what are you staring at? nothing, your hair in the moonlight. you look familiar.

    a woman calls my house once a week, she's always selling things: some charity, a phone plan, a subscription to a magazine. and as i turned her down, i always do, there's something trembling in her voice. i said, "hey what troubles you?"
    she said, "i'm surprised you noticed. well my husband he is leaving and i can't convince him to stay, and he'll take our daughter with him, she wants to go with him anyway. i'm sorry i'm hard to live with. living is the problem for me. i'm selling people things they don't want when i don't know what you need."

    i keep a close watch on this heart of mine. 
    i keep my eyes wide open all the time. i keep the ends out for the tie that binds. 
    because you're mine, i walk the line.
    i find it very very easy to be true,
    i find myself alone when each day is through. 
    yes i'll admit that i'm a fool for you. because you're mine, i walk the line.

    listen honey there is nothing you could say to OFFEND me anymore; you DON'T SEND me anymore. 
    our little scene is getting smaller by the day. it's a HUMAN ZOO. 

                                    i called you because i love you so. that's reason enough. it doesn't show.

       while we're on the subject, could we change the subject now?
       i was knocking on your ears. (don't worry, you were always out.) 
        looking towards the future, we were begging for the past. well, we know we had the good things, but those never seem to last. oh, please just last.  
    oh and we carried it all so well as if we'd got a new position. 

              and true, it may seem like a stretch but it's thoughts like this that catch my troubled head when you're away and i am missing you to death.

    i like you, yeah i like you, and i'm feeling so bohemian like you. 

                                                             AND IT'S YOU I HEAR, SO LOUD AND SO CLEAR. 

    there were days when a refrain would brighten our corner of hickory lane, and you would sing that song for me just like your favorite singer. why'd you have to be so nice? a wink and a girly smile. why'd you have to punch my eye? that was something. but did you want me to stay?
                                       born to multiply, born to gaze into night's skies. all you want's one more saturday.