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Ganbare Nippon Collaboration!

April 26, 2011

THE VIDEO IS UP!

I posted about this a couple weeks ago: Victor over at Gimmeabreakman channel, and one of the best known Jvloggers out there, has put together an amazing YouTube community collaboration video to uplift the spirits of the Japanese and also to raise money to aid the relief efforts.

Well, the video is finally up and ready to be watched! Here’s how you can help!
Watch the video!
Click the Like button!
Comment on the video!
Spread the link around to others via social media!

Easy as can be! This video is being hosted through the YouTube Partners program. Basically, all of the activity on the video will build up ad revenue being run through Google. The money is being donated directly into Japanese Red Cross funds. This is a beautiful piece of art, showing the true spirit of humanity at its best: compassion, love, strength, and solidarity. Thanks to Victor for putting it together and to all of the people who worked on the editing, music, and especially those who submitted videos and pictures to support the project and to support Japan.

I’m so happy and honored that I appear in the video…twice! (I feel a bit bad for those who were cut when I made it in twice but Victor promised that a longer video is in the works too, including unseen footage!) Watch the video! Here’s a fun game… can you find me? You may need to watch it multiple times to locate my exact presence! In order to help up the views of this video… I’m not going to tell you where I am! haha But I promise, I’m in there twice! 😀

Ganbare Nippon! It is difficult to translate but it means along the lines of “Hang in there Japan! Stay strong. Don’t give up!”

IMPORTANT! Just because I am in the video and posting about it does NOT mean that I claim to have any ownership of this video! Nor did I work on it at all! All of the labor, the idea, the work was done by Victor and his minons! 😉

Down

April 19, 2011

An old, old piece redone.
This comes from an almost long forgotten, secret, dark spot in my heart. We all have some of those lurking around, don’t we? This is an extremely personal piece that will always have a bit of a vice grip on me. The circumstances surrounding its origin will always stay with me for the good and the bad. I found and went down memory lane with these words. The skeleton remains the same but I have reworked it in that last few days. Aaah my love/hate relationship with rewriting goes on. I flatter myself but I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Both the reasons behind it and the writing of it have made me better… …

Down

Strip me down to nothing.
Lay me out, bare
on a cold metal slab;
it stings like a slap in the face.

De-construct me down.
Down to my molecular level,
to atomic spirals and
my chromosomal structure.
We both need to see it.

What significance lies beneath
this thin veneer
of shriveled skin stability?

The ice of your stare,
the steel of your scalpel
makes quick work
of my heart.

70 beating dreams per minute.
Slowing.
Down.
Down.
Done.

Dissection.
An abstract autopsy
carving your critiques across
my vulnerability,
preforming your pathology
on my pieces
and my prose.

My creativity is your cadaver.
My most private parts
piled on your scale.

Three pounds of poems
and twenty feet of intestines
measured and weighed and bagged.

Sample my syllables.
Analyze my alliteration.
Decompose me down,
my dusty dreams to dust.

I am in a constant state of breakdown.

Rebuilt now with make up,
hiding rigormortis.

It’s already set in.

Stop

April 18, 2011

I’m sick
to my stomach in my soul
and you say there is nothing to be done about it.
(But if I need to lose weight fast, there are,
at least, five 800 numbers to call.)

I’m weeping
brokenhearted, infuriated
and you scrutinize my pleas for mercy and just
dismiss me with the flag.
(But if I need a boost in my day, there are
at least, five different drinks you can dispense.)

When did my grande soy chai latte
become more important than the ribs I can
count on a five year old refugee?

Stop.

Stop judging
my femininity,
my political slant,
my eating habits,
my activism,
my spirituality
and recall,
if you can,
the last time you gave a fuck
or worried about faith, hope, and love
more than an expletive.

Stop.

When will they see our love
as much as our willing ignorance?
When will their corpses weigh as much
(on our minds)
as the rising costs of fuel?
When will human life break
through the barrage of endless euphemisms?
“pre-emptive strike”
“God-given freedom”
“encouraging democracy”
“political negotiations”

These colors don’t run.
Indeed they don’t.
Instead they flow,
coursing through the streets,
unchecked,
unchallenged.
RED
in the streets.
There are WHITE
faces of death.
Under BLUE skies
nameless
and forgotten.

We turn our heads
towards the grass,
greener on our side.
Green like Lady Liberty.
Green to line our pockets.

I, you, us, me.
Me. Me.
Forget them: We.
We forget.

Stop.

Together

April 18, 2011

We’re all in this together.
There is a quiet refrain welling up throughout the whole of the earth…
it is our very breath filling up lungs and releasing, dispersing, circulating
inside and out. We’re the same; I feel that commonality pulling me into you as you are taken in by me.
I can often, in the most unplanned moments feel the closest knit ties to strangers as I watch them from far away, preoccupied in their own comings and goings.

We all want to just spin around silly sometimes don’t we? We all laugh till we cry and sometimes liquids shoot out of noses at jokes or expressions that transcend culture and language barriers.
There is no issue or wrongdoing that is too great to keep me from understanding your human condition as you comprehend mine.

Don’t we all need to dance and move and scream?
And you drink your coffee and dream about vacations to unknown places while still stressing over your work as I contemplate my relationships, stuck in traffic, worried about budgeting.
And it’s all the same really, when you get down to the minute bits of yourself. You feel. And so do I.
And I think we’re both so scared no one understands that or sees it. And we’re united, no matter what medium it comes through.
And I love you. And deep down, somewhere, you need me too.

I still catch myself looking up when a plane goes overhead… thinking of where it might take me.
Maybe it’s somewhere you are, or have been, or want to go.
Either way, I’ll meet you there.
And you’ll find me.

We’re all in this together.
I don’t feel our differences.
We all struggle.
We all dance.
We all fight.
We all die.
We all eat.
We all giggle.
We all love.
WE ALL!

And I can’t see the difference between anyone now.
And I like it that way.
It makes me hope.
It’s that thing, you know, that pushes inside your chest, and then you catch yourself smiling.
And then you realize you’ve been walking around lost in your own silly musing, and goodness knows
what kind of expression you’ve had on your face for a little while now.
We all get embarrassed. And I love discovering our similarities.

We’re all in this together.
And I breathe on.
I breathe.

Family is something that each of us need. It offers protection from the outside world, a world that never understands or appreciates what makes us different. There are others like us out there, shadows in the light. Each grasping for meaning in a world that won’t accept them for who they really are. They, like us, are blessed, gifted with extraordinary abilities. And they, like us, struggle with finding their place in an ordinary world. Haunted by their past and those that would haunt them to keep them from their destiny. Every one of them deserves a chance to be who they really are. But to what end…? For what purpose…? Here in this place, we offer salvation. We offer hope. We offer redemption. And one by one, they will come to our side, to our family. And they will find their way home. And all who have gathered will be strong. And all who have gathered will stand in unison. I say it’s time we found our way back home again.

Shopgirl: A Literary Review

April 18, 2011

“… just remember darling, it is pain that changes our lives.”

For Christmas I received a novella I’ve been dying to read for ages: Shopgirl by Steve Martin. (Yes, that Steve Martin.)

I saw the film starring Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman (♥), and Steve Martin and I just loved it. The book, though deeper than I thought and much more sexually charged than the film, did not fail to disappoint. In fact, I finished all 130 pages during my travels on Christmas day. Waiting in the airport can be productive!

The books is quietly existential. The entire story is relayed from a third person, omniscent narrator that flows in and out of each character’s perspective with the easy stream of consciousness. There is very little dialogue despite how much happens. At times, months and months of time are showed lapsing through one simple phrase. At other times, every minute in an hour is meticulously described through the flow of thought and mental agony of a character’s deliberation on any given topic.

The characters are flawed and shallow and foolish. They develop in a believeable, slow process that doesn’t spare them any pain or embarrassment, yet the narrator isn’t cruel. Everything manages to come full circle but there are lessons learned, opportunities lost, and relationships both saved and severed.

The language is beautiful, rolling off the page with the surprising wit found only in the highly intellectual.
I was challeneged by this story. I enjoyed it. I found myself questioning my own motives and vices. I highly suggest it for those who are not faint of heart when it comes to blunt honesty or those with an aversion to multi-syllabic words. 🙂

Favorite Excerpts:
“She has learned that her body is precious and it musn’t be offered carelessly ever again, as it holds a direct connection to her heart. She sheathes herself in a protective envelope of caution and learns never to give away more than is being given to her.”

“On the walk home, as they warm up to each other and the night, Mirabelle recites the litany of reasons for her move, leaving out the most important one, and gets down to a final summation:
‘I’m fixing myself.’
‘I’m fixing myself too,’ says Jeremy.
And they know they will forever have something to talk about.”

“It is then Ray’s turn to to experience Mirabelle’s despair, to see its walls and colors. Ony then does he realize what he has done to Mirabelle, how wanting a square inch of her and not all of her has damaged them both, and how he cannot justify his actions except that, well, it was life.”

Near and Far

April 18, 2011

(by the incomparable Dr. Seuss)

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

I love to travel. It is one of the aspects that defines my life. For as long as I can remember, I have been planning trips. I still catch myself looking up as airplanes soar overhead, wondering where they are going and wishing I could hitch a ride. How grand that would be! I would simply stick my thumb up in the air and be lifted up and away, whisking off into adventure.

I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in my youth. Seeing the world and being a global citizen is not something I take lightly. I remember so many different experiences both enlightening and challenging from my global expeditions to Mexico, Finland, Canada, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Japan. I need to think back to those times and recollect, with great sensitivity, the lessons I extracted from each culture. I need to cling to the one lesson those travels pounded into my head – I am small.

I want to remember how small I am in this great big world. And I want to remember how small this world is in this great big universe. Only then can I appreciate how miraculous every connection between humanity is. There are overwhelming forces of science and spirit coursing through existence. Yet in some spectacular way, you and I can connect. That is how I want to live: connected. Community and creating a sense of home amongst the one hundred million differences found within two people is my lifelong pursuit.

I want to live connected to people and culture and art and history and all the little things in between. Learning is the best way for me to gain appreciation and humility. Only then, when I have come to better comprehend the beauty and mystery that surrounds me, may I begin to help others.

So let’s go feet…!

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Someday

April 18, 2011

Someday, I’ll tell you everything.
All the moments that I’ve collected in my jar
and set on my dresser
and carefully observed everyday
at a distance
through glass so strong
it kept me from running my fingers through the beauty.
It bent the light
refracting
shattering
off into a million pieces of brilliance
like your smile and your soul and your song.

Glass so strong that I’m forever blocked out of the little self contained universe inside.
Aware of all the comings and goings
and yet unable to touch or taste.
It distorted everything
making the life
larger
closer
and full of color that burned my eyes with feelings
like your love and your loss and your longing.

Someday I’ll tell you everything.
The depth of all my secrets I’ve collected in my jar
and hidden away in my closet
and tried to forget about everyday
from a distance.

I’ll tell you what said to me
and how I couldn’t wipe away your haze from my eyes
hours afterwards, days later
and even now.
I’ll quote you to yourself
and I don’t know how you’ll feel
or if you’ll remember
being brave, or smart, or strong.
I’ll tell you about the time when you first said my name
and exactly how breathless I was when you gave me yours.

Someday I’ll stop arguing with my hammer
and I’ll break the glass
letting everything spill out
and run free
run away.
But I hope you don’t.

Someday I’ll decipher dreams
and simplify the subtleties.
I’ll unravel my heartstrings as I unearth the enigmatic prose
and poetry I’ve been building for you
in hopes that
someday
you’ll look at me
not through glass jars and mirrors
or worry and question,
not through distance or indifference.
In hopes that
someday
you’ll look at me.
And I’ll be enough.
And then, what we’ve always wanted,
separate and together …
can begin.