Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm Doing Alright

A few interesting things have happened over the past few days which I feel I need to touch upon --

A. "Jalapeño Hands"

Literally pretty much how it sounds. I cut up 4 jalapeños for guacamole and salsa that I made for my birthday party, and though I have never had issues with this before, this time it was a different case. I ended up getting pretty bad jalapeno burns, which made my hands feel like they were on fire for three hours. I googled remedies, and ended up finding quite a lot, yet only one combination worked for me... I tried washing my hands in cold water, in hot water, soaking my hands in milk, using hand sanitizer, using olive oil... Finally, finally, relief came in the form of baking soda mixed with water to make a paste that I coated my fingers with, then i put ice packs on top of my hands and put my hands on a towel and then proceeded to go to sleep. Cut through the pain and effectively diminished it!

I'm really interested in writing about this (by writing, I mean write a poem), because I feel that this subject will take me to some really fascinating places. So, now I have two things on my "writing to do list": conversation with my father and jalapeño hands. I think I'll probably have to add writing a poem about my father's birthday, which is today. June 28th. He's 60 years old today.

I love my father. I really, really do. A few years ago, I wrote a poem entitled "56," which was about my mother, and 56 was the title because it was her age at the time. Maybe I'll write a poem entitled "60" and dedicate it to my father. We'll see.

B. My birthday party last night

Well, it happened. There were some things I would have changed but ultimately I did have fun. I think it really comes down to the mind set that I take when looking back upon it -- overall, I had a good time. It was frustrating trying to keep track of 40 people milling around the house, and I suppose I really should have just let it go and enjoyed myself a little more. It was my birthday party and I ended up feeling like more of a chaperon.

It was strange, because there were people with more than one degree of separation there from me. I only told my friends about this, and I didn't really make it an open invitation ... and yet my friends brought people who brought their friends who brought their friends. I was peculiar going up to people and asking them who they knew, and then they would point someone out and I would say, "I have no idea who that is," which would be followed by them explaining who that person knew and I would have to say "Yeah, I don't know that person either."

Don't get me wrong, it didn't really bother me that much. I just felt that the house would have been respected a lot more had it just been friends.

I've noticed that no one really listens to me, which is incredibly frustrating. Perhaps that's another reason to add to the list of reasons I created this blog. No one listens, I have a lot of stuff to say, so I needed to create an outlet. This is the perfect way.

Signing off. Bienkowski, out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lit 101 Class in Three Lines or Less

This rules. Even though I'm an English major, this is incredibly hilarious to me.

Lit 101 Class in Three Lines or Less

The Struggle of Writing

One of the most frustrating experiences I have ever encountered is when I get into this mood where I want to write about something that evokes incredibly strong emotions within me, but when I sit down to write about it, I can't seem to find any beginnings, only muddled emotions that I can't quite put into words. What is this phenomenon? I feel like I can close my eyes and feel the words in the air around me, but they're written in a language that I cannot comprehend.

I want to start writing about this conversation that I had with my dad (I mentioned it in a previous post). I want to be able to capture a certian amount of juxtaposition in the scenery that was around us, the calm with which we spoke, but the severity of the words.

This feels important. This is important. I must remember this .... I must remember.

This is another poem that is going to be found by battling through twisted brush and ceaseless torture. But the end result, I think, will be beautiful. It seems like a terrible image -- beauty is released through torture. Yet in the end, every lesson we learn isn't because of good things that happen to us, but because of bad things that do. Do we really not learn except from our mistakes? Do we never learn from good fortune? I have found that because of my experiences in the past, I have a larger appreciation for the good things that do happen. It is important to remember that I do not appreciate the good things that happen now because they are inherently good things--I appreciate them because in comparison to other things, they are better. Because terrible things have happened in the past, the essence of good things is more palpable and accessible.

This realization is rather frightening.

Check out this quote by Khalil Gibran from his book The Prophet:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed."

An On Demand Post

So, there's this game. (I lost the game).'s kind of the most ridiculous thing ever. My friend Phil was playing it Sunday night when I went over to hang out with him and I got sort of addicted. I finally finished all the levels today. But here's a link to it for those with equally as little to do while working (or whatever):

Magic Pen

The Gaslight Anthem

I definitely just bought this:

One of my favorite bands. They're pretty incredible...I can't wait for the album to come out. Click on the picture to buy the 7"!! :) Album comes out in August..



I am a strange loop

Today will be a strange day.

Last night I was privy to a conversation that had to deal with what actually constitutes art, which brought up some interesting ideas. What is art? Is art a definable thing? How is it defined by different cultures?

One person was arguing that a semi-candid photograph has more of an intrinsic quality lending itself to art than a staged photograph and the other person argued the vice versa. Both sides were rather adamant about their individual views, to the point where I almost thought they would come to blows! In the end, both left the argument still clinging on to their opinions.

So what did this conversation spark in me? You know, I'm not so sure. For me, art is rather an ambiguous thing, and rather relative in general. Does it matter which one to a person is more "artful?" On the other hand, wouldn't I be in the same position to be less inclined to label something as art if I don't like it, if I feel it is more forced than something else? Or would I still ascribe it art? What is art?...

Personally I am more inclined to think that art is more of a mindset that manifests itself in a physical, tangible way through media. Mulling it over, I come to the conclusion that for myself, I may even venture to say that a beautiful scenery that is before me (a sunset, the light capturing something in a poignant way) in nature itself is art for me. It is the very essence of art, uncaptured, fleeting. But isn't the beauty of every moment in its fleeting quality?

I'm sitting here and literally the only thing I can think of is, "well, jeez, I shouldn't be making all of this separate paragraphs because one of my TAs last semester told me that it certainly can't be a paragraph if it is only a few lines long." How completely absurd.

I almost started this post by describing how my day was going to be and what I did yesterday. I had to forcibly stop myself and delete those lines. I had to begin again, and write something more meaningful.

To be quite honest, these short paragraphs really are annoying me.

I told one of my friends about this blog last night, and he asked me why I actually began it (apparently he had "skimmed it over" and come to his own conclusion what it was about, which I find to be sort of an affront). By explaining it, I think I came to more of an understanding myself why I created this: to put thoughts down, to work on my writing skills. I need to start writing my poetry again and posting it up here, I've been slacking. Perhaps I'll write something today since I have so much free time (12 hour shift baby) and put it up here. I've been meaning to mold some thoughts together respecting a conversation that occurred between my father and myself last week. We'll see.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

This made me tear up. Legit.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Bombing Iran

Oh, here's a good one:

Kristol: Bush Might Bomb Iran if He Thinks 'Obama is Going to Win' June 22, 2008 by The Huffington Post

Digg Articles

I've been starting to get real down on the sort of articles I see on digg. Here are some examples just from the first few pages:

Years Later, Climatologist Renews His Call for Action June 23, 2008 by Andrew C. Revkin - About the greenhouse effect and global warming, esp. how this climatologist believes that it is "almost" too late to stop it. Despite the years of warnings and the endless possibilities that could have been pursued in order to update technology and "clear the air" (haha) a little bit, the world remains largely indifferent towards its plight. I mean, come on, there's this dude in Germany who has green coming out of his ears (wish I could find the article right now but I can't seem to) and only about 3% of Americans have gone green.

MoveOn to Obama: Keep Your Word, Fillibuster Telecom Immunity
June 22, 2008 by The Huffington Post - presses Obama to fillibuster any legislature regarding spying on Americans via wiretapping and the like. Ridiculous that this bill passed through the House.

Obama: I'll Fight To Strip Telecom Immunity From FISA June 21, 2008 by David S. Morgan - See above.

49% Say Government Should Regulate the Internet June 21, 2008 by Rasmussen Reports - People think that the internet should be regulated just like TV and radio. Where will it end? People fight for freedom in American and then ask for their freedom to be purposefully restricted -- makes me sick.

Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater is Still in Charge, Deadly, Above the Law and Out of Control June 19, 2008 by Antonia Juhasz - An interview with Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book about Blackwater and how it is still largely in control.

Copyright law would turn millions into criminals June 20, 2008 by Catherine Ford for the Calgary Herald - If you give someone your old DVDs or VHS tapes, beware! Apparently that would be theft on their part!

It just seems like nobody really cares about important issues. People may or may not even be aware of them. For that matter, when was the last time we heard anything about Darfur in the mainstream news? There's still a genocide occuring.

I think what makes me angriest about these is that I do the same thing. Despite the fact that these articles upset me, I still don't do much to combat the issues. What have I done to go "green?" What have I done to contact my Senators to make sure that the Telecom retroactive immunity law doesn't get passed?

Is there anything I can really do? Isn't this just the same mindset that everyone has?

re: Creation

You know, I haven't had something like this in at least four years. The last time I had an online blog I was using livejournal and xanga, with the livejournal portion manifesting a strange sense of haughtiness in me. I remember the culture within the livejournal community, teeming with vanity and the self-absorbed, myself woefully included. (Note: I wish that I could tab for indented paragraphs in this. I suppose I could delve into the html portion and manually edit it, however I feel a tad bit too lazy to do this at the moment).

I remember that people would make their ljs private and leave one post public, basically saying "oh if you would like to read this then you must be my friend and you must be approved, and you'll only be approved if you're super awesome." Regretfully, I too was a part of this crowd. Looking back upon it, it seems silly, however it is reminescent of myspace in a way. Of course, myspace was created in 2003, after this lj phenomenon began to occur.

People still use lj, and xanga, which is strange for me. But I suppose that this is just me assuming my personal experience is akin to that of others. Which I suppose everybody does -- a general example would be the assumption that flying is more dangerous than driving, but in fact many more car accident occur.

Since the time of my livejournal excursions, I think that I have learned quite a bit about not only myself, but about life. At least, I sincerely hope so. I try to live my life with a little less bias, and a little more maturity than in previous years. But of course sometimes this doesn't happen seamlessly...I am only human, and can only content myself with knowing that I try.

As for the reason that I created this blog--well, I don't know, really. I've been at work since 8:30am and I was surfing digg when I just kept coming across these articles that upset me, and I figured, "why the hell not?" I don't seriously believe that anyone will more than glance at this from time to time, yet the idea of returning to blogging roots is tempting. I will not be writing this for anyone other than myself, and simply think it will be a fun project. Besides, my memory is shotty as hell and having some place where I can return at some point to review some memories would be helpful, even interesting.

So, really...Why not?

In the end, it's only because I think too much and have a lot to say, and by writing it all down I'll be able to sort out all of my thoughts and make sense of them. Therefore, cheers. To a new beginning, to a new quest for knowledge. Let it commence.


That just happened.

p.s. A little ridiculous that it took me roughly 10 minutes to come up with a blog domain name that had not already been taken. However, I am pleased with my final choice.