friday ‘finking | 5 rules to com-mu-ni-cate

Communicate much? 

In my short life of living here and there, working here and there, making friends here and there and speaking this or that language, it happened many times to a) not get it, b) not being got and c) make crazy mistakes assuming people really understand not only what I’m trying to say, but also why I say it.

So here are a few things I learned.

1. Say what you mean. Beating it around the bush won’t cut it- people get bored, they get annoyed, and you’ll for ever be the princess who can’t gather the balls to voice their opinion. If you’re like me, crazy in the head and wild in their beliefs, you can choose to not say all that you mean- but better to have a drop of concentrated truth than a sea of blablablahs.

2. Mean what you say. Euphemism, metaphors, epithets are all good if you’re not comfortable delivering a shot of you (straight-up, olives on the side) every time you open your mouth. Use them instead of serving bullshit.

3. When in Rome, do what the Romans do. Try to adapt your discourse to the person in front of you, to the language you’re speaking in, to the local culture. It’s nice to be yourself 100% of the time, but if you’re trying to make yourself understood get it in your head that your collocutor may not have the cognitive tools to process your output accurately. Not because they’re stupid (although it does happen) or because they’re unwilling (although that happens, too)- but because they simply don’t know what to do with you. Like an exotic food they don’t know how to pair with wine.

4. If you’re a Roman, you have it easy- be nice, and meet your conversation partner mid-way. You’re at home, you know the culture and you speak the language- you have all the tools to understand what the other may want to say. Yes, they may be speaking your mother tongue with the grace of a military boot, wrongly conjugating some verb, or moving their hands too much, or misplacing prepositions; yes, they may commit some abhorrent cultural no-nos; and yes, they may take too damn long trying to say something simple- but they’re on your turf, and you’re equipped with everything you need to get it. So roll up your sleeves, work your brain and be patient. Your tolerance and your willingness to get it, I assure you, will be appreciated.

5. Get over yourself. MemememememeIIIIIIIIMineIthinkIwantMyopinionmemememememeIIIII… is straight-up lame. Stop being so me- centric, get out of your zone of fluff and understand that people come from different backgrounds (as solid and as valid as yours) and that a conversation is NOT a series of balanced, equally-spaced, repeated monologues (I said what I had to say, now you can say what you have to say, then step and repeat- how boring is that?!). It’s ok to interrupt, as long as it’s done respectfully and adds to the communication- so don’t take it personally. It’s ok to pause- silence is f-i-n-e. It’s ok to talk over each other, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the purpose of the talk. If the common purpose is com-mu-ni-cate, anything goes.

In my head, a perfect talk looks like a tapestry- well-constructed, intricate, made of different colors and threads. And, if not useful, at least beautiful.

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proud of the pride? | thoughts on the gay pride week

I live on THE Castro. In San Francisco. This year’s Pride parade was mature, peaceful, fun and beautiful. And big- actually, the biggest. More than 200 floats  made their way down Market Street, and for the 42nd time in history the city put its LGBT foot forward and celebrated love- of any kind.

Meanwhile, thousand took to the streets in Sidney, tens of thousands in Mexico City and almost half a million in Amsterdam, making the last week in June a world-wide movement to celebrate and reinforce the hard-earned right to equality.

In Romania- where same-sex relationships were deemed illegal until as recently as 2001- the parade was made of 200 people. Amongst them, officials from a few foreign embassies sincerely supporting the movement and bravely taking a stance- apart from the community, these foreigners were the only supporters. Around the parade, over 300 security officers, a few biased televisions (aaaahh, if you could only see the news titles and how tainted they were) and tens of members of a youth group called The New Right, chanting hate messages and clutching rocks.Death to the ass lovers. I watched the video posted by a friend on Facebook, and my skin began crawling with rage- for a variety of reasons.

First, the stuff I was witnessing– the video was, I’m telling you, appalling. Broad daylight, in the middle of a modern E.U. capital, rocks in hand: death to the ass lovers. With nobody getting particularly concerned about the 1000 ways this was wrong. Really?!? When interviewed, The New Right was very vocal and proud to take a stance against the rainbow scum of society- some talked about God, some spoke of family values, ALL mentioned a pure nation free of deviants- their discourse sounded vaguely familiar and invoked (at least in my head) memories of incendiary speeches from dark times when everything ended with Heil Hitler. Alarming, to say the least. The police was slightly amused, slightly annoyed to be forced to protect some people who, in their opinion, were looking for trouble to begin with- and I almost feel that, if left to their own, the security guards would have instigated a fight between the extremists and the rainbow-wearers, for the fun of watching it. Beer in hand.

Then, the comments. A few Neanderthals found it appropriate to pollute the video (and the position my friend was taking) with their crappy, hate-filled, self- indulgent thoughts- and I lost it. Wish I could translate everything that went down- but not only was I called an airheaded idiot ruined by my gullibility for western ideas, but I was also told to keep my mouth shut, since leaving the country apparently stripped me of any right to have an opinion. Now, these poor jackals barking at my tree did absolutely nothing to my tree/ego/position/sensibilities- if anything, they focused my arguments so that at some point, under my civilized tirade, they had to quiet down and think about how the gays are not parading for the right to fuck (each other), but the right to not be fucked with (by the society). Yay for me. But the whole exchange and the fact that it was public and shamelessly discriminatory (on their part) got me thinking. These are young, hardworking, highly educated people who are well informed and have access to mass communication. Not only are they immovable in their concepts, but they’re very aggressive in taking hold (and comfort) in whatever the majority thinks right. That, and the fact that they were so quick to renounce me made me sad-sad-sad- because it’s hard to keep loving (and helping) a country that doesn’t love you back. Anyway. I advised all my friends who think like me to find a Neanderthal of their own and make it their mission to bombard them with information, pressure and love until they crack. Maybe that’s how the change will come, if it does. One Neanderthal at a time.

Lastly, the gays. Come on, people, you are strong, you are smart, and you are courageous- is this lame parade all you can do?!? Watching the video(s), I got a really bad taste in my mouth- a weak bunch of drunk, excited, not-seriously-prepared people wearing half-ass’d costumes and letting out onomatopoeia does not a march make! How the fuck do you plan to change laws and get the haters to take you seriously if you, yourselves, do not?! I mean, yes, any publicity is good publicity and visibility is better than living in the shadows. But if prominence, acceptance and making equality a civil right is what you’re after, then you better rally up, smarten up and speak up because what you’re doing now is not cutting it. Shrilling, giggling, yelling uncontrollably at cameras, making a mockery of what a human rights manifestation should be, not doing your homework and taking to the streets just so you can put it in everyone’s faces once a year is not enough- if anything, it taints your image even further. So shape up, because you’re dealing with people who would maim you and stick your balls and dick up your own ass if they could- so you need to be organized. You need to be focused. You need to be ar-ti-cu-late.

If not, all the work us, your friends, are doing on Neanderthals in your name is water down the drain.

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friday ‘finking | mother fucking

Twisted thoughts can come from the most poetic of concepts.

Last night I went to the the premiere of Jana and Baladoor, a phantasmagorical creation of the master that still is (albeit one reputably hard to work with) Bahram Beizai. A crazy production of shadow puppets, lights, live music and ridiculously good writing, it kept me on my seat with my eyes glued to the surtitles, my ear perched on the high note of literary Farsi and my soul melting over the two storytellers (one of them being the brilliant Mohsen Namjoo) who did more than what I thought a performer is able to do by simply using the humble instrument of the human body. It was GOOD. Visionary good.

The story is quasicomplicated, well-rounded, sensible, filled with symbolic characters grander than life and, therefore, beyond morals as we, mortals, understand them. This one chick (essence of water and precursor of everything meant to give life) sleeps with her earth, fire and wind siblings. Now, THAT is entertaining to watch (picture flat shadow puppets going at it behind a screen) but also pretty shortcircuiting to deal with in the brain- generally because fucking your sister and brothers is not an easy-breezy subject, and particularly since this play is in Farsi (religious military, anyone?). That being said, the writing and the mis-en-scene managed to somehow separate the earthly meanings from the concept in a way that, in my humble opinion, is what artistic excellence is made of.

Now, on to the twisted part (that’s what you’re here for, right?). In one scene, after having made love to one of her siblings, Baladoor iterates: I am a virgin, and I am your own and my own mother.

That got me thinking- what is sex, anyway, if not a way of recreating one’s birth? All men we know came from some birth canal- the same, in essence, as the one they’re trying to put their penis into every time they utter a pick-up line. Boys come into this world head first, prying open their mothers from the inside out, materializing an expulsion, creating a void they no longer inhabit and opening a tract throughout the path taken in their passing. When they copulate, it’s the other way around. They shut an opening, they fill in the void, they recreate the motion outside-in, they start with their extremities (their penis, their fingers, whatever) and, if we were to imagine a vagina becoming this great vacuum sucking a whole man in, the head would be, somehow, the last part to see the light of day.

That being said, are men ever trying, unconsciously, to go back? Does that mean they’re looking not for sex, but to un-birth themselves by sex with [some, their, future] Mothers? 

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fashion wednesdays | DIY chain mail necklace

Who doesn’t like an armor?!

I’ve always imagined being covered in chain mail, moving like a strong warrior but shining in something that looks like a piece of jewelry all-over- how cool is that? The liquid property of moving metal is the stuff of alchemists and legends- and, with my fourth book of Game of Thrones coming to a much-avoided, painful end, I had to get me some. Chain mail, that is.

Without further ado I present you yet another DIY necklace (is this the third posting on neck-adorning contraptions?? Hm… not sure if I should grow another head or be happy that I’ll be well-clad when age will make me into a wrinkled, double-chinned, saggy-throated hag).

WHAT YOU NEED: a clasp, some pliers (any pliers), beads and wire for the finishings (optional- I used some old pearls) and jump rings- any kind, any color, any size. Just make sure you have loads of them. Mine are silver.

WHAT ELSE YOU NEED: Patience. A glass of wine won’t hurt, either. Or grab the bottle.

HOW TO DO IT

– start with creating a chain by clasping the jump rings together; adjust the length to your neck size

– make sure you open the rings not by pulling the two sides apart, but like this:

How to correctly open a jump ring

– after you created the desired length, attach the clasp on one end

– measure the middle and start adding rings to alternating rings of the chain, two at a time, to each side of the middle; make sure the last attachments on each side only have one ring and that in between all the sets of two are even-numbered. Every other ring of the chain should have 2 rings dangling from it for a portion as wide as you’d like, in the front of the necklace- like a second row attached to the main line

– moving on to the added row, connect each 2 dangling rings from the alternate rings above and attach another one to them; it should look like you’re creating little triangles (and by that adding yet another row)

– repeat the two steps above

– keep doing that until the last 2 are connected through a single ring. This is almost like knitting, in that each row will be shorter than the one before so in the end you get a triangle (mine is a bit fancier, as at some point i decided to keep the row as long as the one before it)

– if you wish, connect a bead to each of the loose end rings by wrapping it with a wire (you’ll feel like pulling your hairs out by the time you’re done, but it’s worth it)

This is what I got. If you’re having troubles, drop me a line (or a photo) and I’ll do my best to entangle you 🙂

Mail chain line and clasp

Chain mail- detail

Finished necklace

Goes with anything, this armor…

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ready, steady, fight | 5 reasons why conflict is good

Harmony? Not for me. Go ahead, boo. But enough with the zen, I say! (If only for the fact that this zen thingie is- and should remain- something to vie for, intangible- indescribable- and- absolute. All the hoards of seasonal seekers who pretend they are it do nothing but cheapen the hell out of an otherwise deeply meaningful philosophical concept. But that’s another story.)

I believe nothing good ever came out of harmony. True, it is most desirable, because it’s rare and yet easy on the brain (symmetry is the easiest on the eye, harmonies are the easiest on the ear, and so on) – but it’s also true that in nature, most things are unstable and balance is not only hard to attain, but also almost impossible to maintain.

Chemistry operates with instability. Chaos breeds creation. Conflict is what commends change. Big Bang, innovation, discoveries, evolution and revolutions alike happened because delta (the difference between what was and what had to be) was greater than zero.

Just to make sure we’re on the same page here, let me explain myself. To me, “conflict” is the existence of more than one angle to an issue, coupled with the high probability that more angles than one can be considered valid. In my book, conflicts are an imbalance that can very well exist in a benign, live-and-let-live state foreverandeveramen. But, more often than not, they get taken into action. Their manifestations, usually belligerent, range from a benign domestic debate to full-on international wars. This applied stage is what communism was for socialism: a twisted practical application of an otherwise inoffensive theory.

As a natural phenomenon and socio- political glue, I respect conflict. As a personal source of advancement and perpetual provider of fun, I also crave it.

Here are the 5 good things that, in my opinion, come from conflict:

1. Information– imagine, say, three people who know each other well and have the same views. If you’re trying to tell me that their talk about the weather, the last soccer game they watched or the color of their kids’ fecal matter is a conversation, you’re delusional.  After all, to converse comes from the Latin conversus, “turned around”. Information gets exchanged if, and only if the parties have different tastes, preoccupations and habits and, therefore, curiosities that need be fulfilled through the analysis of delta (in this case, the difference between what I know and what you know).

2. Therapy– not only you’re letting steam out about everything and their mother (sleazy boss? Shitty in- laws? PMS?), but fighting provides an occasion to spill the beans on everything you’ve been keeping inside on the subject. A heated argument is the only acceptable venue for becoming a little extreme, and when both parties do it it’s.. well, therapeutic. Out with the poison, in with the relief.

3. Productivity– in physics, the sum force of two opposing forces is the difference between the two- if the two forces are equal, the sum is zero and you’ve accomplished precisely shit. The smaller the angle between the two, the larger the sum force. I am not one to preach compromise, but I do have a streak of utilitarianism in me, and I do believe there’s always a middle way that may make all parties happy. But in order for that ideal, productive way to be found, differences- and conflict- need first be acknowledged. In other words, if there’s more people than you in a particular issue, chances are that the best solution for everybody is not exactly what you want- get over yourself and accept that.

4. Socializing– if you think your kid will learn basic social skills from you hovering over him like a freak and telling him “no, Billy, you need to share”, “no, Billy, you need to be nice”, “no, Billy, put your penis back in your pants”, you’re- again- delusional. Billy will wait until he’s old enough to close a door and the first thing he’s gonna do is slam it in your face. NONONO. What Billy needs is what we all grew up with- a cold shower. Distributed religiously, every day, by other kids. Only through trial and error will he learn what it means to be part of a group, of a hierarchy (commanded mostly by age, at that age) and a network and, most importantly, how he can influence his position in this network. Billy will also learn to talk, not talk, approve, disapprove, make friends, deal with enemies, stand up for himself, stand up for others, be humble, be proud, be competitive, risk, pay off, think, choose, suck up and suck it up. All- thanks to differences.

5. Make up sex. And this, my friends, is pretty self- explanatory.

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