Archives For #yourturnchallenge

Cloaked

January 25, 2015 — 2 Comments

The way my apartment is designed, there’s an entire wall of windows that faces east and overlooks Bushwick. I keep those windows curtainless since the light and view is what I love most about the space.

This open design also means that to a certain degree my apartment is visible to the buildings and high rises across the way. They’re far enough away though that the threat of Peeping Toms doesn’t register and change what I do and the way I navigate around the space.

This morning, as with every morning, the sunrise and chirping starlings were my wake-up call. The starlings like to sit on my sill and socialize.

They were particularly chatty this morning and so when I woke up, I wanted to see how many of them there were. I slowly and carefully walked toward the window, keeping my body hunched low to get a closer look. But as soon as I got within two feet of them, they flew off.

But it got me thinking about invisibility and whether the birds would know and sense I was there even if I were invisible to their particularly keen eyes.

They’re back again now that I’m sitting on the couch a safe distance away, sipping my coffee, mapping out my day and the coming week, ignoring them.

The thought of being invisible seeps back into my thoughts and I wonder, What would I do if I were invisible today? Completely invisible to all external senses. No living creature can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel me. And it only lasts for 24 hours. These are the parameters and conditions my mind set.
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I suppose I’d do multiple checks to confirm that I hadn’t gone bat crazy and was actually invisible. First thing would be to knock on my neighbor’s door, say Hi and confirm with their response.

My clothes, would they be invisible, too? Let’s agree they would be. Though it would really be something else to wander the city naked without feeling the temperature. Especially now during the cold winter.

Would I call someone? No. I’d keep it a secret.

Now what?

Hollywood. What would Hollywood do?

Rob a bank? A jewelry store? No. Too complicated. Sneak in to a Citibank, steal passwords into the system, get into my account and add zeros. Maybe. But someone would be fired because of it and I think the guilt would get to me. Or the bank would figure out that there was a computer error anyhow.

I’d probably not be hungry since I’d be too wound up at first. But I’d probably walk into a restaurant and steal bites from entrees just as they were being served. Because I could. I’m sure I’d do little things like that at first since I’d likely still not believe I was invisible.

Now what?

I’ve only got a day.

Goodness I’m bad at this.

I’m not particularly interested in knowing my loved ones’ or acquaintances’ secrets. They’re secrets. Personal.

But I would go to see them and interact with them as evidence. I’d bring my phone and charger and snap pictures of them going about their business, not a clue I was present.

I might visit unrestricted places. Take more pictures. Jot down what people say and what they’re doing so I could publish an article or write a book about what happened when I was invisible for a day.

I might go to the airport and sneak on a personal jet. But everywhere I want to go would waste my precious minutes. And how would I get back?

I could fly to the White House and see what Obama does. Washington, DC isn’t too far from NYC. But he’s abroad right now I think. I could still take pictures of things the public doesn’t have access to. More for the book.

The question was posed by YAHOO recently and most responses fell into the categories of heroism, theft, revenge and retribution against personal and political injustice, pranks. Here are some examples:

Weasel McSweasel:
Take upskirt shots of all the sexy ladies I find.

Ara:
I would probably sneak in the headmaster’s office and see the question papers of every subject (we have to cram for our papers). Then I’ll break in a bank heist and well steal..ahem ‘borrow’ some million dollars and then go on planning my trips to my most favorite places of the freaking world! Oh goodie what fun will it be!:)

Audrey:
Wear a bed sheet and go into public to scare people, when they think it’s a prank and try to pull the sheet off, they’ll sh*t their pants xD

Analyst:
Spook the NSA. HA HA let’s see them get a taste of their own medicine!

Anonymous:
Just once I would like to go shopping and be barefoot. That’s what I would do. Let my hair, make up and dressing up to shop I would wear my old worn out jeans and just have fun.

Hannah:
Well…I already am invisible.. no one notices me… nothing would change *sigh*

Marigold:
If I ever became invisible for a day, I would be kinda like a guardian angel; saving people who end up in accidents like: car accidents, fires, floods, kidnappings, robberies, suicide attempts… etc. I would just go about doing good for that day and protecting people… and animals. That would be one day of miracles and less people and animals getting hurt.

GeoGhoul:
I would clean out every Swarovski store I could get to in a day……and add countless pieces to my collection!!! Mwauh-Hahahahahahahahaha

Millymollymandy
I would rob a bank! No joke. I’d use my power of invisibility to it’s very best potential, and to me, that would be to rob a bank and take as much money as I could carry. Then I’d get a gun and shoot David Cameron 🙂

Answer49
Go to walgreens target and walmart and just get tons of stuff. then run naked for the rest of the day 😛

The answers went similarly and endlessly on like that.

Needless to say but I will anyhow, my fellow humankind was no help. Good for a quick chuckle, sure. But overall uninspiring. And with the exception of Millymollymandy who unabashedly and stupidly announced she would shoot a world leader, the answers were expected and benign. Granted the forum is yahoo. But still.

I was hoping for more and instead got bored. So I searched more about invisibility.

Did you know that for 24.99 a month you can hire this company to act as your invisible boyfriend or girlfriend? They send text messages and call you. Here’s the article. Hire Invisible Boyfriend.

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Well that kept me amused for all of five minutes.

So I searched some more.

CHA ching! Jackpot. I discovered that there’s an actual 3-D cloaking device in existence, The Rochester Cloak, and along the way learned some cool facts about invisibility and how it works. Watch the video:
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I’ve spent an enjoyable morning on invisibility. Now it’s time to show myself to the world.

But before I sign off…how would you use this or any cloaking device? What would YOU do if you were invisible for a day?

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Eat Dutch Waffles

January 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

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Okay! I can do that. Easy enough.

But what about the other stuff. Things I don’t want to do?

I sometimes play this game with myself when I have to do something that I don’t particularly feel like doing. But it’s got to be done and I can’t put it off.

I pretend that someone else is going to do it and does it poorly. And I can’t stand to see sloppy work.

I’m not sure if this is necessarily the healthiest approach. It caters to the control freak judgmental side of me that I’ve been working on. It’s pretty negative.

Why must an imaginary incompetent someone else have to be the influencer? Why can’t I simply do it for myself?

Why?

Because myself doesn’t like it. Doesn’t want to do it!

It’s a twisted game that, were I to play it regularly, would eventually leave me sitting on my high horse bitter and likely alone.

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From time to time I fantasize about winning the lottery. The lottery to me would free up my time, allowing me more freedom to choose how to spend my time.

But what always follows this train of thought is that even if I were to become a megamillionaire, there would still always be things I’d have to do that I don’t want to. Probably more.

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There will never be an escape from this. What’s the phrase? With more [fill in the blank] comes more responsibility.

So I suck it up and do it. And if someone offers to help. Fantastic. It gets done. Then I feel good. Accomplished. Then I’m able to do what I want to do, which right now is to have another cookie!

Hit Pay Dirt

January 22, 2015 — Leave a comment

Right wing. Let’s hang out. Kick the bucket. Nutty.

Hit pay dirt

Fist
Recover-money
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Someone I know is learning a new language, Spanish. He was born speaking Russian but moved to the US before puberty. So he’s not a native English speaker but in New York City where borough accents sometimes mask a person’s origins, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell where he was born if you had to guess based solely on the sound of his voice.

His texts are interesting. Half the time I’m not sure if he’s simply a sloppy texter, a bad speller, or just doesn’t know the difference and never learned the proper word to use.

Then and than is a common one. …and the specs worked out even better then I hoped!

It was supper awesome! is one that makes me chuckle.

I send lots of foodporn photos to which he responds: dilicious!!!

It’s charming of course. And who am I to correct him? So I don’t and I won’t.

I’m certainly not immune to the misuse of phrases. At least a few times a week I’m asking my marketing coordinator…of course I can’t think of an example now when I need one…but trust me, I have plenty of immigrant moments.

Reminds me of when I was a freshman in college. It was about a week into my Western Civilization course. The lecture ended and I was walking out with one of my classmates when he said, I don’t have the syllabus.

You didn’t get one? Just ask the TA, I said. I’m sure he has extras.

So we buy it from him?

Uh. No, I said. It’s free. He handed it out on the first day.

We went back and forth that way for several minutes, and it turned out that he missed the first day of class and when our professor would refer to the syllabus, he felt lost. He didn’t know what a syllabus was. He thought it was a book we had to get for the course.

Higher education.

Of course the Internet is ripe with blogs and posts devoted to humorous fails and mistranslations. Menus. Food descriptions. Notices of daily specials that announce that you can HEAR EAT!

Can you? How do you hear eat?

And the famous LOL Cats I can has cheezeburger? which continues its global spread of its language…there’s even a translation of the bible.

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I’m proficient in Spanish. But I rarely use it so I’ve lost the ability to think in the language. Whenever I see my friend I ask him how the Spanish is going. He’s confident, says he’s learning so much more from the app he uses than he did with Rosetta Stone.

We had a mini scuffle recently when I refused to tell him how to say something in Spanish.

There’s more than one way to communicate a sentiment, I said. If you don’t know the word, find another way to say it.

I urged him to work it out. He said that he didn’t learn that way. That if I told him the answer, he’d remember it.

Eventually I capitulated and told him.

He said that it wasn’t what he remembered having learned.

“Everywhere” and “nowhere” were the two words my friend couldn’t remember in Spanish. At the time, in my mind, I thought he likely knew the Spanish for “all” and “parts” which is how my head connects the two, Everywhere = todas partes, all parts. And if he would just focus on communicating rather than getting stuck on the word, that maybe he’d come up with the Spanish phrase.

I realize now that it’s easier to work backwards, reduce, deduce, break down when you know the answer, have the whole. Building from scratch is harder. And he’s still building.

I’m not learning a new language right now but I can certainly empathize with him and others who are struggling to express themselves in a foreign language.

I’ll end with a mistranslation my mind did today while I was listening to a podcast about racial discrimination in the military.

I heard the phrase “ethnic makeup of the military” and this is something along the lines of what my mind visualized.

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¡Buenas noches!

Anticipation

January 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

There’s nothing like the experience of trying to upload a 244MG video onto your youtube channel. Especially when it’s your first time uploading a larger, longer file and you’re using your smart phone since it’s the only thing you have right now that can do it. RIP dearest laptop.

The first few minutes of monitoring the status bar, watching as it fills and moves from 2% to 5% to 12% feels not necessarily good good but good.

It’s working. Okay.

You’re watching it. Can’t take your eyes off of it because even though it’s been working so far, something might happen. You might have to jump in and do something.

You see 17% now. Steady.

Seven minutes have passed. You’re rewarded or cursed by having been right in keeping an eye on the bar.

Because the screen goes black. Sleep mode.

You tap the screen. Nothing. You curse a little, remembering you have to swipe to unlock the phone. Anxiety creeps in.

You swipe.

Relief.

20%. It’s still uploading.

You have experience now. You know the black screen and sleep mode is coming again soon. You still don’t trust that if you let it stay black in sleep mode that it will continue to upload. Because the first time it happened, you caught it in time. You stopped the unknown from happening. Or so you’ve made yourself believe.

So you’re stuck. You have to stick to the plan. Stick to the phone.

38%.

The screen goes black again. Only this time you swipe too aggressively and the Hunter Mountain skiing video is playing and the upload bar has disappeared.

You hit the back button praying the upload is still happening.

It is.

42%. You’re still on track.

And now you know to watch for the black screen AND swipe with feeling.

56%.

You’re a little more confident, have a little more trust.

But now 20 minutes have passed with you having sat glued to the phone.

You’re more than half way there.

You’re invested in getting this uploaded. And more anxiety creeps in as the time passes.

Now your’re anxious and excited.

So you begin talking to the phone. Urging it on. You can do it, You say. Just a little bit more.

76%.

You’ve got it. Keep going. Almost there!

And you continue with your cheers, words of motivation.

88%. 92%. 96%. It’s on the last stretch. A minute or two more and you’ll be there.

And you made it.

100%.

Hooray!

But then it stays at 100%. Full red.

A minute passes.

Still 100%. Still full red. And you don’t want to move. You watch it. Looking for signs of change. Signs of life.

And then.

PROCESSING.

Now it’s processing the video.

So you do it again. But it’s much harder this round.

There’s no visual indicator–no % or the movement of the red line.

Nothing.

You’re anxious. Frustrated.

And so you change tactics.

Rationalize.

Gamble.

You walk away. Let go of the phone. Ignore the black sleep. You stop yourself from looking at it.

I’ve done what I can, you say to the phone.
It’s out of my hands. It’ll upload or it won’t.

Still. You better upload you grunt with your fist in the air.

And it does.

This time, it does. It worked.

And since you’ve suffered through this post… here’s the video: Eating Live Razor Clams. It was my first time.
Eating Live Razor Clams: http://youtu.be/dvCr-h_g0no
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Cheers!

Thrown Past

January 20, 2015 — 2 Comments

 

I’m sitting on my couch, just finishing up this book I need to write a marketing plan for, my window open just a few inches to keep the air flowing. Not enough for any real breeze to interrupt my surroundings.

As I flip a page, a book falls down from my shelf, Gary Indiana’s Do Everything in the Dark, and opens to reveal this toddler picture of me that I must’ve been using as a bookmark who knows when.14218113832401421811607581
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Do Everything in the Dark, aptly titled, follows a group of artists and their downward spiral. The page I marked with the photograph describes an old snapshot. The last lines struck me: I don’t mind sifting through Jesse’s treasures. But I wish he’d throw them out. Whoever said the past is another country didn’t know the half of it.

I suppose it’s true for some–the past is another country. Though I wouldn’t describe mine as simply one country.

My past feels more like thousands of disconnected island nations floating around…some sinking and fated to be lost forever, others unclaimed and waiting to be discovered, others growing and spawning new islands.

As I stare at the picture of myself as a toddler, I recall nothing. I’m obviously happy. Posing for probably my mother who was and continues to be a relentless photo snapper. I’m guessing I’m in front of my childhood house in The Philippines. The red sandals I’m wearing maybe belonged to one of my older sisters. Maybe not. I’d have to rummage through old photo alums to see if the sandals were on their feet before me. Am I hiding something? Was I dancing? Do I need to use the bathroom?

I might ask my mother if she remembers anything about that photo. Though I’ll likely forget to ask and she probably wouldn’t remember anyhow.

It may be that I’m not a past dweller. My distant past, while certainly not bucolic and pristine, recalls more light than dark.

So who knows what the universe is trying to show me by throwing the book down. I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

If you know something, enlighten me.

Superstar!

January 19, 2015 — 2 Comments

I have to reset. Oh, nothing heavy. It’s my day off and too pretty out to make any real fuss. And if all goes as planned, soon I’ll be unplugged, out of commission, unreachable and RELAXING at my favorite Russian Bath house in the city! WOOP WOOP!

I have to reset the volume on my cell phone. I inadvertently kept it on full the other night when I was wishing for the bath house and all I could do was soak in my tub.

Earlier in the day my neighbor asked me to let his airbnbers into his apartment if he was running late and I told him I might not be home but if I was, Sure, I said. Have them text me.

I have a buzzer. Foolishness, Marie. Foolishness.

So I kept the volume on high instead of in its usual vibrate mode.

At 206am, four consecutive texts arrive, the third jarring me from sleep. The fourth annoying me. I assumed it was one of those blasted group messages that could go on for hours. Or maybe there’s an emergency. Something critical.

So I got up and checked.

Emergency text?

Obviously I wasn’t yet lucid.

I’m actually happy to have gotten up and checked.

The messages were from my sister in LA, where it’s reasonable to be up and about especially when (my sister’s a teacher) schools are closed and there’s no work the following day.

She called me a Superstar! But that’s not entirely why I was so pleased. It was the thought that she was 1. So excited that she couldn’t wait to share her findings with me; 2. That she was only now discovering Orange is the New Black; and 3. That we have the kind of relationship where we communicated like this. That despite the distance we’ve always remained close.

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I’m obviously not a Superstar. I was just a super fit! Drinking a martini in a Brooklyn bar, hanging out with my “publishing” friends…that’s me any day of the week.

Maybe one day I’ll have earned the privilege of being a Superstar (unlikely that’ll happen on TV) but for something I’ve worked hard for and am passionate about. Until then, while I don’t actively seek it out or rely on it to move forward, it’s nice to hear positive reinforcement from time to time for something I’ve participated in–whether the role is in the background sidelines or in the foreground as a principal actor. Especially when it comes from the people who matter.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a dream or remembered one.

Last night I dreamt that I was on a flight to somewhere. It seemed like I was traveling alone, which has been the case in my recent travels.

Then suddenly, not that I felt it but knew it was happening, the plane went into a steep descent.

I looked around me and no one else seemed to notice. How could they not know? I remember thinking.

Then a flight attendant flew out of a door, which I assume led to the cockpit, a stocky black-haired, Mexican flight attendant in a grayish-blue uniform that I noted was too tight for his form, and he yelled out: Is there a doctor on board?!

There was silence.

No one seemed to notice him. No head movements looking from side to side. Nothing.

The plane continued to descend.

I got up slowly, reluctantly, walked tenuously to another flight attendant, a Farrah Fawcett look-alike, and as she screamed at me to get back in my seat, I calmly whispered to her, I’m not a doctor.

For a second she stared at me.

–Fine if you’re a nurse, she said, the tension around her eyes relaxing.
–No, no, I responded. I’m a pilot.

Her eyes looked into mine. I stared back defiantly.

I was gripping the seatback trying to keep balance. I still couldn’t feel the plane sharply descending but knew it was and knew that I was supposed to be holding onto something.

There wasn’t Hollywood chaos with screaming babies and hanging oxygen masks. No luggage flying from the overhead bins. Everyone sat perfectly still. Stoic. Unmoving.

But there was a dinging. A gravelly tinny Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.

And then I woke up. 615 alarm.

I missed my moment of being a hero. Yeah, it was a dream. But it would’ve been great. I would’ve been GREAT.

I say this now, though, frankly, I’m not so sure I would’ve been–great, that is.

I’ve not flown in forever and jets are a wholenother beast. A far cry from a single engine Cessna. But then again, cut the engine and the jet becomes a monstrous clunky sailplane.

And who knows what the Other Me or Other Farrah was about to do after the stare-down. And why on earth did no one else react. And why was the priority a doctor when clearly the plane was out of control.

The Other Me obviously assumed the pilot and co-pilot couldn’t be revived in time and took them out of the equation.

Fly the plane.

Fly the plane is Rule No 1. Don’t be distracted, whether it’s an emergency or not. Whether an engine light goes on or a bird strikes the canopy or you’ve lost communication.

Fly the plane.

In piloting, as with any act you perform: Be mindful of the essentials. And if and when the time comes for you to act, even if you’re unsure, don’t wait for someone else to do it.

Do it yourself.