The Sunbaked King

Twitterless

What is it that compels us to Tweet? What drives us to state, in 140 characters or less, the minute happenings of the day, the smallest thoughts that cross our mind?

The Twitter phenomenon (or Plurk phenomenon, if you insist) can be considered as an interesting development in the realm of interpersonal relationships in particular, and poses as a more astounding leap when looked as a societal movement in general. What was once text messaging between people who know each other has been amplified to a bigger level. With Twitter, you can broadcast yourself to the world (that sounds like a YouTube slogan, but it fits), with almost no limits as to who can receive your updates, and no boundaries as to what your issues are going to be like. It’s like blogging in bite-sized, easy-to-digest pieces.

The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it allows you as much leeway as you want in expressing yourself, but at the same time provides you with enough protection so that you don’t put yourself out there as much. In other words, it’s a public avenue for people who wish to remain private. Consider celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, and the American Idol lads. Why has Twitter become so popular with them? It’s because they can maintain their public image (update their fans with their latest gigs, the type of tea they like, or whether they think so-and-so is an ass) without letting the public come too close to them. There’s always that “Block” link, and there’s always the option of reading the Tweets at your own sweet leisurely time.

But of course those are celebrities. They are almost required to be forever present; it’s their job, after all. But what about us? What drives us to Tweet?

Could it be driven by a celebrity complex that we all innately have? With Twitter, you are the star of your own page. The limelight is on you. You can be criticized, but you are shielded by the physical distance and the barrier afforded by a computer screen. As long as the protections are in place, you, yes, you, can update your “fans” with whatever you think is relevant. Because you think you are relevant.

Could it be dictated by a need to reach out to people? As far as societal movements go, “no man is an island” is still pretty much applicable, and this may drive our need to express ourselves to both friends and virtual strangers. Which is probably why the quality of details don’t matter. You can broadcast your lunch, the little incident in the elevator, or what you overheard in a cafe, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that these details exist. There is a sense of security in knowing that there’s a probability that people know that you are out there, somewhere.

DUM DEE DAH. DUM DEE DOOP.

I have been Twitterless for the most part during the past few days because my mobile phone bill each month threatened to swallow me whole. Now, I Tweet nights when I get home, on my laptop. Which sort of defeats the entire purpose of Tweeting, because really, Tweets are meant to be on-the-go, or at the very least, sent on a regular basis.

If there’s one thing I realized with this exercise in Twitter reduction, it’s this: I don’t really miss it. Whatever symptoms of withdrawal I feared I may encounter with my conscious decision to disconnect from the Twitterverse did not happen. There were no misty eyes, no shortage of breath, no tempting pull to whip out my phone and blast the world with my updates.

I guess not all phenomena are intended for everyone. I guess relevancy and security can be taken somewhere else. And I guess there’s really no need to ask myself each time:

What are you doing?

Filed under: Mindlifting, Them

The Sunbaked King

The realm of fiction is vast, and the reach of fantasy is wide. When everything else has left us– our virginity, our sanity, our pride– only the imagination remains. Even our faith can waver in the face of compelling evidence, or in the aftermath of a tragic end. Even our love can turn to hate upon the sight of a tremendous betrayal; or worse, turn to indifference after the fiery waves of vengeance have died down. But imagination, yes, that construct of the human mind, remains resilient, indomitable, indestructible, no matter what.

It fills the spaces of a lonely heart. It keeps him awake at night, preoccupied with thoughts of a happy ending. In a world that is just and fair to all (and therefore just as fantastical), he sleeps beside a loving warmth, their fingers intertwined in matrimony. Sunshine enters the windows in steady ethereal lines, lightly kissing them both before they bestow the same blessing on each other. They smile and read each other’s minds: he’ll have coffee; the other’ll have toast. Today is going to be a good day, and everything is going to be all right.

He sees this vividly as he hugs his pillow and stares at the ceiling. The warmth of his blanket will do for now, but– a smile drifts across his face– there is hope.

Imagination feeds the seeking soul. The emptiness of an existence so bleak is filled with the desire to escape, to see a promised end that has been created, nurtured, and etched in his human mind. While the quest may seem futile, he will not falter. His thoughts shall guide him. In a world that is both merciful and forgiving (and therefore just as fictional), he reaches the end of his journey with bruises on his back and cuts in his hands, but this pain does not last. Across the godforsaken landscape, someone comes to him with water. When the water touches his lips, he is immediately refreshed.

In his dreams, he has reached his destination, and he has found his heart’s desire.

On June 16, 2008, this lonely heart saw that there was hope; this seeking soul found his heart’s desire. What was once known as The Dark-Skinned King found solace in a new heaven. On June 16, 2008, The Sunbaked King was born.

Baked under the sun:
Out of embers and ashes
Came the dark-skinned King.

Filed under: Helios, Mindlifting, Ra

A Return to Form

Hiatus over. I’m back. One note about the exam before we bury it in our memories until results day: never go back to your textbooks after a test to check if you got the answers right. You will always end up disappointed, because you will always find that you answered more questions incorrectly than correctly.

DUM DEE DAH.

Writing is true therapy. In the one month that I’ve gone AWOL on all virtual outlets (save for Twitter, but that barely counts as a conducive medium to write prose or poetry), writing is the one thing that I missed the most. There’s something liberating in the pit-pat of keys as my fingers move across the keyboard, something fascinating about watching the words form on the screen. While writing itself may not relieve me of this utter sadness, while blogging may not be the perfect solution to end a vicious cycle of doubt and regret, it does its freaking best to help. As thought flows from the mind to the spine to the arms to the fingers to the keyboard to the screen, a little bit more of my self is extracted, released, piece by piece. The process empties me. The process sets me free.

In two days’ time, my blog, The Sunbaked King, will celebrate its anniversary. Created out of a desire to impress, nurtured out of a need to write. In these bleak and dreary times, this is one outlet I’m glad to have regained.

This is a timely return to the blogging form. I’m happy to be back.

Filed under: Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Utter Sadness

100 Words

heaven + ground + storm + archuleta + happening + rejection + pasok + flapjacks + forgotten + incredible + california + hermit + games + good + journey + taipan + cows + single + knight + kaban + sunday + boob + four + wall + aisle + august + tomb + chris + iphone + entry + history + sassy + wall-e + birthday + way + breakfast + clone + sumosam + study + darkness + competition + poem + jacques + death + coffee + eavesdropping + contented + corollary + catch + atenista + eagle + embers + other + recovery + melancholia + retreat + one + sidebar + thunder + q + hush + coat + waltz + letters + exam + know + family + musical + incomprehensible + leche + minutes + comeback + comeback + universe + blast + joke + brothers + yearend + series + 2008 + 2009 + goodbye + forgotten + sing + united + nations + avenue + honeymoon + american + hopeless + rest + idol + night + honors + honesty + hot + half-empty + hee + hope + 100 =

100 posts in 100 words.

I’ve gone a long way, and there’s no sign of stopping.

I will never tire of writing.

Filed under: ...And Others, Being Blue, Bibliomania, Cinema, Domesticated, Eros, Fiction, Yes?, Gadgetry, Gastronomy, Geekery, Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, The Couch Potato, Them, TV, Untamed, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness, Vanity, Yearend

Hopeless Emptiness

A COMMENTARY ON REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Leonardo diCaprio, Kate Winslet

On the surface, everything looks composed and organized. A modest house with room for the kids, a newly-mowed lawn, a decent car. mparevolutionaryroadposterSuburbia. This is the stuff mainland America is made of. This is the stuff people want for themselves. After all, who doesn’t want stability in their lives? Who wouldn’t want to wake up each morning knowing that there are going to be scrambled eggs and orange juice on the table? Who wouldn’t want to go to work knowing that there’s a job out there waiting for him, and perhaps a modest paycheck to feed himself, the wife and kids?

People who want more from life, that’s who. People who were born to be over and beyond what society dictates them to be. People who truly believe they exist to create a difference in the world. For these people, the perfectly composed suburban scenario is nothing but a trap. It stifles. It reeks of pretense.

Frank Wheeler (Leonardo diCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) have moved into their new home in Revolutionary Road, and there they learn that that their lives are going to be anything but revolutionary. With a job Frank hates, and a housewife role April despises, they set out to be better than who they are by moving to Paris. Acknowledging that they have lived what Frank calls a “hopeless existence” is only half of the equation, however; getting out of it is another matter entirely.

Hmmm, hopeless emptiness. John Givings (Michael Shannon), a mathematician plagued by a case of insanity, said it best: people hint at the emptiness, but never really see the hopelessness. This is perhaps the reason why people moan at the redundancy, but never recognize the futility of living the redundancy. So they do things again and again, believing that something is out for them, when in fact everything stays the same. By the time they realize that something’s amiss, their entire life has passed them by, and they end up bitter and sad and mad at the world. What’s worse, they end up bitter and sad and mad at themselves. For failing to see. For failing to act.

A road can lead two ways, and it’s perfectly fine to use both of them. The only mistake is to stay behind without using at all.

[Revolutionary Road is a comeback for the famous Titanic tandem of diCaprio and Winslet. diCaprio’s and Winslet’s performances are spot-on and quite effective. They’ve gone a long way since Titanic, which I didn’t even watch on the big screen (can ya believe it?). The music is quite minimal, and it works. In fact, the scenes are quite minimilastic; you get the idea that while suburban life may be this clean, a tiny speck of dust (or blood) is all it takes to destroy the entire picture.]

Filed under: Cinema, Domesticated, Mindlifting, The Couch Potato

So Give Me Something to Sing About

There was a period during this blog’s lifetime when writing was such a breeze. Words just flew fast and furious underneath my fidgety fingers. Alliterations and assonances arrived undaunted upon the all-too-familiar screen. While entries may take hours– no, days– to type, that inner fire blazed on relentlessly. So gripping was the need to write that I went home each day checking out the site, wondering if it was time to blog, to schedule an entry, to read other fellow bloggers’ posts, to comment on the comments, or to simply sit there, mesmerized by the letters that formed words that formed sentences that formed ideas. And most of the time, I found that the ideas were good, and liberating, and wonderful.

That time wasn’t too long ago. Given that the site has not yet reached its first year (or its 100th post, whichever is more celebration-worthy), the “golden age” couldn’t have been too long ago. It’s kinda frightening to think of the prospect that the well has sprung too early and has now dried up: spent, dry, and lifeless. I don’t even want to entertain the notion that the events of the past few weeks have led to this moment of saturation. Have I immersed myself too much in the “real” world only to realize that I’ve left only a tiny piece of myself online? Tiny piece being the ability to write? Does the tradeoff really exist?

I don’t want to believe it, so I won’t. And writing this entry, however meta it may sound, is a step towards the right direction. I can write. I will write.

Filed under: Helios, Mindlifting

Hush

You’ve heard of this before, probably in the form of a reprimand from your elders: there are certain things that one should not talk about in a public setting. Especially during lunch. Debatoids like whether you should squat or sit on the toilet seat, factoids like the color of your stool, and newstasoids like the latest scientific developments on the excretory system are indeed best discussed at the proper venue and at the proper time. It’s one thing to be open-minded, and it’s another thing to be uncouth.

But it’s yet another thing to be judgmental.

For the sake of argument, consider these two questions:

1. What is ‘public setting’ in the first place? Is it public when you’re around strangers? Is it public when you’re not in an enclosed space? 
2.  Is the acceptability of a topic contingent on the open-mindedness of its audience? In other words, is any topic an acceptable one when deemed as such by those who hear it?

The lines between taboo and ‘fair talk’ have blurred more rapidly during the last ten years than in the last one hundred. As the world shrunk more and more because of modernity, cultural differences grew more and more familiar. With familiarity came acceptance, and with acceptance came respect. At the very least, the world became more tolerant.

Unfortunately, tolerance is such a flimsy word tossed around by those who really cannot tolerate; abused by those who are filled with irrational hate; and used as a convenient facade by those with double standards. Whoever said that “Familiarity breeds contempt” saw this other side of the social trend. Instead of gaining an appreciation for someone with a different mindset, a localized form of xenophobia comes into play and rejects the person entirely.

Does this sound so freakishly similar to censorship?

You should not feel the need to bend your beliefs, just solely because your mindset is an unpopular one. If you are convinced of the truthfulness of your views, you should find no reason to feel pressured to change them. Others may condemn out of spite; these should be ignored. Others may comment out of the need to enlighten; these should be considered. If, in the process of discerning, your worldview retains its logic, its validity, its appeal, then commit to it. The haters will be banging their drums soundlessly against the fortress that is your mind.

I realize that this is a massive soapbox I’m standing on, but I have to say my piece. Now I’ll step down and hush.

Filed under: Mindlifting, Them, Untamed