Categories
art People women

Coffee + Heart

Melbourne – Monday, June 13 – 08.08

GUEST POST

Reflection and photos by Machine.Gun.Meow (mGm)
Facebook: Machine Gun Meow Twitter: @MachineGunMeow
Instagram: @machingunmeow

Growing up in Nairobi, as a girl of Indian heritage, diversity has shaped my worldview. I have been in a nostalgic mood of late and, given recent tragic events, SB asked me to share my morning reflection with you.

While watching The Revenant last night, I noticed the treatment of the Native Americans in the film. I said to Mr. Meow that it is unfathomable that we, as a human race, seek to hate others based on differences.

Filtered

We could go to land’s end and the hate would find us because there is always something that distinguishes one person from the other. What is more unbelievable is that the situation has changed little in the two hundred years since the film’s setting. Simply put, the hate stems from a sense of righteousness or superiority, whether you blame it on religion, ‘science’, politics or custom. I feel we must find a higher order of being instead of looking for problems where none exist.

Mixed bowl

At the moment, I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. In it, I explore the idea of diversity. The questions I contemplate are, “What is the alternative to diversity? Is it uniformity or conformity?” I wonder, is that the kind of world we want? Are we better off being cookie-cutter images of each other? Is that what would encourage acceptance?

Reflection

If the defilers of diversity were confronted with the alternatives, would they reconsider their position? This is wishful. I concede I have no solutions.

 

Categories
fiction People

Hitmen

Abyss Brain
This meeting will now convene. First on the hit list is Mrs McLeod. Rob?

Rob
Thank you. The request to cancel Mrs McLeod came to my attention from a neighbour who is allergic to E. She complained about Mrs McLeod’s cello playing after 21 o’clock on week nights.

Abyss Brain
Questions?

HB
May I? What are the decibel measurements of each practice session?

Rob
Thank you for these questions, H. Well, the neighbour said the sound of E flat on the cello was annoying.

Jarrod C
Pardon me. For section D-17 of the Cancel Request Form, the distance travelled must not exceed 40 km from base. Google Maps says your home base is exactly 41.2 km away from the target. Also, you did not clearly describe your disposal method at C-5 or equipment at C-8 on the form.

Rob
Yahoo Maps disagrees by 3 km. And “throw her under the bus” seems clear to me.

Abyss Brain
Keep calm and let’s vote, please. All in favour of cancelling Mrs McLeod … 1, 2, 3… All against … 4, 5, 6… Abstaining… 7, 8, 9… We’re in a standoff.

Matt
May I? We should have a playoff. Mrs McLeod versus one of us?

Abyss Brain
Ruth Ann, you abstained. You’re up. Rob? You and V Publica will pick up the target 13 hours prior to the recital.

Rob
Not a problem. I have a pair of sequin shorts that will stun her.

Abyss Brain
All in favour…  Unanimous. Good. We reconvene in 14 hours. Now, let us move on to the next target.

++

Practice session, a few hours later

Bach Prelude from Suite I
Performed by Ruth Ann Scanzillo

Categories
poetry

More

(All languish in, sane, his palaces of lore
where truth floats stills by memory’s rigid lane
)

Indisciplined, he seeks
hot anguish to defeat?
His upswelled heart
burns charcoal at the core!

“You must,” he says,
“my fallacies endure;
feel me everything
then hand me
all your more.”

Categories
dining out

Wine-no!

Wine bottles on a Tuesday night.
Not only was I taking all types of prescription medicine on this particular evening, the chef made me sit in front of these bottles so I could stare at them. You should have seen the wicked smile on his face. Then he photobombed my iPad grab, twice. Do you understand what I have to deal with? I’m so happy I decided to go out. x SB

Categories
about me People

Thriving as a normal, friend type

Whenever I hear a woman cursing a man, I try to find out what kind of relationship they had. At one point, I placed some of the responsibility on women who have cultivated unrealistic expectations via  Ego Butter Barbie. Later, I objected to men using S/M bedroom games as an excuse to physically torture women.

Since then, I have come to understand that quite a few women have a high tolerance for mistreatment from intimate partners. One label does not fit every woman, but it is my understanding that they get a high from retelling the worst moments of their relationships.

I will never advocate for a woman to stay in a relationship with a man who mistreats her. Hearing such stories causes me a great deal of stress, so for me, there’s a fine line between unburdening to a friend and forcing that person to experience abuse vicariously.

Specifically, I would like to discuss when this unburdening happens after it is clear what an entanglement is all about: Banana milk. When milking is over, some women say they deserve a huge helping of chocolate and cry because it was not offered to them. They refuse to see the man’s passive aggressive attempt to extract himself from the situation. “Hey, I don’t like you. See, I’m treating you like garbage. Get it? I’m politely ignoring you. Take a hint, go away.”

There’s a difference between feeling let down and failing to respect the other’s right to choose to be in a relationship. When the latter happens, I feel that some women offer up dignity and sanity, hoping to bribe chocolate out of a cow that can only provide banana milk.

Take my batchmate in university, for example. She had a fling with a fellow dorm resident, who was engaged to a law student residing in the UK. My closest friend and I sat her down. She was in love and imagined that he was, too. We told her that if he has a girlfriend and they’re engaged, that’s a non starter. His love was only in her imagination.

He graduated at the end of the semester, cut off all communication and got married in London two weeks after that. I agreed to give her my telephone number, thinking that she was a normal, friend type. On the phone, she sighed these words over and over: “I miss him. He dumped me, you know. But I miss him. I love him. I miss him so much. I love him so much. I really miss him. I really love him. He left me. I miss him.” She was talking to herself and I was obliged to overhear.

In person, she would ask how my day was going. I only said it was okay because on cue, she would continue from the middle of the thought I interrupted with my presence. Out of context, she’d continue with, “After the trip there he said he was going to do that thing we talked about.” He, we. There, that. She was not content with driving herself bonkers. If she had her way, I was headed there, too.

Broken hearts feel bad. I was nursing a breakup, myself.  Fortunately, I saw that past the point of helping her to unburden so she could move on, I was enabling her unhealthy choices. The fix was easy. I gradually spent less time listening to her. Today, I smile because I realise that she might have burnt through several potential friends in this way.

Thriving, in the context of emotional health, is a complex set of conscious decisions. But to begin, we feel that something is not right and do something to mitigate a negative spiral. I thrive when I’m around self confident people, even if they don’t feel great at the moment.

Professionally trained listeners are paid to witness hand wringing and repeated retells. They may say that this is a healthy way to recover. They might object to my method of thriving after a breakup, calling it love on the rebound. On the contrary, I prefer to remember, while my batchmate was strumming her pain, I was happy recovering with the delectable coach of the water polo team.

Categories
People

Zoolander

image
For you, Zoolanders, for gracing the cover of your own LIFE.
Thank you for your support and have a fabulous weekend.

Categories
about me

Imagineers

Pecs Bowen tagged me to answer the Questionnaire for Imagineers and I agreed to do it even though I’m an uptight control freak. I can’t imagine what will happen after I post this, and that terrifies me. Christe, eléison.

(☄ฺ◣д◢)☄   ::::::  (ʘ言ʘ╬)

1. If you wanted to name yourself again, what would you call yourself?
Savannah Westmore, after two parishes in my home country. Or the more androgynous Pritchard Douglass.

2. If there is one, what would be the last line of your biography?
“She was always going to do whatever she felt like.”

3. Would you kiss a complete stranger in the rain or an old friend on the shore?
A complete stranger in the rain, under an umbrella. Wait… Does “in falling snow at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day in a crowd of thousands” count towards this? The clocktower bells were clanging and it seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

4. If you had to choose two famous/historical figures to have coffee, who would they be?
Kublai Khan and Attila, just to see how they’d react to my hair, right now.

5. If you could pack your bags, leave all behind and be forgotten for a year, where would you go?
Iceland. It’s a remote island with a small population, plenty of book stores, spas outdoors and nature that’s still unspoiled (but not for long if GE has their way).

6. People with a particular talent that you don’t have and wish you did?
I would feel really happy if I could play the piano well and enjoy it. I would be a concert pianist, since I would practice compulsively and want to do nothing else.

7. One thing that always fascinated you and you know it always will?
Marc Jacobs’ kilts. He looks great in them.

8. If God exists and you had to give Him one piece of advice, what would it be?
{Null set}

9. What is the sexiest place you can imagine to do it on?
Floor to ceiling window glass of a 28th floor hotel suite, which has a panoramic view of the grounds of a certain palace. I thought the tinted glass was one way, but I realised the next morning, walking back from Tully’s, that if the living room and hallway lights are on… Right. Et cetera.

10. If you had only one hour to live before the world comes to an end, how would you spend it?
I’ll comfort the people dearest to me and in silent prayer, send requests ahead for the afterlife. In a different star system.

11. If you could go back in time and meet yourself for an hour, which year would you go to and how would you spend the time?
September, 2000. I would say, “Say yes. He is a great travel companion and conversationalist with refined manners. He will give you all of your space. He’s also aged well. And … this is the formula for the 100% Pure super fruits moisturiser I’m using. Make. Patent. Sell. When you finally tie the knot, you’re going to live in Fort Lauderdale. Which is perfect because there’s this huge outlet mall … ”

12. If you had to destroy yourself, how would you do it?
Bare my soul to someone and have that person respond with the frozen, smelly cod fish thwack of indifference.

THE END
(⁎ૢ⚈ै೧⚈ै⁎ૢ)

Categories
about me

What she said

Outside

Condescension is manufactured self praise. Two things might happen. Sometimes a person wants to say “I’m great” but for that to work, the others must be low impact. (I discussed this in Envy and GOYA). Or, one insignificant aspect of the other person is used to judge them as wholly incompetent in all matters.

Bamboo

Case in point? A fine arts conference I attended this past week. After surviving a two hour planning meeting, which I co-chaired, I realised I was missing a painting session in the park. Then, it occurred to me I was only a ten minute drive from the restaurant of two friends. It is a visual spectacular stuffed with beautiful antiques.

I invited a colleague to join me. At the previous year’s conference, she was nice to me. She had not packed her lunch, so I thought she would like a delicious meal in a unique setting. Five minutes after later, I knew I had made a huge mistake. The first face slap came after I told her I confirmed the reservation, so I couldn’t rescind the invite.

Joy's kitchen

I used a PLUG for the rude remarks, but she was a slinky on an escalator. What she said: Below are the highlights.

12.40 You drive?!?!?!

12.41 Do you want me to drive? Are you okay driving a car??!

12.44 Where are we going?!!! Do you know where you’re going?

12.45 Did you get your license HERE??!?!??!?

12.48 You are driving like a wild person. (The driver in front of us has swung out in front of me and I am forced to brake suddenly.)

13.25 You’ve started eating already.

Clown

13.30 This restaurant is so beautiful. I feel bad eating here because we are attending a work conference.

13.43 You’ve finished already.

13.47 That’s a take away dessert. You must not eat it now!!

13.59 This biscuit is delicious. You can’t have flour? But it’s yummy. Mmmmm…. Hmmmm? (I am gluten intolerant).

14.01 (I quietly pay for lunch. This causes her to feel guilty about something).

14.02 Oh!!! No. I …  It’s …

14.06 (I realize I’ve left my umbrella). You’re a careless girl. People are inconvenienced by you. (It’s my friend’s shop, and they don’t care about that stuff).

14.09 You are able to paint? (NB: This is an fine-arts conference with over five hundred participants and I co-chaired the morning session).

14.20 (End of ordeal and time for a walk in the park.)

Categories
celebrity fiction men

Socialite Media

Jupiter
Your wife asked me to talk to you. I see that you were admitted after having a panic attack. Panic attacks are caused by stress. Are you overworked?

Neil
No, it’s a name-only job. On weekdays I’m at the horse farm. I’m in the city on weekends.

Jupiter
If you don’t talk about this now, you’ll have another attack and we’ll be back here. What happened right before you collapsed?

Neil
I’ve just finished a fencing lesson with John Tam, the designer. He asks me to follow him on Instagram. I do. I notice he has 4,000,000 followers. I scroll through and count twenty posts. I suddenly felt a tightness in my chest and here we are. Completely unrelated, I’m sure.

Jupiter
Let me do a quick check… His account has been active for … a month. And… I see that you have nine hundred thousand followers. That’s a good number.

Neil
I’m the COO of a global NGO. I have two thousand paid employees. I should be instantly recognised. Nine hundred thousand followers is unacceptable.

Jupiter
From what I see here, your posts are about your vegan diet, and you in … very tight-fitting …. running outfits and … what’s this one?

Neil
Pheasant farm in Latvia. I cooked that outdoors on a grill. Rock salt, rosemary, olive oil. Instant hit with my three Fortune 500 CEO guests. Only two thousand likes. I mean, it’s not a hamburger, so no one’s interested.

Jupiter
Okay.

Neil
You know what? I want to create a panel… of designers, professors, chefs and editors. I want to chair that panel. We will judge profiles and grade them for quality. Cut out all of those followers, delete all of those likes.

Jupiter
You could hire a PR firm to fix this for you.

Neil
This is what I hate now. Asking someone to help me to become popular. I don’t want anything from anyone.

Jupiter
Is this a competition between you and your friend?

Neil
There is no competition. I mean, what does he have? I have more influence than all of these trending people. Some of them don’t even have jobs. They can’t afford my lifestyle. It makes no sense that they are more popular when I have more prestige.

Jupiter
I see that the situation is causing some stress. So we should get you on some medication and schedule a session to talk?

Neil
Talk therapy for Instagram? I’m offended by that. This is exactly what I’m talking about. No matter what I do, I get no respect…

Categories
People

The Gap

I’m not a child but I’ve had imaginary friends. They are flesh and blood humans; needy, self centred, fickle individuals who vanished when I needed them. I’m an advocate of neediness and vulnerability. You can’t build meaningful relationships without these two important elements. I’ve done my fair share of giving to needy others and I’m sorry but sitting with me at a meal is not the same as supporting me.

I’m not a child, so I don’t want plastic friends. Miserly, grasping, superficial people who only care about your net worth. One plastic friend is loved by the manager in her employ. He is the description of what she says a man should do and be for her. She trusts him implicitly. She won’t be with him because in her fantasy scenario she pays him a salary and if they get together he can’t afford to buy her expensive gifts.

It’s crazy. Her dream is to build a branch of her business in Spain. She has everything she needs to start right now, including a partner like him to stand in for her. Instead of expanding her brand, she’s holding out for an imaginary friend and lover who owns an island near Bali.

She can’t have him (and his moneymaking island) because he’s the plaything of a different plastic woman.

It is good to be self centred. Discipline and diligence are two positive effects of an inward focus. We can’t achieve anything meaningful without putting our best interests first. I am alive today because I excluded things that weren’t good for me.

People aren’t things. Real life situations are messy and we negotiate our way out of tight spots together. We give each other the benefit of the advantage and ask questions when things seem out of place. Trust and mutual respect are key elements at play. I say, take a spill but I’ll be there for you when you get back on your feet. The Winans would call it standing in the gap for a friend.

Avoid me when I’m physically ill; say “ignore that” because you don’t want to hear what I’m feeling, and so on. Then call up when another imaginary plastic person mistreats you. You’ll find that this time around, I have no time to spare.

Categories
People

Art of the Force

I often wondered why people slap at the hand that reaches out in friendship and compassion. Why cordial relationships turn into bitter rivalries. People often complain that their prayers aren’t being answered. Why, they ask, does God (or other Deity) not pour out His bountiful blessings?

We are experts at asking. We are not gracious receivers. We say no to the gifts presented to us because we don’t understand the math behind the magic.

I see people receiving exactly what they ask for. They feel hungry and right then, someone will offer some bread. They say dismissively, “That’s nice of you but I don’t like Wonder Bread.” Then in the same breath they say, “I’m starving.” I’m sure someone’s rejected your kind offering before, and you felt bad about it.

ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ

I felt bad yesterday evening. A subscriber asked me if I was reading his posts because I have liked them. Apparently, he was also entitled to comments. Entitlement gets us nowhere. I wished he had asked me for a comment instead of accusing me and others of defacing his blog with our Gravatars.

There’s an artist on WordPress whose work I greatly admire and covet, but who has told me hates me and everything I stand for. Every time I show appreciation for his new set of paintings, he sends a kind email to thank me. He is professional. He does not accuse me of abusive behaviour.

The person from yesterday has subscribed to my blog but does not support me. He has “sometimes” read posts. I read all of his and appreciated his work. I now thank him for his complaint because I will now only make time for subscribers who appreciate me.

This blogger is not discussing a UN Security Council report or parliamentary transcripts from New Zealand (lunch break hobbies, don’t ask). He is not publishing a calculus workbook. It’s prose fiction.

And how up myself would I have to be to write detailed critiques without an invitation? Many of my subscribers have actual problems. Like stroke recovery, empty nests, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, affairs, divorce, bad romances and the loss of loved ones. They ask for support when they need it.

Hours before I got blasted for reading a blog without leaving a comment, a lovely young woman from Indonesia submitted a comment on S/M. I had read her review of the 50SOG film and wanted her to add a positive appraisal of (the film) to the discussion here. I asked her to please read my post and write a comment. It took two days before she finally agreed, and then I had to persuade her to not worry about the level of analysis in other comments. I value her contrary opinion. I might watch the film now. Her compassionate viewpoint is changing my mind.

The process is simple: Ask. (Wait.) Receive. Thank.

A few months ago someone published a photo looking really similar to my rig, which I’d published days earlier. My comment answered the author’s question, “What is art?”  I also explained the similarities in our posts. I was greeted with, “How did you find us because …” I got an eyeful of words. I thought, “Did you not just ask a question? What is wrong with you?!”

We are not gracious receivers and because of that, we punish people who are trying to be nice.

ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ

Back to my first point…

Wonder bread. Occasionally, a person will take the bread and grind it underfoot. You could say that such a person is ungrateful. I wouldn’t worry about name-calling. Instead, think about how many gifts you might have turned away yourself and try to pay extra attention next time. Your sworn enemy could be His Ambassador. Your arch rival’s hiccup gave you a two point advantage. Warmly thank the person. You needed the win this time.

One of the reasons I have a strict GOYA policy (I’ll explain on March 30) is this. The genius mathematician upstairs doesn’t care that you want a pastrami sandwich on whole wheat bread with the ends cut off, coconut oil spread instead of butter, black cheddar thinly sliced, dill pickles and a dollop of sour cream, served by a tall redhead in a tight shirt.

He hears you yelling at the top of your lungs, “Please give me something to eat RIGHT NOW.”

Let’s play a game, Jedi Knights. Pay closer attention next time you use the Force and answer these questions from Björk’s song, All is Full of Love:

  • Are you receiving?
  • Is your phone on the hook?
  • Are your doors all shut?
Categories
People

SOS

POSSIBLE TRIGGER(≧∇≦)This post discusses suicide threats.

I happened on a post by a Presser who stated, “Need to end this all. This blog, this life, this everything. Nothing’s worth it.” I wrote in her comments in these exact words:

“I can’t believe you’re going to give up right now because you messed up? If you know you made some mistakes it means there’s a human being in there. Frustration means you’re right on target to a breakthrough. You need a hand? Ask for it! Everyone’s “hand” looks different but whatever you need, I trust that you do have the support you need to pull through. Get mad but by all means, get changed.”

What do I mean by get changed? Organically, there might be something that’s pulling you towards an outcome that’s good for your well being. Anger and frustration are internal mechanisms for focusing you away from counterproductive behaviors or attitudes. Those negative feelings are telling you that you’ve overlooked something important. Easier to say than to swallow. Exactly. And these things take time: They’re part of a process.

The Presser might come over here and see this, and it’s fine. I felt compelled to write this post after reading that and hearing this same sentiment just hours before, from another woman. She said she might die by the end of March. When I said, no one is planning on executing you, she said, “I might do it myself.” I take all suicide threats seriously. If they’re on blogs and they’re in front of me, I say something to the author. To be clear, and I’m not saying that this is the case here, but saying you’re going to “get out” in order to get attention is super double plus uncool.

I think I’m a compassionate human being, but I was angry at the way this last statement was tossed out. You’re so hooked on being a married woman that rather than get a divorce, death is a reasonable option? I asked her if she didn’t see the wealth of opportunities in front of her. I enumerated them.

Lastly, I told her to go and find herself a pair of sequined shorts and grab a younger, cuter, taller, buffer volleyballer. Shag each other rotten. Take away your estranged husband’s power to belittle you and grind you into the dirt. Choose to feel like a woman who is desired. I don’t care if she’s technically still married. Don’t get on my nerves with your sanctimonious horse bullocks. Elvis has left the building and is shacking up with Elvira. They’re traveling together. He bought her a house. She drives his Mercedes. Their digital schedules are synced.

“NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE PAIN. NO ONE.” That’s partially true. No one might understand your pain, as it is tailor made for you. However, we all understand pain. I saw a beautiful painting today by an artist who was crying as she painted it. I said I only saw a joyful celebration of colors. I was lifted by it, and by the time she responded to my comment, she was feeling a lot better. The pain hasn’t all gone away. Maybe she’ll feel awful later. So be it. My point being, we all heal differently, and some of us are more effective at using it than others.

I’m taking myself out of the equation now, and not making this about how I will feel. For your own sake, say, “I’m struggling and I don’t know how to cope.” That’s honest, real and very much a situation to which I can respond, “What do you need?” Or make suggestions yourself, “I need attention. I need reassuring words. I need you to tell me off.”

I’m not naive; nothing’s fixable with a hug, a chat and a cup of tea, but I’m an advocate of feeling your feelings and allowing them to overwhelm you. No medication, drugs, wine, smiley faces or compensating. You’re a human being. Pain is painful, and that’s kind of the point.

Categories
Earth

Boola Boola

Lulu
Ninety five.

Harriet
Okay, how many more grids left? And we haven’t covered the north side.

Lulu
I now understand that GIS is really sucky. There’s too much data, and none of it is live. We need access to several satellites and military grade software if we are ever going to get this done in time.

Harriet
Not necessarily. We could use drones and do the physical search that way. I mean, do you know anyone who could lend us a few drones?

Lulu
You mean, my father? If he agrees to lend us drones, which he won’t because this is just a game to promote Luke St James’s new blockbuster movie, how can we use them effectively, if we have only two sets of eyes?

Harriet
I have an idea. Come with me.

:::::::
….. ….. …..
:::::

Harriet
Hello, bitches.

Rori
What up.

Harriet
Drop everything and come with me.

Bart
All of us?

Harriet
Yes, all of you.

Heath
Yes, Princess.

Harriet
I’ll give you a free pass Heath, because you’re seriously into me. And I might throw some at you later.

Bart
What’s this all about?

Harriet
The new interactive game, “Find the Martian Spaceship” with “Find the Martian Boy” for Lamda Six. My darling, St Lucas, apparently came up with the concept himself.

Heath
Bad ass concept. I mean, it’s so simple and so state of the art. It’s got 3D animated aliens and did you see the ship designs? Too cool.

Lulu
Yeah, Icelandic runes were an unexpected artistic touch. I liked how they draw in all the world cultures we normally don’t get to see in movies.

Harriet
Guys! I’m in charge of the presentation.

Bart
The Martians’ face tattoos resemble Maori, which is extremely cool in itself.

Rori
Bart and I are playing right now. We’re betting on the North Pole.

Bart
We’re sharing the two hundred thousand dollar grand prize. I mean, Icelandic runes means, Lapland, et cetera. Big clue. Winners!

Josh
I have Nero’s econ mock exam tomorrow.

Heath
Pssht! He’s hot for you. Just do a strip tease to calm him down, and he’ll pass you with flying colours.

Josh
You know, you should really…

Harriet
Is anyone here going to listen to me?

Bart
I’m listening.

Harriet
I was thinking, we pool our human resources and split the prize money equally. Not that this is about money. This is about pride, people. Hansel! Join us.

Hansel
Hiya.

Harriet
I was saying, everyone is playing this new game “Find the Martian Spaceship”. You have heard of it.

Hansel
I have, and so has everyone who’s breathing. I just read that the launch announcement got thirty eight million retweets in the first four hours. The Lamda Six website’s crashed now, by the way. There are mirror sites popping up by the minute. This game is literally breaking the Internet.

Rori
Take that, Kim Kardashian’s butt! Although, physically, it’s like literally looking for a needle in a haystack. I meant the game, not her “asset.”

Harriet
Can I please just get on with my presentation? It is seriously like a preschool in here. As I was saying, luckily, I have a brilliant idea. Lulu and I have been using GIS software we borrowed from the lab to analyse the terrain in specific locations. We haven’t been able to come up with anything because, and this did not occur to us before, but we’re looking at archived images of terrain.

Heath
Right…that makes sense. But we can’t like, use satellites.

Harriet
No. We can use drones. Lulu’s Dad owns the world’s largest drone manufacturing company. She is on the phone with him right now. I don’t know what she’ll say to convince him, but we have to assume that she will get permission. Plus, we’re both geography majors, so it’s like, educational. It’ll be fine.

Hansel
I admire your confidence.

Harriet
Don’t condescend. Alright. Are we all together?

Josh
Isn’t it like, not cost effective to use drones? I mean, they’re expensive and the cost of operating them would be more than the prize money.

Harriet
Get over yourself, Josh. You’re still an under graduate. Who cares about the cost, people? We can’t let the Oxford team steal our glory. I found out this morning that they’re seriously organised. They have taken over a whole dormitory and are using it as a command centre.

Bart
No way!

Harriet
Yes way.

Rori
How do you know that?

Harriet
A certain geography professor has a crush on me from my short summer studies there last year. I think he was trying to impress me. We, on the other hand, are all over the place. Don’t you have any pride in your school? For the next seventeen hours, we will sweat and bleed to win the game. We use our superior assets, which are my brains, and your eyes and forefingers. It’s the perfect combination.

Bart
Yes, Princess. So, how does this work?

Harriet
First, let me explain why satellites won’t work. Remote sensing applications, that is the technical term for how satellites “see” things on the ground, have limitations. These are overpass frequency, timing and clear daytime skies. However, with drones, we can overcome all these limitations. Here’s how we will do that. While Lulu’s getting her Dad’s drones online, we need to become experienced observers. Let’s use the archived images to have an idea of what the terrain looks like normally. Then, we can see immediately what’s different about the location over the time period. We are looking at specific spatial patterns and how they change in time.

Hansel
What you’re saying is that while the Oxford team is wasting time looking at stale footage of the ground, we will be looking at the fresh, raw, real time information?

Harriet
Prexactly.

Hansel
Let me grab my laptop. You guys in?

Josh, Rori, Bart
Hell, yeah!

 

Categories
about me men women

Love vs Love (2/3)

When I say I love someone, I actually do. For most people, love is a salary for a high stress job and you need to do lots of things to earn it. It’s wrapped up in some velvet purse, and it’ll only come out when the right recipient appears.

In truth, the deserving one will always remain elusive. Don’t vie for my love, you thunder and roar. This is Mount Olympus. You’ll never get there. Complete the form and submit your fingerprints for checking. Finish all the tasks on this list.

But you’ll never qualify because, as summer college flings proclaimed, “you are not a blowup doll” or “your legs are too long”. Rubbish. That’s not why. You want what you can’t get. When these boys eventually got their precious listed items, they were sorely disappointed. Out came another list, and another. More and more women were needed to make up the right one. I was overjoyed to learn of their misfortunes.

Love is not a tangible quantity. We can’t hoard it. It has to stay always at the surface or our consciousness, as an offering of goodwill to all, even those that don’t make our cotton candy, soda pop shortlists. When I love someone, I know that the more I give, the more I have left over for myself. Love is not a muscle you can touch but it needs to be stretched to places that are hard to reach: Backstabbing friends who abandon you when you’re sick, gossipy clients, untrustworthy and self obsessed colleagues, suspicious neighbours.

I got loved in spades over the past week, from people I never expected to receive it from. Last Tuesday, while recovering from an autoimmune flareup, I went to the office to organise my work projects for the year. I was carrying a heavy tote and caught my foot on a box. I tripped and slammed face first, full body weight into a doorknob. I gashed the side of my face a half inch away from my eye. My Gucci frames saved my eyesight. They don’t have a scratch on them. However, the skin on my left palm, knee and a small area near my left eye, are held together by tape. I also have to visit the hospital every day to check the healing and change bandages. Today, I’m finally able to bend my knee and move my face.

The colleagues who scraped me off the floor, who rushed me to hospital and waited patiently for me to be released, are the people I loved anyway.