Friday, June 19, 2009

Empathy part 1

As I was sitting and eating today, I overheard these two "business" men having a discussion concerning the fate of one of their co-workers. It sounded at first like they were empathizing with her situation, but as the conversation continued on the line: "you can be sympathetic, but that always leads to turning a blind eye," I realized their empathy was pretty "un-empathetic." They continued to diminish this person's character, and even proclaimed that because she was a woman, they had to treat her as "less than what you would treat a male counterpart, because they get too emotionally wrapped up into what you are saying, and show their emotion to everyone, who in turn blame you (the male boss)." Now I have no business barging into conversations without knowing the context (usually), but sometimes I just want to go up to people and ask them why arrogance out shadows empathy in their eyes. From the rest of the conversation it sounded like the lady probably deserved it, I mean she wouldn't show up to work and wasn't able to take responsibility for the work that she was given (due to problems at home); yet their callousness towards her seemed so arrogant, and belittling that it seems that no matter what this woman would have done, it would have made no difference to these guys.

Working is hard. I said it. It is hard to balance a life of work, and a life outside of work. For a person in my situation, it isn't all that difficult. I work about 25 hours a week, and the rest of the time I spend just hanging out around time, or at home. But for someone in different circumstances, it can be particularly daunting.
I fight against this notion that we should just succeed, without an understanding of where we are in contrast to others. When we lose sight of that, we lose sight of our humility towards others. It is no longer me and you, its me and me.

I may just be able to understand others on a surface level many times, but even the smallest interaction can influence how you view your fellow man or woman. There was a girl today at the 7/11 that I passed as I was heading back towards "my" car. I smiled at her, not with any intention other than to smile, and she glared back at me. Her head tilted and the look in her eyes communicated a hardened anger that has probably been swelling up for awhile. As I passed her and went back into my car, I thought to myself, "I wonder if I look like that in times of frustration?" and again "I hope that she finds some release, in a good way, somehow." I didn't think anything of these thoughts until just now, as I realize that part of the reason I wanted to make a "impression" towards her, was possibly rooted in some empathy for that woman in the men's discussion. But maybe beyond that, I think it ultimately roots itself in the topic of self-worth, which I have discussed through great lengths (you can read about it in previous blog entries).
People need compassion, and sometimes all they need is a release from the grime and hardship that occurs everyday. That girl might have thought I was being flirtatious, or trying to view her as an object; but my intentions were very much not in that vein. That in itself is a frustration: that any action of humilty, any action of compassion, or any action of self-sacrifice looks as though it must have a "pricetag of ulterior motives". But why?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

5 Things I miss about Summer 2008

1. Paul, Jacob, Taylor, Dustin, Dan, Bryce, and the CS Supervisors MirMir, Paul D, ED (not as much), Donna
-You guys mean so much to me and I miss you all terribly. Last summer was only as good as it was because you all were there with me.

2. Pool Basketball- I'm terrible, but I play every time, and by the end of the summer I found that I could at least make one or two shots per game. Also ganging up on Ian Vanderwerff was fun...haha.

3. Movies- midnight shows, movies from the queue, etc...

4. Being able to just chill and not have to worry about getting to work, or nonsense like that... Also the fact that "customers" left after a few days was amazing, we have some lingerers (regulars) who come into Jamba all the time and sometimes I wish they just wouldn't come by.

5. Hanging out with everyone and making memories- punching paul in the eye and instantly realizing how hard I hit him, telling a waitress that she had "good waitressing skills" in an attempt to hit on her, getting told that I was F-able by some random girl in the Anderson parking lot, dealing with chinese camps, driving back and forth as Paul Davis's slave, trying to combat Jacob in the pool (big mistake eric big mistake), going to Disturbed with Dan, playing Music scene it and seeing Dan do the "mashed potatoe", watching the U.S. Open for 6 hours, taking a million cinder blocks to Home Depot with Melissa and Taylor, signing up for "project fun" with dustin, hanging out with/ trying to stay awake as long as Dave during safety shifts, witnessing the ridiculousness that was Meg...sheesh that should be number one the things I don't miss list..., sneaking into President McKinneys office while working safety and putting my feet up on his desk, Lost parties, punch dancing with taylor and incorporating dlo's dance into the mix, playing the epic (but rematch still needed) volleyball with DLo against Dan and Taylor, dealing with the police rushing the campus in search for an escaped man who I was trying to find (it was my duty), hanging out with Dan and chatting about life, doing construction on yaks and hanging out at bbqs, ... etc etc etc....
Thinking about it all makes me miss it more...


Whenever I sit down at my computer I always think of what I would want to write about in a blog, yet (as my friend Dan reverberates my friend Matt, in his latest entry of "Proper Self-Disclosure") it is not always best to simply just ramble on, because so much happens during the day and we can only write down a small percentage of what actually goes on. This means that many times emotions are lost, details skewed or left out, and ultimately we are left with a slightly muddled vision of what we want to express.

Now I think that regardless of this we should persist for writing is for the soul and not always for declaration. The words that I hope to write do not always emit from my fingers, or mouth; but at times they find their way to exist. It's as if we send them of, as parents send off their children on first days of school. We want them to succeed,motivate, and maybe even rub off on "others" in the best possible ways; yet this is not always the reality of life. At times I have written about deeply concerning issues, events, and transgressions that have occurred in my life and it at times has been tempting to point my words at a sharper angle; but I resist out of empathy for the feelings of others, and for the ways that I will be perceived.
Going back to the illustration concerning children, if we influence them to do that which we ourselves wouldn't want to become hindrances (such as retaliation or rejection), then we cannot expect that they will piffle off like a match going out in a heady wind. Words can sometimes have greater consequences than any action that we ever do, and in that power so many times abuse is found.

We want to protect our "children" for they are ours, and yet we also have to let them stand for themselves: in times of trouble, and in success. If we never allowed that, then we would never allow true freedom to reside over their reception.
And with that we selfishly hoard what could come of it. This requires a "letting go" of that which may at times come across as a "heat of the moment" type of argument, because at times the "thoughts of the moment" (as Francis Bacon relays) "are commonly the most valuable." This is not to say that everyone should wait until they are emotionally distraught, in hopes of writing great reflections, it in fact implies that at times of such passion, sometimes we evoke the wills that otherwise would have continued their pleasant subconscious slumber.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Midaisle Critic: Summer Movie Reviews- The Taking of Pelham 123

As I watching the latest from director Tony Scott, I couldn't help but feel that the film had a glazy watered down feel to it, that was simply compensated for by having a lot of f-bombs and other such language. The performances are tired, and virtually unimpressive, and to be honest the original shines over this film regardless of the time that has passed between the two (the original was made in 1974).
This film left me feeling uninspired, for it gave me a familiar story without any reason to connect with it. The main issue I have with remakes, and ultimately modern actions films like this one, is that the films seem so cookie-cutter esque, that any sense of memorability is virtually lost. Not that every film will evoke feelings of resounding joy, but with guys like Travolta, Scott, and Washington: we would think that they would try a little harder.
I couldn't help but put in my own scene, as the subway car was screeching down the tracks. I was hoping Spiderman would show up and stop the train with a slingshot web in a truly sacrificial moment, but alas... I got no such excitement.
The film wasn't bad, it just wasn't particularly good either. I like what fellow film Thespian/director Mike Gallegos said when he stated "it was a decent enough of a film, and I guess you just gotta let Denzel and Travolta do their thing." I guess that is true enough, but imagine if these two had emulated the performances of Robert Shaw and Walter Matthau! In this age, we need characters in films who we not only connect with, but also can see as memorable. When we walk away from the theater, we want to continue discussing the film into the night, as we drink our coffees at local diners, and walk the streets discussing twist endings, and favorite scenes. It is truly the dialogue, and ultimately the performances of the actors that provide the atmosphere, and true "meat and potatoes" of a film, yet that seems so lost today (in many films, but NOT all). We need to start pushing films that don't treat their audience as if they will watch anything with a shiny poster and a tricked up trailer. It is simply not enough anymore. There needs to genuine authenticity. And I know that I stand with few on this issue, but I want to make my voice heard.
Action films, or thrillers, or whatever you want to call these films, need to be given the detail, respect, and authenticity that well composed dramas receive. Their is a reason why we remember Bogart as a private gumshoe, or John McClane as a lone cop, or even Al Pacino as Serpico. I could care less about Washington's performance, or even Travolta's for that matter, and that says something about the film I watched. I was entertained, but not without the "outcause" of feeling a little let down, considering how good the original was.