Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Whiskey Collection

Seriously. I'm a respectable human being now. A good whiskey collection is one of those thing's I've always wanted to have. I'm not a materialistic sort of girl. I only spend my money on three things - travelling, books and food. I used to not need food, but since discovering the craft of cooking (which comes when you don't live in Singapore) I now really like food. In case you're wondering, no, I haven't got fat. In fact, I'm probably fitter than I ever was before.

Many alcoholic beverages come shrouded in mystery. Both making and tasting them is an art. Prices are prohibitive as a large class of them are a status symbol. Everyone has a drink of choice depending on their aspirations, and whiskey is mine. Firstly because I've never gotten a hangover from too much of it. Secondly... because it's a sexy, arty, man drink. It's also assumed to be Ernest Hemmingway's drink of choice, isnt it?

A good glass of malt used to be a really special treat I never could really afford for myself before. Well. Now I can. Makes me feel all grown up like ;-)

An Abortion

Earlier this year, actually on New Year's Eve 2011, I had an abortion. It was fairly traumatic -well, about as traumatic as getting my wisdom teeth pulled out. Unlike wisdom teeth however, I know I can have another baby. OKAY, I know, I should be utterly devastated, it should have been a horrible time for Dani and me, I should have gone through days of deliberation, etc.

Here's the truth: It's only horrible if you allow it to be by over thinking it. Most of life is five thousand shades of grey, but an abortion isn't one of them. Either you're having the baby or you're not. And after I weighed out the options - Travelling, time to make art vs. taking care of a little shithead - I decided (in 5 minutes) that I wanted an abortion.

It happened around New Years, I had to get it done in Singapore (because the wait list in Holland was about 2 weeks long), I emailed the doctor over the internet, and the morning after I landed, the whole affair was done and dusted with.

I was shit scared on the operating chair. But then again, who isn't shit scared when you know someone is going to stick something up one of your holes and do something with your body. Like I said, about as traumatic as pulling teeth. If I weighed it out, getter my teeth pulled and the abortion both come up to the same amount of stress. The teeth pulling was traumatic during the operation (1 hour) and the week after (1 week) whereas the abortion was traumatic before the operation (3 days) and during (20 minutes).

Everyone takes it differently. I've got an extremely positive mind thanks to good genes and copious amount of exercise. Also, I have a great, loving, supportive boyfriend who agreed with the decision (although, I think, not without some nightmares). It would have been different without that support, I'm sure. Also helped that I could pay for the damn thing. I can imagine $1500 is a lot of money for a pregnant teenager. Jesus. For that amount I could have done the liposuction I always wanted.

The whole issue of abortion is so rife with politics with everyone defending their stand. There's nothing to defend. It's an individual choice. Either the foetus lives or dies. Make the decision and go with it. No point thinking too much about it. Especially not the what ifs. Sometimes I think it was a selfish choice - but life is cruel first before it is kind. I wouldn't have been the mother I'd wanted to be...

NAH. What horseshit. The truth is, it was a selfish choice. I'm not living under the poverty line, I have a supportive partner, we would have been able to have made a good home for it. We were just not ready. Also, I question the relative benefits of children and the necessity to add to the human race.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Really Wish I Could Do That

Star Wars. Eternally cheesy, persistently inspiring. Late last year, just before Christmas, I picked up my old "The Art of Star Wars" book. This was after I'd been working at the current 9-5 for a couple of months, the financial pressure that had been on my back since graduation assuaged and relationships at work stabilized. It was the first time in a long time I had to really think about what I wanted to do with my life.

University pretty much passed me by in a haze of artistic wankery. The question of how I was even going to get a job with the skills I'd learned never really came up. I had always managed, somehow. I didn't like most of the time I spent in college. I knew I was learning nothing, and I started fantasising about doing something else. Like architecture or economics. Subjects with even more wank around them, with pretensions to science, and with the possibility of a great job - once you managed to find one (apparently a degree in architecture is among the top tep of useless degrees in this economic climate).

I'd lost track of what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to get ,out of my life. It was easy too, pre-2008. Architecture and economics/business were also very attractive then. It's only on retrospect that I see how I'd been subtly influenced and manipulated by the climate of the times.

So I'd picked up this Star Wars book, took it to bed, and started flipping through all the gorgeous pictures. The one thought in my head was "I really wish I could do that". I spent the night wondering how and why every drawing looked so good. I could draw well from life. I could draw anything. Figures, architecture, moving animals. But whenever I sat down with a blank piece of paper and tried to look into my head to come up with a world, there was nothing. It was like my imagination had been killed by all that academic wank I'd purposefully surrounded myself with. (That, and other things that I was sure were literally killing off my brain cells.)

I can only remember explicitly thinking to myself  "I wish I could do that" twice in my life. Looking at the pictures in the Star Wars book and after reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. There must have been other times, but those are the ones I remember.

The thing about novel writing is that it's a hidden skill. Due to high literacy rates in most countries, most people can write well, only very few can draw or play music well. But to write a novel, a genius novel, that's just something that can't be learned. Nobody can teach you how to write a novel. But with a lot of practice, you can learn how to illustrate the universe of Star Wars. Or the Game of Thrones. Or whatever.

Illustration is technique first with creativity applied later. Writing genius novels is... a whole different ball game. I decided it would be easier for me (and more fun) to do the former.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Right annual-ish update. Been thinking of doing one for some time now. It pops into my head every now and then while I'm working out.

I'll be turning 26 soon. 26, dear lord, that figure looks awfully large. I still feel like I'm 20. I don't think like I'm 20 though. If I were to go back and give my 20-something self advice it would be this:

1. It doesn't matter what you want to do in the future, or what you will do. Go learn a proper, technical skill and do something to prove you've learned it. It can be anything. Writing, programming, drawing, carpentry, being proficient in multiple languages; anything that you like doing, that's quantifiable, and that will give you a sense of purpose while you're partying, fucking and wasting time and money getting a useless university degree. Most university degrees are useless to most people because if you like what you're studying, it'll probably be useless and if it's useful, you'll probably not like it.

2. Self-awareness and discipline are very important for success. Discipline to stick to the road you've decided to go down on, and self-awareness to know when to change course.

3. Live with interesting people that share your interest and are not lazy bums. You'll be inspired all the time, and they will motivate you to succeed.

4. Do some activity as a hobby regularly. Play the piano, go running, cook... it'll make you feel good and it'll teach you something.

5) Don't party when you have to work/study. Unless you're absolutely certain it's going to be epic. Like with people in your field of interest all having a big love in. That way you're also networking.

 ... And yeah, the only thing I regret from that period of my life is the wasted time spent doing shit I didn't want to do.