Thursday, October 14, 2010

pic of the day: rooftops of prague.

I visited Prague in March when I was living in Rome and it was such a mystical place - it felt like some kind of gothic, bohemian Disneyland on acid. We found ourselves in the middle of this mysterious city that we knew nothing about, which made it even more of an adventure to wander around without having any clue where the hell we were going. This made for exciting discoveries down every corner we turned, whether it was the Prague castle, apparently the largest castle in the world, or the brothel by night/pool hall by day that was across the street from our hostel (and yes we arrived at night to look out our window and have that lovely view). It's always exciting that first night you arrive in a new city when you are so disoriented and don't know what to expect so your body is just on sensory overload taking in everything around you x 1000. Old Town had this toon town quality to it and the Astronomical Clock gave off this cryptic feeling, like we would be abducted into a secret society at any second. The Lennon Wall and the Dancing House building were whimsical and fanciful and the crawling babies TV tower really just exemplified how bizarre our experience there was. YES, that's how I would best describe our trip to Prague, Poland, Austria, and Germany - bizarre. Mystical, mysterious, fantastic, avant-garde, whimsical, stimulating, and bizarre.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

graduation day.

Excitement, eagerness, parties, flirting, laughter, adventure, new experiences, carefree, learning, reading, writing, studying, knowledge, friends, community, freedom, youth, endless possibilities.

Am I really graduated? Have I really been out of school for almost 4 months now? Has it really been 2 years since I was living in London? (Let's not even go there right now because that is a whole n'other animal that I can't even handle right now.) This is not okay. This is a MAJOR life change. Why didn't anyone warn me about this? What can ever compare to the best time of my life?

People always say "congratulations" on graduating, but graduating was one of the worst days of my life. I was completely dreading the day for weeks. I never knew the word "dread" until those few weeks leading up to that Sunday, June 13th. That day was an object of terror and horror. That catastrophic purple and white lei of flowers hung heavy like a noose around my neck. I could feel the weight of it on my shoulders and I could smell its poisonous aroma as my cap and gown smothered me in the powerful California sun. Receiving my diploma was the ultimate act of misfortune, like someone handing me my death warrant. The only thing I could concentrate on was holding back my tears that were ready to burst through my eyes like the Hoover Dam was about to burst. The past four years have led up to this moment and all I was thinking about was that I wished the floor would open up and slurp me inside so that I could be stuck in the floorboards of the gym that I rode my bike past every morning on my way to class. I found myself praying to God that this was all a dream. This couldn't be happening. I didn't want to leave. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I felt that I had no other choice. Even if I stayed in Santa Barbara, I would know that I didn't belong there anymore. It was a place for carefree college kids who never have to worry about anything important. IV, the happiest place on Earth. I didn't want to wear out my welcome. I didn't want the memories to turn sour.

Instead of congratulating me, they should have been saying "enjoy it now because it's all downhill from here" or how about "your freedom is officially over, now get a job". I have a huge lump in my throat just thinking about it because I know that being in Santa Barbara was the last time I was really happy. It was so depressing I couldn't even write about it until 4 months later. Graduation is not a new beginning, it is a horrible ending. It's like a hard kick in the ass... even if you don't want to leave, your time has come to an end. It's like a death. The death of the best four years of my life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mad Men's tragic hero.

Don Draper was a cheating scumbag the entire time he was married to Betty. At first, I loved Betty because she was so stylish and she had this life for herself but didn't actually know who she was. She was trying to figure out who she wanted to be and Don was holding her back. She didn't really even know anything about her own husband. He oppressed her and held himself back from her so she held herself back from him as well. The show cast her in a good light by showing Don doing horrible things, such as sending her to a psychiatrist who he would make phone calls to in the middle of the night to get the report of all the private things she was telling him. Don was constantly sleeping with other women at all hours of the day while he was supposed to be working, not to mention he was also getting rip roaring drunk which also led to his tragic downfall, and then he returned home to his beautiful wife and children at night like he was living a double life - which is ironic because he was in fact leading a double life by stealing the identity of his army commander after he was killed in the Korean war (? if I remember correctly). This further gives us reason to believe he is a deceiving man and a coward as well.

I always sided with Betty, especially after Don started going after his son Bobby's kindergarten(?) teacher, who he was willing to leave his wife for. However, he stayed with Betty and Betty was the one who ended up leaving him. This could have been an empowering move for her, if not for the fact that she left him for another man, who moved into Don's home, kicking him out on the street. This made me lose my respect for Betty and instead of feeling bad for her, I feel like she became just as bad as Don, if not worse, for having no shame and bringing this other man into her home to live with her children and replace their father. I think that it was necessary for Don to hit rock bottom with his drinking in order to realize that he is hiding behind a wall. Although it seems like Betty took everything worth living for away from him, he contributed to that himself and now that he is left with nothing, he beings to realize how far he has fallen. His children, his wife, and his house, all of which he took for granted, were ripped out from underneath him, another man has replaced him as a father figure, and his newborn might not even know who he is.

We begin to get the impression that Don is allowing himself to open up and create an identity of his own when he attempts to become sober. Perhaps he is not allowing himself to do this but after his closest friend passes away, he just cannot keep up his bulletproof walls that were always impassible. His struggle with attempting to sober up allows him to see the world in a new light, opening up his senses in a way that he never noticed before because his life was passing him by like a big blur. He also begins to write in a journal, inviting us into his life in a more intimate way and allowing us to get a deeper glimse into the inner workings of his mind and personality rather than the facade he puts up through the false identity he has assumed. After watching the episode "The Summer Man," I was inspired to write down my thoughts about Don because it was the first time that I really found Don to be likable throughout the entire episode while Betty - who I once thought was fabulous - came off to be a complete bitch (and not in a good way). Maybe this is a turning point for him. I'm excited to keep watching.