the sound of silence

October 7, 2017

i’m currently watching the HBO documentary:  Soundtracks: Songs that Defined History on SBS and can’t help but notice how music affects our demeanour and the way we think. This just highlighted for me how some people like songs without fully understanding the words – I can’t help but think of The Police’s Roxanne and Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side.

The recent death of Tom Petty made me think.  I thought it was just the melody that made me like his music but it was brought to my attention that some of his lyrics were profound – it seems at a subconscious level I knew: music is important but I always believed that lyrics are paramount.

It is rare that an entire album is good (IMHO there are just a few of these). Full Moon Fever is one of my favourites.  Aside from liking the songs, I get a kick out of his intermission:  how CD owners need to wait in oder to be fair to vinyl owners that need to flip the record to side b.

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last night I woke up from a dream and couldn’t breathe and get back to sleep – had to sit-up to facilitate the airflow.  I think I experienced what I can only describe it as my first “panic” attack – it felt similar to one of my claustrophobic bouts. Maybe I’m just “slow’ but after nearly a decade after my unnamed ABI, it was my first dream that I could remember where I was “disabled”.  Maybe it was acceptance or realisation. Or (seeing as it’s been really cold lately) I only do half of my daily exercises.  Or the news feature on assisted dying and how close Victoria is to passing draft legislation.  Regardless of what brought it about, my family is better off with my pension, so I better continue to suck it up. I’m really tired – I just need my “second wind”.

thank you

December 16, 2016

i began writing this for me, my family and my friends.  While 50 followers is drop in the sea of social media, I appreciate that other people find the time to read it.  Thank you very much!

patience (is a virtue)

November 29, 2016

we are born with two ears and one mouth – having difficulties speaking has led me to listen more (but that deserves another entry of its own).  Common practice dictates that you should hold off for 24 hours on sending an emotionally (or alcoholic) induced e-mail, text or tweet (much like counting down from 10 or taking long, deep breaths can aid in dissipating excess emotion). If you still think it’s appropriate later on then go for it – I guess making it difficult to type has its perks and writing a post over a few days helps me to reflect and reevaluate more.  Despite my Vulcan-like demeanor, I exhibit more human behavior now. If I still really feel strongly about something, I can blog about it.  That said, my words need to be tempered by the saying: “it’s easier to condemn than to convince.”  Sure, sometimes it’s hubris but at times it’s simply therapy, expression or observation.  This is not a “manifesto” to abstain from commentary, it’s just one should be able to distinguish what one’s true purpose is.  Having a combination of these factors is not necessarily a bad thing:  it’s being conscious of what’s subjective versus objectivity that’s important.  Intentions (and motivations) need to be transparent.

A “wise” editor once told me that everything is political and that being apolitical is a political choice.  I’ve since embraced this tenet – after all, our thinking is not only a function of our genes but also of our experiences.  Sometimes it can look like I’m fence-sitting when I just don’t have enough facts or am considering the nuances – the devil is in the details after all.  The question I ask is how, if at all, does this affect me or my family?  Sure, I’ve got opinions about many things but does it really matter in the grand scheme of thing or is the motivation so that I feel better.

I used to think that it was “simply” a matter of quality over quantity.  But to paraphrase the Pulitzer-prize author, Jennifer Egan, one needs to write regularly, even badly at times, to be able to ultimately write well.  In this vein, I pour my writing into one document – not everything makes it to be published under my blog; not everything is meant to be shared with the rest of the world (some are best left as “inner” dialogue – look at the trouble Homer’s gotten into throughout the years).   That said, perfect can be the enemy of good so it can also be helpful to get something out there and not “oversanitise” or self-censor everything.  From experience, some comments can be constructively critical and useful for refining your thoughts and others you need to consider with a grain of salt (public spaces can be a great boon but also a huge bane at the same time – wisdom of the crowd vs. trolls and haters).

better days

October 28, 2014

To paraphrase an expression from the cancer community, you can either be bitter or better. Not to be melodramatic but the same applies to living with a disability.   I’ve felt both – more of the latter lately. All of us with a “problem” can be overwhelmed – there’s no monopoly for this it’s just certain cases are “easier” for us to understand. I know logically that statistically speaking, there are no “bad” days but it sure sometimes feels that way – so does it really matter anyway. Perception is often considered more than reality. Having a shitty day affects our mood – it’s alright to feel this way as long as we keep this to a minimum and are fully aware of our resulting actions (at least that’s what I tell myself) . I’m Human after all and not an Econ. I can’t always be rationale (although generally I think I am). I’m not always logical or an automaton despite my computing background. I’m no paragon of how to behave but I think (hopefully) I’m gradually getting better at accepting it. Like an addict you’re never completely “cured” – every day’s a struggle.

Things won’t necessarily get better as the day progresses but my attitude and how I can handle things can certainly improve. It’s hard for me because my worldview is closer to Marc Maron than it is to Polyanna. Like Jim Jeffries in Legit, I should learn to just make the “best” out of “bad” situations. In short, I should try not to be so grumpy all the time.

I felt like this before I acquired my disability and I feel it now. Some of my views have changed but not all of them – surely in my case it’s just not solely out of life experiences but exposure to others’ thoughts. I’ve used exercise as an outlet lately but have to write sometimes even if it’s difficult. The former doesn’t allow me to express myself and have a “voice.”

call me (maybe)

December 20, 2013

my mum calls every weekend. It’s structured the same (not that I’m complaining) – on reflection, the consistency of it all seems to bring me some  comfort.  She did this even before my before my condition – I guess she thinks it’s more important now. Our chats have always been brief – I’ve never been much of a talker.  Most would say it’s a bit ritualistic – but knowing the intent behind it changes the context. Maybe it’s force of habit or force of nature but I don’t reciprocate even if I know I should. I don’t expect it but I’ll miss it if it stops.

turn that frown upside down

November 12, 2013

psychologists say that the act of smiling can change your mood.  As anyone that knows me can attest, I’m naturally grumpy – so much so that my son calls me a Grinch even if I’m not anti-Christmas (I’m not a big fan of carols though.) I’ve always believed that one needs to be true to one’s self but trying a “forced” smile is worth it to experience some happiness.