Not that it’s happening anytime soon, but I want it to happen. Eventually. Some time in the (not so) near future. There are many places that I would love to move to, but one that tops my list is Denmark. It’s weird and it’s random (from where I am coming from, at least) and, you know, I’ve never even been there. But my heart was taken because of this video I saw, summer of 2010.
It’s a video made by Martin de Thurah to promote Denmark at the World Expo in Shanghai last year. I talked about it a little bit over here. The film is called “Tales of How We Live: The Family City” and de Thurah just really captured the spirit of Denmark—or so I think, I suppose, as I’ve never been there. I’m a stranger to the country, but I would like to be able to say that I got to know Denmark in the future. I guess you could say that de Thurah was really successful, because holy frak, do I want to go to Denmark.
The film is beautifully shot, and it made me long for a place I hadn’t even been to. I think it has a lot to do with the quietness that Denmark seems to have that I can’t seem to find in Manila. I know that it has its cities, and this film isn’t a complete image of what Denmark is, but I just fell so in love with it.
Maybe it also has a little bit to do with that really inexplicable feeling of belonging, regardless of whether or not I’ve stepped foot in that place. Often, I think about maybe living in New York for a little while, or sometimes, I think about San Francisco, or Montréal. And while these places sound really exciting to me, there is this odd clarity about the possibility of a small future in Denmark. It feels like I would really just fit there. And maybe that’s just this desire to re-root myself in a foreign place that’s talking, and maybe I would feel even more displaced when I do manage to get myself to Denmark. But I don’t know. I really have a good feeling about that place.
I’ve cultivated that desire to discover other “roots” I might have elsewhere, and I’m truly set on living in a different place, at least for a few years. I’ve always maintained the resolve to move back home to Manila when I’ve experienced the other parts of the world.
It’s just a dream—perhaps a lofty one. But, there really is just an unshakable feeling about Denmark, and I can’t quite quiet it down. Here’s to trying.
I started writing this on February 3, and I feel like it might be time to continue this train of thought, and get on with it. Ahem:
This marks the beginning series of posts has been stewing in my head for the past couple of months, and because I’d been putting it off for so long, I was afraid I’d never get to post it—here I am, at 4:25 AM, writing a crapshot introduction for it. In case it’s not common knowledge, I have currently been enamored by a certain film called The Social Network. To be honest, I expected very little from it, and only really wanted to see it a little bit. How the frak was I supposed to know that it was going to turn me into a crazy lady?
But I digress.
The Social Network is a semi-fictitious account that follows the dissolution of the friendship that founded Facebook, not-so-arguably the biggest social networking site to date. (It’s based on Ben Mezrich’s “The Accidental Billionaires,” which was based on the story of Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg and the website that came between them.) On paper, it sounds like a horribly drab film—I can see you now, shaking your head and asking: “You want me to waste the hours I haven’t already wasted on Facebook, watching the story about the dorks that came up with it?”—but I maintain that it’s pretty much a stroke of genius.
It’s curious to see how a movie about something as cold and (strangely) impersonal as a website can cause this much noise. It’s gotten a lot of awards show buzz and recognition, aside from all the crazy stanning from the Tumblr community—me, included. Zadie Smith wrote a pretty telling review on it for The New York Review of Books, which caused me to think about my relationship with Facebook, with the people I am friends with on Facebook, and ultimately, the Internet.
“That other movie about Facebook” is called Catfish. Set up as a documentary, it follows the unlikely friendship of photographer Nev Schulman with an eight-year-old girl, Abby, over the Internet—a relationship which might be the least creepy situation that we encounter for the rest of the film. He eventually forms bonds with the rest of Abby’s family, with much of the attention shifting to her gorgeous half-sister, Megan. I watched it a couple of days after I saw The Social Network, and I’ve written a review about it for Pelikula, but I feel like it’s worth revisiting, for the sake of argument.
One of the biggest points that Catfish is trying to assert is pretty obvious: don’t believe everything you see read on the Internet. What people seem to take away from The Social Network is that Mark Zuckerberg is something of a douchebag, but I suppose it’s just because it is less upfront about Facebook’s social implications. Helpfully, Smith’s review touches on a lot of things that many might have missed or overlooked.
I am thinking about the projected length of this discussion, and I feel like it’s going to take me a while to sort out my thoughts, so this will come in parts. Also, I’ve bought and read most of Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget,” which Smith reviews along with The Social Network. She makes up and uses a term that I have since adopted as my personal goal; I’ve been re-learning how to be a Person 1.0.
What exactly is a Person 1.0? I couldn’t really tell you right now, but I’m looking into that. All I know is that technology has rapidly been shaping the way we interact with people, as well as how we function as human beings. I don’t know about you, but often I’ve let slip computer jargon in “RL” conversations. I’ve asked people to delete what I just said, or to please compress their story into a .zip file because I have no time for it right now. (Just kidding about the .zip part, but wouldn’t that be amazing?) Sometimes, I wish I could just CTRL+F a Philosophy text to get to a term which has a definition escapes me. Do you not groan at the injustice of it all?
Lately, I’ve been weaning myself off of the Internet—or so it seems. I have been online, sure, but my “presence” hasn’t really been active. Is this progress? I doubt it. I think I just found other useless things to do. Or, I just got too lazy, or it finally dawned on me that, No, Carina, the Internet doesn’t need another GPOY. However, I’d like to think that I’d been spending my time on fairly productive things. I mean, I do feel a little bit more self-fulfilled, occasionally. I don’t know if that means anything.
In any case: there it is, really. I’m re-learning how to be a Person 1.0, and thinking about what that means. At some point in my life, I’m sure I was a Person 1.0. It’s just really fascinating to step back and think about just how much technology has shaped and changed the way we view the world, and how we think. It’s astonishing, and it’s mind-blowing, and that is probably why people don’t really think about it all too much. This is so ingrained in our culture and our habits.
It’s scary because it suggests some kind of major alterations in the world. I mean, at the rate that technology is already shaping the present (and in turn, the future), I think it’s safe to assume that big things are going to happen. And it’s scary that we don’t know just what these changes are going to bring about. Like I said, social implications are inevitable, but think about other possible revisions to life as we now know it. I think it is potentially terrifying, and it doesn’t help that everything is very, very possible.
This is just the beginning of what I hope to be a string of fairly coherent thoughts about the future. At the very least, I hope I make sense. I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of all of this is, at this point, but I’m fairly sure that, given the scope and the subject matter, it may very well concern you, Person 2.0. Don’t try to deny it! The fact that you are on a computer, reading this obscure blog by some nobody from the Philippines, means that you kind of know your way around what a Person 1.0 would call “The Information Super Highway.”
Don’t worry, fellow Person 2.0. We can find a way to make it better.
I immediately ordered Issue #41, May-June 2011, and the process was quick and painless. The delivery was also very prompt. I was surprised to see that in addition to the issue I ordered, as well as some other goodies (paper products, writing tools, etc), she also enclosed a back issue! I already had this issue (and I’m trying not to be a big packrat anymore), so I asked Fika Fika Fika if I could just give it away to a Nothing Spaces reader, and she said yes!
Anyway, up for grabs is Frankie #39, Jan-Feb 2011.
Since the issue is about feeling like you belong somewhere, all you’ve got to do is comment with your name and where/when you feel like you most belong.
A few notes and rules:
- The contest is open to all. However, you must be willing to pick it up from a gallery along West Avenue, Quezon City or pay for shipping. (Normally, I would pay for it, but I am trying to save!)
- You can only comment once.
- Winner will be picked randomly.
- Winner must reply to the email alert within 24 hours of receiving it, otherwise I will pick another winner.
- You can comment until 11:59 PM on July 31, 2011 (+8:00 GMT).
- Pop by Fika Fika Fika! The shop’s got a lot of interesting things for sale, as well as back issues of Frankie. Unfortunately, Issue #42 is sold out. However, I can vouch for every issue of Frankie they still have stocks of.
Okay, that’s it! If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below, and I’ll try to get right back to you.
In the interest of coming up with solutions, rather than dead-end whining, I’ve come up with a plan to try twelve new things that would better my life, one way or another. Yesterday, I posted about wanting to be remarkable. I think I’m going to counter that with attempts to make my life better. Not necessarily with the goal to be remarkable, but just a conscious effort to introduce positivity and improvement in my life.
WHY TWELVE? Honestly, I picked the number at random. It seems like a good number—not too many, not too few—to start with. Just like your donuts and your eggs, changes in one’s life might as well come in dozens!
HOW WILL IT WORK? I’m going to list some things I want to do that I feel will greatly improve my life. Each one of them will be accompanied by a rationale as to why they’re part of the list, and each should be feasible (because I don’t want to set myself up for a fall). They will not be too hard, but they will also not be too easy. I will try to tie this in with a project I’ve always wanted to do, but never pushed through with, Mission 101.
WHY ARE YOU SHARING THIS ON THE INTERNET? DON’T YOU THINK YOU’VE EMBARRASSED YOURSELF ENOUGH? I find that while this might border on oversharing, the Internet is a great avenue for a) accountability, and b) encouragement (for myself and for other people who might stumble across this little challenge). Plus, it’s automatic documentation for when I feel down and out and want to be reminded why I am doing this in the first place.
Also, this is my blog, I do what I like~
WHAT ARE THE THINGS ON YOUR LIST? I have not come up with the list yet, but here are some things I’ve been thinking about:
1. NEW ROOM (SORTA) — by which, I just mean: clean it
2. NEW MODE OF TRANSPORTATION — by which, I mean: learn how to drive
3. NEW LIFE SKILL — some ideas: how to change a flat tire, how to install a light bulb, etc.
4. NEW ADVENTURE — by which, I mean: go somewhere in the Philippines I’ve never been to before, and then write about it
5. NEW FRIEND — by which, I mean: diet and exercise. …yes, the friend in question is my body. Is that lame? I don’t know anymore.
6. NEW RESTRAINTS — by which, I mean: budget plan and savings. That I will actually follow.
7. NEW DIRECTIONS – by which, I mean: make more things (always, all ways).
8. NEW PACKAGING – by which, I mean: fixing up my portfolio
9. NEW LANGUAGE – by which, I mean: finally learn
10. NEW ROOTS – by which, I mean: look for opportunities in other places
11. NEW CREATIVE SKILL – by which, I mean: learn an instrument, or how to draw properly, or how to use a different sort of paint, or sew, or what-have-you
12. NEW BRAIN JUICE – by which, I mean: read more
Not a final list, and obviously some will be hard to keep track off because they are supposed to be habitual, but I think this is a pretty well-rounded list. What do you think? Do some sound stupid or unnecessary?
In any case, each time I embark on a goal, I will explain why it is there and how it will help me.
DO YOU HAVE A DEADLINE? Not a concrete one. I’d like to think of this as an ongoing process, really. Ideally, though, I finish these things as soon as possible, so I don’t feel as useless as I do. Fingers crossed for me?
I guess the main point of this challenge, really, is to just extend myself, because I don’t feel like I have been doing that enough. I am honest and upfront about what I feel like are my failings, but I think it’s about time I followed through.
And I suppose this is an attempt at doing just that.
What areas in your life do you feel like you can improve on?
There are people who can get by life coasting on their looks, their wealth, their natural intelligence or talent. I am not any of those people, so at a young age, I resolved to be remarkable. While my ambitions shifted around a lot, I just always wanted to be someone who mattered, people took notice of, and was good at what she did.
Aside from a strong sense of entitlement, what plagues this generation is discontent so potent, it’s hard to find people my age who are genuinely happy. I’m not going to write myself off this list, because a lot of the time, when I “feel weird,” it’s because I am drowning in this sort of restlessness that I can only assume comes from discontentment.
People talk about the feared yet inescapable quarterlife crisis, and have spoken great lengths about how awful it is to be victimized by it. I’ve done this quite a few times myself, and I think that, after acknowledging this crisis, this loss, and confusion, maybe it’s time to just let it go, and figure out how to get past it.
Maybe what the problem is what my perception of “remarkable” is. Think about the fact that everyday, millions of connections inside your body function together so we can exist. Think about everything that interacts and coexists, all the random little things your body does, everything that happens on this planet, and tell me that that isn’t magnificent.
I know it sounds like I’m making excuses for my lack of accomplishments. It sounds like I am justifying this growing cloud of laziness that is slowly becoming a permanent fixture in my life. Does getting rid of this listlessness give way to me being remarkable? Maybe. But maybe it shouldn’t be the reason for me to stop being lazy anyway.
I think a lot of people give up in the middle of doing something when they see that it’s not putting them on the road to remarkableness. Maybe they stop doing what they do because it’s not giving them the attention or the praise or the reactions that they were hoping for. Maybe that’s what’s been happening to me.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this entry, to be honest. Did I want to draw attention to the fact that I am nearly twenty-three and I’m nowhere close to where I wanted, where I want to be? Am I quitting on the dreams that I have held onto for so long because they feel a little bit harder to reach everyday?
The pressure to be remarkable—to stand out enough for people to notice—is, at times, motivating, but much more often, I find that this compounding pressure leaves me paralyzed. Instead of making me want to prove people wrong, it just makes me want to give in to being someone whose dreams aren’t and won’t ever be realized.
Holocene, Bon Iver
On Bon Iver’s latest record, Bon Iver Bon Iver, Justin Vernon sings: “… and at once I knew, I was not magnificent.” And I think maybe I just need to come to terms that I am not magnificent or remarkable, in the way that I want to be. At least, not yet.
I have always attached the idea of remarkableness to accomplishing things at a young age. Perhaps this is the cause of all the panic that surges through me each time I see a younger friend or a younger famous person do the brilliant things that they do. Maybe it’s a tiny bit of jealousy, a constant reminder and signifier of my severe lack of having done anything important. It makes me feel like I’ve let down my younger self when I look at myself and see how little I’ve done with what I’ve been given.
I’ve read through Frankie‘s latest issue (JUL/AUG 2011) and Benjamin Law writes about the woes of being 30, but with a slight upward resolution:
“Things didn’t turn out to plan… Really, who cares what the 12-year-old version of myself would think of me? Because, to be frank, the current version of me thinks the 12-year-old version of me was an annoying little f*ckwit.”
He laments the things that turning older means: saying goodbye to the things you wanted to be—a systems analyst instead of an athlete, a deputy sales coordinator instead of an astronaut—but he also says that you get to say hello to a lot of new things. Let go of dreams that are really far gone and dream up new ones. Find new goals to pursue, new ways to be remarkable. Look for new parts of yourself that you want to grow and can cultivate.
I’ve said a lot of things in this post, and really, everything’s still a muddle in my brain. Do I resign myself to the fact that—no matter what I do—I might not reach that point where I see myself as remarkable, and so stop trying to be? Or: do I try anyway and see where it takes me?
The trick, I think, is to look past what you could have done, and to look towards what other things you could still do. The human spirit is extremely resilient. Maybe, that in itself is what’s remarkable.
(Although, maybe I should actually do things that mean something, and things I could be proud of. What I mean to say, Carina, is: don’t sweat it. You’ll get there. It might take you a damn long time, but you will.)
It’s been a while, so I’m posting a pretty mix someone made for me. I’ll be posting an accompanying mix I made in return in a few days. Here’s the download link.
1. Oboes Bleat and Triangles Tink by Say Hi
2. With Every Light by Smashing Pumpkins
3. Bored Games by Wild Nothing
4. I’ll Build You A Fire by Seabear
5. This is the Dream of Win & Regine by Final Fantasy
6. Face It by Beach Fossils
7. This Orient by Foals
8. Superconnected by Broken Social Scene
9. The Greater Times by Electrelane
10. Are You On My Side? by Rogue Wave
11. Cigarettes in the Theatre (Daytrotter session) by Two Door Cinema Club
12. On Melancholy Hill by Gorillaz
13. In An Aeroplane Over the Sea (Neutral Milk Hotel cover) by Matt Pond PA
14. Honestly by Zwan
Hope you enjoy! Feel free to let me in the comments know what you think of this mix. I personally love a couple of tracks, and a bulk of them are new to me. I like being introduced to new music, especially if it’s music that I’d like to hear more of.
Sharing music you like is one of the main functions of a mix. Another reason for the existence of the art of making a mixtape is letting people know how you feel about them. I bet you’ve done this, more than once, for feelings other than the romantic sort. Sometimes, nothing drives the point home better than a selection of carefully chosen songs, arranged in a fitting sequence.
Anyway, this mix. I love it. I hope you love it, too.