code breaking and social espionage.

February 25, 2010

In the age of social networking, it’s easy to be a social spy. There are stalker feeds everywhere, letting you know the exact mood and location of your “friend” or…”target.” Let’s face it, these days we have transcended good old fashion friendships and are all actively engaged in social espionage. Friends and lovers meet online, people plan their activities via twitter or facebook updates. Instead of calling each other, we @reply. Gone are the days when you had to actually come face to face and have an argument in private. Now we publicly humiliate or ‘call each other out’ via twitter and facebook updates. So how do we navigate our friendships via social networking? What are the new codes we have to live by in a technologically savvy world?

CODES

“Bros before Hoes.” “Chicks before Dicks.” We all know the rules of friendship. You don’t date your best friend’s EX, or sibling, and you don’t make friends with your best friend’s enemy (unless it is an undercover mission). These codes haven’t changed. It’s how we deal with the code breakers and attempt to sneak around that’s changed. With social media at the forefront, you have to be careful who you are publicly chatting it up with. Before, you could hide a friendship, or a relationship…Now, it is virtually impossible. Facebook wants to know your relationship status. Twitter wants to know who you are with at all times. Myspace wants your photos together (preferably in front of a mirror). Of course, if your friends are smart, or internet savvy, you will get caught. Even if you are super careful, one small slip, an @reply where it doesn’t belong, a comment a bit too specific…..you now have to incur the wrath of the social networking feud.

INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

All you need to know about your enemy or frenemy is out there. Twitter. Facebook. Myspace. Formspring. Blogs. Waiting for you to utilize it. For the most part, every social networking site has a privacy setting, to protect against unwanted stalking. Fortunately for you, the people you most likely want to know about haven’t set their status’ to private, because they want attention, they crave the drama. Or, they are a frenemy. You don’t even have to do the legwork anymore; the ‘newsfeeds’ do it for you. Updating you on everything you want to (or don’t want to) know (Don’t forget about screen captures for documentation if things get scary with actual stalkers).

SOCIAL ESPIONAGE

There are several options that your ‘frenemy’ may take. Let’s take a look at some brilliant friend-war tools available thanks to social networking:

De-Friending. Here we have the ever popular ‘friendship deletion.’ This, in my opinion, is juvenile and cowardly when it precedes any actual face to face conversation. Go ahead, delete me from  your page instead of growing the fuck up and talking to me. Do I really care to read your status updates and see your mobile updates? You are the one deleting me, not the other way around dear (Of course, if they were smart they would realize they may want to stalk you in the future, and wouldn’t dare deprive themselves of access to your page).

Twitter Rage. This is a popular one. I’ve seen more people tweet about their shitty ex boyfriend/girlfriend or shitty friendships than I have any other topic. If there is pure unadulterated (or adulterated….get it?) rage involved, you will see an @reply to the “target,” making sure that all of the “twitrager’s” followers are aware of the injustice done unto them. If they plan on forgiving, or further using, the “target” you won’t know who their rage/hurt is aimed at, but by golly you best feel sorry for their pain! After all, isn’t that why they tweeted about it?

Anonymous Bashing. Thanks to formspring.me, enemies now have the luxury of posting anonymous ‘questions’ and ‘comments’ about a person they have hatred or jealousy towards. If you are smart, a) you don’t care what this anonymous person has to say about you, and b) you don’t respond. The whole point was to get a rise out of you, or get you to say something stupid publicly on the internet. However, if you are dumb enough to answer and play along with their shit, maybe you deserve the aftermath. Now, here is where the real spies can engage in intelligent espionage. Go ahead and answer, if you are wise to who it is, or have an endgame that requires your words being printed with a timestamp and date. How else can  you bring a true crazy down without documented proof? Just word your responses carefully, there is no need to get yourself in any deeper than necessary.

MISSION COMPLETE

The easiest way to avoid friendship faux pas in the era of social networks? Be a good friend. Wow, that seems so simple. Be honest, be true, and be there for your friends when they need you (you may have to check their status update or twitter feed to know when something’s up, so be sure to check regularly). Oh, and please, be careful when mixing alcohol and status updates 😉 That delete button may provide some virtual erasure, but it doesn’t delete the sentiment from the universe or your target.


trust and distrust: the foundation of our lives.

February 15, 2010

Spy vs. Spy. Trust vs. Distrust. The only person a spy can trust is him/herself. However, I am inclined to say this pertains to everyone, not just covert operatives. Trust and distrust are the foundation of every relationship we have in our lives. Trust is an indication that you are willing to let down your guard, become vulnerable in the face of another. For many people, like myself, it takes years to build up, and a moment to shatter. Some might say it is wrong to live my life sitting on a blanket of distrust, but for those that earn it, I will be loyal to the end. Just don’t forget that it is much easier to lose trust, than gain it.

I find those that trust without caution both foolish and naive. Almost everyone has ulterior motives in life. Or maybe I’ve just fallen under the jaded sun of Hollywood for too long.  I have very few people in this world that I would trust with my life, very few people know my inner most secrets. It is in my nature to distrust, or is it? I can trace back friendships as far as I know where I let them in, and was thrown to the curb; and with each person that breaks my trust (and with it my heart), it is harder for the next to earn it. I am lucky to have some people in my life that I do, until that trust is broken. I can only hope that I will one day overcome the immense distrust I hold over the world.

Life can get messy when it comes to the entanglement of trust and the heart. The two are so closely related, because without trust, you can’t have true love. You can love many, but you will not trust all that you love. How can you give all of yourself, and by all I refer to the emotional, vulnerable connection between two people, without trusting the other person? Truth is, you can’t.

I’ve pretty much gone in circles with this post. You are my sounding board. This is my microphone.

In the word’s of the illustrious William Shakespeare, “Love all. Trust Few.”


fear and failure.

January 15, 2010

I was watching How I Met Your Mother, and this time around Ted was the one with the “I must write about this” gem. He says, “The longer I put off starting my own firm, the longer it can remain a dream, and not something I screwed up at. I mean, It’s like I’m giving up before I’ve even started.”

We’ve all done this. How many of us are still doing it? Giving up on our dreams, or at least putting them off until LATER in order to keep them just that- dreams. Something that we can hope to “one day achieve.” The problem is, the longer we put them off, the more difficult it becomes to get started. Fear sets in. It becomes, “God forbid, what if I…FAIL!?!”

FEAR

Fear is lessened through confrontation. I’m not even sure it can ever truly be conquered. For someone who is afraid of heights, skydiving is a brave and daring act. You may even enjoy it after the first jump, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be afraid the next time you go up….but you will be stronger. So what do we do? Keep jumping. Until the fear becomes so miniscule that it isn’t the first thought to register, but rather the second or third, or even the last.

FAILURE

We all fear failure. Ever since that little league game when they stopped handing out the ‘participation trophies’ and the other team started to gloat. When our parents or coaches berated us for poor grades, or losing a game. Success and failure are tied to our feelings of self-worth. It’s a part of being human. You can’t escape it. However, we can CONFRONT IT. Head on. We keep our dreams at bay so that we don’t have to experience that fear every day. Though without it, we would never truly appreciate the feeling of success. The longer you wait, the harder it gets. Eventually it will be too late.

DREAMS

I want to act. All my friends and family know this….I’m confident in my training and my talent. Perhaps the only thing I am truly confident in. Yet I can’t seem to get my ass out of the apartment to find myself an agent. Excuses, excuses, excuses galore! I need money, I need new headshots, I’m not ready…blah blah blah blah blah. It’s fear. Fear of failure. If I never get out there, I can never ‘truly fail.’ The longer I wait, the older I get, the harder it gets, the more likely I am to NEVER achieve my dreams.

It’s easy to sit back and hold on to that dream. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, surrounded by friends and family, going through the motions of life. It can even be fun, entertaining, livable. But do you want to live a life that is ‘livable’ or ‘incredible?’ You have to take risks in order to realize your dreams. You have to pursue them actively, not a little bit this month, a little bit the next….a little bit each day.

WAKE UP

Don’t put off your dream job, or dream life. It’s out there for you, but you have to be the one to go out and get it. If that means getting a shitty job for 4 months just to save enough money to move somewhere new, do it. If that means giving up your nights of drinking and partying, do it. Your true friends will still be there waiting for you when you come back. If that means compromising, do it. If it means getting up at 4 am to ‘write’ or ‘practice’ before your shitty mundane job, do it. Yes- enjoy life. But if you cannot ‘follow your dreams’ because you don’t want to give up having fun, maybe you need to look at your definition of what it means to ‘enjoy life.’ Because there are plenty of people out there LIVING YOUR DREAM right now, and it’s possible they are enjoying it a bit more than you.

Moral of this post- Don’t live in fear of what may or may not happen. Otherwise, you will never truly live at all.


abstraction of time.

January 15, 2010

I am currently reading Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time,” and although I am only one chapter in, it has already begun to make clear questions that were previously muddled in my mind. Not answers, but questions. I have recently become increasingly interested in the concept of ‘time’ and ‘spacetime.’ Though my interest in these subjects go back much further, I can categorically say that Family Guy’s “Road to the Multiverse” episode had a lot to do with my current fascination. Of course while I do wish there was a “Disney Universe” in which I could travel, I know this is sadly not the case. However, the concept of a multiverse is completely logical, and most likely exists. I picked up “A Brief History of Time” this evening and have just put it down to collect my initial thoughts. (*side note, Stephen Hawking has admitted to incorrect information scattered throughout the book and has since published “A Briefer History of Time” but I have yet to purchase it….)

Anyway, on to my questions. This post is in no way an answer to anything, more like a forum for my own brain to sift through ideas and concepts. Of course, I always welcome opinion and shared knowledge, it is, in fact, the only way we grow and learn. Feel free to ‘answer’ or ‘attempt to answer’ any questions I pose.

The hardest part in fully understanding or conceptualizing cosmology and the history of the universe is due to our (as humans) need to label and make tangible, or linguistic sense out of abstract ideas. For instance “time.” How could “time” exist before the beginning of…well…time? In describing the beginning of the Universe Hawking states, “One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined.” The big bang, as we all remember from grade school, was the beginning of the universe when it was “infinitesimally small and infinitely dense.” We understand that the universe is expanding, and so we can say that ‘time’ had its beginning when the universe did. Of course, if you are similar to me, you try to picture the beginning and wonder, ‘well what came “before” the beginning?’ This is the problem we will continue to have until the “end of time” (if one exists, spacetime loops and compact spacetime pockets are theories that I, for one, hope actually exist) due to our inability to visualize abstractions. Now the question becomes, is the ‘beginning’ really an abstraction, or just something we don’t fully understand…yet? Is that question abstract enough for you?

At one point in chapter one, Hawking names the ultimate goal of science as the development of one unifying theory of everything; one single theory to explain existence and the universe. He identifies the two current, and contradictory, theories, “the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.” There are “breakthroughs” in each school of thought every day by the world’s leading intellectual minds, and each day we get closer to a unifying idea, if one even exists. However, there remains another theory, and much of humanity will demand its inclusion, that of a religious nature. Where does spirituality and God play into any of this? For me the question arises because lately I have been equally fascinated by the idea of reincarnation and the concept of the soul. Of course I have no answers, I have no firm belief in the idea, but it becomes an interesting layer to add to the discussion. If the Universe is expanding, if string and M theories are correct, if other parallel universes exist, if compact spacetime pockets exist and time travel could eventually be proven possible…where does the concept of the soul come in? To explain why we, as humanity, exist? If time, in fact, has no beginning or end, and is an abstraction in itself….are we an abstraction of time?

Now for a brief “How I Met Your Mother” break for more barney stinsonisms…then on to chapter 2…..


AVATAR: my thoughts.

January 15, 2010

“avatar was something amazing- it made me wish for so much more. i want to fly on colored dragons and i want to put an end to war. sadly this will never happen, but i’m still hopeful for that dragon….”

Avatar really was something amazing. Visually, conceptually….amazing. The score is fantastic, the technological aspects inspiring, the acting well done, the scenery and imagination behind it, exceptional. 3-D didn’t add much in my book, but that is for another discussion. I don’t want to delve into the technology or analyze the film, all of it is worth seeing for yourself. Instead, I want to mention some of the thoughts and questions that went through my head, during and after the film.

MULTIVERSE THEORY

It was incredible the amount of imagination that went into every detail of creating this made-up world of Pandora. The language, the visual appeal, the creatures, the Omaticayan people…and it made me revisit a topic that lately I have been doing a lot of research and thinking on: cosmology and the creation of our Universe, as well as the possibility (and probability) of the existence of a multiverse. Even parallel universes, co-existing in other dimensions. It really seems highly improbable (and fairly naive to think) that we are the only ‘creatures’ in existence, and that our Universe is the only one out there. “We” as a human species try to tie down our knowledge based on tangible, scientific evidence, except when it comes to the idea of religion, which we can only base solely on faith. Yet anything other than “our religion’s explanation” is pushed aside as impossible, unprovable. Why can’t we be just as ‘sure’ of the existence of other alien races and multi-dimensions and base it on faith? The human race started savage and less-knowledgeable and look where we are today. James Cameron came up with the idea for Avatar in the late 90s, but decided not to pursue filming until the technology was perfected enough to truly showcase his vision. Here we are, 10 years later, having “perfected (however, I use that term loosely)” that technology. Even as the economy crashes, and we still “thrive (if you will allow me that word)” on war, every day we, as a human race are learning, expanding our knowledge of the universe, inventing new technologies, getting closer to curing diseases, etc. I would like to believe and have FAITH that in the next few decades we will develop the ability to see and understand beyond what we currently know, and hopefully be able to find and prove the existence of these other worlds, worlds/dimensions/universes/races that I know must be out there. We can’t be so egotistical to think that they aren’t.

WAR

During the final fight scene, as Neytiri’s looks around, we see through her eyes the pain and suffering, on both sides, that is occurring because of this war. While continuing to watch and feel for both sides, a thought ran through my head briefly and I filed it away to think on at a later moment, which, in turn, caused me to revisit it immediately. I sat there, watching, thinking to myself- here I am watching this movie with my 3D glasses, next to my brother, with my energy drink in the cupholder, and somewhere, across the ocean, at this very moment, someone’s brother/sister/friend/mother/father/husband/lover is fighting a war. I’m not the most politically active person on the planet, i’ll admit it. At that very moment though, I took the moment to recognize the fact that there are those out there RIGHT NOW dodging bullets, firing a gun, losing their life, in a war that you may or may not support (but always support our troops, no matter your opinion on the war). But we don’t think about it, and I was ready to file that thought away until after the movie, which was essentially the very point I was making. We file away the negative to think about at a later, more convenient time. Of course, we shouldn’t be consumed with negativity, that isn’t the point of life, that isn’t our purpose. Some people are not as fortunate as I am, I know this. Some people are FORCED to live in a life constantly surrounded by pain and suffering and negativity. I haven’t discovered the meaning of life, or why some people suffer more than others. (*** side note to follow) Life is about balance. Some people choose to dedicate their lives to end suffering in whatever way they can. I believe its about all doing our part, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. We aren’t all on the same intellectual plane, we can’t all cure cancer. But we can all raise awareness, we can all take a moment out of our lives to acknowledge others that are doing what they can. We can just stop to make sure we are aware of how lucky we truly are.

***SIDE NOTE-
This reminds me of a conversation I was having with my mom the other day regarding reincarnation. The Eastern theory of reincarnation is not as cut and dry to understand when it comes to the idea of a ‘soul.’ They don’t believe the ‘soul’ retains any form of personality, it is more of an abstract concept involving karma. To my understanding (please feel free to correct me if I have misinterpreted it..), as best as I can explain it, they believe in the ‘reincarnation of karma.’ Which, for the purposes of this side note, might be a viable explanation as to why some people suffer more than others. Their “past life” was one of evil or negativity that karma recycled into punishment for their “current life.”

ONE CAN DREAM

One last note- yes, go see Avatar. Yes, it made me want to have a glass of wine and discuss string theory and cosmology with someone again. Yes, it made me want to do something about suffering, and acknowledge the men and women giving their lives to the war we are currently engaged in. But damnit, most of all, it made me want my own colorful flying dragon-like creature. Fuck, I want to fly.

x
jack N box


“i’m not jealous.”

January 15, 2010

I’m sure it’s happened to you, it’s happened to all of us. You’ve lost your job, your lover, a friend, been passed over for a promotion, or didn’t get that role. Then someone comes along, either the one who has “stolen” this elusive happiness from you, or someone connected to them- and they rub it in your face. At least, this is how we perceive it during the “mourning” period. A direct attack on us- On our abilities, our intelligence, our beauty, our self worth.

How rude.

When this occurs the first thing that goes through most people’s minds (right after, “I’ll kill a bitch….”) is something along the lines of “show no weakness! I can’t let them know I’m jealous…or hurt…or upset at all.” It is human nature to have weakness, but it is also human nature to not want to show it. So what do we do? We pretend to be better off than we are. We lie. We do everything we can to say “I’m not jealous.” The funny part is, we all do it, so it isn’t as if we are getting away with anything. In the end, the mere act of responding to whatever passing comment (or in this day and age, “posting” on a social networking site…) proves to the other party that we are in fact jealous, or hurt, or upset at all. However, we are human- we care, we have weakness, and we try our damnedest not to show it. So who is going to fault us for this? No one. We know when someone is trying to make us jealous, just as know when we are trying to make someone else jealous. Sometimes it feels good to win. We also know when we have hurt someone, just as they know when they have hurt us. So there is no shame in pretending to be better off than we are. No shame in only discussing the “positive, happy” aspects of our lives through the pain. “Proving” our strength to the other party, in fact, assists us in proving our strength to ourselves.

In the end, we are all stronger than we think we are.

jack N box


barney stinson, wise man.

January 15, 2010

how do we get ourselves out of a rut? how do we beat depression? well, there are too many people working on that magic pill for happiness, but if you aren’t a fan of popping pharmaceuticals, you simply much choose to be stronger than you think you are.

In the words of barney stinson (how i met your mother),
“Whenever i’m sad, i just stop being sad and start being awesome. True story.”

Sure, this is easier said than done, but life is not about the end result, it’s about the journey along the way. So is the road to happiness. If you wake up every day and decide to be stronger than you think you are, stronger than the sadness, stronger than your problems, stronger than a failed friendship, relationship, job, etc, eventually, you will be.

Wake up every day and decide to do ONE thing that makes you happy. Sure you can do more than one, but make a decision to do one thing that makes you happy, or one thing that will better yourself. Eventually the chips will fall into place. Just believe in yourself, and believe that you have he ability to make your own happiness. Maybe I sound like a new-wave guru, but all you can do is be stronger than you think you are. Just wake up and start being awesome.

jack N box