Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lucky Shirt? Lucky Shirt.

So today I had my Bio and Maths paper 3 exams. Double whammy, dudes. However, I came psychologically prepared because I had my lucky shirt on. *Ahem* here it is!
Heh. I know. Look it's cartoon Spock! Just the kind of shirt I'd consider lucky. Well, it is lucky, because I thought I'd never be able to find a Star Trek T-shirt in Malaysia. (There is a depressing lack of Trekkies here...)

But believe it or not, while my sister was stalking fashion trends on the Internet, she actually found some Malaysian girl wearing this shirt. Turns out Pull and Bear was selling them, so I hopped over to get one. Literally. I think I was skipping down the mall after I'd bought it.

Anyway, about being psychologically prepared. I think I've been pretty much eating and drinking my Bio and Maths papers for the past one week's preparation, and I was still nervous. But wearing this shirt just made me feel Like I could take on anything. I don't know, maybe it's just because Star Trek works as anti-depressants for me or something.

And I suppose when you have a serious-looking Spock plastered over your front in a quiet exam hall, you kind of concentrate and try to be logical as well. So I think I did alright, concentrating and answering all the questions. I felt...peaceful? Yeah, quite serene actually. (Was I meditating?!!)

My football-crazy friend came in a Manchester United jersey, and my eco-friendly friend came in a green shirt. So I guess a lucky shirt isn't lucky because it has magical powers, it's lucky because you like it and it calms you down. It kind of reassures you that you can even answer weird questions if you just tweak your brain to think sensibly.

Hmm I think this luckiness doesn't just apply to clothing, it applies to anything that lands you in a relaxed and peaceful state of mind. I'd been drawing when I took study breaks, and that really helped because I happen to like doing it. It's good to have a hobby, mmhmm.

For today, I'd suggest to readers to really find out what totally relaxes you and puts you in that meditating sort of mind. It should be something that you can keep coming back to, and something that you really enjoy doing. Perhaps it's these little things that keep human beings sane.

Farewell, internet! Gonna draw something fluffy now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And Life Continues on the Earth's Axis.

Huh. This is an update on my personal life. I know, *so* exciting, right.

Besides the fact that I have exams (which I must be on my toes for), I have recently found drawing to be very therapeutic. Especially since I've been figuring out how to draw poses and stuff like that. Pretty frustrating though, I always feel I can never draw as well as I want to. But oddly, after staring at the picture I've finally done, there's a sense that it's somewhat complete. It's weird. Really. I never know whether to be pissed or happy with my art.

Anyways, here's some gay Spock/Kirk funny-ass comics for your viewing pleasure: They made me laugh like a hyena on drugs or something. Oh, and there's some Spock/Uhura too. I hope to do funny-ass art like that someday. =D


Anyhoo, I have some papers to practice on and some hair to colour. Toodles!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: South of the Border, West of the Sun

Today's blog post will be a book review by a Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. (I haven't finished Catcher in the Rye yet.) I was first introduced to this author by my friend Amanda, (click for her blog) when I was a wee lassie in Year 9. (Ok, maybe not that wee lassie.)

I started off with Kafka on the Shore and even now I do not fully understand it. Mr. Murakami is well known for his use of surrealism that ties in with his themes of human life, emotions and the philosophy of existence.

My friend lent me this shorter novel of his (it's only 200 pages) so I finished it in a few days. I have read some other Murakami novels since Kafka, and this would be the latest.

It chronicles the life of Hajime, a child born in 1951. Being an only child, he had only one friend, Shimamoto, a girl. But they lost touch when he moved away. Growing up into his teens and then his twenties, we see Hajime gain a better grasp of how his life is progressing, but yet we see his selfish side, in a few chapters where he wounds his high school girlfriend emotionally.

Upon graduation he gets stuck in a dead-end job, aimless and directionless in his life for 8 years, until he meets Yukiko and marries her, settling into family life with two daughters, running a jazz bar.

Then one day, Shimamoto comes back. The book explores his feelings and his inability to forget his first love. All this paves the way to infidelity, and at the same time, some self-discovery. I have noticed that most of the Murakami novels I've read deal with self-discovery, and how you don't really know yourself until you learn from experience.

Also, most of the protagonists in his books are average, decent males who are searching for something, some inner fulfillment. This somewhat fits Hajime here. As a female teenage reader, I can't really relate to Hajime's mid-life crisis, but I do suppose it is an artistic expression of what goes through men's minds at this point. These days divorces are so common and to me, having an artistic impression of infidelity somehow makes the irrationality of human emotional motivation easier to tolerate.

Hajime's selfishness is highlighted well, and is clearly seen in a short conversation with his wife, where she points out that he assumes he knows what she is thinking and that he has never really asked her a question about anything. You'd think that she would be outraged, but instead, she just takes the blow, quietly stating to him that she feels the pain but nothing else.

I think that deep down, Hajime is afraid of being alone, maybe alone with no one but himself for company. He describes a "force" within him that he cannot overcome. The force of a selfish desire for his first love, perhaps? Someone he may never have. Here I think again of Buddha's words, "Desire is suffering."

While this book does not have much of that ethereal glow that I savour while reading other Murakami works, (I have read about a Sheepman, and fish raining from the sky) I found it enjoyable, because you could see the feelings point-blank. Sometimes the misty metaphors that he uses in other books take a while to adjust to an interpret. It seems like a straightforward story, but because of the way in which Hajime's feelings are described, like something blurred, something which lurks incessantly, it isn't that simple.

In conclusion, I was able to feel Hajime's desperation, and was relieved that he found some closure at the end of the book. Murakami's language is simple--even in Japanese (I read the English translation), but the things he conveys are not. South of the Border reads a bit like a dream, yet at all times you are made aware of reality lurking behind it. Then Murakami asks you: what is reality?

Wow, I've been rambling on. I can't stop soon enough when I talk about books. This isn't a serious review, though, I just want to expound on my thoughts on the book. Try a Murakami sometime. You may be surprised, or you may be disgusted, or you may love it, but I think it would be a unique experience.