Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sweet Sarracenia Solace

This week I recently started a blog all about Plants on Tumblr. This blog is about cool plants I see every once in a while, and where they can be found.

Recently I have been feeling a little down, but since going to the Botanical Gardens with Ernie last weekend, and taking some awesome Sarracenia pictures, I have had the idea of starting something new, and this blog seemed to be the perfect idea. So what is the url?

That is right, I got a most awesome plant genus, as the name of my plant tumblr account.

What makes this tumblr better than a blogger account? Well for one, it is easier to post things to tumblr using the iphone. I have yet to find a good blogger iphone app, which annoys me, since most of the pictures I take are actually on my phone.

But it also lets me connect with the audience more. To the right of my tumblr page are two links. The first link is where people can ask me any question they want, and the second link is where people can submit plant pictures, and other information they would like to see on my blog.

I will try to post cool things at least once a week, but I went a bit crazy with excitement, and posted many times this past week. It also looks sleeker, and better equipped to handle the type of style needed for a professional looking blog. Where my blogger looks a bit more generic, and the posts seem more personal/random, a tumblr specifically for plants is exactly what I need.

One thing I do not like about tumblr, is the inability to leave comments on someones post. It is a bit annoying actually. In this day and age where social networking is all the rage, I would enjoy more interaction with the people reading my blog, but tumblr is still fairly new, and so with time, perhaps these other features will be added.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Terrible T-Shirt Tear Stare

I looked to my right, and noticed her tear. My coworker had a tear in her shirt, and I couldn't stop staring. It was on her arm, and I was about to call her out on it, but she noticed it as well and told me to stop staring, with a smile on her face.

It looked like a wild animal had chased her down and got the better of her clothing. Like a squirrel, or other wild creature managed to rough her up, catching her, seemingly, when she least expected.

I smiled too. Not at her shirt, but at her smile. I felt like a little kid. The best kind of feeling. The best kind of friend, is one that you can re-live your childhood memories with.

A while ago, I wrote what I still consider, one of my best blog entries, on Platonic Cuddling. Actually, if you search "platonic cuddling" on google, my post is one of the first choices that pops up. The entire point of the post was that verbal communication is mostly a facade. It is superficial. It is what you want others to see, but it isn't the true you, because you are not words, you are a human being. And you are not your past, or the sum of your experiences, you are a person just trying to live life like everyone else. And mostly, the post was about showing love to people who are not your significant other, in a way that is nonsexual. To pay attention, not to a story being told, not to whom someone is trying to portray, but to the actual person for the persons sake. To pay attention to, what I call, the awareness within a person.

To quote myself:
"I also believe that if people cuddle more often in groups, we may care about each other more. Perhaps it is only when we feel each others warmth, when we look into each others eyes, and when we pay attention to the awareness within our friends, that we can really know the true value of a human life. Platonic cuddling may not be widely practiced, but used in this way, it has the power to prevent wars."

Why did we smile? It wasn't because the t-shirt was torn, and it most certainly was not flirting. Maybe I saw something in her that cannot be expressed in words. Maybe it was a kindness, or an innocence. Maybe it was because she noticed me noticing her torn t-shirt, and in taking notice, was aware that I was aware. This awareness of the awareness of others happens often in cuddling, but I have rarely seen it out of the context of cuddling. I have rarely seen it in young people. But it is very special in young people, and like cuddling, it should be highly sought after. Especially because when you're young, it's okay to be, easily ignored.

Am I losing touch? I used to have an ability to connect with people on a deeper level. But I find the frequency of connections on a decline. With some people the connection is always there, like with Donna. It is always the case, that when she is next to me, and I hold her, I notice her, and love her. I am comfortable with that. With a few other people it is always there too, like with my close friend, Noelle. I have never remembered having a conversation with Noelle where we didn't connect. And again, I am talking about a connection in a nonsexual way. It is more of a connection where the context of the conversation is irrelevant, and whatever actions taking place in the moment are irrelevant, and for a split second you notice that there is another person noticing the moment, and it usually results in an innocent smile. This can be very personal.

We often work so hard on our persona. Whether it be creating a tumblr where everyone can see out latest clothes, or where we tell stories of how we were hanging out with our significant others. How often can we convey our existence without the use of anecdotes, or by increasing our shadow on the world (by leaving a bigger footprint of ownership). I think that most people have never felt the awareness within others, and that is why they lie, and cheat, and why we vote for politicians, and have to create paper and coins that we value. It is all a facade. Because connections do not happen often, when they do happen, they are personal.

And so the stare, and smile, for now, were terrible. Too personal. Why am I an introvert? I have only recently become an introvert. Today I stared at a tear, but I let someone else stare at my soul. Who was the vulnerable one? Who was the one opening themselves up? And was the smile with me, or at me?

The only question I can answer is the one that I didn't need to talk about. Someone today told me I was lucky. They were telling the truth. I am lucky. It isn't everyday someone takes a moment to notice that there is a spiritual being inside of this physical body, and smile at it. Not everyday that someone looks past race, class, gender, and sexual orientation, and gives an honest, genuine smile. I am lucky, and I do not need you or anyone else to tell me why.

But it was also personal, and, terrible.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Golden Gecko Grievance

The last time I visited my local Petland to purchase crickets for my gecko, I was so baffled by the ass complex conundrum that I missed the opportunity to write about my Golden Gecko Grievance.

While in the Petland I saw something repulsive, but sadly common here in NYC. While waiting for the crickets for my own Golden Gecko, I walked over to the reptile section to see what they had for sale. I was particularly interested in seeing if they had any crested geckos for sale, since I was so pleased the last time I purchased a crested gecko (at a Reptile Expo).

They didn't have any crested's but they did have a 10 gallon tank with over 7 geckos in it! Many were Golden Geckos. The first rule of owning reptiles is you NEVER place two males in the same tank, and you NEVER place 2 geckos in the same tank if the tank is small. A 10 gallon tank, while the perfect size for one Golden Gecko, is not a good size for 7 geckos.

While looking in the tank, I wondered how stressed these geckos were. They didn't seem to be fighting while I was in the store, but many were hiding behind rocks and fake leaves. That is when I noticed the second disturbing thing. A Tokay Gecko and a Flying Gecko.

Now normally, it is okay to have Golden Geckos and Tokay Geckos in the same tank, provided the tank was big enough. A 10 gallon tank is simply not big enough . And as I kept looking I also saw a striped Gecko and a Flying Gecko, all in one tank. Over 7 geckos, and 4 different species in one small 10 gallon tank? It is inhumane. It is almost as bad as running a puppy mill! The second rule to owning geckos is this: Whenever possible NEVER EVER mix 2 different gecko species within the same tank!

Now I was a bit upset, but this is the only Petland in my area, and I have been to various other Petland Discount stores, and I have witnessed the same thing. But something really drew me furious that day. While looking at a Golden Gecko, I saw it had a gash where it's eyebrow should be. It has been fighting. Of course the workers at Petland probably never saw them fight, since when geckos fight, everyone is most likely off work, but it is very upsetting to see the gecko in a dangerous living situation. I began to think about how many geckos died in this Petland alone. Rule 3 of raising geckos: If a gecko is in a dangerous situation in a tank, PUT IT IN ANOTHER TANK!.

I understand that Petland might not have the brightest employees (although I am sure many of them have college degrees and feel just as sorry for these animals as I do), but I am shocked. They are in a position to do something about the conditions these animals are in. They are supposed to be knowledgeable about the animals they sell. And they have everything they need to house and care for these animals right there in the store!

In short, there is no good reason why these animals were put under these horrible conditions, and the only thing I can think of is that it saves time, or money, to do it this way. But is time and money worth the health of these animals? And what about the ethical or moral implications of having animals which are known to be fighting with each other in potentially dangerous situations by placing them in close proximity to each other?

So my Golden Gecko Grievance is this: Why is it that big corporations like Petland are able to rule the Pet Market when they know so little, and seemingly care even less about what they are selling?

The first answer that comes to mind is money. But that is a different story entirely.

It is a good thing that I am quickly finding solace in something very different. The Reptile Expo date is coming up quickly. I am attempting every method I know to save as much as possible so that I may be able to purchase a better tank for my crested gecko, and perhaps another Sarracenia.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Ass Complex Conundrum

While on a quest to buy 30 crickets to be brutally massacred by an insatiable Golden Gecko, I noticed something particularly troubling. 2 teens, who should have been at school around 12:30, were passing by in short skirts (which was appropriate attire 2 months ago, but now they are pushing it), while 3 hispanic/black men were heckling them about the size of their butts. Now, I am not a prude, and I do appreciate a sizable butt, but I have noticed a trend in the Bronx, and the trend itself is more troubling than the action itself.

I have personally never shouted at a stranger on the street to let her know how "fine" her "ass" is on that particular day, and for some reason, I have never felt the need too. I am not gay. I do enjoy butts, and yes, when they are nice and plump they are fun to play with, along with a healthy set of boobs, but my problem, again, isn't with the action itself but the trend. Why do men feel the need to shout out to every girl they think is hot? Does this actually work on any girl? In my mind, this would actually decrease their chances of obtaining what they (biologically) are trying to work for.

Also, I like when girls wear short skirts, and tight shorts. This is no secret. I don't always get a hard on when they pass by, and so I do not share Sir Mix Alot's sentiment, when he stated how he got"sprung" when a girl passed by with an 'itty bitty waist, and a round thing" in his "face". But one reason for not saying (or shouting, as the men today were doing) at these girls is because it may make them feel uncomfortable. They may get self conscious when grandpa (did I mention all the guys looked 40?) starts hitting on them. I can imagine tomorrow they will wear something else to prevent the guys from yelling about how they want to "tap that", and thus decreasing the short skirts and tight shorts for everyone else's viewing pleasure.

And that is the Ass Complex Conundrum (ACC). Why would a man point out a girl with a nice butt, and revealing clothing, publicly, when it decreases the number of girls with revealing clothing, and simultaneously decreases his chances of getting what he wants with that particular girl?

I have 2 possible explanations for the ACC. The first is biological. I personally think there is something wrong with these men. They salivate like dogs at the sight of these women. Perhaps they biologically cannot help it! It may be a mental issue, or it may also be hormonal. Perhaps an increase in testosterone or adrenaline (or both). And no, an increase in testosterone does not make you more "manly", only more dickish (according to my observations).
The second possible explanation for the ACC is religious. Men do it in packs. It is a communal experience between males where they get together to worship the butt. I like the religious excuse better than the biological one. Religious people have faith in things that will never ever happen. Christians have been waiting for the return of a zombie for over 2 thousand years! In the same way ACC as a religion makes sense. They will worship the ass, making it harder to obtain, while simultaneously feeding into their faith that they will one day obtain it. I also like the religious excuse because it can be untaught. Religion is like culture, it is not engrained or hard wired, just practiced, and thought to be the correct way of doing things. Most logical human beings will switch over to a different way of doing things, if it is shown that the different way is better. The religious excuse has a cure, and gives me hope, the biological one puts fear in me.

Wow, I admitted on my blog that religion gives me hope… (awkward silence).

So, comment questions for those who want to respond below:
1. Come up with an excuse for the ACC that is not biological or religious or
2. Do you support or object to ACC?
Leave your interesting or creative responses in the comment section below.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Comic Con Conclusion

For those not in the know, Comic Con is a pop culture convention, usually involving comic books, movies, games, books (such as Harry Potter and Twilight), people dressing up, and a plethora of vendors trying to sell their merchandise, whether it be books, comics, action figures, video games, or even photo ops. Comic Cons usually have companies releasing new and never before seen footage and teasers of movies and games as well. For those in the know, Comic Con is where you want to be.

So, why am I not at the NYC Comic Con (Oct 8-Oct 10, 2010)?

The answer is simple. Besides the fact that I am only free on the 10th of October, the ticket price is 40 dollars. If I did go, I would want to dress up, and that costs money too. Not only that, but what occurs at Comic Con is usually the same thing that occurs at a Reptile Expo. People are trying to sell you things. There is nothing you can do about it.

I could have gone, but I decided to save my 40 dollars. The money was worth more to me, than the experience I would have had at Comic Con. Yeah sure, I probably would have had a few photo ops with sexy women dressed in tight latex costumes, or with a few Alien / Predator/ Zombie/ Vampire fiends, but 40 dollars is not worth the photo ops.

Is 40 dollars worth seeing previews to movies, or video games? I certainly don't think so. Especially when the previews and teasers quickly become available online, just a day or two after being released.

The truth is, Comic Con is only fun if you have someone else who is willing to shell out the money to go with you. Never alone, and only with friends. The conclusion? The NYC Comic Con, a once a year event, is too expensive for my blood, and I personally do now know anyone willing to go with me. And since I will not be able to buy anything there anyway, and since the "released" and "leaked" footage has already started to flood youtube, it would have been a waste of money anyway. Or is that what I am telling myself, because I plan not to go?

My Comic Con conclusion? Stay at home, do not pass go, do not spend 40.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Something Wrong

I think there is something wrong with me. I have an overall feeling of disappointment, and I do not know why.

Is it depression? My mother has been depressed in the past and she described it to me as an overall feeling of gloom, immense sadness, and a nagging idea in the back of your head that this is all there is in life and nothing will ever get better. I have one of those feelings. I am not sad, just disappointed. My disappointment doesn't make me happy, but it doesn't make me sad either. Actually, I have been finding it difficult to remember a time when I was happy. I have been to a reptile expo recently, read a few books, played a few games, but the things I used to enjoy don't seem to give me the same pleasure they once gave me. Even my flowering Cattleya is resonating more as a matter of fact, rather than a joyous accomplishment.

A lack of emotion. That's what it is. And a feeling that this is all there is in life. A job that doesn't pay rent, which forces me to remain a prisoner in my mothers house. A lack of social interaction, except for my girlfriend who I see once or twice a week. Other than that I have no friends I actually hang out with. I would hang out with my former roommate, Jonathan Castillo, but he is in Vermont. I called him to let him know how my life is going, which is also out of character for me. I hardly call anyone. Perhaps this basic human need for face to face interaction is taking over my normal introverted personality.

I would call Ernie, but I doubt he would want to here about how badly my life is going. Badly is the wrong word for it. I have a job now, so it is financially a step up from before, when I didn't have any source of income at all. Also, my family is no longer moving, so that is better too. But I still cannot live on my own, and I have become a parasite on my mothers wealth (since she pays rent, and I live with her). And although the living situation is stable, and the 800 dollars I make a month is helpful, I am still disappointed and a bit nostalgic. I wish I could go back to college. In college I was just as broke as I am now, but I was happy. I would give up what I have now to go back in time. Even though it is "better" now, in college I wasn't disappointed. I didn't feel like nothing would change. I had hope. I had something to look forward to. I don't want to call Ernie to burden him with these thoughts. With my disappointment. Ernie is like Donna. I tell them the story of my life, and I can tell they feel bad. I can tell that Donna feels sad when I tell her how I feel, and I can tell Ernie isn't happy with the way my life is going either.

Empathy. When one person is feeling crappy, and he shares his story, the people he shares his story with also feel crappy. Why the hell would we ever evolve something like that? It is like an inter-individual para-neo-psycho syndrome (I came up with that one from paraneoplastic syndrome).

I have given up one of my favorite holidays for this year. I have decided I do not want to celebrate Halloween. It is my favorite, and most costly holiday of the year. I decided not to dress up. And although I have the day off of work, I am not sure I actually want to do anything. I know, I am boring. Last year, I was the Mad Hatter. Memories of me, Donna, and Anja still fill my head. Nostalgia. Sometimes good sometimes bad. If I can't remember good times, I would have no reason to feel disappointed. Nostalgia is like a precursor to my current status. If only there were someway to forget everything. To get a second chance. To let this current life die and be born again.

OH NO. I have stepped away from sanity and crawled myself into a filth ridden hole called religion. I told myself I wouldn't go there. I wont go there. But I need a way out. Medication may help. I should see someone. If not to fill me a prescription for happy pills, maybe I just need someone new, someone fresh to talk to.

I wish I could write more. I have a lot more to say, but my alarm went off, and I am now on my way to work.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Flowering Cattleya

So, I have a yellow Cattleya which flowered!

The orchid was given to me by my good friend Ernie DeMarie earlier this year (in the spring). I have been watering it regularly, and I always let it drain completely. It is by a sunny window, and so far, it has one flower on it, but there is another bud that is about to open soon.

I was excited to see it flower, but the biggest surprise came in the morning. Early in the day I noticed a sweet scent coming from it, but in the afternoon and evening the scent goes away. My mom really likes the flower, but I refuse to put the plant in the kitchen for everyone to see, because it is less sunny there.

Here is another picture of the plant on it's side: