Friday, September 11, 2015

On Nothing, Apparently.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Part of it is because I’ve been busy with work. But it’s also because I’ve been going in circles in my head about this existential crisis that I’m in.

I still don’t have an answer. I’m not used to problems I can’t solve.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe this paradox that I’m experiencing.

What’s happening is that I know that life is unfair and meaningless. Life is random and will end up hurting me.

But despite this, I still choose to get up in the morning. I go to work. I make things happen at work. I see my family and friends and help them when I can. I keep on keeping on, and I don’t understand why.

Life is finite. It will end. Why am I not trying to get more out of it?

I should quit my job, I should chase my dreams, I should do everything in my power to get as much living into this one life that I have.

But I don’t. I just continue living my humdrum life.

This is a paradox I can’t wrap my head around.

If life is meaningless, why do I still follow the rules as prescribed by society? Why do I conform to what’s expected of me?

I’m thinking about this and dismissing any answers just as fast as they appear.

It’s not because I’m afraid. I decided long ago never to let fear rule my life (and as a consequence have done lots of amazing things).

It’s not because I’m lazy. I have the ability to achieve what I set my mind to. I’m simply too stubborn to give up and I’m not afraid of hard work. I actually quite like working hard towards a goal. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

It’s not because I don’t know what to do. I could start writing more. I could start travelling more. Seeing more friends. Living more. The possibilities are endless.

It’s not because I’m exhausted. I have energy. I do things.

So what’s holding me back?

Nothing. Apparently.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Messy McMessy

I recently visited a friend, who was in town and staying at somebody else's place.

This place was like something out of a magazine in terms of its chic decor. Even though it was in the middle of Copenhagen it was spacious and artsy and filled with curiosity items. Not enough to make it seem like a lost&found but just enough to make it quirky and charming.

Right now I'm sitting on my bed, looking at the laptop-screen, thankful I can't see my room.

If I were to look beyond my computer I wouldn't be able to see the floor. It's covered in stuff,

And not cute stuff. No. Just layers and layers of STUFF.

It's a complete mess.

I have so many things that I don't even know where to put them.

I'm not the kind of person who collects random shit. But because of my mom's passing, there's been an increase of stuff - clothes mostly. And no where to put it.

I would love to live in a place that was spacious. That had room for cute, artsy things.

The things you own definitely end up owning you, and right now I'm feeling lost.

The good news? There's a way out of this mess.

The bad news? It requires hard work and lots of boxes.

I've ordered the boxes from Ikea, so I guess what's left now is the hard work,

Sunday, March 29, 2015

And apparently I'm doing reviews of TV-shows now, next up Arrow S3E17

I watched the latest episode of the Arrow yesterday morning. It was with some apprehension that I clicked play as the episode was called ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ but even though Arrow can be really dark sometimes, this episode wasn’t darker than the usual.

I read through reviews after I’ve seen the Arrow just to digest the episode properly, but the review I usually read isn’t published yet so I guess I’ll just write my own.

So – what did I think of this installment?

I liked it. I’m biased though. I love the show and this episode remains consistent with the tone and the feel. There were some plot developments that I found lovely (spoilers ahead…).

Getting Lyla to quit her job was perfect. I just wished I could have seen that interaction between her and Amanda Waller. I always wondered why she stayed in that job. I supposed it gave her character something to do. And I guess one could argue that her being Diggle’s wife and then immediately resign to be –what a house-wife? – is kind of weird. Hopefully they will get something fun for her to do besides just changing diapers. There are so many strong women on this show so I trust that Lyla will continue to play a part in this universe.

Felicity finally had her two worlds collide as Ray Palmer decided that the Arrow must be caught and set upon doing it with his super-duper Atom suit.

He managed to identify Oliver Queen as the Arrow remarkably fast, confronted Felicity, and then continued to disregard her input and pursue the Arrow. It was kind of stupid. Ray had up to that point not seemed like a person who would do stupid things because of pride. I’m surprised Felicity didn’t explode in anger at him. That seems to be something she reserves for Oliver.

Of course, the Arrow was far superior than Atom. And just the fact that Oliver didn’t kill him, made Ray trust him. Guys are weird like that. They had the perfect opportunity for Oliver to scold Ray for putting his life in danger and thus putting Felicity in the position of getting her heart broken, but even though it’s something that Oliver and Felicity talk about, Ray is kept out of it for now. I suspect that will change.

I always enjoy watching Oliver being all formal. His relationship with Laurel this season is 
also much improved from the first two seasons.

Laurel was superb in this episode, sticking up for Arrow as a lawyer, reminding us that she’s not just a pretty face, or a masked vigilante. She’s a lawyer as well, and a damn good one. There are also continued hints to her ongoing training and it gives her character more depth that we as viewers can allow ourselves to imagine her as living outside of the narrative of the show-

I didn’t like how useless Roy/Arsenal was this episode. The only thing that happened to him, was Atom knocking him out with a power-blast thingy. Roy is a really good character, and really under-used. But I guess that’s the consequence of having a large cast. Imagining an off-screen life for Roy is one of things I have trouble with – and that’s unfortunate.

The first and last appearance of Deadshot - Floyd Lawton. Source for GIFs

What else? Oh yeah. The flashbacks this episode were not centered on Oliver, which was a relief. Having him run around Hong-Kong has gotten tiresome. For the Hong-Kong story line we all know what will happen: The kid will die and it will be tragic. And somehow Oliver will end up in Russia. That Shadow was revealed to be alive last episode was just – weird. I’m glad they didn’t follow up on that thread.  I’ll reserve my full judgment of that plot-line when I see it unfold. Until then, let’s get back to the episode at hand.

The flashbacks where on Deadshot. I really like that character. And having the flashbacks on him was a wise choice, providing more depth to him. What can I say? I like my characters deep and sarcastic – and Deadshot is both in spades. He seemed to blow up though in a final redeeming act of saving the rest of the squad. But this is a superhero show and I’ll hold on to the hope that he survived. He deserves freedom from Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad.

Thea didn’t have any lines this week and I’m anxious to get back to her. How is she dealing with her pain? Is it possible for her to get better without being destructive?

So what was the theme of this episode? It was whether or not you can be a hero and still have a life outside of that calling. For Felicity and Ray, they still believe it to be possible. For Diggle and Lila, Lila decided to stop running around getting shot at. I don’t even know why they risked their life for the Suicide Squad in the first place, so I’m happy about this development. And for the Arrow? He’s always chosen to be alone – to sacrifice his own chance of happiness for the greater good.

Speaking of greater good – I find it interesting that Oliver isn’t considering becoming the next Ra’s for the greater good. Oh no. He has decided that his city and his own life if more important. That choice is bold and evidence that he’s starting to value himself and his life. Good for him that he’s developed some sort of self-love and self-acceptance. But I don’t actually support the choice he’s making.

Oliver’s selfishness caused an important character to get an arrow in her chest. This unfolding of events should have been anticipated by Team Arrow. I can just imagine Malcolm Merlyn lecturing Oliver on this (speaking of which - where was my favorite devious wizard?)

It was only a matter a time before The League of Assassins would upgrade from killing criminals to targeting innocents. Oliver knows how the League operate and his inefficient attempts to stop the fake-Arrows (let’s call them Farrows, ok?) were just stupid. You cannot fight of the entire league. You need to either outsmart them or submit. Oliver knows this. So why is he not changing his tactics?

And seriously – what would be so bad about the Arrow becoming the next Ra’s al Ghul? I’d love to see that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What I like about: Arrow

I’m sitting at a newly opened Starbucks and sipping my chai. Starbucks makes the best chai.

It’s the fourth Starbucks to open in Copenhagen. I’ve of course been to all four. But for some reason this one feels more American than the others.

I bounce between being sad, being happy, being stressed, being indifferent. Is that how life is now?

To be honest, that’s how life has been for a while.

I don’t want to talk about my head anymore. It doesn’t change, anyway.

Instead, let me tell you about my current TV-obsession.

The show I look the most forward to each week is Arrow.

For those of you who don’t know it, is a superhero TV-show placed in the DC universe (so no links to all the Marvel stuff).

The main character (and titular hero) is Oliver Queen, millionaire young man turned vigilante after being shipwrecked (among other things). He was assumed dead for 5 years, before he returned with a mission ‘to save his city’.

The story of each episode consist of a storyline taking place in present day, and then a storyline taking place 5 years prior, explaining the experiences of the shipwrecked Oliver Queen and his transformation into a vigilante.

When I first started watching the show I didn’t particular like it. I thought the actor playing Oliver Queen was wooden, and fake, and I couldn’t understand his need to constantly lie to the people he loved – his family and friends. Why not just say ‘Yes! I’m a Vigilante! Support me!’ Even when directly confronted he refused.

His sister, Thea Queen, desperately tries to break through to him, but he insists on keeping his secret.

Back when I first saw season one I was annoyed at this act of martyrdom.

But I get it. He came back from a Hell he didn’t think he would survive. And the Oliver Queen that first disappeared? He never made it off the island. Oliver Queen came back broken. And to protect his family he shut them out, afraid that his darkness would consume them.

I’m trying to avoid spoilers, for any of you still considering watching the show. I highly recommend it. But suffice to say that Oliver Queen as a character does eventually grow. He does connect with people and let them see who he has become. And I guess in the process learns that he’s still Oliver Queen.

We’re in season 4 now and a lot of his darkness has been transformed into – I wouldn’t say hope, but maybe self-acceptance? That and healthy relations with people who know him.

For me, the central relationship on this show is between Oliver and Thea Queen. Brother and sister. Bound together by blood. Both having to let go of their notions of who the other should be, and instead accept the person in front of them now.

An alarmingly high number of people who know him end up dead, though. A character in the latest episode said the following: “How many people can Oliver Queen lose before there is no Oliver Queen?”

That line still sits in my head, bouncing back and forth.

And that’s another reason why I love this show. It’s not afraid to get dark and gritty. It’s not afraid to show the suffering that death brings. How it ripples through every relation the dead person had, and creates different reactions.

I re-watched parts of season 1 the other weekend and it was so weird to see all these people being alive and well (or maybe not well – but at least alive). And seeing Oliver being as damaged as he was. He was completely devoid of mercy back then.

It was this contrast between season 1 and season 4 that really showed me the journey of that character.

And that’s one of the most important things of any show for me. I need character growth. I need to be able to see how the character adapts to his or her situation. What works for them. What doesn’t. And how their choices and actions change the person they are.

Oliver Queen had to learn to let go of his rulebook and his black/white view of the world. He had to let other people in and let them help him. He had to learn to trust other people. And to hope. Hope for a better world.

So yeah. A PTSD suffering vigilante is my source of inspiration in terms of dealing with my life.

Let’s not dwell too long on that.

My favorite hobby

I watch a lot of TV-shows. Not as many as I used to, mind you. But it’s still one of my key hobbies. To sit back, relax, and be taken into a different world.

For some reason, watching TV-shows is not really thought of as a worthwhile hobby. Oh no. It’s more something you do to avoid thinking. To avoid existing. It’s basically wasting your time.

A while back I was at a work-dinner and my boss asked me about what my hobbies was, just to make conversation, and I was stumped. I’d only been there a month and still trying to make a good impression. Was I allowed to say that my idea of a great weekend was no plans, pajamas, and a long list of TV shows to catch up on? That my preferred hobby was to find new TV-shows worth watching?

Heck, even reading has a better reputation than watching TV, despite being arguably just as inactive and passive an activity.

Just recently in The Flash, Barry Allen (the titular main character), said that his social life consisted of running at super human speed and Netflix. It was obviously not something to be proud of.

I hate that watching TV has gotten such a bad reputation.

But it should also be noted that part of the problem are the social circles I move in. I’m 28, well-educated, and working at a prestigious company. My colleagues spend their free time sailing, playing squash, training for marathons, and being apparent super humans. It’s exhaustive.

I don’t get why some hobbies get the stamp of approval while others don’t. It’s about the dominant culture of the society we live in and maybe one day I’ll write about that as well.

But I enjoy watching TV-shows.  And I’ll keep prioritizing doing that. And it’s not about just passing time. I love spending time with these characters. I see their struggles, and how they deal with impossible situations, and it gives me hope that I’ll be able to deal with my own issues.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Looking at the Rulebook

I want to break a few rules. I want to raise a little hell. I want to see what happens when you take a walk on the wild side.

This post will be brought to you by Neal Caffrey (as portrayed by Matt Bomer) because he has that suave touch that I want in my life.

The thing is though I don’t have anyone to show me the ropes. None of my friends really walk on that wild side.

I’ve spent my life following the rules. I quite like the security of it all – the soothing repetition of my habitual life and the calm serenity that comes from knowing what the day will bring.

I've watched the first three seasons of White Collar. I enjoyed them. Good fun. Nice suits. I even like the hat. I've chosen Neal to be my guide into the 'wild side'. 

Obviously I’m not looking to become a criminal mastermind. I’m thinking baby-steps. But what should those baby-steps consist of?

As I evaluate the rules that surround me I feel overwhelmed. It’s hard figuring out which ones make sense and which ones should be ripped to shreds. When is it OK to not give a flying fuck about the rules?
Only someone as charismatic as Neal could pull off wearing that hat. And doing hat tricks. I mean - seriously? I do have a hat. Maybe I'll try to copy that. Maybe it will bring me closer to the wild side?

In society, rules are nothing more than the guidelines that keep things working. I go to work in the morning. I pay my rent. I pay for food. I sleep in the night. I wear appropriate attire. I say the appropriate things in social situations.

I play by the rules.

Some of these rules can be easily broken and with minimal consequences. I could cut of my hair and be bald. I could eat breakfast for dinner. Wear shoes in bed. There’s no limit to the small things I could do.

Look at that suaveness. Those cards are gonna fall on ground and he just doesn't care. Yeah. I can for sure copy that. Ok. Hat and a deck of cards. I'll add that to my bag of tricks that I carry around.

I could refuse to pay rent, but the consequence would be my likely eviction and subsequent homelessness. Not an ideal solution.

I could develop a grey moral compass and be careless with other people’s emotions. But I like my integrity and I’d like to keep it intact.

Actions have consequences and a likelihood of that consequence to materialize itself.

So what rules should I break? What rules should I bend? And what rules should I respect?

I’m still figuring it out.

That hair looks so soft. Maybe that's how he gets away with his cons? He dazzles people by being pretty? I'd like to learn that trick.

What rules shape your life?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chasing Failure - The only way to actually succeed in life

I've been thinking about the purpose of life and how to achieve your goals. And it's all rooted in the simple idea that we as humans control our own lives.

But maybe I've been coming at this from the wrong angle.

What is life?
Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. We’ve all heard that quote.

I call bullshit on that.

Life is breathing in and out. It’s something you do without even noticing. You can’t NOT live. It’s simply not possible. You also can’t NOT pay attention to your life. It’s there. You’re in it. There’s no escape. So the idea of life happening somewhere outside of your perception? That’s just madness.

No matter what you do, you will be in your life, and you will live it. And unless you’re in a coma, you’re gonna notice that you’re living it. You might be disappointed or feel inadequate or a thousand other things – but as long as you breathe, you live.

But what about the things you do in your life? The meaning of it all?

Ah yes. Doing something in your life besides breathing is expected from most of us. A shame really. I quite like those days when I do nothing but breathe. But at the same time, those days make me feel horrible as well, because I feel like I’m wasting my potential and my limited time on this planet.

So, we’ve uncovered some more aspects of life: Expectations – from others and from yourself.

Let’s move on to the next key word: Control.

What is control?
Control is to exert force over something or someone to achieve a goal of some sorts.

If we agree that life is simply breathing, what is the goal we’re trying to achieve through the use of this control? Breathing in and out will happen regardless, so clearly that’s not our focus.

Oh no.

We aim to achieve a goal, set by our expectations, in order to achieve a level of satisfaction and accomplishment.

This goal will inherently be meaningless. Because life is short and no matter what you will die. Even the legacy of great people such as the pharaohs of Egypt and the emperors of China has been eroded by time.
Nothing lasts – not even humanity itself.

Letting go
This is turning pretty bleak. I don’t mean to be discouraging. I’m just trying to paint a picture where this idea of needing to be in control is utterly ridiculous, because in the end, it won’t make a difference.

The only thing you can actually control in this life is your breathing. The rest is just illusions of control.

Realize your insignificance in this life that you have. Embrace it. And start carving out the little piece of the world that you want to spend your time breathing in and out in.

I still believe you need to set yourself some goals – something you want to achieve. But don’t attribute the failure or the success in your life to yourself. Instead, embrace the inevitability of failing. Even if you succeed, it will not matter in 100+ years after your death.

So if you are going to spend your life failing at something – what do you want it to be?