The Prince’s Dilemma

Could have sworn I reblogged this earlier, but maybe I didn’t? Anyway this is another old piece.

Come Down The Rabbit Hole

Credits to Farrukh on Flickr. Check out more athttps://www.flickr.com/photos/swamibu/.

Hi guys.  The piece of prose down below is entry in Figment’s March Madness Matchup: Round 1.  This is based off of a quote from Machiavelli’s The Prince: “The answer is that one would like to be both the one and the other; but because it is difficult to combine them, it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.”  

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The Prince’s Dilemma

Letter to a Plant

I’d been reading through some of my old posts… time really flies.

Come Down The Rabbit Hole

To the withering, glaucous invalid in the corner of the kitchen counter,

9550447749_4ff90fa42b_b Yes, you.

I admit that the conditions in our house are rather deplorable for the flourishment of even the hardiest of plants.  Even with the shutters fully opened and positioned in an optimal angle for each hour of the day, the direction our house faces admits only a ailing, pale stream of sunlight at best.  Sometimes we forget to open them all the way in our haste, and further cripple sunlight’s ability to grace your pasty leaves.  It is also of little help that we tend to rush from one place to the next and use the house merely as a train station of sorts, a checkpoint in our destination.  Our impatience breeds a narrow focus from stop to stop, blurring, our surroundings into a deep gray, in which you are unfortunately situated.  When you meekly raise your voice and…

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Letter to a Plant

A Quote to Live By

‘I’m going to build because I want to build.

Kira Argounova, We the Living

Though her indifference and relatively abstract taste draws criticism from her family, Kira Argounova from Ayn Rand’s We the Living displays a will that is a force to be reckoned with.

This passion seems to contradict Kira’s usual indifference. It seems strange that a someone like Kira, who barely registers what’s going on around her, would want to be so involved with creating the world in which she lives. What’s even more peculiar is that Kira chooses to work in the “…modern favorite profession of theirs [the Soviets]… [an] engineer”, though she does not support Communism and is a White (1). It seems logical that Kira, who claims to enjoy building, would go into a field that would allow her to build: engineering.

However, Kira’s mother, sister, and cousin all disagree in the name of feminity. Kira’s mother, Galina simply can’t believe that a daughter of hers would stoop to do such work and Lydia, Kira’s sister, chimes in, saying that it would be dirty and that there would be no women to confide in. Victor advises his cousin to become a typist, remarking that it is not such a bad starting place for a woman to rise in ranks and that the rations are good. He is similarly appalled that she should make such a choice and suggests that she reconsider, a thought that Kira shuts down almost immediately.

Though Kira is definitely stubborn, I can’t help but admire her resoluteness and focus. True, she only focuses on what she likes and doesn’t have much regard for “normal” activities, but her unwavering decision to do as she likes is something to admire. Many of the characters in the book cannot claim to be living as they want to or doing as they wish. If they are trying, they are doing it timidly, fearful of their own desires. Kira isn’t controlled by the standards of feminity, as her mother and sister are nor by party dictates as her cousin is. Whether she be a socialite in the making in Russia or a citizen of the Soviet Union, Kira is ultimately, just Kira.

  1. White: supporter of the army that fought against the idea of Bolshevik socialism; a variety of political stances were represented
A Quote to Live By

TL;DR: Hufflepuff Doesn’t Suck

So summer’s here and I’m applying to college soon. I’m pretty sure at least one of my other posts started with this, but for the sake of starting things, I’ll let it be. I don’t think I write enough about Harry Potter really even though it’s one of my favorite things, but when thinking about college, identity, and Harry Potter, I thought about House. You know, the four categories that you can be sorted into based on your characteristics.

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The four Hogwarts Houses, as represented by pairs of socks.

First things first, how does the Sorting Hat really decide where you go? I believe that this is based on who you are at heart and not who you want to be or who people think you are. Though there are people who make me question this principle (Cho Chang and Zacharias Smith, for example), I think the cases for the principle outweigh those against. Hermione Granger, though she is obviously a studious bookworm, does some things that place her out of Ravenclaw. Don’t get me wrong, she’d fit in well in there, but it’s probably not her best fit, namely I think because she doesn’t have the temperament for Ravenclaw. Luna chides Hermione at least once in the book for not being open-minded enough, and I feel like that’s one of the biggest tenets of Ravenclaw house. Hermione still can’t really let go her ideas of logic; for the best supporting detail refer to the Divination fiasco in third year. Next, Neville Longbottom is an incredibly loyal person: it takes a lot of loyalty to stand by your cause, even when you’re being regularly tortured for your efforts (seventh year). However, Neville isn’t a Hufflepuff because his bravery stands out much more than his loyalty does. He has the guts to ask Hermione to the Yule Ball, which was more guts than Ron had: he just went along with Harry’s asking Parvati. Let’s face it: would Ron have really manned up and asked someone if he wasn’t set up with Padma? It’s hard to say, but it’s doubtful. Also, standing up against Death Eater regime in Hogwarts takes a lot of bravery, as does killing off Voldemort’s snake Nagini. We know how snakes move, and yet Neville was brave enough to take on Nagini with Gryffindor’s sword.

I’ve said before that I’m a Slytherin, but there’s a little something I left out: on Pottermore’s Sorting Hat I had a choice between Slytherin and Hufflepuff. A lot of people give me weird looks because, they say, Slytherin is almost the opposite of Hufflepuff. However, if you’ve read my post on another website (link: https://comedowntherabbithole.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/the-case-for-slytherin/), I think you already know that Slytherin is not just the house that “not a single witch or wizard who went bad” didn’t came from. But Hufflepuff? Isn’t that the house all the rejects get put into? Partially, but I’ve got some myth-busting to do.

There’s a reason why Hufflepuff has had the least amount of Dark Wizards. Take a look at what they prize: tolerance, hard work, dedication, fairplay, patience, and kindness. Not exactly the stuff that Death Eaters spout and support. It’s easy to scoff at these characteristics; trust me, I did too for a long, long time until I decided to know more about the Hogwarts houses than just the stereotypes. I think that Hufflepuff’s kindness and humility often results in its being overlooked while in reality, it has produced many a fine wizard and witch, like JK Rowling. It takes a lot to be the bigger person and be fair and kind to others, knowing that people may or may not take the time to be kind and patient in return. JK Rowling, in webcast, has said that when called to arms in the Battle of Hogwarts, the Hufflepuffs, as a group, answered the call in honest relation to their beliefs. Voldemort and the Death Eaters supported prejudice and selfishness, which goes against the valued qualities of Hufflepuff. For this reason, the Hufflepuffs stay at Hogwarts to fight the Death Eaters. Yes, more Gryffindors stayed, but collectively, it can be said that the Gryffindors stayed because the are reckless and tried to embody the bravery that their house so vehemently proclaims. Sure being brave is great, but the bottom line is that Hufflepuffs truly fought for what they believed in, and that’s admirable.

Funnily enough, my cousin had the exact same Pottermore results as me: choice between Slytherin and Hufflepuff. She chose Hufflepuff and while I mocked her for it then, I respect her decision as she respects mine. There is no lesser House, just different Houses with different ideals. Choosing Slytherin was an impulse choice on my part, but it is definitely not a mistake. Some people might say that the Sorting Hat giving you a decision isn’t realistic, but why isn’t it? Everyone has a different set of priorities: some of us are ambitious, others seek knowledge. With these priorities in mind, we take action and have reactions that ultimately shape our characteristics.

Credits to Ricky Brigante for the picture, link to more of the magic: https://www.flickr.com/photos/insidethemagic/

TL;DR: Hufflepuff Doesn’t Suck

Called to Arms

“Mother tells me. . . If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies. . . .”

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Picture taken by Wally Gobetz on Flickr. Link to gallery below.

The fates present two strands.  The first is intertwined with laurel and emits a heavenly glow.  The another is a mild shade of lavender, a beautiful bore.  This seems to be a choice between an iPhone or a Nexus, Coke or Pepsi, McDonalds or Burger King.  However, upon second glance, the former thread is painfully thin and pinky-length while the latter could have been a lock of Samson’s hair.  A scrap of the gods’ fabric or yards of a mortal’s?

I see myself lazily skimming a white-sand beach.  Gentle wind and clear-blue waters.  Sun so bright and skies so blue that they seem to wage war on my rods and cones with their intensity.  I float on an inflatable lounge chair, complete with adjunct side-table replete with my favorites: Vietnamese green tea, ironically a shade of black, and the most tenacious coffee ice-cream I’ve ever seen, refusing to succumb to the sunlight.  My version of the lavender string.  As inviting as it is, I can’t stay.

By the time I decide on the second, I would have already seized the first.  In my mind, flawless isn’t synonymous to perfect.  I wouldn’t be satisfied by simply sitting still.  To me, perfection is in constant struggle and uncertainty.  What separates me from the typical gambling addict is an ability to influence the outcome.  I don’t charge into battles blindfolded, untrained and empty-handed.  Thorough or brief, I have already scouted the battlefield and enemy ranks.  Furthermore, I find that the harder I work, the better my luck gets, but still, I win some and I lose some.  A power smoothie of frustration and  disappointment impels me to pick myself up and keep going.  Caught up in the moment, I can disregard the rapidly fraying golden string.  Ignoring fear and wielding a laptop, I meet challenges with no intention to lose.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/

Called to Arms

Joan Didion’s Cure for Bankrupt Mornings

An idea I should adopt. Let’s put it in front of my face so I don’t forget.

The Daily Post

Joan Didion in 2005. Photo by Kathy Willens/Associated Press Joan Didion in 2005. Photo by Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Sometimes words fly from your fingers into the keyboard, the ink runs from your pen in a continuous flow, and your imagination fills the screen or page as if by magic. Sometimes when you sit down to write, inspiration is absent or obstinate, hiding and refusing to surface. American author Joan Didion refers to these times as “bankrupt mornings.” She counsels writers on keeping a notebook as a prophylactic against truant inspiration:

See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write — on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world…

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Joan Didion’s Cure for Bankrupt Mornings

Would You Say That to a Man?

Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter. Is it outwardly malicious? No, but we know what they say about the road to a certain place. . .

Of Means and Ends

sexism

“I’m not going to apply for the job because I want you to get it.”

I was in my mid-20s and a promotion opened up in my division at work and I planned to apply for it. Given the hierarchy in our department, one male coworker and I were the natural ones to consider for the job. When the topic came up, that’s what he said to me: “I’m not going to apply for the job because I want you to get it.” I don’t remember what I said in the moment, but I remember quietly seething and thinking, “Don’t do me any favors. Go ahead and apply and I’ll still get it.”

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Would You Say That to a Man?