To Be Loved

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To love. To be loved. To never forget your own significance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.

- Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

Words of the Day

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Woman do not wait for a poet, you are already poetry.

I loved this picture posted by Selin Kara, too much not to share. It’s a simple spray painted wall in Bogota, Columbia, yet is so beautiful in it’s simplicity and message.  A woman is a whole person. She does not need completing, nor does she need a poet to tell her so. The quest for a woman to find a poet who gives meaning to her beauty is so fierce across so many cultures, yet the above statement needs to be said more often – as often as possible.

Song of the Day: No Te Olvidaré

download (1)When I find a voice that resonates with me, I tend to go to the extreme and listen to anything and everything I can get my hands on by that artist. It’s happened with my favorite musicians like Prince, Sade and Maxwell to more recent artists like Paolo Nutini and Adele. Such is the case with today’s song of the day artist, Pablo Alboran.

I first heard his music in the background while in Spain in 2012 and I was instantly hooked. Without trying to sound too cheesy, Alboran’s voice is so beautifully addictive; to the point of a weak in the knees feeling. Add to that, the fact that he plays his own instruments and writes his songs and you’ve got a talented winning combination.

It’s hard for me to choose just one song as my favorite, as I quickly bought every album he has released, however, there is something about No Te Olvidaré that I just can’t get enough of (Te He echado De Menos and Extasis were close contenders).

I’ve spent many a day listening to nothing but Pablo Alboran’s music. My only regret is that I didn’t catch a live show while I was in Spain, however, that’s always something to look forward to.

Radikal Readings: The Historian

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This is another novel I picked up based simply on the fact that is was a suggested read as being similar to The Shadow of the Wind. While The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is similar in that it is based about a book and features a mystery with detective work, it is quite different as well.

Yes, The Historian is about Dracula, however, there are many times I completely forgot that it was. Kostova’s writing is lovely and the way she describes the vast locales of Europe that the novel takes you is very enjoyable. I must also confess that I am a bit of a history nerd and I loved how much it stayed true to the novel’s title.

The Historian takes place in libraries, churches and train stations, while telling a story within a story. A sizable chunk is also in letters, which adds another dimension. However, because of this and due to the fact that sometimes the historical aspects went off on a tangent, the novel is very dense (my copy was 900 pages) and I felt a bit of it could have been edited. Also, despite the long build up and slow unravel of the mystery, the ending felt a bit rushed. It left me wanting more of the aftermath.

I’ve never been interested in vampires of Dracula, however, I really enjoyed this novel. The locales, the writing, history and the page-turning mystery were all very entertaining.

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Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez 1927 – 2014

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If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

There is always something left to love.

- Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, 1927 – 2014

To one of my favorite authors of all time, may you rest in peace.

*Image courtesy of The Paris Review

Racism, Ignorance and CNN

The benefit of a communications degree from a liberal school in the very liberal Bay Area is being forced to look at national media with a critical eye. While many have heard the big 6 media term, some don’t quite understand the depth of how controlled our media really is. In fact, on the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index of the most free media countries, the United States is a disappointing #46, with countries like Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands listed well above.

Apart from being censored, and controlled, the major media in the United States is very often insensitive and downright racist. A glance at some of the coverage from the tragic Trayvon Martin case is a prime example. On a smaller scale, small seemingly harmless pieces are often littered with ignorance.

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Song of the Day: Shikayatein

Lootera_Cover_ArtSoft, romantic and serene – all qualities I love in Hindi music. In this case Shikayatein from the film Lootera fits the exact bill. In fact, the entire soundtrack follows this cue. Composer Amit Trivedi does a beautiful job relaying music that perfectly fits the artistic period film.

In this case, I watched the film first before falling in love with the music. After watching Ram-Leela, I resolved to watch every film Ranveer Singh has stared in. Turns out, Lootera was my absolute favorite. It is the extreme opposite of every other film the talented actor has done. The combination of literature, history, art, poetry, crime and love with Ranveer’s subtle acting (something very rare if you have watched his other films) is spot on. This being the first film I have seen of Sonakshi Sinha’s I was quite impressed by the young actress as well.

The film is quiet, elegiac and epic all at once. Based on the O Henry short story, The Last Leaf, Lootera is quite possibly one of the best Hindi films I have seen in quite a while.

As beautiful as the film is, the soundtrack drew me in further to a film that excelled in still and quiet moments. There are no foot-tapping, item number songs complete with half English lyrics or rap. Instead, Amit Trivedi’s soundtrack is a bit of a nod to classic Hindi cinema soundtracks. It reminisces on the days of R.D. Burman, rather than the majority of soundtracks released these days. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are gorgeous and his vocals are the perfect touch to Shikayatein.  It is a breath of fresh air that stays with you and lingers in your thoughts. If you are craving a quality soundtrack, Lootera is the perfect listen.

Man on the Train

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On his way to work while everyone was on their way home, the man drinking coffee with a pound cake wrapped in cellophane. Head covered with a beanie and backpack on, he gripped his coffee as he looked up and our eyes met. I offered a smile as he brought his lips to the white plastic lid. His tired eyes crinkled in the corners as he returned a smile bringing the cup down. As the train stop he smiled and shuffled off. So many untold secrets and sorrows behind those eyes that I’ll never know.

Song of the Day: Asleep

CD400_outI am not a fan of those little flipgram Instagram videos that are a series of pictures set to music, however, if it means I find an interesting song, so be it. That is precisely how I found Anthony Valadez’s Asleep featuring Anna Wise.

Valadez is a producer, DJ and host of his own show on KCRW in Los Angeles. The description of his show actually perfectly describes the music he produces, Broken beats, soulful key chords with guitar fuzz, combined with yesterday’s dusty drums with tomorrows samples and sounds.

While iTunes categorizes his music as Electronic, it’s a bit more new wave jazz to me. It’s groovy and soothing at the same time. I feel as though I should be sipping a glass of wine with my feet up while I listen to it.

Anna Wise’s dreamy jazz vocals are the perfect compliment to Valadez’s groove. Turns out that annoying 10 seconds of flashing pictures was worth it this time.

 

Sephora Sale Goodies

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There is no retail store more dangerous for me than Sephora. There’s just something about the rows of colors, the endless skincare, and delicate glass bottles of perfume that call to me (and my unhappy wallet) every time I pass by.

My latest visit was thanks to the VIB sale, in which VIB members received 15% off all purchases for a four day period. This happens a few times a year and I jump at the chance to stock up on essentials every time.

Armed with a list, I took a lunch time trip with my coworkers to the flagship Sephora off Market Street in San Francisco and picked up the goodies above, along with a few items online later in the day that weren’t available in store.

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