Friday, March 30, 2007

a dream

My friend emailed me this dream that she had. It is inspiring to me too. I can almost picture myself in the boat:

Earlier this week, Monday or Tuesday night, I had a really incredible dream. Suta, Kristin and I were all in a boat - kind of like a wind surfing catamaran type vessel. Suta was at the healm. We were having a great time cruising along this beautiful coast. It was time to bring it further in towards the dock and just as Suta was steering it in, a huge passenger vessel came out of nowhere. Suta adeptly maneuvered it sharply and gracefully to the left to avoid a collision. I woke up shortly thereafter and in my grogginess just thought that that was the best dream. I was filled with a sense that it held a lot of symbolism about Suta's strength and ability to choose the right path.

Ah! Choosing the right path. This continues to be the theme. Is there a right path and a wrong path? Or is there simply the path that we have chosen and the paths yet to come? I guess we can also interpret the dream as our ability to steer clear of disaster.

Which leads me to my weekly horoscope, according to astrological sage Rob Brezny:

Virgo Horoscope for week of March 29, 2007

One out of every 20 people claims to have talked to the devil personally. That statistic could change in the coming week, however, because I'm predicting that many of you Virgos will sit down for a heart-to-heart with the horned one. For most of you, furthermore, the conversation will go surprisingly well. You'll out-argue the devil, impressing him with your logic and winning him over with your charm, leading him to promise to dramatically reduce the number of insidious temptations he'll send your way in the future. APRIL FOOL! There is no such thing as the devil. But it is true that you're likely to triumph over evil in the coming week.

I believe I have already had the conversation with the devil this week, et son nom, c'est M.B.

unrequited love

Or a tragicomic tale of love. Or love is blind. Touching nonetheless. And telling.

compromising/holding your ground

I'm still waiting to hear whether or not Alexei gets his visa to go to Panama. If so, that would be very exciting for the both of us. Finally I could get what I want--spend time in a neutral, third party country! Time to be away from the pressures of Communist Cuba, and time to fortify us as a couple with more means than my own cash vacation allowance. Time to live together in a society where it doesn't matter if we are locals or foreigners. It's so refreshing. Not to be cheesy, but it would be such a dream come true to be able to do normal things with him, and stay in normal hotels, get normal service, use fast internet... shop! And then I can only imagine what it would be like if my parents could come there and interact with him and see what a great guy he is. Anyway, that said, as soon as I have filed the paperwork for him to go to Panama, now I feel even more strongly that I would like him to be here with me in San Francisco. I can imagine us living in an apartment in the City, maybe in the Presidio, maybe in Bernal Heights or Dolores Heights. And we could walk around the streets of SF, hand-in-hand, just like in Havana, but here in my city, and I know we would both be happier. So it's funny how this feeling rose up just when we made steps toward being in Panama. And maybe it's just that distance makes the heart grow fonder, so I should remember how strongly I felt when I was in Panama that I wasn't ready to make that great leap of faith. And it's true that it would make it easier on me if he met my parents before I made serious decisions about my future. I mean, history is full of stories of star-crossed lovers who defied their parents and ran away together, often ending tragically like Romeo and Juliet. The best solution is to "get to yes," to negotiate on principles instead of positions, all the while preserving my relationships with everyone involved. I don't want to piss off my family and I don't want to lose Alexei. So I maintain that I'm doing the right thing.

On that note, I will simply say that we have all learned from experience that it is better to hold your ground than to consistently make sacrifices for your partner because in the end, you will not be happy. And if you are not happy, then how could your partner be happy? So in the end, you're left with an unhappy situation. The only way to create continued happiness in a relationship is to allow you to be you and me to be me and support (INSTEAD OF SACRIFICE) each other's individualities, growing independently, together.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

carbon cap or dunce cap?

Just read this article on I really think the only way Congress and our administration will do anything about climate change is if the large companies that give them campaign donations tell them to!


I've been feeling lately that I am at a crossroads. I feel like everything is about to radically change, and I am on the threshold of such change. However, I feel terribly afraid of choosing to go this way or that, partly for fear that it may be an unfortunate decision, partly because there are so many options, partly because there is no end in sight. I was discussing this issue with my friend Chidi last night, a brilliant filmmaker with whom I attended grad school. I think it's a phenomenon with our age group in America. Everyone is wanting to make some changes, whether it's settling down and having kids, or quitting your job and starting a company, or breaking up with your partner and leaving town. It's like we've arrived at a state of self-awareness about our selves and realize what we have in life right now is not who we are. Which goes back to the dance film that I'm working on with Jessica. How am I not myself? And if I do pass through these crossroads and embark on a new adventure, will I still be me, or will I become someone new? I feel stuck! I feel like I can't make a decision for fear of the unknown. But at the same time, I can't continue as I've been continuing this past year. Things need to change... and fast!

Monday, March 26, 2007

hollywood endings

Just finished watching the classic Italian film, "The Bicycle Thief." Who makes movies like that these days? Definitely not Hollywood. My mom was disappointed that it didn't have a Hollywood ending. Why is America addicted to Hollywood endings? Why do we need to know that everything is going to work out fine, when often things get worse before they get better? Who knows how bad things got for the family, but we also can imagine that they lived through this tough period and eventually came back strong. We shouldn't have to depend on Hollywood to sum everything up for us and show us that everyone lived happily ever after. We all know that is never the reality. Basically this film took place in what looked like the Depression, and in Italy, one of the poorer countries in Europe at the time. So basically the film represented a period in time, when life was tough for everyone. It showed a man in his moment of desperation. It also showed the respect and love the boy had for his father. I won't give away any more of the film if you haven't seen it. Just put it on your Netflix queue like I did and you won't be disappointed.

Also, after having a heated discussion with the tall dutchman (who I believe will never call me again, and it's probably best that way) about Sweden, of all things, I had to go online to check a few facts. Basically I have always had soft spot in my heart for the home of ABBA, and with my good friend Laura living there, and reporting back to me how much she loves it there, and what great benefits the country gives its citizens, I have had as much of a preoccupation with moving there as I do with Vancouver. When I visited Stockholm in 1999, I was enamored with the city. It is so clean. Everyone bikes everywhere. There's lots of water and natural beauty and the people are open and progressive (just like SF and Van City). So the dutchman argues with me that the winters are horrible, everyone drinks and the suicide rate is highest in Sweden than anywhere else in Europe. Well that information is wrong. And you can check the suicide rates for the entire world right here. Looks like Lithuania, Russia and Belarus top the list, with Borat's Kazakhstan a runner up.

I think I had to look up the rates because I was curious after seeing The Lives of Others what the suicide rate in Cuba is now. But it's not that high in comparison to the former Soviet Union. However, Fidel could be lying to us, because according to him, everyone is doing just fine on that godforsaken island.

Another thing that gets me is this: In what we call Germany, they refer to their country as Deutschland, and their language as Deutsch. And in Holland, they refer to their country as Nederland and their language is Nederlands. In France and Spain, Germany is Allemagne and Alemania and the language is Allemand and Aleman. And Holland is Les Pays Bas and Holandia, but the language is Neerlandais and Holandes. But for England, it's Angleterre and Inglaterra (direct translations), France and Francia, Espagne and Espana. Why the confusion with the Dutch and the Deutsch? And where did Germany and Alemania come from? It doesn't make any sense to me! Can someone please explain?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

great film

Just saw an incredible film. It was this year's Oscar winner for best foreign pic: The Lives of Others. Really phenomenal acting and story. The colors were moving as well. All greys to depict occupied East Germany. Christoph wrote me and told me that he cried at the end. It was very touching, and I can see how someone who grew up there in that era would be moved to tears. The story reminded me of Cuba, because they are still living in that nightmare. Even though the buildings in Havana are crumbling, the wall has still not come down. The number of suicides in the Soviet Bloc during that time was terrifying compared with the rest of Europe. This fact reminded me a lot of when Alexei would joke about jumping off his patio. Now I see that there was an element of truth in what he said. I can't imagine what Americans would do under such a regime. Even now, we can still say "Fuck Bush" as much as we want, and nothing will happen to us. We complain about losing our civil liberties, and yes, they are precious and need to be protected, but we as Americans really have nothing to complain about. We are so privileged here. We can pursue our happiness, follow our bliss. It's even written in the Declaration of Independence. These are privileges in this world. We don't even realize it. Until you step into the shoes of others, until we live the lives of others.

Monday, March 19, 2007

more horn tootin'

If anyone is interested, you can catch a glimpse of the show I co-edited (it really was a team effort this time around) for Smithsonian On Demand called Armor in the Attic.

It's by no means brilliant, but is actually quite interesting, that is if you're into guns and civil war history and such.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

why i love being from california

We can claim Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi as our own. Another great commentary by Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker on our current administration's obstruction of the truth about climate change. And while I applaud Pelosi for urging immediate action, the time to act was about ten years ago at the Kyoto Protocol. Now is too late, but better late than never.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

green inspiration

"For fifteen years now, some small percentage of the world's scientists and diplomats and activists has inhabited one of those strange dreams where the dreamer desperately needs to warn someone about something bad and imminent; but somehow, no matter how hard he shouts, the other person in the dream - standing smiling, perhaps, with his back to an oncoming train- can't hear him. This group, this small percentage, knows that the world is about to change more profoundly than at any time in the history of human civilization. And yet, so far, all they have achieved is to add another line to the long list of human problems - people think about 'global warming' in the way they think about 'violence on television' or 'growing trade deficits', as a marginal concern to them, if a concern at all."
– Bill McKibben, 2003

Apparently this guy appears in a new film out called Everything's Cool, which sounds like a great documentary about people who are out there, putting their butts on the line trying to make others aware of what our government continues to deny is a real problem.

Bill McKibben will also be speaking in Berkeley on Monday, March 19th. I am inspired to listen to what he has to say and get re-inspired to get off my ass and do something more!

Speaking about getting off your ass and doing something about climate change and as David Suzuki puts it global weirding (since all sorts of weather patterns are resulting from too much CO2), have you heard about Step it Up 2007? Here is your chance to take some local action and be part of a national movement. I am planning in partaking in an event in Petaluma, California where we will mark off with yellow tape the expected change in the Petaluma River high water mark should sea levels rise 6 feet to 22 feet due to climate change/ice melt. This river runs right through downtown.

So there you have it: many inspirational ways to get active on global weirding.

Monday, March 12, 2007

what is love, anyway?

I just returned from a night out with the tall dutchman. I must admit he is a very sweet guy. He is very polite, well usually polite (except for when he drinks and talks politics). He likes to treat me to dinner. He always acts interested in what I have to say. I should for all intents and purposes be interested in him. And to some degree I am. But what does he have to bring to my table?

He is well-educated and well-traveled. We have similar tastes in music. He likes to go out and do things after work. He can cook and obviously can take care of himself.

But when I compare him to Alexei (which of course I shouldn't, but I can't help it), I realize he hasn't taught me anything about myself and the lessons I need to learn in regards to relationships. He hasn't made me feel that heavy feeling. I could go to some amazing place with the dutchman, like scubadiving or sailing, but it wouldn't bring anything new to my table. With Alexei, even though we end up in strange places, like going to that Cuban campsite, I feel like the experience builds character. I feel like he teaches me trust. He teaches me patience, understanding and compassion. And above all, unconditional love. I feel like if I ever lost Alexei's love, it would be an immense tragedy.

Am I shortchanging everyone involved here? Should I call it quits with the dutchman? Not yet... nothing serious has culminated between us. He needs to clean his house, and I mean literally. That is the reason he has not invited me over yet, and I have known him since October 2006. So far it has only been about going out at night to have some fun, play pool, chit chat, and kiss a little bit, but nothing more than that, and so until it becomes more serious, I will not feel in the least bit guilty or feel like I need to explain myself.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

censorship, anyone?

Scientists traveling abroad are not allowed to discuss polar bears or global warming in public???

Why does this administration continue to ignore the threat that global warming is wreaking on our environment, our health and the natural habitats for wildlife?

This is just WRONG!!!

Monday, March 05, 2007

there's no place like home

My mom is now back from the hospital. Her knee replacement surgery was a success and now she is on the road to healing. She is up walking around with her walker and feeling very proactive when it comes to exercising. She's feeling more confident at putting weight on her knee, and so more and more we are convinced that it was the right thing to do. Before we know it, she'll be back on the trails enjoying Marin County's natural beauty.

It was strange to see her in the hospital though. My mom is in excellent shape and takes good care of her body by eating right and exercising. However she is 66 years old, which is still young seeing how people live long lives these days. But eventually, she'll become more frail and will need our help, or someone's help, full-time. Thankfully, I've never seen my mom in the hospital. So during the first couple days, it was very unsettling to see her hooked up to an IV, and struggling to move her right leg, and wincing when she first had to get out of bed. I had a foreshadowing of the time when she will be old, or when I will be old, and in need of special care. Eventually our bodies and sometimes our minds will all fail. That is the nature of living things.