Posts Tagged ‘change’

Or the lack of it…

-ASTROFIZICA-2

Gravity is technically a force. Actually the most powerful force in the universe, holding planets and stars on course. The reason why they connect gravity with seriousness, in crimes, it’s because there is also gravity in intention. With purpose a route is set, a path that can be walked step by step, toward a core that draws us, preventing us from hesitating, from taking a turn, from thinking it twice, from floating away. Indecisiveness is like floating away, when the core has lost strength, or when the core is there no more.

tree rootsI have done my backpack, and then undone it again. Feeling that your backpack stares back at you is a good sign of floating. Just floating. Not even away. Then I discover: that´s why plants have roots.

Without purpose, the way to stay on the ground is having roots. Or at least an anchor that ties you to the port, while the moment comes to sail away. Sail to another destiny, to another harbor, or simply to a shipwreck.

woman triggeredThere’s gravity on projects, and a migrant tends to take a path following a project. The project could be survival, or love, or change. But what happens once we are passed survival and we are supposed to be living, or change turned into habit? Then there’s the unbearable lightness of being. Then there are no roots, and without roots, anchor or a strong intention, there’s only floating.

Say, moving to a new country, or a new city, it’s like meeting new people. It’s awesome. It’s being in a mission, if for survival or success doesn’t really matter. All focus is placed on a goal, on a core. It’s aiming at a heart, or running away from the shot. That’s danger: anticipation. then there’s the peace that comes right after the bomb exploded, the shot was taken… When we either hit target or dodged the bullet. When danger is past, time freezes. Or rather, there’s only time. With much time, indecisiveness.

There’s something special to the feeling of meeting an old friend. There’s gravity in old friendship. There’s memory, a recognition of who you are in who you were. Gravity is continuity.

Re-Cognize. Someone remembers you from another time, another place. That’s a proof that you exist, you’re not a figment of your own imagination. It is also evidence that you were able enough to remain in someone’s mind. There must be some worth in that.

Lady-Light-Floating-Bed-Universe

A friend told me once that I had developed a dangerous addiction to changes. Another friend had told me later that lack of gravity is what exile is. I hadn’t connected both till now.

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Drive-in

“Como sigan evolucionando el cine con tanto 3D y tanta pollada para darle realismo, al final van a terminar inventando el teatro”. This sentence, atributed to an @albertpelias, became meme a few months ago in Facebook and other social media, in reference to the continuous attempt to “improve” our cinematographic experience.

Movie theaters have been linked to our life experiences, the good and the bad ones, pretty much since they were invented. For many people it means the weekend getaway. We all felt somehow adults when we were finally able to get in the theater to watch that film rated “R” or “X”. We went there as teenagers to spoil everybody else’s time. kiss movieSome of us had some great epiphany watching a dramatic scene. Even, some of us went to the theater to do anything but watching a film.

Bedrich Grunzweig Times Square Movie Theatre Marquee, New York City.  Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC

Bedrich Grunzweig
Times Square Movie Theatre Marquee, New York City. Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC.

But in just few years the experience has dramatically changed. The theaters are not as large as they used to be. The room has lost that aura of temple to become a prophane location where you can eat nachos or pop corn while sipping a coke or a sprite.

In terms of technology the story is different. Progress and change have been constant in its history. First, getting the 24xsecond right, then turning from the silent era to sound, and then technicolor, cinemascope, substitute the flamable film for another, less sparky,  type of material, and then dolby surround, and then a big ETC. Later the digital came to provide the HD experience, and now I’m finding myself paying a ticket to watch Resident Evil, exclusively because it was on 3D. 3d

I’ve gotta say that I do like 3D. Actually, mostly I’m willing to allow movie theaters to rip my pockets off only when they are screening films in 3D, or 35mm. I think last time I was there to watch “Oz, the Great and Powerful”, in 3D -and oh my Lord this is one horrible film, worse than Resident Evil because it’s more disappointing!- but that’s another day’s story. So, when we got there, the employee told us we couldn’t take the red seats, because they were Dbox and were reserved.

DBOX

DBOX

So, what’s the deal with Dbox? That was my question. When the film started and the seats start moving along, then I realized what the trick was. It’s basically a motion system, and note to self, I think I would get dizzy in those chairs, so stick yourself to 3D, too much progress can be just way too much.This is how Dbox is officially described: “Our technology is leading edge, yet simple. After sound and image, D-BOX is the natural evolution of cinema. Much like a movie soundtrack, motion effects or MFX are created frame-by-frame by our Motion Designers in our California Studio creating the unique patented D-BOX Motion Code. (…) D-BOX is smooth and blends perfectly with the sound and image to make your cinematic experience complete. Its motion is multilevel; it can whisk you as if you were speeding in a car chase or wipe you off gently as if you were by the ocean side.”

First surprise, at least it was for me, D-BOX Technologies is a Canadian company based in based in Longueuil, Quebec. According Wikipedia, “the company first introduced its motion generating systems in 2001 to the home theatre and PC gaming markets.” What else? The value of the its stocks in the Canadian Stock Exchange has been steadily falling during the last 6 months.

But more questions came to mind: who’s getting all the extra money that people pay for the Dbox ticket? Do the film producers get some cut? Is the pie divided only between the theater and the Dbox owner? What cut for each? We are talking about 8 extra dollars for a moving seat.

First clue comes from an article in the WSJ, Hollywood studios are involved: “‘It’s a periphery business for the moment, but as they grow their network, we’re interested in pairing with them for additional titles,’ said Jeff Goldstein, the executive vice president for domestic distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures.” Makes sense the studios get a cut, considering that the films content and the motion of the seats must be related.

It’s gotta be expensive, the price of each chair is around the USD 10.000 and it may costs hundreds of hours to program the motion sequence: “Guy Marcoux, D-Box’s vice president of marketing, said that it took 600 hours to program seats for “Fast Five.” Engineers go through movies frame-by-frame to create a “motion track”—analagous to a soundtrack—that controls the seat.”

The answer to the percentage that each takes is still hidden from me in the web, or haven’t been tackled yet. But the case of the Dbox, whether or not it’s a worthy expense, has big question marks at the end. Will it depend on the state of pockets? Will it be the case that it spoils or improve the experience? Is it just one more change?

Fox News:  Lone Star College Shooting

Fox News: Lone Star College Shooting

So, if you check right now the news, let’s say TV news, more exactly local PBS news in Tampa, you can see the weather report. Like 5 minutes ago, they were speaking about Obama’s inauguration. Then 10 minutes ago, they were discussing about the outcome of BP oil spill, and around 20 minutes ago they were breaking the news of a shooting at the Lone Star College in Texas. And there is a shooting! Again!

Few words before very sensitive and hyper reactive people start freaking out about it. It is very unlikely the sun storm or whatever phenomenon is going on there, will has anything to do with a guy going nuts with a happy trigger.

According the media, right now there is no certainty whether it’s something related to gangs, or mental health. Then, we are back to the issue under heavy discussion since the shootings at the elementary school in Newtown: with serious gun, it’s likely to have less of these shootings. It’s true, people will keep killing each other, but the number of casualties will significantly go down if they have only knives, or bare fists. Yes, mental health is important, but not enough!

So, what is this shooting in Texas telling us? Obama’s 23 executive actions might not be enough. A person can go nuts over the night, so that exam to test his or her sanity taken before getting a license and getting the gun, is very useless. Besides, Lanza didn’t have a license, he was not the owner, but the mother. No guns, period.

And stop pointing to the second amendment, there weren’t assaults weapons back then. Actually, it’s ok if muskets are the available weapons.

Otherwise, just amend the amendment! I was listening to a teenager a few days ago, a black teen, and he was noticing that societies change, and laws must change along societies. He would have been a slave in the 1700’s, but now there’s a black guy making decisions at the White House’s Oval Office!

To Ale:

Canada

Canada

I’ve just finished talking with a friend. A Facebook chat conversation, like almost every conversation I’m able to have with friends lately. The thing is I’m part of a diaspora, and the definition of diaspora is precisely that people from the same homeland must leave and end up scattered around the world. Ergo, Facebook and Skype come in handy when it comes to keep in touch with old friends.

So, my friend also left Cuba. He’s been living in Canada for 7 months now. He’s dealing with Adaptation. As he was describing his progress, his feelings, his projects and also his fears, obstacles and longings, I found myself trying to comfort him while passing somehow the message that everything will be better and easier with time. He is quite a lucky migrant actually, considering how much he has been able to achieve in such short period. And then I realized that I’ve learnt a great deal about coping with Adaptation. So, here are some of the stuffs I’ve found and learnt along the way.

Time:

Corey Templeton

Corey Templeton

At the beginning, it feels weird. Somehow, you feel days running so fast, it suddenly gets dark and it’s already night so soon! But later, in the long run, only a couple of months have gone and you may feel it like half a year… I’m no psychologist, or sociologist, but I believe it has something to do with learning. You are living in a new location -city, town or country-, you have a new job or school, new bedroom, new neighborhood, maybe a different language, different people around, and most shaking: no routine. It will be a lot of information to process, on a daily basis. Your brain will be under stress when you’ll have to drive new roads, or taking new routes on a public transportation. You’ll need to look for sources of news, and suddenly you’ll realize that you care, you need to keep yourself posted, about the news from homeland, but local media doesn’t cover it, or it does it in a sloppy and misinformed way. So you’ll have to turn to foreign media, or to your homeland media. And that’s how you’ll find yourself hooked up with Internet. And Internet will become such a priority that you will put it first than having a TV, a couch, or the bookcase that you loved when you visited IKEA to buy the most elementary stuffs you needed to survive.

Weather:

Time also relates to weather. Unless you’ll resettle on the same geographic parallel, chances are you’ll need to adjust to seasons. If you are a creature from the Tropics like myself, then you’ll have to learn how to function on the shorter and colder winter days of temperate zones. On the contrary, if you were born there and move to the Tropics, then you’ll need to cope with humidity and warmer temperatures. For sure you will have to learn how to deal with a very different flora and fauna. Some allergies will probably go, but some new affection will replace them.

Cuban food

Cuban food

Food: Oh! Be prepare to change your diet. This can be a very funny part of the experience of a migrant, or an absolute nightmare. There will be food you’ll miss from home that you won’t be able to find now, but if you keep yourself open to the possibility of new tastes, textures and colors, a whole new interesting and delicious universe can unfold for your amusement and satisfaction.

Mastering the city:

I’ve been living mostly on cities since I left. But for those of you who are planning to settle in Alaska, Puerto Montt or Nakhodka, then let’s refer to mastering the local geography.  It takes time to draw your own map of your new spot. I mean, it is upsetting to feel lost in an unfamiliar place. As a beginner, you’ll move slower. It would seem you can’t arrive on time to important meetings because of a stupid turn at a wrong corner. Well, it’s temporary. You’ll learn. First, you’ll master the art of understanding maps, later you won’t need it anymore and addresses will be so easy to find and very logic to you.

But that’s not the most important, or the most challenging. The hardest it’s to locate the useful places, such as where to buy cheap, or where to find some foreign food you are missing, where is the best shopping boulevard, the best laundromat, who’s the tailor you can trust, the perfect hairdresser for you, where are the best cafes, or the cool art galleries, cinemas, parks, sport fields… As time goes by, you’ll notice Internet becomes less necessary because you don’t need to google all these places whenever you find yourself with a new need.

People:

This is the most complicated part, from my perspective. I believe relationships can change us, not for the better or the worse, just change us. Loneliness will be a risk, and at times a painful reality. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the norm. Adapting to a new culture is the most challenging, different values, habits, ways to open communication with strangers…

However, I’ve found people from all over are very similar at the core. I’ve made great friends, and they certainly come from very different places around the world. We are indeed very different when it comes to the details, but so alike in what it matters the most. So, take the best from them, appreciate their virtues, especially if they don’t even like to see them. Appraise their good food, music, dances, sports, forests, mountains, beaches, lakes, women or men, education system, freedom of the press, technological development, history, literature, drugs… every place have something to brag about.

Hold your criticism, at the beginning, because you’ll find so many stuffs to be critical about. But at a point, you will feel confident enough to let them know your opinions, but make sure they understand that you are not intending to hurt, and that no bad intention leads you… At the end of the way, people tend to appreciate honesty, because someone honest is someone you can trust.

Finally, I’m not advising anyone to be patient if you don’t like the city or country where you are. The world is huge, keep looking for the right spot for you, don’t give up! If you had the guts to leave your hometown, your family and maybe childhood friends to go to some strange land, not as result of a promotion or because you were hired for a great job, but because you felt that freedom is important and you hadn’t any at home, and you believe it is necessary to have projects for the future, goals, at least a different kind of problems or challenges, you deserve to feel ok about that new destination. Don’t force yourself to be misserable for a while, hoping things get better. I do believe in love at first sight when it comes to countries or cities. Believe me, it’s first hand experience. You will need a lot of goodwill and optimism when you are settling on a new spot. Bureaucracy will be challenging, to say the least. And as much as you may have felt that you really like to stay there, you’ll find so many obstacles on your way, and you’ll have plenty of time to dissapoint yourself and reasons to complain. So, if it’s not love at first sight, don’t settle for less. If you have no means to run away to the next location, then feed some hope, come up with a project and work for it. You’ll find it will actually make your days easier and meaningful.

So you won’t find yourself as this guy… (it’s in Cuban Spanish)