Morning Reflections on Entropy with Coffee.

“In short, we can define entropy as a measure of the disorder of the universe, on both a macro and a microscopic level. The Greek root of the word translates to “a turning towards transformation” — with that transformation being chaos.
As you read this article, entropy is all around you. Cells within your body are dying and degrading, an employee or coworker is making a mistake, the floor is getting dusty, and the heat from your coffee is spreading out. Zoom out a little, and businesses are failing, crimes and revolutions are occurring, and relationships are ending. Zoom out a lot further and we see the entire universe marching towards a collapse.”
– Shane Parrish

A couple nights ago, I read a great article called Battling Entropy: Making Order of the Chaos  in our lives. Writer and thinker Shane Parrish writes on what that means and the full ramifications of it in our world.

I find myself revisiting it today as a morning exercise of sorts and applying it to some current situations in my life.

  • Taking this mental rule and understanding that everything in their natural order falls apart, not together, and that I must understand that absolutely:
  • Understanding that really does give one peace and direction.

It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being pragmatic. When you search and connect with the reality of how the world really works you are also better prepared and expecting.

REFLECTIONS

PROFESSIONAL

At age 26 and as an entrepreneur, I’m still worrying about how I will be financially independent in the sustainable sense for the long game. Do I keep doing what my heart tells me to do, or do I one day make the decision to choose a stable job that affords me compound savings at an office job?

I am saving pennies on the dollar now, and I can be saving dollars and mucho moola on the dollar if I worked in something else.

I understand that without considerably added effort as an entrepreneur and with good fortune, this will only lead to entropy (in financial resources, in personal and time capital, etc.), so I need to set firm guidelines for myself, for how long I am taking this passion project for the ride and what milestones or goals I will set it against in order to validate sustaining my efforts in it.

HEALTH

At age 26, I have osteoporosis. That has resulted in me getting foot pain or fractures regularly, and I’ve also had to retire from many sports and activities that I never expected to have retired from at this age.

It’s frustrating, but I understand it’s just an early realization for me on my part that this body will only continue to degenerate as you age. There will be arthritis, there will be osteoporosis, there might be some disease, and you will most certainly start losing collagen & elasticity and develop fine lines on your forehead in your twenties. However, this does not mean I should just rest. Resting only encourages more entropy.  To keep the body sharp is to keep the mind sharp is to keep the life sharp.

Sharp as a well made kitchen knife. Mhm.

Whatever effort humans put into regenerating the body is an effort of pure science, bullish effort, and going against nature. It’s quite impressive, thinking of all of it actually.

SOCIAL

From age 18 to my early 20s, I had the tendency to not want to create deep, personal relationships. For me, what I had was enough, and the immense effort required to sustain human relationships with often very irrational people just seemed like such a high cost for me, and I didn’t want to put the effort in. It was better I thought to invest in my work, my passions, and myself. Engage with others, but keep a distance. Don’t get too close. At least introspection with the self was certain to result in some kind of fruit. This was a shortsight, as I realize now that forming and working really hard to maintain authentic relationships with people are one of the greatest investments I can make in my life. Human relationships counteract all forms of entropy: mental, emotional, professional, etc.

For those having trouble with developing relationships, or with little interest in developing any: Yes, people can disappoint you, yes they might not be the most intellectually stimulating people in the world, yes, they can be unreliable, but so am I, and so are you. And I’d still like to say I’m worth the effort and worth getting to know. There are fruits to be seen and revealed, through me, by you or some other person who enters my life. So I guess I’d apply the same for you.

“The energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.”
– Rudolf Clausius

FAMILY

I’ve experienced entropy at its max in this category. I’ve grown up out of a very troubled home, and what was considered “family” was breaking down at a Nitro rollercoaster steep rate from my middle school years. I saw what happens when there is no effort put in, or when the only effort put into the family unit encourages further dissolution and entropy.

However, through this experience, I’ve also seen what incredible things can happen in the re-building if you seek to counteract entropy. It requires double, no triple, the effort.

So why not make the effort in the first place.

My experience has brought my current family closer and we are more vigilant as a family in some ways. We are exceedingly careful to not say or do some things that would harm our relationship with the other. There is a foundational, rigid, understanding of what we must not do or entertain in our current romantic relationships and for our future relationships. And we’re aggressive with building, building, building. Building new ways and systems to affirm one another, to show we appreciate one another, to show we love one another.

“Truly understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.”
Shane Parrish

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

With my romantic relationships I tend to take a one man stance. Considering 1. my subscription to this idea of chaos and disorder naturally developing (emphasis on natural order) as time goes on in every aspect of our lives and our world and 2. all I know about myself and my emotional and physical capacity as a human-woman, I just don’t think I can go on living life attaching myself to and emotionally engaging with more than one romantic interest at a given time.  If the aim is to build and not to break-down, the effort involved in romantic relationships cannot be optional, but required. I believe this effort should begin at earlier stages of getting to know someone, not when there is a “are we…” talk. Getting to know someone at my convenience only, or not showing I care when I don’t really care at the early stage of a relationship is possible– my every right– and also comfortable, but in the end what does that lead to? What can all that lead to? There’s the chance that you might fall in love and I have seen many friends who are in wonderful, wholesome relationships which resulted from a start of the more casual or poly- sort. But it entertains a whole lot more chance. And I guess this all goes down to who I am as a person again. I don’t care for welcoming chance.

 

 

Advertisements

Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983

So much experimentation and fun in the 70s and 80s, I wish I was a part of it:

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 11.29.41 PM.png

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 11.00.47 PM.png

 

 

Customized Matchbooks for Club 57’s 1983 Matchbook Show

 

 

 

Complement these visuals with the 1967 track of ze Vegetables  by The Beach Boys.

PSA*** Let me just say MoMA’s current exhibits are amazing (Specifically, three). This is a good month to go. I won’t spoil it for you, but there are some new, reckoning art for you to see.

Running through April 1 at The Museum of Modern Art.

Complement these visuals with the 1967 track of ze Vegetables  by The Beach Boys.

Inside My Tulips

When something so simple can give you so much joy:

Start: Pot + 5 tulip bulbs

Flower Bloom:

The beautiful prints and propeller shapes formed by the overlapping petals.
Can you see the pretty fuzz on top of the tulip? It’s supposed to be mold though. 😦
The richness of the flowers’ robes.

13 hours time:

Inspired, so I paint (acrylic and watercolour):

Another day:

Chop chop :

I placed the flowers in a mason jar and headed to my sister’s to surprise her.

2 Days Later: My sister, inspired like me by their beauty started drawing as well.

She is the best drawer in our family by far. 🙂

How To Fall In Love With Art

How long has it been?

Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.

I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.

At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.

Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.

Hu Jieming, Casual Status, 1992

I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.

During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.

A pic I snapped years ago on another trip to Pace Gallery.

I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.

 

So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.

I was falling in love with art then.

I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.

For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.

For some reason, Surrealism and Dada works get me.

Man Ray, Ingre’s Violin

Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.

Mark Ryden, the father of Pop-Surrealism

I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 1.36.00 PM.png
Toyin Ojih Odutola, Above all else make it look effortless, 2012. Pen ink, marker, and varnish on paper.
Chad Wys, Sculpture with a Spectrum 2, 2014. Collage on paper.

It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.

I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.

And the more I do that, the more I understand this:

Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.

They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          (on my best days- taha.)

Art Finds at MoMA

Romanian visual artist Geta Brătescu

American visual artist Joan Jonas‘ riveting 3-D performance

img_7011

One of Louise Bourgeois’ smaller arachnoids, perched on the wall:

Part of her exhibition, Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait, a showcase of 300 pieces, which is running until January 28, 2018.

 

 

Museum of Modern Art

My 5 Favorite Books of 2017

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. I took on a new job, learned of some big family news, and also confronted some health issues and personal demons of mine..
One of the biggest and most constant sources of joy to me this year was when I read.

I love books [really any form of great writing, short or long form]. I like them for the following reasons:

  1. I can escape into them: On a good, restful day, taking the time to read for myself helps me achieve an even higher state of zen, and on a crazy, tiring day, I can escape the traps of “my depressing life” thinking and jump instead into the world of the book I am reading, and this gives me deep solace and strength. Sometimes they even help me cry and grieve for the things I’ve probably been meaning to cry for, and they help me bring my guard down even if it’s for only a minute to feel what I have been feeling that day, that past week or the past year. Sometimes they bring a greater joy to the things I’ve been experiencing in my life by offering up similar and parallel scenarios that add more color and zest to the contexts of my real life stories.
  2. The authors help me live lives I’ll probably never have the chance of living with this one body. You can’t be in three places at once, but with books– you can! Limits to time, geography, and resources are blown away like “chaff from the wind” (sorry, I had to add in the Biblical reference – har har). I can imagine myself in the village of Combray, France, or find myself the next day in Middletown, Ohio on the suburban streets. I can bring myself back to post-war England in the 1940’s, where the last of true aristocracy habits were finally coming to an end. I can put myself in the shoes of the invisible black man of the early 19th and 20th centuries, of the white man experiencing discrimination from those that cry out “down with white privilege!” or even of the young Irish orphan in Tuam, relegated to a life of social marginalization and impoverished youth.
  3. Books elucidate thoughts I’m thinking and am grappling to understand better. They give me a deeper wisdom about the things out there and add another puzzle piece to the mental “map” I have about the kinds of people, lives, and thoughts I see co-existing in the world at large, from Chile to Cambodia, with time unbound. They tell me I really don’t know much, that I only know so much, and that I need to learn so, much, more in order to do the things I think I’m meant to do in this life (apparently according to the Social Security Administration, I have about 61.6 years, 739 months, or 22,484 days left to figure life out- time’s a tickin’). Every book, every line of well written prose gives me a deeper understanding for the human experience, of the brokenness amongst our global communities, of the complexities of our problems and our progress, and of the shared experiences we as humans all go through, sometime and somewhere on this Earth.

For those who’re not too much of a book reader, I’m sure you probably experience the same kind of things through a different medium. Maybe it’s art. Maybe it’s music or film. Maybe it’s through your career vocation, I don’t know.

Anyways, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2017:

 

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.30.53 PM.png

2. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.32.52 PM.png

3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.34.01 PM

4. Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.35.30 PM

5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (recommended by friends Max and Sewon)

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.36.22 PM.png

 

If you’re interested in seeing what else I’ve been reading, feel free to check out my Reading List, with a list of the books I’ve read from 2016 to present, and Wordy Treasures, which includes my favorite excerpts and aphorisms.

 

Burgers of New York

So here we are.

I have a professed love for burger that has burgeoned into a near weird obsession and I thank my friends for bearing with my interest and passion for these cute little potato bunn-ed/brioche bun things for the last couple of years.

Here are nyc burgers that a vast majority of New Yorkers or I have strongly liked for your perusal and fancies.

Curious as to know which burgers are my favorites in the city? (HINT: I love those verging on the salty, savory, packed styles, and I most certainly love a thick, tall patty, YUM!)

On a scale of the basic to the experimental:

My Homily to Burgers

Savory Experimental;

Le Rivage

Dudley’s

Comments: Patty is on the sweeter side

LIC Market

Comments: Very good, it’s worth venturing into another borough

Savory: 

Bar Sardine

Comments: Vertical burgers

The Spotted Pig

Comments: Burger is on the salty side because of that delicious cheese. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Barneys New York – Chelsea Downtown

Comments: Not fond of the fries, “pomme frites,” that come with it, but the burger is delicious.

Minetta Tavern

Salvation Burger

Comments: Sadly closed. (RIP)

Savory Traditional:

Bar Luxembourg

The Jane Restaurant

Comments: Solid, greasy shoestring fries

The Breslin

L’Aile ou la Cuisse

Ruby’s

The Wren 

Comments: Eh.

Minimalist Traditional: 

Nectar Cafe

Comments: Very good, but I think the patty is very fatty or something. I get sleepy quickly whenever I go here to have their burger.

Mel’s Burger Bar

Park Avenue Tavern

Minimalist:

J.G. Melon: Not really a fan, (gasp) sorry.

P. J. Clarkes: Not really a fan, (gasp) sorry.

Wilfie & Nell: Not really a fan, sorry.

Comments: From the times I went to get burgers here (more than a few times), all of them had a weird aftertaste smell. Maybe it was just me, or the times I went. Either way, a good burger joint’s burgers should be consistent, non?

Eli’s Market:

Comments: Eh. It is clean. Not bad.

Note 1: I know I’m forgetting a lot, but there were just too many burgers!

Note 2: Maybe you’re all right. Maybe I’m eating too many burgers. 😀

Note 3: I’ve purposely omitted Shake Shack, and In-N-Out. Those aren’t the point of this.

Note 4: If you have suggestions for burgers in the city, please, please send them my way.

Bon exploring good burgers :).