All posts by rach

About rach

nothing.

relationship follow up

sometimes, i just have to get things out of my head. and sometimes, i have the distinct urge to put those thoughts out to the universe in a public forum (as opposed to a journal or even a piece of paper). there’s something very therapeutic knowing that my thoughts are out there for all to read…even if it’s strangers who don’t have context or even give a shit. the simple act of getting it out into the world is reassuring to me, and will calm me down.

things are just fine in my world. and my relationship with the female in the previous blog post is absolutely fine. i simply had too much swirling around in my head, my left brain spinning a giant wheel of unreal (as in fake) insecurity. it’s a bad habit, and one that’s difficult to break out of, but regular yoga and meditation usually keep me out of it. the lack of yoga is obvious lol.

My Stroke of Insight – Review

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal JourneyMy Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A close friend gave me a copy of this book, knowing I have a strong interest in the mind, how it works, and how we can change parts of it. Taylor has had the incredible gift of intelligence and awareness to be able not only to recall the events of her stroke and recovery, but also be able to communicate the events and the things she learned throughout the process. I found the information deeply moving, and was encouraged to know that the things I experience (my left brain negative loops) are not only normal, but somewhat controllable. While I know the stroke was a big challenge to Dr. Taylor, her story has SO much value to people who have had a stroke, friends/family of stroke victims, and pretty much anyone interested in how he can change his perspective on life. We all have a left and a right side of our brain, and it’s a matter of how much practice each side gets.

Highly recommend. It’s a pretty easy read, even the neurosciency stuff.

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sometimes, i feel i’m a failure at relationships. it’s generally with women. i seem to be completely inept at maintaining a relationship with a woman without fucking it up at some point…multiple times usually. i just don’t do well with expectations and shit like that. i’m not who you want me to be. i am who i am. and sometimes, that means i open up at the most unexpected time. i’m an introvert for god’s sake. the fact that i even open up at all should be worth something. but i often feel it’s worth nothing…or at least not good enough. there have been only a handful of people who know me well enough and have the patience and understanding enough to hang in there with me.

hopefully, this current one will hang around since she’s the only close female i have left. guh why couldn’t i have gotten the “express your emotions” gene like the rest of the female population?!

Under the Dome – Review

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read such an intriguing tale, and I was certain King could deliver. The story was intricate and the characters spanned a wide range of good, bad, and ugly. All manner of angles were touched on as well. What happens when you put a small town under a dome, cutting them off from all society, supplies, and the things we all take for granted? Who holds the real power in those situations? And when an evil person gains immense power, how do the good people of the town react to save themselves and the town? So many questions about the true humanity of people. The only reason I couldn’t give it 5 stars is I felt like the story just kind of ended. There is some big stuff that happens, but the wrap-up was nothing to speak of. Definitely recommend it.

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A Clockwork Orange – Review

A Clockwork Orange A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had really high hopes for this book. When I first began the book, I was surprised at the language used by the narrator, and found it fascinating how you can learn a language simply by context interspersed with known language. That “side-journey” definitely added to the story. However, much like Slaughterhouse-V I was disappointed as a result of my expectations. The book definitely touches on some interesting aspects of society and how we handle violence and disrespect of authority. It also addressed some of the ethical challenges in reforming violent offenders. All interesting topics, but I really was looking for more twists and turns, more commentary on how society deals with the issues, and in general deeper exploration of things only touched on. I can’t wait to see the movie now, though.

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House Of Leaves – Review

House of Leaves House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was really looking forward to the quirkiness this book promised. I had heard it’s a tough read, and just flipping through it proved that with some of the pages having only a couple of words, paragraphs written upside down or even backwards, and footnotes upon footnotes (making reading rhythm somewhat broken). The first few hundred pages were fascinating as the story builds, and freaky tales unfold. However, as I moved into the last hundred pages or so, I got a little tired of the psycho-babblings of a messed up crazy guy. I felt like the end of the book was a huge letdown with very little closure on any of the characters’ perils. It seemed as if Danielewski simply got bored of writing it, and just trailed off.

I actually enjoyed the whackiness in which the book was formatted as I felt it added to how the broken story was communicated (very effective technique, IMO). It really spoke to the fear, confusion, and general “crazy” that the characters were experiencing throughout. If you’ve been curious about this book, I recommend it on the sheer fact that most of it was entertaining to read, but don’t feel obligated to finish it lol.

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slaughterhouse-five review

Slaughterhouse-Five Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
i wish there were half stars because i really want to give it 4.5 stars…not 4 but not 5 either. it wasn’t the most amazing, rivetting book for me. however, i found myself wanting to read the book, wanting to find out how the details of billy pilgrim’s life fit into his own world view.

vonnegut’s writing style is very unique, and it did take some time for me to adjust (especially coming off of middlesex). i think his writing style is what can really turn a reader on or off towards him, so keep that in mind when you read other reviews. this was my first vonnegut book, and found the story fascinating. sure you get some basic details about the entire story up front, but they were only teasers to me. vonnegut has a way of giving you bits and pieces that make sense, but leave you wanting to know more.

i will definitely be reading more vonnegut in the future. and ultimately, if you’ve never read any of his work, you should at least give him a try.

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mama’s got a new pair of shoes

i ran for the first time in a long time last night.  for me, a long time = 2-3 years.  the sibling rivalry classic challenge is definitely going to motivate me in terms of cardio.  i’m typically motivated to workout, but cardio has always been a challenge.  it’s a total workout, really, and i know it’s tough for most.

however, last night was one of the first times that i actually enjoyed running.  was it my new (properly fitted) running shoes?  that certainly helped.  i think it was more of a mental thing though.  and i think that’s a result of my yoga practice.  i simply connected to the breathe and body like i do in yoga, and the time actually flew by.  i ran for only about 30 minutes so as not to kill myself on my first day back.  but it was great!  and i’m not hurting too badly today.   i figured if i can hold some of the postures in yoga for 5 breathes, i can run a couple of miles.  it certainly works lol.

i think i’ll run again on thursday. 🙂

traditional new year’s ponderings post

in light of  a tradition i decided to set for myself last year, it’s time to post the ponderings for 2009.  i hate resolutions because they’re very temporary.  i prefer to have goals or ideas for what i’d like to shoot for.  i still frequently forget those things by mid-year, but it never hurts to write it down neverthless.

first and foremost is travel.  i really think 2009 will be another big travel year for me because i really think my mind is set on it.  europe has been calling to me, and though i’m not sure exactly where or when (would like to do it when it’s good weather), i’m going to get across the pond one way or another.  the beach is also a must, considering i’m only a couple of hours away.  it’s generally an affordable option.  and of course, i’d like to get back out to the west coast to see the family.  2008 was a great year of revisiting my extended family and spending quality time with my aging grandparents.  must do more of that!

next is the workout regimen.  the last part of 2008 was a time of transition.  many of the habits i developed throughout 2008 fell off the radar as i transitioned into a new job which changed my schedule among other things.  the first quarter will involve Sibling Rivalry Classic, so that should be a great motivator to get me started in 2009.  i ended 2008 by restarting my yoga practice, as well.

one last thing that has been more prominently on my mind as 2008 came to a close was my involvement (or lack thereof) in music.  one of my goals last year was to get back in touch with my (non-electronic) artsy side, which meant drawing, writing, doing music (singing, playing guitar, whatever), or something along those lines.  while those things didn’t quite take hold last year, i think music will be a bigger part of my life this year, primarily because it’s naturally in my thoughts these days.  the guitar sits in my great room…calling to me.  i shall answer it today.

sibling rivalry classic

the brothers and i have decided to embark on a first quarter fitness competition.  should make the first quarter more interesting.

Sibling Rivalry Classic
================

Goal: To get an otherwise out of shape group of Kendall siblings into a virile, vibrant, and vivacious state of health.

To win: Winner must win two of the three criteria specified below.  Losers will pay $100 each to the winner.  No second place.  In the case of a three way tie (ie, all three win one of the three criteria), a run-off will be held in which all three criteria will be measured, executed in sequence.  An unnamed third party will measure the execution of the criteria and provide the final ruling.

Begin date: 1/1/2009 12:00AM (tonight @ midnight)
Target date: 3/31/09 with criteria measurement on 4/4/09 (weekend)

Success criteria:

  1) Fastest one mile run
      – Run will be recorded on a treadmill for equal comparison
      – Second mile of a run; this will allow a 1 mile warm up at any speed and avoid any of us hurting ourselves
  2) Push-ups
      – Two criteria: 1) Number of push ups in 1 minute and 2) Number of push ups to exhaustion
      – Criteria #1 will be measured on 4/4
      – Criteria #2 measured on 4/5
  3) Crunches
      – Crunches will be measured based on number of crunches performed in 2 minutes

Rules:

  – No performance enhancing substances (Creatine, etc.)
  – No trainers, paid or otherwise
  – Vitamins are allowed and in fact encouraged
  – Don’t hurt yourself; this isn’t meant to push limits, only to test our respective abilities in physical fitness

snow crash

Snow Crash Rach gave 5 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars to: 
Snow Crash (Paperback) 
by Neal Stephenson 
my rating:

didn't like itit was okliked itreally liked itit was amazing (my current rating) 
edit my review 
shelf: read

 
recommended for: philosphers (lots of ideas in this one), geeks
read in October, 2008 

RachRach said: “ great book! lots of twists and turns amongst the various worlds of a “not so distant future.” there were glimpses of a “1984” influence which was neat since i read that not too long ago. really intriguing topic in terms of what’s a virus and what’s the antidote.

also from the plane – a blog post

6:58pm EDT 10-16-08

as i watched the amazing clouds float by on the first leg of my trip to sacramento, i became inspired.  i’ve written a lot less frequently these days as i have cleared many extraneous entities from my life.  without much drama, i lack motivation to write.  funny how writing seems to be that way with a lot of artists.  if they’re not tortured, they’re not inspired and thus they don’t produce. 

however, i digress.

i am currently inspired as i’ve never really had an opportunity to see such an amazing array of clouds permeate the horizon.  i rarely even get a window seat much less one with a decent view.  despite the seating, i frequently fly at night or the clouds are too thick to be anything other than a white landlike mass or it’s clear as a bell with only the cities and towns to entertain me from far below.  not today.

it was fascinating to watch the clouds from above them.  while they don’t look all that different, the perspective was fresh and interesting.  the change in perspective and my unusual awe prompted me to draw the analogy of the change in perspective that i’ve been developing over the last several months (actually, years, but my efforts have only recently been solidifying into results). 

the changes are difficult to quantify.  one of the most obvious recent changes has been in my job.  while it’s primarily a surface change with good financial and goal-oriented reasons, i view it also as a time to start over at a new job.  the change in perspective in relation to work has been to disconnect from the personal relationships that i tend to develop at a company.  i never realized how much those personal relationships can interfere with work.  this is a difficult task for someone with the social tendencies that i have.  i like to have fun and be friendly, but i’m learning that these things have a very specific place in the professional work environment. 

this shift in philosophy has been difficult for me because at the same time, i’m also realizing what it truly means to be true to myself.  this is yet another reason for finding a new job.  no matter the reasons, pushing myself in my career and/or education has always been one of the ways for me to be true to myself.  i must put myself in situations where i can not only succeed, but succeed beyond what anyone else would ever have imagined.  yes…i’m an over-achiever lol.

while it’s not a new idea to be true to myself, how i go about it is a little different these days.  i’m working on not simply pascifying people so “we can all get along.”  that means being honest about who i want to hang out with, being honest to people about who i am and what i believe, and making no apology for any of those things.  if i have to apologize for something, then why the hell am i doing it? 

these are tough changes to make.  i feel like i’m trying to turn a giant ship that’s charging ahead at full speed.  that’s why, despite a couple of years of trying to make some changes, the transformation is only now taking shape.  i look forward to what’s next.  it’s a never-ending cycle, and i know this won’t be the last of it.  but the fruits of my labor are ripening.  i see the clouds from above instead of just below.