Monday, December 20, 2010

Black Swan

Talented actors? Check. Dark, twisted plot line? Check. Fabulous dancing, make-up, costuming? Check. Great movie? Eh.

Knowing that this movie combined many of my favorite aspects of a great film I was super excited to see it. Darren Aronofsky who is known for his gritty, raw and often disturbing movies, had me in the first seconds of the trailer for Black Swan. I'm pretty sure the last movie I saw of his was Requiem For a Dream. I literally didn't speak for hours after seeing it. I felt sick, disturbed and excuse my language, but the only way I can relay the feeling is to say mind-f*ked. It is a movie I am so glad I have seen but will never watch again. Its that kind of rough exposed feeling I was expecting after walking out of Black Swan. It never happened.

For those of you not familiar with this story, it is the story of a ballet dancer, Nina(Natalie Portman) who has been chosen for the lead role of Queen Swan in her company directors version of Swan Lake. She not only has to play the role of the disciplined, structured and naive White Swan but also the more unscrupulous Black Swan. She is forced and coerced into finding that dark place inside herself. A new dancer to the company, Lily (Mila Kunis), seems to have all the qualities of the Black Swan she is lacking. Right about here is where the movie loses me.

With out giving anything away there is a struggle of sorts between to two dancers, but it is unclear if the struggle is just in Nina's (Natalie Portman) head. Don't get me wrong, she clearly has issues, but are they just or is she just sick?

I took it as a woman so focused on finding her dark side that in the process she killed off the innocence and ethical side of her personality. While I never got that sick to my stomach feeling, I do think this movie is sexy, thrilling and entertaining. Just not what I expected.

Go see it and tell me what you think it is about. Im interested to hear what other people think.

Thats all for this rainy monday morning.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cause and Effect

I would like to ask you to please carve out a little bit of time for yourselves before reading this particular post. There are some videos involved and with out watching them, none of this will make sense. Thank you, Ladyfirefury.




A few days ago I wrote about selflessness vs selfishness, and if you're still with me (take a moment to gather yourself if needed), I would love to write a bit more about it and how this story is a perfect example of how doing something seemingly insignificant to some people can make a world of difference to someone else.

To say that I like dogs is a severe understatement. Its borderline obsessive. I am "that" girl who will stop every person on the street for a chance at giving their dog a pat. Even the smallest interaction with canines can effect my mood for the entire rest of the day. I pretty much watch animal planet more than any other channel and read dog articles and behavior manuals in my spare time just for the information it provides me. I have even been called "the crazy dog girl". ( no offense taken if it was implied). About three years ago I got involved in animal welfare. I have volunteered my time, resources and spoken out about my cause. Due to my ever growing hectic schedule I haven't been able to do near the amount that I would like, so I thought the least I could do was to continue talking about it.

Most of you know I that I am an American Pit Bull Terrier advocate. It is not important how or why I got involved in this particular breed and I am not here to tell the world that they should too. I wrote a post a few months back about my experience with the breed etc. if you would like my thoughts on the matter, but this is not about standing on my soapbox tonight, this is about selflessness and a cause (whatever it may be) worth fighting for. I hope these videos tell the story of why I do what I do and how easy it is for you to do something of your own.

During this time of the year the unfortunate, the desperate, the needy tend to pull on peoples heart strings and this gives them a chance to get into action doing what they can to help. Its sad however that some people still don't understand how this whole giving thing works. I have heard "why just one specific group you donate your time to, why just one breed of dog you devote yourself to"? Somehow my need to support my cause translates into not doing enough for other causes. How does this make sense? Apparently because i have honed in on one cause (animal welfare) it means I don't care about veterans, or the homeless or breast cancer. I am not sure how anyone thinks they have the right to decide which cause is more deserving than the other??. It reminds me of a conversation I had via facebook where someone was upset because I work at Starbucks and therefore contribute to all the evil in the world. (Seriously? Has he never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte?) In his opinion, the only way to make a difference in the world is to be anti-everything. Anti-corporation, anti-government, anti-military, basically just go through life mad at everyone and every thing. I agree that if you sit down and focus on EVERYTHING that is wrong with this world than you will truly be angry, but to me it is smarter to chose the things that mean the most to you and focus on them. There are enough causes in the world to go around, and there are enough people willing to fight for theirs. Being angry at the world all the time doesn't accomplish anything. Ever. You burn out trying to fight every fight and eventually just become jaded. Then even the smallest effort feels pointless. I have already proven how simple it is to do "just one thing" and the amazing effects of it, so it would be a shame to miss out on that opportunity because you have already given up. You also have plenty of time because it doesn't just have to be during the holidays. People (dogs, kids, cancer) needs don't just go away because its January.

Speaking of January, I am going to be gathering some people in rescue to donate our time at the Villalobos Rescue Center. It is the biggest pit bull rescue in the nation. You may of heard of it via Animal Planet and a show called Pit Bulls and Parolees. And if you havent, check it out! We will be doing everything and anything they need. They have 200 dogs there and I am sure they can use all the help we have to offer. I also would like to be able to bring them something other than time or monetary donations. I will be collecting blankets (if you have a pittie you know how fast your ONE dog goes through them) and towels to keep them warm during the winter months. So if you have any laying around you arent sure what to do with, please contact me here or on facebook to arrange a pick up.

Please remember, it just takes one person doing just one thing. This one thing may be life changing.
Pick your cause, do something, and sit back to watch the effects. I promise its worth it every time.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Selfish vs. Selfless

We are rapidly approaching the biggest "giving" day the US has in its large group of holidays. That's right, Christmas. Its everywhere around us. It is pointed out to us when we go get coffee and the local Starbucks is outfitted with red cups and special holiday drinks. Its right there when we enter the grocery store. Cookies, cakes and even fully cooked holiday meals around every corner. Just in case we had forgotten something or someone on our "list", there are always "last minute" holiday items right there at the register. The gas station experience comes fully equipped with speakers blaring different versions of Jingle Bells, and I'm pretty sure in come in different languages in case English is secondary to you. Does anybody know why we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off (and believe me I know first hand what that looks like, but that's another story), trying to make sure every one of our loved ones has something to open on this special "giving" day? My guess is for most of you, the answer is no.

Ill break it down for you. From what I understand and what research I have done, it all boils down to religion. What the history of Christmas is really just depends on what country you are from and what religion you practice. There are literally hundreds of varying stories on why we celebrate Christmas and why we give people gifts during this time. Some say it is to replica the Three Wise Men who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. Some say it has more to do with giving gifts to celebrate the end of a fruitful year, and then there are those that say that we do it because of a guy named Bishop Nicholas who had a love of children and anonymously dropped coins down peasants chimneys and they just happened to land in stockings that were hung to dry by the fire.

(Disclaimer...In NO way am I trying to diminish any ones beliefs on this matter, or insult any ones faith, please read objectively.)

Ok, so lets just say for the sake of argument that we take religion completely out of the equation of Christmas. Then what? I myself am an atheist, and therefore really have no actual reason for celebrating it other than society and tradition tells me I should. And for the record, I love Christmas. Which either makes or destroys my point and I am not entirely sure whether its the former or latter. Anywho, back to the point. So here we are, we have a holiday where we have removed all religion from. This means that whatever reason you were taught as to why to give gifts has been erased. No tradition, no folklore and no ancestors to look back on. So do we still give gifts ? And if so, why?

Selfish vs. Selfless

Selfish: devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

Selfless: having little concern for one's own interests.

In my opinion neither of these are particularly good definitions. I think most people want to focus on their interests, benefits and welfare and that's not such a bad thing. On the other hand, having little concern for your own interests may be "selfless", but its pretty damn foolish too. Is there a definition for a nice healthy balance between the two? I actually used to think they meant the same thing. In order to be selfless you had to be selfish, there is no truly selfless act because at the very least you are gaining something for doing good for someone else. There is a whole Friends episode about this. Its pretty hilarious. Pheobe keeps trying to convince Joey that she accomplishes selfless acts all the time, while he tries to convince her that its not selfless because she is gaining positive feelings from doing these acts, therefore doing them to feel good about herself. I don't think they ever get to the bottom of it. I mean technically Joey is right, but I was never one for the technicalities ;)

So back to giving gifts because you want to, not because you have to. Are you gaining anything by giving something they need or want for no reason? Are you doing it to make you feel good, to have people think "wow, he's so thoughtful and such a nice person"? Can you honestly say its only for the sake of making another person feel good? Truthfully, for me its a little of both.

I no longer think that selfish and selfless are the same thing, but I also think that most people, like me, operate in the middle. I don't believe there are just selfless people just like I don't believe there are just selfish people. It is certainly not that simple.

If the Christmas gift giving tradition had been left up to people minus religion, I believe the practice would still exist today. I think people enjoy giving, because it makes everyone involved feel good. It wouldnt matter that some wise men had done it years before, or if crops had done particularly well that year, or even if a particularly crafty guy with good aim rewarded children for not being naughty. I think humans would prevail.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Wherever you go, go with all your heart-Confusius

There are people out there who will tell you that following your heart will only result in heartbreak. I myself have been told this many times. We are supposed to use our heads when making decisions, look for red flags, access the pros and cons, be smart, not foolish in the process. While this is sound advice, I for one have never been very good at it. There is nothing I do better than following my heart, for better or worse. I may have suffered a heartbreak or two, (ok more like 3 or a zillion) but even potential suffering could not discourage me from following my heart. Its what I know, and its who I am.

My heart hasn't always led me in the right direction of course, Ive made many mistakes of the years, but have learned from every single one. I will never be able to look back and say I wasn't true to myself.

So where am I going with all this you ask? Hold tight...I'm getting there.

So as most of you know I have been doing hair in Pacific Beach, Ca for going on seven years. I built my clientele, established myself and kinda thought I would be there forever. About a year ago I followed my heart and moved to Poway. Yes, you heard that right, Poway. I have been commuting for almost a year. I came to the eventual realization that driving to the beach everyday was hard on me and my pocket and that moving to a salon closer to home really just makes more sense. I started to look like this on my drive...

Not a good look for me ;)

So its happening. January 1st, 2011, I will be relocating. This is a really exciting time for me, but also a bit scary. Exciting because I am looking forward to new scenery, meeting new people, and basically just a change of pace. I am also scared because starting over is scary. But I have so much faith in this salon, I have no idea what I could possibly be scared of! It is also slightly bittersweet leaving the beach and everything I have known. Leaving past co-workers, businesses near by I frequent and those few clients that are not as excited about change as I am ;)

So now about the new salon. It is located in Rancho Bernardo and is called Roots Hair Salon. It is an older salon that is now under new ownership. The new owner and staff are dedicated to making Roots as "green" as possible and will only be using and selling the most environmentally friendly products. And yes, we will be recycling ;) The hours are great, the atmosphere is upbeat and professional and it has already been reviewed on Yelp.

So I am inviting all of you to either follow me on my new adventure, or come start a new one of your own. Take care of yourselves and your planet all in one place!

Im really looking forward too seeing my old friends and making lots of new ones!!