Tag Archives: Read

[Reading is Sexy] Catching Inspiration with ‘The Net and The Butterfly’

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Oftentimes, the mind likes to play tricks on the heart, dolling out various forms of creative comas; for me, these generally come in the form of writer’s block.  Somewhere, in the back of my brain, I’ve deemed my sentences as pedantic, my metaphors aren’t juicy enough, my epiphanies aren’t anywhere near novel or the syntax resembles that of a kindergartners.   This is all fine and well if you’re not trying to make a name for yourself in the creative sector, or a living off of being a writer; but for the rest of us, well, that’s a horse of a very different color.

Enter: The Net and the Butterfly.

For all the times I’ve started a blog post and let it sit on the back burner, created a cover letter that I’ve then torn to digital shreds, or haven’t been able to put my finger on a press release, The Net and the Butterfly has released me from my anxieties of incomplete creativity and put me on the path for success. The brainchild of authors Olivia Fox Cabane, who penned The Charisma Myth, and Judah Pollack of The Chaos Imperative, this is perfect resource for any and every individual that’s looking to innovate their mental state and put a fresh spin on their success.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for their next big break, or need a simple kick in the ass to get a project started – this is the book for you.  Take charge of your creativity and catalyze your inner momentum with engaging exercises, apt anecdotes to get your head spinning and solid solutions for whatever is sullying your sanity.

Hypothetically, you could finish this book in a single sitting – it’s wonderfully written and mentally probing, if you do it right; but by doing so, you’re  not doing yourself any huge favors, and you’re probably cutting corners by not marinating on the mental floss the book has given you. Pace yourself properly and really digest what you read by getting through one, maybe two, chapters a night and actually doing all of the exercises, you’ll be surprised by what works for you, and you’ll could be so immersed and enthralled in that new reality that you might just carry it over to your day to day life, maybe without even thinking about it. So whatever your vocation, or trepidation, is – The Net and the Butterfly posits some great knowledge and reignites the creative flame; and I’m speaking from personal experience.

For more on The Net and the Butterfly, head to the official website – or if you’ve caught the vibe and want more, snag your own copy on Amazon!

 

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[Reading is Sexy] Altered Carbon: A Show Finally As Good As The Books

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Image result for Altered Carbon

There’s an old adage that admittedly most of the younger generation knows only variations of; I grew up with my parents informing me that I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but it quickly became “Don’t judge a song by it’s cover” and “Don’t judge a movie by the TV show (/ Video Game / Etc)”.  But, per usual, I digress.  Over the last year, there’s been an explosion of amazing Science Fiction shows entering our sphere of entertainment – from dystopian movies like Elysium, Interstellar and The Arrival to television shows spanning from Black Mirror, Dark Matter, the latest Star Trek: Discovery, Dark, The Expanse and Incorporated (ps. Kudos to Netflix and SciFy for their creative and mind bending content!).   Until now, I hadn’t much found one as enthralling in both story line and technological potentially as Netflix’s Altered Carbon, and the second I found out it stemmed from a novel series by Richard K Morgan – I had to see how they measured up to each other.

Set in the 2500s, in a world that’s evolved out of our current San Francisco, Digital Human Freight is currency and your memories are stored in a cortical stack from birth; though your body has an end date – your soul no longer does.  Takeshi Kovacs is a man of many hats, and sleeves – Quellest, Envoy and now Detective, he’s been brought back from the ether to solve a murder…or, has he?  Over the course of ten high-octane, vividly lit episodes, we dive into Kovac’s past, present and potential futures.   Thanks to Netflix’s formatting, we sped through the series in a weekend, injecting ourselves over and over with Altered Carbon’s universe and potentialities.  It’s a slippery slope for me to fall digital head over digital heels with a concept, because I will do my best to uncover anything and everything about it; loopholes, cut chapters, the unnatural evolution of characters.  Low and behold, I discovered that Altered Carbon (like most good things that just came about this year), is a remake.

Originally a trilogy of novels, the Takeshi Kovac’s series – consisting of Altered Carbon, Broken Angels and Woken Furies – is even more apocalyptic, militaristic, sexualized and dystopian than even the series would have one imagine.  I’ve never once believed that Netflix held back on a show, but the raw carnal nature of Kovac and Miriam’s relationship was heavier in the book, as were the guts, gore and good stuff that I thought they would have surely capitalized on for television; not that I minded though, I love when books and shows truly can deviate.  Now, the first half of the book was spot on – however, slowly but surely the show begins to deviate and take liberties of its own.

I have to say: both the novels and the show become worthwhile, altered, story lines – but each remain equally compelling for their own reasons.   Not surprisingly, the critical acclaim the show has received almost matches the book., which earned the prestigious Phillip K Dick award back in 2003 when it was penned.  Now that I’ve migrated to the second novel in the series, Broken Angels, and have the third to look forward to (Woken Furies), I can’t help but think of how the show could surpass or manipulate the books to become it’s own universe all together.  For as much as I love the adaptation to television and the presence of more of a female protagonist in Ortega, I very much prefer the novels, with their raw grit and truer dystopian lone wolf feel to Kovacs.

To learn more on the series, show and author – head to the links below; I promise you: this is a ride you will not want to end.  To those of you that both read the series and watched the show, what did you think of the nuanced differences and what did you prefer?

Richard K Morgan: Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Read the Books: Altered Carbon | Broken Angels | Woken Furies

Watch the Show.

 

[Write On] Adventures in Literature: My 2015 Reading Challenge

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Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
[Mark Twain]

First things first, let me just drop this knowledge on you – Reading is Sexy; and don’t let a person tell you anything differently!  I don’t mean reading articles from HuffPo, Lost at E Minor, Mother Jones or Science Daily on your smart phone or tablet. I’m talking tangible, hold’em in your hand and smell the page; wafting in wanderlust and adventure, syllable after syllable; ending up in a world you couldn’t have imagined in your wildest dreams while you’ve stayed static, stuck on the couch with your head in the clouds. When I was younger, my appetite for literature was almost insufferable for my family – every meal, every car ride, every turn – there I was, ears billowing out hushed musical tones while my mind wandered feverishly through the chapters. 

As I grew older, I realized that my penchant for reading was only matched by my aptitude for math.  Over the course of several family reunions in Washington I was taught how to use long division and counted by powers of two to fall asleep. Nature and nurture seemed to have a field day when it came to determining my true passion in life – on one hand, I could eat, sleep and breathe data, numbers and patterns – there’s something so simple, so logical, so straightforward about the output of data. In a similar but opposite context, I love extrapolating on the English Language, enamoring my work with poetic justice and jubilant prose while challenging the definition of sentence structure and simile.  And let’s not forget, the joys of reading – of traveling infinitely inwards, shooting through the future and somersaulting through the past while staying firmly, yet delicately, in place.

It only makes sense through both nature and nurture.  As the granddaughter of one of the creators of the ENIAC and great granddaughter of one of the only female writer of the Harlem Renaissance, it makes all too much sense that I’d find a unique penchant for both and be able to put it to work. But that’s not to say that I don’t find myself getting writer’s block every now and again. In my last few years as music journalist for The DJ List, I’ve had the wonderfully unique opportunity to ask music professionals how they get over an uncreative slump –  they all tell me that fully immersing themselves in art has always worked the trick – and by in large, I absolutely agree. Both literature and music have a therapeutic, cathartic way of affecting my daily outlook, and my daily output.   Fully immersing myself in another persons passionate creative endeavor more than fuels my fire to foster new ideas, or simply push through and finish what I’ve started.  As far as my writing, personal, music blogging, gonzo journalism and the like are concerned – reading is by far the best way to expand my horizons on what I’m capable of, and the literature that already exists within the world.  Through proper perusal of passionate creations, I see ways that I can make my own more harmonic, melodic, whimsical and descriptive.

Last year, my best friend challenged me to find my Top Ten Works of Literary NonFiction and that was a wonderful blast from the past but truth be told, my reading has waned in the last decade. Since College has ended, I’ve been on a perpetual mission to educate myself – in any way possible, and books have done just that for me. To out myself now – Book Clubs don’t do much for me, except potentially give me a room of disappointed faces when I announce that I’ve read three different books that definitely were not assigned while I’ve definitely avoided what we were all told to read. I get reading inspiration from across the board and I have to admit that for the last few years, with the influx of all sorts of social media, my reading offline had fallen by the wayside – but I’ve taken a bold stand to that and say no more.

Amazon has a wonderful book buy-back (well, technically – it’s an “anything” buy-back program, but whatever) where you can get books for as little as 1¢ (plus Shipping, so 5 bucks total – which is still awesome!) that I’ve been (ab)using since college.  Like rare wildflowers, there’ve been an influx of lending libraries popping up around Los Angeles, as well as Corvallis where my family lives – and there’s a corner of my heart that’s infinitely happier for that. Beautiful bookstores, though few and far between, are havens of literature and apparently, actual Libraries still exist – and now you can rent CDs, DVDs, Blu Rays, Video Games and so much more than just books! On the flip side, if you’re looking to catalog your library or expand your literary horizons – I’m a huge fan of GoodReads, it’s basically the Facebook of reading; you can find your friends, explore authors and use your cell phone to barcode scan your bookshelves.  It’s a book nerds dream – and if you go on it, you should definitely add me!

For 2015, I’ve decided to inspire my creative side with a reading challenge and figured 25 books over the course of the year was doable.  Sure, I have to basically billow through a book biweekly – but with all the absent minded things I tend to do around my house, not to mention the bouts of latent lackadaisical laziness and semi-permanent procrastination due to writer’s block, and I could easily reach my goal; if not surpass it!  We’re just past

The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture, Matt RidleyThe Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture

In my personal opinion, science is one of the most beautiful subjects to write about – taking a process, breaking it down with language and reinforcing connection through poetic prose, symbolic symbolism and delicate diction.  In a sea of science authors, Matt Ridley stands out with other greats of our generation like Richard Dawkins, Oliver Sacks, Simon Singh and Brian Greene.  A personal fangirl of his writing since I was graduating High School in 2003, as a budding young biochemist at one point in my life I was enamored by books like Genome, The Red Queen Theory and The Origins of Virtue.  ‘The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns On Nurture’ is a wonderful encounter with ideals we’ve been familiar with grade school – except instead of pitting them against each other, Matt Ridley makes an excellent argument for how nature and nurture work in tandem to produce the genetic world in which we thrive.

The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness

The Joyous Cosmology, Alan Watts

I’ve been recommended various Alan Watts books over the years, but it took until the past month to finally get through one.  Taking into account how in love I was with Huxley‘s Doors of Perception and Pinchbeck‘s Breaking Open The Head, The Joyous Cosmology was a no-brainer first choice.

A lyrically written journey into the mind, Alan Watts impeccably conveys his journey into human consciousness, the ego and the psyche. A must read for anyone intent on exploring the bounds of the mind. Watts does poetic justice to moments where words typically won’t suffice, on a journey through the internal, mental and emotional manifestdestiny of the human race in the 21st century. And speaking of Watts and Huxley, while doing some research I found a wonderful interview from 1968 of Alan Watts and Laura Huxley, Aldous‘ late wife.

Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras: With Light, Color, Sound, Crystals, and Aromatherapy

Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras Joy Gardner

After experiencing a menagerie of types of healing and transformational moments at festivals along the West Coast, from Lightning in a Bottle to Shambhala Music Festival, I’ve been eager to learn some myself. During my first LIB, I watched as festies relaxed under billowing trees while a plethora of instruments were tuned around them and this past year, I watched as a sonic soundbath featuring tuning forks alleviated stress and relaxed my entire campsite.  In Canada, I had my chakras read and realigned by a happy camper, explaining beforehand that last year he set a personal record by reading the palms of 50 people – last year, he wanted to break 100.

It’s purported through ancient scripture that the universe is held together with vibration and sound, and the more I read into vibrational healing the more I truly understand what this means.

The Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science

The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Michael Schenider 

This is my latest, and it’s a goodie. Mathematics is the language of the universe, and this wonderfully engaging and hands on approach from Michael Schenider is one of the best explanations of how math plays into the world as we currently know it.  From the formation of gems and minerals to hexagonal shape of beehives and formation of historic sculptures and art from sacred geometry, this is a must read for math people, and non-math people, alike.  Every chapter contains a section on how to construct various shapes like the platonic solids, promoting a beautiful discussion while delving into the history of our current numeric system.

My bookshelf is literally toppling over with reads, which makes me incredibly indecisive on what to pick up next.  I’ve been reading The Alchemist outloud with Danny and it’s brings a whole new element to the read, and on my own I’ve been itching to get through some Alan Watts books, as well as an Alex Grey book on The Mission of Art. What are your recommendations for my next read? What’s on your bookshelf that you just can’t wait to dive in to? Let me know in the comments below!

[Thursday Trend] Springtime Purse Picks

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20140501-105756.jpgWhether it’s an extra dose of lotion for brittle, dry Winter skin, a pleasant Autumn aroma or some sexy Summer shades – if you’re a self professed ‘Bag Bunny’ like myself, the contents of your purse change more frequently than the weather in Los Angeles. Now that Springtime in the city of Angels has sprung to life with extra bounce in her step, I thought it was time for a little satchel-switch.

For the last year or so, I’ve been attached at the shoulder to my beloved, yet bulgy, cheetah print purse.  At any moment, it could contain up to 10 elusive tubes of chapstick and or lip gloss, my eyeglasses case, a pair of sunglasses, three lighters – two of which probably don’t even work, scratch paper, maybe there’s a pen but it’s probably almost out of ink, a cell phone charger and on a good day – a small bottle of whiskey.

I wouldn’t call it a ‘problem‘ per-say – but whenever I migrate to a new purse, regardless of size – I always manage to fill it to the brim with a random assortment of semi-important items.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, I want to downsize what I carry on me; I want the freedom of movement so I can play as I please, and I don’t want to be sweating buckets while lugging around a bag of things I might not need. So, I’m putting my old purse in hibernation until Fall rolls around and I’m trading up for a simple Springtime satchel that’s perfect for my prized possessions.

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The real draw of this great beach bag, is that there’s only one pouch – so you don’t have to dump everything out like a madwoman as you look for your (fill in the blank): mascara, camera, keys, etc.  As with all things in life though, there’s a catch to switching up your purse – chances are, you’re like me and your purse life expands and contracts at an equivalent rate to the size of the bag. This means it’s time to do some spring cleaning, clutch style!  First things first, there’s the essentials: ID, Credit Card, Cell Phone, Keys. After taking a long, hard look at what else I’d been stashing in my bag for the last few months I managed to pair down my possessions into a nice little 10 item pile that’s equally perfect for a beach day with your friends, an afternoon in the park with your BFF or a lazy Sunday with your significant other.

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10 Springtime Purse Picks
(Clockwise from the Top)

  1. [Digital Camera with Durable Case: Canon PowerShot 310] When you’re with good company, there’s little to no use for your cell phone – because, let’s get real: why give into social media when you’re in an actual social situation? Cameras on cell phones have become just as good, if not better, than most digi cams and I’ll be the first to argue the “merits” of a Yelp check-in, or why I like being able to use the geolocation feature on Instagram (*cough* nerd *cough*).  But, when trying to capture a moment becomes more important than being present in it – you need to check yourself; I can say this, because I did.  I love taking pictures, so instead of busting out my phone and deciding on a filter, I take them on my Canon and edit them on my computer using iPhoto or GIMP and they turn out somuch better!
  2. [Lip Balm: EOS in Summer Fruit, $3.29 + S/H online] I’m literally obsessed with everything about EOS lip balm! From the easy to find shape, hot pink color and the yummy flavor, this is a must.
  3. [Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $18 at Sephora]When it comes to makeup, a lot of girls forget that the point isn’t to mask what makes them unique, it’s to let their real beauty shine through. Warmer weather means sunkissed skin, and in my opinion: the more natural color you have – the less makeup you actually need (unless you want to look like a clown). Just a simple swipe of liquid liner with that glow and you’re good to go.
  4. [Mini Perfume] Hot days can turn into sweaty days in a heartbeat, and there’s nothing quite as awkward as smelling yourself for the rest of the night so make sure you have a small perfume in your purse that you can dab on at your leisure.  Trust me when I say, your friends will appreciate it as much as you do.
  5. [Fun Read] Everyone’s taste in literature is different, but the important thing is you have an appetite for books – even if you don’t get to indulge as often as you’d like.  Right now, I’m in the middle of ‘The Agile Gene’ by Matt Ridley but next up is something I’ve been craving for a while – The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts.
  6. [Sunglasses] There’s two types of weather in the Summer – “squinty cloud weather”, where it’s overcast but you still actually need to wear sunglasses, and blindingly bright sunlight. Either way you spin it, you’ll want some shades – so head to your local Thrift Shop and find a pair for under $30.  I had to face facts long ago that sunglasses get broken all the time, so you may as well invest in a cheaper variety; there out there, you just have to look!
  7. [Travel Size Sunblock, SPF 30+] What I said about your eyes, goes doubly true for your skin – make sure you get some SPF on your face and shoulders, or you could be peeling instead of pool partying this Summer.
  8. [Lighter] Candles, incense, cigarettes (gasp!), herb (it’s legal in California…), hookah coals, getting the fuzzies off your socks, etc – there’s always a good use for a lighter. Even for those non-smokers out there, if you’re party privvy – you’ll know that a lighter is also a great conversation starter.
  9. and 10. [Notebook + Pen] As a writer and expert list maker, I’ve been known to frantically search for scratch paper and then subsequently lose it.  Now that I have a notepad and a pen in the mix, I can get my doodle on, craft a shopping list or even get my next blog post ready. Plus, you never know when you’ll want to jot down some important info!

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Last, but certainly not least – when the weather gets above 80, you have to be ready for the inevitable, and the only thing that I think is better than festival season: pool party season! At any given moment, you could get a call to a hotel pool party filled with friends you haven’t met yet or a small apartment pool kickback with your closest friends – and based on my personal experience, not only will you want a swimsuit you feel great in, but you’ll want options, for style and color.  The two piece on the right from Sofia has the right amount of color pop and the right amount of coverage for me to bounce around with confidence where ever I roam. EDC, Las Vegas, Lightning in a Bottle, The Standard Hotel; you name it, it’s been there. And I’ve gotta admit, I’ve never been big on one piece swimsuits, but I’m basically obsessed with the cut and color of the suit on the left from Victoria’s Secret and I can’t wait to wear it!

To send you off, a new mix from my favorite Tropical house producer – Thomas Jack: