Weekly Photo Challenge: Papua Skull Reliquary

Papua Skull Reliquary

A 19th century artifact from the Gulf of Papua, on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. While some might think it’s creepy, I think it’s an amazing work of art. Also can be viewed here.

Advertisements

Weekly Photo Challenge: Asmat Skull

Asmat Skull

The Asmat are an ethnic group of New Guinea, residing in the Papua province of Indonesia. This skull of one of their ancestors is on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. While some might find it creepy, I think it’s a beautiful artifact of a culture we know so little about. Larger version can be seen here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth, Or: A Study In Curls

A Study In Curls

This week’s challenge is all about depth. I was doing this National Geographic photo assignment that required a faceless portrait, so I decided to focus on what everyone sees first when they see me: the hair. You don’t see many guys rocking this style. Upon closer (macro) inspection, I’ve just now noticed how many layers deep two feet of curly hair really is!

The Unintentional Rebel

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about rebellion. Specifically, times when you’ve tried to stick it to “the man” or whatever the terminology is these days. I should preface this by saying that I don’t consider myself a rebel. I really don’t. As long as everything is working fine and beneficially, I’m perfectly fine. If anything, I’m usually the one who ends up in positions of authority; for whatever reason, people seem to defer to me as a leader. I still don’t understand why, and my therapist says it’s a quality that I need to further explore. I think it’s partly because I treat those who are supposedly of a higher status than me as real people; rankings and titles mean little when compared to actual skill and capability. I have zero interest in politics. No amount of catchphrases and glad-handing will win me over. The reactions to this attitude are usually either appreciative candor, or resentful fear. Those who’ve tried to lord their position over me learned quickly that, despite being quiet and shy, I’m made of sterner stuff. And those who’ve tried to physically threaten me…well, let’s just say I’m not always quiet and shy. In the end, we’re all just human beings. Mortals. Fallible. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ve long lost the patience for people arrogant enough to believe themselves otherwise.

And yeah, you’d better believe it’s gotten me in trouble before. I’ve already written about my decision to grow out my hair, and the consequences that came with it. Still worth it, though. Some clashes aren’t limited to family life; when you question things while working in a corporate environment, conflict is inevitable. I lasted a dozen years in banking. I’ve dealt with bosses mishandling records, screwing up procedures, and attempting to cover it up to make themselves look better. Since these problems typically involved audits and logistics, they usually came at the expense of my time and effort. You know what’s worse than having inept management? Having inept management that knows it’s inept and refuses to admit it, then pushing the blame on others. If I catch something like that happening, I will point it out. If the higher-ups won’t listen, then I’ll just go higher and get HR involved. I can’t go into any details without getting personal, but I developed a reputation for being all-business.

Even early on as part-timer, I had that kind of thing going on. Without going too deep into it, there was a time in which smart phones were just starting to become popular. Some of my coworkers used them too much, causing the management to decide to confiscate them and leave them in our lunch room. If we didn’t comply, we’d have to resign on the spot. That was a big problem for me, as I had an old-fashioned flip phone that I kept for (highly likely) family emergencies. I rarely used it, but as a caretaker, I needed to have it on hand. The assistant manager tried to round up the phones – a few workers quit immediately – and came over to me. The following exchange happened:

Manager: Okay, your turn.

Me: No. I’m not giving you my phone.

Manager: Why?

Me: I need this on hand for my family. It’s strictly for emergencies. You know that.

Manager: …Yeah. But it’ll be in the lunch room. They can call the office.

Me: You know how terrible our incoming call menu is. The time it’ll take for a call to actually get through could mean life and death. Also, leaving it in the open lunch room? Where it could be easily stolen or looked through for important information? You really think I trust you or anyone else on this staff that much? No. Not happening. I’ll have it right here in my pocket, out of sight, and hopefully never used.

Manager: Give me your phone, or you’ll be terminated for breaking company policy. We can fire you anytime, you know.

Me: And private property laws supersede company policy. There’s no way you can legally confiscate my personal belongings. (Back then, there wasn’t…) You’d better do some reading before you lose any more of the staff.

Manager: This isn’t a debate!

Me: No, it’s not. We can agree on that, at least. I’m going on break.

I went to the lunch room, fuming and mentally preparing myself to walk out. One of the workers came back there in tears, apologizing profusely for letting the situation get out of hand. I just gave her a calm look and told her not to worry. I came back from my break to find that management had given up and punished the individuals actually responsible for the whole debacle. The management eventually gave me a halfhearted apology, but I think it had more to do with the fact that about 3/4 of the staff was willing to quit. I might’ve just triggered the others’ desire to stand their ground, and management decided to stop being foolish. If it happened today, I’d probably be fired on the spot. Either way, I was glad to do it. It wouldn’t be the last time.

Maybe I’ve been a rebel all along, even if I never intended to be.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie, Or: Curls Aplenty

Image

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie, Or: Curls Aplenty

I know this week’s entry is cutting it kind of close, but I didn’t have much time to do a proper portrait. Besides, I dislike how my face looks in pictures. I can never make the smile look natural, so I either look super stern or just goofy. Besides, I’m not exactly keen on putting my face online anyway. Instead, I thought I’d get a shot of what most people notice first about me: the hair. Please note that I haven’t brushed it in about 12 hours.

Mirror, Tell Me Something…

Hey, folks. Yesterday’s Daily Prompt was all about appearances. Basically, it’s about the discrepancy between the person you see in the mirror and the person you feel internally. That one’s kind of tricky, because it assumes that that you actually know the identity you’ve internalized. I don’t. At least, not completely. I’ve had to adopt and utilize so many personas over the years, that I’m not sure which one of them is real. Or more confusingly, maybe they’re all real, just different pieces of a larger whole. Like a jigsaw puzzle. And some of those pieces definitely don’t fit with what’s gazing back at me from the mirror.

The reflection in front of me is a 20-something somewhat androgynous fellow with olive skin. Could use a bit more sun. The build is above average at best; nowhere near an Adonis, but still in good shape. The age is hard to pin down; he looks young, but too serious and focused to be as such. He stares at me with dark brown eyes beneath a pair of black, thick-rimmed glasses. The eyes are intense and give off sense of utter awareness and mental calculation. There is no trace of a smile on his face, but he can fake one like a pro. His mannerisms and stances change fluidly; calm and relaxed (and maybe even seductive?) at one moment, sweet and pleasant the next, powerful and confident after that, and all-out vicious and terrifying when his buttons are pressed. His face is capable of surprising articulation, allowing him to silently glare, scowl, grin, and playfully mock with a few muscle movements. Two feet of curly, wavy hair spill down the back of his body, giving him either an air of either regality or wildness. He would not look out of place in a heavy metal band, or maybe Game of Thrones. It’s hard to tell if this reflection is just being haughty and aloof, or just in deep thought. Regardless, it’s easy to tell that he is a character, and will draw your attention the moment he steps in the room.

Appearances are so deceiving.

Part of the reason I grew out my hair was to mess with people’s expectations. I’ve never played in a band – let alone an instrument – in my life. I don’t even watch Game of Thrones! The long hair is just my way of muddling gender roles and refusing to let myself be victimized for it anymore. Apparently, I have the attitude to make it work. Heads turn and backs straighten when I enter a room. The hair is an indicator of confidence, something that doesn’t come so easily for me. I can pull off the regal, intimidating look, but I’m much more shy and quiet than that. It’s not so much about aloofness as it is oh no I have to talk to someone what do I say please no leave me alone. I’d rather be curled up with a book in something soft and comfy.  The shy/confidence thing is an ongoing paradox for me; I may not be amazing socially, but I’ve got an adventurous streak a mile wide. The only things that really match are the eyes. I’m fancy myself serious and scholarly, like professor or philosopher sans stuffiness. I’m always picking little details and observations, like some kind of cheap Sherlock Holmes ripoff. And while I may not smile much, anyone who’s had a good conversation or watched movies with me knows I will snark and mock with reckless abandon.

*Sigh* It’s such an incomplete self-perception. I need to learn more about who I really am.

I’m Blogging On Sunshine

Hey, folks. Tonight I was informed that The Part Time Monster nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award. I’d like to thank her for that; it’s really good to know that people are reading and enjoying my work. I don’t know if I have a sunny disposition, but if I can get you to smile and think, then I’ll know I’m doing something right. I couldn’t find the exact origin of the The Sunshine Blogger Award, so I’m just going to copy its rules from the aforementioned page:

1. Nominate 10 other blogs
2. Write 11 facts about yourself.

Aaaaand the nominees are….(In no particular order)

  1. Stefan Praetorius Naurin
  2. SathyaSaiMemories
  3. AngelArt Star
  4. LenzExperiments
  5. The Ellieverse
  6. Living in the Moment
  7. Ed Mooney Photography
  8. Lula Avila
  9. Morrighan’s Muse
  10. Shikha It’s The Little Things

Wow, that was actually really hard. I’ve seen some many awesome blogs already this year thanks to the Zero To Hero challenge, so choosing just ten is just…ugh. Anyway, 11 facts…

  1. I’m currently the sixth highest-ranked Chun-Li on the Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition PSN worldwide leaderboards…I play that too much.
  2. I have habit of memorizing whole movies, including The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyessy. Same goes with song lyrics.
  3. I once won a game of chess in four moves.
  4. I love LEGOs, particularly the Architecture series.
  5. I’ve talked my way into an exclusive museum exhibition and a software convention by just being honest, polite, and asking questions.
  6. My long hair gets me mistaken for being female constantly, even when I don’t shave. I’m still learning to enjoy it.
  7. I’ve come close to dying four times.
  8. The States aside, I’ve been to a dozen countries: Canada, Mexico, The Bahamas, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar, Thailand, and Aruba. Someplace in South America is likely next.
  9. My writing voice is much, much louder and upfront than my real one. IRL, I’m the quiet guy in the corner with a book.
  10. I hunger for super-spicy food.
  11. I’m at a crossroads at my life; my previous career is over, and I have no idea what direction to go in. I don’t have a dream, and sometimes that terrifies me.