Why I Killed Myself

I had dreams you know, gargantuan ones that reached the moon and scratched its surface. My eyes had a bright twinkle, the shine that comes from looking far into the future, and I had a silly smile plastered to my face, the grin that comes when your thoughts have no boundaries.

I stood on top of a hill, both hands on my hips and my hair fluttering in the wind as I gazed ahead. I saw a thick blanket of green leaves that stretched far away until it sank into the ocean, and houses with red roofs, people running on foot kicking up clouds of dust into the air chasing something invisible. And I could see it all because I was on top of the hill, high above everything and everyone. With my hands on my hips and my chest inflated, I told myself I was the master of it all, answerable to no one with only the sky above me, and that too, too far way to reach me.

And then a little squirrel brushed against my shin and ran down the hill, and I the master of the universe was obliged to capture it, and so chased it with fury. It ran with the conviction of a prey being chased and I followed it with the determination only a hunter can have. It swerved to the left in an attempt to elude me and I cut just in time and kept on its tail.

After some time, the exact amount I know not for time has that sly demeanour of slipping by unnoticed, I caught on and grabbed the squirrel by its tail. I hung it in front of my face and I snickered at the poor bastard who thought he could outrun me, the king of the hill with the gargantuan dreams that pierced the moon.

Then I turned around only to notice I had reached the bottom. Standing at the foot of the hill I once was the king of, I looked up and saw a pale, transparent silhouette of the little boy with the dreams that reached the moon. I slowly looked down at the skeleton of a dead squirrel long perished, held by a thick hairy hand of a man with a large portly belly, and I felt a cool breeze caress my balding head. So engrossed I was in the chase of the squirrel that I didn't see the hill whiz by. For a second I stood bewildered and wondered what happened, and then I realized:

Time has that sly demeanour of slipping by unnoticed.

And so I went home and sat on my gray couch, with a whiskey in one hand and a cigarette in another. Once again I thought, like I did every evening and every night before I slept and every morning after I woke up, of the dreams that blew out my mind and soared up to the moon digging deep craters that were visible from the Earth.

A knock on my door wiped across my thoughts, and I smiled knowing who it was. As he sat on the lonely gray couch I reflected on his life instead. He had huge dreams as a kid too, not bigger than mine but big nonetheless. But he hadn't been tricked by the squirrel, he followed the rabbit instead, down a densely vegetated path with thorns that scratched him and hurricanes that pushed him to the ground, snakes that lashed out at him and quick sand that swallowed his boots, but he braved on and conquered every dream he had as a kid.

And yet here was on the same gray couch with the same white cigarette wallowing in misery. It struck me right then, it didn't matter whether you followed the squirrel or the rabbit, this gray couch is where we were destined to sit on, equally miserable.

That night as I lay awake, listening to the low hum of a rusted ceiling fan, I had a different thought. I didn't think of the gargantuan dreams that scratched the moon, instead I thought about how we weren't worthy or capable of happiness, and I wished I was a tiger. A simple tiger that could run around free and hunt and sleep and sip cold water from the river while brushing against a deer and hunt and nap again.

So the next day I went to the zoo to admire the tiger, but what I saw was a tamed, chained cat that barely had a purr in its throat. No majesty there. But the tiger in my thought last night was an untamed jungle beast, not this captured feline.

And so the next day I went for a safari, deep into the jungle until I saw a free, savage wild tiger. It looked helplessly at a herd of bison, almost pleading with its eyes to give one up for dinner. Then he tried to chase them, from left to the right from the leader to the newborn, all in vain. And then he left, dejected and hungry.

As I lay in bed that night, I had a new thought. If the tiger cannot find peaceful existence, then what can? Then it dawned on me, there is no peace in living, not for the accomplished man, the hopeless man or the tiger.

Holding on to a homemade noose, I thought my final thought, of the day I was on top of the hill, with the world beneath my feet, and only the sky above me but that too, too far away to reach me. I was the king of the universe once.

And then I chased a squirrel.

You Think You Know Love?

poem, love

Love hurts they say. But it doesn't. It is not love that hurts you, but the absence of it, when it is over or had never begun.

Love constricts they say. But it doesn't. Jealousy constricts, anger binds, distrust doubts, and don't confuse them for love.

To carve out your chest and give your heart to someone is noble, but isn't love, because love doesn't demand. But then again, if you cannot sacrifice, it probably isn't love either.

If love is mere chemicals in the brain, why do we feel it deep within our gut when loneliness digs a hole sucking inwards making it hard to breathe, high up in our throat as we choke back words and on both our cheeks as misty drops of tears?

Love is not blind, but on the contrary, sees clearly. Love will not ask you to jump from a cliff, alter your beliefs, mend your personality or prove yourself, because love does not test, and if you are being tested, then you are blind, because it is not love.

If it brings pain, destruction or tragedy, it isn't love, if it suffocates you, it is not love.

But then again, what do I know?

Also Read: Why Do I Write Stories?

The Biology Of Music

Brilliant! she exclaims as I strum my guitar producing a melody I practiced rigorously only to extract that very response. I smile as she proceeds to compliment me in enchanted awe, you have a real gift, did you compose that piece yourself? 

I smile, wink, and move on to the next phase of my seduction: pretend this talent is congenital, as if my hands move with unmediated ease. It's so enchanting you'd think there's an orchestra serenading you, and yet it looks so simple, she admires.

Wait, what? Did she just summarize years of unrelenting practice, hours of assiduous study, endless sessions of failure and self motivation as.... 'SIMPLE'?!!

I think of giving her a tour of the insides of my guitar by running her head through the wood but that would mean hurting Isabella, my dear guitar. She does not comprehend what goes behind a composition. It's not a recipe as facile as take a chord and smother it on to a rhythm! Music has a story to tell, one with a prelude, a plot twist and a finale. It has a dance to perform, one with tugs and spins and dips and bows! If you dissect a tune you'll see how ingredients of complex emotion provoking notes come together in a seamless, flowing melody!

And she says it's simple!

You see I first pluck a C major arpeggio, one delicate string at a time to stimulate your senses, kindle interest and jolt you into my performance. Gently I progress to a soft rhythm with an F major to evoke euphoria that warms your chest, arouse pleasure that streaks your cheeks red, pique curiosity and bring you to the edge of your seat, and just when I see in your eyes the glimmer of hope, the daydream that nothing can go wrong in a world made of lilies and marshmallows I strike an A minor with thunderous fury bringing everything crashing to the ground, piercing your soul to let the sadness gush out and refreshing the torment that wet your pillow for nights on end. You drown in the pain and bask in the sorrow letting misery engulf you and just when you're about to give up I strum the G major that reaches out into the depths of your torment like a caped superhero and pulls you back into the heavens, flooding back the radiance and the ecstasy to restore your hope in a happily ever after.

And she says it's simple!

Does she realize that the composition is only step one? The guitar is a mere vessel, some fine wood stuck together and polished to a magnificent shine with six steel stings of measured thickness wound in calculated tension. With every strum all Isabella does is disturb the air around her into sound waves of varying pitch and volume. That's just the beginning.

The waves rush like a gentle tsunami and flood the Pinna, the ear. The ear, designed with motherly affection and placed at perfect distance from the chin with exact symmetry from the nose, is a visual masterpiece that adds charm to your miserable face! Mind you, the ear is not only about aesthetics, for every curve has a purpose and every ridge an intent. You see the outer ear is curved and bent and perfectly folded to accept sound waves and pass them on, unadulterated, to let you locate exactly where the sound is coming from and at what distance it originated.

And she says it's simple!

The a cappella of chords travel across the ear canal like a train through a tunnel and enter the middle ear to strike the tympanic membrane, the eardrum, with unforgiving force. The membrane endures this relentless attack and vibrates along, joining in the merriment, becoming one with the disturbance. My medley is then dutifully relayed to the Ossicles, three of the smallest bones in the human anatomy placed in perfect mechanical unison, working with such flawless ingenuity that no engineer could ever design. Working synchronously, the Malleus fondly called the Hammer, the Incus lovingly called the Anvil, and the Stapes affectionately called the Stirrup respond to the ear drum's vibrations and swivel like pistons with fluidic flexibility. But moving around is not all these bad boys do, no sir. The ratio of the ear drums surface area to that of the Stapes is designed with calculated precision to give the initial vibration a boost, amplifying the entire signal by over 17 decibel as a contingency to the loss it is going to incur on reaching the Cochlea's fluid medium.

And she says it's simple!

The three musiketeers transfer the amplified waves to the human bodies very own sound engineer for one final sound check. The most beautiful auditory equipment known to man, the Cochlea, a coiled tube that wraps around the auditory nerve like a Python around its prey, but more gentler, with a design more intrinsic than the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. My concoction of musical notes flow into the Basilar Membrane in the Cochlea which is filled with fibres and sensory cells that sit patiently in neat rows, like keys of a piano waiting to be struck. These fibres and cells, very much like piano keys, are tonotopic in nature, meaning they are monogamous in their relationship, each married and reacting to only one particular frequency and no other. As the vibrations pass over these rows of fibres, waves of a particular frequency excite the fibre it is married to and this fibre in turn excites the corresponding sensory cell whose tiny hair structures shear, catalyzing a chemical reaction which generates electrical impulses that the auditory nerve picks up and sends to the auditory cortex in the brain telling the brain HEY! I picked up a  frequency of 261.63 Hz so give this silly girl the perception  of a C chord.

And she says it's simple!

I lament this melancholy in my mind of course, I still have the intention to impress. I realize as I come back to reality, that as my mind wandered around the surgery of music my hands were still strumming and the melody still continued without a single note being missed.

I guess it's not all that hard after all.

Pic credits: Allele, composed by Michael Zev Gordon.

Why Do I Write Stories?

Why do I write stories you ask? Spend one precious hour after another, sculpting my protagonist, refining my diction and sharpening my plot? I'll answer that, but first, let me tell you a story.

A story solving a query you never knew you had.

What happens when I listen to a song?

Well it depends on the song really. A good ol' 90's Rock song comes on and I'm transported immediately to another realm, as if pushed into a time warping machine that altered my reality. I stand mighty high on the edge of a wide podium, one foot firmly on the ground and the other resting grudgingly on a speaker, facing a mob of a million. These are my people, flocked under the open summer sky, baking under a merciless sun, soaked in each others sweat as shoulders brush, suffocating in a thronging mosh pit. Valiantly they endure to profess their allegiance to me. Their deafening roars rise up and suspend mid air like a sound cloud. But it's not about them. The bright, white spot light illuminates my figure emphasizing who is important, highlighting every curve and fibre of my being. I straddle my shiny cherry red guitar and coo into a mike that resonates my tone across the land. Shirtless, I sway my body that is chiseled like a god. I belt a chorus and the crowd responds with heavy head thrashing and loud screams, I croon a verse and they cry in hushed sobs. Mesmerized by their idol they are hypnotized into my control. They reach out in hopes of caressing just a loose thread somewhere on my being. But I am not on a plain as the ordinary. In my own little imaginary bubble, I am the rockstar I hoped I would be.

What happens when I listen to a song?

Well it depends on the song really. Put on some soul cleansing Jazz and I teleport to another dimension, like a mutated gene suddenly gave me that ability. I am a heart surgeon, the most capable one at that. In my green gown I stand in a brightly lit operating theater surrounded by two fellow surgeons and three nurses, adorned in the same attire, admiring their mentor through protective goggles. The light blue walls do little to soothe our nerves as we  peep into an open chest cavity, the ribs held aside by a retractor soaked red. We stare down at a weak maroon heart with gray meshed veins, whose beat is slowly fading. I have a decision to make, should I salvage the damaged aortic valve or replace it with a modeled synthetic? A little child's life rests on a knife's edge, and only I have the ability to save him. With swift resilience and a firm resolve I bellow, there's no time to fabricate a spare, we'll just have to fix it! With that command, the operation theater and everyone in it conspire to aid me in whatever I demand and follow me into any life threatening cave. I dive in with my scalpel at the ready. Many hours later I emerge, victorious of course, to gift a family their only child back. In my own little imaginary bubble, I am the genius I hoped I would be.

What happens when I listen to a song?

Well it depends on the song really. Play some Mozart and I whirl into space and emerge in another universe, as if a warp hole presented me the opportunity to travel through the multiverse. I am a master painter, one that Michelangelo would envy. There's no curve so twisted I cannot replicate, no colour so complex I cannot produce, no canvas so ugly I cannot beautify. On a mountain I sit, perched atop a chair, whose feet have sunk into the snow. The valley below is hidden by a thick fog that engulfs the Earth like a blanket, allowing only the tall, brave mountains to pierce through and reach the sky. The sun hangs dimly in the sky illuminating hundred such gray and white mountain tops, creating a vision any mortal would kill to witness. But my interest lies elsewhere. A white canvas rests on an easel, and it's the only thing that dares come between me and my muse. Ah my muse, the untameable one, the only object I ever want to sketch and the only one I failed to master. She sits on a jagged rock staring at nothing in particular, her expression calm and her composure relaxed. Adorned in a red gown, the perfect contrast to the white snow, her beauty thaws the mountain daring it to consume her. As my brush caresses the canvas, gently giving it colour and life, one stroke at a time, I wonder if this maiden whose love I yearn for will ever paint my colourless soul. In my own little imaginary bubble, I am the artist I hoped I would be.

What happens when I listen to a song?

Well it depends on the song really. I hear a 12 bar Blues progression and with the blink of an eye I apparate, and reappear on a beach as if I were a magician. The sun drifts lower into the sea, bowing a final goodbye, basking the Earth in a warm orange glow. The hot golden sand escapes between my toes as my feet sink into the velvet cushion, and the cool sea mist hugs me like an old lover. I watch my little daughter, a piece of my soul, the reason for my existence, run towards the waves as her pink sundress flutters in the breeze. Not too close honey, I gently warn. I'm a simple man who has led a simple life, a man who has achieved nothing phenomenal but a man with no regrets nonetheless. On my little girls face I see a smile wider than the horizon, her eyes glisten brighter than the setting sun, and my heart sighs in content. I run to her and lift her high and she sits on my shoulders, not caring to hold on to my face. She knows she won't ever fall of her very own throne. Into the sea we venture, one careful step at a time, her laughter echoing through the universe with every splash. I am a simple man who has led a simple life, but when she giggles in awe and screams daddy, she makes it all exceptionally remarkable. In my own little imaginary bubble, I am the father I hoped I would be.

And now I come back to reality, back to you, to answer this question you asked. Why is it that I write stories?

Why, it's quite simple really. I write so you can see as clearly as I do, what happens when I listen to a song.

Image result for typewriter photography

10 Times BBC's 'Sherlock' curved away from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes'

Its safe to say BBC's rendition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes' caught the audience like no other copy of the classic stories have. Elementary, the American version and the Sherlock Holmes movies are close, but not quite equal a rival.

It's wonderful how much resemblance there is between the book and the show, for instance in the book, John's friend states Sherlock is too scientific, sometimes beating subjects in the dissecting room with a stick to verify how far bruises may be produced after death, and in the TV show we see in his introductory scene, Sherlock whipping the living hell out of a corpse in order to learn how bruises are formed after death.

That being said, there are many, some subtle, some obvious, differences between the TV show and the books. Here are ten from chapter 1, A Study in Scarlet/Pink:

1. Mrs Hudson

Right of the bat, the first episode aired by BBC is titled A Study In Pink, whereas the story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was titled A Study in Scarlet. Close, but not the same (ask your girlfriend who picks out the curtains). In the show, Sherlock names the case so because of the pink attire worn by the murdered woman. The reason in the book is more philosophical, Sherlock states: There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.

The first major difference however was the mention of Mrs Hudson in the show. In the book, Sherlock and John merely walk into 221 B Baker Street and decide to move in because of the large number of amenities provided and the meager rent being asked in return. There is mention of a landlady but never by name and with no prominence. In the show however, Sherlock is receiving a handsome discount because of a favour owed by the landlady, Mrs Hudson. It is made known that Mrs Hudson and Sherlock knew each other from a case Sherlock once took.

2. The First Deduction

And then there is the first deduction, one which made us all fall in love with the show's format of portraying deductions as hovering texts on screen. The difference is in the deduction made and the revelation of how it is was made. In the book, Sherlock merely deduces that John Watson served for the military in Afghanistan, whereas in the show Sherlock goes ahead to deduce that John has a brother who worries about him, who is an alcoholic and walked out on his wife, that John is seeing a therapist and has a psychosomatic limp. None of this is mentioned throughout the story in the book.

The deduction piques John's interest in both the book and the show and he often asks Sherlock how he found out. In the book, after having just moved in to 221 B Baker Street, John reads an article in a magazine about deductions and how an observant man can learn a lot by an accurate and systematic observation of all that came his way. He believes it to be rubbish. Sherlock goes on to point that this article was written by him and then reveals how he deduced John's military background, by his stance and skin colour gradient, converting him to a believer.

In the show, the revelation comes later in a cab ride to the first crime scene and although the deduction about John's military background is quite similar, the rest of the deductions in the show are made from Sherlock's observation of John's phone, a commodity not yet invented in the 19th century when the book is timelined.

3. The Ominous Clue: Rache

The next difference, and quite an obvious one I must add, is the gender of the dead body in the first crime scene. In the book, the first corpse Holmes and Watson examine is that of a man, whereas in the show it's a woman. In the book, the word Rache  is sprawled out on a wall in blood, which the police suspect is a message from the murderer. In the show, the word Rache is seen scraped onto the wooden floor panel next to the woman's body just above her left hand, clearly having been written by no one but her using her fingernail.

The most subtly intelligent difference is in the interpretation of the word Rache. In the book, the police come to the conclusion that the murderer was inscribing on the wall, the name Rachel. Holmes later states that it is not pointing at the name Rachel but is in fact the German word for Revenge. He also claims it is a diversion which turns out to be true. In the show, the police assume Rache stands for revenge, a translation from German, but Sherlock claims them wrong and says it stands for Rachel which turns out to be right. The scene is a mirror opposite between the book and the show. Fascinating!

4. The Brother Who Cares Too Much

In the show, we see a short cameo by Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's elder brother. He abducts Watson, with his consent (if that's possible) in order to have a quick word about his brother. In the book however, Mycroft does not make an appearance throughout this case.

5. The Bait

In both the book and the show, the murderer is baited by Sherlock to reveal his existence. The difference is in the decoy used. In the book, the murderer unknowingly leaves behind a gold ring, which we later find out belonged to his lover. Sherlock then places an ad in the newspaper's lost and found section stating he is in possession of a gold ring found at the street outside the house where the murder took place and the owner can come claim it. Surely enough someone shows up for it proving Sherlock's theories about the murder.

In the show, the dead lady's mobile phone is missing which Sherlock presumes has the highest probability of being with the murderer. He sends a text to her number from John's phone and just as predicted, the killer takes the bait. He shows up at a location mentioned in the text. The phone also turns out to be key evidence and the mode with which John finds Sherlock and probably even saves him.

6. The Reason Behind it All

This one is wildly inconsistent: the reason for the murders. In both the book and the show, the murderer is a man and drives a cab, albeit one driven by a horse and the other by an engine. But their reasons for murder are further apart than the fuel used for their cabs.

In the book, the murderer, Jefferson Hope, was in love with a woman, Lucy, who was a Mormon. In compliance with the Mormon rules, she was to marry one of two men belonging to prominent families. But her father would have none of it and planned to escape and marry her off to Jefferson. Jefferson goes on ahead only to realize that Lucy's father was murdered and she was forcefully married. A month after her wedding, she dies. This drives Jefferson into a fit of vindictive rage and he chases after the two men who solicited Lucy's hand in marriage. In the book, the murders are of these men, and the reason is Rache, revenge.

In the show, the murderer is doing it for a reason altogether different and mercilessly inhuman, although the rooted cause seems to be the same, love. He is suffering from a terminal illness and a 'sponsor' promises to give him money for every life he takes. In an attempt to leave his kids behind money, he agrees and embarks on this murderous spree, killing anyone unlucky enough to hail his taxi.

7. The Catch

In both the book and the show, Sherlock nabs the cab driver. But in the book, Sherlock already knows who the killer is and tricks the cab driver to come to him with the false pretense of needing a ride.

In the show, the cab driver shows up at Sherlock's apartment himself, in an attempt to leverage Sherlock's need for answers and make him play his deadly game of 'pick the pill'. We later realize he was tipped of by Moriarty to make Sherlock his next victim.

8. Moriarty

Although he is a prominent figure in many of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, he plays no part in this particular crime in the book. In the show however Moriarty has a significant role.

In the book, the murderer is driven by vendetta alone. In the show, the murderer is just a puppet. The strings are in the hands of James Moriarty. He promises to sponsor money to the cabby's kids for every person he manages to kill.

9. The Motivating Disease

In both, the book and the show, the murderous cabby is suffering from a fatal disease. The difference is, in the book he is suffering form an aortic aneurysm whereas in the show it is a brain aneurysm. A very small difference, but a difference nonetheless.

Another difference we see is in the book, the man's disease is not a reason for his crime, but in the show it is a heavily weighing factor.

10. The Two Pills

We see the cause of death in the book and the show as poison. In both, the murderer carries two pills, one infused with a deadly poison and one completely safe. They offer their victims the choice of picking one and swallowing it, while the murderer swallows the other. And then it is left to fate.

The difference is in the reason for picking this mode of killing. In the book, Jefferson Hope believes in God and that a higher power will, in all its justice, force the wrong doer to pick the poisonous pill. In the show, it is more of a game. The murderer believes he is a genius and can play the victim through a series of mind games to pick the poisonous pill. He seems to enjoy his cleverly invented riddle.

So there you have it. 10 differences I spotted between the first episode of BBC's Sherlock: A Study in Pink and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first short story Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet. Next we will spot differences in episode 2, stay tuned.

All references to the short stories are taken from the book The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and from the online manuscripts at www.arthur-conan-doyle.com. All references to the show are taken from the episodes aired by BBC and from the online transcript at http://arianedevere.livejournal.com

7 Things To Be Sure Of When Quiting Your Job | Lessons From An Unemployed Sociopath

It's a Monday morning and with great reluctance you have put on a tie and come in to work. All you want is one cup of coffee to wash down the weekend and just when you lock your fifty six thousand year old windows 1648 pc, your boss walks by and decides to drill you about the one full stop you missed on a client report.

You take on the beating patiently, but you've had it. The second he leaves you open up a blank mail and type out your resignation. You grin at the pseudo curse words you have subtly entered like Hello Sir which means Hi Asshole and Thank you which means Rot in hell. You fold up your sleeve as you wrap up the death sentence. It's time you gave that food truck idea a go. Your roommate has been drilling you for months about renting a van and selling burgers on the street. It's time, you decide.

But just when you're about to hit that send button the jitters kick in. Am I doing the right thing? How will I pay rent next month? As the fear creeps up on you, you hit YouTube and Google looking for articles and examples of people who have quit their steady job to follow their passion, in the hopes of finding inspiration.

Here's the advice you've been looking for, and the only one you'll need.

7 Things To Be Sure Of Before You Quit Your Job

1. Have A Bloody Good Reason

Don't quit because you're unhappy at your desk. Don't quit because your boss is a blood sucking flea. Don't quit because the pizza in the cafeteria is as hard as concrete. Quit ONLY because you have a clear picture of what you want to do and at least an idea on how you're going to begin to achieve it.

I cannot stress on this enough. I have seen people quit because they're 'dissatisfied with the raise they got', or because they 'want to be entrepreneurs'. Both are extremely ambiguous reasons and equivalent to chopping your own legs off with your own fu***ng axe!

One thing you don't realize when making decisions out of anger or exhilaration is this: time flies by and money evaporates at the blink of an eye. If you're fed up of this article and are going to go back to playing candy crush it's fine, just remember this, time flies by and money evaporates at the blink of an eye.

As long as you're at your job, the paycheck is coming in periodically and you're still adding to your years of experience. Only when you feel the crunch do you realize what you've given up.

So unless your reason is as strong as the pizza in your cafeteria, don't quit.

2. Have A Plan

Fine, you've got solid reason and enough conviction to back it up. Should you quit now? Well wait a moment, stick around at your menial job for just a bit, until you've made a plan to put the reason in action and get the wheels rolling.

Your plan should not be mere bullet points, no sir. Know exactly what errands need to be completed and in what time frame. Allow yourself some leg room, that's fine but don't be too lenient.

Reiterating what I said, time flies and money evaporates. If you're going to spend time coming up with a plan and a way to execute it after you have quit, I only pray you have saved enough for at least half a decade because it is not easy and could take a while.

You know you're going to quit, you can slack of a little at work and work on how you're going to achieve your dream. Hell you can use office resources to get work done for free! Do you know how much a colour print out costs? I don't because I got them printed at my office for free.

3. Do Not Sidetrack. You Don't Need A Plan B

Here is where I faltered. I had a reason, I had a plan. I quit my job and the first few weeks went great, I stuck to the drawing board, checked all the tasks on my list and progressed flawlessly. Then I thought, wow I'm a free bird I can do whatever I want, let me try film making for a while. And then I spent a month downloading and mastering editing software, going on shoots and making lousy films. Granted, if I continued I would have improved and eventually made excellent films but then came the next hobby, drawing. Then came yoga followed by gardening and the list went on. Until one day the reason for quitting a steady job was only a bleak memory and the checklist was in the garbage cradling a half eaten sandwich.

Do not sidetrack. Not even for the safe reason of having a plan b. You don't need it. Conviction is the key.

4. Save Enough To Last You A Year

Yes yes I've regurgitated the phrase but its important. Time flies and money evaporates. 

With a steady income you don't realize how important money is. You don't realize just how much your spending habits have surged. That's because your coffers always filled up when you were close to running out.

But not anymore. Unless you've taken up a temporary job or started making money from your planned endeavour, chances are you're bleeding money. 

Step one to remedy this problem is save enough before you quit. You know your lifestyle, you know how much you spend in a month. Calculate how much you'd need for a year, add some surplus to it and only when you see that amount reflecting in your bank account, quit.

Step two is start living a minimalistic lifestyle. Oh stop whining I'm not asking you to sleep at the bus stop and eat worms. Cut down on things you don't absolutely need. Like alcohol (your health will improve) or new clothes (what the hell's wrong with your old ones?), use a bicycle (you'll also save the planet), cook instead of eating out,  you get my drift.

5. Procrastination Rusts Success

Another sticking point on the path to ambition is procrastination. I just quit let me catch up on sleep. I just quit let me watch all the TV shows in the world first. I just quit I have all the time in the world. yada yada. I've heard them all and I've used them all. Let me tell you this, procrastination knocks on your door, you invite it in, and then it stays put like your uncle Ned who promised he'll only stay for a week but ends up filling your closet with his clothes and before you know it five years have gone by and you've been sleeping on the couch while uncle Ned has been banging hookers on the bed you bloody paid for!

Do not get lazy. Catch up on sleep and rest for a week, that's fine. But then get of your ass. Wake up early get work done and then do whatever the hell you want to with the rest of your day. Lather rinse repeat.

6. Meet A friend, Then Their Friend, Then Another Friend

Build your network is all I'm saying. I'm not egging you to trick people into friendship, no. I'm saying meet people, all the time, everywhere you go. At the gym, at the park, at the pub, just have a friend get another friend who'll know someone at the pub whose roommate's sister will introduce you to a neighbour whose uncle is a music director and voila! 

I know it's hard, especially for an introvert like me but I spent a few weeks cooped up in my room and while I managed to use the seclusion to focus and get a good gameplan going, once I stepped out I realized I knew no one to give me a lift to the next pitstop (and also, vitamin D deficiency).

Don't hesitate to say hello, people may look at you as a crazy person at first but once they realize your motive is not to be a creepy pickup artist but to genuinely spread your passion, they'll be fascinated. Trust me on that.

7. Enjoy The Ride

This seems a bit cliche but whatever, I want to say it anyway. If you succeed, which I hope you do, chances are you will be engrossed in work and, god forbid, if you fail, chances are you're going to take up another menial job. Either ways you may never end up in this magical uncertain period where you discover yourself, realize your potential and ability. It's going to be scary but it will be fun, and the freedom is exhilarating to a point of addiction. 

So relax, know that the dots will connect and things will fall into place, take a night off once in a while, gulp a few beers and make the most of unemployment while it lasts.


The Curious Case Of The Dead Bridesmaids - Part 2

For part 1 click here

Noel scratched the back of his hand with a finger nail jagged from biting. It was days like these that made avoiding the substance difficult. He had flashes of the girl in bed, lying limp but seeming peaceful. With eyes closed he reached out into nothing, but in his mind he was caressing her cheek with his finger. Slowly, gently and then he felt it, a slight slip at an oily patch. He knew that was a clue, probably the only clue. If only he could use, he'd be able to think clearly.


You know you need it when the jitters get so violent you cannot hold still a cup of coffee. Your joints ache and you twist and squirm to stretch them in an attempt to feel relief. Your head jerks from right to left cracking joints. Your vision becomes cloudy, your mind, blurry and your judgement severely impaired. You know you cannot escape. You will shoot eventually.

There's something about getting high in the open, the sweet fear of vulnerability that elevates the feeling. So you walk around until you find a secluded street, a deserted cemetery or a dilapidated building, and you walk in until you find a sequestered corner. You sit down on the floor leaning against a pillar, on sharp rocky cement and get comfortable. You empty the contents of your pockets to the floor and the only artifacts to fall out are what you're here for, your door to nirvana.

With trembling hands you open the small folded paper and empty the remnants of a white powder onto a spoon. You stare at it absorbing the truth that there's no turning back. You light the melted, disfigured red candle and place it on the floor. You hover the bowl of the spoon over the flame until the powder melts and eventually forms a boiling liquid. The syringe is ready. The needle attached is new, no chances there. You pierce the surface of the hot liquid, its viscous exterior giving in to the sharp needle, and pull the plunger allowing vacuum to pull in the holy liquid. You take the brown rubber tube from the floor and tie it around your left forearm, tightening it until pressure exposes green veins on your skinny brown hand. You dodge the dark spots, scars from previous jabs, and pick a landing spot. The needle pierces the skin, then the vein and you press on the plunger, allowing the heroin to surge in, mix with your blood and flow unabated through your circulatory system.

A second passes. Then another. And then the drug hits, as sudden as it is euphoric. You let go of everything, both on your physical self and your mental theater. You let the blanket engulf you and you sink into its velvety embrace. And then you dream.

Three separate weddings. Three bridesmaids unknown to each other. No common names between guest lists. And yet the three knew the murderer. Where are you hiding mystery guest. The oily cheek. What are you trying to tell me.

Noel opened his eyes. In front of him was a frozen scene from the wedding. He walked around his hallucination. He was on the stage, the elevation giving selected people a sense of importance from the rest. The bride in her overpriced white gown that contrasted nicely with the maroon background, blushing. The groom in his flashy suit, grinning. Haley smiling with what looked like jealousy. He got down from the stage and mixed with the crowd. Everyone faking happiness. Why are you all smiling. And then he saw him, almost as sudden as the heroin's kick. Standing there, oblivious to the crowd who was paying attention to the bride and groom. His look was blank but his mind was calculating, formulating. The hallucination evaporated, slowly, letting reality hug him. A half constructed building floor stared back. He turned to face the pillar he was leaning against and stood, using the pillar for support. One wobbly step after another, he made his way down and exited.

He passed stony buildings as the noon traffic zoomed by. The sun was up and not at all merciful. But it didn't affect him, not in his state of delirium. He found the store he was looking for between a cafe and a butcher's stall. He entered. He looked around and pointed to a silver cylindrical tube placed on the top shelf. Once in his hands, he opened it and took a sniff.

He was unsure if it was the drug or his sense of smell but he was certain this was it. And that also meant he knew who the killer was. He threw the box on the counter and ran out.

He kept running, bumping into pedestrians, some of whom ignored him, most of whom gave him the finger. A quick turn and a zebra crossing later he entered the art gallery. This was where he usually held meetings with the chief. There was something poetic about the paintings, how fascinating it was that an image on someone's mind could be portrayed for others to see. It was like mind reading.

For today's revelation he chose a local painter, Kane's, A screaming woman. He didn't really understand art, the woman seemed calm to him rather than screaming. The vivid mix of red and green soothed him. Maybe it was just the heroin. Chief Inspector Liam was on his way.

He felt a coat brush against his right arm. He turned to face Liam, seated next to him in a dark brown overcoat and a black hat. His white stubble clearly saying he was stressed.

"Who's the one person who is at all weddings but not a guest?" Noel asked, all the while staring at the dark face of the woman in the painting.

"The parents?", Liam ventured a guess. He knew he had to play this game before Noel blurted what was actually on his mind.

"That's an answer, but not the right one. Think outside the box chief"

"I don't know Noel. We checked the guest lists, we checked wedding photos, we see no one in common." Liam sighed taking of his hat and ruffling black and pepper gray hair. His patience was running out.

"How about the guy taking the photos?" Noel felt the heroin taking him deeper into a trance, but he managed a smile at his revelation.

Liam got up and made a call. Ten minutes later he was back.

"Jesus. The only common name at the three weddings is the photographer." with that he walked away and made another call.

This time it took him thirty minutes to return.

"Noel. If I didn't know you hate human touch I'd have hugged you. My team went to the photographer's place to get him in for questioning. He bolted at the sight of them. He tried to, before Rebecca's shin landed on this hip. He confessed immediately. How did you figure?"

"The oil, Chief. The oil on her cheek. The photographer used a special lubricant to smoothen his zoom wheel. A bit of it must have stuck to his finger when he used the lens. A little of it rubbed of on the girl's cheek. Earlier today I went to a store and checked out a lubricant and what do you know, we had our killer."

"Well you saved our asses on this one Noel, thanks" Liam said standing up and patting Noel on the back before leaving.

Noel continued to stare at the painting. A dark woman in a red dress sitting on freshly mowed grass surrounded by tall trees. It seemed serene. He still had a few hours of lucid dreaming left.

Why would Kane say she's screaming?

The Curious Case Of The Dead Bridesmaids - Part 1

What a beautiful venue, she thought looking up at the golden globular hanging lamps. There were hundreds of them dangling in rows from invisible electrical lines, lighting up the thousand white chairs under the starry night sky. Melissa looks gorgeous!! How lucky she is, she thought as a quick twinge of envy hit her, watching the bride perform her first dance to Eric Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight'.

She felt a slight nudge that stole her away from her thoughts. "We go next", said her groomsman. The makeup around her cheek creased as she smiled. With that, her pangs of jealousy were gone. As the night progressed, the crowd got merrier, dancing to the tunes the seven piece band crooned, the booze flowed freely and with every drink of Gin and Tonic, her words got slurry and inhibitions weak. All the while she noticed him stealing glances at her. When she was on stage by the bride, when she was swaying to music on the makeshift circular dance floor, when she was at the bar. He would always lock eyes with her for a second and look away. Classic move. She gave him equal indications that she was interested, but he didn't approach. Oh well, it was her last evening before flying back to her monotonous life and she wasn't going to waste it wondering will he won't he.


Stop ringin sonofabitch, was all he could muster in his delirious state, when the punishing  rrrings woke him up at 6 in the morning. In an era where a ninety year old grandpa uses an Iphone to text his seven year old grandchild, he was probably the only one who considered phones mankind's worst invention. A visa to disturb anyone at will. There was no seclusion left in the world, no corner untraceable. And so his grunt followed by the bellow was justifiable.

He squirmed around for a bit on his cheap linen bed sheet, praying the rings would stop, hopefully never to return. Stop they did, but only for a moment before a fresh batch ensued. Oh well, for an atheist to expect a miracle was down right hypocritical. He moaned and reached for his silver Motorola, almost knocking down the lamp in the bedside table. It was Rebecca, Inspector with the east division police department. Her pretty face and straight, jet black hair did a good job of masking the fact that she could break a man's femur with a single kick. From experience though he knew the call was coming from Chief Inspector Liam who always used Rebecca as a shield when dealing with him.

"To what do I owe the pleasure, inspector", he said yawning.

"Noel, there's been another murder. We need you here ASAP", came an urgent yet composed reply.

He closed the flap without a goodbye. There was no need for pleasantries. Leaving the comfort of his warm blanket he walked into the bathroom for a cold shower. He never made the bed. The blue blanket would remain strewn on the single bed until sundown, when he would return to tuck himself in. He wasn't disordered, he just believed in expending energy only where required. It was going to be a long day. He smiled in anticipation, revealing a single dimple on the left cheek.

Noel Foster was a freelance detective. He was shrewd and arrogant, a combination that kept prospective clients away. But he had a knack for looking beyond the obvious and spotting clues in what others considered regular. He also had an uncanny skill with stitching events together to make a coherent scene, and this coupled with unemployment made him a valuable resource for the East Division police department.

He stared at his reflection in the wall mirror. At five feet eleven, with a skinny frame and short, neatly parted hair, he wasn't what you'd call attractive. He buttoned up his black blazer over the white shirt. If it were up to him he'd visit crime scenes in his pajamas but apparently maintaining appearances was important. He never did understand the ways of the world, but he did, somewhat reluctantly, comply.

Noel walked in to room 201 with a Starbucks styrofoam cup in his left hand and a maroon Louise Vuitton bag slinging from his right arm. Like energy, he spent money only where it was required. Inspector Rebecca, Chief Liam, and forensics expert Garter were present, each pretending to inspect a corner of the room but in actual avoiding small talk until Noel arrived.

"Bring me up to speed chief", Noel said taking a sip of coffee and placing the bag on a chair. He pulled out and wore a pair of rubber gloves before extracting the only device he would need, a magnifying glass.

Liam walked to the far side of the room and gestured Noel to follow. He pointed out at the large open space that was visible from the spotless window. There were men taking down decorations. Clearly a venue for celebration.

"The wedding of William and Melissa was held there yesterday. Ten rooms across this resort were booked for specific guests. This room is one of them. Haley was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding, she landed in from Hong Kong and checked in to this room three days ago. The body on the bed is her's."

"At four this morning we got a call from the resort manager. Haley had a 7 AM flight back and the previous night had asked the manager to send coffee at 4 AM. When she didn't answer after repeated knocks the service lady opened the door with a master key and walked in to find her sprawled naked on the bed with a chord around her neck. She called the manager, who called us."

"We have checked everything we can. The night staff is very limited, there was one manager and two service members on duty. One of them saw her walk in with a man but didn't see him long enough to give us any details. The resort prides itself in privacy which means no cameras, incidentally working against us. We have no leads", the Chief stroked his moustache as he ended his succinct summary.

Noel kept the cup on the window ledge and walked to the bed. He circled it for a while, eyes darting in all directions. "The profile fits the other 2 murders. A wedding, a lonely bridesmaid, a romantic rendezvous, a chord and no witnesses." he said in a low raspy voice, more to himself than his audience. The three leaned against walls ready for Noels astute yet brilliant microscopic observation.

"Just like I did with the others, I believe the murderer was invited and did not break in. They seem to have known each other and most definitely indulged in sexual intercourse. There was no fight because nothing seems out of place, but to be sure let's check with the staff later. It looks like some time in between sex the murderer pulled the telephone chord from the side table and strangled her."

After a few minutes of silence it was obvious Noel had nothing more to add.

Liam was disappointed. He was used to Noel making some sudden revelation, a clue he spotted on the carpet or a lipstick smear on a corner everyone else had missed. This time even he seemed stumped. This was the third murder this month and the public were getting furious with the officials' inability to nab the killer. They needed a ray of hope, some news to feed the public, and if anyone was going to find it, it would be Noel.

Noel slowly turned the girls face and squinted. This is a bit odd, he thought and pulled out his right glove. He gently placed the tip of his finger on her cheek and and stroked it. The body is already stiffening and the cheek is cold, except for this tiny little patch here. 

"Chief, from what the staff saw we know it's a man. Let's get a list of all attendees at the three weddings and compare to see if any common names pop up", Noel suggested.

Again, Liam was disappointed. This was the obvious course of action and was already underway. "Alright, we'll keep you informed", Liam said as he walked to the bed and pulled a sheet over the naked body, indicating the investigation was over.

Noel walked out with his coffee. He had seen something out of the ordinary but he wanted to be sure before he mentioned it. The skin on her face was dry except for a tiny patch that was oily. The oil was definitely not secreted from her facial pores. It was extrinsic. He couldn't figure out if it meant anything but his gut told him it was a clue, and Noel Foster had impeccable intuition.

The OA | A Sociopath's Opinion

This is NOT a summary of the show, but my thoughts on whether the OA is telling us the truth or weaving a web of lies.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers.

With the holidays right around the corner, Netflix released, what they describe an American mystery drama web television series with science fiction, supernatural and fantasy elements, The OA. With four adjectives describing the show, I had high expectations. So when a friend suggested I watch it, I did.

I went in to the first episode with tingling disquietude, which settled as it progressed. The creators of the show, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij are master storytellers, I can tell you that much. They reveal just enough to feed a small chunk of your curiosity leaving you begging for more (which is effective storytelling if you ask me). The show had me instantly hooked, largely because I actually believe and have done enormous amount of research on multi dimensions, elevated consciousness, cross-dimensional travel and other, what I'd like to call Scientifically-Spiritual phenomena (there are quite a lot of related articles on this website).

That being said, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij built up gargantuan amount of curiosity within its viewers and sadly, the season finale failed to deliver. Picture wearing your best tuxedo and going on a date, spending an evening in the finest hotel dining under the stars next to a pool, washing down the meatiest lobster with exquisite vintage wine, engaging in stimulating conversation that arouses your senses, rushing back with pent up sexual urgency only to be turned down with a good night kiss at the doorstep. On the cheek. Yes it was that bloody frustrating.

With that out of the way, I'm now going to give you my opinion on The OA's story about her captivity and the five movements. My argument on why her story about her capture and her experiences that take her beyond the physical realm is true , and also on whether I believe the entire afterlife and back hoopla was just a story conjured by a disturbed mind looking to find company and unload grief.

Assuming you are here only after having been confused by the finale, I'm going to skip the show's summary and jump right into it.

Argument 1: OA's story is a hoax.

Considering Prairie's history, she isn't what you'd call 'a reliable witness'.

Prairie suffered immensely as a child. A scarring car crash, her father's death, living with a trafficking aunt, it's hard to believe her childhood hasn't taken a toll on her psyche. She then goes missing for seven long years. Imagine being out in the world alone for seven years. It is hard enough with all your senses intact but for a blind teenager, it's extreme torture. We know from her parents that she had severe mental and emotional issues as a child, and the added trauma she went through in those seven years leads us to believe she is mentally affected and makes us greatly doubt the credibility of her story.

If Hap, the cabin and the captives exist,where are they now?

There are numerous instances where Steve and the other four disciples to whom OA is telling her story search for clues of the other captives, but find none. Considering one was an athlete and two, singers, there should have been some traces on the internet. Yet we see none throughout the show. This raises serious doubt on their existence.

You're blind? It's all in your mind.

When mental factors such as stress cause physical symptoms the condition is known as somatisation. Somatoform disorders are a severe form of somatisation where physical symptoms can cause great distress, often long-term. However, people with somatoform disorders are usually convinced that their symptoms have a physical cause.

One such physical disorder caused by Somatisation: Blindness.

Nina is a very young, sheltered girl, who experiences a horrific car crash. The van she is in, topples and crashes into a lake probably fifty feet below and begins to sink. Imagine the claustrophobia, being trapped in a van, slowly sinking to the bottom of a lake. Locked in, watching water slowly seep in, knowing you're going to run out of oxygen any second. She definitely went through extreme traumatic stress. Nina drowns and as her body is cut off from oxygen, probably hallucinates the entire Khatun sequence, where her guardian angel Khatun tells her she will send her back but without her eyesight. She is rescued, but the severe mental trauma causes her to believe her hallucination and despite of having perfect working set of eyes, cannot see. A Somatoform disorder.

This might also help explain how she got her sight back. When she goes missing, something or someone reaffirms her, leading her to be able to see again. Considering her eyes were perfectly fine, the right type of mental stimulation could have helped her regain sight.

Icing on the cake, the books.

The most significant clue disproving OA's story is the books Alfonso finds in her room. Her entire story follows this pattern: A Russian beginning, captivity where she falls in love with Homer, near death experiences and Angels. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), these are the exact books Alfonso finds in her room. The Russian novel The Oligarchs, Encyclopedia of Near Death Experiences, Book of Angels and The Iliad by Homer. Remember what Sherlock says about coincidences: The universe is rarely so lazy.

It's actually a common psychological occurrence. Kidnapping survivors are unable to cope with what really occurred and often believe in an alternate version of the event. They believe this alternate version so strongly that for them, it's actually the truth. The reality of her missing years might have been so brutal and distressing, that her mind conjured a fallback story to relieve her of the pain. A story in which she finds friends, falls in love, is treated with kindness by her captor and one in which she is an angel. All picked up from books she may have read.

The final whoosh.

In the final scene, OA is shot by the school shooter. We are led to believe, by the whoosh Steve hears and the final closing scene were she wakes up saying 'Homer', that she died. The writers have cleverly played this scene, building the illusion that she died and woke up in an alternate dimension, opened by the five movements her five disciples perform in the school cafeteria. This is however not very clear because they do not actually show her die. She is very much alive entering the ambulance and the paramedics don't seem urgent in their movement, which they would have been if she was critical. The final scene could just be of her waking up in the hospital. Just a hook for season 2?

Argument 2: OA's story is true

Proof of the captives existence.

OA claims that she is the original angel (OA). She and four other captives were survivors of death and in their near death experiences have communicated with their guardian angels and received a unique 'movement' each. When all five are performed, an invisible gateway opens that grants access to other dimensions.

Now no one other than OA herself has met the four captives or the mad scientist Hap. This works against our argument because it seems like they're all in her head. But wait. When OA first returns, she searches 'Homer Roberts' on the internet and finds a video documenting Homer's injury and his statement after getting out of his coma. This proves at least one member from her kidnapping story exists.

And the blind shall see

We know for a fact that OA was blind when she was taken in by her adoptive parents, because we hear it from people other than OA herself (her parents). When she's back after seven years of being captive, she miraculously can see. Now the only medical way of getting your eyesight back is through a transplant and OA definitely didn't have the money for one (at least when she ran away from home). So the only explanation for her sight returning is the one she gives, a gift from her angel after an NDE.

Granted I spoke about Somatisation earlier, but considering she had a lot of medical help throughout her life, some doctor would have probably picked up on it no?

The books.

The largest factor discrediting her story is the books Alfonso finds in OA's room. A fictional book on the transitional period in Russia, a book on near death experiences, a book about Angels and a book by Homer. This seems to be too much of a coincidence and raises a lot flags. It seems like Prairie is extremely mentally disturbed by whatever happened to her when she went missing, and is coping by weaving a story that she finds acceptable, a story that helps her move on. She's weaving this story by picking up on what she has read in books.

But here's the problem. Before OA went missing, she was blind, so those books were definitely bought after she returned. After her return, she begins telling her story to the five disciples almost the very next day. It's impossible she read all those books in a day. Also, as Alfonso flips through the pages, you notice the books are almost brand new. There is no discolouring of pages. They seem to have been lying dormant in the Amazon box they arrived in.

What is most unusual here is, FBI agent Elias Rahim in the Johnson's home. What was he doing there?? Did he plant the books? We don't know how much OA has told him but he could have had motive to discredit her story.

The Dream.

The only supernatural phenomena we see are OA's dreams, which seem to be prophecies. The first dream OA has is of her drowning, which comes true. In her second dream, she sees herself climbing a large stone face battling raging wind, and once she crosses it she meets her father. This dream leads her to the statue of liberty, which she thinks is what the stone face symbolizes, and hopes to find her father. Now this dream does not seem to come true, because she doesn't actually find her father, but if you think of it, this event leads to her capture which in turn leads to her escape and the next NDE (after receiving a blow to the head). This takes her back to Khatun, her angel, who gives her the option of going back to her friends, or to move on and spend eternity with her father. So in essence, she does find her father, bringing truth to her second prophecy.

Now both these premonitions are told to us as a story by OA, which my contemporaries will say cannot be considered proof because she's the one telling it.

But to give OA credibility comes her third premonition. She sees a hazy picture with a lot of screaming, a falling tray and a gun shot. She understands its meaning in the season finale and runs to the school cafeteria where the shooting takes place. Ironically, the shooting is foiled by her five followers who perform the 'movements' which distract the shooter long enough to be tackled.

There was no reason for OA to have been standing there outside the school cafeteria. She was on house arrest, there was no reason for her to get out of her house even! This is no mere coincidence, no right place at the right time moment. This was an actual premonition rightly read by OA. This would only mean OA was actually gifted and probably gives strength to her entire narrative.

Now the Five movements don't open a gateway exactly, but even if they did we wouldn't know because from the start it has been described as 'invisible'.

I guess we will just have to wait for season 2 to find out. But one thing is for sure, OA and her movements might not have saved the four captives in Hap's cabin, but they did save the five disciples she had. Steve manages to normalize his life and control his anger. Betty is able to move on from her brother's death and embraces life. Buck accepts his sexuality and becomes more confident. Jesse becomes more compassionate. Alfonso finds new meaning in life, past his books and peer's expectations. OA was, in a sense, an angel to these five.

The Paradox of Choice (Buridan's Donkey) and The Free Will

The Buridan's paradox(yes yes, Sheldon Cooper references it) is one that is most fascinating. It is a spin off on an argument made in Aristotle's On The Heavens, ridiculing a sophist's idea on worldly forces. Although not technically a paradox, for it does not contain two contradicting ideas, it is given the label of one considering how befuddling the end result is. And it sure does tickle the brain. It goes as follows:

A hungry donkey placed in between two stacks of hay equal in quantity and equidistant from it, due to it's inability to make a rational decision on which one to pick, will die of starvation.

A very, very shrewd paradox. The donkey is extremely hungry, it is presented with not one, but two stacks of delicious hay. It is this possibility of excess that paralyzes the donkey. It wants to make the most advantageous decision but both seem equally lucrative! The end result? A hungry donkey with endless fodder dies of starvation.

Now this all seems like philosophical hoopla with no obvious real world implication right? Wrong. A version of the paradox actually manifests itself in electrical engineering.

The input to a digital logic gate that is supplied by a continuous voltage must be converted to either a 1 or a 0. This input is then sampled and processed by the gate.

Now the input to the gate is in a state of constant flux, which means it is continuously changing. It sometimes so happens that the input is at an intermediary state, in the process of changing between 1 and 0 when the gate samples it.

The input is now like the donkey, placed at equal distances from a 1 and 0. The gate is unable to decide and freezes in this metastable state, waiting for an undermined length of time for some noise or distortion to tip the scales in the favour of a 1 or a 0 and then processes the input.

Have you ever wondered how an application working perfectly fine konks and resumes working seamlessly on restarting? The answer is often simply a misplaced binary digit.

Finally, putting philosophy and technology aside, how does this affect us? We are not governed by rigid choice making logic gates or intelligence impaired like the donkey right? It should be simple for us to make a decision don't you think? Or is it.

Kneel before me. I said… KNEEL! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

Yes you guessed right, it's the voice of demigod Loki. Now ask yourself, is he right?

Why has religion managed to prosper unabated? How has politics flourished without obstruction? Why do we obey laws that don't agree with our logic?

The answer in my opinion is as clear as a glass of undiluted water: We want our choices to be made for us.

When the choice is left to us, we feel helpless like the donkey. Everything suddenly seems lucrative and with the anxiety of missing out and the fear of wrongly choosing, we end up starving. And so, overtime, we found a way out that we evolved into believing is the way of nature: elect someone to make the choices for us.

How many times has this happened: A person stands up and preaches a theory we don't agree with. We rebel against it for a day, unwillingly follow it for a day, and finally conform to it. It has happened with religion it has happened with governments and it will keep happening in every situation where decisions are involved.

We will always hand the baton to someone else. We are afraid of becoming Buridan's donkey.

Now honestly this is not always bad. If everyone was to exercise their own will unchallenged, the world would be a scary place. Murderers would kill and proudly claim it is their right of choice. Of course in order to maintain uniformity and peace there needs to be rules enforced, even if it does not conform with some people.

But the underlying issue is, in the process of having all our life's choices predetermined we have lost something that is our birth right. Our free will.

We are born, we study, we work, we retire, we die. We move when the light is green and stop when it's red. We marry before it's too late and give up when it's still early. Our course is shaped not by our own choices but by those of our parents, the society, the government and religious beliefs.

The message I want to leave you with is this. Know that you will always have choices. Some as simple as jam or butter, some as complex as the red wire or green. But you will always have choices. Do not for the fear of failing let someone else make them for you. Do not for the fear of failing abstain from choosing at all.

Do not starve even in the presence of fodder.

The Moncanos S01E05: The Counter

"Burroughs, the director will see you now", Solanski said ushering him in. Sean kept his head low and took a seat at the conference table. Solanski sat next to him. Langley, who briefed Sean on day one was also present. He felt just like he did seven years ago, when he was asked to take up the covert mission.

"Let me start by saying you're doing a fantastic job Sean. We are indebted to you, this nation is indebted to you", director Sully said in a baritone. Sean's chest rose a tad bit.

"We read your report. These guys have some nerve planning a riot. Now's the time to nail these thugs. Langley have you put together a strategy?" Sully continued.

"Yes sir. We have two options here. One is nip this in the bud, be ready near the Harlem and nab the perps before the tension spills on to the streets. This will avoid a widespread riot but it will also mean we will nab only Baxter, Jeremy and a handful of the mobster's closest allies, but not Lyndon himself. If we can break them into admitting this was Lyndon's idea we can probably have a case against him."

"Option 2 is let the fight spill on to the streets. We'll nab more mobsters but the situation could go out of control." Langley took a seat, clearly satisfied with his presentation.

Director Sully cleared his throat. "Option 1. We are not not going to risk collateral damage. Not on account of these scumbags. Langley, you will be in charge, Solanski you are to assist Langley in every way possible. Let's do this gentlemen."

And that was it. One clear command and the wheels were in motion. The three agents got up to leave when Sully spoke up.

"Mr. Burroughs, stick around for a bit."

"Yes sir", Sean said parking his behind back on the chair.

Once Langley and Solanski had left, Sully spoke. "You have done a fine job here Sean. It's been a very long time, a very tiresome time. I cannot begin to imagine the horrors you must have faced, the constant frustration at wanting to do your job of enforcing the law but restricted from doing so."

Sean nodded. Sully continued.

"We're almost at the end, and now is when we need you the most. Sean you have to convince Lyndon to be there at the Harlem. Convince him that the plan will only work if he is present. It may be our only chance to nab him red handed."

Sean gulped. It was his first day in this office again, the director asked him the impossible and he had no choice but to oblige. It would be the same today.

"I'll do my best sir."

"That's all I ask Sean."

Sean walked home. He needed the crisp evening air to clear his mind. If he played his cards right, in less than twenty fours hours this would be over. He knew what he had to do.

He took a detour that lead to the back entrance of Bottles. He walked in, passed through the kitchen all the while waving and saluting hello and made his way to the pub office. He knew Lyndon would be there.

He knocked and entered. Lyndon was on the couch and to his either sides was a woman, both wearing clothes that left very little to the imagination. Baxter was leaning on the office table emptying a glass of whiskey. He grunted when Sean entered.

"A word boss", Sean said.

"Baxter escort our pretty guests outside please", Lyndon said, slapping their behinds as they rose. They giggled and walked out. Lyndon stood and walked to the bar cabinet. He pulled out a thirty year old single malt and made two drinks. He handed one to Sean. It wasn't in Lyndon's nature to ask, he just did.

"What's on your mind my boy? Tomorrow's the big day, you of all people mustn't be anxious."

"That's the worry boss. This is very big, something too much for Baxter to lead. If I'm anxious you can imagine what the boys are feeling. I think you should come lead the troupe."

"Hmmm. I understand your predicament Sean I really do. It is really crucial this go as plan. I'll decide what to do. You go home and take rest now Sean, good night."

And the meeting was over. Lyndon clapped, the door opened and the girls were back. Sean downed his drink, placed the crystal glass on the table and made a quiet exit. He had tried.

It was up to Lyndon now.

The Moncanos S01E04: The Plan

'The Quarter Plate' was larger than any other hotel in the city, on blueprint. With one enormous banquet hall, seven private dining halls, three conference rooms, over twenty suites and fifty rooms, one in house casino and three swimming pools, it was definitely a magnificent project. A project owned by the Moncanos

A project that was now stalled because of an old neighbourhood apartment.

'The Harlem' was old beyond its years, but the city didn't dare tear it down because it carried rich heritage and families that lived in it, most fourth generation, had their blood, sweat and dreams mixed in the concrete. It was also occupied by only black families and messing with it would bring about a racial element. This same factor gave the families the confidence to stand up to the government whenever talks of renovation arose.

Lyndon Moncano wanted to stretch his portfolio and the largest hotel in New Orleans would be a major feather in his cap. The government jumped in on the project primarily because it would boost New Orleans tourism and also because they knew by the time the construction was completed, they would all be a few millions richer.

The first phase of the plan was to acquire land, by ousting the current residents. They were all given sufficient compensation and everyone took it and left, some for the lust of money and most for the fear of death. Except the residents of 'The Harlem'. They were an adamant bunch who wouldn't budge.

Now the Moncanos always had their way and were cocky enough to begin construction of 'The Quarter Plate' even though one apartment was yet to be cleared. They figured when the time came it would all be sorted.

The time was here and nothing was sorted. But Lyndon seemed to have a plan.

"This here is Jay Bolong", Lyndon began, introducing the stranger. "He lives on the third floor of 'The Harlem', the only building standing in the way of my project. He has agreed to help us fix this little problem, isn't that right Jay?" Lyndon paused and looked at Jay. Jay stared into the menacing grey eyes, but only for a second and looked away nodding his consent.

"What's the plan boss", Sean asked lighting a cigarette. Only the closest of Lyndon's friends would dare interrupt. "Patience Sean", Lyndon responded. "Harlem has always been occupied by black families, since generations. Even the daily wage workers that are hired there are always black. Last month was a first in what the mayor describes 'the right direction for the city', when a white family moved in to the apartment and were welcomed with open arms. We are going to leverage this situation to our advantage"

Sean looked on in anticipation, The Alchemist had a blank stare, Baxter had admiration for his boss and Jay was sweating profusely.

"We're going to ignite a conflict and start a riot", Lyndon said with gleam in his eyes.

"Lyndon, you're joking", Sean blurted. Apparently Sean knew where this was headed.

"Don't fuckin doubt the boss you cock", the meat headed muscle man yelled out. For the years of dedicated service he had put in, he had expected to rise up the ranks when power changed from Papa Moncano to Lyndon but from no where came a stranger who took the coveted right hand man spot. Baxter hated Sean from day one.

"Shut your trap Baxter you brainless oaf", Sean yelled back. "Lyndon, listen man, so far the cops and the political assholes have turned a blind eye to even our most terrible crimes because the area of disaster was always small, limited to a few dead bodies. If I know you, and I definitely do, you're going to start a race war that we are not going to be able to handle. It will spiral out of control, throughout the city, and this time the law enforcers won't let it go. Trust me on that."

"How dare you disrespect the...." Baxter began saying and got up but Lyndon cut him short.

"Enough, both of you! I don't recall asking for your opinions. You are here to listen to my plan and execute it!"

Silence ensued

"Jay, listen up you black son-offa-bitch, this is what you're going to do. You're going to make a few calls, round up some of your factory's rowdy crew and head over to the apartment. Pick a petty fight with the white folks, you think of any reason why, I don't care, and make sure it escalates till all the families in the apartment are involved."

"Baxter, you will be on standby with some of the boys. When the commotion increases you guys go in pretending to represent the white folks and take the fight to the next level. The American ego will take care of the rest."

"Jay, you refuse and I hunt down your wife, your daughters and your sons, and when your tears are dried from mourning their death I will kill you too. You agree, and I will reward you handsomely, maybe you move to a new town and start a new life, put all this behind you. What say buddy?"

Jay began weeping. Sean put a hand on his shoulder. No one spoke, but everyone knew where this was going.

"OK", Jay said in a feeble, croaky voice.

In the coming week New Orleans was going to see a riot like none before.