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Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College

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Travel

“Don’t be sick, Lets go to the Frick”

http://www.frick.org/collection/areas_collectionHCF1905_0.jpg

Henry Clay Frick was one of Americas most successful industrialists, he has created masterpieces of western painting, sculpture, and decorative art, displayed in a serene and intimate setting. The Frick Collection offers a unique presentation of artwork.

During the semester, we have visited a few places and even enjoyed a walk in central park to explore and see a statue of Shakespeare, however my favorite trip this semester was visiting the The Frick Collection. It was my favorite because, in class we have explored “close reading” Where we take a passage and analyze the passage and go in depth of what the author is trying to indicate to the readers. In the Frick we explored “close looking” which was a little different. Instead of reading a passage we were asked to go into the painting and try to see whats going on in the painting, why was it painted this way? and what kind of paint was used and why? I found close looking very interesting and more “real”, you were able to see the painting in many different ways and it was easier to analyze.  I think close looking helps to see details in artwork that you couldn’t see before and it also helps with creating another story within the painting which I found intriguing, because I never looked at artwork that way. Sometimes you see a painting as a regular painting, but the truth is they all tell a story you just have use your close looking skills in order to put the pieces of the story together.

We were all paired off into groups and set off into different rooms to close look some paintings. The tour guide that we had was amazing she gave us some much information about all the paintings and their purpose. I really loved all the artwork that was displayed out for everyone to see. I will always close look art work wherever I go. Below are some art work that my group and I were able too see. Test your close looking skills and tell me what you see.

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Mortlake Terrace: Early Summer Morning, 1826 a caption
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Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile, exhibited 1825
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Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening, 1826

Dirty Thoughts, Beautiful Place

So from May 3rd to May 6th, I was in Miami for an economic conference. Or at least that was the reasoning behind it. In reality, it was ten minutes of signing up for the conference at the hotel and then dipping, free to do whatever for the next few days. It was actually a really horrible time to take a vacation. I’m behind on a shit-ton of work for my classes, including this one. And this probably won’t reflect well on my work ethic, but you can’t deny my bluntness.

Here’s some overly-edited pictures as a quick distraction though:

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Shameless plug for my Instagram since I’m not too sure how to credit myself (one perk of having an unusual name is that I don’t have trouble finding a username for myself).

But on a more serious note, this trip away from home gave me a small moment to recollect myself and contemplate about myself.

It’s hard to put into words, and I’m not a good communicator, but there was something beautiful and satisfying about being away from everything and everyone I knew. In those few short days, I pretty much cut contact with the sphere that I had enveloped myself in.

I was with people that I barely knew. I was in a city that I had never been to before.

I was, in a sense, alone. And it was invigorating.

Really, I was just free.


My brother has seizures. We don’t know where it came from. He claims it was from abusing ketamine. My parents believe it was a stroke of bad luck. And me? I’m not too sure what to think. I was doing just as much as him. But how am I off, scot-free? And even worse, how do I grasp with the fact that I enabled him? He’s not a little kid. If he wants to do something, he’ll do it. Would anything have changed if I told him no? Probably not. But how would I ever know?

Right now, he’s lost. He studies criminal justice and wanted to be a cop. But those aspirations got cut into the lines he sniffed.

Granted, it’s not the end of any possibility of getting a job. He just can’t be a cop. But he already put so much time into it, only to get blindsided.


My parents are good people. They’re law-abiding. They pay their taxes. They always provided for me and my brother.

We’ll just never see eye-to-eye.

And really, it’s not my dad I have problems with. It’s my mom.

We’re just too much alike in some ways. And I don’t mean personality. I’m one of the most laid-back people you’ll ever meet. She’s neurotic, has an incessant desire to micromanage, and thinks the world is out to destroy her life. Makes you wonder how I turned out the way I did.

No, we’re similar in the sense that we’re both byproducts of shitty mothers.

I’m not too sure where to start. Maybe with her life. As far as I know, my grandparents are sweet. Life had probably tempered them by the time I was born, but I never knew a harsh word from them. I didn’t see them much, but I was spoiled every time I did.

My mom told me a different story though. Her dad was never home. He was always out going to bars and cheating. Her mom had to manage a fractured household, because in those times, and in that kind of society, divorce just wasn’t an option. But obviously my grandmother had to let out her frustration out somewhere. And I guess my mom was the target. It’s a sick situation. A kid has no control over that kind of circumstance. The world they know is molded by their parents. And in this case, simultaneously ripped apart.

You fuck with them psychologically. Make them dependent on yourself. Coax them back with a sweet word or too, or maybe do something nice. Things seem okay. Great even. And then something sets you off and this cycle perpetuates. This is what she implied to me.

Everything clicked. But all I felt was disgust. And anger. Can’t forget that one. I guess when I was young, I had built up this monster in my mind. But to learn that monster was human? That messed with me for a bit. For you to be aware of the wrongdoings of your mom and then to impose them on me? I’m not sure quite sure how the hypocrisy of that eluded her.

Well, it didn’t completely elude her. We went to family counseling.


There’s no real theme to this blog post, and I know that goes against the blog checklist. But being in a new place away from my responsibilities just made me feel some kind of way.


Here’s a source on ketamine. Just to be clear, I’m ambivalent on drug use. I still do them myself from time to time. People are free to do as they please. Just be aware that there are consequences.

Here’s a link advocating counseling. The stigma against seeking mental health is ludicrous. Just the act of speaking your mind in a safe environment is cathartic in-of-itself.

On a lighter note, here’s a shout-out to the hotel I was at. It was beautiful and had a great view. The only downside was it wasn’t, as the kids would say, in the lit part of Miami. And do check out Crackers and Jackson Soul Food. The food was cheap and pretty damn amazing.

Modern Tempest Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1

Scene 1

Aiza Khan, Keminsto, Geovanni Hyman, Hkwon, Xuxiang Li

Scenery/ Setting

  • In a plane with many scared people but one
  • Hostess and the King advisory quarrel
  • Constant attacks on the plane

Props

  • Sunglasses
  • Costumes
  • Stage
  • Lighting
  • Special effects
  • Sea

Costume Design

  • Suits
  • Hostess uniform
  • And co-pilots uniform

Director/ Assistant Director

  • Ship, is now a Plane.
  • Who causes the Storm? Savages who contain weapons.
  • How did the plane crash? Missiles.

Stage directions

Enter Co-Pilot,

A young female enters the pilot cabin trying to help the pilot

Pilot:

Sam I don’t think we will be able to make it, the engine is failing and the wind is making it impossible to land safely. The only way to have a chance at survival is to steer this thing towards the water and we need parachutes. Did the hostesses find them?

Sam:

No sir, they did not.

Pilot:

God damnit! Those men are not making it any easier for them. Can you go and relax their nerves because we do not have enough time!

Exits Pilot.

Enters Hostesses and men in suits.

Sam enters the passengers cabin. (BOOM) Plane gets hit again. Everything slows down, as if the scene is playing in slow motion. The king and his men could be seen screaming however, their voices sound like as if they are coming from distance, having little or no impact at all on the audience. The hostesses are suppose to be running but it seems as if they are still. Sam cannot comprehend the reality. Fear of not surviving has her gripped. Panic starts to blossom in her chest. To Sam, time became still, as if years have passed and the scene is still not going any faster however, in reality it only has been a few seconds. Some hostesses are trying their best to cover the hole from the sides but are failing to stop the wind from taking over. Others are looking for more parachutes franticly but the fear has them blinded. Suddenly, something snaps inside of Sam and she realizes she’s not going to die, not today, not because of some savages! She’s a fighter and she will continue to fight.

Hostess:

Captain! Captain! Are you okay?

Sam:

Damnit! I’m fine. How are we doing on parachutes?

Hostess

Ma’am we do not have enough!

A man, usually the one who shows great bravery and courage, was worried and maybe for the first time scared. He got up and started to walk towards another man but this man is younger and seemed as if he was not fazed by the current events instead, he stared out the window, at the blue ocean, lost in his own thoughts.

Sam:

King Alonso, PLEASE BE SEATED!

The King seems to ignore her and continues to his son and sits with him. 

Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo enter.

They approach Sam and start questioning.

Antonio:

Are we going to survive?

Sam

Sir, if you could stay seated, it would be safer and almost easier on us.

Antonio

Well, I’m not going anywhere without answers! Now, are we going to survive?!

Sam

Sir, you need to be seated and let me do my job! If you wish to survive, let me do my job!

Sebastian (angrily):

You women, are no good! Let me talk to the pilot myself!

Sam:

Let me be clear SIR, I AM A PILOT! And if I were you, I would take myself to my seat and pray to god for forgiveness for all the sins you have committed and ask of him to fix your corrupted soul, and I would let me, as a CO-PILOT, do MY job. Because if I don’t do my job, that’s when you should be worried. Now, if you do not take this WOMEN’S advice seriously, I will personally make sure you don’t survive. So, did I make myself clear?

Gonzalo takes Antonio and Sebastian away.

Sam Rushes to the pilot cabin

Enter Pilot 

Pilot:

GOD DAMNIT! THE PLANE IS ABOUT TO CRASH IN THE WATER! DO WE HAVE ENOUGH PARACHUTES?

Sam:

(Screaming over the engine and wind sound) NO! WE DON’T!

Time seems to be racing to the end and everything seems to be going too fast to comprehend the situation. Despite having enough parachutes no one realized they did, as no one had counted. The fear of death had everyone startled and disorientated. Everyone but one soul, was affected by the crashing plane. Everyone was praying for safety and a miracle but one soul, the prince. 

Exists Pilot and Co- Pilot

 Enter Angry Gonzalo takes Antonio and Sebastian

 Antonio

How dare she speak to us in that tone?

 Sebastian

Actually, I’m sort of relieved after talking to her. I have faith that she will save us and after she does, I will hang her. As we have witnessed, she is a fighter and will fight to survive and as long as she does, we will survive as well. After that, we will publically hang her, so that no one will dare to talk to us in such a manner.

Gonzalo         

At the moment, I’m more focused on who is trying to kill us. And, what are the odds of the tempest coming out of the blue, when we are getting hit by missiles, as if those savages are controlling it. All I hope is that, even if we are to die, I die on land and be buried with dignity and honor.

Plane gets hit again, screams are heard, and the plane crashes. Tempest had calmed down and an evil being had won.

End of Act 1, Scene 1.

links for more reading on the tempest

http://nfs.sparknotes.com/tempest/

Works Citation

Crowther, John, ed. “No Fear The Tempest.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.

Shakespeare, William, Gerald Graff, and James Phelan. The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Print.

The River Speaks of Me

Only slightly do I remember the Vltava River. My photographs from Prague were misplaced during the move. But when I think back on my time there, what cuts deepest in memory is an impression by the river: the waves, a darkened hue, writhing out of form; moonlight, omnipotent, yet lacquering more than penetrating; and myself, though hardly there at all, ein Gestalt von Leben und Tod.

At 20, I took myself away from the troubling uncertainty of my life in Brooklyn, and I boarded a plane to Prague, to discover, for the first time, the land of my ancestors. Prior to the visit, I had known nothing of the city, its people, its history, or if I even had any relatives there. But, as I had been told, my last name—Hongach—is of Czech descent. I thought perhaps I may find some security for my life by digging passed the distance of an unknown past and, thereby, God willing, tap the root of some ancient spirit, from which I am.

We were losing our house in Brooklyn and, more than ever, the touching pride of family unity became more and more remote. Now, in retrospect, I figure I left to chase this feeling, a hurting so mysteriously deep, I supposed it may be traced to its origin through cultural lineage; and, by pinning the base, perhaps I believed, I could save us from the loss.

 

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(A statue of a soldier by the Vltava River.

Photo taken from http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/06/03/article-2334990-1A1DDDFD000005DC-418_964x669.jpg)

 

Both running away and running toward the hypothetical heart of my problem, I was truly quixotic at 20, there in Prague, roaming the city, all day and all night, over and over again. Prague, I discovered, is enchanting. It is a city bleak and shimmering, charming and simple, old and fresh. And as I wandered often late after midnight, my body, enchanted, would sway to a bench on the bank of the Vltava River, with a copy of Rilke’s Brigge as my only companion and my ears infused with the repeated song Is This Happiness? by Lana Del Rey.

I would sit on the bench and let the cool night envelope me. Even with the music playing, I could hear the river speak. Whispering, beckoning, eulogizing. The Vltava had a lot to say, with its lightly tucked cloak of moonlight and its cunning running tongues. I would stay only a few minutes to contemplate and to calm the disquiet.

If it would happen at all, it would feel nice, in a moment, to feel a breeze unwind and ease my frazzled mind. I would realize then, that it was either too late or too early, at that hour in the night, to think about life’s possibilities. It would be at this interim, between night and the coming day, that my quest would resign, neither successful nor failed, but gently and boldly free.

But are you ever really free?

Prague was enchanting, indeed, especially the Vltava River, which taught me that this place was no city to die in.

 

 

 

 

(To learn more about the Vltava River: http://www.visitvltava.cz/en/the-course-of-the-vltava-river/20/ )

(Here are quotes from Rilke’s The Notebooks from Malte Laurid Brigge : https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/314321-die-aufzeichnungen-des-malte-laurids-brigge)

(To listen to Is This Happiness? by Lana Del Rey, click the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-noXRjAamQ )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A soothing soul

It was a hot summer day, where the sun was so bright one would feel as if the light would make them blind. However, life on the other hand wasn’t so bright; stress and emotional drama was a constant in my life and despite the beaming sun the day still felt dull and gloomy. It was one of those days where I was in a state of self-war, where everything just seemed unreasonable and incomprehensible, leading to sleepless nights. I was busy doing my work during the day time and upholding the façade of a happy strong girl, however, at night I was doing extra shifts of self-exhaustion by over thinking and continuing the ritual of self loathe and pity that I had started a couple of months earlier. On a daily basis continuing the façade became challenging. With a much needed break from all the thinking, I decided to go down to the beach along with a few of my friends. The trip to the beach was a form of diversion from all the stress. I was hoping it would be an escape from ME. The me that wouldn’t let me take risks and the me that always played safe. With the anticipation that I would be busy with friends, I didn’t think I would have the time to go back into self-pity mode and some how get thrown back into the dark corner that I always end up in. The corner that lets life take over and buries me from facing all of my problems. It’s a corner that engulfs you for days and to be pulled out would mean the need to have a lot of mental strength and power that I feared I did not have.

As I left school, I met up with my friends not anticipating anything from the day, especially not the freedom I would receive from myself. As soon as I arrived at the beach all I saw was the blue ocean in front of me, and not a single person besides my friends. At this very moment I felt at somewhat peace. Knowing I was in a place where I was not allowed to be, made me feel defiant and the selfish part of me didn’t want to leave. I sat down and decided to take in the view, and despite being with eleven other people it still felt quiet and peaceful as if it were just me and the beach. As I sat down, I took in the gentle but cold breeze and let my mind go to rest, away from my worries and away from my restless soul. I was in a state of zen where everything I was worried about just felt frivolous and cold. Despite being in a cold and abandoned area, it felt warm and welcoming. Nature felt as a mother, soothing and singing a lullaby to calm my restless soul. The soft sand felt as a mother’s hug and the soft waves were as if it was trying to sympathize and comfort me. Nature was a father. The soft breeze, protecting me from the evil of my own thoughts, by blowing the insecurities away. I didn’t feel confided in a small cage anymore. I felt more at ease and, for the first time in a long time, comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t feel like I was living in an intangible universe. I felt like I belonged. I felt at home.

(If you would like to visit the beach: https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fdr-boardwalk-and-beach/highlights/12257

A yelp page with similar experiences regarding the beach(not all of them are however.): https://www.yelp.com/biz/midland-beach-staten-island )

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