julio 21, 2017

Grades

I'll get along Arturo in this English-writing exercise. Seems like a nice challenge, although I'm not intended to go anywhere, anytime soon. It's just FOR THE LULZ, disregard the constabulary -and the postgrad education-.

I can recall all the times I had a test and failed to have the result I expected. Mind you, most of the times I expected a perfect test (because why the fuck not, I was the shit). While I was on elementary and high school, I knew by heart that the result was going to be good enough if I couldn't remember how did I answer or which were the questions. If I was able to get in the flow, things went my way. People would ask me how did I do on question one, what did I write to answer the last one, and I just had this poker face while answering them "I can't remember". It surely seemed kinda asshole-ish at the time, but I can tell you it was not mean.

When I was part of the team selected for the National Math Olympics (yeah, there was such a thing, every year), I enjoyed the challenge but never got too far into it. The clearest memory is this math teacher telling everyone in the classroom how good we are on math, "we are so good that even him -points to me- gets 87.5% of the answers right, yet he couldn't get to the next round". All this while shaking up my test up in the air somewhere above his head. The memory ends with me laying my chin on the desk, looking past that teacher, the chalkboard and everything beyond it. I was just not good enough to get into more difficult -and interesting- things.

When I got into college, things didn't get any better. Quite the contrary, they went south for me many times. I was not the shit anymore and math demanded from me to actually sit the fuck down and solve exercises for hours. Things I never did before as a routine became the new normal and I reserved a couple of hours every day to practice my kung fu. Still, grades were not outstanding anymore.

Here is worthy to mention that one time I went on full Lisa Simpson. I had this Probability class with the toughest teacher of them all, the one that made people retire from the course (somethings that would happen several times on my time there), yet the first test was the same for all the course groups. I sat down that saturday morning and wrote, and wrote, just as it was on the old times. When the results came back, I was the only one with a perfect score. I even answered the question whose correct answer was deleted when they were formatting the questionnaire. The teacher refused to accept ANY answer because they were all wrong...  but me, I wrote down why none of them was correct. Only difference with Lisa was that I DID NOT CHEAT, MAN! It was all me back there.

I took German courses while on college; all the tests were above 4.5 / 5.0 but never had a perfect one. Moreless the same thing happened with all the Physics and Engineering courses, where I earned my 3.9/5.0 CGPA.

When I got back my final test on the German course I took last month, it kept the same pattern of old. I learned some things, remembered many more and still, the goal I've defined for myself (to have the best score overall) got away by 0.08. I thought then about all those small differences that always took me aback regardless of how often they showed up in my grades. Maybe it's just that I've never been too disciplined, dedicated or focused in one thing and one thing only. I'm always wandering around, so it just makes sense that I know many things, being a true master of none.

I'm a turtle, slowly wandering around.

julio 19, 2017

Apego

Pocas cosas resultan más dañinas que el forzar la cercanía a otra persona. Extrañar la cercanía del pasado, creer que uno tiene la respuesta a los problemas ajenos, suponer que si uno no se aleja todo va a estar mejor.

Creerse un superhéroe o una pieza irremplazable. Ser el guardian de la paz y la seguridad ajena. Rondar por ahí. Ser el macho protector o la mamá que siempre saber qué es mejor.

Cuando uno se esmera en cuidar un vínculo, pensar siquiera en necesitar esforzarse por mantenerlo es innecesario. Nada como ese caos sutil y saboreable en el que uno se sorprende y se siente seguro en igual proporción.

julio 18, 2017

Truth




Se ha hecho importante últimamente el hablar de la verdad, de lo que representa y de lo que no hace parte de la verdad. De la verdad como un artículo con existencia definida, con atributos, comparable a lo que no hace parte de la verdad. De lo importante que es revelar constantemente lo que no hace parte de la verdad. El mundo se separó de repente, con la verdad a un lado y lo demás al otro, dejándonos a todos en medio, debatiendo sobre cuál orilla es la permitida.

La verdad es una medalla, un certificado, un terraplén de la moral que eleva a su poseedor por sobre sus semejantes. Es una placa brillante y un peto robusto que le permite a su poseedor resistir embates ajenos sin inmutarse.

Bien puede uno ver cómo se volvió importante mostrar que lo dicho por integrantes de uno u otro grupo religioso no hace parte de la verdad. El punto no es avanzar sino demostrar que la verdad no incluye a los otros, a los diferentes. La verdad se hizo excluyente y delimitador cultural.

La verdad no es más que el punto en el que alguien se cansó de discutir, incluso consigo mismo.

julio 13, 2017

Failure

I falied. But it's ok. I'm still alive so my fear didn't eat me or chew me and spit me, torn apart into pieces and all that.

I failed. But things still work out and true joy still oozes from the things I can do.

I failed. But there are things that I can still try. As a signal of respect to myself.

The whole world is still out there. Let's wander around.

julio 12, 2017

Papier

Hoy vi un papel importante que iba por la calle, empujado por el viento hacia ninguna parte. Como todos los papeles importantes, no estaba doblado ni tenía pliegues; giraba sobre un eje, curvado porque los papeles importantes se llevan dentro de alguna revista o carpeta y van curvados pero sin pliegues para mantenerlos tan cerca de su estado original como sea posible.

El papel giraba sobre la calle, cobraba vida cuando algún carro pasaba cerca y avanzaba unos metros más. El papel, tan importante como fue para alguien más, pasó a ser un absurdo sin fin que andaría por ahí hasta que algo lo aplastara y la lluvia lo arrastrase luego a algún desagüe.

La trascendencia de las cosas no es permanente ni  inmutable, ni mucho menos objetiva. A mí me importaba un carajo el contenido del papel y por eso lo dejé seguir revoloteando a su suerte.

julio 11, 2017

Boss

Sergio escribe sobre el camino ideal a una comunidad sin jefes.

Javier hace una adenda en la que comenta cómo los mejores jefes, los que se ponen de ejemplo a seguir, son los que mantienen una organización más plana, con menos obstáculos, muy parecida a la utopía sin jefes.

Yo sólo pienso en la conversación que tuve anoche con dos amigos, donde me contaban cómo los raids en Warcraft siempre tenían un Raid Leader que estaba pendiente de todo lo que hacían los demás e identificaba quién usaba los spells fuera de secuencia, le quitaba foco al Tank o algún otro error que pudiese hacer fracasar el raid. Así sea como hub y enrutador de mensajes, el jefe es necesario.

Ya todos deben conocer la historia de la sinfónica rusa que intentó tocar sin director. Todos menos Sergio, quiero decir. Con cierto éxito, eso sí. Hay ensambles menos complejos que lo logran con más éxito porque la práctica es menos demandante. No imagino alguna versión de la octava de Malher (Mahler-mano) o algún montaje Karajanesco con un ejército de gente tocando sin director. El precio de quitar el jefe es, a veces, perder un poco de individualidad por lo demandante/esclavizante que puede ser el llevar a cabo la parte de uno y garantizar que funcione dentro del contexto que le rodea, lo cual no deja de ser cuando menos gracioso.

julio 10, 2017

Pogo

¿Que cuál ha sido el momento más demente en un concierto? La respuesta es fácil. La segunda vez que vi a Iron Maiden, después de haber visto a Anthrax abriéndoles (mi español no es muy bueno pero mi metal es excelente, decía Scott Ian y no le faltaba verdad), comenzaron con el discurso de Churchill, Aces High y en algún momento sonó Wrathchild.

Los recuerdos son difusos y sólo sé que de repente estaba corriendo hacia el escenario. Corrí hasta que choqué con una masa de gente y comencé a saltar y empujar todo lo que estaba delante. Había quejas de "sin pogo, sin pogo" que fueron desoídas. Fue como si esa canción invocara un tsunami en medio del Simón Bolívar, conmigo encima de la ola más alta. Sólo recuerdo instantes en los que fui puro metal. Fui libre.

Cuando terminó la canción, volví junto a quienes habían ido conmigo, que estaban unos veinte o treinta metros más atrás. No recordaba haber corrido tanto. Me miraban estupefactos, como diciendo Qué carajos le pasó a este man. Cuando me vieron sonreir entendieron. Seguimos viendo el resto del concierto y fuimos felices.

Fui un maldito tsunami, jueputa.

julio 06, 2017

Explain

El otro día tuve que explicarle a una amiga que uno como hombre no siempre quiere tirar. Uno no está siempre disponible para que alguien más simplemente se trepe encima y se lo coma a uno. Que uno como hombre también es persona, y no sólo un pipí con patas. Que así uno salga con alguien sólo por un rato de sexo, la cosa siempre ha de ser con consentimiento mutuo, contínuo y explícito. Que verlo a uno sólo como objeto pa obtener placer también es machismo y es violento. Que se siente feo.

Me dijo que lo iba a pensar, que no lo había visto de esa forma.

Sólo cuando dije "piense cómo sería si fuese en el otro sentido", abrió un poco más los ojos y se imaginó la cosa.

Ojalá pronto ya no toque decir "imagine que le pasa a una mujer" para que le entiendan a uno.

julio 04, 2017

Following the white rabbit

I’ve been following Arsenal on a regular basis for the last twelve years or so*, but because I’m from South America I’ve no story about getting myself to Highbury for a first game**. While that will always be something I deeply regret, I have instead a story about finding a love without searching, about curiosity and about facing the unexpected.

Until the late nineties access to international football over here in Colombia was very limited. Often expensive and never more than a few matches, it meant the World Cup finals were often the best chance to watch European players for a whole match, as opposed to 30-second video snippets in the news. France ’98 was perhaps the last major tournament that I enjoyed in such a retro-romantic manner, but it was to have a lasting legacy.

A lot of people will no doubt remember all the hype around Brazil and Ronaldo ahead of that competition, but I cherish the memory of another team. I gathered many newspaper and magazine articles as I tried to read up on all the teams and players and while I actually watched most of the games just for the fun of it, it was the Holland team that I began to favour. I was curious about their humungous goalkeeper and the defender with a really powerful free-kick…the kind of things that spike the interest of young kids I guess. And there he was. I discovered Dennis Bergkamp.

I have a rather vague recollection of his goals against South Korea and Yugoslavia, but the strike that will be forever imprinted in my mind is the one he scored against Argentina. I watched it as it happened: the long pass from De Boer, the shadow of the roof on the field, Dennis running into the penalty box, his jump and control of a ball played 50 metres (his first touch, man), his second elegant touch moving inside Ayala, and then the shot and goal with his third.

I thought it was the best goal I had ever seen and I maintain that view to this day. It was a demonstration of pure talent working efficiently to defeat an opponent. After the World Cup I followed Bergkamp’s career at club level. And there you go, I found the Arsenal. I read and I learned. The interest grew as time went on until we finally got cable at home and I could watch the Gunners regularly. After that I followed the trail of the non-flying-Dutchman as he played great football with amazing teammates like Henry, Pires and Vieira (only with online videos, did I see him playing with Wright). I even witnessed him assisting some fancy guy named Robin in his last matches and spent countless Sundays waking up at 7am to watch the Invincibles in action.

During all that time I never had a single shirt, poster or even a computer desktop background. I just wanted to learn more as I followed my White Rabbit into Wonderland. It has been a truly magical journey and I can honestly say I’ve fallen in love along the way. I’ve experienced the despair, sadness, joy and elation that comes with supporting a club through highs and lows and love the team and my fellow supporters all the more. Nowadays I can interact with fellow Gunners all over the world using Twitter and I feel a part of a global-family that is going from strength to strength.

All this from following the progress of one man.

* written somewhere in 2012. It's been nineteen years since I started following Dennis and I regret nothing.
** Already attended a match. A hattrick from Theo in a thrilling 7-3 thrashing of Newcastle at the Grove, on 29/12/2012.

junio 29, 2017

Ranthought - 20170629

El banco me invita a colocar al día mi obligación financiera.

Colocar.

Prefiero que pongan el alma como aquel otro banco. Así a veces pareciera que lo que ponen encima es otra cosa.