Apr 24, 2009

There's Money in Poetry... or Poetry in Money?

Nothing is a better reminder of what it means to be a 'somewhat' liberal arts major in the business school than an email about a Financial conference that waxes poetic on the current financial crisis. I don't sympathize with the Financial majors at this university; I disagree with the culture that they buy (bought?) into and attempt(ed) to recreate. So it strikes me as particularly poignant when they start finding outlets to express their angst and frustration about their losses (a career, a corporation, a culture). (Though I swear if I see one more person use the term "Main street" when talking about this crisis, I'm going to stop reading anything news related in English.).

As the economy transitioned from the subprime mortgage crisis to a full-fledged recession jeopardizing the entire financial system with it, we now find ourselves in an unfamiliar economic landscape. One that is both fragile and unpredictable. The effects of the downturn have indeed been catastrophic both on Wall Street and Main Street shaking the very foundations of the economy with tremors that brutally tested the ecosystem on which the edifice of this country lays. But inspite the enormity of the prolonged carnage that has engulfed our financial markets and characterized the defining downturn of this era, we’re finally beginning to see signs of scattered optimism and promise. The financial system and the broader economy it seems are beginning to digest recent developments enroute to rebuilding an appetite for growth and enterprise.

And it is with this preface of economic fragility and scattered optimism that we present to you, the Texas Investment Conference 2009: Navigating the Road to Recovery. The purpose of this conference, which brings together notable industry literates and professionals, couldn’t have been served at a time more crucial than the one we’re in. An increasingly globalized playing field demands a firm understanding of how tight credit markets have impacted the economy, financial markets, and corporate environment. Rather than focusing on one aspect of finance and the economy, the Conference will combine leading industry expertise and renowned academic research to look at current trends and issues that are shaping our financial world with the hope of mapping out the Road to Recovery. Furthermore, the event will provide an opportunity to meet and discuss critical topics with industry professionals and faculty members. Featuring a networking meal, the Conference will serve as a perfect platform for healthy interaction and intellectual discourse between students, corporate representatives, and academia alike.



How do humans get through loss? How do we cope with the pressures that we've created for ourselves and the loss of a dream? Good questions. The answer, I believe, is going to be a rise in modes of self expression. We're looking at the cusp of the next great wave of creative output. Right now is a time when humans are reevaluating their values, reinvigorating their emotions. Complacency is more difficult to come across, strife and disillisionment is rampant. It's been a while since we've churned out a Steinbeck or a Hemingway; that's going to change. Experience is the fuel of creativity, and no experience is more unique or capture-worthy than suffering.

Need an example? Just look south. Latin American literature during the 70s and 80s is, in my opinion, most recent innovative and expressive writing that we have. Political coups, depressions, economic crises, kidnappings, drug wars: these experiences generated a body of moving fictional and visual works. A literary movement and style was created from the political show rooms and horrors of day to day life under a despot.

Not to say that a political coup or a financial crisis is a necessary requisite for a literary movement. But history shows that they go nicely hand in hand.

Apr 19, 2009

Selves are not as escapable as we would have them

I really wanted this blog to be something different from my last one. I was quite proud of myself when I shut the last blog down; I thought that I was finally making some steps away from emotional, melodramatic, self-pitying posts. The last blog wasn't much of an attempt at chronicling or story-telling: it was more of a poster board for teenage angst and frustration.

I'd thought that this blog would be different. I thought that I had moved past that bitter-edged self-hate that motivated and tormented the last blogger me. I find, however, that though I may be older, more experienced, well-traveled, I still suffer under the same nameless, blameless angst, still mope through brightly lit days, still frown at smiles, and write in abstract melodramatic sweeps. I generalize more than I explain. I theorize about the world more than I take the time to actually enjoy the day to day moments of it. I daydream more than I dream.

I thought this blog, this me, would be different. I had grand hopes of writing about important issues and ideas that were important to me. Maybe something dry and scientific almost. I hoped that there would be a lack of emotion, a lack of misdirection. I was wrong.

I haven't written on this blog because I wanted it to be different. I thought that if I held off, things would change. I thought that I could change myself, the way I think, the way I react to things, the way my brain fills itself with sappy self. I was wrong. My pride kept me from writing here. It wanted, among so many other things, for this not to be the truth. For me not to be so egotistical and self-centered. For me not be so pointlessly unhappy. I've swallowed my pride, and put it down on paper: I haven't changed as much as I had hoped. I haven't learned to like myself. I haven't learned to accept myself for who I am. I haven't learned how to be present in the moment, to appreciate people for who they are, to not let tomorrows deadlines be the stresses of today. I am still trapped in the same self-pitying box that I've constructed for myself.

And so this blog is what it is. Me. Myself. Uncensored, yet flat. Personally unpersonal. Practically a bore. Nothing of interest than that that is interesting to myself. Nothing that speaks to anyone other than those who only speak to themselves. Dressed up pretty, spewing ugly. Yuck self, yuck.

Apr 2, 2009

Hello again

It's been a while since I've blogged. Finding myself increasingly frustrated, however, with my current outlets for self expression, I find that I need a blog again. There's only so much that you can put in a conversation, a phone call, a text message, an email. And even less that you actually want to say specifically to a directed, addressed audience. Blogs are nice for their anonymity. So what if no one ever reads this. At the very least, I've got a nice road map of thoughts and opinions that I'll be able to look back on later.

I'm a collector. I like the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that I get from having a big pile of 'things'. No matter how invaluable or inconsequential that pile of 'things' may be. I love the way that blogs collect thoughts and opinions and moods, for me to pour back over at any one point in time.

Ideally, I'd like this blog to offer thought-provoking perspectives on technological and societal issues. What it actually turns into will have to be seen. What's important though, is that I get my ideas and monologues out on the web so that I can stop talking in circles to external (non-blog) audiences.

What you won't (in all likelihood) find on this blog: links to popular culture or rants about my daily life, what's going on in my social spectrum. If you want to find out about that sort of thing, you're going to have to talk to me.

I hope you enjoy!

sound reflecions: observations from SF MOMA's Soundtracks exhibit

karthik and i went to the SF MOMA today to check out the last few bits of the soundtracks exhibit. we saw this great video work that i can&...