Friday, January 21, 2011

An Appreciation of Etymology + A Good Quote

"Boguard it, every moment is precious" 

 Instead of telling you guys what it means, look into the etymology. It'll make the phrase THAT much more meaningful. Forget pictures; words can sometimes say just as much.

 Post up if you think you get it. Maybe you'll understand why I love good quotes so much. 
Hint: You'll need more than one site to figure it out.


 - knowledge

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beauty Is A Cruel Mistress

Related/linked blog posts (reading these might give you a more thorough understanding of what the post entails):

For a good portion of my life, I've always held that we owe it to ourselves to be as good-looking as we can. Or at the very least, we shouldn't be so quick to "let ourselves go". The reason we owe it to ourselves is because life--or at least life in the Western society--is all about opportunities. And a good part of having opportunities available is being able to market yourself; either through looks, or some sort of merit (intelligence/proficiency/etc.) Until personal appearance stops being a factor in the potential for opportunity, any rational person will see that being well-groomed, or looking after themselves is an investment of time that does yield rewards.

A couple of weeks ago, someone said something that had me re-thinking my whole stance (Berni):
You'd assume that if you were a girl you'd want to be good looking yet they are the least confident human beings? Where does that leave plain girls?

I think it's a lack of maturity and overall world view. Lots can't seem to be able to deal with the constant pop culture onslaught that dictates what they should be and look like. That's a lot to ask of a young mind.

When I was in my teens and 20's I would look at fashionably dressed and tarted up pretty girls in a positive light, from the point of view that they got it going on and stuff.

As I got older it seemed more like these girls came from a position of weakness. Like it's not good enough to be born pretty and healthy but they have to squeeze that last ounce of "look at me, I'm a going concern" out of every public appearance.

He likened it to a neighbourhood of houses, where one goes way out of their way to set themselves apart or look good; they use lawn ornaments, have decorations all over their house, etc. But at the end of the day, everyone can see right through the fact that they're trying to prove something

But I argued that maybe striving to be better-looking isn't about having a tacky house. Maybe it's more about making sure that the walls aren't grimey, that the walkway doesn't have mildew, that the grass is healthy and neat, that the shrubs are maintained, etc. (Get your minds out of the gutter, guys. haha). Maybe it's about maintenance.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: why are we so quick to condemn beauty? We tend to see this dichotomy of beauty and intelligence, where one matters more than the other. But I couldn't see any real reason for them not to be equally regarded. Granted, beauty's always gotten a bad rap for being an unearned, arbitrary, lucky roll on the genetic die - you just happen to be good-looking and life works out a little better for you. But couldn't the same thing be said about intelligence? We always have this notion that being good-looking is inherited, while intelligence is something that you work on. But what a lot of people don't realize is that like beauty, intelligence has a baseline, too. To be intelligent, you also need to have the capacity for it. In a sense, you need to be born with whatever characteristics allow you to become intelligent. If this weren't the case, then people who aren't intelligent wouldn't exist (because everyone would have the potential). So if it's clear to see that both require a bit of luck, and a lot of work, then why is beauty looked down on so much?

For weeks, I thought about the conversation and the questions that it raised. The answer only came to me while I was watching RockNRolla: "beauty's a cruel mistress". 

It's insane how deep this statement actually is. The reason it gets such such a bad rap is because it doesn't last. Of course, I could argue that eventually, neither does intelligence - but I think the most important distinction is that intelligence lasts a lot longer than beauty usually ever does. Intelligence carries over to your later years, while beauty hits its peak a lot earlier (think models vs. professors).

You hit your peak maybe some time between 18 and 30 (I kept a big range because some people hit their physical peak in their early-mid 20s, but don't figure out what look works best for them until their late 20s). After your peak years, it all just goes downhill from there. You do what you can to prolong the onset of physical degeneracy, but at this point in your life, it's a complete shift over to intelligence (think of older professionals, lawyers, doctors, professors, etc.)

People think that the beauty aspect isn't important because of it's short-term effect, or lack of longevity...but what makes it so important is that it gets you the initial opportunity for any long-term potential. If you look at jobs that revolve around beauty, most of them don't last very long. Cheerleaders, models, marketing gigs, promotions gigs, all have very short careers (for the most part). But let's face it, someone has to GIVE you a chance for you to even have that very chance, to begin with. It's hard to give someone a chance when they're repulsive, don't take care of themselves, or are just downright ugly (as unfortunate as that may be). Or even if you can give them a chance, you're still more inclined to think that what's beautiful is good.

But at least now, I think understand why Berni appreciated it a lot less as he got older. The older you get, the less relevant beauty becomes. When your "opportunities" are secured, you don't need to do much more in the looks department. An example of this is how some guys stop working out once they get a girlfriend (which I disagree with, but is another topic altogether). Or when couples grow old an ugly together; when that happens, the relationship is about everything BUT looks, and it no longer matters. For jobs, after a certain point, your resume does all the speaking for you at job interviews. And after a certain point, the effort that you put into looking good begins to outweigh the rewards that you get from it (sort of like the women who spend thousands on creams and hours of their day putting treatments and masks on, just to look marginally younger).

But I'm torn between the two sides because it's hard to blame people for clinging on to their prime (in terms of their best physical years). After all, the alternative--realizing that beauty doesn't last and it makes sense not to care--is equally disastrous because you take the decline at full speed instead of trying slow the process down.

On the other hand, what you need to take into account is that (generally speaking,) the people who hold on to their beauty are the ones who were beautiful, and the people who often condemn it are the ones who never had a reason to value it. It should also be noted that people obviously miss things that used to be a big part of their lives. So the people who also condemn the whole quest for perfection or beauty are the ones who stopped holding it as one of their highest values.

But what makes "beauty [such] a cruel mistress" is the fact that people spend their whole lives with it as a side-project; something that always distracts them from giving some other (arguably more important) factor 100 percent of their attention. They spend their entire lives chasing after it, doing their best to keep it fulfilled, working towards it, and catering to it. But in most cases, it never lasts enough to warrant the lifelong effort that you might put in. In a way, people stay loyal to the concept or ideal of beauty - but that loyalty isn't mutual. One day, sort of like an ungrateful girlfriend who you just bought a new set of titties for, beauty just decides to get up and leave. 

And for some reason, it always comes as such a surprise to people (even though they saw it coming a long time ago). At this point, they start desperately trying to hold on to it - they wish that they still had it, or they spend a whole lot of time and money trying to coax it into coming back. Nothing physical ever lasts - beauty's fleeting at best, and irrelevant at worst. With all that in mind, it makes you start to wonder whether you should've ever been dumb enough to have a mistress in the first place. 

My solution? Put work into it until it no longer profits you. Until the (extra) work that you put in stops benefiting you in some way, it'll always be justified. There's no reason to be subjected to picking either beauty or intelligence - why not pick and cultivate both?


- knowledge

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Not Be A Broke-Ass Student

It's time for a practical post:

I don't get why students are in like 5000+ dollars of debt (not including OSAP). I don't see why people put themselves in situations that they don't want to be in. I've seen far too many younger people get numerous credit cards instead of just getting another part-time job or just learning to live within their means (or if you don't want to miss out, then increase your means). I don't see why people think that money's free. 

So here are my pro-tips; student edition. I know it seems like common sense to some of the older folks, but you'd be surprised how many students don't give thought to saving money/learning to spend wisely. This is partly why students are broke when they don't need to be: 

- If you're with Rogers, call them and say that you want to cancel your plan. You'll get transferred to retention - these guys will do anything to prevent you from signing over to competition. If you're with Rogers, say you found a better deal at Bell (vice-versa if you're a Bell customer). If you have a Blackberry/iPhone with a decent plan + data, you shouldn't be paying more than 45 dollars a month. If you have a normal phone, you shouldn't be paying more than 30 dollars a month. 

I've gotten friends about 30 bucks off each monthly bill by calling in and pretending to be them - it's a lot easier than it seems.

- For people living on their own: learn to cook. Bringing a lunch saves you about 7 bucks a meal (assuming that a decent meal is $10). 

- Quit smoking. Learn to smoke up occasionally instead of daily & when you do smoke up, don't toke more than you can take in - it's useless. Don't even smoke more than you need to; you're building your tolerance up for no good reason. Learn to pre-drink - especially if you have a high tolerance. 

- Don't get a girlfriend who's a money pit; get yourself someone who's self-sufficient if you're actually trying to have a serious relationship at this age or you can just find a **** buddy (lol).

- If you eat out a lot, let decide where you're going to eat (it puts all the deals from wagjag, groupon, livingsocial, dealfind, etc. all on one page). This site also has a bunch of deals on the most random shit - check it out.

- Learn to network - bartering is still the most effective way to get hooked up. Make yourself marketable by being able to give favours for every favour that you take.

- Buy a damn car that isn't a gas guzzler. You're a student, not a businessman. If you're dumb enough to already have a gas-guzzler, most stations have a schedule for changing their prices - ask the cashier. He doesn't give a **** if you know.

- Every store has a schedule for putting things on sale. If you're into Fashion, you'll know that Toronto has some of the most over-priced stuff - you can still shop at Yorkville and not be broke; you just need to know when stores have sales. Ie: I get all my fall jackets for the next year on boxing day.

- Learn to make use of warranties - break stuff properly before the warranty expires and have a good story for it. Another example is making use of applecare if you have an ipod. You can get a new ipod every couple of years for the price of the applecare plan - it's just the initial purchase that has to be pricey.

- Buy things that you KNOW you're going to buy anyways in bulk or ahead of time somewhere cheaper(gum, soap, condoms etc.). At the very least, avoid convenience stores/places like Shoppers(remember that they need to mark their stuff up to make some decent profit). 

- Do your Laundry during the times when everyone else isn't doing it. Also use cold water - with the right soap/detergent, it'll clean just as well, won't shrink, and dark clothes will hold their colours longer

- ALWAYS over-budget - it makes up for the rainy days. Use the extra to treat yourself to a vacation at least once a year or let it carry over to the next year for some big-ticket item that you're saving for.

- If you're going out with a relatively big group... then "it's someone's birthday" (that's what you tell the restaurant). At buffets where it's like $30 for dinner, doing this saves you all a couple of bucks if you all just split the final bill.

- If you go anywhere downtown regularly (like a girlfriend's place, a friend's place, the gym, etc.)...go after 9pm on weekdays and 6pm on sundays 'cause street parking's free after that. Or if you must go during the day, learn to find the secret spots downtown (almost every section of downtown has at least a couple of places where you can park without paying/getting towed every now and then)

- Get yourself a gym membership. You can get your membership subsidized at YMCA, just ask about it. If your time's valuable...then this is well-worth it. You'll have more energy throughout the day (I think cardio 3 times a week for 30 minutes gets you an extra 23 hours of energy, on average); you'll also be able to focus more easily; the bonus is that you can make yourself generally more attractive. As sad as it sounds, your chances of getting hired for that great student job are a lot higher if you're not a fat-***. Not to mention that everyone at your age is at their prime - you're at a disadvantage if you're going to let yourself go. 

- Don't pay for a parking pass at your university; rent a garage from a nearby house for half the price.

- Find yourself a job that doesn't pay minimum wage. And don't depend on retail for your primary source of income - you'll only make consistent figures during 2 seasons of the year if you work retail.

- Learn to make use of petitions and doctor's notes to get deadlines extended at school. Don't punish yourself by getting a grade that will make you need to re-take the course and spend another 600+ upgrading your mark.

- Almost all big brands have outlets in the gta - make use of them. ie: levi's, armany exchange, guess, holt renfrew, etc.

- Never use UPS, Fedex, or any private shipping company unless you absolutely need to. You'll be surprised by brokerage fees.

- There are cheap fixes to get clearer skin. Sleep on a fresh pillowcase or towel every night. Learn about what ingredients do what and figure out what your skin type is. The "best" exfolianting kits don't have to be $80 - you can use lemons and granulated sugar (I only use organic because your skin absorbs it). Also, dove is one of the few soaps that can double up as a face wash.

- Learn to hustle when you need extra coin. Buy things that other students will buy regardless, and sell it for slightly lower than retail (I do this with American Apparel). Everyone wins (well, except the retailer 
. But fuck them - they're doing alright 'cause they're not broke-ass students).

- All you can eat Korean Grill is 10 bucks after 10pm.

It's not about being's about not spending money that you don't need to, so that you can spend it on other things 

I'll update this as I remember things to put.


- LifeWithKnowledge

settlement loans

dreamweaver website templates