Vanity, Narcissism, or Hubris?

Some people do live in a bubble, and maybe need to get a good, expensive haircut.

Source: Vanity Fair

“Robbie” would be Robbie Antonio, a 36-year-old real-estate developer and voracious art collector who has spun a golden web and ensnared some of the world’s top creative names for two eye-poppingly ambitious projects.

The first is the Manila home, which also serves as a museum for his ever expanding art collection, with works by the likes of Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, and Jeff Koons. The building, by Koolhaas and his team at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), is referred to by the name Antonio gave it, Stealth. Its cost—upwards of $15 million—is in somewhat stark contrast to the average annual Filipino-family income of $4,988. Indeed, the building, under construction on a small lot in Manila’s most exclusive neighborhood, has been kept largely quiet until now. It’s a series of boxes stacked together in an irregular pattern, with scooped-out windows that call to mind Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum, all wrapped in a charcoal-colored concrete-and-polyurethane “skin”; the roof features a pool flowing into a dramatic waterfall.

Antonio calls the second project Obsession: a series of portraits of himself by some of the world’s top contemporary artists, including Julian Schnabel, Marilyn Minter, David Salle, Zhang Huan, members of the Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Takashi Murakami.

So far, two dozen portraits are under way or completed, with nearly $3 million spent on them. Antonio is aiming for 35 in the series by the end of the year, all of which will be housed in a special gallery within Stealth, open only to invited guests. The level of effort he’s put into Obsession and Stealth over the last two years “tells you about my personality—going to extremes, down to the minutest detail,” he says.

 On Vanity Fair: The Museum of Me

Also: This piece that looks like it was never checked by a proofreader is better read while listening to a Carly Simon classic.

In defense of introverts


“In schools, it’s the bolder kids who get attention from teachers, while quiet children can too easily languish in the back of the classroom. ‘Our culture expects people to be outgoing and sociable,’ says Christopher Lane, an English professor at Northwestern University… ‘It’s the unstated norm, and against that norm introverts stand out as seemingly problematic.'”

“But that unstated norm discounts the hidden benefits of the introverted temperament–for workplaces, personal relationships and society as a whole. Introverts may be able to fit all their friends in aphone booth, but those relationships tend to be deep and rewarding. Introverts are more cautious and deliberate than extroverts, but that means they tend to think things through more thoroughly, which means they can often make smarter decisions. Introverts are better at listening–which, after all, is easier to do if you’re not talking–and that in turn can make them better business leaders, especially if their employees feel empowered to act on their own initiative. And simply by virtue of their ability to sit still and focus, introverts find it easier to spend long periods in solitary work, which turns out to be the best way to come up with a fresh idea or master a skill.”


The Upside of Being an Introvert, TIME, February 6, 2012.



Eternal Sunshine of the Spotted Mind

No matter how painful some of my memories are, I’d still like to keep them. I learn from them and when the pain is over, knowing that I overcame them becomes a source of inspiration and courage. What doesn’t kills you can make you stronger, right? Of course it is different from many others.

“Being able to control memory doesn’t simply give us admin access to our brains. It gives us the power to shape nearly every aspect of our lives. There’s something terrifying about this. Long ago, humans accepted the uncontrollable nature of memory; we can’t choose what to remember or forget. But now it appears that we’ll soon gain the ability to alter our sense of the past.
“The problem with eliminating pain, of course, is that pain is often educational. We learn from our regrets and mistakes; wisdom is not free. If our past becomes a playlist—a collection of tracks we can edit with ease—then how will we resist the temptation to erase the unpleasant ones? Even more troubling, it’s easy to imagine a world where people don’t get to decide the fate of their own memories. “My worst nightmare is that some evil dictator gets ahold of this,” Sacktor says. “There are all sorts of dystopian things one could do with these drugs.” While tyrants have often rewritten history books, modern science might one day allow them to rewrite us, wiping away genocides and atrocities with a cocktail of pills.
“Those scenarios aside, the fact is we already tweak our memories—we just do it badly. Reconsolidation constantly alters our recollections, as we rehearse nostalgias and suppress pain. We repeat stories until they’re stale, rewrite history in favor of the winners, and tamp down our sorrows with whiskey.”


WIRED: The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever


Mating intelligence

“Glenn Geher, an associate professor of psychology at SUNY at New Paltz, who, with Miller, edited a forthcoming volume on mating intelligence, is developing a mathematical model to demonstrate what many a grandmother has long cautioned: Women who are de facto skeptical of a man’s intentions are almost always better off than women who spend hours deconstructing the first date. (“He gave me his home number, he asked about my family, he mentioned a concert this spring—he must be into me!”) Geher found that if a woman cannot accurately judge a man’s romantic designs at least 90 percent of the time, she’s better off being biased. “Women using a ‘men are always pigs’ decision-making rule may be more likely to actually end up with honest, committed, and long-term-seeking males,” insists Geher. “

To be fair to the other sex, someone (not me) once wrote that all men are pigs, but not all pigs are men. Read the rest of the article, Love’s Loopy Logic on Psychology Today.

What would have been your answer to that major, major question?

Since yesterday, I’ve been trying to come up with a plausible answer to that “major, major” question. How would anyone have answered that question without crucifying herself in front of the world? Would something like, “I cheated in 9th grade” or “I shop lifted at 15” suffice? It is a loaded question that easily assumes that by 22, Venus Raj had already committed serious mistakes that needed some form or another of correction. People make mistakes, but when you have not even lived well enough to see life’s dark, ugly side, it’s unfair to assume that you are just like the next girl who stumbles out of the club at 4:00 AM and goes about town without her underpants. And it’s unfair either to assume that a woman in her 20s must have already seen life’s ills whether in spite of or because of her poverty. Give the lady a break!

I don’t like the question, as much as I don’t like being asked, “What is your biggest weakness?” or “Bakit hindi ka pa nag-aasawa? (Why are you still single?)” Of course I have a couple of weaknesses, but why should I tell a complete stranger about them? At the end of day, maybe these questions don’t necessarily beg for honest answers, but a proper approach. What is my weakness? Standard answer goes from shoes, to coffee, to Roger Federer, to being totally OC about certain things. What is my biggest mistake? I could tell you but then I would be forced to hunt you down and kill you. I guess Raj’s mistake was that she couldn’t explain in English that she had been surrounded by a supportive and loving family who helped her avoid having to make huge mistakes. 

Dammit, Bill Baldwin, you should have thrown that question at your wife because for sure she would have a number of answers. And what the heck, Evan Lysacek? Is this a third-grade Q & A?

Sidenote: Has it been really that long since Wilson-Phillips made it big? I remember that at one point in high school, they were my favorite girl group, and I could go on for hours listening and singing to You’re In-Love, Release Me, and Someday I’ll Be (Next to You). She looks nothing like the Chynna I used to admire on MTV.

Quel Temps Fait-il?

I like rains in the afternoons, but not when I’m about to take my commute from work. I like rains in the evenings, but not when I have to compete with Manila’s 15 million other commuters to get a taxi. I like rains in general, but not when it causes horrible traffic jams or when it means getting my shoes soaked in grimy waters.

I guess people are just as fickle when it comes to liking and disliking the weather, and I can tell from their status updates on Facebook, but it has very little effect on people’s moods, according to a Humboldt University study. As CNN weather reports of more wet days to come, bring out your raincoats or umbrellas; stock up on “bed weather” food; find good books to read within the comforts of your room. For this weekend, I’m reading Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda.

One day to go before TGIF.

How You Hold Your Glass Reveals Your Personality

How do you hold your glass of drink or your beer bottle?

Just like pretty much of everything else in life, how you hold your glass says a lot about your personality or your character. According to British psychologist Glenn Wilson, there are eight personality types based on the way people hold their glasses. The study was made through observations of 500 people at a London bar. I’m Ice Queen, apparently, but that’s before the buzz kicks in.