Viva La Vida


So, Christmas Spirit?

To be honest, I think these days Christmas is all about buying gifts and spending money. Well, not these days literally, but this is a well-known consumer society tradition that has been present in our life since we can remember. It’s not just the action of spending hours in malls and shopping centers instead of spending time with friends and family what annoys me, but the common belief that we’ll find happiness by spending money we may not have, in order to buy things we don’t need, to some people we usually don’t like.

Thankfully, my family is not all like this. We like to show we care about others by giving them gifts, and I personally dislike those who use presents to emotionally compensate people they offended. My relatives are the 1st kind of people. We still give each other presents that we buy; but we also celebrate, with a family dinner, we are once more together, happy and healthy. Although —and I’m not going to lie to you— it’s been quite long since we last celebrated Jesus birth. I wonder how many people out there remember the original meaning of Christmas; I mean, I’m thinking of those who do not idolatrize Santa or credit cards.

I just don’t get it. To me, money ain’t the source of happiness. Material possessions either. So, I believe those who get crazy about buying and receiving presents for Christmas are missing the whole point of gifts: the reciprocity in the favor exchange. It may be the sociologist side in me, but I can’t help being reminded by Marcel Mauss’ work, “The Gift”, about the symbolic meaning of exchanging presents. So I just cannot tolerate the consumer meaning behind Christmas and every festivity.

Here you have some pictures that may, or may not, make you smirk.
If not, then they’ll make you think about Christmas spirit:


Go Green, Be Responsible:

I believe, nowadays, a good number of people don’t tend to go green unless those who surround them force them to do so. I mean, if there’s no social pressure, most of them wouldn’t even think of being eco-friendly. Luckyly, some communities are; and thanks to the green education from their families today we can see there are some schools and TV channels that do care about the planet and teaching about how to preserve it.

Unfortunately, I’m not green. Either my family or society. I wish we were, though; but it’s very difficult to be environmentally friendly around here, because it’s not easy to recycle and is almost impossible to change a good number of what we consume for organic and low-carbon products. In fact, I’d said Chile is not a county that encourages ecological practices. I’m aware that’s not an excuse for not buying organic products, not reducing waste and reusing products, buying things with tons of packaging, not growing my own food, and so on. But there’re a few things I know I do that reduce my carbon emissions: I try not to waste water or electricity and I use public transport instead of going everywhere by car. I may not use a bike, but if I did buses and the subway would have to work anyway; and I study at least about 12 Km away from home.

My secondary footprint is approximately 6.39 metric tons of CO2, if not much more. I wonder how less our carbon emissions could get.



o be honest, when somebody asks me for one location I fancy taking a trip to, I always hesitate before I manage to answer. It’s like if all the images got together in my head at the same time, blocking my thoughts. I cannot simply say the first thing that comes to my mind, because my thoughts won’t emerge in a particular sequence. So forget about trying to find out which place I like the most by the order I think about them. There are a lot of countries I want to go, a great number of places I’d like to visit, and so many cultures I’d love to get to know that I wonder if my dreams will ever come true. I won’t settle by traveling abroad just once, because I can’t pick only one destination. Oh! I’ll give anything for travelling everywhere.

But if I must make a choice about one country to travel and cross from top to bottom, I would definitely select my native home. The reason I’m choosing Chile is that despite I’ve lived all my life in its capital Santiago, I’ve visited a few towns in the north and been in some southern cities and villages; I haven’t got to know a great part of it.

My country is beautiful, diverse, huge and unique. So: if I’m going to travel across a country, why not my Chile? Besides, I could collect a great deal of sociological information from the national society. Yes, that’s me: always thinking of sociological stuff. In fact, I’ve even considered going to the religious festival of La Tirana, in the dry and deserted north, at the middle of the year, with a group of classmates and friends. The music, dancing, devotion and atmosphere during the festivity are a one of a kind experience I don’t want to miss. I hope enjoying and being part of this festival in the next two years, if possible.

Nevertheless, I will constantly look forward to traveling around the world, visiting the six continents, and sailing every single sea.


Religion for Atheists?

What is religion? Where did it come from? What is it useful for? Why some people do not have a religion and others need it so badly?

To me, as a future sociologist, religion and the social means to organize are very interesting subjects. That's why I couldn't help to write about Terry Eagleton's review of Alain de Botton's book.

In this review, Eagleton explains what some authors and philosophers had said though history. Some, like Voltaire, agreed that religion has been necessary to control masses, but that atheism has been allowed among the elite; this way it had an indispensable social role. Auguste Comte, for example, “designed an ideal society complete with secular versions of God, priests, sacraments, prayer and feast days”, and Friedrich Nietzsche indicated that if God is dead, so is the conception of humanity.

"Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion", the book written by Alain de Botton, maintains Voltaire’s tradition when considers that religious beliefs and rituals are irrational, but at the same time are important in order to maintain a civilised society with a sense of community. In Eagleton’s words, this book takes other people’s beliefs and reorganizes them for moral sake, “social consensus and aesthetic pleasure. It is an (unoriginal) astonishingly impudent enterprise, (where) religious faith is reduced to a set of banal moral tags”.

But, honestly, despite all these comments and descriptions of religion uses, doesn’t humanity need to reaffirm empathy and its sense of society? Maybe “Religion for Atheists” is more than just an insult for religious believes, and it will allow us to discover a practical use for all those things dogmas tell us not to question... Well, we’ll have to find that out.

If you feel any interest in the subject, here you have another opinion about this book you can contrast with Eagleton's view. Just that this time is Richard Cole's review Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton: Alain de Botton's attempt to encourage secular society to steal religion's most fruitful ideas is admirable but ultimately hollow.” Now, if you are feeling the same way I am, and you want to know what Alain de Botton has to say, here you have him in the TED Talk "Alain de Botton: atheism 2.0"


♪ That Band ♪

There are so many songs I love, so many singers and bands I like, so many kind of music I enjoy; I just can’t write about all of them. So let’s just stay with how I discovered English speaking music:
I remember being in my 7th grade English class (or was it 8th grade?), getting bored next to my friend Teresa, when she suddenly writes something on my book : Panic! at the Disco. At that moment I had no idea what the heck it meant; so that very night I went to my computer to find that out. Since then, it used to be love at first sight. Today, you could say I definitively wouldn’t be the same if I had never listened to this band at 2005. In fact, the main reason I’m the way you know me (or don’t know me), and the only explanation I’m able to fluently sing this song, and don’t hesitate much while I speak, is because of my fanaticism for them.
I dare you not to hesitate while singing
There's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey You Just Haven't Thought Of It Yet"

Of course, after more than five years, it's just not the same. The band has replaced its original bassist (although I can’t complain), changed its style, split, and changed again. Despite this, this band made me so much closer to music in other languages, now it’s difficult to me to listen to bands that sing in Spanish...
Wanna know more about my favourite song and me? Then check this blog out: Escaleras Sin Escalones .


"Not Today"

“There is only one god, and his name is Death.
And there is only one thing we say to Death: Not today.”

(Syrio Forell)


ince I first heard about the new HBO series “Game of Thrones”, based on George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy novels "A Song of Ice and Fire", I felt curious about it; after all I had the feeling it was going to be awesome. And it certainly was. Once the 1st season concluded, all I wanted to do was reading the book, so I searched for it on the Internet right away. It didn’t take me more than three months to read the whole book, even with all the texts I had to read for my university classes. And I loved it. The way George R. R. Martin describes the kingdom of Westeros; the political, family and romantic relationships; and how he combines the peaceful times with the war, and all the simultaneous plots from the many characters’ points of view, is just admirable. Not to mention he takes the reader into the deeps of human nature, its fears, its romance, its joy and desires, woes and sorrows.

Right now, I’m about to finish the second book "A Clash of Kings" and I can’t wait for watching the 2nd season on TV and reading the next books.

Other books I love are The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The first ones are also a series from HBO, called “True Blood” . And the second one was, I believe, the first book I ever really, really enjoyed. Here you can find more about my love for Dorian.

My Hobby, Archery:

"Red Apple"
from Loading Artist

At first, I thought I wouldn’t be much difficult to talk about my hobby. But then I realized it might be a bit tricky: I’d had to pick one of the many things I enjoy doing, such as reading comics (and memes) on the Internet, cooking, practicing yoga, painting and drawing, taking long walks while listening to music, singing, writing, or reading a book.

And then it hit me, I don’t really have time to practice most of them; in fact, it’s been quite long since I last finished a whole book; because, lately, with all the things I have to do for the university, I don’t want to do anything else...
So, the hobby today I'm talking about is this entertaining activity I‘ve regularly been doing for the last five months: archery. Which I’d define as:
“the art of shooting several times with a bow and arrows to the same center of a distant target”.
And I say art, because is much more that just standing with the handle in one hand while holding the string with the other, and then releasing this string to shoot the arrow.

These days, archery is considered a sport, but it was originally developed for hunting about 5 hundred years ago, or more, and later the bow was used in battles.

Well, my passion for archery started last August when my Dad and I signed up for an archery course for beginners at the Chilean Archery Federation. It took us about 2 months to shoot without many mistakes. Now we practice every Sunday. We may not practice a lot, but I enjoy it because we share a hobby and we spend precious "quality-time" together.

Well, I look for sharing more about my hobby with you, soon. And hopefully you’ll see me practicing this sport.

PS: That's so no me on that photo. Neither on the comic.