Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

because at the end of the day...


if one has not the audacity to address grievances to your face,

then he has not the privilege to exist in your good grace.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Café au lait

Personal request: Please click and listen to the link provided as you read this piece :).

Sitting in cafes evoke a curious mixture of both constant concentration and ceaseless distractions.

Cafes are conducive to an environment for any foreign soul. The noisy atmosphere, with dim music playing in the background, the sounds of baristas yelling different names off of abstract orders, and the clinking and clanking of dishes and utensils while food is.. propelled, ricocheted, grilled-tossed-shaken-beaten, and prepared for the average passerby. It almost seems like a perfect symphonic lullaby of a life that is constantly moving while you, focused, intently do your own work just to keep up with the hectic tempo of life, the daily grind-ing coffee bean-making progress of life.

Ahh yes, cafes are quite an exquisite environment. One can simply sip on their hot tea or cold drink while they sit placidly contemplating and listening in on a peculiar conversation or meeting across the table, even three chairs back- of two, or even three blameless souls merely exchanging private matters, public stories, and personal dilemmas.

It's almost poetic. The coming and going of rushed, calm, worried, love-stricken, angry, annoyed, mellow, sick, hungry, tired, excited, indecisive strangers-all who have their own reasons why they just so happened to have walked into that very cafe that you are in.

It's really quite beautiful. Everyone has their own story...their own worry...their own train of thought. Some sedately stand in line, arms folded while blindly glaring at the counter with unintentionally wide and owl-like eyes (almost as if they're "dogging" the barista), waiting for their drink, as they get lost in their own music prodded into their earlobes, while they dream off and lose themselves in nostalgia.

That same old man sits in the corner, with the same big eyeglasses that are tied around his neck in case he "misplaces" them, while he is reading his daily newspaper. Students come rushing in, covertly eyeing each other in the process, all eagerly waiting for their orders so they could scurry on to their abandoned studies. Loud blenders and archaic cash registers squeak as the receipt prints because naturally they don't take any credit cards...

Indeed, time spent in a cafe seems to be immortalized...seems to be so serene.

How fitting is that! The Godfather theme song JUST started playing- I kid you not. Oh the irony and tingling feeling of Déjà vu, coincidences, and of plainly perfect moments of serendipity.

Cafes are something else...

Let's get lost together in one.

~ rom is roaming in rome with the romans

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anatomy of a Murder

For all of you who are interested in becoming an attorney or contemplating on what type of law you'd like to practice, I highly, strongly, fervently, whoelheartedly urge you to read the best-selling novel entitled "Anatomy of a Murder."

Based on a real 1952 murder case, the author of this fictional novel is Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker, who writes under the pseudonym "Robert Traver."

This is probably one of the most eloquent pieces I've read and the story is based off of an actual case Voelker had taken on as a defense attorney in Michigan.

This ~400 page novel will seduce you into the the legal realm of verbal, tongue-in-cheek jousting; the logically perverted, and even comedic exchange of arguments, the lawyer-led investigations and quest for truth, and the witty cross-examinations are simply titillating. I guarantee you- if you have even the slightest interest in law, you'll enjoy this read. This novel does a wonderful job portraying the frustrated pursuit of a lawyer seeking justice and going through any means to attain it. "Anatomy of a Murder" does a superb job indirectly showing readers what it really means to be a good criminal lawyer. I am a firm believer in the idea that good books- be it ficiton or non-fiction- always evoke some type of emotion. You will undoubtedly lose yourself in the suspense of it all.

Below I've included some of the witty or eloquent exchanges of dialogue in the novel. I believe "Anatomy of a Murder" does an excellent job encapsulating every aspect of life including: love, jealousy, and friendship.

Read it, and tell me if it is murderously unappealing.

Some quotes from the novel:

on friendship: "Friendship itself is such a curious mixture of chemistry and propinquity, of the almost scarily fortuitous quality in kindred souls occasionally being lucky enough to find each other. "

on ego: "He wore his ego like a halo."

on crying: "There was the glitter of a coiled serpent in his eyes."

on the reality of human convictions: "Passion and human nature exceed reasoning and rational thought."

on love: "A lawyer caught in the toils of a murder case is like a man newly fallen in love: his involvement is total. All he can think about, talk about, brood about, dream about, is his case, his lovely lousy goddamn case. Whether fishing, shaving, even lying up with a dame, it is always there, the pulsing eternal insistence thump thump of his case. Alas, it is true: the lover in love and the lawyer in murder share equally one of the most exquisite, baffling, delightful, frustrating, exhilarating, fatiguing, intriguing experiences known to man. And it looked like I was rapidly falling in 'love'."

on jealousy: "I consider jealousy the most corrosive and destructive of all emotions and I long ago made up my mind that I refused to be jealous of anyone or anything. life is simply too goddamn short."

on murder trials: "I have a confession to make..I am a rabid fan of murder trials, a fan just as hopeless in my way as those hordes of panting and painted harpies out there who are jamming our sessions. I am endlessly fascinated by the raw drama of a murder trial, of the defendant fighting so inarticulately for his freedom--his is the drama of understatement---, of the opposing counsel-- those masters of overstatement, flamboyantly fighting for victory, for reputation, for more clients, for political advancement, for God knows what--, of the weathervane jury swaying this way and that, of the judge himself trying his damnedest to guess right and at the same time preserve a measure of decorum..{he paused} Yes, a murder trial is a fascinating pageant."

human communication- or lack thereof: "The lack of knowledge of people, our lack of human communication, one with the other, may be the big trouble with this old world..for lack of it our world seems to be running down and dying- we now seem fatally bent on communicating only with robot missiles loaded with cargoes of hate and ruin instead of with the human heart and its pent cargo of love. And now -- it seems almost as though a despairing God or nature or fate- call it what you will- has finally challenged mankind to open up its heart or perish. "

on trustworthy lawyers (an oxymoron): "A lawyer in court trying to win a big case is like a newspaper man sitting on top of a big scoop-- he's not to be trusted. Never. At such times a lawyer would betray his own grandmother. So help me, I've done it myself." {lol}

acting in the legal realm: "Lawyers were something like actors: their range was limited by the play; they had to take the script as they found it; they dared not change the words or tinker with the dialogue. When they did they became either ham actors, on the one hand, or else shysters."

how attorneys coach their clients before the court cross-examination: "The Lecture is an ancient device that lawyers use to coach their clients so that the client won't quite know he has been coached and his lawyer can still preserve the face-saving illusion that he hasn't done any coaching. For coaching clients, like robbing them, is not only frowned upon, it is downright unethical and bad, very bad. Hence the Lecture, is an artful device as old as the law itself and is used constantly by some of the nicest and most ethical lawyers in the land."

How/why lawyers twist and pervert what they already know to be the truth: "We lawyers quickly develop a protective scar tissue to take care of that…It is our lofty conviction, hugged so dearly to our hearts, that our cause is basically just and right and that those on the other side are just a pack of lying and guilty knaves."


~District Attorney Keshishyan :p

Friday, April 2, 2010

Armenianess: The identity stigma

"What kind of Armenian are you?": a question I was asked recently by a fellow Armenian. I was dumbfounded.

It is an infamous, age-old, diabolical question indeed. That question and the answers that follow seem to carry so much stigma. In my humblest opinion, I believe it takes a bit of small-mindedness to inquire about such petty, unimportant intricacies of one's own ethnic makeup.

I have yet to realize or understand what it is about the answer that will effect the current conversation at hand. Will my answer change, enhance, or diminish my valuation as a human being? Will my answer incite negative or positive (and never neutral) judgment on behalf of the inquirer who needs but that answer to stereotype or conclude my whole entire character and worth?

Me? Born in Glendale (gtown), CA...lived in Lakewood, Colorado for almost 4 years.

Mom's family is from Karabakh (present-day Azerbaijan) with ties to Russian ancestry coupled with a completely unintelligible Armenian dialect that only regional natives can comprehend; this makes her an Armenian, Russian, and Turkish speaking "Karabakhsti".

My brother Denis (a very Armenian name indeed :p ) was born in the capital- Yerevan, Armenia. This makes him a "Yerevantsi" or "Hayastanci".

Dad's family is from Iran, he is of the regional sect of "Bulgartsis" (sp?)..1969 marked the relocation of his family back to Armenia to reclaim "pure" Armenian identity, so that future generations are not enmeshed in an "identity crisis"- so that a future loquacious Romina isn't confused as to whether she should deem herself American, Hayastanci, Hayrenadarts (in Armenian means "returner to Armenia"- more specifically for Persian-Armenians), Zimbabwean..etc..

Perhaps I have difficulty with this question because I myself cannot conceive or distinguish one inherent identity for myself. So I refer to myself as a mut or simply reply that my background is a bit-"eclectic"- for lack of a better word.

Saying I'm Armenian-American kind of, diminishes the value of my own long-surviving culture and traditions, and nobody ever wants to replace their inherent bloodline with a pseudo-identity that has so many divergent shared values, borrowed customs, and an exhausting history of colonization that really only veritably confirms that the phrase "pure American" is an oxymoron.

Saying I'm Persian-Armenian is fallacious, because although there are certain divergent dialectical differences in the colloquial language exchange from my dad's side, I know nothing about the culture or tradition and unfortunately do not (yet) have a strong affinity to inquire more about it.

So when somebody inquires as to what "kind" of Armenian I am, stupefied, I ALWAYS have to take a moment to figure out my identity. And there's nothing worse than constantly questioning one's own identity- 21 years in their prime.

The truth is, I was born in China- so I'm naturally Chinese-American. I'm a day late with the April fool's spell, but I suppose next time an Armenian inquires about my make-up, I'll have no choice but to make fun. Because it really is silly to ask, sometimes frustrating, and often times demeaning - breeding only conversational immodesty.

After all, one never asks an American, "what kind of American are you?" It almost sounds insulting, as if the answer you give will bolster or detract one's own perception of you as a human being.

I naturally have lots more to say, but seeing as how I have a lot of readers (-_-), I should probably do the rest of my bantering of such tedious matters in my sleep. Deep down though- this isn't a tedious matter. There's this entire underlying stigma associated with how each classification of "Armenians" compete with eachother- and how stereotypes are associated with the "kind" of Armenian you are. There are -ian vs. -yan last name wars (that developed here in the U.S.). Family culture, etiquette, class, and eloquence is based off of the sect you represent. And one of my personal favorites: the eugenics test- where each "kind" of Armenian fights their Armenian counterparts and prides on being the "purest" form of Armenian (language purity- Western dialect/Armenia vs. regional puritans- Eastern Armenia(ns)...etc). The list of stereotypes and cultural clashings can go on and on. So no, this is not a tedious matter. People who ask want to size up. People who ask want to equate. People who ask want to judge your character by simply knowing a background that cannot tangibly define YOU.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go finish up my Mandarin homework. Zai hui.