Thursday, December 31, 2015


BACKGROUND NOTE FROM ME: In 2014 I took a very deep interest in philosophy and to expose my stunning ignorance of philosophical concepts I decided to deal with a nagging existential question of what does it matter what I do? I wrote this short polemical essay first in 2014 without looking up any philosophical concepts and refined it in 2015.

Beauty and Beast by Dorota Quiroz 

When I think about this very important question: "WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHAT I DO?" that keeps popping in my head every time I attempt to do something hard, important or when I want to invest effort in a worthy cause, I catch myself categorizing my self-doubting answers along those lines:


When I'm done with this whole life deal, will someone be there to tally my efforts, good deeds and struggles?  Can I get the praise and reward on my good doing while I'm still alive? Karma is not a very reliable source of getting back what I have put into spreading good deeds around me. Evil doers and Little Makers are most likely to be punished (but not always) during their lives but what about the good doers being rewarded for their good doing during present time? 

The question of doing good during your life time because otherwise you will be punished later in afterlife seems like a bribery. Or even expecting something good in return for doing good seems egotistical and self-indulgent. What if there is no reward or punishment like we were taught in our religious upbringing? After all, it's pretty sour deal if there are no consequences for our deeds in after life. What if there is just nothing and really only your consciousness is the only judge that will torture you during your lifetime but maybe not after death? 

Liar, Liar (after Andre Kertesz) by Dorota Quiroz
I guess it comes down to your spiritual beliefs and what system of judgement it supports. The need for a greater being or a power to be the Counter of all deeds is overwhelming… otherwise, in a way, all Good Doers are cheated out of their reward and Evil Makers are excused for their bad behavior. 

Yet, another point emerges in this debate… What we do is what we are. 

Let's assume there is no eye in the sky that is watching us... Do Good Doers have better lives versus Evil Doers without the third eye keeping the tab? I have known people who did bad things and the troubles and vices they have to deal with on a daily basis - a perpetual trail of unhappiness, tears, pain and chaos - was a permanent tattoo on their souls. In itself, such a living seems like an exhausting venture to hell on earth and constant dealing with after shocks of such disastrous existence, one would be actually happy to leave this place for whatever is next with a thought that it can't get any worse than what was experienced so far. 

Duality (after Andre Kertesz) by Dorota Quiroz
The existence of a Good Doer is more peaceful and joyous in itself because of the positive attributes of doing good onto others. I'm not saying that the lives of Good Doers don't have their own problems, but when one lives everyday with a mission to be good, helpful, productive and inspiring, such problems melt in the light of what one tries to accomplish. Is that the ultimate reward that we are looking for in our lifetime? Harmony, happiness and peace?


The awful thought that we and our dreams and achievements have no real influence on the larger world is very destructive. Such perspective is often experienced when one is exposed to large crowds or when one realizes through travel, reading and time how big the world is and how small we are in a proportion to it. Even our biggest achievements that we struggled to accomplish can be viewed as minuscule in the world record book of human invention and discoveries. The realization of our mediocrity against the measurement of human genius is a true motivation crusher and debilitating disease of blaming God on lack of talent as did Salieri in "Amadeus". 

Yet, are these individual endeavors of any lesser value because they don't measure up in the larger scale of human accomplishment? We are not all here to break records, win gold medals and invent cures for cancer (although it would be nice) and our individual strive for betterment of ourselves and the world around us is in a way an individual strive of making humanity and the world a better place. What we do and what we dream adds another pixel point to a large photograph of who we are as a human race. Bad deeds work the same way… from small lies and gossip, to theft, rape and murder - these all do matter in a greater human picture of what evil we are capable of, and making the portrait of us that much darker. 

The idea that it won't make any difference in a long run is a deceitful one. The affect of our good and bad deeds, can be short-lived or long termed and direct beneficiaries of either action are usually the people around that person followed by new generations. The butterfly effect concept applies not only to physics but also to everyday actions. 

Think about the message in a famous movie by Frank Capra "It's a wonderful life". It deals with an idea of the importance of our existence or nonexistence. It's a double edge sort again with good doers and evil doers, for we wish for the existence of the first and nonexistence of the second. At the same token the assumption that nothing good comes out of existence of a bad person is also fallible. Such existence might prompt the surge of good-doing, therefore appropriating the existence of evil. 


As I sit here and write this essay, I start to ask myself: "Why am I even bothering with writing this…. I'm not inventing anything new or coming up with original thought or idea,  I'm just wasting my time on writing something that no one will read, learn from or even appreciate it!" 

The answer is that I'm writing this because it's pleasurable to hear the sound of typing keys. I'm writing this because I need an excuse to get away from the mundane life of daily habits. I'm writing because it's a way to organize and clarify my fleeting thoughts, a way to leave something behind me.

It's only human to have some kind of input in a greater scheme of things, to leave some trace of one's existence behind for future generations without worrying if it will make any difference or not. The belief that we actually can do that today shows progress of humanity as a whole. Think about Middle Ages and a number of people who were able to read, write, and to produce knowledge, to affect anyone... Today, with the spread of learning, knowledge and technology more people can make a contribution to the larger domain of human intelligence.

What I write today might be lost in a digital world or be destroyed by fire or flood, if it's in a printed version, yet the possibility of what could happen to this little blurp is infinite and exciting. It could be the only document surviving from year 2015 as manuscripts found at Herculaneum after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and could be studied by famous scholars and stored under strict rules of preservation. And then of course, it could be another entry on a blog that no one reads and makes no sound when falling in the forest.

It seems that instead of answering the question, I found myself asking more questions... which I think is a point of searching for meaning. I find philosophy very helpful in understanding that I'm not the only one who faces such dilemma. It is supportive of notion that human beings, the rational animals that we are, will try to understand our purpose here in this world and use the knowledge we possess in determining where we are going and why...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


There are dogs and there are pugs!
There are pugs and there is LOLA!

Her Name was Lola, She was a showgirl by Barry Manilow

Pug is a special kind of breed: active, dedicated and eclectic as well as annoying, stubborn and even outrageously inconsiderate, especially when you need peace and quiet.

Lola, my love
Fat Pancho
Pancho and Lola, Son and Mother

Pancho and Lola

A pug snorts, snores and grunts with occasional wet spits, slobbers and soft licks. It is a walking sound machine...

Pancho, the curious pug

Pancho the Clown

Yet, despite of such striking contrast of characteristics, the pugs are so far the most adorable breed of dogs I have ever owned and nothing breaks my heart more than leaving my pug Lola, while traveling to and living in Japan for extended amount of time. 

Lola looking guilty

Lola inspecting grass
Lola, the beach bum

Lola sunbathing
Daddy's Favorite Girl!

Lola, the daughter I've never had 

Lola with her favorite Zombie
Lola, the pirate
I miss her loud snores, muted grunts, whizzing breaths and chocking coughs. I crave her sleepy blank stare and attentive gaze when being called to cuddle. I dream of the smell of her paws and extended stretches on the couch. Lola is always on my mind...
Lola, my walking companion

Lola, the porch bum
All those who ever owned or own pugs now can surely relate to my sorrow and feel my heartache... Lola was my walking companion, always by my side in a kitchen or sleeping in a chair waiting for her neck to be scratched... She is in good hands now, but I so wish she came along with me on my Pacific Adventures!

When I did some research on pugs, I found some lovely images in art of pugs and their adoring owners across the time. Here are some examples of pugs in art and photography.

A girl with a pug by Charles Burton Barber 

"Lola, the birthday girl" by Dorota Quiroz

"The Fountaine Family" by William Hogarth, 1730
George Selvyn by Reynolds
"Lola, exercising" by Dorota Quiroz

Richardson Brothers, 1901
This historical pug photograph is from "A Thousand Hounds"
by Raymond Merritt & Miles Barth Published by Taschen

"Princess Golitsyna" by Luis Michael van Ioo
"Lola, the wine enthusiast" by Dorota Quiroz

Vintage Boy with pugs

Pug Study 
Queen's pugs

For more pug art, please check out Nick Water's Website "The Pug: Heritage and Art"

Monday, August 31, 2015


Dorota Quiroz "I'm going to Japan Selfie" 2014
About year ago, I decided to answered a call from a strange and distant land - Japan. Twelve long months in Japan flew by like a violent wind blow on Okinawa's coast line, shaken up my wild hair of assumptions, torn off my scarf of expectations and knocked me down to my knees laughing loudly at my attempts to understand it.
Dorota Quiroz "Okinawa Map" 2014
I don't understand Japan, yet... or to be more specific, I don't understand its distant younger sister, Okinawa, yet. I have been having a travel affair with her for over memorable 10 months now and we went through all typical phases of a typical relationship:

Dorota Quiroz "Okinawa Dancer" 2014
INFATUATION (August -September 2014)
Okinawa was alluring, exciting, fresh, different and strange at the beginning. She awed me with her curvaceous landscape and slender lines of ocean horizon. She smiled with glorious sunrises and cried with unexpected rain tears of a summer day. She blew delicious kisses of evening breeze and hugged my eyes goodnight with masterpieces of color. I wanted to smell her scent on me, taste her exotic flavor when I licked my lips and be in a constant physical contact. I just could not get enough of her.

Dorota Quiroz
"Clover Field on the top of mountain" 2015
LUST (October 2014)
My lustful cravings to be outdoors were feverish and I just wanted to become one with her and devour her without anything holding me back. No inhibitions or worries to get caught. I wanted to corner her somewhere in a cave or behind the jagged edge of the huge boulder sticking out of shoreline and to make love to her loud and hard. This desire to take Okinawa and make it mine was like a primordial force in me, reviving my instincts and turning me into a wild beast. She was so beautiful... she belonged to me, she should have been mine!

Dorota Quiroz "Fisherman Wife's Dreams" (after Hokusai) 2014
                                                          POWER STRUGGLE (November - December 2014)
Despite my animal-like wanderlust drive, she wouldn't subdue and fold submissively into my arms. She was fighting me back, scratching my feet with sharp edges of rocks and burning my skin with relentless scorching sun. Always unpredictable, permanently surprising, she would give me those sarcastic, defiant looks, warning me constantly not to get too comfortable and complacent.  She would play tricks on me when diving, playing with pressure, equipment or just my nervse. Once a while she would slap me on my cheek to remind me that she was in charge and not the other way around.

Dorota Quiroz "Mongoose vs. Habu" 2014

Dorota Quiroz "Ie Island" 2015
BETRAYAL (January - March 2015)
I gave her all of it: my time, dedication, and passion and without any hesitation she threw it all away. She got cold, bitchy and distant. She would ignore my calls when I was not working to come out and see me - must have sent 1000 pleas trying to entice her to come out and show her bright smile to me. When I would finally reach her, she would greet me with chilly awkward hugs followed by dramatic weeping full of stingy cold tears. She knew I needed her and she was toiling with my fragile state. I needed to be with her in her warm loving arms, exploring her beauty but she was the ultimate queen of ice. I don't know how I survived this stage, it was very hazy and depressing.
Dorota Quiroz " Bloody toe!" 2015
COMPROMISE (April 2015)
Finally, she snapped out of her bad mood, and one sunny day, after a delicious seafood lunch by the sea, she came back to me. I forgave her her coldness and took her right back without any hesitation. I needed her bright smile, her positive outlook on life, the rough edges of her adventurous character and mischievous and capricious humor. I needed her to breath normally and to be myself again.

Dorota Quiroz "Kayaking Okinawa" 2015

COMPANIONSHIP (May - June 2015)
Dorota Quiroz "Waiting patiently for his surfing buddy" 2015
We became best of friends, guessing each other thoughts and finishing each other sentences. I could never predict her mood the next day but mine would be always good because I knew I would see her, event for a short 30 minutes. Inseparable on weekends, our rendezvous would turn into never-ending marathons of companionship. By foot, car, bike, or boat, I would travel as far as I could to meet her in our new secret places and she would whisper in my ear the sweet secrets of her past and her hopeful dreams for the future.

Dorota Quiroz "Pure joy" 2015
Is it a everlasting love? I don't know yet... She mentioned to me that she had many Okinawa lovers, some American ones too. The time will only show if we are made for each other... but I can positively  say I am excited when I think I'm going back for another 10 months to see her again...

Dorota Quiroz "Mellow Yellow" 2015
I came back and I know I missed her. I couldn't wait to see special spots I have been to and familiar corners that gave me relief to take a deep breath and be thankful that I'm back in Okinawa again...

Dorota Quiroz " Sunrise" 2015
Dorota Quiroz
"Golden Afternoon" 2015 
Dorota Quiroz "Sunrise at Tangen" 2015