The Rat

•25 January 2020 • Leave a Comment

Happy new year! This lunar new year has afforded me an extended chance to reflect on my life and what I want to manifest for my 28th year on Earth. I like that the start of a new Gregorian decade coincides with the start of the Lunar calendar. For me, it signifies a fresh(er) start.

In fact, it’s such an early new year, it’s still in January. Classic year of the rat’s earliness, am I right? I was thinking of setting resolutions and goals for myself for this year, but then I realized that I’ve just been continually setting and achieving goals already, throughout the year. It’s just about doing things each day. It didn’t even seem like accomplished much during the year (an arbitrary amount of measurement), but then looking back, it all compounded and I’m so much farther than I was a year ago. It’s kind of cool in that respect. So anyway, I just don’t know what else I want to add it my to do list because I figure I have enough to keep me occupied right now.

During these twenty odd days between the first and the twenty-fifth, there were a lot of tears, revelations, and re-evaluations. It turns out there was still so much to think about and the new year reminded me. All it takes is the right mindset, of which I am in control. “I choose”. I was coming into the new year with hope, but at the same time, I was held back by dark clouds- thoughts that were keeping me from really believing myself when I said I wanted to be better.

But in these first few weeks of 2020, I’ve been reminded that I can still feel and honor any emotions, but I can then control how I act and react. I’m honestly just tired of feeling hopeless.

I think I’ve thrown myself into so many projects that I’ve forgotten to take care of my mind. Growth starts from within. It’s an important reminder to work on the Self every day; not just like a routine, but mindfully practicing. Sitting with the Self can be hard, but it’s a necessity to better ourselves as human beings.

PS Isn’t it weird that there’s over a decade of my life documented online, on this blog? When I look back at my writing, I tend to cringe or realize that I’m still working on that one thing and maybe somethings never change. But damn, can I take a second to be proud of my growth? To just live in this space I’ve created for myself and not apologize for being myself?

The Visionary 2k20

•1 January 2020 • Leave a Comment

As I was rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender (the greatest show in existence), I found a new appreciation for all the characters (especially Toph, whom perhaps I had not appreciated enough). Before, I thought I was the meat and sarcasm (and idea) guy, but as it turns out, I’m actually now completely like Aang. Pacifism and balance, appreciation of animals and nature, and all that cool monk shit.

It’s hard for me to verbalize how I feel about 2k19. It’s a year that flew by. Yet it doesn’t even feel like the end of the year to me, let alone the end of the decade (let’s not get into the semantics about how the end of every year is the end of a decade please). I didn’t make major life changes (except getting a car), though I feel like so many things have changed and evolved so incrementally, I barely even noticed. Particularly, my mindset and my way of life has been at the forefront of my thoughts as I’ve tried to constantly make sure I’m living mindfully and in line with my values.

My goal for 2k19 was to embrace the unknown (Into the unknown! Into the unknooowwwwwnnn!!) and allow myself to be in the moment, whether comfortable or not. I don’t know if I accomplished this, or perhaps there just weren’t many notable moments. It was the everyday, the smallest parts…in the littlest of moments.

When I looked back at posts this year, there’s been an interesting dichotomy of feeling like I’m headed in the right direction in life and simultaneously feeling like I’m not doing enough in life. The dichotomy of being comfortable versus being too comfortable. The dichotomy of having a purpose in life and not doing anything and feeling worthless. What does “enough” mean to me? There were a lot of highs and I don’t think there were that many lows. But there has been a lot of eco-anxiety and compassion fatigue. To be honest, I’m still not sure how to deal with that going forward and I’m not sure it will ever go away.

2k19 highlights

solidifying my values again and again until I found a solid base

buying a new car, my dream car, and falling in love with driving again

continuing my minimalist journey and learning to let go of material possessions

getting a home gym

planning and executing a successful bachelor party for my best friend

attending said friend’s wedding and enjoying a vacation with our group

enacting veganism and anti-consumerism as much as possible

A look at my values

  • Connection is a value because I believe at the root of everything, humans must have connection in order to survive. Without it, we are nothing. To me, connection is also about feeling connected to your inner self, understanding yourself and what you want. I want to be able to always choose kindness and helping those that are less privileged than me. I also want to be able to stand up for myself and my convictions even if they’re not always conventional.
  • Development is a value because I think it’s important to always be learning and always be growing. I want to be able to accept challenges that avail themselves to me. I want to learn new hobbies and ideas and adventures. Taking care of my mind, body, and spirit are all equally important and being able to grow in all of these aspects is key.
  • Freedom is a value because I can’t be happy without the freedom to do what I want to do in life. I want to free my mind of any thoughts that hinder my progress and growth. Being free is partially about time, but it’s also about being free of expectations. Strangers’, loved ones’, my own…expectations just keep us from reaching our full potential. I want to break free of all these ingrained ideas that keep us locked up.
  • Sustainability is a value and in fact, it’s the most tangible value because there are specific things I can do to live my authentic self. I want to be an environmental steward. Minimalism, veganism, anti-consumerism, zero waste, ethical living, and all that good stuff.

Have I been living in line with my values this year?

I am continually evolving and through the course of the year, have changed and refined what I consider to be my true values. So far, I think I’ve been doing well. I should speak up more and communicate more clearly in the face of injustice. I should be more consistent about health. I want to learn to be comfortable with doing what I’m doing and not second guessing if it’s what I should be doing, thereby ruining my enjoyment. As always, there’s always room to grow in sustainability.

I’ve been good about opening my mind to different ideas and ways of life and removing judgment from the forefront of my mind. I’ve quite enjoyed practicing new hobbies and learning new things. Reading has been really enjoyable for the most part, even when the book isn’t the greatest. I’ve been doing well with my flexibility and time and priorities daily.

A look at my projects

  • My long term goal is still to obtain a Master’s degree and a doctorate. I haven’t been focused too much on this, though it’s time to really dedicate myself to this again.
  • Some new and continuing hobbies include: ASL, massage, shuffle dance, and digital art. I’ve been practicing everything every day when I have time and like seeing the progress I’m making.
  • All my other projects fall in line with building my brand of sustainability. There are still so many things I need to do, but that’s the fun part. I still would like to find the right volunteer organization for me. I’d like to build a compost bin and garden and decrease food waste in general. I’m working on my recipe book. I’d like to start my blog to help others.

A look at other philosophies

  • I think time, though a made up construct, limits a lot of what I want to accomplish. I’d like to try and utilize my time better. Currently, my daily routine looks something like: get up, practice ASL on the toilet, meditate, read a comic, work out and play a YouTube video and practice shuffling, eat breakfast and watch one episode of whatever show I’m watching, go to work and listen to an audiobook while driving, eat lunch, go home and eat dinner, wind down with art or games or some research into sustainability, read a book before bed, listen to some ASMR and drift off to sleep. It’s a mildly well-oiled machine. Though I set intervals for each of these tasks (and you can see how much I multi-task and like to do a little bit of everything every day), it’s never really set in stone and things move around often. It keeps things fresh and also allows me to be flexible with myself. I think consistency is the key to progress. A little bit every single day adds up to a lifetime of experience.
  • I noticed this year that most of my previous ideas about money have gone out the window. I have the privilege to free myself from this attachment to capitalism and this feeling that I need to save money for this nebulous future. That’s not to say I don’t get anxiety about retirement and savings. I do have a savings after all. But it’s a realization that I can detach myself from this notion that I’m barely scraping by. That I can allow myself to really enjoy something without regretting a purchase.
  • I’ve grown attached to consuming media (not starting this year, but that is to say that this year is no different). I used to watch episodes live for all my shows. Then I moved to binging all episodes (as in I’d watch as much as I could in a day and continue daily until I finished the season). Now, I’ve adapted to this idea of patience (it’s mainly a way of controlling my time and not allowing myself to fall into a rabbit hole). What I do is (1) wait for a full season to be over then (2) watch one episode a day but only while I am eating a meal. This method has, for me, multiple benefits. I don’t feel disgusting as I used to for binging 12 hours at a time. I can prolong a show’s lifespan without having to wait weekly for new episodes. This allows me to view a season holistically instead of forgetting week to week or melding episodes together in one 12 hour marathon. I don’t feel like I’m just sitting there (at least I’m eating). I can stack my shows back to back so I don’t have long weeks of nothing to watch. If I want to, I can go back and binge the same season in the background while I do something else, but can passively catch things I missed the first time around.
  • I just realized typing those last three points that my life is just a series of cost-benefit analyses.
  • As I’ve said, this year, I’ve been grappling with my eco-anxiety at its peak. Every time I learn something new about something, I try not to shy away from being aware of it in its entirety. This has caused me to feel like everything I do is causing harm to the world. I’m not at one with Mother Earth. So sometimes, the depression hits so hard, I just opt out of doing anything or talking to anyone. It’s frustrating for me to even exist and the baffling thing is that I’m probably only aware of 10% of human corruption and destruction. I want to be mindful of everything, yet the more I learn, the more fatigue I get. I have difficulty allowing myself to let go in order to enjoy, but boy can I sure fake it! Sometimes, upon later reflection, I found that I was able to enjoy doing things because I can be in the moment, or I do just waive off the anxiety, or I do just forget about how damaging it is. It’s a give and take, though I’d like to continually take steps in bettering myself and also try to open others’ eyes to the injustices (without being too harsh).
  • Currently, if I had to rate my mood regarding humanity, I feel like throughout 2019, it just continued to roll downhill. My general worldview is that humanity is driven by greed or self-indulgence or convenience. Everyone just wants more money and things, self-enjoyment at any cost, and ease of access. “Cheap labor, treating people and animals poorly, using plastic products…all of these will increase profit margins, who cares the cost”; “Life is short, I love cheese, it’s only one piece of plastic wrap or spoon or napkin or toilet paper”; “This plastic product is much cheaper, as is this meat, as is Amazon”. It’s a hard pill to swallow when one wants to be hopeful about the future. People do things because they can and they don’t know or don’t care what it means, what it affects, what went into it. I think what really frustrates me is people are so apathetic and it’s hard to make people care.
  • Here’s where I am with my nutrition. Previously, any meals I’d make would be vegan. So most of the time, my breakfast and lunch would be vegan. But when I’d eat dinner at home, it was not. And if I didn’t have a breakfast or lunch prepared, I’d usually find something in the fridge that was not vegan. If I went out to eat, I’d try to find vegan options and if none were available, at least vegetarian. I’d generally eat whatever food people offered as well because food waste trumps everything else. Now, I am trying to do 100% no dairy. I will still be opportunistic about meat. I also am making my own dinners now, so those will be vegan. I want to give up dairy because (1) #dairyisscary, (2) the dairy industry is a scam, (3) there are really good alternatives now, (4) personal health and lactose intolerance, (5) animal abuse.

What does it mean to be a visionary?

I’m going to look to the present and the future with wisdom and creativity and open-mindedness. As always, I would like to continue to be growing…not necessary growing up, but growing in all directions. I want to make healthy, solid goals for my future and enact change in the world.

I want to look at everything with new eyes, unclouded by bias (obviously very difficult because we are all ingrained with so much bias and prejudice and preconceptions). I want to see all aspects of people and places and things.

I want to know what I want and have a clear picture of it in my head.

#yearofthevisionary2k20

The 28

•17 December 2019 • Leave a Comment

I’d like to imagine 27 was still mid-20s, but I guess I can’t really say that for 28. Late-20s, baby! I’m gonna embrace old age with dignity, class, and all the wisdom I’ve gathered in life thus far. Just kidding, I am falling apart at the seams and am barely holding my life together as I continue to decay.

The birthday weekend wasn’t that productive, so I think that really caused me to want to push myself to have a non-zero day. I did continue my rewatch of my favorite, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I did get to finally play Kingdom Hearts III thanks to Alan. I did go out with friends. But I think that’s about as much I as accomplished.

Today was a good day. I’ve been on autopilot for a little bit now and even though I was aware of it, I wasn’t willing or able to push myself beyond that. But today was a good day, after all.

I woke up earlier than normal to make sure I seized the day. I did deadlifts for the first time in a while. I know, having a home gym, one would think it couldn’t get any easier that that. But oh no, the laziness threshold seems to fall farther and farther. I practiced a new shuffle move.

I took a cold shower, which isn’t anything new, I’ve actually been able to keep up with this.

Then I went to work and there was a fire in the adjacent parking lot. It’s a sign. I don’t know of what, but it’s a sign!

After work, I went to Trader Joe’s to finish grocery shopping because for some reason, I find it easier to shop after work than over the weekend even though I was supposed to do it over the weekend. I also tried this new thing where I actually stay within the budget I set for myself and not overspend. So I actually had to calculate how much I was spending as I shopped. Sorry, cashews, you’re too expensive. For me, I have the privilege to do this, though I guess it doesn’t make much sense because I have to go back and get them in a couple of weeks any way.

When I got home, I made dinner for myself. I forgot to thaw my frozen Impossible meat from the freezer this morning, but luckily microwaves exist.

And now I sit here watching Joker because it was just released digitally. So today was a good day because today was a productive day.

The Dark Skies

•1 December 2019 • Leave a Comment

My oh my, I’m already over these literal and figurative dark skies. On the contrary, I’m completely ready for using my new tea infuser and heavy blankets. The holidays are in full swing and I’m mostly excited for weekends where I don’t have plans so I can just have some time for myself and my thoughts.

Connection

  • Thanksgiving has come and gone; in reality, just another day this year for our family. I didn’t do anything of note besides taking some time to reflect on gratitude and people in my life.
  • I’m trying very hard to stand up for myself. Normally, I’m rather…I don’t want to say “shy” because I hate that word…maybe acquiescent. I will often adapt myself to situations so as to not inconvenience others or make them awkward. I’ve lived my life like this and I’ve learned there is value in this. However, as I get older, I’m learning to know when to do this and when to stop this mindset. I also deserve to get what I want as much as anyone else.

Development

  • I learned how to polish and wax my car thanks to Alan! Easier than I thought, though of course, washing a car with two people is much easier than one. Really cool that I can somehow not fret over every little scratch because we can just buff it out for the most part. Though ironically, also didn’t want to drive my car for like a week because she was just so beautiful and shiny (better than when I first picked her up). I did find myself not preoccupied with every little thing that was not new with my car. Like wrinkles, moles, and stretch marks on a body…they’re just a sign of experience and life lived.
  • Our kitchen is currently going through a remodel, as in, we pulled out the stove and I’ve had to get creative with meal prep. Lately, it’s been a lot of processed foods and quick meals for ease. Nonetheless, this has allowed me to try out some new vegan recipes and foods, so that’s a plus.

Freedom

  • Lately, I’ve been heavily consuming streamed media (as noted in all those movies listed below and other YouTube videos). I watch them in all moments of quiet. I don’t know, but maybe it’s because I’ve become so accustomed to the noise that having a moment where something isn’t playing in the background has become difficult for me. I’m watching YouTube as I type this, even. However, I’d like to move away from this and free myself from this habit and dependency. Not only should I relish the quiet, I should use it to my advantage to actually focus on specific tasks I’d like to complete. Granted this may be a little harder this month because listening to Christmas music 24/7 is a priority.

Sustainability

  • After moving, my parents misplaced my bidet attachment and I didn’t get a new one until recently, after the bathroom was remodeled. My butt missed it so much! A truly life-changing part of my life I should never go without (and neither should you!). Just remember, it’s good for the environment, your wallet, and your butt. Win-win-win!
  • I’ve been slowly gathering things from Sprouts in reusable containers. When I was using a pasta jar to get some chia seeds, a worker said if I used the plastic bag, it’s easier. The audacity! Granted, I knew I looked like I was struggling, but damn, read the room bro.
  • As I attempt to be more anti-consumer in my life, I’ve taken my time to understand the consumer culture and where things come from before every purchase. Even so, I found myself in need (want) of a laptop. Mine was several years old and it’s too slow to do much of anything. I’ve been using my work laptop for work and leisure, but that stopped working reliably. So I needed something new for work and for home. I first chose a company I wanted to support and essentially nixed all other options. I chose Microsoft because I support Bill Gates and would hope their products are at least not horrible for the environment. Of course, all the boxes and bags were unavoidable. But I did end up getting a Surface Pro 7 because I still wanted laptop capabilities but also wanted a tablet and pen to do some amateur art. Initially, I was going to get a Surface Book 2, but then the Pro 7 was on sale for Black Friday in a Costco bundle, so it seemed like a much better option. So far, it’s worked out well, but I guess I didn’t get to 0% Black Friday consumerism this year.

Signal Boost

Abominable. Cute animation, Asian cast, cute yeti, adventure, family, appreciation of nature and its inhabitants.

American Woman. Powerful performances, those small town white trash vibes, mystery, Sienna Miller knocks it out of the park.

Arctic. Mads Mikkelson, cold af, survival drama, a cute polar bear, harrowing and edge of your seat intensity.

The Art of Self-Defense. Black comedy, awkward and silly, very Jesse Eisenberg, creative.

Blinded by the Light. Bruce Springsteen, discovering music, discovering love and passion, in defiance of immigrant parent expectations, Asian lead, finding your own personal freedom, feel good. A new favorite.

Brittany Runs a Marathon. Funny, sweet, features an Asian male, quirky silliness, feel good, self hate evolving into self love, healing, it’s not about the running.

Crawl. Florida hurricane, natural disaster horror, alligators everywhere (not behaving like actual alligators), gory goodness.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Dora the Explorer, charismatic and cute and funny, creative, family and heart, exploration not treasure hunting, exceedingly self-aware, surprisingly really enjoyed this despite initial hesitation.

Fast Color. Superpowers, hiding from the law, a mother in distress, figuring out life, self-sacrifice, knowing one’s potential, beautiful imagery, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is brilliant as always.

Fighting with My Family. Biographical drama, wrestling family, parents’ dreams vs. your dreams, familial jealousy and love and support, women supporting women, Florence Pugh became my new favorite, funny with a lot of heart. A new favorite.

Freaks. Superpowers, hiding from the law, creepy and uneasy, reality vs. unreality, children being children, saving the ones you love, being abnormal, embracing your abnormal.

High Life. Space, future, what actually happens to mankind, space makes people crazy.

The King. Timothee Chalamet, historical drama, so I was bored, some fun fight sequences.

Klaus. Traditionally animated Christmas cuteness, funny and creative and heartwarming, Santa origin story we didn’t know we needed.

Late Night. Mindy Kaling is a dream, funny, heart-warming, underdog story, woman in the workplace, making space for your ideas, cute.

Let It Snow. Christmas cheer, heartwarming, teen angst out the wazoo, stellar and diverse cast, the cutest pig ever.

Little Monsters. Zombies, Lupita Nyong’o is perfect, unique story, lots of funny kids, gory and irreverent. A new favorite.

Little Woods. Sisters, drugs, doing what must be done to survive, quiet small town vibes.

Long Shot. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron chemistry we thought couldn’t be possible, actually not chauvinistic, fun and sweet, politics are so fake.

Midsommar. Creepy, eerie, spine-tingling, shocking and surprising at all turns, gory, quiet violence, Florence Pugh is bae. A new favorite.

Missing Link. Laika, cute and charming, adventure, very sweet, finding your own place in which to belong.

Ms. Purple. Asian American story, family vs. self, a difficult look at one aspect of AA life, beautiful, Justin Chon directed, tragic. A new favorite.

Noelle. Christmas, Anna Kendrick charisma, heartwarming, progressive, fun and corny.

Outlaw King. Historical drama, so I was bored, but Florence Pugh so I had to watch, some good bloodshed.

Parasite. Another Bong Joon-ho masterpiece, a mindfuck in the best way, artistic and cinematic, edge of your seat, funny and tragic, social commentary, I haven’t fully processed. A new favorite.

Plus One. Cute indie rom com vibes, Asian lead, wedding relatability, cute and funny.

Ready or Not. Black comedy, horror, rich people are whack, satisfyingly empowering, surprisingly irreverent and funny and creative. A new favorite.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (season 14). A show about how dysfunctional people can still somehow survive in society. They did it again, new material, complete irreverence, and always a great commentary on American culture.

The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality and Our Destiny Beyond Earth by Michio Kaku. A book about figuring out what humans are going to do in the future and how we’re going to get there. Is it even feasible? A riveting read, I listened to this throughout the plane rides to Florida. I was hooked because it was so fascinating, but easily digestible.

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. A graphic novel about a group of paper girls who run across some crazy future time-travel stuff and go on this confusing, wild adventure, discovering friendship and standing up for themselves against old people. Chiang’s art is gorgeous.

NieR:Automata. A videogame about a future where aliens have sent machines to Earth and humans had to move to the moon and androids are sent to make Earth livable again. The music and atmosphere and tone is hauntingly beautiful. The game actually has 3 total storylines to play through, where information continues to be revealed about the truth of humanity. It’s dark and unsettling, but there are cute little moments in the side quests or just walking around. Mechanically, some frustrating moments and it’s a bit simple, but overall very fun.

The Flight of Passage

•30 November 2019 • Leave a Comment

In the post below, I will detail my experience during my time in Florida for the event of the year: Amadeo and Catherine’s wedding! I stayed from Friday, November 1 to Wednesday, November 6. It was my third time in Florida, second time in Orlando, and first time going to a destination wedding, being in a wedding party, celebrating a wedding as an adult, and celebrating a wedding outside of the family. It was a wild, magical rollercoaster that I had been looking forward to for a long time and I enjoyed it very much. So happy for the homeboy Amadeo!

My goals for this trip were to travel sustainably, eat vegan, be the best Best Man, and try to relax because I fucking deserve it!

Our beautiful group minus two people who were not there for some reason…….

Friday: arrival

I essentially spent all day in my flight for Friday, which in retrospect, was probably a bad flight to have booked. I found a vegan burrito at the airport in Houston, but it ended up being not that great. I did get to listen to an audiobook on a flight for the first time, so that was a wonderful use of my time. However, I did plan on doing some work in my layover, but the Internet was too slow.

I did watch some guy (generic white dude in his 30s) scrolling through all his apps as we were waiting to take off. He would go from Bumble to Instagram to Facebook to texts over and over and just continue to text women. He would ask for a “current pic” because he was “about to take off and wanted to stare”. He would frequently use the following emojis, I think in an attempt to flirt: eye roll, face palm, wine glass. He was really bad at flirting, but it was interesting because these women would still talk to him. He would also occasionally scroll up through the message thread, I think in an attempt to remember to whom the fuck he was talking. There were a lot of women and I applaud him for trying to shoot his shot, but there’s something to be said for the douchebaggery and entitlement of it all.

I got into Orlando near midnight, though I couldn’t take Disney Magical Express until the day of my hotel reservation (the next day). I was planning on just sleeping at MCO because I’ve done it before and it’s actually spacious and rather nice there. I already saw a lot of people doing the same. However, Amadeo insisted I stay with them at their hotel room, so how could I deny the groom what he wanted? I did have roughly an hour to finish up some work stuff and MCO’s Internet was great, so that worked out.

After finally boarding the Express, it took a while to get to the hotel I was staying at, wait in line to ask if they had free resort to resort shuttles, have them deny me, then give up and just Lyft over to Amadeo’s hotel room to nap briefly.

Stoop kids at Grimmauld Place

Saturday: Universal Studios

Waking up early (actually, perhaps the latest of the entire trip), I headed back to Pop Century to meet up with Alan and Carol for our day at Universal Studios Orlando!

And can I just say this spoiler– it was a bizarrely perfect day at the park! Short lines, beautiful weather for the most part (except almost dying at the park without shade), butterbeer (not vegan, but a must for me), Beyond burgers (accidentally got with mayo), and being back at Diagon Alley gave me chills. Speaking of chills, we enjoyed a couple of Celestina Warbeck performances.

I also brought my wand which I got at this very park a few years ago so it was a magical dose of much needed nostalgia. Hopefully, taking the newcomers around the park was enjoyable for them as well. I almost bought a cool Gringott’s pin, but ultimately decided that it was too pricey and I don’t really need any more knickknacks, no matter how cool.

Universal closed early for Halloween Horror Nights, which I initially thought was a curse, but turned out to be a blessing because we needed to leave and have an actual rest.

We checked into Pop Century and I got my Magic Band and finally took a shower. I really liked the room we had and I liked that Disney was using refillable shower bottles. Still, though we think bar soap as better overall, I can’t help but think it’d be easier to have a liquid soap dispenser for less waste as we were unlikely to finish a whole bar. My butt was hurting because it missed my bidet. I imagine it’s how a baby is always crying because it cannot get its butt clean.

We met up with Kathy, Myron, Ryan, and Steph (our rooms were close!) to go to Disney Springs, aka Downtown Disney on steroids. Nothing really enticed me, though I was very close to buying a soft Mickey shirt at Uniqlo. Again, I realized that I didn’t really need it, but convincing others to get it worked out so I can live vicariously through them. Shopping isn’t too enticing for me anymore, so the place wasn’t all that exciting. I did get a vegan pizza at Blaze, which was really good, so perhaps I’ll add it to my list of go-to fast food back at home. The shuttle system took forever and we almost just Lyfted back.

Because we had an early day tomorrow, we went to bed early in anticipation of a jam-packed schedule.

This is the right after the moment my life changed forever

Sunday: Animal Kingdom

This was the only Disney World park that interested me, which worked out because I only had a single free day for the parks anyway.

Well, everyone got up early enough to make the shuttles and as we filed into the crowd, it seemed like utter chaos was about to ensue when the park opened. There were 13 of us and I wanted to keep track of everyone so we would all get on Flight of Passage.

There was a mass exodus to Pandora as everyone crept their way around and around until we were finally in line. Alan and Carol almost missed us at the turn, but they swooped in literally at the last moment. The wait was unbelievably short and the walkthrough was brief, yet nice. Luckily, we got into the line for the top row, which we were told was the best view.

I will not spoil it for you, but just some things to note. Avatar is one of my favorite movies. This ride was hyped for me prior to my arrival, but not spoiled. I was ready and willing to wait 2-3 hours first thing in the morning (I’m not sure exactly how long we ended up waiting, but it seemed around an hour or less).

But then the ride happened…I teared up, I found God, my life was changed forever. It was a truly magical experience. I will leave it at that.

After the ride, I finally got to actually enjoy the setting. The huge rocks, the beautiful flora, the mood-setting music. I was actually on Pandora in those moments.

Afterward, we went on other rides (I don’t even remember loljk) and watched the shows. I ended up not purchasing any food because I wanted to make sure I fit everything in. So when the group went to eat, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough time to run around to a vegan friendly place and actually find the time to get food and meet up with everyone in time. It worked out because I sustained myself on sugary snacks and ended up not being all that hungry. My travel diet is always really bad.

Though the day was long, it wasn’t over yet. A few of us went back to rest a bit before going to the pool, where I drank half a bottle of rose and found a second wind, ready and willing to exercise. There was also some impromptu massages because my neck and back were killing me. We were desperate for alcohol and Florida liquor laws are strict, but luckily we obtained some. Steph got too drunk and kicked us out in the early morning and I went to sleep drunk.

Downing 4 scotches was the way to go

Monday: wedding prep

Then I woke up drunk. I had kept the day open to help Amadeo with any wedding things like picking up our suits, grabbing groceries, etc. I pretty much ended up napping until the early afternoon and finished my best man speech. Luckily, I finally found the perfect sequence of words for the last part to fit right in. I had been procrastinating on this last part because I couldn’t figure out what exactly I wanted to say until that morning.

Then I grabbed my things and headed out to the Grand Floridian for the rehearsal. It was a gorgeous boat ride, though it did take an hour to get there with the whole Disney transportation system.

The rehearsal was less detailed than I thought it would be; we were just told the order of things that would happen during the ceremony. Then we went to our fancy room overlooking the water. Then on to the rehearsal dinner, which I was looking forward to because I hadn’t eaten a thing all day (and somehow survived without passing out).

The menu was multi-course and premade, so I had no other option than to eat it. It was delicious and filling and the restaurant was very pretentious and fabulous. I am naturally a horrible conversationalist, but drunk Amadeo held his own, slowly getting louder and louder with each glass of wine. I tried a red and a white and realized I still am not a wine person.

After dinner, we went back to the room and had extreme difficulty getting alcohol and ended up falling asleep. I did eat a box of leftover pasta and got into a fancy ass robe before getting into bed. When Justin finally came in, Ryan went to go get him but both got locked out and I had to go get them, but refused to put clothes on, so I was walking through the hotel in a robe. Luckily, no one was about at that hour.

Me shaking hands with my new bestie

Tuesday: wedding

The day was finally here! We had to be up early, though not as early as the girls next door. I wanted to stay in the robe for as long as possible. But the time had finally come to put on the suits. I did have some anxiety about this because last time I wore a tux, I looked like a toddler. At the fitting, I was also told I was between sizes. But luckily, everything turned out great! I was happy with how everything fit comfortably.

We headed out to the photo area at the lobby of the hotel, stopping by the general store to get some soda. We chugged 3 small bottles of scotch and saved one for later. Then we took a bunch of photos of the groom’s side and we were professionally told how to pose, which was nice.

Then it was time to head to the ceremony area, where we were placed in a room for waiting. At this point, I think I started getting nervous or perhaps it was because I had nothing to eat all morning.

Anyway, the wedding was a blur because all the moving pieces were moving very fast and probably because all I ingested were mimosas. I think I nailed my reading and my best man speech, but again…it’s all a blur. It was super fun though! We did have to run to the room to move everything before checkout so I started sweating before the reception.

Finally back at the room, I got to relax and my stomach was finally receptive to food (yay for cold pasta leftovers). I was going to just kick back and chill, but seeing as it was our last night, I mustered up a second wind to head to Disney Boardwalk with the others. It ended up raining on us, which wasn’t horrible, seeing as how the rest of the vacation was beautiful.

Tomorrow, was our earliest morning, but I wasn’t tired and Eileen, Kathy, and I ended up staying up talking.

In that moment, time froze as we locked eyes

Wednesday: manatees and departure

We had to get up at 0300 for our final plans for the vacation and all 6 of us succeeded! We said our goodbyes and left in the early morning 2 hours west to the Crystal River, home of the manatee!

I napped for most of the ride, very thankful for Alan and Carol helming the wheel. At McDonald’s, I got hash browns and accidentally ordered a strawberry banana smoothie because I thought it was vegan. My tongue said yes, but my bowels said no to the yogurt in it.

After a quick orientation and wetsuit fitting, we drove close by to a harbor area rich with seagrass. And we quickly found a manatee mama and her calf! So cute! Such absolute units! They were busy feeding and sleeping the whole time to care about us, but they were so funny to observe.

The water was cold towards the end and I didn’t notice everyone else leave, but our guide pulled me along and I got to witness a calf breastfeeding and it was magical! Apparently a very rare opportunity. I also definitely made eye contact with the calf, so that was just a swell way to end the trip.

I’m going to gloss over the racism of our boat driver and say that we were good on time and headed out back to Orlando, toward Gatorland. We did make a couple stops along the way to check out some roadside attractions. We dropped Kathy off so she could get a picture just like her dad did there years ago and went to go eat at Noodles & Co. I had 3 different Asian noodle dishes (all vegan!) which were all very good. I couldn’t choose just one and I knew I wanted leftovers, so I did have to use a plastic takeout box (which is actually reusable).

With a little bit of time left, we headed to the airport and said our goodbyes. Kathy and I were headed to Southwest.

At the airport, I finally got my matcha lemonade at Starbucks, which I’d been trying to get the entire trip. I carried around my reusable venti canteen everywhere, but hadn’t had the opportunity until now. Much needed caffeine and sugar.

While the flight wasn’t full and we almost had our own aisle together, at the last minute, someone (large) sat in between us (Kathy wanted aisle and I wanted window), so it was a bit cramped. I continued to listen to Michio Kaku’s The Future of Humanity, which kept me enraptured for the entirety of the trip.

We stopped in Denver for a layover just in time for dinner. We ate at Cantina Grill, which was actually a slightly different but equally delicious Chipotle. I had a grilled vegetable burrito (all vegan) and it was great! Denver was really cold though.

Finally, we headed out to LAX with good seats on the return flight. However, our flight was delayed because the plane needed a carwash (planewash?) at that precise moment for some reason.

Didn’t want to leave Florida

Post-trip

Okay, I definitely stayed within budget, partially because I starved myself unintentionally. My stomach has probably shrunk, but my wallet is content. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I think I did pretty poorly with eating properly, though I could’ve probably tried harder in this aspect. I did use my bamboo utensils often, so I’m glad I carried those everywhere.

Unintentionally, people would get me single-use items out of kindness, but I didn’t end up needing them. Ironically, perhaps still a waste not to use them once we have claimed them though.

I didn’t buy anything except a manatee tea infuser because it was useful and reusable and I for sure want to get into loose leaf tea because teabags are bad for the environment. The food I got was not zero waste, but I avoided waste as much as I could. At least I didn’t accept any drinks on the plane rides.

Being in a wedding can be a lot of work but I’m so honored to have been there for my friend. He didn’t need me much because everything went really smoothly, but I was ready if need be.

It was definitely a really amazing vacation with a lot of my friends, which is such a rare opportunity for our group. It’s cool that something can bring us all together like that. We don’t take vacations together, partially I believe because everyone has such different travel styles and priorities. However, as a resort vacation, this kind of worked out for everyone. As a highly sentimental person, I will hold these days in my heart for a long time.

The Bones

•8 November 2019 • Leave a Comment

Oh, fall is upon us in full swing! Serving us with the chilly nights, heavy blankets, clothes that cover up my arms and legs (ugh), and the creeping in of that crippling feeling of general life dissatisfaction to a degree where the anxiety weighs so heavily leading to procrastination and overall confusion with one’s life purpose snowballing into futility, pondering if there is even any sense in trying any further because the world is such a horrible place filled with horrible people and horrible things where everywhere you turn you are doing something wrong even when you try to do right!

My parents have begun renovation on the kitchen which has displaced my cooking abilities, which has been difficult. I was on vacation so I didn’t need to cook, but now we’ll see how long we can go on takeout and leftovers.

“When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter”

Connection

  • Click here to read about Los Angeles Comic-Con 2019.
  • Amadeo’s bachelor party has come and gone after roughly 2 months of planning and making sure that everyone would have at least a decently fun time, even if I wasn’t necessarily familiar with everyone’s party vibes. Truly a much needed weekend vacation, which I haven’t had too much of this year. We got a beach house in Oceanside and did some paintballing and axe-throwing and other fun stuff that one does for fun. I’m glad that no one went too hard, we did all the things on the itinerary, and we survived the weekend without incident. I’m proud of us.
  • My parents went to Oregon, leaving me alone again for a bit. I took the opportunity to spend the weekend with myself since I had no plans for the first time in forever and I was ready for a solo meditative retreat right in my very own home. Silence is one of those things we take for granted and sometimes (all the times), it’s necessary to just be present in the vastness.
  • I don’t think I’m mature enough to “get over it” when people/friends/family don’t have the same values as me or at least, respect my values. In general, I surround myself with open-minded, kindhearted people, but not everyone’s values align with mine. This specifically has to do with environmentalism (and my general eco-anxiety and level of panic 24/7, but I see people living like they don’t care and it’s REALLY HARD NOT TO BE PEDANTIC). I don’t know if it’s something I “need to get over” or if I just make new friends. It happens to people…they just grow apart and begin to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. And as a grown ass human, it’s my prerogative to choose with whom I’d like to hang out. It is likely too much to expect people to care at the same level that I do. It’s the “smartest person in the room” analogy in that I’d like to be the most environmentally ignorant person so I can continue to learn and grow in this respect. But that’s the beauty of social media because I can learn so much about the environment and ever other issue plaguing humanity and our planet.
  • I’m worried I might start to resent people I love because we don’t see eye to eye.

Development

  • So I’ve been experimenting with ASMR for sleep (by experimenting, I mean watching YouTube videos of people making noises into the microphone while I lay in bed). It’s been…interesting. I don’t think I get actual ASMR sadly, because I don’t feel the tingles, but it is rather relaxing, like a lullaby. I find myself knocking out before the video ends most of the time.
  • I’ve been trying to eat extra healthy post bachelor party, pre wedding because I don’t want to look and feel like absolute trash. It’s been hard because there are many temptations and Halloween means a lot of sugar in my periphery 24/7. Trying to get back in the habit of taking care of my body, though.

Freedom

  • I get that it’s human nature, but I just really dislike being thrown into a category and subsequently having these preconceptions placed upon me. I myself would like to break away from categorizing and compartmentalizing complex people and ideas. I think it’s a constant challenge to go against what your brain wants to do, but it’s an important thing on which to work.

Sustainability

  • So I’ve been in the shopping mood lately and it’s been rough. It’s so hard for me to support brands that don’t support the environment. There are brands out there, but of course, they’re very expensive. And that’s fine. My relationship with money is continually evolving, but these days, I find myself okay with spending upwards of 500% more than what I would normally spend on a product solely due to the fact that they are fair trade + vegan + eco-friendly, etc. Sustainability trumps everything else in my mind, but it’s difficult to find something that fits all the criteria.
  • That being said, I do need to try to understand that nothing is 100%, so in everything, there is give and take. We are all damaging the planet just by existing, but minimizing my impact before my inevitable death is what’s really important to me. I just can’t get caught up in the minutiae all the time otherwise it will consume me.

Signal Boost

Batman: Hush. An animated movie about the resurfacing of Batman’s villains and how Bruce Wayne really needed a good lay. Y’all finally! I’ve been disappointed with the recent DCAU films, but this one is a return to form. Some interesting twists and changes from the source material, which I enjoyed!

The Farewell. A movie about a family who decides to lie to grandma about her cancer. I’ve been waiting to see this for so long and it did not disappoint. Awkwafina is a marvel and I cannot wait to see what she does next. It’s a touching cultural piece that I can relate to in a way.

The Lion King. A movie about how animals really out here living in harmony with the Earth unlike humans who are shitheads and need to go extinct. Y’all, perhaps there was too much hype. Then again, I didn’t dislike it like I thought I would after the reviews came out. I am all about interspecies friendships, so all that was cute af. Everything else was decently done. It was like watching a National Geographic documentary but in musical form.

The Peanut Butter Falcon. A movie about a man with Down syndrome who dreams of being a wrestler. What a sweet film about friendship and dreams and the idea of taking care of someone vs. not allowing them to live their life to their fullest potential.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. An animated movie about how Diana tries to help humanity even though humans are shitheads and need to go extinct. Ahem, oops, it slipped out again. Another stellar addition to DCAU and an original story, I believe. Very well done.

Big Mouth (season 3). A show about growing up and puberty and all the nastiness that entails living as an angsty kid growing up in today’s America. You know, as gross as this show is, it’s also very intelligent and well done. Also, the voices are amazing and it’s hilarious af.

Carole and Tuesday (season 1 part 1). An anime about two Martians who find themselves through music. Okay, but the music is bomb in this. I was hooked from the start. It did feel rushed (the whole competition stuff), but I enjoyed the little moments of character development.

Living With Yourself (season 1). A Netflix original show about a man who clones himself and has to live with the repercussions of his messed up spa day. Creative and silly, but also a bit dark. Some philosophical nuggets for sure.

The Terror: Infamy (season 2). An anthology horror series combining American, Japanese, Japanese American, Mexican, and Mexican American history. With a backdrop in WWII and Japanese internment camps, we all know what the real terror here was. Thanks to Olivia Munn who got me to go to this panel because her panel was after it, I didn’t know anything about this prior, but it turned out to be intriguing and I love supporting AA in the media (only season 2 is this setting). Very interesting, well done, eerie, and so depressing.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking. A book about a great mind answering some of life’s questions. So very interesting and profound and actually makes me excited for the future for once. I listened to this audiobook on the flight to Florida and it kept me so enraptured, I didn’t even need to sleep!

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. A book about a Communist spy and all his different roles in life post-Vietnam War. Interesting and well done, though I found myself sometimes losing focus or not caring. A very different narration of what we’re used to seeing about the Vietnam War era, so that’s much appreciated.

Extremity by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer. A limited series graphic novel about a girl who chooses between revenge and forgiveness in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by war. Deeply compelling and so brilliant in its quiet moments. My new favorite for sure. Ugh, all the feels. Left me wanting to learn so much more about the lore.

This Summer (EP) by Alessia Cara. An EP about the perfection that is summer 2k19. What a fitting entire EP for my mood of the summer. Very nostalgic and at the same time, fresh. My favorite is “Okay Okay”, but they’re all great.

Asylum by ARIZONA. A sophomore album from one of my favorites. Not as amazing as their first, but zamn, still all great songs and beats and makes me feel a sense of calm.

Cause and Effect by Keane. A return album post-hiatus! They’re back and in similar form because their sound hasn’t changed much, which can be a good and bad thing.

Norman Fucking Rockwell by Lana Del Rey. An album about how LDR is a classic with her soothing no fucks to give voice. Nothing else to say other than that this album is brilliant.

The Sailor by Rich Brian. A sophomore album that deals with Brian’s vulnerable side. I love it! Great mix of songs and styles that isn’t just pure rap. “Yellow”, “Kids”, “100 Degrees” are highlights, but I enjoyed the whole thing. I love following his success story.

The Bruised Ego

•6 October 2019 • Leave a Comment

In July, at SDCC, I bruised my two big toes probably because I was walking around in shoes that weren’t my own all weekend. I thought the pain was just from the walking, as per usual, but then the bruises formed. The pain went away quickly, but the bruises are still as dark as ever. I read online (like a zamn fool) that my toenails are going to fall off but so far, nothing. Only a part of the toe is bruised, so I’m not sure when it will resolve itself, but it’s annoying and it looks like I painted my toes black a while ago and now the color is starting to rub off, but I decided not to repaint them and just leave them like that.

Then in one Labor Day weekend, I suddenly became more accident-prone. I tripped up the stairs and stubbed two of my other toes on my left foot. One toe was bruised and another toe had a completely bruised toe nail. There doesn’t seem to be any major pain or anything like that.

A couple days later, I was picking frozen watermelon (very specific) and the nail on my right index finger (perhaps my most used finger?!) tore slightly and started bleeding under the nail. I hate when this happens because it makes me cringe just thinking about the detached nail. It hurt to use the finger with too much pressure.

I’m still recovering, but none of the nails have fallen off yet. They look like they’re getting ready though. I anticipate only one nail fully falling off because the other nails are not completely bruised.

“Can we quit paying attention to opinions and perfection? / Before we run out of youth”
“And I’ll never know if I never commit / So here’s me convincing myself I’m the shit”
“‘Cause I already got a good thing with me / Yeah, I already got everything I need”
“‘Cause I’m my own soulmate / I know how to love me / I know that I’m always gonna hold me down”
“They can call me whatever they want / So what if I am crazy”

Connection

  • For (less than) 24 hours, Alan, Carol, Kathy, and I channeled our inner caterpillar-llama-alpacas and did Questival. High key, the backpack we got was lit and was all worth it in the end even if our medal (my first medal omg) looks like a butthole and we found “creative” solutions to some of the quests. Questival is a day long adventure throughout your city doing challenges to help others, be social, do crazy things, etc. It was a really fun way to spend the day! Already planning next year’s adventure by being more prepared!
  • My D&D group put a hiatus on our campaign and characters (because a character just died and we were all about to do something crazy to avenge him) and started Descent into Avernus with new characters. It’s so fun playing as a completely different character and really start “acting” at the table. I’m excited to play around with a new character.
  • My parents went on vacation (they need more and they rarely go) and had to run through a list of things to do to take care of the house and not end up killing myself. I know they think I’m inept, but really, it’s not that much work if you just simplify things. The woes of owning a (large) house is that it’s just more work.
  • I’ve made plans every weekend for the past several weekends and that’s unlike me, so thankfully I decided to take this last weekend to myself, a me weekend, a mekend, if you will. It’s always so fulfilling to recharge and find stillness in the company of your own self. Also breaking out into song at all hours of the day and night is a plus.

Development

  • Last blog post, I told myself to learn some new things, so here I am learning all the things and it’s been so fun. I forgot the feeling of getting into something new and the feeling of something clicking. I’m going to keep “new things” under wraps for now. I will say these things have brought some excitement into my life because it’s always fun to learn things and challenge myself. I like being a jack of all trades, master of none. It suits me just fine.
  • I have a drug problem and it’s called added sugar. Other streets names include syrup, agave, honey, cane, HFCS. Don’t be fooled, it’s all bad. After getting a few hits of sugar, it’s a quick downhill slope to cravings, eating poorly, and feeling gross. A soda or two here, an ice cream a day, a piece or two of chocolate at work, fruit juice every morning because it’s easy. And before you know it, you’re in too deep. Skipping workouts and meal prep, looking for that quick fix. I’m glad I can recognize this problem while it’s happening so I can muster in myself the help I need. The first thing to do will be to consume everything first because we can’t waste it hehe.

Freedom

  • So I’m doing something crazy and trying to break free from videogames because I see how it can just consume me. Oddly enough, even when I can just save them for the weekend, I often have many other things to do, but I end up playing for hours on end because it feels like the only time I have to play. Ironic. I still do value videogames and it still does positive things for me. Because of that, I don’t think I’d ever give it up, but I’d like to have stricter restrictions set in place and a higher mental fortitude to control myself. This also has the added benefit of me not burning through my backlog too quickly. That being said, sometimes what I need is just mindless videogaming so I can just completely lose myself and free my mind from the burden of real life.

Sustainability

  • There’s this voice in my head that’s telling me that I’m not doing enough. It relates to many aspects, but most importantly, regarding sustainability. And the voice is correct. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that I can be doing more, but it’s all about how brains work. I have to constantly remind myself that it doesn’t help to give in to these negative thoughts. Instead, it’s much more helpful to reword it. Perhaps something like “Let’s do something new in our mission to save the world, B!” would be more motivating. Still, I believe that this voice will always be there because there’s always that cynical piece of me that wants to just give up because the world is shit and it’s so hard to try and be a good person.
  • I finally got to try the Impossible Whopper, though I accidentally forgot to request no mayo. Regardless, it was still delicious! Expensive, but exciting that it’s an option. I also got to try the Del Taco Beyond meat taco, which was also delicious! Couldn’t tell with either of them. A small tick towards saving the world. I also had the vegan ramen at Rakkan Ramen and I think it’s my favorite ramen broth ever.
  • While my parents were out of town for roughly 12 days, I decided to do another 100% vegan challenge for myself. I ended up doing 9 days full vegan because I still had non-vegan leftovers and things I needed to eat before they went bad. So much easier to manage food and waste while living alone. I got to try a bunch of new recipes as well! However, some poor planning on my part led to really late dinners because of recipes that took longer than I thought.

Signal Boost

Dark Phoenix. A movie about a woman who starts being really mean to her friends after going to space. Y’all, I love the X-Men and always will, but this stuff makes me sad when they release very subpar story adaptations. There was just so little of that X-Men energy that I gravitate towards. Everyone was acting dumb and I found myself just not caring about anyone. A sad ending to the franchise. Glad my homegirls Lana Condor and Olivia Munn were too busy to be in this.

Spider-Man: Far From Home. A movie about a boy who just wants to enjoy his vacation without the responsibilities of being an adult and I can seriously relate. A much needed MCU palate cleanser with a low to mid-stakes story. A wonderful follow-up to Homecoming and Endgame. A true tragedy regarding the death of MCU Spider-Man- especially with that ending (I gasped).

Toy Story 4. A movie about a toy who learns about how life can throw you in different directions and how your priorities can change and that’s okay and I can seriously relate. A true revelation with 4 brilliant movies in this series, it’s almost too hard to believe it’s true. They did that though. What a refreshing story and I’m so glad it went in the direction it did. I was having an existential crisis about discarded toys and what they do with their lives, but we can see that Bo Peep was not just living, she was thriving.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (seasons 1-6). A show about some good cops, so clearly a work of fantasy and complete fiction. I had to cut this show a while back and I don’t remember where I stopped, but I finally got back on the train and am so glad I did. There are so many gems in this series, both deep and/or hilarious. There’s something great about binge watching the series in order to appreciate the recurring storylines. Such a smart show that has been able to continuously be relevant and poignant.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (season 1). A Netflix original prequel series about them trifling motherfucking Skekses exploiting some cuties so they can stay young and beautiful (even though they’re ugly af, facts). I watched the movie for the first time right before this (it seemed too scary when I was a kid). Watching this was difficult because you know it’s not going to turn out well. Nonetheless, it was gorgeous and so well done. Literally everything was so cute.

Preacher (season 4, series finale). A show about a man looking for God to find answers and to end the apocalypse. Sigh, I will miss this show, but I’m glad they were able to end it without it dragging on and getting boring. I can appreciate the changes from the comic series and am satisfied with the characters’ conclusions.

Young Justice: Outsiders. A show about a public group of young, diverse heroes navigating their lives and dealing with a bunch of loser adults. It’s great to see this show revived, ever evolving with great stories and characters. I probably should’ve rewatched the old seasons to remind myself what the heck is going on.