The Lust of Summer

•13 August 2017 • Leave a Comment

Adventure Catalog

– Go here to read about my San Diego Comic-Con 2017 experience.
– I’ve been having lots of fun with this relative freedom of time and freedom of mind. Things are falling back into a rhythm, but different.
– Planning vacations, playing games with friends, and hanging out every weekend without [too much] anxiety creeping in (“Should I really be having fun right now?”). And also, trying to go out on more dates (#hoesummer) has been fun.

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Brunch before Q leaves for school! (I wasn’t hungover, I was playing videogames last night)

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Steph’s bday dinner! (I’m not high, you’re high)

Fitness Catalog

– I didn’t have a chance to meal prep the week after my class ended because I was gone for SDCC, so I definitely felt the uncertainty with what I was going to eat for lunch every day. It certainly shows how important and helpful meal prep has been in my life, so that my mind has one less thing to worry about. It was brutal trying to scrounge around trying to find something to eat- usually, it ended up being something completely unhealthy (when I resort to cup ramen, you know it’s bad).
– Now that I have more free time, I’m trying to adjust a lot of my health habits. I want to sleep better, eat better, and develop better mindsets when it comes to…everything! It really does help to have a routine that’s rigid, but not punitive if I stray from it. As long as I have a baseline, this will help guide me. And having a clearer understanding of my values also goes a long way with mental healthcare and decision making.
– Just developing a new routine is kind of exciting. There’s this new sense of direction I have and there are many opportunities in front of me.
– I made hummus for the first time (I’m trying tons of new chickpea recipes)! It was difficult at first because it wasn’t blending properly. Eventually, after trial and error, it got to the consistency I wanted. Overall, pretty good, though I don’t know the amounts and ingredients I used because I was just blending things together. The key was more tahini (my new bae), water, and lime juice.

 

 Pop Culture Analysis

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I greatly enjoyed this movie…perhaps even more than the first, which surprises me. I love that what it comes down to is the human elements interspersed with all the space cowboy dramedy. The visuals were brilliant, the characters really shined here, and baby Groot is the best.
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Lion. I finally got around to watching this movie after seeing it on Netflix. It was highly recommended by my boss and it did not disappoint. What a tragic story. I really enjoyed Dev Patel’s performance in this film. At times, it did feel a bit slow or lacking, but overall, it was really well done.
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Sugar Coated. Another depressing, eye-opening doc about sugar. It’s scary how things like this just go under the radar and are accepted by everyone. I’ve been trying to go no-sugar and it’s pretty hard because everything has some sort of sugar, unless I make it myself, but even then, recipes will call for a bit of sugar. I’ll definitely be more aware of sugar in products now, even though I generally stay away from processed foods. On Netflix now!
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Chasing Coral. SO DEPRESSING. The GBR is literally my top vacation spot. Highly recommended. Can’t say anything more. On Netflix now!
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In Defense of Food. I enjoy docs about food science and health, of course. This was interesting in that there were some food rules for us to abide by. However, I felt like a lot of it touched on the surface of everything. I really feel like the food industry controls and manipulates everything. And it’s hard to discuss all this without discussing veganism. I mean, I agree with the point that we’ve been eating animals forever and it’s good for us in moderation. However, what do you do about animal abuse? It’s hard to discuss these things separately for me. There were some interesting notes about food environment though, changing it in order to eat less/better. I understand this sounds privileged, but it’s pretty easy to eat right if you just become aware of it.
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Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. Sometimes, I have to sit back and think how great it is that we get stuff like this in this day and age (not everything has to be original). The movie and the prequel series were hilarious and this just adds another layer to the collection. Everything is just so ridiculous, it makes it so amazing. Definitely a cult classic.
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The Great Dialogues of Plato. I can’t say I enjoyed this book. I was more or less slugging through it, but I feel I wasn’t reading it from a literary scholar perspective. Therefore, I felt like I wasn’t picking up on everything or really engaging the text. Also, I’m not that smart. It was more or less Socrates talking and someone else agreeing with him. I mainly wanted to read The Republic, but decided to pick up all these texts. Ironically, I enjoyed the other texts way more than The Republic. I enjoyed Meno and liked Ion and Symposium and parts of The Apology, Crito, and Phaedo. Maybe I’ll pick this up at a later stage in my life and maybe then, I can appreciate it more.
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Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey. Aww, happy Lana. I thought this album was pretty sweet and there’s just a certain quality in her voice that makes me want to melt into my sofa and relax the day away.
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The Health

•17 July 2017 • Leave a Comment

Adventure Catalog

– I’ve been affording myself little hangouts here and there to keep my mental health up. There has been a lot of things happening in my life, but everything’s on pause because I need to finish this class. But thankful to the people I’ve hung out with, who’ve allowed me to decompress just by being present in the moment with me. Life finds a way to go on!

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🙂

Fitness Catalog

– I don’t know why, but when I look at myself in the mirror, I feel like my arms look a little bigger. Maybe it’s untrue physically and it’s just this outpouring of self-love I’ve forgotten but have recently come across giving me a bit more self-confidence.
– I’ve been trying to manage my schedule that will allow me to get enough sleep and wake up in time to go to the gym. And if I don’t wake up in time, I do some morning yoga. Both of these options are great for me to start my day off right, physically and mentally.
– I feel like I often sacrifice my health, when I should be prioritizing it above everything.
– Aaaand then after I wrote all that, I got sick. It was the day before a test and I could barely study. But luckily it only lasted a day or so. I rarely (very rarely!) get sick (because I used to be very unsanitary so my immune system is a beast), so when it happens, it’s just so inconvenient and debilitating. I still had to push through because my Asian mother took me to school even though I was legitimately sick as a child and I never missed a day of school (until undergrad). I don’t know what it was, but I had stomach and head pains, with some chills. I felt like a baby and wanted to be swaddled and for my parents to comfort me. Probably, more than anything, it was because I was pushing too hard for the past month and it just caught up to me. That, or I locked eyes with a black cat that was in my backyard on the Fourth of July and it cursed me (I got sick the day after!).
– I’ve finally managed to make my overnight oats vegan! Another step in the right direction. Initially, I used Greek yogurt, then switched to coconut milk yogurt, but there was way too much sugar and the consistency was not enjoyable, so I switched back to Greek yogurt. Finally, I just decided to omit the yogurt and see what would happen. Turns out, it’s still good, ultimately the same, and perhaps at times, better! It’s a loss of good protein and calories, but oh well. So…officially, in case you didn’t know, and also you’re welcome…HERE’S MY OO RECIPE!

Overnight Oats (vegan AND healthy) (2 servings)

80g rolled oats
24g chia seeds
15g flax seed meal
126g frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) (or fresh if you’re bougee)
1 banana, roughly chopped (aka mashed up by hand into small pieces) (any degree of ripeness from mildly green to brown af)
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
320g almond milk

Mix all ingredients and store in a mason jar in the fridge at least a night before. Feel free to add any fresh fruits (apples and cinnamon is nice) for variation.

None of the “use maple syrup instead of honey if you’re vegan”. Nah, bitch- that shit is still unhealthy. Just leave it out and allow the natural sweetness of the fruits to permeate the mixture. Servings are based on serving sizes on the packaging. Feel free to add some variation to how much you add or remove. Have fun with it until it fits what you like. I’ve been eating these every morning. I prep them twice a week for the whole week. Quick, hardy, healthy, fresh!

Pop Culture Analysis

Deadpool (2013) by Posehn and Duggan. I really enjoyed these volumes, some more than others. I just hate crossover events and not understanding the full plot because I don’t want to read all the crossover comics. The ending was so hilarious and unexpected. I was reading this at a time in my life where I oddly felt very much what DP was feeling: I have a lot and I feel like I’ve done a lot of good things, yet I didn’t/don’t feel happy. Overall, a delightful and, at times, very heartfelt look at Deadpool.
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Okja. This is right up my alley! I’m a fan of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. Not to mention, this film had 2 of my favorite Asians: Steven Yeun and Tilda Swinton. It was painful to watch, having already opened my eyes to the big food and agriculture industry, thanks to other Netflix documentaries. This one had an air of whimsy because of the fantastical nature of the film. Nonetheless, so grounded in reality, while only touching on the surface of the issues. At the end of the day, it’s about a girl and her beloved pet, not a commentary on the meat industry. And I’m okay with that. A solid, touching, depressing film.
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What the Health. I love watching these documentaries while my parents are home because they start watching too and I just hope to influence them. Disclaimer: we still eat meat. This documentary, since my parents don’t really have that connection to animals that I do, allowed them to see the dangers of meat-based products to health. I feel like this struck a little chord inside of them because they think a lot about health, but they are misinformed, just like the general American public. I learned a lot and was surprised by a lot and am still misinformed (chicken and fish are still bad?!), but less so after watching this. I should definitely do my own research and will continue to grow towards a completely plant-based diet.
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Life is Strange. I finally got a PS Plus trial and got this free game in June (I still have my free one year trial that I need to activate, and though I do enjoy getting free games and playing online with friends, I just hate the cash grab). I’m not a huge fan of episodic games, but I heard this one was excellent. I do however, enjoy these games where decisions matter, a la Heavy Rain and Until Dawn. Some annoying gameplay elements, like not being able to skip some things even though you’ve seen them a bunch. Sometimes the teen angst got annoying, but I do love me some YA angst. My final gripe would be with the last of 5 episodes, not being as strong as the others, though the ending (that I chose) was satisfactory. Nonetheless, I really like the story concept, the nods to Twin Peaks, the character choices and their effects, and the pacing. It’s about a high school girl in a small town who learns she has “rewind powers” and starts trying to help people, unravel mysteries, and fix bad things. Of course, when you mess with time…things get crazy. It was emotional, riveting, fun, and simple. And I had time since I was easing up on studying so much and making time to de-stress. Life is, indeed, quite strange.
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The Values 2k17

•23 June 2017 • Leave a Comment

One day, I’ll write an autobiography so someone can psychoanalyze me. This will of course happen when I have solved the meaning of my life so I can start my introduction paragraph with, “If I could go back and talk to my 25 year old self, I would tell him that everything will be okay.”

But right now, in my lost, mid-twenties state of confusion, I think to myself: I am not happy. So how can we rectify this- as in, how can I match my values with my lifestyle?

What do I want out of life? I’m not sure I have a definitive answer.


Version 2.0 of my self-actualization tenets:

Connection
I think I’ve found one of the most important factors to happiness is holding on to good people that in turn, make me a better person. Connection relates to family, friends, significant others, and even strangers.
Cultivating new relationships is as important as cultivating old. And while relationships are nearly 100% emotional, it’s important to take a sober step back and contemplate whether or not your connections are providing you with a way to pursue your values…to really bring out the best in yourself. If not, it may be time to move forward.
I think the disconnect (hehe) here for me is communication, initiative, and prioritizing time. Of course, relationships are a two-way street. I can acknowledge and remove these factors from the equation: fear, misconception, resentment, egocentricity.
This will open me up to allow myself to share more, give back, and inspire others. I will speak up more as much as I can.
To all the friends I no longer speak to, to all the women that I’ve had intimate relationships with, to all the missed connections, to all the bridges I’ve burned…it’s not a failure on anyone’s part. It’s a part of the tapestry of my life, an experience from which to garner wisdom.

Experience
I say I want to be comfortable, yet I need to be challenged. So I say I want to be challenged, yet I yearn to be comfortable. Experience to me means doing novel things to treat my brain and body to what life has to offer. Whether I’m getting out of my comfort zone or staying in it, I need to be learning (read: experiencing) in order to feel fulfilled. No longer can I just be content and settled.
There are so many things to do and I must be unafraid to push myself. For a lot of my life, I’ve been catered to and have not run into hardships. So this moment, this trying time in my life- this is what teaches me, you see?
I don’t want to shy away from opportunities, things that may seem strange or risky or unknown. And I don’t want to take the routines for granted. I just want to be present in whatever I am experiencing.
Note: this is a newly added piece to my self-actualization triangle, so it’s now a square.

Health
I am so thankful for my health, and I must remember not to take it for granted. Being healthy to me ties in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s holistic; it’s life. This is probably the most important tenet on the self-actualization square because it’s all-encompassing and affects all the other tenets.
I work out, I eat healthy and mostly vegetable-based, I work on mindfulness, I seek to save the planet (as referenced in my Sustainable Journey posts). These are the little things I do every day to maintain or better the state of my health. Taking a step back to evaluate my health is important to me. It also feels like the thing I can control the most and makes me feel the best (it all feeds back into itself).

Independence
As much as I’d like to be a trophy husband or to find myself a sugar mama, I do value independence. Right now, I am not very independent. I still live at home and have all the amenities provided by my refugee parents, who want me to be independent while at the same time, nurturing me completely because they want me to have a good life.
Independence to me means having a career that will invigorate my passion, teach me every day, and provide me with some sort of stability in my future. And right now, I’m not there.
I actually don’t know how much money is needed to have a livable wage because I’m spoiled and lucky enough to never have had to worry about having enough money. Since becoming a hippie, I’ve stopped being beholden to capitalism. But as a realist, I do recognize that I would like to make a comfortable amount of money. There’s a lot of real world experience I need to acquire, all of which comes with growing up and relying on myself.
I think when the day comes when I’m set on my future (will it come?) in this aspect, I will finally be able to have my own space, pay for everything, and have enough left over to treat myself and others.


I worry too much. And I think the cause of my worries are laid bare: I have not achieved what I feel is important. But what’s key is to let go of my ego (l’eggo my ego), understand that everything is perspective, and enjoy/embrace my journey.

I think when I look at my future, it’s foggy. This, in turn, scares me, thus causing me to worry. But I think what I need to learn is that it’s okay to feel lost, it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to walk a path where you can’t see the destination…because at the end of the day, I should enjoy being alive. I mean, this is basic advice, but applying it and really believing it is a whole new level of calm I need to master.

And so it goes. My values are not my goals. I will never be fully self-actualized. You see, I will always strive to be a better person because I’ll never be the best person. Even though I feel like a “failure”, I am making everyday strides acting in accordance to my values and my integrity in order to achieve a steady state of happiness.

 

The Wonder

•17 June 2017 • Leave a Comment

Adventure Catalog

– I have finally been inspired to start a drawing thanks to Wonder Woman.
– I’m worried I won’t have all the time I’d like to prep a cosplay for SDCC because I’ll have tests every week up until SDCC weekend. I also probably won’t have time to continue the MOOCs I enrolled in for the duration of the summer because of the intensity of this class. I guess I can kiss any weekend vacations goodbye for now, though I’m still determined to meet my summer goals.
– Prioritizing my time will be important this summer with class and work. And this skill came in handy over a weekend when I realized that I don’t want to sacrifice enjoying special moments. Like Akash and Alan becoming doctors! Congrats! I was very sentimental over that weekend while also keeping studying in the back of my mind. As we get older, I’m excited for all my friends hitting life milestones and me being there to share in their success and happiness.
– All this led to me really hyperfocusing on my precious time. I only have time for things that make me happy, people that make me happy, and pursuing what I value. #byebadvibes

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Congrats Akash on your PharmD! Friends since undergrad!

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Congrats Alan on your DDS! Friends since elementary!

Fitness Catalog

– Haven’t been able to keep up with my water drinking because being in class means I can’t leave all the time to go to the bathroom.
– I also sit way too much now because I’m just in class all day. JK, if I wasn’t sitting in class, I’d probably just be sitting at home.
– My posture is bad and probably worse, and my back has been hurting, and I’m often too tired or my schedule is too packed to go to the gym.
– I would like this not to happen, but instead, find the drive in myself to get to the gym despite everything. Because at the end of the day, it will help.
– On the plus, I think my sleep has gotten a lot better because I’m so exhausted.

Life Reflected

– This class has definitely consumed me. Class, work, study, repeat. I find myself looking forward to Thursdays, so at least Critical Role can help me relax. I’m making sure I’m really utilizing my time properly, making sure my week is planned, and giving myself breaks when I need to.
– I learned in my class- I want to turn any distress into eustress. Just by the way I think and cope with it. This stress is good for me, I’m doing what’s right for me and my future. I can meet this challenge and will overcome this obstacle. I will be a better person because of the explicit and implicit knowledge and wisdom I acquire because of this stress. Easier said than done? Nah, b. I got this.
– It’s weird because I never worked this hard in undergrad or high school. But it’s like all this experiential wisdom of being a lifelong student has taught me to study smart, to really understand the content, which in turn, is very interesting (physiology). I do love learning.
– Nonetheless…on top of all this, I rarely have time to sit and reflect (shoutout to my life coach Hanna for allowing me time to do so). Like right now, as I write this post, it’s the first time I feel like I can relax a bit before another long weekend of studying.
– Well. I have a lot to ponder. A LOT.

Pop Culture Analysis

– Wonder Woman. Holy fuck, what a gift. There were few flaws, and I will overlook and ignore all of them because WHAT. A. GIFT. After the tumultuous timeline of this film, we get to enjoy a critically acclaimed DC film that’s actually good…and it’s woman led…and it’s the first of its kind (first Wonder Woman film). The best of Captain America and Thor. The treatment of “other” in Steve’s friends. The music. I just can’t believe this. Man does not deserve dogs. Man does not deserve Amazonians. Listen, a lot of people are saying “everyone just says it’s good because it’s a woman.” And yes, that’s part of the reason it’s good. Why shouldn’t it be? Something new, novel…and it works, against all odds. That should be a reason for its celebration, not one for condemnation. We, as movie-goers, always say we want something different. And this gives us that.
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The Fate of the Furious. Okay, well I’ll always watch this franchise, but how do you follow 7 properly? Also, I’m still mad about Han and Giselle (Wonder Woman, though). This one was…meh. Very forgettable, unnecessary, and I wish they’d stop.
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Kong: Skull Island. I just learned this was a part of a universe of films called MonsterVerse, and that made this a bit cooler. I enjoyed Godzilla and I enjoyed this film, though they’re not masterpieces and ultimately, forgettable. While I do like these monster flicks and I like the fact that these films are showcasing kindness to these poor beasts, it kind of gets old. Mildly excited for Godzilla vs. King Kong, but then again, why are they fighting? They should just team up and kill all the humans.
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Hasan Minhaj Homecoming King. I forgot who recommended this to me, but thank you to that person. This was absolutely brilliant, a comedy special like I’ve never seen…like a one-man off-Broadway show, which I later learned that’s exactly what it was. The tempo, the cameras, the special effects, the delivery, the storytelling. I laughed and I cried. I am floored at how amazing this is. I knew Hasan was brilliant from watching the WHCD ’16 speech, but this is a whole nutha level.
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American Gods season 1. I really enjoyed / was confused by this book. So when I heard about the show, I was pretty excited. Bryan Fuller + Neil Gaiman is a visual paradise. What a beautiful and very strange show. I understand the plot more now, though I do wish this first season had more episodes. Also, shoutout to the American Gods SDCC’16 booth for giving me  a free shirt. Also, that panel was pretty great too.
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Supergirl season 2. Holy crap, binge-watching this with along with The Flash was really fun. But also, my first time binging on a full 20+ episode, 45 minute per episode season…and I did 2 shows (I decided to stop watching Agents of SHIELD and Gotham). So without doing the math, I stayed up for a whole night (pulling an all-nighter studying with Netflix on in the background) and watched through the entirety of my weekend. Sometimes, I doubt myself and my convictions, but then I remember I’m fucking crazy and have no self-control and tend to overindulge. I really liked season 2, much better than season 1, though I can see “the CW effect” already happening. I do like all the “feminist agenda/propaganda” stuff and I can’t stress enough the importance of a female-led superhero on TV! How awesome. Really liked all the newly introduced familiar characters as well.
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The Flash season 3. Speaking of “the CW effect”, this season was super melodramatic. The problem about shows that deal with time travel is that there always seems to be a better/different solution to these problems. I do still really like this show, it’s still my favorite of the superhero fare on TV, but I hope it doesn’t become too much like Arrow, which I stopped watching precisely because of the CW melodrama. The acting is pretty great though, especially with all the different iterations of characters on the different Earths. My thesis still stands: all shows should end at 3 seasons.
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The Sustainable Journey #4: Odd Circumstances

•8 June 2017 • Leave a Comment

It’s easy to get into the routine of daily life and think to myself, I’m doing a good job, just gotta keep this going day to day. Sometimes, circumstances do arise that are non-routine. And this is where I start to break from the safety zone.

I previously spoke on a party I threw at my house and how I tried to make it as zero waste and eco-friendly as possible. But what happens when you go to another party hosted by someone else.

Well, I will obviously flush their toilet. And I hate this- because I’m all about “it’s about the principle” and “who cares what other people think of me” and “manners are stupid unless you actually mean it”…but here I am, wasting water because of societal conventions that I adhere to.

There is also heavy waste…by pretty much everyone. And I can minimize as much waste as possible. And I can bring my own utensils and to-go container and handkerchief. Yet I found myself, at these parties in the last couple of weeks, wanting to conform and not be “that person”. BUT I need to be that person. It opens people’s eyes to these issues, even if a lot of them judge me. The cost is perhaps minimal embarrassment. EVEN THOUGH I ASK MYSELF WHY. Why would I even be embarrassed? It goes back to the whole “how do you spot a vegan at a party?” thing. And it’s hard when you don’t get a lot of support from friends and family, who kind of just laugh it off and say, “Oh, Brian’s just doing one of his Brian things again”. It’s disheartening. I even conform to eating animal-based products out of simplicity and convenience. I know I just need to make that leap.

And going to a restaurant just plain sucks. I’ve stopped asking for water and bringing my own water, but I still get water and a straw! And it makes me sad. I just need to now literally tell them “I DON’T WANT ANY WATER, DON’T BRING ME ANY”.

So I’ve been taking a summer class that has been eating up my entire schedule. It’s been hard to keep up with nutrition, though I’m glad meal prep has come in handy and I’m already good at it. Stress has increased. I find doing a lot of this “save the world” stuff difficult while also trying to make everything as convenient for me as possible while I have to focus on my studies.

Another temporary situation I worry about is travel. I want to travel and I plan to do a lot of traveling for the rest of my life. But I can just picture how difficult it would be doing all this in strange, unknown lands. This will surely require a lot of pre-planning and commitment on my part. I’m hoping in my future when I’m able to travel more that I’ll be deeply entrenched and a pro at doing all of this stuff.

On a final note, I’ve been thinking about the idea of Minimalism vs. Sentimentality, which I actually touched on in my previous post. I’m like a partial hoarder, but a lot of it is sentimental things. And I have them all hidden away, so there’s a semblance of minimalism and neatness in my room. And only I know it’s there (and now, you do too). I’ve been trying to let go of these things because I really don’t need them. Like, if I threw them away right now, I believe I wouldn’t even bat an eye in the future. But another part of me thinks…it’s not hurting anyone in any way. I don’t believe it to be causing me any sort of additional anxiety or unhappiness, which clutter can do. It’s just there and I look at it every now and then when I clean or feel nostalgic. And then it goes away again.

I don’t know what I wanted to say or what my thesis or conclusion are. I do know that it’s a continuous, lifelong journey to make the world a better place, one step at a time.

The Summer Not-Break

•2 June 2017 • Leave a Comment

Adventure Catalog

– As summer approaches, I’m hoping to get out more. In fact, I have just finished all my games and since everything else I want is out of my price range currently, I shall take a much needed break (before I do trophy runs, that is). These games have been a fun escape/catharsis, another way to bond with my friends, and some extra, good ol’ fashioned, nerdy me-time. I’m actually trying to plan some small trips/hangouts again, so that I don’t get too absorbed in classes and forget to be a human.

– I finally got around to fixing the faulty thermostat in my car with the help of my dad. And by that, I mean he did everything while I assisted. He has a true engineer’s mind, always fixing things. When I first discovered my car’s problem, I looked up videos, figured it was too difficult (I didn’t want to break my car), and then proceeded to procrastinate fixing it because my car was still running. But then my dad wanted to fix it. And there’s something really cool about fixing something with your own hands. The check engine light didn’t turn off for a few days, so I was bummed out, but then voila! Success!
– I also just cleaned my car in general and did all the upkeep. You never realize how much grime there is until you sit there for a few hours and scrape away and make everything almost spotless. My poor baby had been neglected for so long.
– This led me down a rabbit hole of cleaning. I cleaned the office space, then I went to my room and started looking at all the old stuff I’ve kept. I am huge on sentimentality, bordering on being a hoarder. Looking through everything was nice, like time traveling. Then…I realized I couldn’t find my Pokemon cards. I looked everywhere and I think…my mom threw them out a while ago without me realizing. I have all my Yu-Gi-Oh and Digimon cards, but my collection of Pokemon cards is nowhere. I’m partially devastated, partially uncaring. That was a huge part of my identity as a kid. My collection was by no means complete or great, but there was some neat cards I loved in there. Also, this kind of feels like deja vu, so maybe I had this revelation a couple years ago already and either forgot, or blocked it out of my memory because it’s so traumatic.
– This led me down another philosophical rabbit hole about minimalism. I’ve been able to minimize to the point of my daily life being minimal. But I have a lot of literal drawers of memories, where I keep a lot of old stuff tucked away. This gives the semblance of cleanliness, yet allows me to every now and then look in and rediscover old memories. I think this is okay. 95% of the time, I don’t think about this stuff. Logically, if I got rid of it all, I’d survive. And I’ve already lost my Pokemon cards, so what is the point of existing anyway? so I feel like I’ll be okay in the end.

– I have continued my rediscovered hobby of drawing. And it feels so official using a sketchbook. I’m really into portraiture and human anatomy, so I’ve been practicing my isolated body part sketches to mixed levels of success. One thing I’ve learned from this is that I like to schedule a chunk of my daily time, whenever I can, to do something just for me. Whether it’s games or art, a quick hobby that I can do whenever I can fit it in is a key part of my life.

– I’m trying to do things that make me uncomfortable. Cold showers (this will be easier during the summer and I haven’t worked my way to completely cold shower yet). Eating gross vegetables (like cucumbers and green beans). Always coming up with novel ideas that will help me be better and at the same time, get out of my comfort zone. I’m trying to train my mind to get used to a Just Do It mentality, so that motivation isn’t a factor. Rather, I’ll just do it whether I feel like it or not.
– I’ve found my Impossible List to be coming along nicely, but I also wanted to write some non-quantifiable goals as well, and since summer is looming, here goes!

Summer goals

  1. Give
  2. Prioritize relationships
  3. Get out of my comfort zone
  4. Meet new people
  5. Actively enjoy free time

Fitness Catalog

– I took a two week break from the gym following my tattoo; during the same time, I also injured my shoulder on the Batman ride at Six Flags, and then my back was in excruciating pain from I don’t know what. But getting back into the gym always feels really good. I get these weird fitness boners when I see people work out or talk about fitness (note: not actual boners, but those for the mind); it really motivates me and makes me want to get to the gym ASAP, even when I’m in a rut.
– I’ve been trying to stand more. I made a standup desk at work (by putting a bin on my desk shhh). I’ve found myself slouching and leaning though. I’m just trying to sit less and get used to proper posture.
– In a similar vein, I’m trying to change my sleeping position. This came from me sleeping on my back for the first time since I got my newest tattoo. Boy, was it difficult to fall sleep. After some research, I’m trying not to sleep on my stomach anymore because it’s allegedly not good for you. So I’ve started sleeping with a pillow under my knees, and when I really can’t do it, I sleep on my side with a pillow between my knees. It’s also like I’m spooning, so it’s less lonely Imeanwhat.
– My daily-gallon-drinking quest is hit and miss. Much easier on days when I go to the gym where I can consume more water and sweat it out. But on other days, I take way too many trips to the bathroom. I find 3/4 gallon pretty easy now, but those extra four cups seems so difficult to reach. I’m hoping my bladder will just get used to it soon. My pee is really light though, so there’s another achievement no one cares about except me, and even then, I have to stop myself from wondering why I care so much and just go with it.
– I forgot to mention this, but I switched to vegan protein powder! I found one that’s (1) not much more expensive than my whey and (2) not disgusting. What a win! It’s this one, though be warned that it’s foamy and a bit grainy, but I got used to it after one try. I only take it as post, since I don’t want to use too much too fast.
– I also bought some creatine to try out as pre-workout.

Life Reflected

– I passed my Spring statistics class! College is so fun when things are easy and you get to enjoy learning. I know it’s important to get good grades on these pre-req courses, but at the same time, I want to enjoy classes and really learn a lot. I was lucky because I showed up to class for two weeks even though I wasn’t in it; then there was an opening. I really wanted this teacher because she was good. And I was not disappointed.
– I am now signed up to take summer classes. It happened rather suddenly and I started stressing out immediately about all the stuff I needed to prep. Being on a waitlist sucks, because you just never know your schedule. Wake up, find out I’m now #1 on waitlist. Check email, teacher says not to show up if on waitlist, she will let us know if anyone drops. Sit around being bummed. Get text/email for add code (while on the toilet) 22 minutes before class starts. Book it to Saddleback (I finally got into a class at Saddleback and the commute is so amazing, I made it to class on time!), make it in time for class. Feel very lost and confused and unprepared. Figure out new work schedule + class schedule. Spend lots of money. Freak out because summer courses are accelerated and I’m taking physio. And here I was thinking I could spend the summer memorizing the lyrics to Despacito.
– And as if I didn’t feel my schedule was busy enough, I also finally signed up for a bunch of MOOCs on edX (because since I was cleaning, I started cleaning out my bookmarks and remembered this). I really just love learning about random things, so I thought it’d be fun to expand my knowledge base. Here’s a list of my classes so you can join me:

  • The Challenges of Global Poverty. This course sounded interesting and hopefully, I can put some knowledge to practical use.
  • Climate Change: The Science. Wanted to learn more about climate change down to the actual science of it.
  • Communication Skills for Bridging Divides. I’ve never been one to hear other arguments all that well, so maybe this can help in learning a different approach to speaking with others who have different beliefs than me.
  • Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs. This is an architecture course that ties into climate change, so that sounded fascinating.
  • Existential Well-being Counseling: A Person-Centered Experiential Approach. That title alone sounded awesome.
  • Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe. Space has always interested me.
  • HTML5 Coding Essentials and Best Practices. I thought coding would be interesting to learn, even if it’s just a basic working knowledge.
  • Life and Death: Mysteries and Meaning. Just wanted some deep shit to think about.
  • Nutrition and Health: Micronutrients and Malnutrition. Always love learning about nutrition.
  • Philosophy and Critical Thinking. Can always use a good philosophy course to keep me thinking.
  • The Science of Learning- What Every Teacher Should Know. As a teacher and a life-long learner, I thought this would be an interesting addition to my working skills.

– I am determined to find free time for myself!
– Holy fuck, finished my first week of class. Really forgot what it was like taking such an intense class. And work on top of that. My schedule has been crowded. But I’m not complaining- I need to move away from comfort and complacency and really light a fire under myself to really force myself to focus and work hard.
– On the same/other hand, I really am trying not to let the stress get to me. This is not less mature, undergraduate Brian. I am grown up, I am on top of my life, and I am ready to take on new challenges.

Pop Culture Analysis

Fresh Off the Boat season 3. With the expected, yet still unfortunate cancellation of Dr. Ken, this show is all we have left. And it’s still a great sitcom. I really love these characters and the undying relatability. I’ll forever be grateful for this show. “White lies…or lies that protect you from all the things that make white people soft.” Any time Jessica talks about white people, really…just quotable moments.
fresh-off-the-boat-season-3-poster-1Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3. Still funny, though not as funny. At least better than season 2, which somehow managed to alienate its more socially conscious viewers. I found this season to still mock social justice, yet in a more intelligent, comedic way…so satire. I also found everyone’s plots interesting and cohesive, with a lot of callbacks throughout the season. I don’t know why I’m seriously trying to review this show. It’s quick, witty, and an easy binge.
unbreakable-kimmy-schmidtInto the Badlands season 2. I’ve really enjoyed this show and this season is even better than the first. I’m really intrigued by the lore and universe, which they explored more this season. The fight sequences are fast and bloody, just beautifully choreographed. So many people are sleeping on this show, sadly. This finale reiterated the fact that I’m a passive watcher. I don’t really like to analyze or discuss beyond fanboy speak, so I always get so surprised/upset when things happen and then I think…oh, that makes sense for the plot to progress.
badlandss2Beauty and the Beast (2017). Yo, the hype for this movie was real. I don’t know how I feel about all these live-action Disney adaptations as a whole, but I believe this one did the original justice, while adding interesting new and updated things. Also, I love Emma Watson so mad bias there.
onesheetThe LEGO Batman Movie. Really enjoyable and hilarious take on Batman. I love the Lego animations. This movie was ridiculous without being too ridiculous. Not to mention- finally, a new, interesting, unique Batman story!
ho00004123John Wick: Chapter 2. I’m always late to the John Wick party (didn’t even know this came out). But this is my new favorite series. I love the bloody, intense, fast-paced action. And the storyline is great, with its main players, including the cute dogs, doing their job. Keanu Reeves is such a badass.
john_wick_chapter_twoThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (with Dawnguard, Dragonborn, and Hearthfire). I love this game and didn’t realize how old it was. My first platinum! But did I really beat the game? There are so many sidequests left to do. Everything was fun and exciting. I really enjoyed the main story (way more than Oblivion). Felt like such a bad ass. And dragons were much needed. Dawnguard and Dragonborn were really fun, Hearthfire was a bit disappointing. I could literally just write an entire fantasy novel on my character (or should I make a D&D character based off of him…). Also, had a lot of qualms about gray-area missions and had to remind myself it’s a game and it’s okay to do bad things for the trophies/completion. Love love love this game (Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Daedric quests, etc. were more fun this time around), but sadly, I’m not one to play more than one character. I don’t know why, it’s just repeating sidequests is not my thing. BUT omg I need to play with all the mods!
376858-the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-special-edition-xbox-one-front-cover8 by Incubus. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to Incubus. This is a nice comeback album for them. At first, it seemed rather generic, but after a few listens, it’s really grown on me and I really enjoy it. Very interesting topics.
incubus_8_artworkAfter Laughter by Paramore. Paramore will always have a special place in my heart with fond memories and flashbacks to freshman year at UCI. I stopped following them for a while, especially with all the band drama and annoying fans, but coming back to them after all this time…I was excited to hear their new stuff. I actually really like this album. Yes, it’s different from what they’ve done before, but it got me thinking. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? Your favorite bands when you were younger have evolved and so have you. They may not be your favorite anymore, but you connected with them at one point or another and that’s special. This beautiful thought has somehow allowed me to accept some things in my life in a semi-profound way.
paramore-after-laughter-album-art-2017-billboard-1240Gallery by ARIZONA. This is my new favorite unknown band I heard about via Spotify (by unknown, I mean not mainstream and by new, I mean I’ve been listening to their songs for months waiting for an album). All their singles they released were amazing and this album is just superb. Their songs just make me feel so light and free. I’m excited to go see them live later this year!
a-r-i-z-o-n-a-gallery-2017-2480x2480

The Calm Sensation

•14 May 2017 • Leave a Comment

Adventure Catalog

– Easter weekend was pleasant. Sunday gave us perfect weather and seeing is family is always a treat. I ate a lot of candy, drank a lot of sweet drinks, and ate very unhealthily. And that’s why Jesus was resurrected, right?

Get a third tattoo (04/29/17)
Get a fourth tattoo

– Partially spontaneous, partially planned, my third tattoo is a funny little one I decided to do with my sister and cousin- we finally got matching themed tattoos together! I can’t stop looking, it’s so perfect. It didn’t hurt too bad, but there were moments with searing pain that’s familiar, yet I still never get used to it. The healing process has been great and easy, however- not too itchy overall and little scabbing. So it’s BMO with a Pokeball and a Harry Potter wand; one could say it’s an homage to childhood and being child-like.
– I’ve actually already planned my fourth tattoo, but I think I will wait a while before I get it because it’s a big one. I should wait for a major life event to happen or something like that.

– Also went to Six Flags for the first time in a very long time. So much farther than I remember. And how did I ever walk so much and wait in so many lines and survive? I feel old, as I can’t do it anymore. But the rides are still really fun.

– Had a house party and felt like a teenager when his parents are out of the house, except I never did that as a teen because I was a good child. My parents went on vacation, so obviously, I could throw a party. Any good excuse to drink with my friends! I actually have only thrown one previous house party (of the kickback variety).
– There was some cool intersection with new policies I’ve been using with myself as well. I was worried because I know parties produce lots of waste. Vegetarian/vegan food! There wasn’t a food restriction, but no one brought meat, which is cool- though I guess most snacks and desserts are at most vegetarian. Zero waste party! No one used napkins (I hid them), or disposable cutlery/plates (I made everyone use their hands), plus no disposable cups (which is a huge deal to me, we just used glass cups and shotglasses (RIP majon jar)), and no trash bag lining (we just reused packaging from anything brought as a trash bag). The only thing is that we used disposable cups for BP, but now I have a set of BP cups I can reuse for this purpose.
– I always get nervous having people over, especially for drinking, and especially since it’s my parents’ house. So there’s a strange paradox between being able to get super wasted because I’m not driving and staying sober enough to police people.
– I also like to research and experiment with different party theories. I made a curated playlist which was fun. Nonetheless, I cut out too much and made it too short and people stayed up longer than I thought! I invited people and didn’t worry about people RSVP’ing or not (I mean, I checked it constantly, but didn’t stress and tell people to RSVP and I didn’t followup with anyone). The beauty of it is that a lot of people ended up coming, the theory being people are attracted to the energy of the party. Tied into that: as a host, if I have fun, people will in turn have fun. So I let go of the neuroticism of worrying about everyone else.
– Another party paradox: spend a couple hours cleaning so the house looks nice for guests. In a few hours, clean the house even more because everyone made a mess. I’m actually a bit worried that I cleaned too much because my parents may now be suspicious of why I the house is so clean. Oddly, there’s something therapeutic about cleaning after a party completely before going to sleep (even if it’s 4-6 am).
– Lastly, tequila is my favorite.
– Didn’t take any pictures of anything, which is sad because…on one hand, I’m busy living in the moment, but on the other hand, I like to have pictures to look back on. Need to go back to consciously reminding myself to take pictures.

Fitness Catalog

Do a wall handstand (04/20)
Do an unassisted handstand

– I can’t believe I finally did a handstand. I was actually so happy that I exclaimed to myself “I did it!” It’s actually a lot like when I recently learned to carve properly while snowboarding- I just had to get over the fear of falling. I had been trying to do this on and off for a while now, but when I made my List, I made it more of a priority to try it more often. Then, it just happened and I held it for a bit before I made a very graceful dismount.
– My next goal here is to do a handstand without leaning on the wall. I still want the wall there to have as backup to fall onto and to push up from, but basically, I want to be standing completely vertical. My balance sucks, so this may take a while.
– I’ve been losing waist width lately, as my shorts are rather loose. I haven’t been losing too much pounds (I weighed myself because I wanted to check), so I’m hoping it’s lost fat and gained muscle. Additionally, this could be due to dietary changes and in general, I’m just eating less, though not purposefully. I’ve been trying not to indulge in too many processed treats, but I keep turning to them because they’re fast and easy. Being more vegan definitely doesn’t always mean being healthier. I’ve also been told by a couple people my face looks skinnier. Hmmm…
– I started running on the treadmill (non-HIIT), and I’m so aerobically challenged, it’s not even funny. I also have this fear that I’m going to fall of the treadmill because it’s almost happened a couple of times. I’ll keep trying though. A lot of people are oddly supportive of me wanting to run more.
– I’m back on trying to drink a gallon of water a day. Y’all, it’s hard. My bladder just wants to expel itself all the time and I can’t have that. I usually get around 3/4 of a gallon a day, which is not too bad. I’m after that elusive clear pee achievement.

Meditate for 30 minutes in 1 sitting (04/23)
Meditate for 1 hour in 1 sitting
Attend a silent meditation retreat

– Another achievement for me. While time is not really important, I felt like to was a good goal to have because I wanted to really carve out a solid piece of my time to do this. And it was wildly satisfying. I think the more time I can allot to this, the deeper I can go (because it takes time to get into the zone). Previously, I’d done a 25 minute session, but lately, I’ve been doing around 5 minute sessions, just fitting them in. After I added this as a goal, I started increasing my time in 2-5 minute increments every day. The app that helped me was Calm, the app I’ve been using since I first started meditating. And I used open-ended meditation with bells every 2, 5, or 10 minutes, which has been very helpful. It’s my new favorite way to meditate. As previously stated, this session was great. There’s something about a relatively long meditation session that’s transformative, healing, peaceful. I know it seems ridiculous, but meditation has truly helped me in times of strife and sorrow- when I just need to take a moment.
– My next goals here are to go for a full hour and also to find time to go to a meditation retreat, which has always sounded appealing to me, kinda like a walkabout type of thing.

Life Reflected

– Sometimes, I feel the impending doom lurking ever closer and I start to panic and freak out and shut myself out from everything until I have everything sorted out as best as I can. Like suddenly, all of these deadlines have approached and time passed so quickly and what have I been doing with my life?!
– I’ve been doing very well overall waking up early even on days when I don’t need to. And I’ve established a nice morning ritual that I look forward to that allows me to get ready for my day more gracefully. But when the bouts of negativity come around, I just don’t want to leave my bed and then it’s a wasted morning. Hate that.
– Resiliency teaches us that it’s okay, because we adjust the day’s schedule to fit these spontaneous changes; and it’s one day out of many in our lives; we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves.

Stop being addicted to social media and the Internet (as of 05/2017)

– Another item on my List, and I think at the start of this month, I’ve come to realize I’ve decreased my reliance on social media. I still use it and I still go on it, so I am still working on this over all. However, I’ve come to realize I don’t go on it by default anymore. I don’t blindly just go on it when I touch my phone (or laptop). So I crossed it off my list because I don’t have to actively think about it.
– In fact, I’ve been more prudent (prudish?) with my time, really filling every moment with something to do- and that includes time to relax and check social media if I want to. Doing “nothing” is an important part of a daily ritual.

Draw every day for 1 month (04/10/17-05/10-17)
Develop my own artistic style

– Lately, what I’ve routinely been doing daily is drawing and developing a board game in my spare time, two items on my List I felt I could start on immediately. It’s been a fun creative outlet that I can do every day without needing to prep for it or take too much time out of my day for. In fact, during my party, I got to playtest my game for the first time. There were major flaws, but it was almost surreal being able to play a game I created, even if it was crude. I’m excited to refine it and go through the process of game development.
– Drawing was really fun! It didn’t feel burdensome, and easy to schedule in. I never forgot about it and I found myself looking forward to it. Just doodling can be fun, but I know I slowed down on my art because I never felt I was good enough (I know, the artist’s ego, etc.). But it was still fun; I will always be a drawer at heart, no matter what different types of art I pursue. I’m excited to think of what project I want to start next.

The Home Alone Saga, Volume II

So my parents went on vacation for a good week, and I got the house alone for the first time in a while. It’s different than moving out and living on your own with roommates. It’s getting an entire house to yourself; a house that you have to take care of as well.

The pro is that it causes me to really fall into my thoughts. The con is that it causes me to really fall into my thoughts.

I’ve been slowly going through my entire iTunes library, listening to old music and remembering the moments when I first heard the song/album or what it reminds me of. There’s 10 days worth of music on there. I think this has merged into this cycle of nostalgia…for simpler times.

It’s no secret I love being alone (ugh, 5ever single). There’s some peace in enjoying a space that’s completely devoid of others. Yet even before this, there’s been feelings of loneliness creeping in. Even then, I found coming back to myself and enjoying my own company has been beneficial. It’s like a tug of war lately. Seeing family for Easter, my sister coming home for a visit, throwing a party to see all my friends- these have all been great. But there’s this nagging feeling in the back of my head I can’t put my finger on.

When your friends move away, get in relationships, become “too busy” for you…it can be disheartening. And I become aware of how deeply entrenched I am in “doing my own thing” and then suddenly, it’s as if I never see my friends. And then thoughts of being “stuck in a rut” start. It’s an odd, debilitating loneliness that pushes you to strive to find a better alternative.

I’ve never been one to depend on others for personal happiness. I’m very comfortable spending quality time with myself. But I’m starting to feel like I’ve taken my relationships for granted. I do often forget about people when I’m going through stressful times in my life (so basically me for the past 5 years).

I don’t know. Something to think about going forward.

Other than that, I pretty much went about my daily work/school schedule. I survived the week without using a trashbag liner, nor creating extra trash beyond what food packaging I already had! Picture this scene: I bought a family meal of El Pollo Loco at the start of the week, then rationed it out to last me the entire week (I am the King of Leftovers and have no idea when food goes bad). For dessert, I ate my friend’s leftover birthday cake that he brought to my party. It was so much easier than figuring out what to eat/make/buy for dinner every day. But this is something I need to think about for the future. Time to make a wholesome dinner on top of everything else I need to manage. This is the part that I take for granted. I can make time to do everything myself, including cleaning the house when I need to. But making a third meal for every day? Yeesh.

I already miss it, though. I know it’s a paradoxical conundrum that would be easily solved if I just moved out (though not really, I’d probably need a roommate (and who accepts me running around in my boxers like my parents do?)). But the silence was nice.

Pop Culture Analysis

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. I’m a big fan of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies (barring that shit-show The Killing Joke from last year). And Teen Titan stories are always fun. This one in particular I didn’t really care for because Terra is not one of my favorites and this whole thing was basically already done in the old cartoon Teen Titans. Loved Nightwing in this (didn’t realize the original comic storyline was his debut), and the returning voices/characters were very much welcome. Hated a non-updated costume for Starfire and the sexual stuff with Terra. It was good; nothing too amazing, but very decent and worth the watch if you’re a fan. However, it doesn’t bring anything novel to the table.

220px-teen_titans_the_judas_contractWhale Rider. Though I had heard of it, I never watched it. Recently, however, my boss recommended this movie to me so I decided to watch it. And what a treat! Very emotional and powerful movie. On Netflix now!

whale_rider_movie_posterWhat We Do In The Shadows. The next movie recommended to me by my boss. What a trip! I was told it was a bit odd, and I just love the quirkiness of this movie. I really want it to be a TV series. Everything was just funny and silly with the odd bunch of characters. It’s a mockumentary about vampires, and that’s all you should know before you watch it. It’s great.

what_we_do_in_the_shadows_posterHunt for the Wilderpeople. And the third movie my boss recommended. Taika Waititi is my new favorite director/writer (so I’m really excited for Thor: Ragnarok now). This movie is about a foster kid who’s deemed as trouble and it’s a nice coming of age movie with Sam Neill, who is basically an older, sadder version of his Jurassic Park character, which is exactly what I wanted to see. It’s another fun, quirky movie; I really wasn’t sure which direction this film was headed, but it was very cute.

hunt_for_the_wilderpeopleSong of the Sea. A cute movie based on Irish folklore with super cute animation style and a touching story. I really enjoyed it. All the characters were precious and I enjoyed learning about the old Irish tales. I watched it on Amazon Prime.

mv5bngeyyje3nmitogy1os00ztq0lwi3yzqtnjziymqzmtfintk4xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynju0otq0oty-_v1_uy268_cr00182268_al_Win It All. I love Joe Swanberg, so I had this on my Netflix list immediately. It’s another great film from him, very mumblecore. Also, his son is all grown up! This movie is about a guy who is addicted to gambling and comes across some money and has to deal with that whole mess. I like exciting high-stakes poker movies/scenes.

1339c37a0da5ecb313a88a0618a505fa6948da11A Plastic Ocean. Ugh, I had been holding off watching this on Netflix because I knew it’d be sad. Yet another documentary about plastic waste and how it affects our oceans, and therefore affects us all. Most of the information I already knew, yet still devastating to see every single time.

2017-01-16-plastic_ocean-1Get Out. Finally finally watched this brilliant film. It definitely lived up to the hype- thankfully, the surprises weren’t spoiled for me. I found it really well-paced, and the biggest horror was that this could actually be happening. What else is there to say besides watch this. Insightful social commentary.
get-out-2017-4Attack on Titan season 1. I watched this awhile ago but decided to rewatch as season 2 just began. This time, I watched the dub because I ain’t about to sit there and read everything again. An interesting show, though I’m not completely invested in the series…I feel like it may get really cheesy really fast. Like The Walking Dead, is it just going to go on forever? I’m not usually into anime unless it somehow gets popular here, and I’m definitely not a sub-whore; I understand how many people think it’s overrated and not top anime. However, I do like the tone of the series: very lost, hopeless youth fighting against all odds to get their world back. I did read spoilers from the manga and it seems to be heading in a stupid direction, but we’ll see.

attack-on-titanSense8 season 2. Holy fuck, I love this show. As with any show, there are flaws, but I think a lot of it is just purely well done television. I remember when season 1 came out, I was recommending it to everyone. Season 2 amped up the WTF factor and things got crazy and naturally, I told myself 3 episodes a day over the span of the weekend, but then I binged all the episodes in one sitting because it’s just non-stop action. I really enjoy each character individually as well as their interactions with one another. This is one of those shows I just love to discuss with others (hint hint, if you watch, let’s grab lunch).

sense8-poster-picThe Big Bang Theory season 10. Wow, this show has been on for a long time. These days, with such great material out there, this doesn’t really hold up. And I keep noticing the sexism, racism, and general in-poor-taste jokes this show has once I’d become aware of it (very geared toward the mainstream, network-watching, white America). After this season, it’s definitely a show I’m moving to limbo- but it is the oldest show I’m still watching, so I have this college nostalgia and will probably have difficulty giving it up. I do feel these characters have either grown to where they’re going to be or reached a plateau; every episode is kind of the same old. It’s crazy how much I used to love this show, but this is another case of too much of a good thing (gets old and you end up growing out of it). Ask yourself, does this show need 2+ more seasons?

the-big-bang-theory-season-10-promotional-poster-the-big-bang-theory-39848201-334-500Master of None season 2. Utter relatable, candid brilliance. I had no qualms here about sitting through this thought-provoking 5 hour binge session. Every episode was a blast and it tops the first season. My only (selfish) criticism: not enough Brian this season. Otherwise, one of my favorite shows, so intelligent, yet easy to just leave on in the background.master-of-none-s2-posters-2The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I finally finished the series! It has been a long journey (mostly because I’m a slow reader, but also because I was enjoying and savoring my time reading it). I picked this up because I was looking for a series to start and heard this one was great. Also, I heard about the movie and thought I could finish this series in time (thankfully, the movie got pushed back so I did finish it). I didn’t really like the first novel, but I’m glad I stuck with it because the books were great overall- though there were parts that were so slow and confusing, I just didn’t want to read. But then that ending made it all worth it in a way. I really enjoy confusing books that make me think what the fuck? And I like the feeling when I finish a book/series and I just have to sit there and contemplate, then look up everything about it on the Internet. I agree with many that say these books have their flaws, but I also agree that it is a masterpiece. Very excited for the movie.

dark-tower-booksDeep Work by Cal Newport. I thought this book would be helpful, as every now and then I like to read self-help type books to get my head back in the game. Some surprising notes: I do a lot of this stuff offered already, just to a lesser extent; I found the ideas poignant and easy to digest. I recommend this book, but here is a summary of points I took away (a lot of stuff doesn’t necessary translate to me because I’m not in my career level of life yet and I’m not necessarily a “knowledge worker”, but I adjusted the thoughts regardless):
1) Thesis: deep work is a necessary part of today’s work culture. Deep work, as opposed to shallow work, is akin to that flow found during hobbies.
2) Decide your depth philosophy: I’ve chosen the rhythmic philosophy of deep work because my work/class schedule is not structured, so there are times where I find some extra time to fill with deep work. A little every day goes a long way. After I decided on this, I would have to ritualize deep work. Now “deep work” in this case applies to my work (any projects), my school (studying), and my future (working on apps, etc.), depending on what I need to accomplish that day. Where I work, how I’ll work, and how I’ll support this work is important.
3)  Be lazy and embrace boredom. Okay, this was difficult to wrap my head around. I’ve also prided myself on never being bored. There’s always something I’m eager to do or want to do and my time is important to me (like if I’m doing “nothing”, I’m definitely enjoying it). So I guess this is a different kind of laziness and boredom. Any downtime aids insight and recharges the energy needed for deep work later.
4) So I’ve developed a shutdown ritual. After work, I spend some extra time finishing any last minute work needed like emails, figure out what’s not finished that I can move to the next day, and do my schedule for the next day. This is not new for me, but deciding to do it right at the moment work is done is helpful to not take work home.
5) Since starting meditation and yoga, I’ve been a lot calmer in waiting circumstances. But then I realized I wasn’t comfortable with boredom. I would pull out my phone at the slightest lull. I now want to bask in the waiting. Be present in the waiting. The book also says use these times to meditate productively, which means to use your cognitive functions during these times to think about any problems you need to solve.
6) I should quit social media. But I don’t know. I like to have it there. And there are very valid, great arguments the book presents. However, realistically, I’ve decided to do a morning ritual (akin to the shutdown ritual noted in the book), in which I am allowed to go on all my apps as time allows once a day in the morning only. Email is a different story because work emails may need immediate attention. Everything else, I’ve just learned to ignore until it’s time for my morning ritual. I’ve found a lot of time to focus on other tasks.
7) Schedule your day. I already do this very meticulously and I’ve learned to roll with any spontaneity so I don’t have to worry about not adhering rigidly to the schedule. However, always having an agenda handy (I use Google doc) has been immensely helpful and I’m constantly adjusting it to better suit my needs. This is one thing I rely on daily (hourly even) to make sure I do what I need to do in my day/week/month and can go to sleep with less worry (I still get night time anxiety, but I’m working on that).

deep-work-cal-newportThe Analects by Confucius. I’ve been adding a lot of ancient texts to my reading list and this was the oldest. I like simple texts and a lot of this was interesting, but at the same time, a lot of it was nonsense. I’m glad I’ve come to my own about my personal philosophies about life because some of this stuff, I just don’t agree with. It has a lot of merit and I’m glad I read it, as I can see myself coming back to this in the future and find completely different views from it.

41rrll0mb6l-_sx311_bo1204203200_The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I don’t know man, this was an easy read, but probably over-hyped for me. I always look at these classics I’ve been reading as if they’re gonna be some kind of enlightening read that will change my world. This was a lot of common sense, a lot that doesn’t actually translate to (my) real life. But I do understand it’s importance, and I agree with its overall points- waging a war should not just be about bloodying the opponent. There are a lot of nuances. It’s not a book I’ll find myself quoting. I think I’m already at this point in my life where a lot of this is not really life-changing (maybe if I read it a few years ago). Still, something I may like to come back to in the future.
41hebo0n2bel-_sl500_sy344_bo1204203200_Preacher series. I watched the first season of the show and thought it was great, so I decided to read the series. I’m very curious to see where they take things in the show. The comic series was really good, though there were some lulls and parts I wasn’t interested in. I thought the concept was interesting and I really wasn’t sure where they were heading as I was reading. It was satisfying all the way through.

81xuc81gr4lAquaman by Geoff Johns. I read Volumes I-IV of the 2011 New 52 storyline (so issues 1-25). Okay, so I actually like Aquaman because of his water-related powers. I liked the way they touched on his status in the world in a very meta way. I enjoyed these stories. They were fun, engaging, a bit campy, and had beautiful art. Mera is awesome! I’m actually really excited for Aquaman in the films, no one else really.

new52aquaman1Batman: Arkham Knight. This series is so awesome. Getting to be Batman with fun, interesting stories is a dream. And I always feel so badass getting a fighting flow going just beating up tons of thugs. The whole “Arkham Knight” thing was predictable and I knew it was a misnomer when I first read reviews about the game. And all the criticisms of this game proved to be correct. However, I still found it vastly enjoyable, especially the side missions. Also, this voice cast was superb. I still haven’t unlocked the complete ending because that’ll require me to find all the Riddler trophies, but I do look forward to a trophy run later.

batman_arkham_knight_cover_artSleeping Dogs Definitive Edition. I randomly heard about this game because Emma Stone was a voice in this. Little did I know it has quickly become one of my favorite games. In fact, I found it way more enjoyable than Grand Theft Auto V (which I’ve actually stopped playing because it’s just not fun compared to the other games I have). The acting (this all-star cast omg), the gameplay, the setting, the story (shocked at a lot of the omg moments)…everything about this was fun and exciting. Also, insert obligatory comment about an Asian game here. With this edition, I got all the DLC. The two separate ones worth discussing are Nightmare in Northpoint and Year of the Snake. The former was really fun, unique, funny, and exciting. The latter was boring- you’re playing as a cop and I did not like the missions.

sleeping-dogs-definitive-editionUncharted 4. Ugh, one of my favorite game series ever just ended in the most beautiful way. And I’m very sad and happy. Gameplay and story are top notch in this last installment. I can’t praise this tetralogy enough. Excited for the next original intellectual property they’ll create next.

Adobe Photoshop PDFTicket to Ride. I love this gateway game that I played back in my college days. The next addition to my collection is a fun and simple game for everyone, so I’m glad I have it so I can attract people to play tabletops with me. I find this game oddly satisfying just collecting train cards and building trains and then the board looks so chaotic, but lovely with all the colors.

pic386687 Wonders. Added this to my collection and was finally able to play it. Still couldn’t figure out the rules so had to watch a video and even then, still was overwhelmed with all the symbols. Not sure if we played it right, but I feel like I’ll get the hang of it and it’ll be more fun than it is now.

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