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.

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The Man of Focus

•1 September 2019 • Leave a Comment

There is a cycle that I tend to go through where I get into a routine, become complacent, realize that I have been complacent, endeavor to escape the routine, escape the routine, and then fall into a new routine, at which point, the cycle repeats itself as cycles tend to do by nature. Right now, I have finally hit the “realization” phase, for which I’m always appreciative when it happens, but there’s always a nagging feeling of disappointment that I’m here in the first place, even though it’s inevitable.

Connection

  • We went to Arizona for Steph’s bday. This was me trying to be more open with opportunities because I probably should have stayed home, but it ended up being a great time. I’ve only been to Arizona once before, but that was up in Page, so I got to experience the Scottsdale area, which, as I figured, was really white and really hot. I got very drunk and it was great (for me).
  • We went to go try on tuxes for Amadeo’s wedding and it went annoyingly because I am “between sizes” and I just have to deal with that.
  • We went to Irvine Regional Park for a general day in the park which is cool because I feel like I never do stuff like this. It always has to be an occasion to get people to go out. Also, it was in the daytime which is great because then I can go home and go to bed at a reasonable time.
  • My sister was home this weekend and we had a good ol’ cousin hangout. It’s always fun to just have a chill day at home with games, movies, and lots of unhealthy snacks.
  • Lately, I’ve been attracted to the general idea of opening my eyes to new ideas and counter-cultures and just general appreciation of other (not just tolerance or acceptance, because those are not enough). I love people that exude this openness to just be and let others be. It’s refreshing and beautiful.

Development

  • So as I am trying to break free from my current routine, I’m trying to get back into learning something new. I realized I haven’t been practicing something new, though I’m not sure why. In typical Brian fashion, I can’t just take on one new thing, but I like to dabble in multiple things during the same time period (which I totally understand dilutes the effectiveness of learning a single thing, but I prefer it this way). I went to my Life List to look at the things I wanted to learn but haven’t tried yet and then I went into a deep dive about how there’s so much I probably want to learn that I don’t even know that I want to learn it yet and then it paralyzed me into trying to find everything I want to learn ever and it’s a vicious cycle.
  • That being said, I do love learning so much so it’s going to be fun to experiment with things outside of my comfort zone.
  • I used to be proud of the idea that I was good at multi-tasking, but as I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that I’m not necessarily doing it properly. It’s all about how you multi-task if you do it at all. In fact, I’ve become so accustomed to multi-tasking, that I find it difficult not to do it. Driving means listening to an audiobook. Eating means catching up on shows. Working out means listening to new music or watching videos in my YouTube queue. I always try to stack my schedule in such a way that I can do multiple things at one time. It’s not always feasible and I’d like to see if I can do less compartmentalizing and instead, devote time to just one task (except those listed above because I think I’ve mastered those).

Freedom

  • I came to a realization that some things that I’ve enjoyed just don’t hold up in today’s standards. And I’ve let go of this idea that I need to justify or defend it in any way. I can say I enjoyed that immensely in the past, but now, I don’t enjoy it as much. I found it strangely relieving to release this idea that I had to continue to enjoy it. It’s easier to just move on. I find that simultaneously comforting and sad. Perhaps I can apply this to other aspects of my life in the future.

Sustainability

  • In one of our offices, the fridge broke and it flooded the office. At the same time, we were working on moving rooms. So everything came together nicely, if not a bit stressfully. We got new paint and carpets and changed rooms. It’s always fun and stressful to remodel and move things around for something fresh. And I’ve been getting rid of what we don’t need anymore in order to keep things simple and not busy. It’s important to keep only what we need in the office so it doesn’t look cluttered. Also, I took a bunch of recycling home (because I don’t think the office has recycling) to dump in my own bin, so that’s a step up from lazy trash me.
  • I finally woke up early enough to wash my car before the sun attacked me physically and emotionally. And that means I also had time to install my HOV stickers. I was hesitant to do so before because they’re ugly and also I didn’t need them as much for my summer work schedule. I’ve already used them a couple of times and saved minutes at a time! Still, psychologically, it feels great and it’s totally worth it. I actually don’t hate the purple on black.

Signal Boost

Aladdin. A movie about how Will Smith turned from a blue man to a black man. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It was different enough than the animated film, though still had its original flavor and fun. The casting was great. The music was great.

I Am Mother. A movie about a robot who raises a human in a bunker. I love a good post-apocalyptic setting with interesting lore and a fun twist. Also, the little fetus babies were so cute, I die.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. A story about a hitman who broke the rules and is now being hunted. On a visceral level, these movies are so satisfying. I don’t know how they keep outdoing themselves, but this is the best one yet.

Rocketman. A movie about Elton John’s life, but from his own eyes. Taron Egerton was great in this. I enjoyed it simply because it wasn’t just a generic retelling, but there were fun, fantastical scenes mixed throughout, which really went well with the tone of Elton John, in general. I don’t think I care enough about Elton John beyond that, though.

The Boys (season 1). An Amazon Prime original series about a group of people who attempt to bring down society’s corrupt superheroes. It looked a bit generic at SDCC, but wow I am blown away. I was engrossed from the first episode. Each of the heroes is so well done, can’t wait to see what happens next season.

Dear White People (volume 3). A show about itself? I don’t know, but DWP got really meta this season. There seemed to be a tonal shift and it’s been confusing figuring out what they’re going for. Nonetheless, the characters are still interesting as they continue to develop.

Euphoria (season 1). A show about Gen Z and drugs. I was not prepared, nor can I appreciate the gravity of what Gen Z goes through. At least this gives me some perspective of our youth. Of course, Zendaya is amazing and compelling.

Glow (season 3). A show about women wrestlers and their Vegas show. Perhaps the best season yet that touches on all the things I needed it to touch on. It’s smart and leans into feminism without being overt. That camping episode was brilliant.

The Good Place (season 3). A show about a group of people getting a second chance at life to prove that they’re decent humans. It’s not even over (one more season) and I’ve already hailed it as one of my favorite shows ever. It’s pure and it’s creative and it’s hilarious and it’s inspiring. I can’t get enough.

Legion (season 3, series finale). A show about a powerful mutant getting out of hand. It was a great run. A nice ending for a ridiculously gorgeous show that confused and compelled me at the same time.

Mindhunter (season 2). A show about an FBI division that psychoanalyzes serial killers in order to catch other ones, specifically revolving around the Atlanta child murders. It’s bone-chilling and compelling, disturbing and fascinating.

The Rook (season 1). A show about a woman with powers who works for a powerful government agency, but she also lost her memories and has to unravel that whole mess. Listen, Olivia Munn is baest of the bae. Beyond that, this show is actually very interesting as we piece everything together.

Wu Assassins (season 1). A show about a chef who becomes the Wu Assassin in order to kill the dangerous and powerful Wu. I stan Asians always and I was very excited for this show. Great fight sequences. It’s like Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s a little campy and not super polished, but I can’t wait for more.

The Sun and Shadow

•1 August 2019 • Leave a Comment

There was a time in my life when I never needed to nap and I generally don’t need to these days. However, there was a slew of days in July when I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything other than nap. And they weren’t those energizing naps, they were those draining naps where I couldn’t bring myself to wake up even though I knew I had (non-urgent) things to do. I’ve been waking up early, I think because of the warmth and sunlight allowing me to get out of bed in a timely manner. But then the midday heat gets into the bonus room and it makes me all sweaty and lethargic. At least, cold showers are perfect for this time of year, without hesitation.

Connection

  • Click here to read all about this year’s hot mess San Diego Comic-Con. This is what happens when you go three days when your body could barely handle two days last year. I say this now, but four days next year?! Trying to reign in my FOMO and re-evaluate what I consider fun.
  • Last month, we started our first official session zero for our second D&D campaign and I’m really excited and nervous about the storyline. I still have this major feeling like I’m failing my players as a DM because I really want them to have fun and want to play D&D, but I feel inadequate. Need to get over that hurdle in order to just have fun with friends.

Freedom

  • I’m getting into Essentialism, which, to my understanding, is similar to Minimalism. It has to do with understanding what is essential in one’s life and what is not. This has been an ongoing theme with me recently as I’ve been trying to pare down my life and really focus on what it is that drives me forward. And (mostly) everything else can just be discarded.
  • My parents remodeled my bathroom last month and it was annoying not having access to it for a while. Makes me appreciate a good sink and shower situation. While I do like it, I unfortunately did not get to do all the cool sustainability stuff I wanted. It’s still very nice though. It’s still not technically done because the mirrors aren’t up yet, so I’ve actually just been living without mirrors for a while now, which is surprisingly freeing. There’s an imaginary post-it above my sink that says things like “You look perfect just the way you are”. A lot of self-love in my morning preparations not looking at myself and critiquing myself at every glance in the mirror.

Sustainability

  • Guys! I’m so proud of myself. For Comic-Con weekend, I meal prepped vegan meals and I found a vegan restaurant and brought my refillable Starbucks canteen to get Matcha Lemonade and I inspired Tricia to get a bamboo utensil set. And I tried very hard to decrease waste while on the floor and not take freebies I didn’t actually want and while making cosplays, I was cognizant of consumerism and waste and recycling/upcycling.
  • I got my windshield fixed and I also got my rebate check in the mail (so fast!) and I have driving anxiety and it makes me sad, but I was very much able to toss aside my worry about the money and just realize that it had to be done and it was all chance and it’s gone and I can just forget about it and move on instead of dwelling on the lost money. Expensive car, expensive repairs.

Signal Boost

Hikaru Utada’s Laughter in the Dark Tour. Thank you Netflix for having this tour film because it was magical and I cried. It was also a bonus to read English translation lyrics at the bottom of the screen to learn what some of these songs were about.

Men in Black: International. A movie about a woman who saw an alien as a kid and then got into the MIB. A useless addition to the franchise, but nonetheless fun. That Hemsworth-Thompson chemistry though.

UglyDolls. A movie about an ugly doll that just wants to be loved. Relateable af, right? I don’t think this was as bad as the critics say and it’s a great film for kids for the message and people like me who will enjoy anything Kelly Clarkson does. I like the doll designs, so precious.

Doom Patrol (season 1). A show about a bunch of losers with powers and their quest to save their missing friend. Listen, I am becoming more selective about what type of shows I watch and I’m over superhero shows, but this looked good. And it was. Not very superhero genre, a lot of character development, a superb cast, and really beautiful standalone episodes.

Into the Badlands (season 3b, series finale). An underrated post-apocalyptic show. Diverse leads. Dope fight sequences; probably the best martial arts show on TV. Aesthetics for days; colors, outfits, weapons, landscapes. Don’t get me started on the lore though! Sadly cancelled with a crazy cliffhanger. Now added to one of my favorite shows.

Stranger Things (season 3). A show about how those little bitches from the Upsidedown won’t leave a small town alone, thanks Russia. An enjoyable season with, thankfully, enough Mrs. Wheeler. I enjoyed the character interactions, especially Max/El, Erica/everyone, Hopper/no-one.

Warrior (season 1). A show about the tong wars in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Y’all, Reddit recommended this to me because I was having post Into the Badlands sadness. I thought it was going to be tacky, but it’s my new favorite thing. Cool Asians everywhere, though it’s sometimes hard to see the very overt racism because it hits so close to home. Brilliant, I’m so excited and I need more and I need more people to watch this. Tasteful nudity, great fight scenes, beautiful Asians, adapted from a story by Bruce Lee.

What We Do In The Shadows (season 1). A mockumentary about modern day vampires. Y’all, I was so excited for this when I saw the Taika Waititi movie two years ago. And it doesn’t disappoint. It has the same quirky silliness and fun irreverence of the movie. So funny!

Silver Surfer by Dan Slott. A graphic novel about a powerful being plagued with remorse learning about love and life in the vast universe. Ugh, brilliantly and beautifully written and drawn. Such creative, zany adventures with a pleasing, deep storyline throughout.

Doom Days by Bastille. A concept album about the end of the world, a final party celebrating hope and friendship in the chaos. All the songs are great, but highlights include: “Divide” and “A Million Pieces”.

The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. I was really excited for this album because these are great songs being covered by greats. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is obviously the best because it’s a Donald Glover and Beyonce Knowles-Carter duet. Nothing can really top the originals, but Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen do great things.

ORION by X Ambassadors. A lovely sophomore album with beautiful songs. When I listen, I feel peace. My favorite is “Hold You Down”.

Stranger Songs by Ingrid Michaelson. A concept album based on Stranger Things, so it’s doubly awesome. So cute and fun and full of feels.

The Finite Things in Life

•5 July 2019 • Leave a Comment

Finally, we are leaving the gloomy overcast behind as the days are turning into a real scorcher, folks! Oddly enough, the air is so cold at work, I yearn to roast outside. Summer, we welcome you with open arms. Except climate change is real and it’s probably going to be really bad this summer so I have to take care of my skin. Remember back in the day when we took summer for granted and didn’t think about time, responsibilities, ultraviolet radiation…no cares in the world, right? Sometimes we forget that nothing in life is forever and certainly, nothing is guaranteed. Thus, it is imperative to be present in the moment, not necessarily because “it could be our last”, but because it’s what’s matters most.

Connection

  • I got to have a vegan lunch at my place, which is something I’ve been planning to do for such a long time. The items were hit and miss, but overall, a success because Alan taught me how to make oat milk and I’m addicted. My dream is to have vegan dinner parties where I can introduce friends to vegan food and also have guinea pigs on which to try my recipes/experiments.
  • I also realized I went to a fully vegan restaurant for the first time in my life (usually, I make do with where other people choose to go by not eating or eating fries or eating the one vegan option that’s not a salad or a sauce). It was probably because Hanna’s the only one that’s down to do that with me smh.
  • We did an escape room for Danni’s bday and I am 2/2! It’s like a D&D puzzle oneshot with a time limit and your only enemy is your own intelligence, for which you cannot roll checks. There’s something about escape rooms that really scratch that cooperative itch and I’m surprised I haven’t done more of them.
  • Yesterday for Independence Day, I got unexpectedly wasted and threw up, so that was fun.
  • Taking perspective is a huge part of how these blog posts help me live a fuller life. I love looking at people and seeing how they’ve helped shape me as a person. I love experiencing that moment of complete connection with another being.
  • Lately, I’ve been consciously trying to understand and appreciate the nuances of every individual person and their feelings, particularly at work with the kiddos.

Development

  • Having a simple home gym has been such a fun blessing. I can work out at any moment because it’s just a walk away. Then I can hop in the shower or grab a snack from the kitchen right away. I haven’t had an intense work out in a while, and though I’m still getting back to the point I once was before, I’m so grateful to be able to have this access. I would like to reiterate how important exercise is for, not only physical, but mental health as well. I just feel more clarity when I exercise regularly. I’m excited to get back into this healthy habit.
  • I’ve been doing really well with sleeping on time and waking up on time and staying hydrated! I’ve noticed I’m off and on with proper meal prep weeks and lazy meal prep weeks, because sometimes, it’s so much easier just to microwave things.

Freedom

  • My budget has been thanking me lately because I haven’t been spending too much at all. It’s like, everything has been focused on the Tesla, mentally and financially. So I’m just trying to go back to my frugal roots, which obviously ties in with my minimalism and simple living I’m trying to achieve. Every time someone has asked me variations of “what’s new?”, nothing pops up because I’ve just been devoting time to my Tesla.
  • That being said, my laptop is in its death throes and I’ve just been using my work laptop for everything. I don’t necessarily want to buy a new laptop because I’m hoping maybe I don’t really need one anymore. We’ll see. I feel like, without one, I can free myself from the incessant need to be on it at all times. Slowly, but surely, I am disconnecting.
  • I’ve been trying to give myself permission to relax and enjoy life because sometimes I forget that I don’t always have to be doing something. Not doing anything or doing something that’s not “productive” can still be useful. I’m still trying to accept this.
  • Then again, there’s been this nagging feeling in the back of my head: it has to do with the idea that life is passing me by so quickly and while I’m struggling/managing to get control over things that can be controlled or while I’m struggling/managing to stay present in the small moments of life…I can’t help but think that there’s so much that the world has to offer and I’m squandering it because I’m not doing enough. And that scares me. I don’t know if the hunger for more will ever be satiated, but I imagine as I get wiser, I’ll understand what my needs are. I want to be content in just being, but I also don’t want to get complacent.

Sustainability

  • After collecting tons of pasta jars, I have finally put them to use at Sprout’s and can finally start my zero-waste crazy-scientist/witch jar shelf aesthetic.
  • Some progress with the Tesla (excitement because everything is so slow with all these applications (luckily, I’ve learned to just out-of-sight-out-of-mind everything because it would just drive me crazy if I’m waiting and worrying about these things)): I’ve received my carpool lane stickers, but haven’t had the chance to put them on yet.
  • Also, after I wrote that, I got news that one of my rebates has been approved and will be coming in the mail! This was a major one because it’s one of the reasons I was able to swallow the high cost, so I’m relieved it’s been approved. Now, I can entertain superfluous things like a vanity plate (psychologically, even though I should consider this rebate as money saved, it actually feels like I already spent the full price and now this is just extra money I can use).
  • In related news, my car had an issue (still not really sure, but it had to do with the charging or something), it self-diagnosed and showed me on the screen, then ordered the part for itself, and all I had to do was set up an appointment. Yes, a new car shouldn’t have issues, but with new tech, it’s bound to happen. On the other hand, I was so amazed about how everything was handled. Plus, everything was so stress-free. They loaned me an S for the weekend and I was totally going to do a roadtrip, but spontaneity isn’t my forte as I felt I had things to do at home. The S was a strange drive and I was so glad to have my 3 back safe and sound.
  • In even more related news, my windshield has a huge crack and I have no idea why! Just happened earlier this week. There goes my rebate money. This whole section has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m trying to keep my worry over the entire situation in check. Mixed results. The irony doesn’t escape me.

Signal Boost

Alita: Battle Angel. A movie about the future where a robot woman who lost her memory competes in a sports competition to gain access to the rich city above. Or something, I’m not really sure. But it was a fun romp.

Dumbo. A movie about a circus elephant who can fly. Dumbo is super cute as all baby elephants are. It was an interesting take on the film, fun and cute.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu. A movie about a guy searching for his father, who disappeared chasing a story about illegal experimentation. Also, with Pokemon. I was unsure with the marketing of this campaign and have been a vocal critic of the design choices, but they ended up being cute. Gritty, fun, emotional, silly, and not too self-important. Not enough Pokemon battles.

Shazam! A movie about a boy who gains superpowers and hilarity ensues because children are hilarious. What a well-crafted DCEU movie! Funny and action-y with a lot of heart. I don’t need an entire DCEU because these films do perfectly well as standalones. I know nothing about Shazam (like all the MCU heroes), so it feels very fresh and exciting.

Black Mirror (season 5). A Netflix anthology series about how technology is scary af. A solid 3 episodes that each had a very different story tonally. I still found them interesting, though not as mind-blowing as previous seasons.

Documentary Now! (season 3). A satirical show presenting documentary style episodes that are truly random and hilarious. Such prominent guest actors. Very well written, it’s almost as if these could be real.

Jessica Jones (season 3, final season). A season that’s really all about Trish Walker turning into Hellcat. Tonally, it’s very grounded, not superheroic at all. At first, it felt tame: “let’s spend the season catching a serial killer”, but it turned into so much more. An end of an era of Marvel TV, but I’m so happy to have enjoyed it when it was here.

God of War. A game about a father and his son’s journey to spread the ashes of his mother. It’s so simple, yet it vastly humanizes Kratos. The voice-acting was superb and I found the combat to be fun and fresh. There were few flaws, and all of them negligible. Such a satisfying story. A masterpiece.

The Impetus

•2 June 2019 • Leave a Comment

One morning, I was sitting in my usual place at the couch and realized some mourning doves (I was today years old when I realized it wasn’t “morning”) were nesting on the balcony. They were making cute noises and coming and going. I was actually thinking about putting a birdhouse or feeder up so I can experience stuff like this. Anyway, so cute right? Then, one day, I hear this wild flapping and it turns out a large crow swooped in and grabbed its egg(s) or chick(s). I just saw it standing there, swallowing something. The parents chased the crow as it flew away, but it was already too late. Nature is fucking wild. I still haven’t fully recovered.

Connection

  • In April, for the first time, I drank a bit even though I was designated driver. Usually, I go full zero, but it was Yen’s bday, so.
  • My sister also came home to visit and I always need to check myself when we have “guests” over because it’s there’s such a routine that gets interrupted.
  • This month, I went out for dinner in the middle of the week, but I guess because I wanted to try the vegan ramen and I didn’t have work the next day.
  • I also went out when it was sprinkly, which I normally don’t do (it’s called a rain check for a reason), but it was Lo’s bday, so.
  • Something else of note is hanging out with my cousin and playing games, which is something we haven’t done in ages. It’s called relaxing and I apparently don’t know what that is. On a side note, Matt, Megan, and I are an improv troupe now.
  • Also, it looks like I hung out on a Sunday which I never do because I like to have me time on a day before work. Luckily, everyone was available early in the morning to play Pandemic.
  • Clearly, the underlying thread is any excuse to drive my Tesla at any moment, which is an exciting revelation I don’t take lightly because I hypothesized this would happen, but I’m glad it’s actually working. Important events aside, I’ve been trying to not just decline everything and do nothing. Small victories, go me!
  • My grandpa died last month and I’m not sure if I’m in the right headspace to sit down and write a post about it yet.

Development

  • I bought my home gym rack since it was on sale and I think my minimalist starter home gym is complete. I just need to set it up after my parents clean the garage. I’ve just been telling myself that I’ll get around to working out when this is set up, but I’m starting to think that may not happen soon and I just need to start doing something/anything to keep in the routine.
  • I’ve been keeping my schedule light and simple, yet I still find ways to not spend my time wisely despite proper scheduling. It’s a bizarre feeling that I need to overcome. I don’t know what’s going on with me. Part of it may be that I need to get over the fact that I don’t always have to be doing something at all moments, that I need to allow myself to just live in the moment even if the moment is dull. Part of it may be me trying to avoid any sort of responsibility for some reason.

Freedom

  • I think I shouldn’t be afraid of comfort. We all strive to be comfortable and secure for the most part. And yet we tell ourselves to go outside our comfort zone. I like the idea of both. I want to be able to accept comfort without guilt and, at the same time, be open to exploring outside my comfort zone without anxiety.

Sustainability

  • I washed my car for the first time, actually waking up early as planned and not just sitting around. I previously did a wax and wash, but since she was pretty dusty, I opted for a full wash. I still have issues with it, but hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it. So far, no major damage! I love using the community-recommended no rinse solution to help with the environment. The only issue for me is having to wash my microfiber towels separately and carefully, so that’s a waste there. Maybe it all balances out? I’m happy to report I’m not meticulously wanting to clean her all the time and I’m okay with just enjoying the car as much when she’s clean as when she’s not so clean. These SoCal mini rains can fuck right off, though.

Signal Boost

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. A Netflix original film about Ted Bundy from the perspective of his girlfriend. What a trip, moreso researching during/after viewing about what a fucked up human he was. Compelling performances, but was it really something that needed to be made? What did it add to his disturbing story?

The Perfection. A Netflix original movie about two cello players. And y’all thought it was gonna stop there, but it took multiple left turns and I was not expecting that. Wild.

See You Yesterday. A Netflix original movie about two kids experimenting with time travel, which leads to disastrous consequences. I thought it was gonna be a fun, hokey romp through science and time, but it was so much more than that. Time travel yes, but also social relevance.

Us. A movie about an American family attacked by doppelgangers. One of my 2019 favorites so far, I definitely need to rewatch to catch everything. Jordan Peele is brilliant once again. Eerie, satisfying, a trip! I love the subtlety of the genres melding together, in the same vein as A Quiet Place, without too much exposition.

Wine Country. A Netflix original film about some middle aged women who don’t have their shit together, but they’re friends and that’s what matters. It had its funny moments anid the cast is naturally great, but overall tame and menopausal.

You’ll Always Be My Maybe. A Netflix movie about two childhood friends who grow apart and find their way back together. Didn’t that one sentence synopsis just sound like any other rom-com? But Randall Park and Ali Wong are a dream team (high key, I’ve been so ready for this film since I first heard about it). It was so satisfying. My favorites were the cameos and the raps.

Barry (season 2). A show about a serial killer turned wannabe actor, who now has to grapple with what he’s done. A hilarious season, with some of these episodes so unique and creative. It’s a specific mix of dark comedy that works so well, especially during fight sequences.

Bob’s Burgers (season 9). A show about a family and their completely normal, everyday adventures. Always clever, always funny.

Dimension 20 (season 1: Fantasy High). A D&D stream from CollegeHumor about a party of teens attending high school and dealing with the end of the world. Wow, who knew I could get so invested in these characters in such a short amount of time? Funny, refreshing, quick, clever, surprising, and novel. Brennan Lee Mulligan’s DMing style is great!

Easy (season 3). A Netflix original show about the messiness of life and love. Final season! Classic Joe Swanberg mumblecore anthology goodness. I’ve been into anthologies lately, and I like that we see the growth of these characters over the seasons, even if we don’t necessarily see conclusions.

Fresh Off the Boat (season 5). A show about how it is being an Asian American teenager in the 90s. Truly relateable
even if it’s not exactly how I grew up. The nostalgia factor is so strong because it’s like a mirror into an alternate reality. Another beautiful season with still interesting plot lines. My favorites are all the date-specific jokes and the music video re-enactments. And my absolute favorites are the moments between parent and child.

Killing Eve (season 2). A show about a killer and her pursuer and their strange relationship. Bizarre concept, beautifully executed. There are perfectly hilarious moments sprinkled in between. I’m excited to see where this goes next as this season saw more interesting development of their relationship.

Relics and Rarities (season 1). A D&D stream from Geek and Sundry about a group of adventurers working out of a curios shop to save the world. Another short D&D stream where I felt deeply for all the characters, oh my. Deborah Ann Woll is brilliant and so are the guests. Another unique way to run D&D with props and puzzles and fun characters.

The Twilight Zone 2019 (season 1). A rebooted anthology series now exploring the modern world. Hit and miss, but overall, a great update. Jordan Peele is next level as always.

The World

•3 May 2019 • Leave a Comment

Some people need a purpose in life and I am probably one of those people. This month, I’ve taken time to reevaluate my values (hehe) and make sure I’m living authentically. What’s interesting is that I’ve found a conundrum thinking about what’s important to me and what I want to be important to me. For example, I want all my relationships to be important to me (so I value connection), but I also spend a lot of my time alone and enjoy it and have difficulty finding motivation to be more proactive and developing relationships and scheduling hangouts (if no one invites me somewhere, I figure a free weekend as a blessing).

I think my purpose in life is to save the world. A tall order, I know. I find that I feel out of whack if I’m not actively pursuing and behaving in such a way to benefit the collective planet. It’s Idealist Me showing his ultimate desire. He’s balanced with Rationalist Me who wants to just live a simple life. They’re not mutually exclusive, but there can be juxtapositions.

I was having difficulty reconciling what’s deemed important, so I created a list (consistency, son), which could be called a manifesto of sorts, in which I detail how I want to and how I can live my life. I plan to continually edit it through my lifetime in order to really hone in on what makes me me and put words to my life philosophies.

Last month has mostly been lowkey and if I’m being extra honest, I’ve been struggling with routine and finding motivation to do what I need to do. Talk about Avoidance April, amirite?

Signal Boost

Avengers: Endgame. The satisfying wrap-up to a decade-long adventure. I’m so happy with what they did and I’m so happy to have experienced this Universe. So well done. I have little words and I am still processing. Many tears, many chills.

Brene Brown: The Call to Courage. A Netflix original talk (?!) about a doctor’s studies with vulnerability, courage, shame. Deeply moving with anecdotes, charismatic, and surprisingly hilarious like a stand-up. Reminded me of Minhaj’s Homecoming King, inspirational and aspirational. I didn’t know what to expect, but I do love my TED Talks, so I hope this becomes normal. File it under B for becoming better beings (I’ve binged all of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone).

Captain Marvel. An MCU movie that brings us 90s goodness. I loved the references and the old school tone, I loved that it wasn’t trying to hard, but I also understand how monumentally important this movie is for society (because I’m not an asshole). Yet another great addition to the Universe. Teared up at times. Chills when the suit and the powers came out. Not enough Lee Pace, not enough Gemma Chan.

Glass. The last movie a Shyamalan trilogy about superheroes or something like that. Split surprised me and I really enjoyed it, but then it just fizzled out and this was a weird movie. Finally getting into 2019 films (finished everything in 2018 finally) and this is what I start with? Definitely not enough James McAvoy personalities and a whole slew of characters I don’t care about.

Guava Island. A short semi-musical semi-thriller film on Amazon Prime Video. Of course, with Donald Glover and Rihanna as leads, it would be charismatic. It’s a beautiful story and art piece, but I wish there were original songs. Nice insight into the mind of Glover and his latest releases.

Juanita. A Netflix original movie about a woman who needs to get out of her regular routine in order to feel alive again. Well, if that doesn’t hit the nail on the head. Alfre Woodard is great in every role, and this one is no different. A cute film with indie vibes.

Someone Great. A Netflix original movie about a woman going through a breakup and needs the help of her friends. Generic and not all that substantial, but I clicked fast because of Gina Rodriguez and Lakeith Stanfield. Completely charming and good millennial fodder when you’re in the mood.

Triple Frontier. A Netflix original movie about a heist of a South American crime lord by a team of former Special Ops. Interesting concept, well acted, overall forgettable.

Unicorn Store. A Netflix original movie about a woman who can’t grow up and then goes shopping for a pet unicorn. Cute, whimsical, random, and a reminder to hold onto one’s child-like imagination and sense of wonder. Brie Larson is great.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (season 1). A Netflix original sketch show that’s super random and hilarious and awkward and hyperbolic and relatable.

Kim’s Convenience (season 3). A show about a cute little Korean Canadian family and their everyday lives. All seasons are on Netflix and you should definitely watch even if you feel like you can’t relate because it is just so precious and funny. I love all the actors, they are so endearing. I think what’s powerful is that we are laughing with them and we can relate to their struggles- it’s not exclusively Korean or Asian, but just a family- with immigrant flavor.

Our Planet. A Netflix documentary series, narrated by David Attenborough, about conservation issues that our planet deals with and how the animals must deal with a changing world because of humans. Beautifully shot and narrated, but of course, it made me really depressed. I wouldn’t say it’s groundbreaking; it’s a familiar and constant reminder that we share this planet and we should take care of her. Spoilers: the walrus scene killed me.

Rilakkuma and Kaoru (season 1). A Netflix stop-motion show about a young woman’s life struggles and her adventures with her pets, two bears and a bird. So incredibly cute and surprisingly deep (I relate to Kaoru, okay gosh). The main creepy thing is that Rilakkuma is wearing a suit and that freaks me out.

Special (season 1). A Netflix original series about a gay disabled millenial. A short watch and I am always keen to learn about different lifestyles. It’s endearing and sweet, though, again, very short so development wasn’t too great.

Tuca & Bertie (season 1). A Netflix original show about two bird friends and that’s all you need to know. Bojack Horseman + Ali Wong + Tiffany Haddish = brilliance. The animation is fun and quick and the characters are endearing and relatable. Hilarious, irreverent, very adult.

Lips on Lips by Tiffany Young. A debut English solo EP from my favorite ex/current SNSD member. Born Again is probably my favorite (it hit me the most), but all of the songs gave off nostalgic 90s R&B vibes and also gave us a personal look into her life more that bubblegum K-Pop. So happy for her, so proud of her.

Free Spirit by Khalid. An aptly named sophomore album that hits me right in the feels. Songs good for a weekend in to heal the soul.

Paradise Lost by John Milton. An epic poem about man’s fall from paradise and how Satan is evil, yada yada. But, as Philip Pullman said in his annotation, we start to feel for Satan as a character, more than we do God. He’s much more exciting and endearing. I can’t believe I got through my first ancient poem by myself! It wasn’t horrible, but if I take it as a piece of fiction and not some Bible truth, it becomes enjoyable.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. A book about human history and how we’ve fucked up the world. Thanks Hanna for the rec (and letting me borrow!). Really insightful and intriguing points brought up; I found myself getting upset thinking about it. Some of it I knew, but there’s interesting perspective here. Well written, easy to understand, interesting.

The Wasteland

•2 April 2019 • Leave a Comment

Since I wasn’t sure what I would type in this intro box, the Universe delivered with a fun story: I stabbed myself in the hand more moments ago. I decided to eat an avocado after dinner (yup, this is where it’s going) and stabbed myself right in the palm. The knife slipped off the seed and stabbed right through the avocado flesh right into my own. I’m no stranger to food-related injury, as I’ve sliced open my palm with a butter knife while spreading spread (I forgot what) on my toast. But as I went to the bathroom to check it out, I started feeling hot, dizzy, and nauseous. Vision blurry, I was about to keep over. I’ve never felt this way before and it really scared me! The wound must be severe, I thought. When I looked at it, it seemed deep, but not deep enough for me to go to the hospital (I don’t have time for decent health insurance!). Of course, being stupid, I decided to Google “I stabbed my hand” and the first thing that popped up was an article about avocado-related stabs. Eerie as fuck! But also hilarious. I felt woozy for a bit after and here I sit, unable to do anything. I’ve taken my hands for granted! And this is a good reminder not to take these small things for granted. Anyway, just know that I don’t want to go to the hospital and I’m hoping that this problem will go away on its own and if it doesn’t, it was nice knowing some/most of you.

Adaptability

  • I’ve been a slow Spark Joy-er because I’ve just kept all my things in boxes nearby without actually getting rid of them. Mostly, it’s because I’m seeing if anyone wants any of it before I donate it to strangers. I guess I do have difficulty getting rid of things until someone does it for me.
  • After I got the car, I finally cleaned out my Mazda and am officially getting rid of (most of) my toys from my childhood. I’ve been desperately hanging onto these 2 boxes of action figures and 1 box of Lego since forever. It’s been my lifelong collection of toys, after all. But I found it easy to finally let them go to someone else who can hopefully enjoy them (very Toy Story 3-esque). I wasn’t really using them. That being said, I’ve kept a small portion of the toys in a single, small box because they sparked joy when I looked at them.
  • I now have two medium boxes of items that I would like to display on the bookshelf that my dad is building. They are the last physical items of pop culture indulgence I will ever buy, hopefully.
  • This car has given me such an appreciation and zest for driving, it’s like I have no cares in the world. This has translated into my everyday life as well, surprisingly. It may be the weather and it may be me working out again, but I think this car has given me a peace of mind that I couldn’t get with an old ICE vehicle.

Balance

  • I’ve officially started my home gym. After my gym pass expired, I moved to calisthenics, but I was having difficulty finding motivation. I didn’t want to go back to the gym, so I looked into starting a home gym. I of course want to keep it minimalist. Unfortunately, it was difficult to really find sustainable and ethical brands because it’s very niche. I really wanted to have easy access to working out and I decided it was a worthwhile investment (this was right before I got my Tesla, so…). It’s been great though. It’s not complete yet, so I can’t do all the exercises I want yet, but it’s been nice to just do a quick workout and immediately shift to something else I can do, like eat or shower right away. I’m feeling a lot better in terms of energy and mood, too. Abstaining from working out really dampened me in myriad ways, in hindsight. And it must be why I’ve been getting sick so much (I had lingering sickness from last time that evolved into something else)!
  • That being said, my routine has been wildly out of whack. All month, I had been so focused on the car, that I would stay up late and refresh pages, do endless research, and read all the conspiracies. I was having difficulty just sticking to my schedule and being present. I’ve been lazy with meals. My sleep was non-existent. I threw my carefully scheduled schedule out the window on many occasions.
  • Now I can’t work out because I stabbed myself, ugh.
  • While getting a Tesla is a eco-friendly dream, I admit purchasing accessories wasn’t the best. I used Amazon and produced a lot of waste. Luckily, my car wash solution is little to no water, so there’s that.

Connection

  • I’m really honored to announce that Amadeo asked me to his best man! I wasn’t sure exactly what that entailed, but me being me, I’m doing deep dives into research about what I need to do. I’m also really excited because Amadeo and Cat are getting married in Disney World, so it’s going to be my only vacation for the year and possibly next several years (see: I just bought a Tesla). It’s a rare opportunity to go on a long vacation with friends because everyone has different life priorities, but this is one occasion that surely brings everyone together.
  • I would like to uphold my promise to be designated driver in as many instances as possible. While my dream is to have everyone own an electric vehicle, for now, I will gladly drive people that need to be driven. This does mean I’ll be drinking less, but maybe that’s for the better (see: the last time I was in K-Town). I remember back when I first got my Mazda, I was keen to drive everywhere because (1) I really enjoyed driving and no one else was and (2) I didn’t worry about money or the environment. Now, I can be that person again!
  • It’s been another month of low social media use (if I get a notification, I will check and then browse a little), and it’s still freeing to me. I don’t feel a toxic need to post and like and comment and compare. While I do agree social media is great to keep up with friends’ lives, it can also very quickly lead down a rabbithole and before you know it, it’s just not healthy. For perhaps the first time, I feel free of the shackles of social media. I don’t need to mindless scroll through it when there’s seemingly nothing else to do. It’s nice for me.

Development

  • I’ve been in a really odd headspace thinking about the concept of time and how I am using it presently. It’s sometimes hard to reconcile ambition with simplicity, but I think they don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. I’d like to think my greatest ambition is, in fact, simplicity itself. I want to make the most of my time being present and doing things that feed my soul. Getting caught up in the minutiae of life, it can be hard to really hone in on that feeling, but it’s nice to remind oneself as much as possible, or at least, be aware of it.

Experience

  • This month, I found some nostalgia. Looking at my old toys. Doing a replay of The Last of Us. Borrowing Amadeo’s 3DS and playing through Gen VI and VII of Pokemon. Binge-watching The Twilight Zone on Netflix. It seemed to be a recurring theme of this month and I’m not exactly sure why.
  • As if I haven’t spoken about this enough in this post, I can cross off getting a zero emissions vehicle off my list. Never did I think it’d be this soon and never did I think it’d be my dream car.

Freedom

  • I’ve also been in a weird headspace with finances and what I really want out of money. Think about your end goal here. I think financial stability is important to allow me to pursue what I want in my life. Stability being the crux, not excess.
  • In adulting news, I’ve been trying to sell my Mazda and I received two scams right off the bat and now I’m terrified to interact with humans because they are just the worst.
  • In other adulting news, I clogged the toilet for the first time in forever and decided not to try and unclog it and just kept flushing it intermittently throughout the day and voila, it unclogged itself. And I think this is not great, because it just enables this idea that problems will solve themselves without much effort from me and that’s why I’m leaving this hand wound alone and may come to regret it, but we’ll see because that’s the fun in real life!

Signal Boost

If Beale Street Could Talk. A movie set in the 70s about a black couple who deal with a pregnancy and a wrongful conviction. Its themes ring true today, even though it’s set in the past. It’s like The Hate U Give, except quieter. A beautiful love story, broken only by the tragic reality of the situation presented.

Mary Poppins Returns. A movie about a mysterious woman who comes to your house to help you clean the fuck up and get your shit together. So Marie Kondo, but for London. Such a mysterious woman! It doesn’t help that Emily Blunt is brilliant. The songs were great and it’s a nice piece of nostalgia (with hybrid animation!), but the story was blah.

Vice. A movie about Dick Cheney and how evil he is. And it’s scary to think about all of this going on in my lifetime, during my childhood, and I just wasn’t aware. I just didn’t care enough to try and comprehend how much this affected all our lives to this day. The make-up and impressions were brilliant. I editing was at times annoying, but at times, also great. I liked that Christian Bale won an award and thanked Satan in his speech.

The Umbrella Academy (season 1). A Netflix original show about some emotionally stunted children with superpowers. Okay, so I watched it so I could cosplay the Asian dude, but it turned out to be a rather intriguing premise. The writing was iffy and the character decisions were eye-rollingly CW-ish, aka really frustratingly dramatic for the sake of drama. Still, I found the characters endearing and the fun parts were fun and campy.

Slade House by David Mitchell. A book about a duo of immortal siblings and what the things they do to stay immortal. It’s dark, creepy, and fun. Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books, so I will read anything by Mitchell. I liked that this one was short, though perhaps the ending was too abrupt for me (and perhaps he’ll continue the story in another novel, as many of his novels are connected by threads of some sort). I listened to it on audiobook and found myself so engrossed in the story and got many shivers listening while driving home in the dark.

Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier. Something about Hozier is just so melancholy, yet soothing and subtle. It makes my heart churn and ache, feel full and beat heavy. This album captures this same feeling. While less intense than “Take Me to Church”, there’s nonetheless a strong magnetism to each song on this album that brings me back.