The Calm Sensation

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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~ by Btab on 14 May 2017.

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