You

“You” is singular.

You are singular.

Day 14 of the Daily Post: Singular sensation.

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Sugar, Fat and Salt by Michael Moss: A Book Review

I always thought I was naturally lazy so when I heard that people have limited supplies of willpower, everything made sense. Because I have such an uncontrollable attachment to sweets, I didn’t expect this book to make an impact. But I was wrong.

It’s not like everything I learned from this book was novel. As I read it, snippets from newspaper articles, conversations and websites swarmed my mind, so there were as many ‘oh!’ moments as there were ‘oh I remember that!’ moments. This time, however, the facts were harder to ignore. The words were right in front of my face and they constantly reminded me that I chose to read this book. If that was not enough, the author repeats the facts a lot, which relentlessly hammered them into my brain. It was not as repetitive as it was necessary; this way, I never had to flip back to remember something nor did the information’s outstanding clarity dull with time.

In all seriousness, this book changed my lifestyle- I am going to omit the ‘dramatically’ before the ‘changed’. Before, I could not stop eating sweets no matter how much I exercised my self-control. This book was not so much a miracle worker as it was a wake-up slap that opened my eyes to what goes into the food I eat and what else lies behind the pretty packaging. My eating patterns have completely changed and I do not even feel like I am using any of my willpower reserves; this is because this book caused a shift in my head. I can therefore affirm that sometimes, just knowing is enough for change to happen. Different from disturbing fast food truths that you will make you reconsider your lunch, the facts in this book aims to illuminate, not frighten.

In regards to the book itself, it was a good read that was not bogged down with unnecessary terminology. This book was written with a clear purpose: to inform. With a clear and crisp writing style, and detailed research, this book does just that. The last chapter leaves the resounding message, reminding yourself that ultimately, you have the power to make decisions and no amount of intensive advertising can take that away from you. Remember, the supermarket’s worst nightmare is an informed shopper.

Day 13 of the Daily Post: Ripped from the Headlines (I have no idea why an article from 2 months ago showed up on the headline)

Opening Lights

I am careful to chew with my mouth closed, but sometimes unswallowed food temporarily hidden in the nooks of my mouth catapult themselves into the outside. It’s gross. I find it gross. Luckily this has only ever happened to me when I was alone.

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That was not really a habit. Don’t think disgusting. Think human.

I am scared of walking into dark rooms, but even more scared of opening lights and the time in between the dark and the light. That is why I always stretch my fingers and run into the room with my head whipped toward the hallway light before I touch- or slam- my palm into the switch. I’m not so scared anymore but I keep doing it. It’s as scary as I make it out to be. Little fears are interesting.

Day 12 of the Daily Post “Quirky”

The Next Second or Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a wonderful place to be. We are constantly wanting to move forward, thinking that everything will be better after a sleep, or everything will be better after a couple. If you ask me what my wish is, I would say that it is to experience the next second. That way, I’ll have something to be happy about all the time plus the satisfaction of having my wish instantly fulfilled. There are times when quantity gives more pleasure than quality. Other examples include but are not limited to clothing, stationary, and bunnies. Without going to extremes, I would much rather have 100 pieces of weakly thin but recycled paper than one sturdy poster board. Wishes are like pretty pencils. They aren’t a terribly consuming part of our lives unlike goals, but with them, our lives become more pleasant. Instant gratification is something that is rare to come by, so I think my wish is a very pretty pencil indeed. Of course, there is only one thing that would hinder the fulfillment of my wish… but…

I am too young to be thinking about the what-ifs of death, but just young enough to think about all the other what-ifs.

Day 11 of the Daily Post “Fast Forward”

On Dumbo and Genuine Admiration

When I was five, Dumbo the flying elephant was my hero simply because I loved elephants and I also wanted to fly. I am sure that my admiration was genuine at that time. The cardboard boxes full of Dumbo plushies from Disney can testify to that. Since Dumbo is no longer my hero, however, I can say that when I promote somebody to an ideal in the future, it will not be for the same reasons. Children have many different reasons for identifying with who they consider heroes, but just like how motion was understood when everything irrelevant was eliminated, the said person is their hero because they want to be like her or him- perhaps not at the present moment, but eventually. There is nothing wrong with having such a person for a hero, but that is when the blurred distinction between a hero and a role model gets even messier.

A role model is somebody you want to emulate, and the hero is someone whose qualities you admire. Looking at explanations, you want to be like your role model because you admire his or her qualities, and you admire your hero because he or she has admirable qualities. With our innate yearning for the best, whatever that means to you, admirable qualities are qualities you want to have eventually. Past a certain age, people stop citing Superman as their hero, unless he embodies something personal to them. The simple distinction between Superman and someone like Martin Luther King Jr., therefore, is a model far too shallow to be used.

This blurry distinction is not necessarily bad. I just want to remind myself to stop thinking of myself for a moment and concentrate purely on the qualities- to hell with having them or not- of my next personal hero.

Day 10 of the Daily Post

Sleepless Nights

I usually embrace sleepless nights. Since we all complain about doing too much, there’s nothing upsetting about lying down in bed for ten hours while we let our brains run their business. What upsets me is when I get kept up against my brain’s will, especially when it is by an inanimate source that I cannot take out frustration on.

It rains a lot in Vancouver so I am accustomed to the sound of raindrops. Unlike the usual sound of uneven patter of raindrops on asphalt, however, the sound I heard yesterday night was like an even hammer persisting through the whole night. Having lived in this house for over fifteen years, I have never heard anything like that sound before. Maybe I just never noticed. Perhaps I was just awake last night, and when my thoughts ghosted over dusty horror tales, scary fragments that I have accumulated over my short life, despite my will to avoid anything remotely chilling, my heart beat louder. Having made itself heard, it beat faster and faster until it matched the sound of the hammering water and they were beating in harmony.

It’s a lot like being on the outside- physically still but mentally roaming, and noticing things without saying anything. When you take a step out, you begin to notice, and also wonder and reflect; these three actions tie together the mental past, present and future. Being on the outside is mentally tiring, but it is hard to stop noticing when you start. Ironically, I am inside while the supposed leak is outside. Maybe it is not so ironic when the house can be viewed as a barrier, and what does it matter if the inside and outside are switched in name? The inside is always unreachable in the moment when you’re on the outside.

I know I will be so tired tomorrow night that I will collapse onto bed without even sparing the rhythmic hammering an ear. Since the rare should be appreciated, perhaps it is not so bad to have a few sleepless nights now and then.

Day 9 of the Daily Post

Painting Flowers with Roy G. Biv

I will be replacing the ordinary with the fantastical, fanatical and just plain wacky, because I can and because the idea of a rainbow shoves away specks of realism hidden in the crannies of my mind.

48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is a slick must-read for power seekers and the curious. Many times, it makes things sound worse than they actually are and I delight in refuting every single one of the proclaimed universal “laws” as difficult as the task is with the chapter format of transgression- observation- reversal. One of the rules it to take credit for other people’s work. When people employ this law, however, it usually isn’t with malicious intent. Why do something the hard way when it can be done with a shortcut? I made up a little story to illustrate this point- I went off on many tangents for this one.

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Colours are interesting, but time kills interest. Artists tire of painting one flower, so they paint many different kinds of differently coloured flowers arranged in a patterned vase. When they get tired of that, they paint orchids, tulips, or others variants with lovely gradient colours. Perhaps that is why daisies compared to dandelions are the more popular weed; daisies’ white-yellow monotony is refreshing next to fields of golden yellow. Let’s say that artists tire of normal flowers one day- people’s interests are increasingly fleeting these days. The one kind of flower that everyone vies for is one with seven petals, each a colour of the rainbow. Taking a daisy and painting its petals is easy. From an aesthetic perspective, it’s better to pick the petals of the flowers with the colours of the rainbow and put them together. One artist, however, decided to make such a flower all by himself without paint.

Red- blood

Orange- overdose of sunshine to wilt the petal+copper powder

Yellow- honey+sunshine

Green- grass juice

Blue- crushed cobalt (less grotesque than cockroach blood)

Violet/Indigo- cold blood

Moral of the story: use paint instead.

Day 7 of the Daily Post

The Shower

I always do my best thinking in the shower. Why? Because the number of pleasant smelling distractions in the bathroom does not compare to the sheer amount of diversions available elsewhere. To put it simply, it’s where I do my best thinking because it’s where I actually, purely think.

Shower distractions: bubbles, shampoo, soap, sponges

Other distractions: technology, magazines, clothes and everything else not listed above

Even though the word life is already one big generalization, I think things categorized under this generalization should not be generalized further. I do not believe that the quality of thinking fits under the equation that looks something like: quality= time+intensity-distractions. Sometimes, however, I feel like reflection is all about drawing out one line as long as possible, and this is achieved when there are little to no distractions.

Daily 6 of the Daily Post

Laughing/Smiling/Crying

One reason I’m doing this challenge is because I’ll have something to look back upon in the future. It’s always nice to admire or cringe at my past writings. For this daily prompt, I’m going to completely modify one of my posts from 2 years ago.

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Today, my friend asked me if I’d rather cry inside a limo or smile on the back of the bicycle, a traditional asian proverb for the unhappily rich versus the happily poor debate.

Instinctually, I would say that happiness takes precedence. Smiling, however, doesn’t necessarily have to mirror happiness. I smile because I am happy too, but I also smile because I know I will be happy. For most people, happiness is a state of contentment. To the people who argue that contentment cheapens what it means to truly be happy, I would respond that they are doing the cheapening because large-scale glorification is the worst kind of degrading. Happiness becomes an ideal once its context is removed but when people say the word  without spiritual or poetic intent, it means contentment. That does not make the word any less valuable, just less worth chasing after. Happiness will always be a beautiful word because of its many connotations and uses, but it has to be approached from above, not below. To me, happiness is a byproduct of perpetual motion. The momentary satisfaction of playing video games all day is not even cheap enough to buy contentment, but a day of volunteering for Make Music Vancouver, accompanying for music festivals or even reading makes my brain tingle at the end of the day, and I think I tasted happiness that moment without having to look for it.

So later on, I ask my mom the same question. She said:

When I was your age, my answer would be that I would smile no matter the mode of transportation I took. But now that I think about, what use is smiling if you’re not happy in the end. I chose to smile on the back of the bicycle and now, I can’t seem to smile anymore. That’s why, if I reevaluate- if I knew that I would have you one day – I would have chosen the limo.

Then she told me that I still have to smile no matter what. So I will choose the bicycle by word, but remember to never chase “happiness” on its own when it could come attached with the things I love.

Day 5 of the Daily Post

What’s New? Swerving Around Rules

I know this is a copout but the last time I did something new was 3 days ago when I decided to do the daily blog challenge. I wasn’t able to post for January 4 or 5 but I’m going to take liberties with the rules of this challenge and say that I have completed the challenge as long as the number of blog posts in the end total up to one post a day. It isn’t much of a modification since I do not wish to complete 50 blog posts in a day. I’ll keep this momentum.

Day 4 of the Daily Post