Friday, July 24, 2015

As If It Were Already Here

It's been awhile since I've blogged. About two months. And I still don't really feel like blogging. I think since graduating undergrad and now, I've become less concerned about my future than I used to be. There's less of a desire to chase and more of a desire to exist.

My current favorite thing about Boston right now is this giant net sculpture by Jane Echelman appropriately called "As If It Were Already Here" -- I love the name. It lights up at night and shimmers in the wind all day. I think I like it so much because of its scale and presence and passiveness. I enjoy sitting underneath it. I'm comforted by it.

What is Life?

Recently, I read an article about a kickstarter wearable for teenage girls. What I really love about this idea is the lack of a screen. It's a social and fun way to use technology to engage youths. Screens aren't always needed. It's important to remember when to not overindulge.

There's also this talk I truly would love people to see by Neil Stevenson. He talks about the general opinion toward science through the years including very recent trends and how storytelling has impacted it and what he sees for the future. Neil is passionate about this topic and I think the way he presented it was fantastic. His views also line up pretty closely with my own, just more eloquent.

Here's a cool shoe-making process video:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Subtlety Me

Every once in a while I get these crazy ideas that I want platinum blonde hair or navy blue highlights. I get these ideas because I look at my black hair and think: boring and normal. While I've dyed my hair in the past, it's never anything too drastic or edgy, mainly blonde highlights. And that's because as much as I really want to be different, I also don't want to stand out. That's what I crave for myself: normalcy upon a glance but uniqueness upon a look.

I'm a modernist in that I like to see the items I own/encounter take up functional and purposeful shapes that exemplify the materials from which they are made of. The school of Bauhaus comes to mind: simple, functional, and elegant. But I also want these items to feel organic. I like to have a sort of harmony between us and the outside world. Think Frank Lloyd Wright. And yet, I'm also a post-modernist; I like the extra details and frills that are sometimes completely useless. The iPhone 4 is a prime example. The back glass serves no function and is super prone to cracks, but the double-sided glass is my favorite iPhone design. Finally, everything needs a bit of character, imperfections if I may.

So yes, my black hair is normal. But there's so much more behind it. My haircut is simple and functional: it doesn't fall all over my face when I'm hunch over a laptop. It's also heavily layered and organic; my hair is naturally black. And it's definitely got character. Somedays, it does what it wants and I just have to deal with it. Black hair can be boring, but everything, including boring, has a story.

So like the black hair, I make my statements against conformity in small indistinguishable ways. I wear a watch on my right hand even though I'm right-handed. With everyday sneakers, I tend toward grey, grey-black, muted yellow, navy, than straight black. I love adding details with colors. Take this blog for example, it has a very simple design that makes use of different but simple colors against a white background and of course the watercolor backdrop. My lapdesk is basically just a piece of bamboo attached to a cushion with a handle, but it's bamboo . . .

So I guess my point is that being different for the sake of being different shouldn't be my goal because my different just so happens to look, well, not different.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Inch By Inch

I ran that 5k I mentioned in the last post in 32:53 -- there's a story leading up to the race. Ask me if you're curious. All and all, it was a great marathon weekend for me. I got to cheer on two friends running this year's rainy Boston Marathon. 

Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row, Someone bless the seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below, 'til the rain comes tumbling down.

Pulling weeds and picking stones, man is made of dreams and bones.
Feel the need to grow my own 'cause the time is close at hand.
Grain for grain, sun and rain, find my way in nature's chain,
to my body and my brain to the music of the land.

Plant your rows straight and long, temper them with prayer and song.
Mother Earth will make you strong if you give her love and care.
Old crow watching hungrily, from his perch in yonder tree.
In my garden I'm as free as that feathered thief up there.

Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row, Someone bless the seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below, 'til the rain comes tumbling down.

My elementary school assistant principal use to sing us this song with her guitar. I went on a walk today thinking about life. I thought of the universe and how we're just a tiny, tiny speck in it. I thought of a simple life. I thought of hard work. I thought about moving forward, inch by inch.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Five years, exercising, et al.

The passing of time. Five years ago, I was deciding on which college to attend. It feels so long ago, but yet I'm surprised still that five years have lapsed. But it also feels right. High School is in the distant and even undergraduate is starting to get a little bit hazy. I still feel young though.

I'm running the B.A.A. 5k this year. This will be my first race in a little bit over five years. The last race I ran was in 2009, probably November-ish my senior year in high school: a cross country race. Throughout March I've been running on-off, averaging about 2-3 times a week. It does feels nice to be able to run again. I run without music, so it's just me, myself, and my thoughts. Yesterday was the first time I timed a good to honest outdoor run. And well, it was 37 minutes for about 3.3 miles. A little slower than I would have hoped. But not too bad. I have about two weeks until the race. I'd be thrilled for an under 30 minute 5k.

Since the weather warmed, which is an overstatement since it's still fairly cold, I've been prioritizing getting outdoor: running outdoor, going on walks, and riding my bike.

Post Script: Holy mackerel! It just hit me that 5 years ago, I was underaged, 17.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Incomplete thoughts on failure

Let's talk failure. I will say that I've never really failed before and that it bothers me. The advice the greats always seem to give is to don't be afraid of failure: you have to fail to succeed. For that reason, I feel as though I haven't risked anything and am not on a path to greatness, but on a path to mediocrity. By all means though, I don't wish for failure. I am not reckless.

What do you mean you haven't failed? What's failure? Metaphorically, failure, I think, is when a step backwards happens; to lose something, progress, that was once there. If you are currently on block 5 in a board game, failure is to be reverted to block 1, block 0, block -5. The opposite of success, of moving forward. Inverse matter (yuck, inverse matter, that sounds gross and complex, bad analogy.). When I didn't get into Brown University or get those internships, I didn't fail. Sure, I was disappointed and didn't get what I wanted. But I didn't fail: it was a brief moment of stagnation. My life didn't move backwards. Flunking an exam? I didn't have that knowledge to begin with. And things that didn't work out, I never put in the effort or progress for it to count.

The work I am doing right now for graduate school is difficult. I feel like I'm constantly playing catch up like I'm "half-drowning" or "floundering." But maybe this is the moment in my life where I keep pushing despite the hardship and accept whatever result I end up with. And that maybe all this effort and movement in one direction will pay off or maybe it will be for naught. But hey, I gave it shot.

Oh and Happy π day! =]