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Picks! Picks Everywhere!

My dryer has always had a consistent problem of never completely drying my laundry. It's an old dryer (probably 7 years plus), and it rattles more than a maraca. So I decided that it was time to do open it up and do so general maintenance.

It took me a while to figure out how to finally get it open, but afterwards, I wiped and vacuumed all of the dryer's nooks and crannies, especially the humidity sensor. I was curious to find out what was causing all the rattling. My guess was coins, but as I took off each wing in the drum (the part that juts out so that the clothes tumble inside the dryer), I just kept finding more and more picks.

Here is the booty from my adventure.

11¢, a handful of picks, and lint. I'm a rich man.

To show how much picks I found, here is all of my pics laid out in rows of ten.

49 picks in total.

And this penny is kind of cool.

I was not expecting to have such a fun time cleaning the dryer. Everytime I removed a wing, I was laughing like a maniac. Overall, it took 2 hours to clean out the dryer and reassemble it back together. However, knowing what I know now, if I were to do it again, I could probably clean everything in less than 30 minutes.


It's been a week since I cleaned out the dryer, and I still can't help but laugh at the situation.

To provide a bit of backstory, I just moved into this house, and so all of these picks must have been from old tenants. I am assuming the same person. I own a musician myself so I can empathize with this pick loser. I've lost track of how many times I've frustratedly muttered to myself, "What happened to all my picks?" I never answered my own question, but I definitely answered his.

The narrow gap between the wing and the drum must have been the perfect trap to collect free-roaming picks that the original owner neglectfully left in his jeans. Perhaps I will find a treasure trove of socks, chap-sticks, and hair ties when cleaning out the washing machine.

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Congratulations CL for New Book

One of my friends, CL, just published her first book Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips, and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly household. It's not just some run-of-the-mill no-name book either—it's being sold in every major bookstore including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Here is CL's new book!
This is the front cover of CL's new book.

Awesome! I'm Jealous.

Congradulations! Wha–Whe—How did you get so ahead of me?

Best wishes on your blog's future! I hope you buy your own book and eat it.

It's strange watching her blog grow up from infancy. From reading her first post, to reading her daily musings, and now hearing about the publication of her new book. Needless to say, her blog is definitely going places.

If you can't tell, a small, small part of me is jealous. I only got interested in blogging recently, so of course she's farther ahead than me. Mostly, I'm very proud of her. And she deserves it too!

I'm not surprised about the content of her blog, either. She's always been interested in minimalism and she's always considered the environmental consequences of her actions. Nor am I surprised about her success. Her passion is contagious. Like a disease!

If you're worried about getting gypped, don't worry. CL's online personality isn't a front. What you see is what you get.

One aspect about her that you can't get from reading her blog is her attractiveness. And I am not just talking about her face, but her overall personage. At least that's my best guess. I don't see what the whole hubbub is about CL, but everyone I've met says she has this attractive charm.

Actually, when we served leadership together, I felt kinda bad for her. Not because of any thing she did (at least not intentionally). When we served in collegiate leadership, I knew of at least three people who had confessed to her, and three others who had secretly fallen head over heels for her. ALL WITHIN A 5 MONTH TIME PERIOD. I couldn't believe it!

Looking back, it makes more sense now.

  • She loves to bake. Very homely.
  • She has an easy-going personality.
  • She exudes that sort of artsy-fartsy vibe. You know, like an Etsy seller.

Yet, even considering all this, it's still unfathomable as to why SO. MANY. PEOPLE. were caught by her love bug. I mean, she only got a 77 on the Duck Row Test. Am I missing something about her that other guys see?

CL wearing my glasses.
Here's PROOF that I know her! In this picture, she is failing at wearing my glasses. Everytime she tries to wear them, she combusts into laughter.

Just imagine: All your guy friends—those close to you and those you considered platonic— kept requesting to talk to you in private, and then BLAM! All of them began to confess their undying love to you left and right. Scary right? I'd be afraid to talk to any of my guys friends fearing that they'd fall in love with me.

So, in my idiotic brilliance, I decided to confess to her about my DISinterest in her. In my mind, the plan was foolproof. I would tell her that I don't have any intention of hooking up with her, and if she needed a guy's perspective on something, she can come and ask me without any worry of me declaring myself her "Romeo". I followed through with my plan, and it was a glowing success.

At least, that was what I thought.

The plan backfired. Now, every time she sees me, she asks, "Hey, remember that time you told me I was ugly and unattractive?"

I know she says it in jest. We're still friends and there's never been any ill will between us. Well, those days are long past now. We both graduated and moved to different places. Besides, she's married now.

I'm proud of you, CL, and hope to catch up to you in the near future. Don't forget about your eccentric friend Often when you become filthy famous.

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On Health

a brief reflection on health and well-being

This is my morning salad. It was quite tasty. I can imagine eating this on a daily basis.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. From the Constitution of the World Health Organization

Ever since the Summer break, I've let my health fall to the the wayside. So many things have happened in my life, and I've been having trouble trying to manage my time. Right now I have a stomach flu, and I feel like my stomach is tearing up inside me. It's fustrating. I had an agenda I wanted to accomplish today, but now all of these projects and responsibilities need to be pushed aside to recuperate my health. I'm not sure if this sickness was brought on by my recent unhealthy living or by something more specific like spoiled food or a contagion from someone else.

However, I think that this temporary abdication of responsibility is a blessing in disguise because it allows me opportunity to reflect on the well-being of my current lifestyle. In specific, I'm going to reflect more on the physical aspects of my health rather than some of the more abstract views of health. In the nearby future, I plan to expedite the execution phase of my Cooking and Fitness Projects as well. In specific, I will be discussing nutrition and fitness.

Nutrition

I've always had admiration of people who voluntarily live under strict diets—vegetarians, vegans, paleos...— and I am thinking of subscribing myself to one of these dietary restrictions as well. Not for any moral reasons—I do think that they are important— but because I fear death. Well, not death itself, rather living an unoptimal life. I agree with Henry David Thoreau when he said:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms...”cite Henry David Thoreau

Yes. I too want to "suck out all the marrow of life", but I am not sure if I can do that if I consistently and constantly drink bulalo, Filipino bone marrow soup. It's sad to think, but I am beginning to see the old generation pass away. My parents, uncles, aunts... their health is beginning to deteriorate. Some in their late 60s but many others in their late 40s or early 50s. What fustrates me is that they accept their current health as normal and are not taking any steps to correct their lifestyle with diet and excercize. I'm not going to go any further on family matters, but to tell you that this is one of the primary reasons why I want to study history—to correct or at least bring to light the problems unaddressed by my family.

Also, just like Henry said, I believe my best option is to set limits on myself on what I eat as well as the quantity of the food that I will eat. I've tried to strictly count my Macros, but it was just too difficult. Using a food scale, feeling guily everytime I eat out, counting calories on everything I ate. Looking back, it was a miserable experience yet enlightening. I began to discover that my dietary choices are... to say the least... less than superb. So this next time 'round, I've decided to employ a different method. Portion control using bowls. This will make it easier for me to control my macros, but more importantly, it will limit my food intake and ensures that I have a balanced meal without much thought or effort.

The use of Dietary supplements is another factor I need to consider as well. To allay some of your concerns about improper use of supplements, I do understand that they are first and foremost, a means to supplement my nutritional needs, not to replace them. However, I think that they will be necessary if I begin to restrict my diet, especially in the early stages of my journy, because they will help fill in any nutritional gaps in my diet as I fumble through the journey of healthy eating.

I've discussed my basic plan with others, and let me say that the response has been mixed. Healthy people roll their eyes and say, "Of course that's what you do. Wait... you haven't been doing that?" while unhealthy people who are trying to live more healthily look at my plan with gleaming eyes and say, "Wow, this plan is brilliant!" (I'm exaggerating, but I know that is what they said in their heart). So, I think my planning is on the right track, I just need to take the first step.

Fitness

I've never been super sportsy. I tried... but my Asian parents put a higher emphasis on my higher education than my extracurricular activities. So, I've always felt awkward and inadequate when I tried to play basketball or football with my friends. I'm considering taking a community college class that teaches me cardiovascular exercise. I'm thinking dancing. It's not competitive (I hope), it's fun, and it will help me become more social. Also, maybe it will open up my social circle to more attractive people. You know... cast a wider net.

However, cardio exercize is only half of the equation. Before, I've used to be heavily into lifting heavy things. I started Starting Strength and moved onto 531 BBB. It's been over three months now since I've stopped lifting, but I would like to start again. It was always the highlight of my day. Part of me wondered why I stopped in the first place.

Further Reflections

One more thing I want to point out before I begin cleaning my home gym. I would like to reflect more on the quote I provided above. It's so resonant to me (and to my brother who is a doctor) that I don't mind repeating it again:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. From the Constitution of the World Health Organization

This quote sums up the groundbreaking epiphany I had about health from these past several months. In short, my conclusion was that health is not an absence of something, but rather a presence of something. The buzzword that people use right now is "well-being", but the meaning behind it is the same—health is an advance forward, not a retreat away. This may not seem groundbreaking for the majority of you, but it is to me. Health is a presence of something. That means that we need to make the concious effort to be healthy rather than spending the bulk of our time avoiding unhealthy things. I had this same realization with the concept of peace. I was talking to a friend, and he told me that peace was a given as a command. It's not an absence of something but rather a presence of something, like health. Therefore, we need to make the active choice to be peaceful.

I am hopeful about my situation, and I don't think I've put myself into a point of no return. I'm not an expert on health, but I know that I'm stepping in the right direction. This pursuit for health is not just for my sake, but also for others around me as well.

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A New Friend?

"I met someone who I is super interesting. His name is AA."

He is the boyfriend of my cousin's cousin—not related. He's hispanic and wears his long hair in a man bun.

He does graphic design. How cool is that!

But what makes him stand out is a passing conversation I had with him about notebooks. He said, "Someday, I want to make the perfect notebook." Inwardly, I was ecstatic. Part of me wanted to jump out of my chair, slam my hands on the Buffalo Wildwing's table and say, "I have the same passion too!" Thankfully, I restrained myself. I did not want to creep him the first time I met him.

So, in three weeks from now, 21 days, I will contact him. I've already drafted my facebook message that I will send him.

Hey Alex, I was thinking about making a notebook from scratch and wanted to see if you would be interested in what I've made so far. Often

Does that sound casual enough... I don't know. Anyways, hopefully I won't scare him off. Friends are hard to find after college.

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On Suffering

Broken Sign
Broken walk signal and broken relationships.

"On Facebook, my friend, EL wrote this:

Does suffering need a reason? No, it does not. Although the beginning of the Book of Job gave a reason to why Job suffer, Job was never informed about this, just as God never gave an answer to all the questions He asked Job. Maybe there is a reason for our suffering, maybe there is not. Maybe instead of asking "why?", we should ask "what now?" Is there a reason for suffering? Maybe there is, maybe there is not, but does the reason really matter? Maybe there are things in the world has no answers. EL

I completely and wholeheartedly disagree. I've been trying to parse out what he wrote, trying to see if I misunderstood it, but no matter how I interpret his post, it's wrong. Dangerously wrong.

Reasons do matter.

The problem isn't whether or not there is an answer, the problem is never asking the question in the first place.

I can understand why people choose to believe this. If you or someone close to you is undergoing some unbearable pain, it makes sense to push the idea of suffering to the side and not dwell on it in order to continue with life. In short, its a coping mechanism. And sometimes, it is necessary. (To be fair, 'Everything Happens for a Reason' is a horrible phrase to say to someone who is in the midst suffering. My recommendation is just to listen, empathize, and support that person as they go through the situation. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to give them space and allow time for them to heal.) But if one builds his entire life on ignoring these questions and encourages others to ignore factors that contribute to one's own suffering or the suffering of others, it hurts everybody in the long run.

In the biblical story of Job, God did not provide the answer, but even still, there is an answer. Whether or not we can fix it (or even comprehend it) is another matter. What is wrong to ask why or how suffering exists? These types of questions are valuable question, and Job had every right to ask these questions to God. Nor do I think that God was angry at Job for asking these questions either. It may not have been the answer that Job wanted at the time, but it was what he needed.

We need pursue these ""why"" investigation as long as we don't dwell on them too long because they can cripple us from making a meaningful mark on the world.

The world sucks. There is a lot of pain and suffering in the world. However, in order to grow and mature, we need to confront these problems head on and push ourselves to move forward despite how depressing and soul-crushing the world is.

Whatever religion or philosophy you have, "reducing needless suffering in the world" is a noble task, and any meaningful change needs to start with the foundational question of 'Why?'.

I'm no expert on suffering, but I've had my own fair share. Here's what I do know:

  • Suffering is multifaceted.
  • Suffering exists.
  • Suffering can be good, bad, or somewhere in between.
  • Needless suffering can be reduced but it involves the commitment andinvolvement of the entire community.

Don't ignore suffering. That's the easy way out and it hurts you and everyone around you. Don't belittle suffering either. Because its real and potentially dangerous.

Last but not least, always humbly and hopefully keep asking those big questions.

Further Resources:

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