Sunday, May 16, 2010

Officially closed

To all who come by here, I'm sorry to say that there won't be any new content here any time soon. Nonetheless, feel free to browse. If you're still interested in reading what boring ol' me has to write on a personal level, though, don't hesitate to visit me at The Psyche of Mikey.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Q&A - Michael answers questions about ending DYHIT.

For everyone reading this, I'm frankly going to tell you that I am formally ending this blog within the next month. I'm a frank kind of guy, so I speak frankly - or at least, I want to be a frank guy - and that's that. I may be a little optimistic and presumptuous here, but I'm thinking there are some questions that people want to ask about this move. A good friend of mine agreed to create a Q&A session with me addressing these questions, and here I am, hoping that my answers will satisfy.

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Q: So, Michael... are you just ending this blog, or is it all of your blogs?
A: I'm ending all four of them.


Q: Okay... why?
A: I'm going to try and make this as clear and simple as I can. When I first started blogging, I was seventeen years old, going to high school. I'm now nearing nineteen years old, studying at university. I've moved to another country, the company I have around me has changed, and quite frankly, my character has changed to adapt to what life has presented me with.


Q: Are you saying that the pressures of school have given you less free time to write?
A: That is a factor, but it definitely is not the main one in this decision. I have a lot of free time actually, probably a lot more than most of my readers, but what I want to do with that spare time is up to me, and I'd rather use it to treat myself to what makes me happy. I think that the premise of Do you hate it too? was fun, helpful and easy for me in Oct. 2008, but as I've grown up and gone through some major transitions, my personality has changed, and I no longer see the need, or the humor, in complaining.


Q: You don't complain about annoying people anymore in your daily life?
A: Heh, well, let me rephrase that: I no longer see the need, or the humor, in projecting my annoyance on a designated public forum. Blogging is a tricky ordeal - you want to be honest enough so that people feel that sense of connection, but you also don't want to be so opinionated that you upset people. I can still chuckle to myself if I should hear someone using the word 'irregardless' for example, but I'm just not comfortable anymore being the one pointing it out.


Q: Would you be open to letting people continue the fun on DYHIT by offering guest posts to be published here for your readers' entertainment?
A: This blog is fun, and wouldn't be the same without all the feedback I've received from the readers, but in the end, it is all me and I'd like to keep it that way. Quite frankly, I still don't believe I'm actually a writer - what I wrote at the beginning of this was the essence of the 17-year-old me. I'm sure there are many a talented writer who could help carry on this blog, but I would be much happier reading their thoughts on their own blogs where their creativity and professionalism can really shine on its own.


Q: Perhaps a writer could do you...
A: ... yes, like as a character! That would be great... to have a character in a book be based on misanthropic me. Hah!


Q: Speaking of books, what happened to that DYHIT book you were planning on publishing next month?
A: I may still do one at some point, but I guess there is a reason you don't get a lot of successful teenage authors these days. We, as a group, are still figuring ourselves out and have no idea what the heck we want in life. We're so impulsive, and haven't learned yet how to learn what we really want in life. I'll just say that the idea is still looming, and it may still happen - next year, the year after that, five years later? - I don't know. I'll be sure to get the word out there, though, to those of you who would be interested.


Q: How would you let us know?
A: Well... (thinking) here's what's going to happen. I want to create a new blog to replace the old four. If I shall have any thoughts of publishing a book, or doing anything else exciting in the future, I'll let you know there. I plan to launch the new blog some time next month. Beforehand, I will save everything I've done in a trusty hard drive for safekeeping, and
give you all about a week's notice or something before I shut these ones down.

Q: Wait a minute, you're going to delete these ones?
A: You see, all the best things that have come to me have come at times where I went through a major transition, from one thing to a totally new, different thing. Wiping the slate clean allows for me to move on more easily. I wish I could just give these blogs a remake or something, but I feel like the fact that I'm not happy with its current state, indicates to me that I didn't do it right the first time. Hopefully, this new blog that I'm currently molding will feel 'right' for at least a longer period of time, will need no changes, and will be more flexible for my usage as I continue to grow up (unfortunately).


Q: I look forward to that one then, as I'm sure your readers are too. Maybe for old time's sake, let's go over where this all began?
A: Well, great idea. I said that in the span of a single post each day, I would consider one thing that was a nuisance to me. I was raving to another friend about how I hated it when people invited you to events at the last-minute, and he suggested - blogging. I got seriously pissed everyday during that time, and I had no idea why, it was just my character. I don't know if I was actually writing to the best of my ability, but all I was trying to convey was a voice, a style of humor, easy reading, and a dash of truth. I always knew it would be funny.


Q: And now it's not funny anymore?
A: It's hard to say. I think it's always funny to point and laugh at things people do, but funny also has to come from the heart, because otherwise, you're just a sadistic person. I'm not sure why exactly, but I'm just not feeling it in my heart anymore. I have my long days, I get sick and tired of some people, but when I get to sit in front of a computer now, I don't feel like typing it all down. It portrays me as a negative person, it makes me feel like a negative person... all of a sudden, it isn't so funny anymore.


Q: You've written over two hundred entries since Oct. 2008... can you select five favorites?
A: Impromptu invitations, throwing things in the bin, vulgar mispronunciations, having to reach into the tissue box for a tissue, and holding grudges.


Q: Any last remarks?
A: To anyone that eagerly follows me, there is a phoenix that will rise from the ashes - a blog that will just be a personal one about me, that may still feature some of the classic annoyed-at-the-world me, I promise. I take with me from these four blogs, four different lessons in how to approach the blogging world to maximize what I get from it. I assure you, all is not forgotten. This has been amazing fun for most of the past eighteen months, and without this one, I wouldn't have met a lot of great people that genuinely want to listen to me. I'm so happy I touched your hearts, made you laugh, and/or turned you on, or whatever else I did for you, but it's time to move on and I hope you can understand. I'll be back in a month or so with the new blog, so I'll catch you then.


I just want to finally thank Stuart, for this all would never have happened without his prompt. Thanks Sarah, Ariel, my mother and all 23 of the FIS-ers for providing me with many an idea for the blog, and also Elizabeth, Cindy, Michelle, Melvin, Jen, Eve, Amanda, Arthur and Graham for your expressed encouragement in the real world.

Thanks to J.J., Douglas, gaf85, Marcy, Jacynta, Gabriel, Ruchi, AV, Liz, and Madame DeFarge for sticking by since the early beginning, it's been a pleasure getting to know you. 

And shout-outs to Louise, Eugene, Larissa, Joebs, Logan, Shimmer, Chris O, Steven, Nilu, Madeline, Evelina, Robyn, Amanda, Pavitra, Chun, Yolanda, Chricel, Ren, Bindu, Eura, Naomi, Stephanie, Mike, Adora, Rachel May, Charis, Randa, Shanne, Ares, Daphne, Vincent, Jill, Vlado, Alan, Kimmy, Fish, Vivienne, Kate, Eura, KMcJoseph, Neen, and the people who follow me on Facebook, on Twitter, via my RSS feeds, the Hong Kong Blogs Review, the Standard, CNNgo, and whoever I forgot but actually contributed to it all in some way! Thank you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

237 - 'Talking up' a movie and ruining it for me

I remember going into a cinema without having any preconceived notion of what the movie I was about see would be about. Now, with instant texting, instant messenger, Facebook, Twitter (seriously, why did I get Twitter...), blogs updated every single day, and a general acceleration in word of mouth communication, I find myself going into movies already knowing whether the acting will be amazing or subpar, whether the plot'll be good or not, and what happens at the very end (and maybe even after the credits).


It effectively ruins the films for me, films like Wall-EUp, and Avatar, just to name a few. Great 3-D movies, I understand the digital wonderfulness of them, but hey, let me just watch it and judge on my own accord, because the more you talk about it, the less impressed I can and am going to be.


Take the Oscars for example. I haven't watched the ceremony yet. But I already know which film wins Best Picture, and apparently, everyone is mad at George Clooney. Demi Moore and Sandra Bullock seemed classy and looked beautiful.

Now, you can lay the blame back on my own shoulders, for I signed into Facebook and Twitter and surfed the web extensively for the past few hours, denying what I know to be true, that when I watch the Academy Awards, it will be spoiled if I keep clicking from page to page, but hey, it's Monday morning, 9:30am. I just had breakfast, and I don't have a lesson until eleven.. this is what I do every morning, every day, like the Pinky and the Brain trying to take over the world. I have no time to blog or tweet or check my e-mails later, this is my routine.

Hollywood news just spreads so quickly, and movies get so hyped up, to the point where it's just not impressive, worthwhile or simply news anymore.

If everybody could not talk about Alice in Wonderland, that would be appreciated. I am a fan of Johnny Depp, and of Tim Burton, and of Lewis Caroll, and well, I don't want this to be another Wall-E sort of disappointment.



Bah, how can I blame anyone for talking about it, though, if they've seen it? What am I really asking for - that everyone conform to my own timetable and calendar before talking about certain TV shows, music albums, or top grossing blockbusters?

Hmmmmmm...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

236 - Relying on someone and they don't pull through


Have you ever asked someone to do you a favor, promise they will be there to lend you a helping hand, and then have them retract their hand, and along with it, their invested interest in your well-being? It's hard enough that the circumstances have brought us into difficult predicaments, but it's worse to have the light shining on us be suddenly eclipsed by a person's resignation of his/her's consideration, understanding and cooperation. It's like saying, "You were worth it at one point, but now, not so much."

I was put in this situation a couple of days ago. I asked for aid in my life, and the person abandoned me. If he couldn't have possibly performed the favor, mightn't it be easier if he had just said so in the first place?

It's a slap in the face if you ask me. I thought we were family... I thought we were friends. But I guess the feeling's not mutual.

Don't you hate it when you depend on another person's help, only to find out that it hurts you even more in the end?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

235 - The idea of inheriting personality


Right now, I'm in a really, really bad mood. There is very little that would not irritate me at this very moment...

I remember there was one time my mother said I inherited my bad temper from my father - I would just burst into a big explosion of upset whenever I didn't get what I wanted.

The very idea that I inherit my irascibility from my dad is something I strongly do not believe in. I understand eye color, and hair color, and general fitness, and the size of my nose being inherited. To resemble your parents in terms of these particular phenotypes is fact, and fact that means something because when others see you with them, they recognize you are part of the same family. But with personality traits and non-physical characteristics that make me who I am, I refuse to believe anything these scientists are saying...

...about how they have found a 'gay gene' or a 'criminal gene' - that's just plain nonsense. I've read quite a bit into this area of research, and yeah, it sure is interesting to read about how the people that we are is partially environmental and partially genetic. It's just wonderful that these researchers have spent all this money to find out that the same part of the brain that controls testosterone levels in the body, also has an effect on the lengths of your fingers, and that both of these factors correlate to homosexual behavior - but hey, it's just a simple correlation, it's not like the results a hundred percent positive, so what does it matter anyway if there's always going to be a minority that don't fit the rule? Why don't you explain that minority to us instead of shoving our faces in the majority that fit your hypothesis?

You want to know why?

Because it doesn't mean anything! Who cares if there are biological indicators of the people we will turn out to be?! What, am I supposed to go chasing after men just because the length of my fingers say so? Am I supposed to drop out of university and mug people on the streets just because I share similar genetic makeup with felons locked up in jail?

No!!!

Because we live life in a dynamic environment, with obstacles that we are meant to face and that demand choices from us, chocies to be made with logical reasoning and a degree of risk assessment. There is no 'nature' versus nurture. Personality is purely a result of environment and personal choices. You can't inherit good business skills. You cannot inherit arrogance. You cannot inherit a good work ethic. You cannot inherit a criminal record. Your life is in your hands, and you have the freedom and the ultimate power to choose who you want to be. The only thing you can get from your parents is good looks, and that's just if you're lucky. And if you're unlucky, there's always plastic surgery, which you can afford if you work hard, and train yourself to have a good work ethic.

Good day, sir!

Bah! Humbug!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

234 - Noise


There are very, very, very few times in your life where you will hear the sweet essence of silence. I love going to the beach or the swimming pool and diving into the water just to drown (pun intended) out all the sound in the world for as long as I can hold my breath. It's amazing how much noise can come out of one simple action - for example, each instance my finger pushes a key on this keyboard. Even if I try really hard not to make any noise, there's an inevitable sound emitted when the key rebounds back upwards.

That paragraph was roughly 500 characters, which means there were roughly 500 soundwaves that came out. That's just one action, repeated over and over again, by one person. Now imagine the computer room that I'm in. It's seven in the morning. There is only one other person in the room aside from me perusing a computer. He's typing right now, and it annoys the life out of me. Of course, I'm typing too, but here is why I believe I'm not a hypocrite here.

The other person doesn't only make typing noises. He fidgets too. He thinks he's being quiet, but he's not. I can hear the wheels at the bottom of his chair make slight moves, shifting a little bit here and a little bit there on the hardwood floor. I can hear him inhaling quickly, almost desperately, and then letting out each puff of air steadily, with an air of relief. I can hear him scratching, and I know that the slow, but determined reptition is him scratching his forearm, and that the gentle, fast itching is him scratching his back. I can hear him move his mouse along the surface of the desk. I can hear him sniff.

I am fully aware of the fact that it's impossible to be completely quiet all the time. However, one can strive to be, especially when it's fairly obvious that others in the vicinity are trying to get some work done. This is all almost second nature to me, but I make sure that I'm comfortable in my chair when I first sit down. I see no need for any noise to be made when breathing, and I see no need to scratch at all. I hold in my sneezes, I hold in my yawns, and I sniff only when I'm alone.

And even though some noises are inevitably to be made, I try to do it in a way that is pleasing to the ear. While I'm typing this, I type full paragraphs continuously until the very end, and take longer intermissions between paragraphs. There's no need to stop if you learn how to organize thoughts in your head. Why is there any need to be so sporadic and choppy when you type, that's so cacophonous.

Trees rustle, coins jangle, doors creak and printers sound like they're about to explode. But hey, we have controls over our own bodies. So what if other people are making more noise than you? So what if it's just the sound of you tapping some keys? The fact that it's a small amount of noise doesn't mean it isn't pollution. Who needs to graze the floor when they're walking? You're going to make all that noise just so you can get some gum out of your bag? Who needs to hear rap music come out of your phone when you get a call? No, not everybody wants to hear how you flirt with girls over the phone. And explain to me this: why the heck is it that I can tell the difference, when you're scratching your damn arm, and when you're scratching your friggin' back?!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

233 - People who think foreign food is disgusting


As I was growing up, I was always encouraged to try new foods. With having travelled quite a bit too, at this point, I very rarely refuse to try any cuisine, even if it is a bit out of the ordinary.

Being brought up in Hong Kong in both Chinese and international contexts, I learned very early on that consuming things like duck's liver, bird's nest, shark's fin, and turtle shell jelly (pictured above), was pretty weird to some people - specifically those that weren't local Chinese. But to me, my beloved grandmother, and the rest of my Chinese-side family, it was perfectly normal. (And yes, I've tried and love all of those things.)

Recently, I've been listening to a lot of people give China crap about eating things like dog, because they're a creature that the Western world has domesticated. Or things like scorpion or tarantula, because they sting and they're poisonous and they look too different from us humans. Give China a break, man, it's a big country, with the largest population in the world. I'd be surprised if all 1.3 billion of us were only eating cow, chicken and pig, animals we're 'supposed to eat'.

What, like the French don't eat steak tartare, escargot, or frog legs? The Spanish eat bull testicles. And the Texans deep-fry rattlesnake. Australians eat kangaroo, crocodile eggs and ostrich. The Americans use cod liver oil as a vitamin A supplement. And the English feast on pig's blood every morning in the form of black pudding.

The Americans invented chewing gum - I mean, if you really think about it, that's a pretty weird idea for someone to come up with.

Foreign food should not be looked at in disgust. I respect whatever your personal preferences are, or what you feel about certain animals - I really do. I mean, some things I find weird, too. For example, I find it weird that Ukrainians eat bear, Filipinos eat chicken fetus, Alaskans eat raw fat from whales, and Icelandic people eat puffin. I'm weirded out by it, but I would never feel disgusted by any of these things because it's just what different people in different parts of the world have become adapted to eating. If you're an animal rights activist, well, good for you for trying to conserve different species. If you hate spiders, that's fine as well.

But I'm not pressuring you to like these things. Just accept that others eat these things, just respect that others may even love eating these things. Nobody's trying to force-feed any of these 'disgusting' foods down your throat, so we shouldn't have to swallow our feelings of embarassment when you say that they're disgusting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

232 - Dislike of rice


In my life, I've only ever met two people that actually said, 'I don't like rice.' When I hear this sentence, there are three things that tend to go through my mind very quickly:

1. The biggest export of the Phillipines is rice.
2. China consumes and produces more rice than India and Indonesia combined.
3. I am Filipino-Chinese.

I have probably eaten more grains of rice than there are people in the world. I don't understand what there is not to like. It's a staple food, just as potatoes are to the Irish, just as yams are to the Central Africans. Apparently, this peculiar disfavor may be due to the granularity of it. Small particulates bother people because they don't feel wholesome, they remind one of tiny insects or bacterium. Lots of tiny little things going into one's mouth... IS disturbing...

Some people also say that rice and couscous and similar foods make them choke easily. Yeah, that doesn't make you sound stupid at all. Others say they never know how long to cook it for. That doesn't sound cretinous either.

Another reason people tried to justify their dislike of rice was that it was difficult to finish it all, in that they couldn't possibly get every grain of rice off the plate. They're using spoons and forks, and are apparently people of modern civilized origin, so it amazes me that they are unable to clear the plate with the silver cutlery they are so accustomed to, solely because the foodstuffs are small. They guffaw as some rice is still leftover on their china and say, 'Imagine if I was using chopsticks instead!'

Ha. Ha. Ha.

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I have three other blogs, you know. Please, if you have the time, visit Holy Holism!, uTube & iShare, and "If you're going through Hell, keep going." And follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you haven't already!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

231 - Forgetting familiar faces

Eleven days ago, my mother flew from Hong Kong to come visit me here in the UK for her Chinese New Year holiday off work. We spent half the time in Canterbury, where my university is located, and the rest of the time in Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands and Londontown. Before the 10th of February, I hadn't seen her for more than 4.5 months, and to be honest, I had sort of forgotten what she looked like in person. Right now, her physical appearance is fresh in my mind as I only saw her off at Heathrow airport last night, but it'll be another four-and-a-half months before I see her again, and I know I will gradually begin to forget her semblance again until the day I embark on that 16-hour journey finally.

Of course we have all this technology that allows us to talk to each other and see each other with the click of a button or two. But it's just not the same, if you get what I'm saying. This experience of moving away from my home in Hong Kong, to a place where I have to pretty much make it on my own in all aspects of my life, scares the living crap out of me all the time, but it has really shown me what fears, discomforts, and individual strength can be brought about inside me by something as simple as geographical distance.

I do have two or three close friends staying here in the UK, who I've known for a long, long time. The more I thought about it on the train back to university from London, the more I realized that I actually forget people's faces and voices very easily with prolonged absence. There are actually many people in my life that I have forgotten the faces of, and the mere voices of. Sure, I know where they go to university now, and sure I hear things about what they're doing. Sure, I talk to them every now and then, and sure we play games online together, and we look at each other's photos, and it's pretty much like spending time together in the flesh...

...but it's not. There really is a difference, one I cannot find the words to explain adequately. It means something to be in one another's physical presence. It means something to hear the sound of their voices, and their distinctive laughs. And it means something to see each other's expressions, to feed off each other's gestural and facial reactions, to see each other's 'thinking face', or 'eating face', or 'waiting-to-cross-the-street face', to walk side-by-side, and to hug and kiss, and hold hands, or interlock elbows, as you're walking.

I miss home so much. And the familiarity of people's faces and the geography of Hong Kong is probably what gets to me the most.

Well... except the food perhaps.

Yeah...

Food definitely trumps the faces... and everything else.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

230 - Panting after running


Now, after a good long jog, or a hike up a steep mountain, or a 100m sprint at Sports Day, I know it's healthier for you to bend your back, place your palms on your knees, bow your head down, and pant, after such rigorous exercise increases your internal temperature, and makes your heart pump so fast. I agree, it's a useful physiological adaptation. But right now, I'm complaining about how unattractive it looks.

Often, people who do exercise can be quite visually unappealing, as their faces are flushed, their hair dripping with sweat, their body odor radiating throughout the vicinity. Panting only makes it worse, nostrils all flared up, thorax pulsing up and down, mouths gaping wide, like a blackhole. Looks reeeeeal unattractive.

Monday, February 15, 2010

229 - Hiss-laughing


Do you know how Ernie laughs on Sesame Street? It's kind of like that. Seriously, what kind of a laugh is that? It's like you have too much saliva and want to expel it from your mouths, like you have phlegm in your throat you want to get rid of. I can't even let you borrow the newspaper without ruining the material... but then again, why would you laugh at the news? So a joke book, perhaps. Argh.

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By the way, I've opened a new blog with a good friend of mine named Jessica. We launched uTube & iShare just half an hour ago, and we're proud to present it. Feel free to just click that link to reach it. And follow me on Twitter or Facebook if you haven't already. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

228 - Tripping my grandmother


When I was eleven, our entire family, around twelve or thirteen of us altogether, went to this amusement park in Hong Kong called Ocean Park. The park has rollercoasters, animal exhibitions, dolphin and sea lion performances, carnival stalls, and a four-story aquarium containing over 2,000 fish. We had just finished having a buffet lunch at the seaview restaurant they have there, perched up on the side of a small hill, and as most of my relatives had to go to the washroom to avoid having to find one elsewhere later on, my grandmother and I walked out of the restaurant first, and strolled down the hill.

As we were walking down, it started to get crowded as we were gradually entering the general park area, and this woman who was talking on her phone walked right in front of us. Somehow the woman's foot had made contact with my grandmother's foot, and my grandmother had suddenly fell down face first. The woman on her phone took no notice of it, she had no idea, and she just continued ambling aimlessly, zigzagging along the path.

Luckily, my grandmother had stuck out her hands in front of her to cushion her fall and prevent major injru to her face, but there was still a tiny sliver of skin that had come off the bridge of her nose on account of the glasses she was wearing. Her spectacles had basically scratched her nose, and this made her dorsum bleed. It was a very small wound, so don't let your imaginations run too wildly.

I helped her up, brought her to a bench, got out some tissues and water, and helped her clean it up. By the time the rest of my family had arrived, the bitch (if I may use that word... read my last post) who tripped my grandmother was already gone. My aunt asked me where the woman went, and I shamefully said, "I don't know".

From that day on, I never ever give a damn about what public civilians feel or think if they do me wrong. Before that day in that park, I was always very submissive, and didn't mean to cause any dispute should someone run into me hard in the streets, or if a cashierlady gave me the less change than I should receive. These things need to be called out on, and next time someone trips my grandmother, if there is a next time, the perpetrator is going to pay.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

227 - The big deal about swear words


When I was a kid, maybe around five, six or seven years old, my mother used to tell me to 'Stop that crap!' when I misbehaved or said something incredibly heinous. This was the first 'bad word' I can remember myself being exposed to, and since I had the vocabulary of a seven-year-old, I took the word 'crap' and associated it quickly to the most accessible word that sounded the most similar - 'crab'. I literally, for a couple of years, thought my mother was telling me to 'Stop that crab!', thinking it was a combination of her non-native accent that interchanged the 'p' and the 'b' sounds, and that crabs had notoriously demonstrated naughtiness in some ancient Chinese folktale.

See, the word 'crap' isn't so bad, right? I haven't offended anybody, have I? (Actually, seriously, have I?)

Often, it can be awkward though when you're cussing, especially when you're on Facebook or on these blogs and you know your family or your teachers are following. But why does it have to be awkward? I mean, words like 'cock', 'bitch', 'boob', and 'ass' can all mean things unprofane, and don't forget the name 'Dick'.

I think that it is right to discourage children from using these words, as they don't know the implications of them... however, I don't see what the big deal is when we're older, so long as we don't use them maliciously, or lazily without other words at our perusal to express our vehemence, joy, pain or surprise. I guess often these words are used derogatively, profanely, in a socially disrespectful manner, but it just irks me slightly because they're only words, sticks and stones...

What do you think? What makes a word into a ‘bad’ word? How bad is too bad when it comes to normal, everyday conversation? Does it depend on who you're talking with? Where do we draw the line when writing in a public space, such as your blog?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

226 - Not knowing the difference between 'unconscious' and 'subconscious'


I'm sorry if I sound like an English/psychology professor, but this is a mistake that really annoys me and I come across more frequently than I would expect. The difference between the words 'unconscious' and 'subconscious' is actually not that difficult to decipher if you just think about it and recall the meanings of the prefixes un- and sub-.

un- implies 'not', 'the opposite form', 'the reversed action', and/or 'deprived of'. This can be seen in words like 'uncooked', 'unknowable', 'unassuming' and 'untidiness'. So the adjective, 'unconscious', means the inability to recollect information to the conscious mind. It is not defined primarily as the notion of being 'knocked out'. The man who suffered a traumatic brain injury and entered a comatose state can be described as unconscious, because while he lies there, unresponsive to external stimuli as he is, he cannot mentally recall any information, because he is not awake to consciously share it. If he were to wake up, he might still not remember what happened to him as the trauma clouds his memory and represses the facts. Although he is awake, he would still be termed as 'unconscious' of the information in question. The term 'the unconscious mind', as applied by Freud, Nietzsche and other 19th-century philosophers, can encompass not only the memories of trauma, but also simple untraumatic memories, desires and logical thinking that all remain far outside the conscious mind. We cannot 'pick it out' of our heads, even if we try really, really hard.

sub- means 'under', as in 'subway', 'subcategory' and 'submarine'. So the 'subconscious' is the collection of information that lies just beneath the conscious mind. Things like your full name, your password, your phone number, your e-mail address and your bank details are part of your subconscious mind. Unless you're filling out a form or talking to another person that asks for such information, this information is not consciously being perused, but subconsciously retained in your mind until you should need to 'pluck it out' for your conscious mind to ponder.

So say we're talking about the story of Hansel and Gretel. Now you're consciously thinking about it. But the fact that you can easily recall the tale of two children, the breadcrumbs and the witch demonstrates how that information is in your subconscious mind.

If I were to ask you how you first came to know that fairytale, did someone tell you that story, or did you read it, then that would prove to be a bit more difficult, wouldn't you say? This information therefore lies in the unconscious.

Capiche?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

225 - Not showering for days


Today, for some reason, I seem to be a magnet for filthy slatterns who do not shower. Since I woke up this morning, I have seen nine slobs - oh, wait a minute, that's the incorrect verb - what I mean to say is, on nine different occasions, I smelled particular stenches, looked up, and then found slobs present before my eyes.

Nine times, I've seen long, slick hair sweeped backwards carelessly behind a head all greased up by the owner's own natural oils, and if you were to look down in search of comfort, you would unsuccessfully find instead, moisture, soil, and God knows what excrement, darkening the shade of denim blue at the ankle hemlines, and should you wish to look back up again, you will regrettably observe a great abundance of earwax, shades of yellow and orange, formally watery, initially runny enough to ooze down to the mouth of the ear canal, but on exposure to the air, now dried and viscous enough to adhere to the rim of the concha and remain there as an unslightly spectacle for those unfortunate enough to have caught a glimpse of it, and assuming you draw your eyes downwards again to avoid further analysis of his aural secretions, you will discover sweaty, clammy hands, with nails fraught with rubber shavings-like clumps of dirt, and finally, on the occasion you may look upwards at his face once more, in some morbidly humorous way, for a fifth demonstration of sickly squalor, you will notice a horrifying dentition, teeth ruined by poor oral hygiene and persistent nicotine smoking, yellow like Dijon mustard, reeking a breath reminiscent of grandpa when he used to lean towards you to tell you one of his most valued secrets.

I swear one of them even smelled like vinegar - his sweat was so old and musty that it stank like expired milk, reeked of rotten eggs, funked like decaying meat, the pH level decreased so low that it was caustic, unbearable for me to even stay near him for ten seconds longer.

I'm not asking that people shower everyday like I do... I'm not even offering my hygienical recommendation. If you smell bad, take a shower, because you're upsetting one of my senses, in fact the one that gets disturbed the least, which makes the crime all the more depraved. Otherwise, please, do us all a favor, and don't leave the house at all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

224 - Hating things "with a passion"

What does "I hate calculus with a passion" even mean?

If by passion, you mean intense hatred - abhorrence so strong you want to crucify it (as in the Passion of Jesus Christ) - then you're just really weird, because as we all know, you cannot kill calculus by nailing it to a cross. What - you're going to hammer a couple of integration questions to a crucifix and stand it up atop a hill?



I don't think so.

You can't simply just say "I hate maths", full-stop? What's wrong with just saying "I hate maths"?

You're pretty much undermining the word hate... You're saying that the word hate is not good enough for you, it does not fully articulate the vehemence you experience. I personally think that the word hate works fine on its own. There's no need for the addition of such nonsense to emphasize. I hate the phrase "with a passion", with a passion!

Friday, February 5, 2010

223 - Being noisy while I'm blogging


I'm writing this post to the sound of Santana's Nothing At All. Not that it isn't great, but it pretty much distracted me so much as I was trying to type what I originally wanted to type. I'm sitting in a computer room here at university, because my laptop hasn't been working for the past few days. This computer room is so great because the lights are always on, the internet access is free, there are no restrictions on online games or anything, and it's always very peaceful and quiet...

...between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

At 6am, the cleaner lady comes along, and I don't know what she's doing, but she makes a lot of noise for something like six hours non-stop. She's always pushing the vacuum cleaner with wheels around, or her little trolley thing that holds her brooms and mops and cleaning stuff, and it rattles inside the trolley, and it feels like she's cleaning the place again and again and again and again. After noon, it's then around ten hours of students coming in and out, talking on their phones, talking to each other, grumbling in frustration at their computers, stomping, coughing, sneezing, ruffling through their bags...

...and I can't bloody concentrate on my blogging during these hours. And right now, this doofus two rows in front of me thinks it's cool to play music loudly. What if I was to watch my American Idol episodes loudly, huh? It's not fair.

Okay, it's Santana, but even though it's good taste, I can't concentrate in the presence of any noise. I just can't.

There are also two guys seated on my right that are chatting about cars. One guy appreciates Lambourghinis for their design, but prefers Ferraris as it suits his personality. The other guy's favorite brand is the Maserati.

If you ask me, my favorite brand of car is Shutthehellup. I can't blog properly, damn it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

222 - Running into football posts


If someone were to ask me what was the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life, the following story would be it. If someone were to ask me what was the stupidest thing I've ever seen anyone do in my entire life, this would be it. That is why it deserves a post here today - it is senseless, it is laughable, and it is totally ridiculata.

When I was in my second year of high school, we had a physical education class in the late afternoon, and as a warm-up exercise, the sports teacher told us to run around the football pitch three times. At that age, I wasn't so competitive yet, so I was always content just running in the middle of the pack. One of my close friends and I decided to maintain our place just behind all the sports and activity enthusiasts.

Jogging just a few steps ahead of us was a girl I was tragically infatuated with at the time. She was Australian-Chinese, brunette, sweet smile, fit body, funny, clever, charming, and beautiful. She was trotting along beside this other guy, an English dude who loved nothing more than football, sweets, and his clarinet. (Seriously, the box that he used to store his clarinet in had a sticker on it saying 'I <3 MY CLARINET'.)

This guy who had the sweet tooth... I forgot what he was saying exactly, but as we were doing our three laps, he was definitely trying to flirt with the girl of my dreams. I remember thinking to myself, as we rounded a corner of the football pitch, about what a twerp he was, and how he was polluting my very schoollife in every conceivable way.

And then, the most miraculous thing happened. He turned his head to ask my gal another question, and had no awareness at all of the football post that was fast approaching. For the tiniest fraction of time fathomable, I had the opportunity to call out his name and warn him about the pole he was about to collide with, but I refused to - the figurative devil stuck his pitchfork into my shoulder angel's heart - this guy was going down.

And in 3...

2...

1...

*CLUNK*

And I Laughed. My. Ass. Off.

His temple had come into contact with the football post, and he had fallen to the ground instantly. I continued laughing as I kept on running, my close friend running beside me was laughing, another friend jogging behind me laughed, and even the girl who was talking to this poor fella didn't stop to bat an eyelid - she continued to do her three laps of the field as she laughed as well.

My friend and I jumped to avoid trodding on him, we caught up with the girl and had a brief chat as we finished our third lap, and left our beloved clarinetist moaning, groaning, grumbling, and rubbing the side of his head, like any guy who had just run into a football post would do. I bet there was a real ringing in his ears at the time, stars spinning over his head. To me, that was pure magic.

There is not one single time when I relive that moment and do not find it funny. The physical comedy does not wear off. If I go to Heaven, I bet God would grant me the option of viewing that scene ten thousand million times.

But let's face it, judging from this story, I'm probably going to Hell.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

221 - Using my bank account to purchase dieting pills


On the 18th of January, after a month of winter holidays, I came back to my cosy room at university, and five parcels at my door. Four of these boxes at my door contained books which I had frivolously bought online during the Boxing Day sales, and the fifth package had two small plastic bottles (pictured above), containing what seemed like some medication. One was labeled AcaiBerry Detox, and the other, Reservatrol Extract. I Googled these names to see what they were, and AcaiBerry Detox was for burning fat, while Reservatrol Extract was for 'cleansing the body'.

I never have, or ever will, purchase pills, for losing weight.

So I then Googled the return address labeled on the package. Apparently, it had originated from somewhere in Scotland near Edinburgh. I Googled the phone number also labeled, and managed to find a forum, where all these people who had actually purchased these pills were talking about how it was actually all a big scam.

Apparently, there were some adverts displayed on Google and on MSN.com, offering an opportunity to people to try a free trial for these new dieting pills. Signing up for them meant that you were signing up to pay for it, and immediate entering of your banking details was necessary in order to complete the order for the trial. People who received the pills, would then be given 15 days to cancel the order for more if they found the product dissatisfactory, and if not, the company that manufactured these pills would then deduct seventy U. S. dollars every month, for a monthly supply of these pills. The people on the forums all stated these sad, sad statistics, saying they had lost $210 so far, $230, £150, $77.... To top it all off, the pills apparently caused stomach sickness, and brought about no healthy weight loss effect whatsoever.

This scared the crap out of me of course, so I went to check my bank account details online. I had been checking occasionally during the holidays to see when the money for the books I ordered would be deducted, but I had overlooked the fact that some douche called SUP*EXCLUSIVEBERRY had actually taken £4.19 out of my bank account, as shipping cost for the pills to be brought to me.

So I called up my bank, and apparently some malicious hacker had gotten hold of my bank details, and used it to purchase these pills. My bank gave me a new bank card, a new PIN, a new everything, and reimbursed me for the £4.19. It took five days for the new card to get to me, and that was the end.

The internet is a dangerous place, folks. Be careful of what you do on the computer. People can be very mischievous, and very mean. They can insinuate that you're fat.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

220 - Everyone looks at you when you enter a place


Whether it's a train station or a lecture hall, whenever someone new enters the premises, there's always one conteingency that precipitates - everyone already standing or sitting in the room turns their heads towards the general entrance area to look at you. Everyone checks to see what kind of idiot is going to the bathroom in the middle of the movie, everyone judges the deliquent pedestrain who jaywalks across the street, everybody wants to see who didn't turned up late for the chemistry exam, and all eyes are on the people that are getting on board the bus. They check out who you are, male or female, old or young or middle-aged, what you're wearing, the expression on your face, what you're carrying, just for a brief second or two, until they've taken in the information that they want, they go back to their book, or their newspaper, or to talking to their friends.

Does every place have to be a public bathroom or changing room in order for people to mind their own business? I mean, must we all be peeing in urinals, self-consciously pulling up our underwear with a towel wrapped round our waists, or  touching up our make-up in front of the bathroom mirrors, in order for people to respect what is not of their concern?

Do we have to be at church, where it's commonly considered inappropriate to face any other direction than to the altar at the front?

I can understand if you're working at a restaurant or bar, when anticipating incoming consumers is more than befitting, or when you're a salesperson in a shop making sure there aren't any customers who might need a helping-hand.

But otherwise, pretend you're seated in an airplane, and continue reading your paper, reading your book, or staring straight in front of you - you're already settled into the room, but others aren't, so make it easier for them by simply ignoring it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

219 - Misuse of the word 'insomnia'


I've seen a lot of people say how they hate their insomnia, or are proud of their insomnia, but this is all but just a big exaggeration of what's really going on. Insomnia is defined as the persistent difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep despite given the opportunity. It's a medical disorder - there is an inability to initiate sleep, not an unwillingness to. Just because you stay up all night playing online games and chatting to your overseas friends doesn't mean you have it.

There are actual insomniacs out there that suffer from serious, serious symptoms, like chronic depression, and obesity, and severe anxiety disorder... it's insulting to those people that pay thousands of dollars just for professional help. It's like proclaiming you have cancer just because you'e developed a new mole on your arm.

So long as you actually put your head on your pillow, (maybe with the aid of a Dickens book) I bet you'd eventually enter a state of slumber. Please, stop misusing the word insomnia.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

218 - Dishonesty


Advertisers, politicians, lawyers, reality show contestants, and children under the age of twelve, are all known for their tendency to skew the truth to achieve their own means. I know I'm not completely without fault as far as today's topic is concerned. There are times when I lie, and times when I say things that I don't mean. I've told many white lies, I've kept the truth from those who deserve to know it, and I've tweaked the truth to, in my opinion, make life easier for myself and others.


But hey, I assure you - I really, really assure you - I am trying my best not to, to keep dishonesty to a minimum. I don't like having things to hide. Even though it made me very uncomfortable at first, I eventually publicized my blog to all my friends and family. Although it took a while for me to adjust to the level of care required, I eventually got used to having my family as Facebook friends. With my parents, it's definitely taken years of hard work to make it an open and honest forum when I have conversations with them. I want to live a life that's open, and I'm not afraid to be myself. It just takes time for one to work it out. Change in one's situation must come from changes within.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. - Abraham Lincoln

But some people, they feel the need to be deceitful, to exaggerate, to tell a partial truth, or a tale sprinkled with implimenting alterations, in order to gain money, power, property, trust, praise, confidence, sympathy, or popularity. Or, in the case of compulsive liars, joy. There just is no good reason in their case - it simply makes them feel good.

A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. - Edgar J. Mohn

It's sad when people have no idea that they're lying constantly, sadder yet when they're lying to themselves, deluding themselves into believing that all's good and there's nothing wrong with them. This denial is hard to overcome, especially after years and years of devoted belief in particular maxims, or when they've been brought up by a family that doesn't face the truth along the way, all in the name of love and keeping each other happy.

You know what I mean - like the family that tells their eldest that he/she sounds great when they sing, voice similar to that of Whitney Houston, Adele or Michael Bublé - and then they go on American Idol or X Factor (take your pick of overly publicized talent show), and they end up being laughed at and ridiculed by people all over the world the next day.


So who are we kidding when we try to convince others of things that aren't true? Ask yourself, why are you trying to make it out to be something that it's not? Don't you know that the only person you're fooling is yourself?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

217 - Belittling what other people choose to learn or do because we don't understand it


I'm acquaintances with a guy who I haven't been to school with or spoken with in a while. I think the reason we drifted apart and no longer talk came down to my fondness of contemplating different subject matters in great detail, for long periods of time, while he preferred to keep conversations simple and avoid overthinking the things we talked about. He would complain to me about the work we had to do in class, and ask me why we had to read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy or 500-page Dickens novels, and when I asked him in return why he was having such an awful time, he would tell me that it was because he hated authors who went to great lengths to describe the different sceneries, writers who kept the plot going for far too long with all the twists and turns, and who used old-fashioned and unusual vocabulary and sentence structures, and incorporated themes and symbolism that he couldn't grasp without someone else pointing them out to him.

I respected his way of thinking, I understand the appeal of it, and I wish the world was simple too. The bigger the phenomenon (e.g., love, life and the pursuit of happiness), the simpler I wish it was. But I believe from a very early stage in our lives, we are meant to learn to adapt to the complicated, mazy reality we live in. And one cannot be afraid to expose oneself to knowledge and experience, because otherwise, we will forever be naïve.

A lot of people tell me that they hate science and maths because the concepts are so abstract and dealing with numbers and equations is just too confusing. Some people tell me they don't get art, because it's hard for them to grasp on to the idea of actually reading an artist's expression and finding meaning through their painting or sculpture. One person once told me they disliked economics, because the way economies work most of the time is in a sporadic, seemingly senseless manner - prices rise, productivity falls, import spending increases, but government taxation decreases, consumer spending goes up, then prices go down when they were going up to begin with...

As for me, I find the study of politics and history very complicated. The same goes for music theory. I'm actually afraid to expose myself to theoretical music, because as a kid, I never played any musical instruments and it was just too hard when I finally tried it. Musical theorists and skilled instrument players astound me and I could never do what they do.

On the topic of music, I have another old acquaintance that once said to me he hates music, all forms of it, in all genres. He thinks it's all noise, and he thinks it's stupid that mankind have conceived of 'such aural abuse', as he called it.

It really, really gets on my nerves when people disparage what other people do and know just because it's different. It's definitely not okay to undermine what science, art, economics, politics, history or music does for society, just because it's too complicated in our point of view. Without any academic facet of the humanities, and the sciences, and the arts, our world just wouldn't function properly. Although it is alright to state your disinterest in particular subjects, calling psychology pure crap, or art pupils too stupid to do anything else, or science and maths students too geeky, or the study of philosophy too convoluted, does nothing but demonstrate a great deal of insensitivity and narrow-mindedness.

Without all the other people in the world that don't lead your life, you'd be dead. The world ain't simple, and they make sure it works for you. So, be a bit more acceptant, please.

Friday, January 29, 2010

216 - 'Half empty' means pessimism, 'half full' means optimism


I would say it's half full.

It means I'm an optimist???

Oh, yay! I feel so positive and good and happy, and that makes me want to smile and laugh and I want to draw with crayons and paint things orange and yellow, and I want to make pancakes, and serve them with ice-cream, and eat cotton candy and candy apples at the carnival, and I want to go prancing in the meadow barefoot, and pick blueberries and daffodils, and pick up ladybirds, and lie on the grass with my teddy bears and watch the clouds go by, and spot a rainbow!  And tomorrow, we can go to the beach with our shovel and pail, and build sandcastles for our rubber duckies to live in, and we can hold hands as we kick the water on the seashore, and we'll blow bubbles at each other, and tie up each other's hair, and drink pink lemonade, and exchange home-made presents when we get home!

Because after all, if I see the glass as half full, then that means I'm an optimist.

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I would say it's half empty.

It means I'm a pessimist?

Oh, no. What ever am I going to do now that I'm a pessimist? I don't feel like doing anything anymore, I don't feel like getting up in the morning, I just want to bang my head on the wall, stick needles in my voodoo dolls, finish one bottle of vodka every two hours, and start a bonfire with my eucalyptus scented candles, and listen to 80's screamo and dark-cabaret, while I put my chains and crucifix around my neck, and line my eyes subtly, yet dramatically, in a color that suits my jet black hair, in preparation for dinner with my financially stable, middle-class, normal (in every conceivable way) mom and stepdad. I can't eat too much, though, because it'll mean I feel hunger, but I only feel pain, and I publish my poetry on my MySpace page to express that pain, and I take drugs to relieve that pain, and I cry myself to sleep in pain.

Because after all, if I see the glass as half empty, then that means I'm a pessimist.

Oh. And I cut myself.


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Please, the oldest philosophical postulation in the book is nothing but a depthless triviality that reveals nothing about one's character, so don't you dare ask me that again trying to present to me some awareness that I didn't have before - the glass of water is there, with some water in it, and it doesn't mean anything, and it doesn't enthuse me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

215 - Getting angry


I cannot count the number of times in my life I have ever gotten angry at someone else or a particular situation. Recently, I have come to realize, though, that people get angry an awful, awful lot, too often, and it has made me reflect upon my own character, and has made me strive to be more tolerable of other people's opinions and needs. It's hard to explain why we get angry so intensely and so often, but most of the time, those who experience anger say that the rage they feel inside is aroused by "what has happened to them", something that happens immediately before the anger experience that provokes the individual to lash out. Anger serves as a means of expressing hurt feelings to the people around us, to the source of the disturbance if applicable, and often carries the subtle and underlying intention of protecting oneself from further damage, and forgoing even more of one's psychological well-being. In our society today, we are too often afraid to admit we are hurt by external (or even internal) disturbances in our lives, so we use angry gestures and behavior to tell the world that we are in emotional pain, and we deserve other people's attention.

In most cases, we stop focusing on what others have "done to us" after we begin to see how our displeased behavior is affecting other people. Anger is a release, it's a way of stating the hurt we feel inside, and it's uncomfortable to be around, it's unsettling, uncontrolled and simply relentless. However, releasing bottled up emotions can be a critical step in achieving harmony with other people and one's own conscience. Anger aids in making the hurt person more self-aware of his own needs and wants, and spurs him on to take action to fight for what he wants, rather than letting the hurtful experience continue or come back.

Getting mad over superficial, petty things, I'm sure, is something that everybody gets irritated by. It's childish, and there's no need for blowing things out of proportion. If your problems were handled more calmly and less emotionally, then maybe other people could assist you more efficiently, and life could move on a lot quicker.

But the more I think about it, the more I feel that all anger is unnecessary - whether it is socially acceptable to be angry or not - even if a country were to bomb one's own nation, even if a serial killer were to choose a member of my family as their next victim, even if someone were to walk up to me while I'm having a drink at a bar and punch me in the face.

Because anger does nobody any good. Sure, people are jerks, and life is unfair, but let's just cut the big reactions and just get to the open discussion and forgiveness already. Anger distracts you, from the multitudinous things you have to do everyday, and from the actual problem at hand. Anger causes you to be irrational and do things you don't mean to. Getting mad doesn't help anyone. There are better ways to carry yourself.

So dial down the temper and let's just learn to calm down, 'cause I'm so tired of the shouting, stomping and the slamming of doors. Take a chill pill. Make peace, not war. Just relax.

Monday, January 25, 2010

214 - Leaving a perfectly good bag next to a hot lamp



As you can see from the photograph above, the side of my schoolbag has a great, big hole in it. I had actually left it in contact with the light bulb of my bedside lamp, and after I fell asleep reading a book, the intense heat of the bulb burnt the bag right through. I woke up to the smell of burnt fabric - not cloth, though - nylon infused with plastic. And we all know what burnt plastic smells like.

There's also a problem with the heater in my room. It seems that the university wants us to feel like we're on a tropical island. I think they might be a little paranoid in thinking we're sensitive to the cold, because they've adjusted the entire building's central heating system to provide to us, via each and every heater, with too-hot-to-even-wear-a-T-shirt temperatures. That's right. I'm not wearing a shirt right now. And I'm still sweating. And this is happening in all the rooms. We didn't pay for a five-star suite, so we don't get to moderate our own room temperature. Ridiculous, isn't it?

I've accidentally left a few electrical cords lying on top of the radiator emitting the hellish heatwaves, the electrical cords I use to supply my bedside lamp, or phone charger, with electricity. The rubber coating of the cords has melted slightly and has been deformed. Another example of my carelessness before going to sleep. And I feel pretty stupid about that.

And I hate it.

Sorry, folks, for this is not being a very inspired post. I haven't slept in two days, so I'm pretty exhausted right now. But have you, or anyone else, ever been a fire hazard?


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

213 - Disobeying rules on a commercial aircraft

There are many rules that they instruct you to follow on a plane, such as when taking off and landing, you must bring up the tray, bring the foot rest up, ensure that your seat is back in the upright position, switch off your mobile phones and all other electronic devices, open up the airplane windows, and be seated with your seat belt on.

All of them seem pretty straight-forward to me, so why do some bozos continue resting their feet on the foot rest, or continue reading the paper, with their wrists on the tray down behind it? Is a reminder from the flight attendant really necessary? Could it not be avoided?



The people who fail to put on their seat belt when told to by the pilot through his speaker system are so irritating. Putting on your seat belt is pretty much the very first rule they give you, along with 'no smoking'. Hell, they even give these two rules their own little special place above each and every seat, just to screw it into our heads for those who have bad hearing or lack cognitive skills. Yet people still stand up like there's no flamboyant, effeminate air steward, wearing mascara, foundation and a little pink scarf, that's going to come along, and exclaim your clothes are tasteless, and then tell you that they're going to have to ask you to sit down, since the plane is landing soon.


The rule (or should I just call it an announcement from the flight attendant that interrupts the music, games and television shows on our screens) that everybody seems to ignore is the one telling us to get our headphones ready to return to the airline. It manages to go into some people's ears and out the other, and then five minutes after the flight attendant has made this little bulletin, in the middle of listening to one of their favorite concertos, or watching Ice Age 2, UH OH! It's time to give them back to the lady with the bag full of headphones!

And after the lady with the bag full of headphones walks by these passengers, I know that they're sitting there thinking to themselves, "Damn, they really should have warned us earlier. I was enjoying that song/film/episode/game..."

DOH!


Sometimes, I really hate flying, but it's got nothing to do with heights or enclosed spaces...


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Monday, January 18, 2010

212 - People staring at me carrying a big suitcase


(I'm a little drunk right now, so bear with me.)

Over the course of my life, I've been traveling very, very frequently. Every country is different, every country brings its own unique personality, its own people, its own language, its own food, everything is special. However, there is one thing common to all my tourist destinations, one thing that pervades all communities, all nationalities, all people from different countries - and that common theme is the act of staring at a foreigner when they're dragging a large suitcase around town.

Yesterday, I came back to university. I had to lug around a suitcase, filled with books and clothes and other things, heavier than I was. It took me around three hours, and the whole way back, people in the train, in town, at the bus stop, and at the university, were staring at this weird Asian guy trying to push around a suitcase 6kg heavier than he is. (An incredible feat for a human being and something I'm quite proud of, I must say.)

While they were staring at me, all that was going through my mind was, "Why are all the English people staring at me?"

You know, when I have such a big suitcase with me, being Asian, being a new immigrant to this country, with nobody in Canterbury I knew from before to go through this with, there's nothing that makes me more humiliated and self-conscious then having fifty people observing every little thing I'm doing.

Anyway, before I go off on an outrageous tangent in my drunken state of torpor, I'm going to stop here and just wish you all a good time. Hahaha.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

211 - Saying I have no friends


I'm going to try really hard not to sound boastful or defensive here (because I really hate people who talk about their social life like that).

I don't know if anyone's ever accused you of being a loner or companionless before, but recently, I discovered that someone was going around, spreading the word that I was a complete recluse, alienated from all of society, with zero friends.

I kind of smirked at the screen when my friend was 'reporting' to me this latest piece of gossip.

Sometimes, people are so insecure with themselves, they feel the need to try and put down other people by saying they're unloved, emphasizing how they don't belong, laughing at them for being so eccentric, just to make themselves feel stronger and more powerful, when, in my reality, these people who lurk in the shadows of the community and don't put themselves out there are some of the most loyal, most special and mentally toughest friends a person could have.

I also don't see what anybody would possibly do with that information anyway. Who the Hell gives a damn about whether Michael has or doesn't have any friends anyway?

Is this supposed to make me lonely? Make me feel lonely?

It's funny 'cause I only met this guy recently. He has no idea where I've been or who I've met throughout my life. But I know he reads this blog.

So, I'm going to just tell you, my keen and prattling observer, that after eighteen years in the international community, amongst Hong Kong's population of 6.9mil - chances are, at least one of them is my friend.

Why are you even still talking about stuff like this? Aren't you twenty-one years old?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

210 - 'No comment' and 'I don't know what to say'

To the people that respond to uninteresting or tricky dialogue with 'no comment', let me teach you an alternative move you could make.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, so heed my warning...

When I have no comment, I do not comment.

I know it seems CRAZY, but trust me, it achieves the same effect.

In fact, sometimes, it can be even more effectual.




Again, please try to keep yourselves together when I tell you what I'm about to tell you.

But the same goes for 'I don't know what to say'.

When I don't know what to say, I do not say anything.

It's okay to keep silent. You don't have to say anything. Nobody's going to judge you. In fact, most of the time, people never expect you to say anything.

Okay, okay, I know it feels like your world has been turned upside down, but trust me, everything is going to be okay. Please stop crying hysterically. You can do this. You can keep your mouth shut. You are actually allowed to say nothing.

Okay, I'll tell you what... I'm going to leave you alone for a while, 'cause I've obviously caused you some major distress.

I'll see you later, okay?

Monday, January 11, 2010

209 - 'Pink Elephants on Parade' from Dumbo

(I did a guest post today on Marcy's blog, Tales of the Kids, if anyone wants to check that out. It's about ice cream and mothers being weird. Maybe you could relate?)

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This segment of Disney's Dumbo always creeps me out. In the film, after accidentally getting drunk, Dumbo (the elephant with gigantic ears), sees pink elephants multiplying, playing their trunks like trumpets, marching, stepping on each other, growing, shrinking, talking, singing(?), morphing into snakes, camels, and different forms of transportation, changing color, figure-skating, floating on water, dancing with electricity, performing salsa, belly-dancing, and generally being weird in every possible way in the strangest sequence Disney's ever put together.

In some ways, I love the scene, sometimes I think it's plain genius. It's so fantastical and everything that is so random works together cohesively in an inexplicable fashion.


But most of the time, I find it really, really, really creepy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

208 - Overreacting

(Follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you aren't already!)

I'm sure we all agree that our parents, our spouses, our children and our boyfriends and girlfriends are the biggest drama queens and kings in our lives. A while back, I blogged here about how my mother once found cigarettes in my desk drawer while I was out of the house. She was utterly upset by her nicotine discovery, and called me up to say that she would be taking these away from me. The fact that I had only smoked (half of) one didn't matter to her. She told me she didn't care if I went to another convenience store to purchase some. She was going to take that packet of cigarettes and that was the end of the story, according to her, as demonstrated by her hanging up the phone.

But not on my terms was that the end. I thought she had blown the whole thing in her mind way out of proportion, so I called her back to try to explain to her that I had only tried one cigarette and I didn't even like it. The dial tone rang and it rang and I tried again and again, each time I dialed, it was picked up by her voicemail service.

On the sixth or seventh time, there was no ringing sound - instead, it went straight to voicemail - and upon realizing that my mother had turned her phone off altogether to avoid more argument with me, in a compulsive fury, I raised my own mobile phone up high above my head, and smashed it on to the ground. Before I could even fathom what had just happened, battery, buttons, and bits of screen were scattered all over the ground in front of me.

Talk about overreacting.

People freak out about a great number of things, like lip piercings, and grades of B- or lower, and little boys who may or may not have drifted away in helium balloons.

Does this mean my daughter's having sex with her new boyfriend?
Does this mean we're all going to die in 2012?
The guy over there is sneezing and sniffing a lot, could he have swine flu?

Take the following story as a prime example of what I mean.




On December 19th, thanks to such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter, over 200 people were able to gather beside a street in downtown Washington D.C. to have a friendly neighborhood snowball fight. As the snowball fight was well underway, a large maroon Hummer drove by the neighborhood, and members of the public decided to launch snowballs towards the vehicle.

It turned out that the driver of the car was a detective who, I guess, just wasn't liking the snow that day. He got out of his car holding a walkie-talkie in one hand, and waving a gun in the other.




Why on Earth would he take out his gun?


Apparently, it was because of the simple reality that he had been hit with snowballs.


I wonder if at any point he had considered throwing snowballs back at them instead of pointing a gun. Or considered throwing his phone at them. I also wonder what his mother was thinking when she heard about that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

207 - When people make the world revolve around me



My closest friends will tell you that I hate it when people always ask me how I am and what's up with me. They will tell you that I reckon my mother and my father and the rest of my family do it too often. My friends will tell you that my acquaintances don't know that it annoys me. They will tell you that sometimes even they, themselves, forget that I don't like revealing that much about myself when we're having a conversation. I just find it annoying when people ask me about me too much. If I wanted to talk to them about something, I would talk to them about it, right?

But I really don't blame them for asking about me. They're just expressing their care for me and want updates on my life. I blame myself mostly for this annoyance. I blame me for putting myself into situations that warrant people's attentions - it is a constant struggle to balance: doing what I want in front of others, while also conveying that I would like my own secrets, private life and alone time. My mother knows that struggle all too well with me, my father would drink to that privacy, and my friends would tell you that achieving that balance with me is one of the keys to being my friend. I prefer solving problems myself - unless I can't really help it. That includes sorting out my own time, money, relationships with people, and my own emotions.

So, please, my readers, I must make something very clear. I do not request advisement of any kind on this blog. I am no longer the bad-tempered kid I was a year ago that needs counsel. I don't need advice on how to tackle this problem or that, how to survive the meaningless chat when running into acquaintances or how to keep my chin up when someone ruins my day. Your encouragement is not needed here. Your questions of concern, I will not answer. All the personal stuff is what my other blog is for - in that blog, is where I have my space to be egotistical, and where I would appreciate kind words.

This is for you. To make you laugh, to make you empathize, to make you hit the surface of your desk in agreement and go, "Man, that irritates me, as well!"

I'm asking you, do you hate it too? Don't you hate it too when people make the world revolve around you?

I find it a little bit funny that by asking you that question, it then kind of makes the world revolve around you... and so if you do concur and do hate it too, then I would effectively be doing the very same thing we both hate, in the very same post. Hmm...