Category Archives: Because this is life

New Year Resolution (With a Twist): Workout Yes, Burger Yes

Sure as pairing Japanese green with Castella sponge cake or ordering my coffee extra hot, I have once more listed “workout more” as one of my new year resolutions.

I am not alone. Fitness and health resolutions are a January fixture — the most common New Year resolutions have to do with improving one’s physical fitness, with “exercise more frequently” and “loose weight” being the most common, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive online survey of U.S. adults.

While the survey also pointed out most fitness- and health-related resolutions dissipate by mid-year, I have decided to reverse the trend, committing to a sunrise and morning workout on the beach.

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Starting the new year with oceanside sunrise! (January 2017/Crystal Cove)

  • Commitment 3.8/5 stars (A January 2 start date is not as good as January 1, but decent)
  • Sunrise 3/5 (Rainy and cloudy, but the sky lit up around 8 a.m.)
  • Duration 4.2/5 (Hiked/Walked for approximately one hour 30 minutes)
  • Breakfast (… … …)

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Lessons from natural world animal misfits: Being different is awesome!

Nature is glorious, soothing, frightening, powerful, beautiful and the list of adjectives continues. Take the Roman god of agriculture and wine Bacchus for example, Nature is associated with freedom, abandonment and pure joy unrestrained by society. Nature, or “the Magic” as in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden, has the power to heal and restore strength. Even a vertical city like New York, where every square footage of land boasts a premium price tag, Central Park and its 778 acres of prime real estate would never be turned into luxury condos or high-end retails.

I am further convinced of Nature’s beneficial traits after watching a PBS documentary “Nature: Animal Misfits.” The documentary showcases a group of animals that appear ill-equipped for survival, yet these animals somehow managed to be remarkably well-adapted in their chosen way of life. More than misfits, these animals provide great lessons on health (giant panda), love (kakapo), work (sloth) and life (nautilus).

Being different can be awesome sometimes, like the animal misfits. It's about finding your niche and just go "Whoopee!" (Seoul, Korea/December 2010)

Being different can be awesome sometimes, like the animal misfits. It’s about finding your niche and just go “Whoopee!” (Seoul, Korea/December 2010)

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“I got served the ellipsis!” (A note on email etiquette)

A financial reporter is a funny state of being. I am certainly no financial expert (I majored in English and Asian film studies, and I imagine if I had majored in economics, I would opt for other better-paying finance-y jobs), yet my job requires me to speak to many experts in my field, including investment bankers, debt brokers and traders. In fact, talking to the right person(s) is often what makes stellar news stories. But what if the right person(s) doesn’t want to talk to you?

Well, now enters the personality. Sure, I am professional, courteous, but I also want to connect with my sources on a personal level. It is after all a conversation. And it needs to go both directions, hence the extra seasoning with questions like “How was your [vacation/weekend/day]” or “What are you doing this [weekend]”, as well as throwing in a little about myself and various doings.

But what to do when I was given… the ELLIPSIS?

Ellipsis sorta, kinda drives me crazy. As minions can… (image credit: Universal Studio/Web)

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Paradox: Yes, I did not

Paradox is a literary device that surprises/delights the reader or makes the reader think over an idea in an innovative way by putting two seemingly self-contradictory ideas together.

Here’s a real-life paradox, replayed. I was walking home one night when I overheard a conversation between a boy and a girl. This is likely their first date, you know, those awkward I-am-getting-to-know-you questions and overly enthusiastic responses.

“Are you a working journalist?” the girl asked.
“No, I am a master student studying 20th century American literature,” he replied.
“That’s awesome!” she exclaimed.

Translation: “Hi, I am a master student studying 20th century American literature and I have no job prospect whatsoever!” I doubt the awesomeness.

I slowed my pace. Walking roughly two steps to the right and three steps ahead of them. I was careful not to be in their immediate peripheral vision but also close enough so I could continue my eavesdropping.

The boy attempted to explain to the girl his area of study, which consists primarily of short stories. He asked, “Do you know of a famous short story that came out last year called ‘Redeployment’? Have you read it?”

She cried:

Yes I did not read it!

First date…(image credit: Web/http://news.com.au)

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Breaking Bread, when it’s that good get two

The humble baguette, in its most basic form, requires no more than flour, yeast, salt and water. It’s very white, and very French. But despite the simplicity, a good loaf of baguette is not easy to find.

What makes a good loaf?

The juxtaposition of the perfect crunchy exterior and soft interior complete with large irregular air holes. The crust is rich, dark golden, which indicates the robust caramelized flavor. Additionally, the crust is crunchy yet breakable by hand and the texture moist, slightly chewy and nutty in favor. Like ordering spaghetti bolognese at Italian restaurants, whenever I want to test the quality of a new bakery, I start with baguettes. And yesterday after a visit to the Union Square Green Market, I returned home a happy camper carrying a variety of young kales and two loafs of baguette from Bread Bakery.

Bread Bakery baguette, 2 for $6 (image credit: www.nyhabit.com)

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To hurt, to break: the heart beats on

Feeling unsure, the girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place.
Just for the time being.
So she put it in a bottle and hung it around her neck.
And that seemed to fix things … at first.

The girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place, for the time being. (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

The girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place, for the time being. (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

The above passage is from The Heart and the Bottle, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The picture book, which looks into how to make sense of death and loss, is now available in iTunes to buy and download as apps. The version is read by actress Helena Bonham Carter.

In the story, the girl, after losing her father. decided to protect her heart from hurting by putting it in a bottle around her neck. Of course, the problem with safeguarding her heart was that the girl no longer resembled her old exuberant, full-off-curiosity self. No more thinking about the stars or “the wonders of the sea,” she feels no pain, but also no happiness.

(Read previous post: “Ice Kachang Puppy Love”)

"She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea. She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…" (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

“She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea.
She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…” (image credit: Oliver Jeffers/The Heart and the Bottle)

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The 9-digit dance, and Petit Billy

Because this is life, and in life, shit happens, I am typing with nine and not ten fingers.

You see, I cut myself on the index finger while making dinner Easter Sunday. Not trying to be graphic here, but I bled profusely. It took a full 20+ minute of hard pressing for the bleeding to subside to an on-and-off ooze, and were it not for my level-headed roommate, who not only bandaged my wound but also assured me that I would not die, I don’t know what I would have done. The unfortunate accident resulted in my paying a visit to the ER, and, unintentionally, getting Good Monday off after all. Continue reading