Movies I watched on yet another long flight

I was recently on a 2-part flight which totaled to about 15-16 hours of flight time. I actually managed to sleep for 1/3 of the longer section which was just nice because the flight didn’t feel terribly long neither was it too short to make use of the in-flight entertainment.

Here’s what I watched, according to the order I watched them. Note that it has been ages since I’ve watched anything new let alone any kind of TV.

taken3Taken 3 – I expected it to be half-crappy since lots of sequels have been disappointing or ridiculous but Taken 3 was good. Brian Mills is still the same badass as he was in the first movie and the story had a solid plot. I’d give it a 8.5/10 and I would definitely watch another Taken sequel. Liam Neeson, you can’t jump into a sewer drain and come out looking so good LOL. But damn if he isn’t one of the sweetest and most protective movie dads.

22jumpst22 Jump Street – Now this is a sequel that partially lived up to its expectation except towards the end when the humor began to get lame and slapstick. I didn’t quite care for the bad guy (or should I say girl) and the movie felt really short. The Ice Cube references had me laughing so hard. The credits were funny though and I really admire the fact that they came up with so many posters for ‘future sequels’.

kingsmanKingsman: The Secret Service – I can’t really tell you how I felt about this show because I barely watched it. Samuel L. Jackson as the bad guy was rather annoying too so I wasn’t motivated to pay attention. I only watched 1/4 of this show because 1. I kept falling asleep and 2. when I woke up and started to concentrate on the movie, I got distracted by the man sitting in front of me who was watching American Sniper.

americansniperAmerican Sniper – Which is how I ended up watching – uh, I mean reading the subtitles – 3/4 of his movie. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I had tried to watch it on my own. Isn’t it far more interesting when you watch a movie over someone else’s shoulder (without being nosy or creepy)? I believe I also watched someone else’s movie on a previous flight. Anyway, the movie was rather deep and thought-provoking and even though I’m not a big Bradley Cooper fan, I thought he did a good job in the movie.

I will have you know that the guy infuriatingly ENDED the movie before it actually ended. So annoying! There was only 5-10 minutes left but he just had to exit the screen… I’m not bothered to read the Wikipedia synopsis but if you leave a comment about what happened at the end, I’ll be grateful.

ST_MPD_Scientific_Investigation_Squad_(Movie)-p1ST: The Movie – I couldn’t find anymore English movies that I wanted to watch (and there were plenty but I’m picky) so I moved off to the Asian movies. ST: The Movie is a Japanese mystery/thriller movie which kept me hooked till the end. The story was about a special team on the police force that solves tricky crimes getting involved in a complicated technological crime. There were also internal conflicts that led to interesting relationship development between the two lead actors. One of the lead actors also happened to be the same guy from the other Japanese movie (it was Oh! Father and I really liked that show) that I watched on a previous flight. Japanese movies can be really interesting because of the sheer complexity of some of the stories.

theroyaltailorThe Royal Tailor – The other Japanese movies were not to my taste so I picked a Korean show instead. It was beautifully written and directed. The story was about a royal tailor (the older guy), a young but talented tailor, the royal family, and the conflicts that arose when the young tailor began to receive personal requests from the Queen. It was so moving that I cried into my airline snacks. My favorite character has to be the young tailor – so passionately curious and wildly passionate. The costume department did an A+ job on all the outfits. I wish I were a bit more eloquent in describing my feelings for things but it seems that lately words fail me when I try to think of how to describe things

abigmatchBig Match – This was action-packed from the beginning. Uh, I guess I saved a poster with Mandarin instead of Korean but it’s actually a Korean movie. Get past the first 15 minutes and you’re good for the rest of the movie. It was one of those fast-paced everything-happening-in-one-day kind of movies. The story is about a boxer whose brother gets framed for a crime and somehow the police suspect him to be in cahoots with his brother and arrest him. From there, the boxer gets a call while in prison from the antagonist who has captured his brother for leverage purposes. The boxer has no choice but to follow the antagonist’s orders to go on crazy missions. I was on the edge of my seat till the end. The protagonist is hilarious!! If only for him, watch it.

edgeoftomorrowEdge of Tomorrow – I only watched 1/3 of this because I fell asleep (yes, even with the sounds of raging gunfire and Tom Cruise shouting into my ears). Tom Cruise as a pathetic army guy was refreshing to watch since he’s usually the intelligent or skilled hero. I missed the entire middle part of the movie and woke up towards the ending but I quickly gathered what I had missed. But yeah, Tom Cruise basically saves the day in most of his movies anyway.

That is how up-to-date with English movies I am. I have yet to watch The Avengers 2. I can’t believe it myself haha. Let’s not even talk about English music.

Have you watched any of these movies? Which ones did you find good/disappointing?

Raine
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That time I shook hands with my favorite musicians

Now you probably know that at some point in my teenage years I was head-over-heels for The All-American Rejects. If I remember correctly, we first saw the music for Gives You Hell on TV (ahem, back when we actually watched TV) and promptly decided that, yeah we like their music and they’re not half bad-looking.

Wow, writing this, it sure seems like ages since those days when in reality it was only a few years ago.

Anyway, for most of the year, it was all about Tyson, Nick, Mike and Chris. My favorite was obviously Nick Wheeler. Can I begin to count the number of Youtube videos of them we watched? No, but I swear I watched them all. Can I even begin to count the number of posts on our blog about him? No, and I’m not even going to try. They’re embarrassing anyway so they’re no longer up for public viewing -_-

But just so you know, every day was Nick Wheeler day for me.

Here’s a picture from the enormous AAR collection I used to have:

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In the same year that we started listening to their music, they were on tour… and crazily enough, they were touring to our city. My sister and I were ECSTATIC. We were beside ourselves with joy and excitement. I started asking Mom if we could go.

I used to think that concerts were the most exciting musical thing anyone could attend but after going to our first concert (Backstreet Boys, holla), I changed my mind. The BSB concert was AMAZING and perfect and the best first concert experience ever but I did not expect to wait in the pouring rain for 4 hours nor fear getting separated from my family nor fear being caught in a stampede nor keep edging backwards because of the countless smokers puffing away. It was an outdoor concert. No, we do not have organized concerts  except maybe for the Philharmonic orchestra.

I digress.

Mom agreed that we could go to the concert. So you know what I spent a whole week doing? Calling up the radio station to win free tickets. I have never been so focused on hitting the redial button haha. I sat by the radio for a few evenings in a row, trying to get my call in. It. was. frustrating. And tiring because I had to keep listening to recycled songs on the radio for hours on end. I was finally beginning to believe that my call would never get through and that the contest was somehow rigged as the tickets were snagged by other callers when I stabbed the redial button on the very LAST attempt of the day to win tickets.

And you know what happened… My call got through. Someone picked up. The DJ picked up. I could not breathe. My mind went blank. Suddenly words failed me and I had to stutter through the entire conversation with the DJ with my mom and sister urging me on from beside me. All I could say in between my stuttering was, ‘Oh my god’. It didn’t feel real.

I won 10 ‘VIP’ tickets (which were actually normal tickets… LOL brb I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of this) AND I got 2 meet-and-greet passes. HOLY CRAP.

Meet-and-greet passes… Meet-and-greet passes… I was going to meet the members of AAR.

And I did. After a lot of pushing and shoving before the concert, we got to rock out to their concert in the rain (no less) and after the concert was over, those with meet-and-greet passes were told to gather on one side of the stage.

We were over the moon. My sister and I were going to meet the AAR members. How did that even happen? How the heck were we supposed to react when we met them? What would the meet-and-greet session even be like? We had no idea. We thought we’d get to meet them at a table and gush over how great they are and ask for a hug.

Nope. None of that.

All we were allowed to do was get a picture with them as a group then leave. Um, when I say leave, I mean be physically shoved out the door by security personnel.

I was stumped. Like, um, a meet-and-greet session means meeting and greeting them, right? If not, shouldn’t it just be called a photo op? But I was still too delirious from actually seeing them in person to question so many things at that point.

Some people were bold. Some people threw themselves at Tyson, Nick, Mike and Chris even with the big security dudes pulling at them and telling them to leave. Tyson was larger than life, no kidding. Seeing those cheekbones up close? WHO WOULDA THOUGHT?

After the picture, I looked to my right and there they were, Mike Kennerty and Chris Gaylor.

And I put my hand out without thinking much.

Mike shook my hand. That man honestly has the nicest, softest hands I’ve ever touched. He’s a real sweetheart in real life too. I mean, I didn’t say anything to him but you can just tell.

Then Chris shook my hand. :] Brb stupid smile because I can tell people what their hands felt like.

They both thanked me for coming out to the show.

Meanwhile, my sister was trapped somewhere under Tyson’s arm lol. Just kidding. I don’t know what she was doing but when I turned around, the security dudes were waving their hands impatiently, barking at everyone to get out of the tent.

My sister and I were disappointed and started to leave but at the last minute, I was like, screw it, I didn’t come this far to walk away from Nick Wheeler!!!!!!!

Now you’re thinking, she hugged him, didn’t she? SHE TOTALLY DID! SHE DID THE CRAZY FAN THING!

Um. No. I wish I did.

But no matter how I look at it, I don’t think I could ever throw myself at a celeb and squeeze the life out of them with a crushing hug. That is so NOT me. (My sister insists that I will do that to Fukuyama Jun. TIME WILL TELL! I secretly hope I do get to hug him and not regret it for a second.)

Instead, I turned around to Nick Wheeler who was holding a drink in his hand. He met my gaze (DAMMIT HAZEL EYES) and I …………….

…………. I stuck my hand out. Again.

AS IF I WAS AT A JOB INTERVIEW.

No joke. I put my hand out.

Later I would think to myself, WHY A HANDSHAKE? WHY?

And I swear he looked at my hand for a split-second (possibly to wonder why I was being so civilized lol) before shaking it and saying, ‘Thanks for coming out to the show’.

Nick Wheeler spoke to me. I’m cryiiiiiiiing.

And that wasn’t just it. He also said, ‘Nice shirt’.

Since then I haven’t worn that shirt out. I washed it but I haven’t worn it out more than 3 times.

I fumbled over words. I don’t remember what I said but I do remember turning around to grab the back of my sister’s shirt to drag her back in front of Nick Wheeler. She, too, shook his hand.

Then we floated out of the tent, delirious. Kidding. We were barked at to get out so we did.

That’s the story.

I dunno, I’d probably ask a celeb or idol if I can hug them. If they say no, I’d be totally cool with that. I’d be happy with a handshake.

Wheels, you might not remember me but I just want to say thank you for being decent. The teenager in me will always think you’re the best guitarist on Earth and look back fondly on the crappy-quality group photo from the meet-and-greet (which I can’t seem to find). The suckiest thing about meeting a band or an actor or someone you admire is if they turn out to be douchebags but Nick Wheeler certainly wasn’t one.

P.S: Nick Wheeler has a very lovely hand and a solid handshake.

Tell me all your concert stories. Have you met your favorite musician before? Were they as nice as you thought they’d be?

Raine
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This spring’s anime

Our favorites! Our not-so-favorite favorites! After a very boring winter anime schedule (consisting of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu only, I believe), we’re back on an equally boring spring schedule. Out of the “many” choices as some would say, we ‘disqualified’ those we disliked and continued watching those that were so-so. Read on for what we think…

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Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)

A historical tale of Arslan, a prince who gets caught in a war between two countries (?), and how “the boy became prince”. Historical animes have always been a hit. Kingdom was by far one of the best we have watched. So has Arslan Senki lived up to those expectations? The answer is: it’s fading. The story was pretty compelling at the beginning. Arslan isn’t a terrible protagonist, but rather, the story is. While I understand that violence is always involved in historical war stories, I believe that some overly gory scenes were unnecessary and irrelevant to the story. The animation is wonderful but the pacing is getting poorer. Arslan has been hiding in a cave with his comrades in the past few episodes while we are forced to watch other side-stories. When will we get to see Arslan in action? I don’t know, but hopefully we won’t have dropped the show by then. For now, I can’t wait to see what the new character voiced by Sakamoto Maaya brings to the table.

By the way, does Daryun look like Shang from Mulan or what?

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Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

In an alternate New York City where humans and aliens live together peacefully, Leonardo Watch joins a secret association called Libra to find out more about himself. Naturally, he gets dragged into the sci-fi craze that Libra fights. We watched this because Bones (producer of Darker than Black, one of our all-time favorites) was producing this show. The synopsis mentioned something about vampires, but that was only introduced in the 4th or 5th episode. Since the first episode, we’ve been keeping up with the crazy, random stories because the characters, especially Zapp, are hilarious. It has a Gintama/Space Dandy vibe to it in terms of aliens and a strange out-of-the-blue storyline like…. I have no idea. I’m pretty sure everything is related, but I think watchers are supposed to piece them together. After episode 6, which was deliciously fluffy, I’m suddenly a big fan of everything about this anime. Maybe it’s the whacky, weird and wonderful explosion of creativity that the character designs are made of. Maybe it’s Leonardo Watch who is the complete opposite of your typical hardcore angry shounen hero, a typecast that I’m finding increasingly annoying. Maybe it’s the incredibly talented cast of voice actors that I’m learning to love. Maybe it’s that super catchy ending theme song called ‘Sugar Song to Bitter Step’ (even the title is so darned catchy). You can probably tell that this is my favorite anime so far because I have so much to say about it. The manga needs translations beyond chapter 4 so I can read it right now, urgh!

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Kyoukai no Rinne (Rinne’s Boundary)

From the creator of Ranma 1/2, the story of Mamiya Sakura, a girl who can see spirits, and her classmate, Rokudou Rinne, a half-human, half-death god who is tasked with sending spirits to the afterlife. There’s comedy, there’s romance, there’s action and there’s nothing more I could ask for. Simple stories like this are gold. Everyone is my favorite character. The voice actors are surprisingly good. Ishikawa Kaito and Inoue Marina (ooh, SnK’s Armin) have won my respect. Their voices are nothing like their usual styles. At least we don’t have a whiny female lead and a typically angry male lead. Everything is so cute about it. Of course, Kimura Ryouhei as the slightly air-headed love rival of Rinne, Juumonji, is my favorite since forever-ever-ever. Rokumon is adorable. I want a personal Rokumon. I’ve been whining about that for weeks now, just ask my sister. The opening theme, Ouka Ranman by Keytalk, is our latest favorite song to jam to. The Wheel of Reincarnation was the most interesting thing to see in the story so far. I think artists, writers, anyone creative are at their best when they can turn concepts that can only be seen in the mind into something physical and real.

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Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End)

After a tragic event, Hyakuya Yuuichiro joins the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, vowing to get revenge on the tyrannical vampires that rule over parts of a post-apocalyptic Japan. The concept is far more interesting than the single-sentenced synopses that I’m writing off the top of my head. Not many animes succeed in creating a post-apocalyptic setting that is as desolate as video games. This anime is an exception. The animation and scenery are lovely. The protagonist, however, isn’t. Yuuichiro is as annoying as any shounen protagonist can get (refer to my hints in the sections above). If you thought Eren from SnK was unlikeable because of his strong but blind determination, Yuuichiro might change your mind. He spends a few episodes ranting about how he wants to be the strongest. Guren, his superior, is a much more interesting character (and he’s funny!). The rest of the cast, except for Shinoa (who is a different-in-a-good-way kind of female lead), is pretty bland. As for the plot, it started out promising, but now all I can see is cliches everywhere. Right now, we’re only waiting for Guren’s backstory to come to light.

Some other animes we tried to watch were:

Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!) Big guy, Takeo, who has a super good-looking best friend, Makoto, likes a sweet girl, Rinko, from his school. Mediocre at its best. Maybe because I’ve read plenty of shoujo mangas, I’ve grown tired of watching the same story play out again and again. If shoujo is your type of story, then by all means; after all, this anime isn’t about a good-looking guy falling in love with a good-looking girl. P.S.: Makoto and Rinko both look like the leads from Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji.

Shokugeki no Souma. After his father closes down his restaurant, a boy joins an elite culinary school and struggles to beat his classmates in order to graduate. Fan service for girls/women! Fan service for boys/men! What more could you… not ask for? Nothing more to say here.

In other anime/manga-related news, we’ve been watching Blood+ and my god, it can get disturbing. I might actually write a full review for that, but we’ll see… I’ve also started reading Gangsta in anticipation for the anime adaptation. Beautiful character designs and art style and great main characters with very dark backgrounds. We finished watching Magic Kaito 1412 the other day and it was so cute! If you want a fully developed story with a nice (and deliciously mysterious) ending, Kaito is the guy you should go to!

This post is my post-finals R(est)&R(elax) reward, so I enjoyed myself a lot, penning this post! That’s all for this week!

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Being sisters in college: annoying things

All my sister and I ever wanted was to go to school together. And bam, now we are. We’re a couple of years apart in age so we only got to ‘go to school together’ for two years in elementary school and another year in high school. By that, I mean we were in different grades but the same school.

What I never imagined was to receive so many strange remarks or witness strange behavior from people upon hearing that we are sisters. I would even go so far to say that some behavior we have been shown is discrimination.

Here are some examples of annoying things (ranging from mildly annoying to very annoying) that people do or say to us. Also take this as a guide of what NOT to say to sisters.

Category 1: Not seeing the similarities.

“So you’re relatives? Cousins?”

Apparently we don’t look alike to some people.

“I thought you were best friends.”

Apparently we look like friends.

“You’re sisters?”

Ditto.

These first 3 aren’t too bad since most of the time they’re harmless comments.

“I looked at the name list and wondered why there were two of the same names!”

Gee, I don’t know, maybe because our names AREN’T the same and you’re only looking at the first half of our names. Our names are actually quite unique so the logical conclusion would be that there are TWO of us and we’re related.

Category 2: Not seeing the differences.

“You and your sister have the same name.”

Because that’s what parents do. They name all their children the same name because they enjoy being amused when all the kids answer to one name.

Dad: “JOHN!”

And five kids (boys and girls) come rushing into the living room.

Dad: “Which of you broke the TV?”

All the kids: “JOHN DID.”

Now the parents are going to have a good time figuring which kid broke it because OOPS they gave all 5 of their kids the same name.

“Oh, you’re the twins!”

No? After twice from the same person, this comment gets old really fast.

“You look so alike, I can’t tell the difference!” (after seeing us more than twice)

I call bullshit on that because even identical twins have slight differences and guess what, we are not identical twins.

“Oh okay, whatever, I just know you two as twins.”

Thanks for your display of ignorance. I now know who to not waste my time on.

“You even eat the same food.”

Why? Is it that strange? My sister and I grew up on our mom’s cooking and as a family we ate out together at the same places so is it that strange to acquire the same liking towards certain types of food?

“Where is your sister?”

When only one of us shows up. Said in different tones, this can either be harmless or annoying. Annoying when they give you that ‘WHY is only one of you here? WHY?’. I don’t know, do identical twins go everywhere and do everything together? Oh wait, we’re not identical twins!

Assortment of other strange things:

The ‘who is older’ game.

This is fun because hearing people’s answers are in and of itself a sociological experiment.

Example of answers – #1: ‘you (my sister) because you’re taller’. Gee, that was an intelligent and totally accurate guess because HEIGHT is a valid way to estimate someone’s age.

#2: ‘you (me) because you have a more mature look’. One of the most interesting answers yet. Acceptable too.

Placing us on opposite ends of the classroom for a test.

You know, in case we wink, wink, nudge, nudge. We can totally send each other code through brainwaves.

Giving us strange looks when we happened to get the same score on a test.

Because we can really totally send each other messages in the form of brainwaves. I don’t think the same look would be given if a pair of friends got the same score on a test.

Giving us things (eg. test papers, envelopes, packages) and asking us to sort it out between the two of us because apparently people cannot be bothered to learn who is who.

Like, here you go, I can’t tell who is who.

??? Really?

Telling us that we should do our presentations on different days.

Reason: because there will be more variety.

I’m sorry, MORE VARIETY? HOW?

Apparently because we sit together and wear the same glasses. If that makes sense to you, raise your hand.

People actually think that my sister and I will make a presentation that will be SO alike in nature that the whole presentation time will lack ‘variety’.

Bringing us back to the identical twin thing. Even identical twins don’t have the SAME personalities, jeez.

I can bet you that people who have seen us present before know that we do NOT lack variety because we have different styles.

Having professors reply to my sister’s email thinking that she’s me.

“I already sent you an email about xxx the other day.”

Awkward moment when my sister has to explain that she’s not me. This is actually fine since somehow our name shows up as the same in our emails. We do sign off differently though so…

Staring at us questioningly when we insist that sharing one drink is fine.

I don’t know why people don’t bat an eyelid when friends share food and drinks but look at us as if we’ve done something completely out of this world when we share food and drinks.

I don’t get it.

Making comments like ‘it’s so cute that you wore matching hoodies’ with an underlying mocking tone as if to suggest that we’re lame to dress the same.

When we heard this, we looked at each other’s hoodie and were like wtf? Because we didn’t even realize that we were wearing the same color. So yeah. We did NOT come to school matchy matchy but if we did, so what?

People do that with their BESTIES and it’s fine.

Basically people give us strange looks and make strange comments about us for doing or saying things but wouldn’t to a pair of friends.

I wrote this meaning to sound light-hearted but reading back, it’s dripping with sarcasm. Haha. Oh well.

Have you gone to school with a sibling before? Any interesting sibling stories to share?

Raine
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In the news lately

This is one of those posts again. It’s hard for me to give these posts a title without me being too emo or something.

I’ve been reading pretty depressing news lately which is why I try not to read the news (I have a personal news dispenser aka my sister who will read news headlines to me every day anyway).

1. I followed a link on Twitter that somehow ended up with me reading disturbing news about a guy abusing his fiancee. I watched the video and it was ugly and shocking and I felt very sad for both the guy and the girl.

People often think nothing/little of abuse or domestic violence. At least those who have never witnessed or been a victim of abuse. “Oh, it’s just a family/couple arguing.” “Oh, the mother probably upset the father.” They make excuses for what is blatantly obvious or they pretend they don’t see it.

To those people, shame on you.

The victims of abuse need help and often they don’t know where to turn to because they’re scared and embarrassed because how the hell can you say ‘hey, my dad/my boyfriend/whoever is beating the shit out of me/belittling me to the point of wrecking me’? Most people can’t expose their abuse because their abuser is someone they care about (even if they’re doing all those bad things to them).

And it’s not unusual for the victim to forgive the abuser after that. They make excuses for their abuser or blame themselves with thoughts like ‘s/he was having a bad day’ or ‘I shouldn’t have said that to him/her’ or ‘s/he won’t do it again, that was a one-off’. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s hard to break out of it without help and support.

When people tell you they’re being abused, know that it has taken them forever to work up the courage to admit something so painful and embarrassing. It’s a cry for help. Help for the victim AND the abuser. Don’t brush it off and make excuses for their abuser. That doesn’t help.

I know abuse. It’s ugly and sad and frankly doesn’t do shit for either the abuser or the victim. Abuse doesn’t necessarily mean violence. It can also mean mental abuse which honestly is just as bad because even years down the road, it still affects you.

There were insensitive comments in those articles as well as on Twitter. It breaks my heart to see that people actually think that if a woman hits a man, she should expect to be hit. Or a man can hit a woman if she hits him first. Or something along those nasty lines.

No. It’s wrong. Either way, it’s wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right. How do people not realize that yet?

There are so many things I want to say about abuse but for now, to people out there who are being abused and can’t seem to get help (because some places just don’t offer enough help), know that there are people who will believe your story. Keep staying strong whether for yourself or your family.

2. If you’ve been floating around on Facebook enough times lately (or Youtube since it’s now on there), you might have seen the video of the Thai lady who filmed a bunch of Chinese tourists’ bad manners (cutting queues and being rowdy) at a Korean airport.

I watched it a while back on Facebook and thought, omg so true. It happens. Oh, it happens more times than I can count. Like where do these people come from (rhetoric) and HOW do they not know that their behavior is TERRIBLE?

Today someone posted the Youtube link and I clicked on it, not knowing that it was the same link. I read the comments on Youtube and was promptly quite sickened by the stuff that people wrote. So much ignorance, hatred and stupidity.

People were trying to argue which types of Chinese people or Asians are better than which. Some said all Chinese are rude. Some even tried to offer other Asians as being equally rude. It was plain ignorant and unnecessary.

I get that rude China people are hated because of all the disgusting things they do. And sadly, there are various Chinese of different nationalities who have adopted similar appalling rude behavior. You would think that people who see disgusting behavior would stay away from it and try to be the opposite but no. Goodness only knows how annoying it is to have your line cut (constantly, I might add) or have to listen to obnoxious yelling or deal with unhygienic toilet etiquette (omg).

BUT, a group of Chinese tourists does not encompass all the Chinese people on this planet. Besides, there are sooo many countries where Chinese people come from so how can you say that all Chinese are the same? The people in the video are from the mainland (obviously China) but apparently to plenty of ignorant people, everyone is from the mainland. Um, please no. I’m also not saying that all mainland Chinese behave like that…

To the people who read news about disgusting behavior by Chinese people, please understand that the word Chinese is a huge umbrella for various Chinese people living in different countries. They are not all the same. Side note: some are actually refusing to be labeled Chinese because of the generally bad name that has been given to the Chinese. That is the extent of how much people don’t want to be associated with the bad stuff.

3. If you’ve seen the news or, you know, been on Twitter or some kind of social media, you probably heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal.

My first thought after hearing about the earthquake was the Nepalese waiter from a Vietnamese restaurant back home who was so good to us. He remembered our orders and was just an all-round cheerful guy. He left a couple of years ago but we occasionally still think about him and wonder how he is. I immediately wondered if he was back in Nepal and if he was alright.

My heart goes out to all the people affected. I pray that help gets to them quickly. Nepal is a relatively poor nation and it’s clear they were not prepared for something this devastating. People have lost their homes, their lives, their families. That’s why we need to help them. I’m happy that our school sent out an email asking people to donate or help out in any way.

We donated to Paul Walker’s charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). His brother, Cody, is carrying on the good work and they have already deployed help to Nepal. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. If you have already donated to other charities, good on ya.

4. Today I lent my book to this girl to copy my notes. She sat diagonally in front of me. She was wearing a tank top. I didn’t notice anything odd about her for the first half of the class. Then I noticed.

Lines. Pale but distinct lines. Scars on her lower left arm. Cutting scars. I have only ever seen such scars in Tumblr posts by people who cut so I was stunned and saddened to see the scars on her arm.

Questions ran through my mind: Why did she do it? What happened? How old are those scars? Did her family know? Is she alright now?

It made me sad to see that someone could go through things that would lead them harm themselves. I wanted to say something to her but didn’t know what and I didn’t think it would be appropriate. We need to care about people around us more. People ought to give and receive love and support so that things like this don’t have to happen.

5. My sister and I were on Youtube watching some videos when we stumbled across a video in which the man filmed racist remarks being thrown at him on public transport. This guy is white and the guy making racist comments was an old Korean man.

Racism is everywhere, unfortunately, and the guy being racist was saying mean/hurtful things and among the things that the old man said was, ‘we are Buddhist’. I was confused and well, angered, by this Korean man’s statement because I don’t think any religion condones racism. And people should know this.

What I couldn’t understand was why the guy filming would take that to heart and say ‘maybe the guy was being racist because he’s a Buddhist’. No, he’s being a racist because he’s a racist. People using their religion as an excuse to be racist and people blaming racism on religion have got it all wrong.

And what’s worse was the comments. People were saying things like, ‘my friend’s father is Buddhist and he’s super racist’. I can’t speak for other religions but if anyone knew anything about Buddhism, it’s that Buddhism is built on compassion and wisdom. This article actually explains compassion and wisdom quite simply but effectively.

Saying things like ‘he was this or that because he’s a Buddhist’ only lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. Similarly, throwing out you’re Buddhist when you’re doing something bad also causes unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. We don’t need that.

x

And that’s all I have. Reading through, I realize that there is a point to my post:

Let’s be kinder to each other.

Raine
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First craft fair in the US

Hello friends! Last weekend we went to our very first craft fair since coming here last August. It was hot on both days that we went but it was so much fun. This craft fair is the same one our mom attended when she went to school here too!! Crazy, I know.

We didn’t end up buying anything since things were either too expensive or not really to our taste but we browsed a lot and ate a lot. I only have food pictures so bear with me.

Keeping up with the family tradition, I headed straight for the snow cone stall. Mom told us that during her time, her friend worked at the snow cone booth and he actually gave one to her. Unfortunately, the snow cone vendors are now outsiders so we had to pay for them haha.
cfair-snowcone

The girl told me I could pick two flavors so obviously I picked pink lemonade and root beer (pink lemonade for me, root beer for my sister). And if you can’t tell, I chose the largest size. It was SO refreshing!! cfair-icecream

We walked around, looking at all the neat crafts, then decided we were hungry for an ice cream so the ice cream truck it was. We shared this banana split ice cream – banana flavored ice cream with bananas, strawberries, nuts, fudge and sprinkles. The whole works in one scoop! It was heavenly. I’m dreaming of the taste as I write this.cfair-garlicfries

Next, we had garlic fries. It was the most surprising thing I tried because I didn’t expect real garlic paste to be used. It was really good but there was too much garlic at the end and it got too ‘spicy’ for me. My sister finished it right up though so you know who loves a good bowl of garlic fries… ;Pcfair-cinnamonroll

On the second day we went, we walked around some more but mostly we were there to try more fair foods. So here’s our cinnamon roll which a friend said was the best thing ever. The frosting and nuts cost extra but we didn’t want those so we got a plain roll. If anything, I hate frosting on any kind of pastry (also don’t care for whipped cream).

So how did it taste…? It was okay, too sweet; definitely prefer my mom’s apple cinnamon bread more. It was also only after we bought it that I realized that it wasn’t an APPLE cinnamon roll. They only sold cinnamon rolls but excited me jumped to conclusions and thought there were apples inside. Would have been ten times better with apple though.cfair-hotdog1

I really wanted a hot dog. I told my sister this: I really want a hot dog. I’m going to get a hot dog. Can we get a hot dog? Hehe, sometimes I wonder who is older.

I got a chili cheese dog. It was salty. But it satisfied my hot dog craving. I haven’t had a hot dog in a long time. The last time I had a hot dog, it was last year at Costco and I barely remember eating that plain ol’ dog so that doesn’t count.

We actually wanted to try the tri-tip sandwich but the lines were long…cfair-icecream2

Don’t tell Mom but we ran back to the same ice cream truck to try and score more banana split ice cream. BUT! There was none. -cue emo Disney soundtrack- They changed up their flavors every few hours and banana split was obviously long gone so we tried two other flavors instead. One of them had Oreos and the other had toffee bits.

The Oreo-flavored one was better but not as yummy as the banana split one. T_T

And that about sums up our food adventure at the craft fair. Not pictured here is a tostada (not bad) and a bag of kettle corn (popcorn come to me). I know it doesn’t seem like we ate a lot since there was TONS of other food to try but we did our best (and also we didn’t want to spend too much).cfair-basilpasta

Then we came home on the second day and made our favorite tomato and basil chicken pasta. It’s obvious how much we love this pasta. Fairly easy and sooooo delicious.

We haven’t had that much sugar in a while so later that day we felt kind of sick haha. Oh well. We had lots of fun at our first craft fair! Looking forward to more. Another thing we scored over that weekend? A tan. Yeah, now we’re totally Californians, tanned and all.

Can you imagine what we’d be like at a food fair?! You’d better hang onto my wallet for me while I drool over ice cream.

How’s your week going? Have you been to a craft fair lately? Your favorite craft fair? Favorite fair foods?!

Raine
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How a kid at Costco made me think

Today we went to Costco. The weather was wonderful. Waking up to the sound of pattering rain is a rather beautiful feeling. My sister and I peeked out of the window to look at the rain before we ate breakfast. That’s how much we love rain. I wish it would rain more here. Vancouver’s rain was far too harsh for me. It was too heavy and made walks to the bus stop very cold and depressing.

The parking lots weren’t very full at Costco. I guess not many people like going out in the rain here. We went inside and headed straight for the meat section. As Raine was choosing which chicken to buy, I happened to look up. There was a small kid, about 3 years old and wearing a green t-shirt, sitting in the baby seat of the shopping cart and staring at me curiously. I stared back at him. He started smiling and laughing. I smiled awkwardly back at him because kids always turn away the second I start returning their smiles (and that makes me feel like an idiot).

He grinned, twisting from left to right in his seat and shaking his head. He stopped and looked at me. I looked at him and smiled again, daring to smile wider than before. This kid wasn’t going to turn away and make me feel like a creep. He grinned even wider, somehow pleased that I had returned his smile. He made a funny face at me. After making sure that his parents weren’t looking (because they were looking frustratedly at the row of New York steaks), I grinned at him and made a funny face back at him.

My sister was done just as the kid’s parents started walking away. I gave the kid one last smile, a sign of appreciation for not making me feel like a rejected smiling creep. He was still grinning and looking at me. Even as I was talking to my sister, he was still looking at me as if he was waiting for me to pull another funny face. I’m adding this kid to my list of favorite cool people, I thought as I walked away. My faith in humanity has been restored, were my thoughts as we left.

This kid doesn’t know it and he’s probably forgotten all about me now, but he totally made my day. I realized it was because this was the first time in a long time that someone had looked at me without eyes that judged me. They were eyes that saw me as just another human being. Not as an Asian, not as an older person, not as a younger person. Not a gaze that labelled me. I realized quickly that I had somehow gotten used to the cautious stares people gave me because I was Asian. It explained the liberation I felt when the kid smiled at me. He was actually being himself because he saw that I was an equal.

A few years ago, when I visited California, I was a clumsy person. I often walked backwards into people or bumped into them when I was turning. Old ladies, middle-aged men, middle-aged women, whoever they were, would always smile kindly at me after I apologized. It didn’t make me feel half as bad as I feel today. No one was judging. Everyone knew that people made mistakes, that people weren’t perfect.

Just the other day, a woman told me, “You speak very good English!” It was my fifth time receiving that comment since I arrived last year. Was I offended? Sort of. But I was more annoyed. When will people ever stop asking me that question? When will people learn that not everyone who looks Asian can’t not speak English? Nowadays, I receive stares when I take plastic bags or go near something because people half-expect me to take the whole roll of plastic bags home or toss trash onto the floor or something like that.

Countries all over the world have been going international for a lot of reasons. There’s the internet. Lots of people can speak English. Lots of people speak English in Asian countries. Asian countries are extremely diverse, and so are other countries, I’m sure. That should be no surprise at all, but somehow it is. It’s hard to imagine a country with only one dialect or one language today. Times have changed.

When I told the woman that I spoke English at home, she said in disbelief, “You speak English with your parents? At home?” “Yup,” I answered cheerfully.

And I don’t sleep on the beds at IKEA. I repeat, I don’t sleep on the beds at IKEA.

We can rant about equality, racial inequality and hatred all day long. But the truth is, we’re being judged even harder than before.

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Thoughts on blogging

I have a shout-out in this post today. This shout-out goes to Britt who has been a blog friend of ours since I started my nail blog and since we restarted this blog. I’m sad that she’s chosen to quit blogging (I’m sad because she’s all kinds of kind and wonderful) but I’m also hopeful that she’ll be back better than ever really soon. I wish her well and look forward to hearing about all her new adventures. Of course, I’ll be keeping up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

My post today is also a bit related to this. After reading Britt’s post and feeling upset as if a friend were moving to another country, I began to think long and hard about blogging.

There have been multiple times when I just thought to myself, alright you’re not going to ‘make it’ in the bloggerverse because you have no niche and no interesting pictures and are not on all the social media and don’t sponsor other bloggers and don’t have ‘interesting enough/helpful tips’ posts and you’re subconsciously trying to please these people in your posts so maybe it’s time to retire from the blogging scene again.

I tell myself that I don’t blog to please people but it’s not unnatural to want to draw readers and somehow fall off your intended path and instead start writing for the audience instead. Stupid, I know. But it happens. And every time it does, I get annoyed/mad and have to remind myself that this blog was not built on the foundation of catering to people’s tastes. Right now, I’m blogging for myself and it’s nice. I don’t check my stats, I don’t dive for the comment box, I don’t read a bunch of other people’s posts and wonder if I should write like that.

At some point, I also used to join linkups and while I found one or two blogs that I really liked (incidentally I found Britt through a linkup!), it took up too much time and not many people actually stick around after the linkup ends. There are actually more people who will come over to your blog, say ‘great post’ without reading your post, and drop their link, expecting you to go over and follow them. Okay, this might be old school of me but I appreciate sincerity and loyalty over gaining a bunch of followers (probably to get better stats/ratings which in turn lead to bigger monetary opportunities, I suppose).

I’ve seen writing tips that say ‘write for yourself’ and other tips that say ‘write for your audience’. Sorry, if I write for ‘the audience’ but hate what I’m writing, I don’t see the point. That’s just me. I say side with whichever view fits you best.

Yeah, but I feel like blogging has become weird. It used to be people writing about their lives without trying to sell stuff or dish out ‘tips on how to blog’ or generally be pushy/unnatural/desperate/unrealistic.

I used to really enjoy reading this one blog because of the blogger’s writing style and content but it has since become very, uh, strange. I used to be able to connect to that blogger because of the warmth and realness in the posts. Now I’m like, there’s just a bunch of how-tos and I don’t even know what this blog is about… Maybe I shouldn’t call it a blog? Hmm, maybe it has become a website. I see this happening a lot now too – blogs trying to push to become ‘bigger’ things? It no longer feels ‘friendly’, you know? Like I’m talking to a receptionist at some corporate company instead of chatting with a friend. I kind of feel sad to drop them from my feed but at the same time, I don’t connect with them on that level anymore.

And aren’t ‘tips for blogging’ just a way for someone to get more followers? I mean, I get that the internet is booming and you’re just a tiny little speck in the sea of other specks so you should find ways to stand out but can’t you keep doing you and eventually people who will enjoy your stuff will find you and become a reader (as opposed to merely a follower)? Is that idealistic of me to think that way? Most ‘tips’ or ‘guides’ or ‘lifehacks’ (is that what they call tips nowadays?) are unhelpful anyway. Do this, do that, get on this site, get on that site, spend on this, spend on that, write like this, write like that… Okay, we get it, force yourself into a niche, become a cookie cutter, conform, fit into this mold, rinse and repeat the other stuff people say.

I feel that some parts of blogging are kind of like high school with tons of little cliques and ridiculous expectations. If you don’t fit into a specific box, well, you’d better leave the party because you’re not one of them and you’re not going to fit in. If you don’t have anything in common, if you don’t write like them, if you don’t write about similar things, if you’re not on every single social media, things like that, you know?

And things like dictating whether someone is ‘big’ in the blog world? That just reminds me of how everyone envied and loved the ‘cool kids’ at high school. Eff that. The ‘cool kids” heads just got bloated from all that ‘fame’ while other ‘ordinary kids’ felt plain and inadequate. And what happened to the ‘loser kids’? They were possibly kicked further down the ‘low self-esteem’ drain. That sucks. That effing sucks. Society’s standards are pretty crappy, if you ask me.

Let’s also talk about pictures. I believe I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I don’t care what your pictures look like, whether they are 5000×4000 super high-res Blu-ray-worthy pictures from your Canon7D or blurry and grainy pictures from your chipped 2001 Nokia cellphone that has no emojis. A picture isn’t by any means a way of deciding whether or not your post is worthy of my reading time. I will read your crappy-picture-filled post and like it if you are warm and engaging.

Unfortunately, nowadays blogs are also dictated by the quality of your pictures. Ugh, superficiality. Just ugh. Blog peer pressure is REAL. What I said about high school, right? I was also guilty of trying to get blog-worthy pictures at some point and trying to post one picture per post. Ain’t nobody got time for that though. Sure, pictures break the text up and look nice but not every post needs a picture.

Not just the quality of your pictures but also the frequency of your posts. Miss a week or (GASP) a month of blogging/keeping up on social media and you become almost unknown again. I know this isn’t always necessarily true and some people are always there to welcome you back but readership/commenting dropping to zero happens. It happens and it sucks and you wonder what you did wrong and whether you should have kept people updated in some way. But you know what? It’s your life and you can choose to blog whenever you want. If readers don’t want to stick around, well, whatever.

To sum things up, ‘little’ blogs don’t have to try to become ‘big’ blogs. Blogs are just blogs. Say what you wanna say. Be who you wanna be (easier said than done but still worth steering yourself in that direction). At the end of the day, there are people who will like or are able to relate to what you write and that’s good enough. I don’t think ‘making it’ should even be a priority when it comes to blogging.

And with most things, there are bad sides and then there are good sides. There are still plenty of wonderful people out there who make blogging enjoyable and worth it and there are still amazing blogs out there. Sometimes I find bloggers who are funny and engaging and down-to-earth and have posts that make you feel ‘damn, I wish I wrote that’ or ‘I can relate to that, let’s be friends already’. And they are part of the reason why I still enjoy blogging.

So you know what? Don’t feel like a ‘loser’ in blogging and don’t succumb to the peer pressure. ^_^ Nobody should decide whether your blog is worthy or not. Sometimes you may feel like crap about your blog but at the end of the day, know that your blog doesn’t define you, you’re being yourself, and that’s all kinds of awesome.

This is just my opinion (you know, in case people read this, get upset about how I’m ‘trying to bash big bloggers’ (which I’m not) or ‘going off on a nonsensical rant’, and take my words out of context which is what happens unnecessarily often nowadays).

P.S: My sister says that she read that Trader Joe’s doesn’t use social media. Ya hear that?

Raine
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