Standing tall and proud

I’m not really big on burgers but I do like those paper bags my order comes in when I grab the occasional burger to go. Those bags are like the cutest things ever. Somehow they have a retro feel to them unlike the boring plastic bag.

Another thing that paper bags have over plastic bags is character. Seriously! Why did they ever replace paper grocery bags with plastic ones? They’re not only bad for the environment, they have no character whatsoever.

Sorry, plastic bags, you knew that was coming! I have nothing against you. You can be really useful, just that you’re nothing compared with a paper bag. Even your crunch is kinda stilted, unlike the crunch of real paper.

Now I don’t know about you but I hate that plastic bags have no backbone. The minute you let it go, it flops down. Unlike the paper bag who is still standing tall and proud!

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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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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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More California things… I think

1. PINK everything. No, really, why is Victoria’s Secret Pink wear SO popular here? I swear everyone in school has at least ONE Pink article of clothing be it a Pink bedazzled hoodie or a pair of Pink-emblazoned yoga pants or Pink tank top. I guess people take their VS seriously. I just like their flip flops which went out of production.

vs pink2. Under Armour obsession. Same thing here. UA shirts, UA hoodies, UA bags, UA caps, UA everything. I don’t get it. Explanation please?

underarmour3. Giants everything. Okay, this I kind of get because even before I came here I found myself browsing the Giants merch pages. I’m not a big sports fan but I can appreciate the SF Giants. If people are not wearing Pink or Under Armour stuff, they’re probably wearing something Giants-related. Orange and black… always.

giantskeychain4. Sweatpants and hoodie combo. I’ve read about the typical American’s obsession with sweatpants and hoodies but um, I did not expect it to go this far. Girls show up to school in sweatpants… and it’s acceptable. I thought sweatpants were for lounging at home or going to the gym. Well, apparently sweatpants are the new jeans because people wear them everywhere. To Target, to eat, to school, to fill their gas, to the park, everywhere. Well, I’ll take the sweatpants+hoodie combo over non-existent shorts and cleavage-baring tops that are popular back home (you did not hear this from me). Brb ordering sweatpants.

I get it. I really do.

5. Non-winter. It’s December. It’s 70 degrees outside. It’s January. It’s still almost 70 degrees. It’s February. We’re back to 70 degrees. Um, what? I was right about not needing our Vancouver gear. It’s still hot and sunny in between sprinkles of rain, random cool drafts and occasional grey skies.

cali-sky4

6. Bad drivers. They’re all over the world but they’re all of slightly different breeds. Back home, you have inconsiderate folks who pressure you when you try to park/back out of a parking space, folks who cut into the tiniest gap between you and the car in front of you, folks who shoot out of corners without checking oncoming traffic, douchebag level max, etc. Here: Californians speeding, Californians braking at the last second, Californians tailgating, impatience level max…

Wait, did I forget tailgating?

Side story: while I was test-driving a car on the freeway the other day, the guy told me I wasn’t going fast enough and that I could get a ticket for going too slow. K. HOW is going at 55mph slow? HOW? How??? 65mph is 105km/h. That’s crazy. The speed limit is 65mph. Read: limit. Why do I need to push 65mph?

7. Ranch and mayo. I will never understand covering your meals with excessive amounts of ranch or mayo. I used to think that I ate a lot of mayo.. Now I see how foolish and wrong I was. I eat at least only 1/8 of what people eat here. Just waaay too much dressing.

8-ways-to-ruin-a-healthy-salad1835075941-may-24-2012-600x3998. Sandals and socks combo. Are you seeing a pattern here? Yeah, I notice tons of fashion statements that are different from the ones back home. Apparently it’s totally COOL to wear socks with sandals like the Romans and Japanese. This is a fashion trend we are getting on! We just bought ugly sandals from Daiso to wear out with mismatched socks. Check these out:

socks-and-sandals

Working it

Pg-13-romans

These are the ones more commonly seen around campus. Adidas sandals and white/black socks.

Apparently they are also called slides here. I don’t know, I just call them slippers.

9. In-N-Out. Ah, here we have the number one pride of California. And you know what? I totally get it. I get why the lines – counter AND drive-thru – are so freaking long from the moment they open at 11am. The first time we went, we ordered 3 burgers and 2 fries. The fries, however, are skinny, soggy and quite unimpressive so that was a let-down. But we liked the cheeseburger so much that we went again the following day. The cheeseburger is tasty, Animal Style or not. We have agreed that In-N-Out is better than Five Guys.

cali-innout

Agree or disagree? Did I miss anything?

Raine
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January update: college, life and other tidbits

Hello.

About time I wrote a post, right?

I was writing another post earlier on about something else when I realized that I haven’t done a ‘random things’ update in a while. So here I am, with lots of things to say but of course, in random order.

1. Classes have started (which is somehow what I always end up saying in posts like these and it almost gives me deja vu). How are classes? One is coming along just fine, one is pretty much the same as the one last semester aka boring but only with more strange and annoying work, one is actually nice and slow (my stats professor’s patience is amazing), one is interesting (I even got to hold a 2.5 billion year old rock), and one I do not know yet but I’m guessing will be boring and annoying.

2. More stress. I don’t know about you but semester beginnings are tiring and stressful as heck. It’s not the same as high school where everything starts off nice and easy with a fixed timetable and fixed lunch break (kiss that goodbye in college). I’m stressing over so many things, I can’t even begin to count.

3. I need to SLOW DOWN. I have a Type A personality which according to this site (ironically a site about stress) means having these characteristics:

  • Time Urgency and Impatience, as demonstrated by people who, among other things, get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it they have to spare.
  • Free-Floating Hostility or Aggressiveness, which shows up as impatience, rudeness, being easily upset over small things, or ‘having a short fuse’, for example.
  • Competitiveness
  • Strong Achievement-Orientation
  • Certain Physical Characteristics That Result From Stress and Type A Behavior Over Years : Facial tension (tight lips, clenched jaw, etc.), tongue clicking or teeth grinding, dark circles under eyes, facial sweating (on forehead or upper lip)

Am I guilty of these traits? Indeed. More so during the periods of time when I feel like I have so much more to do and just feel like hurling the chair (figuratively because I paid $80 for this chair). In short, I haven’t been very nice and I also feel bad about that.

Apparently there are TIPS, too, for dealing with a Type A personality. Let’s look at them while we’re at it:

  • Change Your Work Life
  • Change Thought Patterns
  • Start Journaling  – I tried for the first 5 days of the new year then things got busy (lame excuse obviously) and I forgot. I want to get back to that even if it’s only to write a few lines every day because I think that it helps.
  • Make It A Game – counting idiots on the road, they say. I could do that… probably.
  • Breathing Exercises – ugh, I don’t remember this until after I get frustrated or angry.
  • Love Your Pets – my pet is miles away from me. I need him. so. much. It’s so weird that I miss him a billion times more when I’m away. Or maybe it’s not weird, it’s natural.
  • Gardening – this is another thing I have been considering heavily. I was thinking of getting a bonsai plant but we’ll see if I have any extra budget for a plant.

ANYWAY, the third point is I need to slooow dooown. A lot. But it’s hard because I naturally rush around a lot.

4. Budgeting. Stop buying unnecessary things. Wait, we don’t. I guess the most that we spend on is food. I occasionally think about our tuition and expenses and try not to freak out. The question is, how to cut back on spending when you don’t really spend that much in the first place?

5. We went for our first basketball game this week. I hoped that it would be exciting and obviously hope that our team would win. It was both! We were on the edge of our seats, screaming and cheering for our team. It was a close match but we won. The last few seconds were gripping, I tell you. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and even showed up in our school colors.

What I can be sure of, after watching this game, is that Kuroko no Basuke has some dramatic and completely unreal scenes haha. Players do not have time for chitchat and trash-talking while trying to score; the ball does not remain in the air for five minutes while words are being exchanged. Also, I’m quite sure the referees do their jobs well so any kind of foul play would be detected… unlike in KnB where Hanamiya and Haizaki get away with things like elbowing other players or stomping on someone else’s foot. In case you didn’t get it, I’m just joking.

6. My coulda-beens. I’ve realized as of late that if I had been nudged towards the science-y direction, I would have taken astronomy or geology as my major. Even way back when I was younger, I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be an astronomer and a geologist. Why I didn’t pursue either: 1) at some point, the thought of there being SO MANY unknowns in the universe was incredibly daunting, and 2) being far away in some unknown desert or mountain (aka away from home) digging for fossils (possibly in unbearable heat or that’s how I always imagine it to be)  was also incredibly daunting. It was too much for my teenage brain to process.

One of my close friends has graduated with a degree in geology. Don’t think for a second that I didn’t think it was freaking cool that she actually went into the field of geology. I always wanted to know what classes she was taking and what interesting fossil finds there are. Can you imagine what I’d be like if I had a friend in the field of astronomy?

7. Nobody should make red sauce pasta with KETCHUP. Once upon a time, I went to a friend’s place and her mother made spaghetti for lunch. Guess what she poured onto the cold, overcooked spaghetti? Ketchup. Gag me. Okay, then she said there was cheese and brought out – wait for it, no, not parmesan – those square slices of Kraft American cheese. WHY? Never mind. Guess what she made us pair our ketchup-and-processed-cheese-laden spaghetti with? MILK.

I gagged on my lunch. Literally. I was the last one at the table except for my friend’s grandfather. Seeing me struggling to finish my ‘spaghetti’, he took pity on me and told me that I didn’t have to finish it. My mom has trained us to be polite guests and to not complain about the food served by others so I felt bad about not eating it but not bad enough to continue. So I didn’t.

Just thinking about it makes me shudder. How was that even pasta? I do not know.

This was a completely random thought because we were discussing it at dinner that day and I was reminded of how glad I am that my mom cooks some badass pasta.

8. It’s cold. I’ve had to break out our jackets from Vancouver. It’s actually rather annoying to have to wear so many layers.

9. Exercise. This semester’s schedule is enough exercise for me, I’m thinking. I’ve been marching/fast-walking to my next class which is on the opposite end of the campus every single day. Here’s the catch: I have to get across the entire length of the campus within 10 minutes and that is if the class finishes on time. By the time I get to my next class (also after which I climb three flights of stairs; holla quad and hamstring workout) and sit down, I’m out of breath and I feel warm and toasty because of the blood pumping. The 5-day workout I didn’t sign up for, here I come.

10. The end of nail polish… at least for this semester? I’m taking a class this semester that has a lab that kind of bans nail polish. Ugh, I’m sad.

Anyway, that’s it for today otherwise this post is going to get too wordy.

Raine
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