no skills

If you feel that you learned nothing important after twelve years of grade school and three years of college, don’t feel like a useless, good-for-nothing brat who just wasted $80,000 and your parents’ tax-dollars. Just learn to cook!

Everyone eats and by learning how to cook, you will be consistently learning and improving a vital everyday, three times a day (or four if you eat a lot).

Source: http://www.life123.com/food/baking/baking-tips/baking-recipes.shtml

My suggestion to get started is to first locate the nea
rest the ke-chin (it’s a fancy, foreign word that you clearly won’t know since you failed French 101) in your residence. Some clues you can use to double-check whether you correctly identified the ke-chin, see if the room contains a refrigerator, stove, oven, and sink.  If any of those are missing, you are not in the kitchen or… you are too poor to cook, which only means you are completely hopeless and should just rely on becoming a gold-digger and eating at McDonalds in order to survive this dangerous, scary world. 

But let’s me just give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you have found the kitchen and are ready to get started. The second step is to do research and look up recipes with as little ingredients and steps as possible. In other words, find something easy to make.

Buy and obtain all the necessary ingredients and cooking tools. Then, follow the recipe.Continue this pattern continuously in the next few days with other recipes. Eventually, you will learn how to make certain recipes automatically and master making small changes to these recipes to make the dishes your own. 

When you are finally a master chef, you can finally go out into the world and draw in some hungry eaters. After all, everyone know
s that the the best way to an outrageously, rich man’s heart is through food.

Basketball Tips

Today was a Wednesday, which meant that Jeff and I met up for our weekly casual basketball.

Usually, I’m always up for a little sweat and game. However, this time, I wasn’t in the mood and almost felt like calling to cancel our plans. My previous history class was boring as hell. And my energy level was lower than usual since I was up late last night with a few buddies watching “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. I’d much rather take a nap then trek half way across campus.

Refusing to be a quitter, I forced my legs to leave my dorm and stuffed five oatmeal-raisin cookies into my mouth. I was hoping that the sugar would give me a little push, but honestly, it didn’t help. Never rely on saturated fats for anything except disappointment, and cancer.

Once I reached the courts, I bumped into Jeff right away and chatted a bit. It was then I noticed familiar faces on the courts near us. It was my friend John from high school. And we started playing with John. Then it became Jeff, John, Max and me. Then it turned into Jeff, John, Max, me, and this guy named Alex who sticks his tongue out of his mouth when he gets excited, reminds me of a dog

All of a sudden, we were playing two-on-two with Max rotating in with John and me. We quickly discovered that Alex was a fantastic shooter and probably the best among us. He made nearly ever basketball from the free throw, which meant it was hard to play defense around him. It also meant, due to my far inferior skills, I really had to play, hard.

Many times throughout the game, I started panting. Clearly, I was out-of-shape compared to the guys. However, I am competitive in games and continued to push through. When the game ended, it was around dinner time. We lost… in the first set and then, recovered by winning the second!

I walked over to the side of the courts and let myself collapsed to the floor to rest. This moment felt amazing.

Reflecting back, I wonder what life lessons I can learn from today’s game. Is the moral here that one should dive straight into whatever he or she doing and just keeping pushing until success? This sounds idealistic, but life is not always a basketball game. Sometimes, you will not be given such definite, clear objectives like shooting into a hoop. Sometimes, it could take years to find out exactly what all your defenses and throws add up to become, if anything at all.

All I can conclude is that I felt true motivation. Motivation that only comes from doing something I absolutely love and whole-heartedly believe will succeed if I put in the effort.

Basketball is much more than a game. It allows you to practice more than just your blocks and passes. It also makes me feel better about those five cookies.

Respect

Every semester, all my classes are somewhat interconnected. For example, the year I was taking physics and biology, I was also taking biophysics. This year, I am taking a writing class where I am constantly paying attention to detail and realizing that there a million and one ways to evoke a certain idea or topic. The same goes for film-making. A class I’m taking now is Chinese film and with every film I watch in that course, I am consistently stunned right after finishing the film and left thinking for the rest of the night. Like in Writing class, with each discussion, I leave class with one or two questions or thoughts that I think about for awhile.

Today’s film, we watched a coming-of-age film about young people in China who are suddenly part of a generation that no longer treats their parents and elders with the same reverence the last generation did. It made me wonder: am I treating my parents (and elders in general) with proper dignity and respect?

I don’t like to think about the fact that I actually might not be respectful enough or asking people older than me questions and advice. I believe you can always pay someone more respect that you think, like a bottomless pit.

Another question, I would like to ask is: am I treating myself with enough respect? Am I letting body get the best nutrients, enough sleep, or the most fun? Do I look down on myself in regard to various tasks? Do I look down on others who differ from me?

Nevertheless, all I know is that it takes energy and effort to give respect to people and you can’t give full, total respect to everyone.

Tying to another film I watched this weekend, Captain America also asks the question of respect. Throughout the film, Captain America saves a bunch of people by killing the bad guy… blah blah blah, but how does everyone just suddenly love him and aggressively give him respect so quickly? Is this realistic? Even the female lead of the movie suddenly falls in love him quickly because of the immense amount of respect he earned.

Short Blurb about Today’s Class

One of the things I love about Writing 200 is that every class feels like growth for I always learn something new or our class tries something new. Today, we got together with our little groups and we just talked about writing in a way I’ve never done before. One person stood in front of the white board before us and talked to us as if he or she were giving a sales pitch. It didn’t feel confrontational, but rather constructive and interactive. Writing, for the first time in my life, felt like teamwork.

Reflection on Blog

Blogging feels powerful. It is crazy to realize that the words I’m typing at this moment are going to be published to the world so quickly. I would describe this same feeling as switching from modem/dial-up connection to cable. Everything moves so fast and what used to be a dramatic action now is mundane.

At the same time, blogging up to this point feels exiting. I look forward to hearing comments and feedbacks on my posts. It’s nice to realize that real human beings are reading what I have to say during their own personal time. It’s rather cool knowing that they can be hating or loving on my blog post and I wouldn’t even know.

It’s also kind of cool to know that I am reading someone’s else work without the pressure of a feedback or reaction.

However, what if I want to write about something private or something that still needs developing. For purposes like these, I still don’t find blogging suitable. Nevertheless, the descriptions that Andrew Sullivan make about why he blogs makes more sense to me now that I’m actually blogging. I can see blogging as something potentially turning into an obsession and constancy in life. For that reason, blogging is a bit too powerful.

How They Write

The “How I Write” event on Monday was so cool. Although I overslept and fumbled into my chair half an hour late, I was instantly drawn into the situation at hand. Were we all really surrounding a real-life, writer? I mean, was this really one of those zealous people who made their love for writing into a low-paid, non-academic career? One-by-one, everyone in my group asked Perry James, a blogger in his senior year at Michigan, a question. I was cringing in my seat. I already had so many questions, but I knew given the circumstances, I can only choose to ask one. So I thought of the least generic questions one could ask a writer and it was, “how do you organize your writings on your computer?” His response to my questions made me feel better about my messy pile of random documents stored on my computer. He was especially organized and obviously found meaning in keeping his system that way. However, based on the look on my peers, no one else seemed as interested in this question. But they don’t understand that my questions was not only asked with the purpose of my technological question. By hearing his response to my question, I felt more related to him. By having some of connection with what he said, I left the How I Write session feeling like I have a chance. A writer became less of a distant, impersonal figure or expectations. Everything felt possible.

And I think, every once in a while, it is important to constantly remind yourself that things are possible and even the most gifted, different, or unusual is human.

When I hopped over to the next table, I caught Laura Atkins, I think that was her name, stating, “Not every idea is going to become something”. This point is also important when it comes to writing, an act that depends on ideas to survive and grow. Writing is not self-sustainable without a constant flow of ideas.

 

Reading about Reading

Up until now, I thought reading was an automatic task as simple as eating an apple or jumping off a tree. You just put your eyes on some words and absorb the information. Two steps- that’s it. However, as soon as I printed the reading for this week and read the first few paragraphs, I realized that I was about to read sixteen pages of text regarding the process of reading. Two steps? As if. In this reading, authors Tierney and Pearson break down reading into steps: planning, drafting, aligning, revising, and monitoring. Sound familiar? Basically, Tierney and Pearson argue that reading a piece of writing takes as much of the same mental processes as writing does and that “one must begin to view reading and writing as essentially similar processes of meaing construction” (175). And from the last few weeks, with our discussions on books and writing, it is obvious that there is a strong correlation between reading and writing. However, making writing and reading almost the same? That was difficult for me to understand at first just because I believe writing seems to take more creative energy and work in producing something readible. When you are reading something, it is already laid out for you and the only job for you is to figure out what the reading means.

Early this fall, I traveled to East Haven and read on the beach. This isn’t an actualy picture of me and my book, but reading on beaches is such a inspiring feeling!

In others words, writing to me is like creating the treasure map for your younger siblings to follow. And reading is like following the treasure map I just created. Obviously, one of the two is more fun and less stressful, depending on which role you like to take on for the game of treasure hunting.

 The most important message I took away from this reading was that “getting started is just as an important a step in reading” (178). And this is true, before we read, we have to think about what we are about to read and prepare for it. Whether it is physically scanning the page for the first sentence or title, or clearing my mind to tackle a difficult, dense passage. Sometimes, I procrasinate and do not start reading something just because I am scared of the effort I will need to put in in order to understand a reading. Usually, this applies to classic texts like Plato and Socrates which, despite the fact I took Latin, is equally challenging to study in translated English.

Lastly, I thought the reading was interestingly trying to imply something when saying “it seems that students rarely pause to reflect on their ideas of to judge the quality of their developing interpretations” (184).  I already know that I am guilty of doing this. However, sometimes, I just want to finish reading the entire story before thinking about it and analyzing its meaning. What is wrong with that?

However, this reading is totally appropriate. Yesterday, I started on my first novel in ages. It is an Agatha Christie novel, so it’s pretty simple to read. But I’m just trying to incoporate more reading into my daily routine. But unlike, incoporating tasks  like more exercise or cleaning my room daily, reading is a bit different. It requires an occupation of not only my time but also my mind.

 

Untitled

I remember multiple points in my life when I would be watching my parents perform some kind of mundane task exclusively for those whose are older. The task can be as simple as opening a bottle of beer to driving down a freeway. While I felt frustrated and impatience, I also felt a deep sense of curiosity and wonder. What would it be like for me to drive a car, cut steak, raise a child, etc.?

This past week, my class and I were asked to spent a few days studying and reading the “Why I Wrote” essays by two experienced writers. We talked about writing styles and how others write, but we didn’t really a chance to talk about ourselves fully. And so this assignment, to me, gives me the same feeling that I get when I am given the chance to finally do something I’ve been wanting to do all my life.

The challenge I am having with this assignment is whether I have only one reason why I write or multiple. Based on previous studies in my psychology class on reasons for human nature, I believe it is the latter.

I want to write something so good because this is a reflection of me and because I have such high expectations, I am actually stuck and end up writing nothing at all. I need to remind myself to take things one step at a time, as I should with the rest of my life. That way, I can write efficiently and produce something well-thought out and well-written.

The Beginning

I’m not a bozo. Assuming from the identical titles, it’s obvious that I’m supposed to read the two papers, compare them, discuss them, and then, have answer to questions like what motivates writers, why writers like to write, what’s it’s like to be a writer—no problem.

With skepticism about the impact of this assignment on my writing skills, I lay back on my bed with the papers spread out along the covers and forced my eyes to stare at the words of George Orwell’s “Why I Write”. And instantly I was pulled in.

From the first line, I sensed that I was about to read something good, maybe even profound: “From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer”.

As a college student in middle of trying to plan my future, I am intrigued by this humble, declaration of confidence. What kind of child already knew what he wanted to do with his life? I was certainly jealous.

Following that sentence, Orwell states that he initially “tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books”. At this point, I could not have felt more attune and interested in a class assignment because I realized to him, writing became something more than an action or career. He saw every purpose of writing as a legitimate goal and Orwell understood very clearly that, for him, his life goals were to achieve those goals.

Compared to Orwell, Didion was more upbeat and less somber in her essay about her relation to writing. She went straight to the facts about how her way of thinking leads her to “[begin] each of [her] novels, with no notion of ‘character’ or ‘plot’ or even ‘incident’”. I realized after reading her explanation and analysis that writing is a very goal-driven act. Whether its purpose is to act as a form of self-expression or art or to address or understand an issue, writing is very personal and every aspect of every literature has someone’s life imbedded within it.

Thus, today, I have selected two piece of writing that I would like to emulate or consider both excellently written and artistically engaging. John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace” is one of my all time favorite novels. Having attended a private, boarding school in high school, this coming-of-age novel is a topic of interest to me and I am always looking for literature that captures the same feelings and values that I experience growing up. Furthermore, I consider this book excellently written because every sentence and description seems intentional and clear. Like him, I want to be able to write clearly yet express beautifully. I also want to be able to be able to convey to readers emotions and feelings through words. In other words, I want to be an excellent story-teller, which brings me to the next piece of writing that I would like to emulate. Though it is somewhat unconventional, I would like to emulate the writings of country-pop singer Taylor Swift. As a devoted fan, I believe she does an excellent job telling stories despite the fact that many of the things she described are only exclusively experienced by her.

Thinking about the writings I chosen as my role models and how I reacted to Orwell and Didion’s “How I Write”, I realized that as a writer, my goal this semester is to just be able to tell a story, well. Yes, it is egoistic, Yes, it could have political implication. Yes, it could be an artistic attempt. However, if a story is well-written, does it really matter what the purpose behind it is? I just want to be a story-teller.