May 29, 2011

Running

Why do we run?
Mt. SAC cross country course map. Note: It's not as simple as it looks. :)

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to running. When I run, I feel this sense of hatred towards the act of it because of the endless pain and fatigue. When I am not running, I feel regret and a desire to run. So, how can I feel content with running? I honestly don't know. I wish I did. I wish running didn't seem like hard, joyless, routine-like work. I can recall the times when running is carefree, fun, casual, and uplifting. So, why am I not tempted to feel this sense of adrenaline again? I guess I don't want to force myself and feel like the need for commitment. I tried the gym, but I don't want to confine myself in a small building and run. I don't want to recognize anyone during my runs. I just want to train myself to run and feel okay. The problem are my excuses. I can almost always find an excuse to not run.

Reading To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running With The Bulls, Or Just Taking On A 5-K Makes You A Better Person (And The World A Better Place) by Martin Dugard gave me motivation to start running once again. I want to run for me. I want to make running part of my life. Even though I make a dozen excuses to not run, I need to push myself to get out and run. I shouldn't punish myself for not running. I should remind myself why I'm doing this. Maybe after my relentless battle in my mind, I will one day consistently run again.

Being part of cross country has been such an experience that I still cannot describe anything about it. I always try to put in words how I felt about the year that I joined cross country but it's difficult. So many people joined cross country for their college resume. People can probably say the same for me. I wish that was true. If it were, I wouldn't feel so attached to this torturous relationship.

Honestly, I loved running ever since that day in 1st grade. It was major competitive running day of some sort. I think it was around 1996 since the Olympics were that year. Everyone came out in the back field for a school-wide day of races. I remember standing with four other people, getting ready for our relay race. It was a short distance of 50 meters to a certain destination and back. That's such a joke, right? 50 meters is almost nothing. Anyway, I honestly cannot recall how far the run was. I do know that it was a short distance. Our team was racing against five other teams. We totally sucked. None of us knew what was going on. Well, I mostly didn't know what was going on since I communicated in Chinese at that time even though I grew up in the United States. I don't remember where I was in line, probably third or fourth. Standing there, people kept cheering and yelling! "Go go go!" When the person in front me came back, I was nervous and felt this weight was upon me. I knew that I had to run and come back as fast as I can. Running to my destination and back, I forgot my nervousness. I felt so fulfilled. I felt the adrenaline. I felt like I found my passion. From that day on, I love running. If I felt down, running would always cheer me up. If I was angry, I'd run off. So, no, I didn't join cross country because I wanted to make my resume look gorgeous. I didn't do it because I wanted to lose weight. I didn't join the team to stay with my friends (that was a plus side, though). I didn't do it for anything and anyone. I did it for me. I did it to continue running. I did it to feel like a sense of purpose.

One of the greatest races I ever ran in my life was the Mt. SAC Invitational in October 2007. I remember nothing turned out right that morning. Our team came to school at 4am. There was suppose to be a bus that drove us to Mt. SAC. However, the bus never came. Around 6am or so, some parent supporters drove us to Mt. SAC. It probably took three or four trips for everyone to finally get there. The races itself are such a blur. I remember the JV races were around 10am or something. I was so unprepared for the run. I didn't go through the strenuous training prior to the event. I was horrible at running uphill. I was terrified of the height. That run was just plain bad for me. Despite, the bad memories during the run, it was a good experience. I got to chat with some people. Yes, participating in a race means you're not suppose to be in friendly terms, but I love encouraging people to run. While I walked uphill (because I couldn't run it), lots of people pass me. I told them all, "Great job" and keep going because they deserve it. They managed to endure everything whereas I failed to. Despite the fact that I sound like such a loser for running, there were a lot of walkers, too. I talked to them as we were still uphill. Some people were friendly and some weren't. I remember I tried to help some girl who sprained her ankle. Despite her inability to run, she wanted to walk the whole thing. Ahh, the memories. They're so vague and fragile. You know, I might be mixing up memories around, but I did see and did all these things during my cross country days. Getting off this tangent, Dugard mentions in his book about attending the invitational that I attended. It sounded like such a day. His varsity boys team placed! Just think about it. The same day that I attended the Mt. SAC Invitational, he was there. He had a story. I had a story. It's absurd. Thousands of people were there. Everyone had a story. Not everyone had a winning story, but we all had a story. Oddly, we are all connected by this single invitational and this idea gives me the chills. It makes me hope that I'd meet someone by chance that attended the same invitational.

I was a sophomore in high school when I joined cross country and track. So, it's been four years since them. I just finished my second year of college. Oh gosh, can you believe it? Where has the time gone? I stopped running. I did run for an entire month the summer after I graduated. I do attempt to run around the neighborhood occasionally, but the shin splints always seem to come back. I do run at the school gym at least once a semester which is pathetic. Once again, I'm telling myself to run. To run because I want to. It's in my blood. No matter how much pain it gives me, I keep coming back. So maybe one of these days I will listen to myself and do not stop running. I hope that I will listen to myself and keep going.

Image sources: One, Two , Three

May 26, 2011

Song of the day: Help by The Beatles


Help, I need somebody,

Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

The Beatles created some of the greatest songs that many people enjoy. I enjoy listening to the songs because they're so catchy. In addition, the lyrics seem so relevant. When I'm down, I can almost always find a song that fits my mood. Anyway, I never really noticed how many songs I have from The Beatles in my computer. I have A LOT, but The Beatles have a gazillion more songs that I don't have.

May 20, 2011

Songs that made the last day of spring semester ROCK

Adele --Rolling in the Deep
Redlight King --Old Man
The Verve --Bittersweet Symphony
Semisonic --Closing Time
The XX --Crystalised
Matt & Kim --Daylight
Peter Frampton --Baby I Love You
Lynyrd Skynyrd --Free Bird (awesome guitar solo in the end, by the way)
Boston --More Than A Feeling
The Temper Trap --Sweet Disposition
Blink-182 --First Date

I heard a combination of awesome songs during the morning and evening commute today. :)

May 19, 2011

Hypocrite


It's absurd how I can easily forget things. Quite recently, I wrote a post about how guilty I would feel if I eat chocolate again. A week or so later, I wrote about how tempted I was to buy a chocolate croissant and I definitely couldn't recall why I wouldn't buy it. Pondering on this, I remember why I wouldn't buy the chocolate croissant--I just saw the human trafficking documentary on chocolate! I feel so guilty because I forgot. It's horrible how easily everyone forgets their history. I'm feel so ashamed of the fact that I have such a huge flaw. :(

Photo source: Google

May 18, 2011

Memoirs


It is FINALS week and I'm dying. I spent the weekend plus Monday and Tuesday trying to study. I studied a lot for my psychology class, relatively little on anthropology, and barely touched communications. Seriously, I can potentially fail if I study so little. Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe my idea of studying a lot is different from everyone else. In addition to studying, I kept distracting myself with a book. I'm not kidding, but I read four books during the last four days. Two memoirs. Two adult fiction books. Not good. It's just, I stress a lot while studying and need to find a distraction. So, this is how I studied. I hand write notes on what I read on textbooks to remember everything. After the textbook, I'd read a couple chapters of the interesting memoirs or adult fiction.

Recently, I got caught in the web of the trend of reading memoirs. Well, I'm pretty late into the trend so I'm not particularly sure if people still read memoirs anymore. Anyway, over the weekend, I read Ben Ryder Howe's My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store. It was a phenomenal story of a family who owned a deli. There were little anecdotes and quirky stories of working there. It seemed simple, but it was rather difficult. Despite the difficulties of owning a deli, Howe and his family managed to survived. If you're like me (and you're not), you would definitely laugh and cry throughout the whole story. I hope someone borrows (don't buy) and reads it or add it to their huge pile of books to read. I have a massive list of books I should read and it's not going down, yet. I think I hyped it the book up a little. Just like how I hyped up A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Such a great memoir. By the way, I have the 2nd of 3rd edition of it. I aim to somehow obtain the 1st edition just because he edited some stuff out in the edition I have. :(

Anyway, I think I like reading memoirs a lot because they are realistic and I like the happy endings. I sound super naive. Okay, memoirs are not really happy per se. There are struggles that the author goes through to eventually feel okay. Despite the shitty situations they may be in the end, they're okay. Somehow they find themselves feeling content in the end. Just, you don't read memoirs about people suffering and in the end, they realize their own life's existence is to suffer. Not possible. But, if there are memoirs with horrible endings, let me know. Reading memoirs make me feel this sense of hope that despite all these failures that I have in life, it's okay; I can change it.

For more information on My Korean Deli, click here.
For more information A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius, click here.

May 12, 2011

On a lighter note


It's definitely long after lunch time for me, but I started my morning routine late. Before I leave this laptop until tonight, I have to update a little more on the lighter note because sentimental Lily is makes me sad.

I was looking up food online (again, I know!) when I encountered this. Doesn't it look delightful? Bacon and eggs in toast? My stomach is rumbling. I gotta go and indulge in my boring lunch.

Hope you all have a wonderful day.
For the recipe online, click here!

May 11, 2011

Hungry


One of the greatest websites in the world is FoodPornDaily. When you're sad or depressed and sick of reading books, watching movies, or listening to music (but who actually gets tired of these things?), go there. I'm at the basement of the school library catching up on sociology Powerpoint slides when I realize how hungry I am. I can't eat at the library because I have a peanut butter sandwich which can definitely overwhelm the entire library with the smell (what happens if someone is allergic to peanuts and can smell peanut butter, would they choke and die like that girl on the news did when her boyfriend ate some peanuts and they kiss [with tongue!] and she dies choking or something). Anyway, I'm letting people survive their day without the smell of peanut butter whereas I'm dying with hunger. Well, I can grab that orange out of the bag, but oranges smell kind of citrusy. How would the ladies around me feel when they smell it? Cheez-its are also in my lunch bag, but I'm kind of lactose intolerant so I may fart and everyone around me may die from the odor. I don't want to kill anyone. :(

Anyway, like I mentioned above, I'm starving and want to take a break from studying so I decided to go on FoodPornDaily. The featured photo of the day is the photo above. Doesn't this look delightful? Oh gosh, Chocolate filled buns! Oh gosh, I'm dying just looking at it. I feel compelled to get something like this. Chocolate filled croissants, maybe? This reminds me, I should have bought those delicious looking chocolate filled croissants for $1.50 when I was at 85 Degrees Bakery and Cafe (only franchise in the West Coast of USA) down at Irvine. It looked so good, but I just ate a huge bowl of Kimchi Ramen at Ajisen Ramen (chain restaurant; there's two around home-- down at San Gabriel and Temple City) and you know me, I won't buy something unless I plan on eating it in the near future. So, I got a small egg pudding tart (just like an asian egg tart) for $1.50. I left it in my small bag and forgotten about if for about 2 hours. It was crushed when I finally ate it, but it was so delicious. Oh gosh, am I craving it? Such a rip off since we can get 3 egg tarts (that are just as delicious when fresh) at Yum Cha Cafe (located in many SF Superstores around Southern California) for about a $1.50.

Anyway, there's a recipe on the original person's blog. Now, I really hope that Daddy does get a chance to remodel our kitchen or at least get a working oven. We never used the oven at home. Essentially, what I am saying is that I don't know how to bake. So, I'm 20 years old and for the last twenty years, I baked at home. I go to people's homes and "help" bake, but I'm such a klutz that I ruin everything. It will definitely be nice to waste my own supplies at home and learn how to bake.

Photo Source: The Pastry Affair

May 10, 2011

Daddy

My dad is out of work again. He quit this time. Well, not surprising since he's getting old and feels the need to be respected. Anyway, this time, he quit because he heard his boss talking trash about him. When my dad heard that his boss talked trash about him, he said (in Chinese) that he felt like he was being stabbed in the back with a knife. When I heard this, I felt like crying. My dad, feeling like this and I can't do anything about it!? Because I'm his daughter, I'm bias about this but why his boss would critisize him. Dad is like the best employee in the world. He goes to work like half an hour early (what kind of a chef would go to work that early?). He does much of the hard work in his job despite being head chef. Working in the restaurant business for the last twenty years, he didn't lose his longest job until around the downfall of the economy. Despite the fact that my dad lost his job, he didn't lose his contacts. He networked a lot with the people around him so he managed to find several jobs. However, working hard in his fifties is brutal for him. He has to start in the bottom. He always met people who hated him (because my dad comes off as confident and is pretty experienced). He had other employees talk about him. But, my dad didn't care about what people said, as long as the boss trusted him. Apparently not in this job. For some reason the boss believed the "second" chef. How could his boss believe in all the bad things that guy said whereas actions prove otherwise? My dad told us that in this job, he did all the cooking whereas the other guy does not even cook, does not know how to fry food (crucial in the Chinese fast food industry), and complains a lot.

Anyhow, his latest project around the house is to remodel our home. Our exhaust fan or range hood thing broke down this past week. He wants to replace it, but thought it will be nice to redo the kitchen floor (for an additional $6000) and restroom and the windows. I guess Daddy just wants to feel busy. He wants to feel appreciated. He wants to help. Feeling old-ish, I don't really ask my parent's for help much. Just, whenever I pretend to ask for help, they really think I am dependent on them.

I understand how he feels about everything so far. I understand that he feels betrayed by his boss. I understand that he wants to fix something. I understand. I just want him to know that I understand but I can't because we don't have that kind of relationship. We aren't close. We just talk about the surface. This sounds terrible, but that's how we are. We're content.

May 6, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's


I think this movie was hyped up. When I watched it, I had this mindset that I would have loved the movie immensely. It would immediately land in my top list of favorite movies. However, it didn't. It did make it in my list of good movies, but it wasn't that great. I think the end of the movie made me enjoy the movie. There are a lot of movies like this. I think the movie is okay, but at the very end, when I understand everything that has happened, I'm like. Ohhhhh!

May 4, 2011

Star Wars

Today is such a beautiful day. Star Wars Day. May 4th. May the fourth be with you. :D It was expected that I would most definitely post on May the 4th just because Star Wars is epic. Anyway, if Lord of the Rings had a day, I would make a post on it. :)

I find it so odd how I think so highly of films back when I was younger. When I watched romantic comedies, I couldn't help but like majority of them. As I get older, however, I started to notice a lot of plot holes. Like, how can she fall in love with him in an instant? I understand if they were friends... but if they were friends for 8 years and they finally realized they like each other, how? Oh, I'm such an annoying person--a movie talker. Oh, another thing, movies have to be relatively realistic. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy watching fantasy and science fiction stuff, but do we really have to see her with a bra and panties and him take off his shirt? How is taking off that shirt necessary?

As I get older, I can't help but ponder more in the past. I can't help but agree that many films back in the day are better than they are today. There are so many great filmmakers today, yet we see the same plots everywhere. Where is all the originality?

Getting off this tangent, Star Wars is a pretty good series. I definitely need to read the series one day. I hope something exciting happens just because it is Star Wars Day. :D

Photo source: Pinterest

May 3, 2011

Silver Lake Jubilee

I'm thinking about spending my summer going to random music festivals (if I don't get into a car accident again this summer) since I'm probably going to be bored. I'd love the chance to attend the Silver Lake Jubilee first! It is right after finals week, so I'm pretty excited to do something other than read, study, type papers, and work. There are other free festivals that I think I might attend, too!

May 2, 2011

Native American Powwow


It was a windy day. I didn't see anything like the photo above. I like the photo though. :) Despite the windiness, there was a decent turn out. The security guy, Nigel, told us that there was a massive turnout years ago. I thought the 80+ people we saw around the engineering lawn was pretty big. It took awhile to sell raffle tickets and plates for the cake walk.

I'm glad people actually came to the Native American Powwow, because it wasn't marketed that well. I spoke with a lot of people that were interested in learning about different cultures. This is definitely a good thing. In a world where everyone seems indifferent made me feel disillusioned about society. However, yesterday, I feel a little different about the world since there are people left in our society that are making an effort to learn about things in different perspective.

I saw a lot of Native American dancers performing. They looked passionate. The singers had a lot of endurance since they all had to sing for 20+ minutes at each performance. What they got from me yesterday was respect. They definitely deserved it.