Tag Archives: life

blog then ask questions later

16 Apr

So if you have check back on this blog every now and then, you may have noticed I have been posting frequently recently. You have no idea (or maybe you do because you can relate) of the number of drafts I have. Okay, a dozen, not a crazy number, but whenever I had tried to write something in the past few months, they all ended up as drafts, lonely latchkey children without their own Instagram account.

So what has led me to break out of my draft cage and actually hit the publish button? This paper for class I have. It’s about analyzing the data sample and critiquing on its strengths, weakness, limitation, and additional thoughts.

Too bad I can’t save that assignment as a draft indefinitely unless I want to sacrifice a chunk of points. Nope. School has conditioned me grades are more important than what I have to say. Oh, low blow cynicism, I know. And you know too.

I guess it’s just when I’m assigned to write something abstract or detached from my interests or anything that has to do with the ivory academic tower writing, my brain operates on this weird mode. Just say stuff that makes sense…I don’t give a damn if it touches my heart or some sentimental loco stuff.

All this anxiety and procrastination pressed me to write something, and lo, hello again WordPress. No need to potty-train every single sentence (gotta have one to be the butt of the jokes).

I could understand highbrow people might furrow their brows toward blogs because some posts might have some grammar potholes, getting the it’s and its confused as well as the there, their, they’re.

So you know that paper I talked about? It’s due tonight. (It was due two days ago, but the professor has extended the due date.) And another assignment too.

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So head down to your local blog post shelter, and adopt a neglected draft, teach it some new tricks, and take it to the WordPress show.

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being a WordPress reader

15 Apr

I had downloaded the WP app about a year ago and while I was able to read the posts, it was difficult at times to get the search to refresh on the tag I had used. Also it was cumbersome to only get a snippet of the blog entry before you had to visit the site itself to read the rest.

I downloaded the app again this week and I’m very pleased these issues have been resolved. The tag search refreshes promptly and I could read the entries easily.

Anyways, I’m now making it a habit to read the WordPress blogs out there. So you get that golden not-really-a-sticker star from me, I have viewed your content and enjoyed it. Noteworthy, well-done.

That may sound obvious to some, but I wanted to reassure I am not a bot.

So yea dusting off my blog and seeing the ones nearby. I browse under life, blogging, and art. What tag do you search for?

-from my mobile

the cardboard guilt trip

20 May

A few weeks ago, I had something to deposit at my bank, which was located at a nearby strip mall. Unlike the usual day when there would be plenty of empty spots in front, the parking lot was packed. Even all the green-colored 15 minutes only spots were taken. The grand opening of a Big Lot must have been the source for this unusual increase of activity.

I circled around the parking lot and a spot finally opened up, which was nearby the bank. I parked and just as I was about to exit the car, I saw something that made me uncomfortable.

A family was standing nearby the exit that led out the strip mall and into the street. Just to see them standing with their eyes transfixed to the direction of the cars going out, I knew why they were there. Actually, it was the cardboard sign one of them was holding that gave it away. So when drivers would exit the strip mall, they would be victims of a stand-by panhandling.

I took a deep breath, aware of the possibility of being approached by them, got out of my car and walked into to the bank.

After I deposited my money and left the bank, I was heading toward my car and the woman spotted me and let out a small shout. She left the spot where she was standing at and jogged down the small dirt mound. She approached me and began lamenting about her family having nothing to eat in broken English. I was taken aback by her facial features. The wrinkles etched on her cheeks and forehead, and three of her golden teeth glimmered as she pleaded. Yet it was her pitiful, sobbing tone that grated my nerves. Pleas for alms at point blank range.

Even though it was not my first time being solicited for money, the emotions that I felt were the same: repulsion, bitterness, and pity. Repulsion for her popping my peaceful suburban bubble, bitterness for her pulling my heart strings like it was a slot machine, and pity for the both of us, always perpetually always in need.

I asked her what was her ethnicity, and she replied that she and her family came from Romania. Then I asked whether her family had a home or not, and she said that they did, but they were running out of food and supplies. (That’s how interpreted what she was saying.)

Knowing that there was a Target nearby, I told her that I’ll be back and get them a gift card. I didn’t feel comfortable handing out cash, but felt compelled to hand something helpful that they could use it as they see fit.

I drove over to Target and went inside to buy a gift card for $25. Then I drove to where the family stood, and handed the card to the man, who I presumed to be the father. Both the man and the woman said God bless you (I don’t clearly recall if the child did say it too) as I turned onto the street.

Even after having given the gift card, I should have felt less bitter. I did feel less guilty, but still bitter. Maybe it was that nagging feeling in the back of my cranium that my compassion had been duped into giving, again.

*

This is not to be interpreted as a brief, heroic narrative of a dashing protagonist (thought you’re still welcome to consider me dashing, or quixotic) who went out to save the ails of an immigrant family by providing them with a Target gift card. The one who carried his share of the white man’s burden. Okay, that term coined by Rudyard Kipling doesn’t fly well for two reasons:

(1) This term has a negative connotation, imbued with imperialistic agenda from the past. Don’t make this phrase as a part of your swag because you’re just going to end up as a swog instead.

(2) I don’t think Asians are perceived as white, and to call it yellow man’s burden instead would sound quite racist as the yellow peril.

*

I always feel reluctant when people solicit me for handouts. I find myself walking the fine line between being too legalistic and too emotional when assessing another person’s needs.

The amount of the gift card may seem much, but at the time, I considered it decent enough for the family to get what they needed. To have the whole family panhandling in public. Now that’s quite bold if you ask me.

If they chose to be the few rotten apples who manipulate people’s sympathy for their own selfish gains, I hope their scheme will be called out. If they were greatly in need of some alms and took the drastic measure of begging in public, I do hope what I gave (and what other people gave) helps them much as possible.

I do hope it was the latter.

life determined by coincidences or fate?

14 May

I was taught many times that evolution was wrong. It can’t happen because of this and that, life can’t be formed this way because of some carbohydrates and protons, and you probably figured out by now that I’m pulling this mumbo jumbo out of my

But what if it was true and all factual? No God, just badda bang, badda zoom, across the many years it took for apes to become human.

I wish I could believe in evolution, more for its philosophical implication than for its facts. To believe that the idea of some destiny or divine being guiding each human being’s life is really figment of the imagination. That today’s horoscope and last Sunday’s sermon are just coping mechanisms trying to bring meaning in our otherwise meaningless lives.

I want to believe that life is merely just a googolplex of coincidences and accidents. That everything has happened because of chance. No such thing as meaning and absolute morals, just our own natural way of adapting and being the survival of the fittest, which really means nowadays winning the lottery, being crowned the next American Idol, and getting the most likes on Facebook and Instagram.

Except I have been in the church for so long that I still find that I cling onto God, the Judeo-Christo God. I have this fear that once I fully renounce Him and the Gospel, it would be some window opportunity for Satan, whether it is in a sudden, tragic accident or a lifelong deception with “unChristian thoughts”, putting me on a one-way ticket to hell, forever and ever.

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I finally found words to describe this state of being I have been in since the past year: a spiritual coma. Just as you can’t go up to a person in a real coma and tell them to simply stop being unconscious, a layman or an atheist can’t just expect me to start suddenly choosing to believe this or that. As the saying goes, time will only tell.

typos give me anxiety attacks

9 May

A few weeks ago, I finished hosting my virtual seminar for my Genres and Topics in Youth Literature course with an emphasis on graphic novels. Mine was titled “Nonfiction and Comics: A Novel Idea.” I just received my grade today along with the following comments.

  • Evocative questions
  • Informative, effective and relatable content
  • Lovely and relevant introduction [as shown below]

Compliments are truly the freshmaker for the soul, not Mentos. My handling of the seminar, which was really reading the online discussion posts by my classmates and responding to them, was also noted: “very responsive to your classmates, additional material and ideas offered in your responses.”

And then all that glorious self-esteem boost imploded into chalk dust as I saw that I was dinged half a point for the following sentence I wrote in my self-evaluation:

“Being aware of my classmates may not be familiar with nonfiction comics, it was better to have gone with an overview of nonfiction comics.”

Despite my solid good grade, I couldn’t ignore this glaring oversight. The anxiety I felt was like realizing your pants was unzipped the whole time. You didn’t first have me at hello; you had me with your fly down.

Being a graduate course in the Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS for short), I understand the need for the professor to connect with the eight-grade grammar teacher within to enforce good grammar for the good of humanity. Without good grammar, our language would have eventually break down into caveman grunts.

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My fear of being called out on grammatical errors is this notion that I’m just some fob with English as his second language when in reality I was born in Maryland and English is my native tongue, and I’m someone who happens to get his verb tenses mixed up every now and then. And his Korean is enough to get him by.

I have been tinkering with some soon-to-post blog entries the past week or so, and feel like the idea and the paragraphs are just off-kilter. I also have two papers to turn in on my plate.

Nevertheless, I’m still going to write and post. There’s going to be the occasional lopsided sentences and whenever I see them, I’ll be sure to chiropractorize them real good.

As I still remember what my TA told me in my early years in college, and I paraphrase: ideas are more important than having goody two shoes grammar. No need to vivisect your sentences into diagrams. Just a decent pair of decent hiking boots will do as you walk through the street of the loitering there/they’re/their and the grunting typos.

nc-virtualseminar

“i said it because i love you”

25 Apr

This is probably one of the sentences people say that I loathe the most. It sounds like it has good intention, but it sounds more like the person doesn’t want to admit his mistake openly while giving the impression of him apologizing.

Come to think about it, I don’t know other sentences that I would say I hate, maybe it would be “you smell like diarrhea.”

So the first time I heard the backhanded sentence happened back when I was in high school. A few of us guys from the church went with our youth pastor to a Christian weekend conference that was about an hour and a half from where I lived. While we waited in the Jack in the Box drive-thru for breakfast, I remember light-heartedly complaining about something, the food maybe? And the youth pastor snapped. What he said next remains hazy, and it was to the effect of “stop your complaining.” Yet it was the tone he used that stood out; it was like a split-second hurricane that came out of nowhere in the clear sky. Harsh and unexpected. Like bringing up a storm to knock over some Jenga blocks. All of us guys remained quiet until we arrived at the conference for the second day.

The following Sunday after the youth service, he walked up to me, made some small talk and then said, “D.L., I said it because I love you.” And a hug. It felt awkward because he had only been serving for about three or four months. At the time though, I felt confused and thought it was somehow my fault.

In the right circumstance, this phrase might be helpful. Maybe one of those heavy, poignant moments when someone has to tell an uncomfortable truth and does care about the person he’s telling it to.

Yet to say this phrase as a half-baked apology is like giving someone with a headache laxatives.

i am a blogger

12 Apr

For quite some time, I thought of myself “writing on my blog” or “updating my blog.” I avoided the terms blog (as a verb) and blogger. Probably it was the negative preconceptions like this comic that made me think blogging is some coping mechanism that unpublished writers go through.

Growing up in the 1990s to the early 2000s, I became drawn to the popular dream of being published. I always read books at the public library in the 808’s, which consists mostly of inspirational thoughts about writing. So I began thinking that great writing must start with submitting a bunch of manuscripts to magazines and being rejected some thousand times. (I read too many comic strips with Snoopy getting his manuscript rejected.) I once submitted a collection of poems, and yes, got a small, impersonal rejection letter, which I still keep as a souvenir.

Thus this developed some negative impression of blogging somewhere in my unconscious. Sure, I’ll admit that I did use Xanga in my high school days, but even then, I knew it wasn’t going to be Pulitzer Prize material. I thought great, serious, and awesome writing only resided in magazines and literary journals.

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I must admit, there is that magic when it comes to blogging. Instead of sending your manuscripts to mysterious editors hidden in the shadows of literary elitism, your posts are instantly available to the everyday Joe, Jane, and [insert your name here] browsing on the blogging website and the Internet. You can write whatever you are passionate or introspective about, and reach out to your audience who look forward to reading your latest posts. You can view the likes and respond to the comments in real time without waiting a few weeks if your manuscript got accepted. (Of course, it would be nice to get a physical letter saying your work is accepted.)

I have finally come to the point to admit this: I am a blogger, who blogs.