The Things Worth Losing Sleep For: NaBloPoMo Day 30

Finally. It’s over. 30 posts, 30 days. I’ve done it. (Yawn.)

I want to say that I’m feeling really proud of myself right now, but I’d be lying if I did. NaBloPoMo has noticeably hurt my grades and my health,  (I’ve lost at least 70 hours of sleep as a conservative estimate) and I’m pretty sure I’ve written at least one thing that I’ll regret later on. And what exactly do I get out of it? “Self-fulfillment?” (whatever that is.) A higher post count? A bunch of incomplete ramblings posted for the world to read? Nothing that’ll look good on college applications for sure.

However, it was nice to have another goal in life besides school. If anything, NaBloPoMo taught me that there is time to do something else other than school if I’m willing to sacrifice sleep. (Then again, I’m already sacrificing sleep for homework.) In my case, setting aside a few hours each day for blogging allowed me to organize and pin down any non-academic ideas that had been floating in my head. (Ignore the day of the study guide.)

Writing requires a more rigorous thought process than thinking and speaking, since it creates a permanent record that can be scrutinized in detail. Aside from formalizing my thoughts, each post required me to think more on the topic, sometimes creating new points that I didn’t have before typing. In fact, I’ve recently adopted a new viewpoint on life because of blogging: If I can’t write at least 300 words about it, then it’s not important.

Surprisingly, after 30 days of continuous posting, I haven’t reached all the topics that I expected. With the pressure of a post a day, I didn’t have the time to delve in the deeper topics and write something substantial. Hopefully, those posts will surface someday when I have the mental capacity and time to create those ideas.

They say it takes 30 days to create a habit; to be honest though, I’m glad to drop NaBloPoMo tomorrow. I didn’t exactly have to force myself through all 30 days of writing, but each day individually was a struggle between sleeping and typing out somewhat coherent thoughts. My motivation was a mix between being afraid of explaining my failure and simply wanting to say that I finished NaBloPoMo successfully.

Another reason for doing NaBloPoMo and blogging in general is that I don’t think I’m getting enough writing practice from school. (English essays don’t count–who actually analyzes literature outside of class?) This blog serves as an informal platform in teaching myself how to write.  Sure, I’m not being graded on each post, but I have enough self-awareness not to post anything too stupid. However,  it’s pretty scary to broadcast your unfiltered thoughts to the Internet with nothing to hide behind.

A couple statistics:

Days: 30

Posts: 30

Number of Days it would have taken to write 30 posts normally (assuming a post a week) : 210

Words: 16,623 (ugh, still significantly behind the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo-ers)

Average words per day: 554.1

Number of pages in MS Word, single spaced: 50

Shortest post: Post in Pictures: Diary Analysis: 0 words (although that could also count as 95, 459 words)

Longest post: 100 Questions: 2560 words

So what’s going to be my blogging schedule from now on? Blogging every day honestly wasn’t that bad, but without the motivation from NaBloPoMo, I doubt that I’ll keep it up. For now, I just want to sleep. Goodbye NaBloPoMo, and goodnight.



Thought Cluster: Loud

  • Ever since I was in elementary school, I’ve noticed that teachers generally prefer the quieter students over the louder ones. Obviously, if you’re trying to maintain control of a classroom, this makes sense, but this is outright discrimination against people who have an inclination to talk more.
  • Statistically, the more you say, (or type in my case), the greater chance you have of saying something stupid/offensive/inappropriate. Is it worth taking the risk, or is it better to just shut up? (glares at everything I’ve written during NaBloPoMo)
  • Statistically, the more you say (or type), the greater chance you have of saying something intelligent/insightful/encouraging. Are twenty blunders and screw-ups worth that one moment?
  • “Have more than you show, speak less than you know”
  • Quiet people bother me. Or at least they boggle me. Loud people at least place everything they know (and pretend to know) in front of them and proclaim it to the world. On the other hand, quiet people rarely express their thoughts, and they’re the silent observers of the world, noticing things that most of us fail to recognize. They’re also the people I want to know better,  so I can learn about their perspective on life.
  • From Paul Graham’s What You Can’t Say: (fantastic essay by the way.)

The most important thing is to be able to think what you want, not to say what you want. And if you feel you have to say everything you think, it may inhibit you from thinking improper thoughts. I think it’s better to follow the opposite policy. Draw a sharp line between your thoughts and your speech. Inside your head, anything is allowed. Within my head I make a point of encouraging the most outrageous thoughts I can imagine. But, as in a secret society, nothing that happens within the building should be told to outsiders. The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.

When Milton was going to visit Italy in the 1630s, Sir Henry Wootton, who had been ambassador to Venice, told him his motto should be “i pensieri stretti & il viso sciolto. Closed thoughts and an open face. Smile at everyone, and don’t tell them what you’re thinking.” This was wise advice. Milton was an argumentative fellow, and the Inquisition was a bit restive at that time. But I think the difference between Milton’s situation and ours is only a matter of degree. Every era has its heresies, and if you don’t get imprisoned for them you will at least get in enough trouble that it becomes a complete distraction.

I admit it seems cowardly to keep quiet. When I read about the harassment to which the Scientologists subject their critics [12], or that pro-Israel groups are “compiling dossiers” on those who speak out against Israeli human rights abuses [13], or about people being sued for violating the DMCA [14], part of me wants to say, “All right, you bastards, bring it on.” The problem is, there are so many things you can’t say. If you said them all you’d have no time left for your real work. You’d have to turn into Noam Chomsky. [15]

The trouble with keeping your thoughts secret, though, is that you lose the advantages of discussion. Talking about an idea leads to more ideas. So the optimal plan, if you can manage it, is to have a few trusted friends you can speak openly to. This is not just a way to develop ideas; it’s also a good rule of thumb for choosing friends. The people you can say heretical things to without getting jumped on are also the most interesting to know.

  • I’ve said some really idiotic things that I never got to take back or apologize for, and it haunts me, since I know people are judging me for it. However, most of this is my own fault anyways, and I’m honestly not sure how to deal with it. (“Hey, uh, you know that thing I said last Monday? Well, I kind of regret saying it…what do you mean you don’t know what I’m referring to? It’s been bothering me for the past few days!”)
  • Because Calvin and Hobbes is always relevant: This comic. And kind of this.

Other thought clusters.

Thoughts on Writing…and a tangent

Spending Thanksgiving reading news articles and short stories (AND BLACK FRIDAY ADS) doesn’t really place me in the mood for writing blog posts. And not only because Black Friday shopping is fun. (“fun”)

After reading anything that’s particularly informative or thought-provoking, in my case this and this, I generally feel better about myself for becoming for more “educated,” but paradoxically, a tinge of inferiority comes over me as well. The best articles often times are accessible to everyone, and I feel like I could have thought up those same ideas. Why didn’t I though? Why did I have to be the receiver of that information instead of the creator?

However, then I try writing my own long and insightful posts, and I’m left at a complete lack of words. Not only do I not have 2 weeks like Paul Graham to polish each piece, which is relatively trivial, I don’t actually have the keen awareness of the world necessary to formalize such ideas online. There goes my self-inflated ego.

All in all, this makes my blog seem like a farce. Who am I even to write online when there are obviously better writers who can provide so much more value per article than a measly high schooler ranting on life? The best explanation I can come up with is that I’m in a different realm of the blogosphere and that I’m still learning how to write (and think) properly. All of this is cold comfort though, and sooner or later I’m going to have to start writing more….rigorous? posts instead of spewing out life.


Our family has a slightly weird way of celebrating Thanksgiving. Yes, we buy a turkey, but we start roasting it in the morning so we can start eating it during lunch instead of waiting for dinner. Also, it’s not all decorated and stuffed and dressed up; my parents just add green onion, ginger, and salt before placing it in the over, and we treat it as any other food, not as a centerpiece. Dinner isn’t particularly glamorous other than the addition of a new meat, and beside, who needs food when there’s…

BLACK FRIDAY the day after. Literally the first thing I ask my parents upon waking up is “Where’s the newspaper?” so I can start looking at the ads. Not that I want to buy anything in particular, but it’s fun looking through ads and seeing products catch my eye, along with the fine print saying “min 3 per store” indicating a fight to the death at that store.

[If you’re wondering, here’s some recent footage from Walmart]

My question is how you can ever feel good about using some materialistic object that you had to fight over. No matter how good the deal is monetarily, there’s a lot of soul-selling involved. Not to mention the subpar-quality of Black Friday goods. However,  nothing can match the buzz from being caught up in the crowds of primitive humans scrambling for good deals.

Stores opening on Thanksgiving night ruin the experience for me though. I miss waking up early on Friday morning and walking into bright-lit stores half-asleep and half-hungry with no particular aim other than becoming lost in the masses, since half of the fun of Black Friday is the environment. The deals aren’t particularly important, although it’s nice to save money on a good buy.

To be honest though, I don’t place that much significance on Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s a family/cultural thing, but I’ve always seen it more as no school+turkey+ pre-Black Friday day, not necessarily a day of thanks. I mean, what obligation do we really have to celebrate one feast some Pilgrims had nearly 400 years ago? Yes, it’s important to be grateful for what we do have, but I believe that we can’t truly realize something’s true value until it’s gone. In terms of people and basic needs, most of us have never had these things missing. (The Pilgrims did though.) Simply listing what I’m thankful for won’t make me a better person, and the most thanks I can give is based off the vague notion that I should be at least trying not to take things for granted.

Ending on that note, Happy Thanksgiving, and goodnight.

Forbidden Pleasures

Motivation is a weird force.

The entire two days of this week, the only reason I didn’t give up on school/life was knowing that a extra-long weekend was waiting afterwards. Historically, the week of Thanksgiving has been a horrible two school days. This year was no exception. (Last year, I stayed up the Sunday night before reading a book until 5AM. The next “morning” made me vow to never pull an all-nighter until absolutely necessary.)

In class, I would literally be doodling out to-do lists of things I wanted to accomplish over the break, with finishing NaBloPoMo at the top. Thank goodness I wrote it all down, because now that freedom’s finally arrived, I’ve completely forgotten what productivity means and I just want to go on the computer and feign actually doing something.

Sometimes I need the pressure of a school workload in order to get anything done, especially with NaBloPoMo. It’s much more fun writing a post unrelated to school when there’s the threat of unfinished homework weighing down. (It’s not that glorious, but you get the point.) Throughout all the weeks of NaBloPoMo, the weekend posts were the hardest to write because I had the time to actually ponder about every idea and throw out any imperfect, whereas over the school week, any idea about which I could spit out 300 words (or less) got published. [See: Why Quantity Should Be Your Priority]

To be honest, I don’t have that clear of a mission statement as to why I’m doing NaBloPoMo. Yes, some vague definition of success is waiting for me at the end, but it was depressing knowing that I had 29 posts, 28 posts, 27 posts, etc. left. My best strategy was just to go through one day at a time, not thinking about the future or the end goal.

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen?”

The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.”

The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast. How long then?”

Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.”

“But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student.

“Thirty years,” replied the Master.

“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student, “at each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”

Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.

-From Valedictorian Speaks out Against Schooling

Was I ever willing to put in all the work for the intangible “benefits” of NaBloPoMo? Who knows, but I’ve been blindly dumping my brain out to the Internet for the past few weeks, and there’s no going back now.

Yawn, I would write more, but I really want to sleep before midnight for once. Goodnight, and here’s to the last few days of NaBloPoMo and the beginning of Turkey day break.


EDIT: To all you sophomores using this to study right now, I’m just going to give a disclaimer: this study guide didn’t really help with my test grade. Use at your own risk, and good luck on your test. (As for how I found out, I have my sources >:) )

Last post for NaBloPoMo that I’ll have to do on a school day. YES.

Anyways, I kind of have a big test tomorrow, and I’m actually going to study so I don’t make the mistakes of Day 7. Have fun reading the study guide.

[Start time: 9:22 PM]

[Music playing, access to online documents, shoot, my binder is on my desk. Ugh, I don’t want to get up.]

[Ok back with binder. NOW I can start. 9:27. Sigh]


Harsha and his attitudes toward religion and warfare

United Northern India

Warrior from the Pubjab region who became a humanitarian.

Buddhist that was tolerant of Hinduism

Built roads, hospitals temples (Hindus and Buddhists), and wrote three plays.

The Brahmans killed him because he was so tolerant and and because he showed favoritism to Buddhists.

Groups that invaded India and why.

Huns, Arabs, and Turks

They wanted to move up in social status? Claimed kshatriya status and allied with rajas (kings) through marriage

Also, Muhammend Ibn Qasim led the Umayyands against the Sind to end piracy.

Islam spread, and many Hindu towns surrendered willingly, since the Muslims had lower taxes and greater religious toleration.

Turks from Afghanistan led by Mahmud of Ghazni would raid India not to conquer, but to take treasure. [STOP HAIR PULLING] [Wait do raids count as invasions?]  Wanted to make Ghazni a center of Islamic learning.

Compare the arrival of Islam into different areas of India.

Some people willingly [I should change the music. KPOP HERE WE GO.] converted to Islam because it offered lower taxes and greater religious toleration.

Islam spread along the coast through its trade network.

[This is getting off topic. Moving on.]

[edit I actually found some relevant stuff. 10:13]

Northern India had larger conversions to Islam because of point of entry and Delhi Sultanate

[even later]

Islam spread along coast in South


traded gold for a variety of merchandise like agricultural goods, textiles, herbs, etc.

coins minted and circulated throughout the towns of North India.

caused many foreign merchants to settle in India

[9:46. Sigh]

Delhi Sultanate (Know everything) [WHAT IS A SULTANATE.] [Dictionary definition: country or territory ruled by a sultan. Well thanks. Nevermind]

[So I just have to survive through first period tomorrow and my day’s done. icandothis.]

300 years, ruled by Persians, Afghans, Turks, and “mixed descent.”

Conflict with Mongols [BTD INFINITE] Turks, and Hindus over control of the region.

power based on large military machines, specifically cavalry [WHY WHY] and war elephants

Lords were mostly Muslim, but the dependents were Hindu [My grammar is getting poorer by the second.] [Oh look facebook message] [9:55] [9:56 I’m back] [Nevermind, another message.] [9:59] so there was often conflict that reduced the amount of power that the sultanate had.

Hindu made up most of the bureaucracy and the military


textile industry strong– cotton, woolen, and silk cloth.

Metal, stone and brick work industries and the sugar industries-guild operated (guaranteed quality)

Every town had a marketplace


Sultans spoke Turkish languages and they read Persian literature

Indians retained Hinduism and spoke Sanskrit languages [whoa, back in the days where people actually used Sanskrit]

Hindu and Urdu acquired many Persian and Arabic words [how am I going to remember all these names?]

Turkish-style trousers.  [PANTSSS]

Hinduism adopts Buddhist practices- vegetarianism, non-sacrifice

Turks drive Buddhists into Tibet causing decline of Buddhism in India.


Status lowered under Hinduism and Buddhism

Positions of respect, but freedom greatly limited. — couldn’t leave house

Dependent on males in family

Could become educated

Sati encouraged

Peasant women had more equality for economic reasons.

[10:26 more edits] Collapse

over-taxation, not as much revenue from conquering lands.

Tamerlane’s Turkish forces sacked Delhi

Babur “the Tiger” arrives with an army of Turks and Afghans.

Sikhism and Bhakti

Bhakti– type of Hinduism with mysticism similar to Islam but veneration of Hindu gods such as Kali.

Sikhism– blend of Hinduism and Islam, stressed loving devotion to G-D and a brotherhood to all

[whee notes copying]


Chinese Scholar who wrote Hsi Vu chi (Record of Western Lands), records exact observations in India and give guidance on archaeology


Another visitor–learned about science and literature

Wrote Tarikh al-hind (History of India)

[10:28 slight break] [oh gosh my eyes are tearing up really badly because I’m so tired.]

women in India (north and south)

Northern (Copy-pasted from above)

Status lowered under Hinduism and Buddhism

Positions of respect, but freedom greatly limited. — couldn’t leave house

Dependent on males in family

Could become educated

Sati encouraged

Peasant women had more equality for economic reasons.

South– stronger role in family and society in general

CHINA (Ming)


trade bad, agriculture good, although Hongwu depended on merchants and traders for revenue

Yongle funded Zheng He’s voyages

[10:39 I’m going to publish this now and then keep updating]


created in response to too many people believing in Taoism and Buddhims. Limited rights of women


bureaucrat who worked his way up by taking the civil service exam, special class of powerful officials.


castrated males with a lot of power because no heirs — contributed to corruption of government (selfish)


Forbidden City

Created by Yongle as a palace

detached from rest of world–contributed to decline of Ming

Civil Service

fun test of memorizing Confucian tests- mostly limited to elites since texts were expensive.

reintroduced in Ming


Water Margin and Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Yongle wanted to compile the Great Canon of the Yung-lo Era


porcelain– blue on white

[break for crashcourse]

[11:15 break over back to typing]

Zheng He’s motives and results

Stop Japanese pirates

look for threats to China

encourage expatriate Chinese to pay tax and returnhome

restored trade with Middle east and got SE Asia under Chinese control

Demanded taxes and allegiance from Chinese merchants living abroad (attacked Sumatra when they resisted)

Established commerce, created tributarys tates and surveyed the Indian Ocean.


Moved capital to Beijing

rebuilt canal linking Beijing to Yangtze River



Hongwu banned slavery


Causes and results of the 100 years’ war

William the Conqueror, who took the English Crown after his Norman Conquest in 1066, was not only the king of England,but as duke of Normandy he was also a vassal to the king of France
The English Crown expanded its territory in France to include Aquitaine, Gascony, and other rich and fertile lands in the south and west. – Neither side liked this arrangement
Charles IV of France died without an heir
English monarch Edward III, his nephew, claimed French throne
French encourage Scottish Bruce to rebel
Civil war between French nobles
Flanders was a fiefdom of France, but depended on English wool for markets
France– more nationalism, decreased internal fighting
decline in wool trade


English had 6ft long longbow-huge advantage

Peasant uprisings, why and results

Can I just assume this is common sense?

Role of the Church

Lost legitimacy after [11:31] they couldn’t stop plague. And then the fun with the Great Schism!

Great Schism

That fun stuff with popes excommunicating each other

[11:39 barbarbarbarbarbar…oh how I love you kpop]

Babylonian Captivity

The Church in Avignon seen as a French puppet

home-base advantage ish.


Church has more power than pope–later revoked.

Plague Packet (You really should read it if you haven’t) [Oh gosh don’t remind me]

Plague’s causes and results

Can I just put generic stuff? Trade, people to people contact. Oh wait that animal. Rats. Also the little ice age. Started in China


Who died from Plague


Doctors and priests were the first to die

nobility became isolated so they were more safe.

peasants died.

Plague’s responses by Christians,Muslims and Jews


Muslims– no use trying to stop it

Primary documents

MONGOLS [They’re always the exception!]


Nomads, so duh.

traded with agricultural societies to acquire wood,cotton, silk, veggies and grain.

Trade was protected by Mongol control and promoted by Mongol tax policies.


Children used as pawns of diplomacy.

[11:54 wheee]


Everyone’s a warrior

Spent most of their time in the saddle

not THAT savage–only when they wanted to be.

Guyuk Khan’s letter

Convert to Christianity…to Pope Innocent

Marco Polo documents

they would wear armor made from the hides of buffalo and other beasts, fire dried and thus hard and strong.

when a father dies,his sons may wed all of the deceased mans wives with the exception of their mother. They also cannot marry their mother’s sisters.

their weapons were bows, iron maces and spears. The Mongol bows could shoot significantly farther than the middle eastern bows because of the composite structure of the bow and a jade thumb ring that allowed the archers hand to withstand the tension of the drawn bowstring.


Women were considered as Equals.

Women took responsibility managing theneeds of the camp, breeding and birthing oflivestock.

Gender 600-1450



Mental Map


[12:01 now can I go to sleep? Goodnight, and may this studying do some good.]

100 Questions

I’ve always wanted to complete one of these. Here goes.

1) Put your iTunes on shuffle. Give me the first 6 songs that pop up.

I haven’t used iTunes in a while, but this is what Grooveshark turns up:

Chu by f(x)

All the Things She Said by T.a.t.u.

Oh! by SNSD

I’d Do Anything by Simple Plan

Feel Again by OneRepublic

Dreams by the Cranberries


2) If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?

I want to say John Green, but I can feel myself regretting this decision

3) Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17.

*grabs chemistry book*

There are exactly 1609.344 m in a mile. How many meters are in a distance of 1.35 mi?

Closest actual book: Class Rules

and Social Class. He began his study with a clear position (1972), “The

4) What do you think about most?

Am I doing anything substantial with my life?

5) What does your latest text message from someone else say?

I don’t text. Judge me.

6) Do you sleep with or without on?

?  With or without what? Ugh, tumblr quality.

7) What’s your strangest talent?

I wish I knew.

8) Girls…. (finish the sentence); Boys…. (finish the sentence)

Girls rule. Boys drool. Just kidding, but I’m not going to make any generalizations about half the world.

9) Ever had a poem or song written about you?

YES…by me. #narcissist.

10) When is the last time you played the air guitar?


11) Do you have any strange phobias?

I used to have a huge fear of death, aka necrophobia.

12) Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose?

Yes…and let’s leave it at that.

13) What’s your religion?

Agnostic, or according to some people, atheist.

14) If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?

Trying to not be outside.

15) Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?

Behind, but then I end up regretting it when the pictures end up on Facebook. (Darn you FOMO.)

16) Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?

The only group I’ve found recently on my own is Swimming With Dolphins, and I kind of really like them, so that.

17) What was the last lie you told?

“I don’t have any money.”

18) Do you believe in karma?

I believe that everything random in life has an equal chance of happening and that on average the good balances out the bad, so I guess.

19) What does your URL mean?

It’s an abbreviation of afanofideas, which is a pun on my name. Coincidentally, it also sounds like “a time” en français.

20) What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?

My greatest weakness is that I’m not efficient at getting things done, but my greatest strength is thinking through life, if that makes any sense.

21) Who is your celebrity crush?

Ugh, I don’t keep up with pop culture. But while we’re talking about unattainable people, ETIENNESTCLAIRETIENNESTCLAIRETIENNESTCLAIRETIENNESTCLAIR.

22) Have you ever gone skinny dipping?

no. just no.

23) How do you vent your anger?

Whack the person closest to me if they’re my friend

Piano if my fingers are willing to coordinate

Rant on WordPress for about 2 sentences until I realize that I have nothing substantial to say

24) Do you have a collection of anything?

Does this blog count as a collection of my thoughts?

25) Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?

Video chatting.

26) Are you happy with the person you’ve become?

It’s more a feeling of acceptance. I can’t imagine becoming anyone else, or even how my life could have been different.

27) What’s a sound you hate; sound you love?

People genuinely screaming and/or crying, and pretty ringtones.

28) What’s your biggest “what if”?

What if I weren’t just an arrangement of atoms that happened to experience consciousness? (It’s actually an inexplicable feeling I get every now and then, and this is the best way I can put it into words.)

29) Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens?

No, and yes, statistically there has to be ET life.

30) Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first? Do the same with your left arm.

Air above my keyboard, ditto.

31) Smell the air. What do you smell?


32) What’s the worst place you have ever been to?

School as it is now.

33) Choose: East Coast or West Coast?

No, I won’t choose.

34) Most attractive singer of your opposite gender?


35) To you, what is the meaning of life?

Finding the balance between learning and creating, as well as creating and living by your own set of morals

36) Define: Art.

Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think is has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artists who works with oil paints or marble, sure. But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.

An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally.

That’s why Bob Dylan is an artist, but an anonymous corporate hack who dreams up Pop 40 hits on the other side of the glass is merely a marketer. That’s why Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, is an artists, while a boiler room of telemarketers is simply a scam.

Tom Peters, corporate gadfly and writer, is an artists, even though his readers are businesspeople. He’s an artists because he takes a stand, he takes the work personally, and he doesn’t care if someone disagrees. His art is part of him, and he feels compelled to share it with you because it’s important, not because he expects you to pay him for it.

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.

Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”

– Seth GodinLinchpin: Are You Indispensable?

37) Do you believe in luck?

Reference karma question.

38) What’s the weather like right now?

Cold…for Houston

39) What time is it?

As of now, 7:46 PM

40) Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?

No, and no

41) What was the last book you read?

Class Rules, by Peter W. Cookson Jr.

42) Do you like the smell of gasoline?

Does anyone?

43) Do you have any nicknames?

None that I like.

44) What was the last movie you saw?

Something tells me that I’ve watched a movie in school this year, but assuming not, Despicable Me 2.

45) What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?

In terms of the most blood, I cut myself on a door once. It bled through a Band-Aid even after I washed it out. Yeah, I’ve been relatively unharmed.

46) Have you ever caught a butterfly?

I don’t think I’ve tried?

47) Do you have any obsessions right now?

I’m pretty obsessive over what philosophy I should live life with.

48) What’s your sexual orientation?

Straight, and nothing’s ever challenged it.

49) Ever had a rumor spread about you?

Kind of?

50) Do you believe in magic?

No, but I love seeing magic tricks and not being able to figure out they work. Also, I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, so…

51) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?

I won’t outright show it, but I don’t ever forget this type of stuff.

52) What is your astrological sign?


53) Do you save money or spend it?

Save because I don’t know what to spend it on.

54) What’s the last thing you purchased?

Popcorn because I was starving in 4th period.

55) Love or lust?

I’m really not in the mood to contemplate this.

56) In a relationship?


57) How many relationships have you had?

Depends on your definition of relationship.

58) Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

I’ve tried really hard, but no.

59) Where were you yesterday?

I was at Rice in the morning, and then I stayed at home for the rest of the day

60) Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?

Some fabric flowers.

61) Are you wearing socks right now?

No, but I’m wearing some nice fuzzy slippers.

62) What’s your favorite animal?

Humans. #morenarcissist

63) What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you?

I really wouldn’t call myself an expert on this, but talk to them? A lot? Oh, and insulting them works nicely…sometimes.

64) Where is your best friend?

Not here.

65) Spit or swallow?(;

This is a stupid question.

66) What is your heritage?

中国人. Although I was born here, so ABC. (American Born Chinese)

67) What were you doing last night at 12 AM?

Sleeping, surprisingly.

68) What do you think is Satan’s last name?

He obviously doesn’t have one.

69) Be honest. Ever gotten yourself off?

I’ll act like I don’t understand this question, because I don’t.

70) Are you the kind of friend you would want to have as a friend?

If only I knew what I looked like to others.

71) You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do?

Who says I can’t do both? Although 1) I have no idea how to save a drowning dog, 2) I don’t have a job, and 3) who wants a boss like that?

72) You are at the doctor’s office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. a) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? b) What do you do with your remaining days? c) Would you be afraid?

a) I’d want to tell everyone, but then it’d just become a month of people pitying me, so I’d just let it out to whoever it seems appropriate to at the time. Let life take it’s own path

b) Probably sit and observe the world in huge detail, read, laugh, and get into some deep philosophical thought.

c) YES. Reference necrophobia above.

73) You can only have one of these things: trust or love.

Impossible situation.

74) What’s a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?

If I knew, that would be the theme song to my life. Perhaps the closest is Peace Sign by LIGHTS.

75) What are the last four digits in your cell phone number?

0778, now good luck guessing the rest.

76) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?

A willingness to adapt to each other’s changes, but of course, that’s long-term. Who knows about short term ones.

77) How can I win your heart?

1) Don’t be a popular, arrogant jerk.

2) Be clever/witty/funny and talk to me.

3) Listen to me when I’m being serious.

78) Can insanity bring on more creativity?

Yes, I consider calling someone crazy and insane a compliment.

79) What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?

Refusing to be a product of the system.

80) What size shoes do you wear?

8-8.5, preferably wide.

81) What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

I’m supposed to know this how?

82) What is your favorite word?

qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm because all the other words are made of it. What do you mean that’s not a word?

83) Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word:heart.

Cardioid, thanks to Vi Hart.

84) What is a saying you say a lot?


85) What’s the last song you listened to?

Sleep to Dream by Swimming with Dolphins.

86) Basic question: what’s your favorite color/colors?

All of them, but not all of them at the same time.

87) What is your current desktop picture?

I don’t think solid blue counts as a picture.

88) If you could press a button and make anyone in the world instantaneously explode, who would it be?

I feel  like the best answer is a terrorist, but I’m going to say Waldo, so we’d finally know where he was.

89) What would be a question you’d be afraid to tell the truth on?

None, because I like to think that I’m open and detached enough from the world to not care about what others think of me. Well, that is until someone asks me a question that I’m afraid to answer.

90) One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren’t really doing anything, they’re just standing around your bed. What do you do?

Assuming that I had to get out of bed in order to turn the light on, I declare this situation impossible.

91) You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What is that power?

I had a phase where I would go around asking people what power they wanted to have, and time-control was the best answer I got. So time travel.

92) You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?


93) You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

I’m not sure if this counts as the past, but it’d be great if I could stop hair-pulling.

94) You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?

This is a stupid question.

95) You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Just keep circulating in the air until I decide where to land, assuming unlimited jet fuel. (obviously realistic)

96) Do you have any relatives in jail?

Yeah, some of my fifth cousins.

97) Have you ever thrown up in the car?

Not that I remember.

98) Ever been on a plane?

More like 20.

99) If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say?

Most of you don’t know what the rest of the world is like. Change that.

100) Give me your top 5 favorite blogs on Tumblr.

I guess this is a sign that I took these questions from Tumblr, so I’m just going to list WordPress blogs instead.

In no particular order:

EDIT 11.30.2013: HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN. Perhaps I see it as more of a freestanding website than a blog, but that’s not a valid excuse. Fantastic articles on education, productivity, and learning in a 21st century world.  Yes, this makes 6 blogs, but that’s besides the point.

Fight the FOMO

Fear of missing out or FOMO is a form of social anxiety — a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event”

-that free online encyclopedia called Wikipedia

Yes, I’m annoyed when my friends have inside jokes that I don’t get. Yes,  I hate people who rave on about fun experiences that I didn’t have. And yes, Facebook albums of peoples’ social lives make me wonder what I’m doing with my own.

On the other hand, I love having inside jokes with people. Sharing a inside moment with someone gives me a special connection with them, access to a certain aspect of their life that no one else knows. Especially with my fear of not knowing someone completely, it seems like being around someone else as much as possible is the best way to learn about them. It bothers me to look around at a room of people and realize that there’s a side of each person that I’ll never see.

As for raving about socializing, it’s a pretty jerkish thing to do, but it’s human nature to brag about ourselves sometimes, however subtle. (Right? Don’t make me be the only bad person here. )

And with Facebook albums…yeah that hasn’t happened to me yet. However, social media is the single biggest propagator of the FOMO, providing a permanent stream of peoples’ lives filled with perfect and smiling faces.

Most of my social interaction is because of the FOMO to some degree, and it’s a delicate rope to walk. What events will most likely produce the best stories to be repeated to others and which are just forced attempts at being social? Arguably, my lack of a social life doesn’t give me many choices, but sometimes I wonder what it’d be like with a packed schedule, constantly being around others and “making memories.” Do I really want that?

Answer: Probably not. As much as the FOMO bothers me, there’s a pleasure in not having to know about every little detail about everyone all the time. Ignorance is bliss. Besides, writing aloud to a internet is obviously  more interesting.

Argh, last week of NaBloPoMo, as well the week with two days of school instead of none, because HISD.

Thought Cluster: Beauty

A guy I hadn’t talked to in a long time came up to me today after lunch and said: “Amy, you need to stop stressing about high school so much.” When I asked what gave the impression that I was stressed, he pointed to his head and whispered, “your hair,” mouthing “hair” as if it were a curse word. While I babbled about how it was an instinct and how it was hard to control, he faced me with the reality that I was going bald and that I needed to stop pulling out my “beautiful hair.” (Ha.)  He explained that sophomore year was tough for him as well, and that I needed to stay strong. Holding his hand up at shoulder level, I reached to squeeze it before thanking him and rushing off to my next class, hearing one last “you need to stop stressing!”

  • I’ve mentioned before that I don’t particularly care about my appearance. Does a balding head cross any lines?
  • On makeup: I had a friend wearing some eyeliner today for a performance, (“They forced me to!”) and I didn’t notice until I looked closely. I reassured her that it accentuated her natural beauty. Asians look down upon heavy makeup, and their ideal of “good makeup” is putting on enough makeup so that it looks like you aren’t wearing any. Contrast that with Western society.
  • On selfies: I think that the number of “likes” on a Facebook/Instagram picture often isn’t reflective of how good a picture is– it’s  more a measure of how hard the photographer was trying to look”pretty” in their picture. “Beauty” in teen culture is different than the rest of society.
  • On being beautiful: Everyone has a natural inclination to please people that are good-looking, making their lives so much easier. Obviously unfair, but it’s pointless trying to deny it.
  • I have ridiculously high standards of beauty for people expected to be good-looking (aka all of the media and pop culture), yet I find everyone I know to be beautiful at some point, often times mid-conversation or when they don’t know I’m looking at them.
  • Most pressing: By what standard is my dry, poufy, fried-looking hair considered “beautiful”?

Sometimes I stare. I admit that I stare at people. But not because they’re hot or they’re not. Because sometimes I’ll look at someone and I see another human being trying to make it just like me. And honestly I think that’s beautiful.

letters to crushes


Yes, I put a password on my last post. The reason I did this was twofold:

  •  I’m not finished yet The lovely rules of NaBloPoMo require a post every day, and I was already behind on homework yesterday, so I decided to pause the story temporarily. Also, all of my Stories from Middle School are stories that I actually wrote in middle school, with edits by high-school me. This particular story was left unfinished, and I’m not yet sure what note to finish this story on.
  •  It’s kind of embarrassing  Let’s just say that this isn’t a nice pretty story, nor is it a funny and witty one. Everyone’s trying to put the best parts of their life online for the world to see (coughcough Facebook) and publishing anything less than ideal will cause people to perceive me differently. I can feel already feel the judgement.

Perhaps I’ll make the post public when I finish writing, but for now, good lucking getting access to it.

In other news, I’m in the pre-break mode where I don’t have the motivation to do anything–schoolwork, homework, work, getting up in the morning,etc. The good thing is that there’s only 3 more school days until Thanksgiving break, but the bad news is that I actually have to endure those 3 days. Once I fall into this rut, there’s no getting out. I guess it’s just waiting it out until next Wednesday. Sigh. And now I’m tired, so goodnight.

(totally published before midnight in Alaska.)

EDIT 11.23.2013 I finished writing and lifted the password. Have fun reading.