"[Cristina] was already thinking of herself as a kind of expatriate...not smothered by what she believed to be America's puritanical and materialistic culture, which she had little patience for. She saw herself more a European soul, in tune with the thinkers and artists she felt expressed her tragic, romantic, freethinking view of life." -- Vicky Cristina Barcelona


Straws significantly enliven the experience of drinking.
"Cristina continued searching, certain only of what she didn't want." -- Vicky Cristina Barcelona


Times have changed

I can't recall ever encountering a hot outfit that involved a denim jacket. It is almost impossible to sport such an item without looking anachronistic. But fundamentally, most denim jackets are simply hideous. I will concede that in my youth I believed in the power of the denim jacket to imbue its wearer with a cool confidence. But that was the '90s. It is now the 21st century - an epoch in which there is no place for denim jackets!

On a side note, this picture ever so slightly undermines my otherwise infallible argument:


Turbid exchanges

"All you've been talking about is gay stuff! Don't you have any straight friends anymore?"

It seems that in terms of conversation topics, boys are to lesbians as anything gay is to straight people. While they are acceptable subject matters to their respective audiences, they are indelibly restricted to a limited quota of time. As moderately foreign topics, boys and gay matters are capable of stimulating curiosity in lesbians and straight people, respectively. Yet inevitably, the conversation reaches a variable point in which a concrete shift in subject matter is needed. Arriving at this threshold may involve a host of interrelated factors, such as insufficient knowledge or experience, excessive conjecture, and feelings of alienation.


Treasures of the future

Collecting objects is a need that is as fundamental to humans as possessing a moral conscience; some can escape it, but most are slaves to it. 

Hobby collections provide their owner with distinct character. When I was younger I used to fill Fruitopia bottles with pennies. I don't think it is a coincidence that I was also very frugal. I no longer collect pennies, and I am no longer frugal. 

I would like to begin a collection that will be worthy of being passed on through future generations. I'm thinking along the lines of plastic animal toys. 

Tornado of food - circumvented

Repelled by the idea of cooking, I have turned to the hitherto unacknowledged potential of raw foods. Recent notable experimentation has included:

+ King oyster mushrooms. Texture is analogous to raw tofu.

+ Tofu. Possesses a spongy texture. 

+ Zucchini. Completely different from its cooked counterpart (i.e., not slimy). 

All of the above possess only a specter of flavour. Overdosing on sauce may be necessary depending on one's mood.

Tornado of food

Cooking, unlike any other domestic chore, has legions of passionate fans. Its glorification is the mission of countless television shows and books. As a result, many naive people venture headfirst into unchartered culinary territory, eager to discover the perfect personal signature recipe. 

Drunk with visions of golden pies and gleaming casseroles, it is all too easy to forget that everything comes with a price. And it isn't until after the euphoria of creating the most delicious dish that anyone has ever tasted that one realizes what that price is - a kitchen that resembles the aftermath of a high school cafeteria food fight between two rival cliques. 


Trekking can hurt sometimes

I was walking on campus today, suffering the occasionally sharp discomfort of having what seemed like the largest pebble in the universe. As soon as I got home I wrestled my torturous boot off...and a shiny penny fell out of it.

Finding a penny in one's shoe is an experience which yields ambiguous interpretation. A popular cultural myth is that finding a penny means that one will have good luck all day long. On the other hand, it may be a product of bad fortune to have to endure walking with a penny in one's shoe. 



Tyra Banks' philosophy: "Model through it!"

I am going to model through this essay like Kate Moss in the '90s.



The majority of onscreen marriages are debased. Do these fictional relationships provoke anxiety and personal reflection among real-life couples? And do they subliminally encourage dysfunctional romances? 

TV couples are the real reason why the divorce rate is high. 


"We are so complex that we're incapable of analyzing ourselves adequately." - Malcolm Gladwell


Toffee rhymes with...

I am surprised that coffee-flavoured gum does not exist ubiquitously - lingering in the periphery of one's consciousness, but readily available when a sudden craving arises.


To befriend a professional food taster would be a dream come true. Her gigantic mental library of adjectives would elevate each uttered sentence with bursts of sensation and vivid imagery. Her refined ability to describe things with sharp acuity would greatly reduce miscommunication in our friendship. Her appreciation for the most minute details would inspire me to find value in even the most mundane activities.  

I felt an inexplicable joy when I read this exchange between two professional food tasters from New Jersey named Gail Vance Civille* and Judy Heylmun in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink:

Heylmun then started talking about "rework," which is the practice in some food factories of recycling leftover or rejected ingredients from one product batch into another product batch. "Give me some cookies and crackers," she said, "and I can tell you not only what factory they came from but what rework they were using." Civille jumped in. Just the previous night, she said, she had eaten two cookies - and here she named two prominent brands. "I could taste the rework," she said and made another face.

*Conjures images of horseback riding, wealth, and chivalry. 


Thawing my face

Winter and murder share several similarities. 

+ They are both cold and painful.

+ They compel people to stay indoors.

+ They engender vigilance when outdoors.



It is the primary goal of 2009 to have little or no automatic preference for straight people compared to gay people. Malcolm Gladwell theorizes that by increasing my interactions with gay people, I may unconsciously attach to them increasingly positive associations. I can declare with confidence that this approach  is insufficient because I interact daily - hourly, even - with gay people. 

The means by which I will achieve this crucial goal remain indeterminate. 



Malcolm Gladwell discusses the Race Implicit Association Test in his book Blink. The test assesses your unconscious preference for African American or European American people. Often, one's conscious attitudes do not correspond with those that are unconscious. Gladwell was rated as having a "moderate automatic preference for whites," despite being half black. I half-expected to get the same results; after all, as Gladwell says, "We live in North America, where we are surrounded every day by cultural messages linking white with good." 

I was thus surprised - but very relieved - to be rated as having "little or no automatic preference between African American and European American." Seventeen percent of web respondents received the same rating. On the other hand, Gladwell states, "It turns out that more than 80 percent of all those who have ever taken the test end up having pro-white associations."

Click here to take the Race IAT.

Telephone, Broken

Eavesdropping is an enjoyable past time when I am alone amid conversations between strangers. Unfortunately, my poor sense of hearing means that eavesdropping often becomes analogous to a game of Broken Telephone, where the results are often incoherent and/or ridiculous. 

I recently overheard a girl say: "My murder mystery class was cancelled, so I went to a British club. It was nice to get away from the city."


Different volumes of speech are associated with specific personality traits. Soft voices belong to those who are reserved and well-mannered. Loud talkers are perceived to be confident and outgoing.  

Do people subconsciously calibrate the volume of their voices to correspond with their personalities?

Or does it have to do with how sensitive one's ears are to sound? For instance, high aural sensitivity coupled with a soft voice.  


Tale of Transportation 2

I was the only one on the bus. A few stops later a middle-aged man got on and stood behind me. I suspiciously monitored him in the rearview mirror as he muttered incoherently to himself. I held my cellphone tightly on my lap, as if the sight of it alone would discourage any predator from targeting me as a victim of malicious fantasies. He got off shortly after and I felt relieved.

The bus soon began to fill up. The young man standing next to me was carrying a navy blue duffel bag in his right hand. He and his female companion exchanged words in Korean. I imagined that they had just stolen some serious cash from a bank, and that the blue line had come to their rescue just as the police were about to arrive. Just like Bumbleblee in the film Transformers. I decided that they were debating which exotic island to flee to - either Cuba or Mexico. Whether Cuba and Mexico are in fact islands, I am uncertain.

At this point I noticed that there was a disturbingly high number of people on the bus wearing tan coloured jackets.

As the automated voice spouted street name after street name, I began to imagine what each street was like. Castlefield was a vast green expanse in which a medieval castle was centrally situated. Montgomery offered quaint homes and apple trees. If one were to get off at Alcorn one would fall knee-deep into an infinite pool of acorns.

Finally, it was my stop. I hurried off the bus, pleased that I had survived the trip without incident. And it was all thanks to my cellphone.

Tale of Transportation

I was waiting at the bus stop alone, quietly humming I Hate This Part by The Pussycat Dolls, when a Korean dude about my age ran across the street to where I was standing. Here is how the unsolicited conversation proceeded:

Him: "Which bus are you waiting for?"
Me: "The blue line that goes down to Queen's Quay."
Him: "That bus does not exist. Where are you coming from?*" 
Me: "A party."
Him: "Me too. But it sucked. I liked a girl there and she ended up making out with another guy."
Me: "That sucks."
Him: "Where do you live?"
Me: "Ummm...I live in multiple places."
Him: "Don't worry, I'm not going to stalk you. I live at Drewry!"
Me: "I don't even know where Drewry is!"

And then his bus came and he left me alone in the bus shelter, doubting whether the blue line existed after all.

*Isn't this a question you would expect from an old, bearded man chugging whisky from a flask if you were both train hoppers sitting on the hard floor of a train car in the dark? 

Tea and cheese party

Some of the most memorable moments from this evening's party include:

+ "I love breasts. And I love camel toe." - Zach (75% gay, 25% straight)

+ Janice and Zach emotively singing Mariah Carey's We Belong Together to each other across the dinner table.

+ "You have always had nice breasts." (Or something to that effect.) - Kar

+ Tessa lamenting the lack of curliness of her perm. (It was impossible to console her sincerely by reassuring her that her hair was indeed extremely curly, as she had straightened her hair for the party. No one could have guessed she even had a perm...)



Something I hope to never say: "We're surrounded by lava!"