Recently Read, Watched, and Listened

Read

How to Break Up With Your Phone, by Catherine Price I liked this read. The first part of the book gives you the facts and the “why”. The second part of the book talks through the “how” using a 30-day plan. While I haven’t (yet) participated in this plan, I can see how it would be effective. Before I begin it, I need to take some time to really identify how I want my phone use to be. Basically, set a goal around it so that I have a direction to work towards other than “I want to use my phone less”.

Reading with Patrick, by Michelle Kuo After watching her TED Talk, I immediately checked out Michelle Kuo’s book from the library. At large, it’s good reinforcement on how taking time to help and support one another goes a long way. It’s at times eye-opening and grounding at the same time. We can do better by treating each other better.

How to Embrace Professional Decline This is an intriguing perspective, and something that I have been giving a lot of thought to. While I’m not unhappy with my work right now, I do feel a sense of “stagnation”. I don’t feel challenged in the same ways that I used to. I don’t feel as fulfilled. I keep chalking this up to a temporary “lull” where things will pick up again soon.

Sikh drivers are transforming U.S. trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway I like reading/learning more about the workforce that I normally don’t think about. Everyone from farm workers to truck drivers to maintenance workers. If not to just remind me of how things get done, and to be more appreciative of how.

Road-Tripping With the Amazon Nomads This lifestyle sounds crazy, risky, and (like the subjects say) lonely. And while I understand that it could be lucrative with the right people, personality, and drive, it also disheartens me a little bit when I consider the consumerism that drives this.

How Cooking Websites Are Failing People With Disabilities This is an excellent post, and acknowledgment, by Serious Eats. It’s an issue not just limited to recipe sites, either. It makes me happy to see more people become more aware of what changes need to occur to make things more accessible.


Watched

Parks and Recreation I’m rewatching this series, through Netflix. I liked it during its first run. Now, as I rewatch it, I more appreciate the really good writing in it. But some of the side characters have become more irritating (mostly Tom, Chris, and Andy).

Aziz Ansari: Right Now Purely coincidental that while I’m rewatching parks and Recreation, Ansari’s new comedy special is released. It was an uncomfortable watch; I kept thinking it was “too soon” to see him back. But then I started questioning that, because I realized that I don’t know the full story. Nor does it directly affect me. And I think that’s part of the message in this show. I want to stop judging and punishing, and want to start taking more steps back to learn and understand.


Listened

Uncover, Season 4 Dubbed as “the Crazy Cat Lady Case”, this is another “true crime cold case” podcast series that caught my interest. I found it interesting to follow from episode to episode. But the narration, the tone and the creepiness of the tone, bothered me by the end.

Day 88 – AeroGarden

This is likely my last AeroGarden post for the tomatoes. The plants are no longer growing in height nor width, and are really focused on just producing so, rather than continuing to post pictures like this one, I’m going to end the photos here. Y0u can see the next “harvest” coming in. I’ll most likely pick them tomorrow, which I’m considering either turning into a salsa or just enjoying in a Greek salad.

I’m overall happy with the AeroGarden “experience”. I originally bought this to use as an herb garden (our kitchen doesn’t get much natural light) but, something told me to experiment with the tomatoes instead. I’m happy I did that.

Don’t hoard vacation days

I took this in 2006 but, I’ve had a vacation since then. Right?

I am off work for the rest of the week. I’m giving myself a break and rewarding myself with a four day weekend. It’s one of the things that I need to improve on: taking more time for myself. I can’t remember the last time I used up all of my vacation days.

And that is a bad thing.

Vacation days are part of your compensation. They are part of your salary. Not using them is almost like forfeiting a part of your salary. And while I am able to carry over some vacation hours to the next year, it’s not to be used as a “safety net”. I need to use those hours.

The last “proper” vacation we have had? It’s been a few years. Some extended weekends here and there. Nothing in the realm of 5+ consecutive workdays off.

So, the rest of the week will have to do until my wife and I can figure out where to go and how to spend an actual vacation. Hopefully soon.

Day 72 – AeroGarden

Salsa, bruschetta, Greek salads… we’re anticipating being able to make a lot of this in the coming weeks. Look at all of the tomatoes coming in! I’m now adding water every 2-3 days and haven’t raised the light hood since the last time. It seems like the plants are holding steady at their current height, and are now just focused on producing.

I think it’s because all six plants’ roots are tangled amongst each other and taking up all of the space in the water reservoir. So, in a sense, they have taken up all the space in the pot.

Which leads to some lessons learned for if/when I grow tomatoes again in the AeroGarden:

  • I’ll only grow 1-3 plants which should yield plenty of tomatoes for us, and take up less space. This might also allow me to use the other spaces to grow other things.
  • I’ll check on the roots more often and untangle them as needed.
  • Earlier in the growth cycle, I’ll transfer some plants to soil and grow them outside.
  • I may look into some auto-watering methods. It’s not a hassle to water manually but, the more automated the better.

On mukbang, I… have questions…

First, I will preface this by saying that I absolutely have no issues with the people who create or watch mukbang videos and streams. If it brings you happiness, if it’s something you enjoy, and you aren’t causing harm to others then, as far as I am concerned, carry on.

A sample mukbang video by Nikocado Avocado

I have been aware of mukbang ever since I first heard of it and what it was about, a few years ago. But I was never really intrigued enough to watch a video, let alone know any more about it. For years it was just “a thing” that other people did.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto a mukbang video on Youtube. That lead me down the famed Youtube rabbit hole and before I knew it, I had watched a few mukbang videos from a few different streamers.

It’s both disgusting and fascinating. I feel similarly when I watch something like Hoarders or My 600-lb Life. And, like those shows, I’m not going to seek them out to watch regularly but when they’re on a screen I cannot turn away.

  • Why?!?
  • Are they actually eating this much in one sitting or, is there any kind of trick photography involved?
  • What do these people do to offset, if anything, the amount of food that they eat?
  • Do they go in for regular checkups on cholesterol, blood pressure, and others?
  • What do their friends and family think of these? Not looking for “judgement” but more along the lines of whether they are supportive or not.
  • I assume people watch not only for the food binge (living vicariously?) but, that they also get “hooked” on the stories and personalities of the streamers, right?

And so, so many more questions. I also wonder if there is any shame, regret, embarrassment from mukbangers (?) when employers or colleagues discover their videos.

It’s a weird trend. It doesn’t surprise me that people make money from it but, I do wonder where the limit (on what people will do for money) is.

Nintendo E3

I have been keeping up with all of the Nintendo news from E3 and it has me excited about some games that will be coming out soon.

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons – This looks like a fun game that I (and many others) can get lost in. Animal Crossing has a very calming effect on me. I’m not alone here, according to this Reddit thread. This comes out on March 20, 2020 so I have some time to get through the Games I have before diving into it.
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – My first reaction to this was “Uh oh, I guess I need to go back and spend some time with BOTW!” I haven’t put any serious time into the first one. I love it, it’s just that I haven’t had time to play it the way that I really want to play it. Not yet.
  • Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening – I like what they have done with this remake, from the art and design to the 2d game play that I’m so used to with Zelda games. I also love the elements and characters from other Nintendo properties/Games that have made their way into this. It just looks fun.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – I’m intrigued with this one. It’s mainly because of my love for The Dark Crystal as a child. I was really never partial to “tactical strategy games” though, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to get into it and, as such, I’m not so sure I’ll buy it. But, intrigued!
  • Pokémon Sword/Shield – I’ll most likely end up picking one of these up. I like the Dreadnaw Pokémon design.
  • Contra Anniversary Collection – My brothers and I loved played Contra, growing up. It’s just a fun “shoot everything” type of game. This was a nice surprise (just released) so I’ll probably be downloading this soon.
  • Metroid Prime 4 – No mention of this during E3 but it still is my most anticipated game for the Switch. Until it’s released, there will be plenty of other games (above) to keep me occupied.

Update June 13: Just watched the gameplay video for Hollow Knight: Silksong. It looks great! Love the sidescrolling genre so much. I’m adding this to the list of games to pickup when it’s released.

WNT vs Thailand… 13 goals!?!

I was so excited to watch the game, the team’s first of the tournament. It felt like forever between the Women’s World Cup opening day and today. I can’t imagine what it felt like for the players and coaches having to wait to play their first match. Imagine the pent up energy and emotion they all had as athletes who have dreamed of playing in the World Cup for their entire careers.

And as you may have heard by now, the team unleashed it all! The final scoreline will tell you that the Women’s USA Team scored 13 goals while the Women’s Thai team scored zero. In the soccer world, that’s a lot. So much, in fact, that it broke records and is the highest number of goals scored by any World Cup team, men or women.

If you didn’t watch the game, you missed much more than the scoreline. The team played really well. They attacked the entire time. Thailand barely made it to their attacking side of the field, the entire match. Yes, Thailand was overmatched (and we all knew this going in). Yes, that played into the result but, it also had to do with the World’s number 1 ranked team (USA) playing like, well, the World’s number 1 ranked team.

I believe that Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl summed it best “… I’m also not a professional soccer player, and I don’t feel comfortable policing the natural emotional reaction of someone who has just done something that may be the pinnacle of her career: Scoring in a World Cup.”

As others have mentioned, the controversy should have less to do with the scoreline and more to do with the players’ celebrations. In which case I still stand with the players. This is a lifetime dream, a lifetime achievement.

There is much more to this argument. More layers, namely the divide between the soccer programs in countries like the USA versus the ones in Thailand (for example). In my opinion, Thailand played very well for Thailand. Especially considering that they were PLAYING THE NUMBER 1 RANKED TEAM IN THE WORLD! The Thai team got to the World Cup. They’re good enough to get there. They earned it. And now they’ll continue to build and develop.

I feel the same watching the South Korea team. They’re not doing too well in the tournament. But they have what it takes; we know this because they got to the tournament in the first place. Growth and success is build on failures (losses).

#fifawwc

I’m excited for this year’s World Cup. The US Women’s team is one of the most talented pool to exist, and it shows with the depth that each position has. Not to mention that many of the players can play multiple positions.

I’m excited because this is an international event where players, individuals, from all walks of life, all cultures, classes, backgrounds, etc… that are all working towards the same goal. And this is a rare sight in this current political and global climate. I think Greg sums this up in a very good way on his blog.

Day 58 – AeroGarden

Every morning we play a game to see how many new tomatoes we can spot growing. All six tomato plants have tomatoes on them. And they just keep appearing everywhere!

I had to raise the light hood again. You can see that the plants on the right are growing straight up. The middle and left side are still branching out horizontally and need the most pruning.

It’s really fun to watch this all happen.

The Gaming Grandma

I recently watched this documentary on Shirley Curry. This is the purest, sweetest, most genuine thing I will watch this week.

Turns out that she has been quite the phenomenon for a while. And after watching the documentary, and then a few of her videos, I can see why. I can see the draw. I can see the uniqueness that she brings as a gamer. And I love that she uses SkyRim to tell stories.

I also got slightly teary-eyed when I learned that she will have a NPC, based on her, included in Elder Scrolls 6.

Don’t write off elderly people. Just… don’t.

3 whole days!

If Taylor Swift’s curated playlist, on Apple Music, tells me anything, it’s that she and I do not share the same taste in music.

I’m headed into the three day weekend having met all of my deadlines on both the work and the school fronts. This means, there is not excuse for me not to enjoy this time off. My brother in law is spending the weekend with us so, it gives us a good opportunity to play tourist and enjoy the area.

With nothing hanging over me. It feels good. Stress free. Clearing the road for a very enjoyable three day weekend.