MID-AUTUMN LIGHTS

It’s been a hot minute since the last video post, but this one is just in time for Mid-Autumn Festival. If you are in the mood for admiring a lantern festival and happen to be in the Montreal area, look no further than this year’s Garden of Lights, on now until October 31, 2018!

I’ve visited this display for the second year this year, and thought I would share my experience for those of you who are wondering if it’s worth it or can’t make it in person. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone!

MID-AUTUMN MOON

The green heat of summer has cooled into crisp blue afternoons. Cicadas have given way crickets. A shaft of the setting sun slants through the window, the white hot sting of months past now mellowed out into a golden glow. All things are waning, except the moon.

The moon has grown: brighter, rounder, yellower. When I squint, I can almost touch the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) pounding immortal elixir for Chang’e under the osmanthus tree. How long have they been up there? The legends say 4000 years. Now, with the moon so close to Earth, they might just land lightly if the jumped. If they jumped — they’d certainly be in for a shocker.

And so for now, they continue their lunar exile, their likeness commemorated on ever-elaborate moon cake tins and kept alive by our collective imagination. When the Americans walked on the moon, the space team joked that they’d “keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.” In the years since, the Chinese have sent Chang’e 1, 2, and 3 into the heavens, and in 2013, landed a moon rover named Yutu.

I crane my neck to the side of the railing of my narrow porch on the 43rd floor. The moon has slid around the corner and is hiding behind some identical high-rise. It’s been almost a year since I’ve looked up. The lights below are always so much brighter.

I take a bite of the mooncake. A glob of sweet, greasy lotus paste nearly gags me as it sticks to the roof of my mouth. I wash it down with a swig of scalding pu-erh. The tea smells of home, but the mooncake tastes like florescent-light supermarkets. They swirl together as I work off the last bits of stickiness with my tongue.

Past and present, memory and longing, an artificial limbo between the lights above and below.

THE BEST FRUIT IS NOT ALWAYS BIGGER

Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to choosing fruit. I recently got my mind blown by a tour guide who gave the ultimate lesson on how to choose the juiciest, most delicious fruit once and for all. Take this trick with you and I guarantee you will never be stuck with a bad fruit ever again!

First thing’s first, ripeness isn’t the only indicator of a fruit’s deliciousness. You also need to be aware of the sex of the fruit. Fruits come in male and female. Whaat?

Continue reading “THE BEST FRUIT IS NOT ALWAYS BIGGER”

MONTREAL TRAVEL & FOOD GUIDE: PARC ÉCOPÊCHE

Hi friends, my first ever YouTube video is up! In this Montreal travel and food guide, I take you to Parc Écopêche, a nature retreat where you can fish without a permit (gear included), just 30 minutes outside of the city. The most exciting thing about this video is that all my adventures are accompanied by original music that my friend Changhee Lee and I have composed and performed!

It’s our first video, so any comments are appreciated. If you like what you see, please be sure to give the video a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. Thanks for your support!


ORIGINAL MUSIC:

  • “Good Morning, Good Day” by Carol Xiong
  • “Fish Pond” by Changhee Lee
  • “Chill ‘n Grill” by Changhee Lee

PLACE MENTIONED:

GOOD READS

Reading Roundup featuring Homo Deus, Brain on Fire, Big Magic, and Poems that Make Women Cry

Hi everyone, I’m still alive! I’ve been away for a long time due to some health reasons. Thanks for sticking around if you are reading this. I really appreciate your support!

To ease our way back into writing, I thought I would round up some books that I’ve been meaning to share:

Continue reading “GOOD READS”

CONNECT THE DOTS #1: “A WALK IN THE PARK”

Prokofiev Lowell Seurat.jpgWelcome to the first episode of Connect the Dots! This is a series where I connect the dots between three seemingly disparate art pieces (one each from the realms of visual art, music, and literature) that are linked by their shared poetic impression. New episodes are published every Wednesday at 8pm (EST). If you haven’t already, hit subscribe at the bottom of the page to get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Today, the 3 works in focus are:

1. “Bath” from Spring Day by Amy Lowell. Published in 1916 America, “Bath” is a prime example of imagist poetry, which emphasizes clear and simple language that captures reality in its true, unadorned essence. For copyright reasons, read it here.

2. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. This painting, from 1884-1886 France, is one of the largest and most famous examples of pointillism.

Housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, the enormous painting measures 2 by 3 meters. Here it is, via Wikimedia Commons:

4096px-Georges_Seurat_-_A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte_--_1884_-_Google_Art_Project

3. “Comodo” from Vision fugitives (Op. 22) by Sergei Prokofiev. Composed in 1915-1917 Russia, “Comodo” (sometimes spelled as “commodo”) is one of the twenty short piano pieces, or “visions,” that make up Visions fugitives. Lasting no more than two minutes each, each vision paints entire worlds of coloristic impression.

Here is a beautiful recording by the great Russian pianist, Boris Berman, via YouTube (“Comodo” is at the 7:27-8:45 minute mark).


Connections abound between this trio of works. Let’s get right into it… Continue reading “CONNECT THE DOTS #1: “A WALK IN THE PARK””

NEW SERIES: CONNECT THE DOTS

new series announcement.jpg

CONNECT THE DOTS is a new series where I will be connecting the dots between three seemingly disparate art pieces (one each from the realms of music, visual art, and literature) that are linked not by their similarity in style or mutual proximity in history, but rather, their shared poetic impression. The connections are meant to be unexpected, but once revealed, unforgettable.

My hope is that through these explorations, we may:

  1. discover pieces of art that are outside of our usual spheres of expertise,
  2. revisit familiar works with newly washed eyes, and most importantly,
  3. build a sensitivity to the poetic connections between all fields and disciplines.

After all, the ability to connect anything to everything is at the root of all creative endeavor.

MEANINGFUL GIFT GUIDE

meaningful gift guide 2017.jpg

I hate holiday gifts. Or should I say, I hate it when people bustle busily, giving gifts just because everyone else is, only to contribute to what eventually becomes a pile of daily clutter. Rather than getting lost in a frenzy of wishlists, sales, and holiday editions, we should instead turn our efforts at giving meaningful gifts: gifts that can genuinely impact life for the better in lasting and profound ways. I’ve rounded up 6 things that might do just that.

TOOLS

With the New Year around the corner, one of the best gifts to give is a tool to ensure that the coming year is the most fulfilling one yet.

1. Five-Minute Journal

The Five-Minute Journal

The Five Minute Journal has been a true life-changer. After a year of using this, I feel so much happier and more grounded. Touted as a “toothbrush for the mind,” this journal trains your thought patterns to focus on a growth mindset of gratitude and positivity. I’ve tried so many journals, and this one is the only one that not only I’ve been able to stick to, but that has drastically changed my life for the better.

2. Productivity Planner

Productivity Planner

For those who are undertaking a big project, struggling with the procrastination bug, or interested in working even more efficiently, the Productivity Planner is your key to success. Since using this, I have learned so much about myself and my work habits, and have found myself working ever more frequently in a state of flow.

EXPERIENCES

Instead of giving objects, consider giving your loved ones experiences. Do something together, and make memories that last a lifetime.

3. 15 minute timer from The School of Life

School of Life 15 Minute Timer

Time is the most valuable resource we have. When left unmeasured, it slips away faster than quicksand. We all say that we are so busy, but most of us waste 15 minutes a day (on the Internet) anyways. Set this timer and in that 15 minutes, call a loved one, read a book, learn a new language, take a walk, or write a story… Those minutes will add up over a lifetime. The simple choice to use 15 minutes a day on something meaningful (or not) will have outstanding effects. This timer will help and remind you.

4. Quoridor

QuoridorSpending quiet and thoughtful time playing a game with someone is one of the most meaningful gifts we can give. Quoridor is an elegantly simple game with infinite possibilities, perfect for anyone who enjoys chess, cards, or something equally smart, classic, and endlessly entertaining. The best part is that this award-winning game can be enjoyed by 2 or 4 players at once. I, for one, will be playing Quoridor by the fire this Christmas.

BOOKS

Ours is the age of the instantaneous and fragmented. In our daily interactions, we go only an inch deep, barely scratching the surface. It is therefore all the more vital that we hit pause and go deep as much and as often as we can.

5. The Best of Poetry: Thoughts that Breathe and Words that Burn

The Best of Poetry: Thoughts that Breathe and Words that Burn

Poems are well-suited particularly for our day and age because they offer the rare chance to smell the roses while also being short enough to fit into our hectic schedules. For those who don’t know where to start, this anthology is a fantastic point of departure. It offers accessible and powerful masterpieces from across the ages, sorted conveniently into themes such as “solitude,” “love,” “nature,” and much more. I take my poems as a sort of medicine, choosing to read one or another based on what I need in that moment.

6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

For those looking for a longer read, Sapiens has hands-down my number one recommendation. If you do not read anything else, read this. It will shift the way you look at the history, present, and future of humanity in profound, life-changing ways. This is non-fiction at its best: story-telling that transcends literature and a message for every member of humankind.