If I Could Have a Superpower

If I could have any superpower it would be the ability to press pause. I’d watch as vehicles stopped in their tracks, raindrops hung suspended from the sky and people froze like statues in a museum. I can picture it clearly. My world of chaos would dissipate, and calmness would take its place.

“statues in a museum” PC: The MET

Amidst this setting, I could finally organize the mess that is my life. I’d be able to complete all my homework, chores, and responsibilities, with time to spare. I’d spend hours devouring books, articles, and literature in all its shapes and forms, acquiring knowledge far beyond my years. I’d learn Calculus and how to paint; I’d try a new sport and play piano. I would live lavishly; taking bubble baths and treating myself to spa days. I’d finish all seasons of Gilmore Girls and binge Friends for the millionth time. I would cook myself incredible meals or waltz into a Michelin Star restaurant and help myself to the dishes balancing upon waiters’ hands. I would sit with my thoughts – something which I rarely have the time and space to do – and reflect on my past and my future; who I am as a person, and who I want to be.

Everything would be totally under control. I forgot my computer charger? Pause, and I’ll go pick it up. I’m almost dozing off in class? Pause, and I’ll take a long nap. I would do all this and so much more with all the time in the world. And when I got lonely, I would only have to press play, and my day would resume its natural course.

The Best Story

The best reality documentary on youtube is a Vice series titled “North Korean Labor Camps” where they sent a Canadian Journalist, Shane Smith, to investigate the hermit kingdom and bring back cultural learnings with him.

It has everything: politics, humor, wit, fear, camaraderie with absolutely random people, realities of everyday life of common people, getting banned and kicked out, and going into the endless unknown (Siberian Tiga) like a spaceship.

It’s in a blog, video diary format with a pretty bad camera (it was 10 years ago), and it’s just so cool. All seven parts of the series are just insane. He gets in trouble with the FSB, there’s a car chase in the wilds of Siberia, and he befriends the local mob. My favorite part though is all the random people that just helped and tagged along: a cop, ex-chief of police, freelance journalist, and some crazy Russian guy who saved the journalist from angry authorities.

It all started in North Korea, with a video titled “We Tried Sneaking Journalists into North Korea.” In it, you see how unsettling and just off North Korea feels, at least 10 years ago. Anyway, soon he finds out that Koreans are being sent to logging camps for like several years at a time in Eastern Russia and so begins the aforementioned series. I want to do something like this one day.

Besides what he manages to uncover, what’s most shocking is how calm the journalist was despite the tense circumstances. From intimidating drunk guys on trains to North Korean camp leaders telling him no, he just kept his cool and kept asking questions. That’s a Journalist!

PC https://static01.nyt.com/images/2010/12/06/arts/SUBVICE/SUBVICE-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

School Bus Blues

I’ve always hated the school bus, my lack of power and choice of where it goes and when it arrives, it’s never the right temperature in a school bus. You sit there with a sweaty back sticking to the faux leather seats (why do they try so poorly to imitate leather, nobody expects a bus to be a Chariot of luxury) which somehow are always a little too upright. The smell of a bus can never be replicated, like a quiet locker room with some freeway pollution. Your knees press against the seat in front of you desperately trying to get comfortable, that’s an uphill battle— nobody has ever left the school bus feeling refreshed and ready to go. The moment I could finally get my license arrived after freshman year, never again would I be tainted by the horrendous thing they called a vehicle. Never again would I wait hours for it to arrive at the upper campus, and never again would I be forced into that place that’s never big enough, warm enough, or cold enough. Or so I thought since I’m writing this as I make the arduous journey to LA in such a school bus, it’s one of the last times I’ll ride one and there is something so reminiscent of a time I’d long forgotten. This is the new bus though, I never rode it freshman year, still, I’m sitting in the very back and every bump seems to fly us into the air. Still, I’m sweating more than I will in the cross-country race I’m about to run. And still, I think we likely will be late as we travel a whopping fifty-five miles per hour through Woodland Hills. There is something beautiful about a school bus though. The way it groans and struggles to move. Each mile, each foot it travels another desperate journey that it somehow completes without complaint. I like the sounds the bus makes. Every jolt leads to a new one, a hiss of air releasing from the suspension, the squeak of the seats jumping up and down, the sounds of students talking, and the ambiguous notes of music from someone’s AirPods turned up too loud. I like that I have no control over where I’m going or when I’ll be there, perhaps the most relaxing thing I’ll ever do is ride a school bus. The school bus doesn’t care about who you are or what you want, it doesn’t care if you’re working hard enough or if you need to take some time for yourself, it just keeps on struggling one more foot, one more mile, one more groan, hiss, and squeak. 

IMG_1169
pc: Me

obsolete tv shows

Besides Spongebob, I grew up on practically extinct shows my fossil of a Dad made me watch instead of like Disney Channel or something.

My favorite one was MacGyver, (NOT the new one with Lucas Till) which is an action series about a guy who can ‘improvise’ his way out of any situation. Instead of combating danger with weapons like you’d expect, he uses his ability to make gadgets to save himself. To this day I still think the premise is really unique and overall it’s a creative show.

Another much more popular show I watched was the A-team. Again, not the newer movies but the 80’s tv series. It’s also an action about a group of ex-military guys who help people in need and try to clear their name from a crime they didn’t even commit. I remember loving one of the members of the group, Murdoc, who was just this really crazy, goofy guy.

Then there are all the detective shows: Columbo, Magnum PI, Monk, Psych -even Perry Mason- you name it, I’ve seen it. My Dad and I are detective show connoisseurs. He tried to get me to watch cop shows, but they were never my thing (Adam-12, CHiPS).

There was a lot of Sci-fi too, I think Star Trek was my first of these old shows (or Rocky and Bullwinkle). I’ve seen both the Kirk and Picard series, but the former is more memorable/nostalgic for me. There was also Time Tunnel, Twilight Zone, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, etc.

There is more, this is just the tip of my ancient-shows iceberg. There are some really obscure shows I’ve seen. I bet I’m the only person under 50 who knows what the Petticoat Junction even is. Or the Beverly Hillbillies.

Anyway, I’m actually happy my Dad introduced me to these shows from a young age. They really were charming and shaped much of my early childhood.

pc: https://decider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/macgyver.png?w=646&h=431&crop=1

Tik Tok Roundup: Tweak Season

Tweak of the Week. Tweak Playoffs. Free the Commish. A mysterious New Yorker patrols the sidewalks, parks, elevators, and doorways of the city, a vigilante not too dissimilar from Batman. Except instead of protecting the people and stopping criminals, he is heckling normal individuals and acting as “commissioner” of New York City.

Here he is heckling a woman who is trying to spot Mayor Eric Adams (who the commish HATES) from the top of a car.

VC:Tweak Season

He asserts his masterful advice, stating that the woman shouldn’t care that much about the mayor, a belief close to the commish’s heart.

He also inserts his masterful skills in his many passions: here is an example of the Tweak Referee’s architecture masterclass.

VC: Tweak Season

He never fails to update the citizens of NYC of the happenings: relaying celebrity lookalike sightings.

VC: Tweak Season

Shockingly, there are also social justice causes close to the commish’s heart: when he sees an injustice, he doesn’t hold back his feelings about it.

VC: Tweak Season

Overall, The Commish’s lack of care for what others think about him and undying desire to share the stories of the city, and his opinions, make his content must watch. #FREETHECOMMISH

Here are some other great ones for your enjoyment.

Here he just heckles a family gathering.

VC: Tweak Season

Here he just closes someones car door for them without asking.

VC: Tweak Season

This is surely the best one, he recommends a free pile of garbage with good books, dropping the location for citizens to pick up the books.

VC: Tweak Season

Cold

I got a cold. It came on last week Thursday, with a dry throat. I suffered through two days of school, then went home, where it got much worse. I tried to hang out with a friend on Saturday and just felt horrible and fell asleep. I was in bed from then until Friday morning.

Being in bed all week actually gave me some much-needed rest and relaxation, but the looming stress of schoolwork hung over me, making it less enjoyable. I managed to get my work done, but I couldn’t turn a corner on my cold. I was, and still am stuffed up, even though I feel better now (Sunday).

I pushed myself to drive to school on Friday, an hour and forty-five-minute drive both ways which in retrospect I should not have attempted. I was still sick, so I woke up late, got to school late, went to two classes, and halfway through the third, decided to go home. I did take my important stats test and finalized a journalism story, but it wasn’t great.

photo credit: today

In addition to my fatigue, I got denied from my top school, which sucked. I spent the weekend resting, which was great, and I hope to catch up on my work this week, slowly climbing up a mountain of papers, tests, and materials. 9 more weeks soldiers.

Isekai Anime That I Recommend

photo credit: facebook.com

Anime is something that represents all walks of life, from sports players to everyday salarymen, everybody has some representation in this animated world. This connection that people can make to the characters in the anime allows for a deeper viewing experience. One genre of anime known as Isekai follows a normal everyday person as they are transported into fantasy worlds with magic and magical beasts. This list will be my top 3 Isekai anime that I think everybody should watch.

Mushoku Tensei

(Picture not included because WordPress sucks)

This anime follows a shut-in boy to a new world where he is proficient in magic. This visually stunning and comedy-packed show is meant for a viewer that can resonate with the immaturity shown as well as more serious realizations that were made by the characters. This show seems to go deeper into the psychology of the protagonist Rudeus Greyrat than other Isekai’s I have watched. This interesting aspect of the show as well as the complex world and characters that are introduced create a fantastic anime, worthy of my #1 ranking for animes made in 2021.

9.3/10

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

The classic Isekai anime usually shows a character or a few characters transported to another world with their newfound talents and special affinities; Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is different. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash takes a new and unique view on the anime, with the characters facing a world of magic and monsters with a realistic sense of fear and gore. The characters in this show all wake up in a haze and are asked to join the Reverse Army, where they kill monsters and get paid. The strongest people all team up together leaving several weak and fearful men and women to make a lousy team. This team does their best to persevere in such an unforgiving world, and this unique perspective of the Isekai makes it especially intriguing. (Also most definitely not a children’s show due to the gore … and the sexual implications)

8.7/10

The Rising of the Shield Hero

The Rising of the Shield Hero is another excellent anime, falling into a similar category of Isekai as Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash. This show also takes a unique perspective of the Isekai genre where (without giving too much away) the protagonist of the show is scapegoated in a community he was summoned into supposedly as a “Hero.” This show attempts to teach a lesson to the viewer, to never give up, especially in the face of adversity. The main hero of the show has nothing to keep him going, so he relies on the power of spite to fuel himself. This oppressed man wants to prove that he is the strongest and most useful hero to spite those who deceived him into a downfall of public standing. This interesting mindset allows the hero to cut corners in some areas where others that call themselves heroes would have to tread lightly. The Rising of the Shield Hero is an incredibly unique anime that is sure to entertain most viewers.

9/10