Trial by Error

I am a horrible writer. I hope to get better at it by writing regularly. Well sort of. This is my personal blog.
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I was about 12 when I attended a karate class. My parents urged me to take up a sport, so I chose karate, influenced by the countless hours watching SpongeBob and Sandy square off against each other in wacky outfits. SpongeBob was probably one of my favorite cartoons, and it had an undeniable influence in my early childhood years.

I learned a lot from those classes. Back then I thought I would never stop karate, and I knew how much I loved practicing it. It wasn’t just the self-defense techniques that I learned. There was really only thing that really stuck with me over those conversations that I had with my sensei was about. I’d put it in quotes, but I don’t really remember exactly what he said. 

"The reason you join karate changes as you grow older. Some might be learning to beat up some kid or become stronger. But the more you practice the more you learn that you’re not doing it for the same reason anymore."

Okay so I put it in quotes anyway. But the point is that it stuck with me.

The other thing is that I’ve also been into men’s style and clothing for a long time now. I think it’s been about three years since, and the improvements in my learning have been vast, all of my education coming from the internet.

Back then, the websites I read about men’s style was highly technical and scientific. There was one post about how one’s skin complexion affected the colors of your outfits. Now that I think about it, it was pretty weird. It was weird that they talked about how things would look better on certain people, like how some asian dude looked better than Ryan Gosling because of the contrast in his skin. It was…weird.

Well I’m not in a position to judge. Now I’ve become someone who wants jeans and sweatshirts that are about triple the value of normal ones with detailing that even a keen observer would be sure to miss. Someone who wants to wear Neapolitan suits and shirts, despite being in an environment that is either sweltering hot or currently experiencing a torrential downpour. It’s impractical. And honestly, kinda weird.

What I realized from these hobbies though (and also the advice my sensei gave me okay it was mostly from my sensei), that there’s something more to liking something than just what’s superficial about it. Hobbies that people get into and are passionate about, for one thing or another, change you as a person, not only through what you learn about your hobby, but also what you learn about yourself.

And I learned I get into some pretty weird shit.

I still remember the first time I read The Catcher in the Rye. I’ve always thought it was just like all those other books that have been so famous and have never read, like Gulliver’s Travels, Oliver Twist, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and basically anything under Shakespeare. 

I’ve always sort of hated school. I hate how you’re forced to learn all these meaningless facts and then have your grade determined by how well you know those facts. It’s stupid and useless. I mean I guess it’s okay if you really wanted to learn those facts, but saying that learning these facts are actually important just seems like bullshit. I guess some subjects are important though. I really do understand that the process of studying helps us become better people though. Literature helps us empathize with people and learn how it feels to see in another person’s perspective. English helps us not look like fools when we type. Science helps us become more curious about the world and strive to seek answers to our questions. Not math though. Math just sucks.

The Catcher in the Rye was the first book that didn’t really seem like a chore to read. I finished it easily and enjoyed it just as much. I didn’t really get the book though. I guess i just liked reading about the adventures of a boy living alone in New York.

I was a terrible reader back then. I never really understood the whole maturity innocence connection. I didn’t even know why the book really was called The Catcher in the Rye. Boy Living in New York made so much more sense back then. And you’d think that having a teacher go through the chapters in the book would actually help, but I think it made it worse. I think my brain just shut off when I heard in our class discussions about the red hunting cap and how red symbolizes anger or something. IT WAS RED BECAUSE IT WAS RED. Naturally, it wasn’t red because it was red. It was because Allie’s and Phoebe’s hair was red, and that was a way for Salinger to use symbolism to say that Holden just wanted to be like them, to stay as a child and forget that he has grey hair, which is a sign of age. I can’t even remember if my teacher told us that. It wouldn’t have mattered though. I probably wouldn’t have listened. I’m a better reader now.

I guess it was my aversion towards learning in the classroom that really prevents me from learning anything the school teaches us, no matter how interesting something like a novel is. I guess that points out to a flaw in the system, how sometimes forcing someone to study because there’s a test instead of studying because they want to learn the subtle nuances of a writer who has managed to capture readers who have little similarity with time period will ultimately lead to people like me to shut down to learning.

The Catcher in the Rye could possibly be one of my favorite books of all time. But not when I have a test for it.

Ever since my interest in clothing began to develop when I was around 16, most especially tailored clothing, I’ve been through so many blogs. There are blogs that I started reading that never fails to educate me with content that is interesting, and more often than not, pedantic. There have also been blogs which I have since stopped reading, because I realized that the content they produce isn’t really consistent with my passion for clothing. I guess I’m less of a person who wants to look good for the sake of others and more of an iGent, an insult that many posters of forums on the internet, most especially Style Forum, use to refer to themselves in an ironic twist. The definition and typical characteristics of one is much debated and would take much too long for me to explain, but the gist of it is that these are people who go over the internet and discuss about vintage things and obscure rules and traditions that hopefully would help them become a better-dressed gentleman.

These men are typically in their mid-thirties onwards, most with established careers and monthly salaries. I’m a college student with no job, and an allowance that can barely cover the cost of a tie, let alone a suit or other expensive articles of clothing and footwear. The thing is, despite my passion for these kinds of things, it’s just not in my budget. I guess it’s kind of like being into cars for other people my age. These people probably know the inner workings of a car and all these brands and places they could buy a great car but at the end of the day, we’re just waiting to get jobs and dreaming that our salaries could cover the cost of this hobby of ours. 

I guess that’s the only thing stopping me from making a blog about tailored clothing, that i just don’t really have any content to write about. This is why this blog is just about thoughts I have on certain topics. I would never really share this blog with my friends in real life though, because I don’t want to have to think of an audience when I write, and I want to be able to just write for myself. Probably the hardest part about writing is that I don’t really know the topic that I’m writing about, and that makes it kind of weird when I have a title about something but then I go into different topics.

Writing is difficult. I hope I get better at this.

Sometimes it’s just nice to marvel at the wonders of science and its practitioners.

(via wilwheaton)

edwardspoonhands:

Heroes are important…they’re valuable, and I hate to see that eroded for anyone. What should be understood, though, is that no one is going to embody perfection…ever. I’ve done some shitty things in my life…so have you.

We’re all complicated…we’re all clawing our way through existence lucky to…

I think that the adulation we give to these heroes can be extended beyond just individual people. Anything capable of embodying an idea that we cherish is similar to the thought that heroes represent ideas that we can worship or support.

Starbucks is a great example because it is able to sustain itself on beverages that cost way more than what you need to produce it. When someone buys a beverage from Starbucks, that person isn’t just paying for the beverage alone, but for the experience as well. For Starbucks, it’s about this sense of community. Despite the number of misspelled names, Starbucks doesn’t use numbers or gadgets to call people for their beverages because names, no matter how badly spelled they are, are more personal, and it makes us feel like we are part of this community of coffee house customers and employees. This is the appeal of Starbucks, because they are able to embody the idea of a tight-knit community in their business.

A few weeks ago, I remarked about how I wanted to learn Italian for my foreign language class in the upcoming semester. My aunt and uncle both told me that it would be useless in my career and that I should focus on something more useful. What really made me think is when they told me that I should work first before I can really begin to really enjoy myself.

As kids, we were told all our lives that we should follow our dreams and that if we tried our best we could be anything. What was ironic is that I never really had a dream of becoming anything other than a businessman in my childhood, and now I have all these dreams about different professions and how I would love them, especially in comparison to just being another corporate drone, slaving away the rest of the years of my life until I can sit away in retirement and wait to die in peace. Sometimes I think about how it would be great to be a professional chef, photographer, writer, tailor, or even just opening up a small (or big) shop selling things that I passionately enjoy, like coffee or tailored clothing.

Recently, I have had the desire to live my life, explore the world, go on an adventure. Earning money at just another average corporate job just doesn’t seem enough anymore, although it seems like my likely career choice. It seems like many of my dreams will go to their graves without seeing the light of day.

However, even though I am most possibly doomed to this sedentary occupation, meeting with fake people who all have hidden agendas (or as how the media portrays it, (which doesn’t make it reliable, but doesn’t make it false) I will not succumb to this kind of lifestyle, with the hope that maybe I can make up for the dreams I never dreamt in my childhood.

I’m picking Italian.

Recently, Bill Nye agreed to participate in a debate that would see him arguing against Ken Ham, a proponent of creationism, and this move has been widely panned by critics. Many websites talk about how this move by Bill Nye has gained a lot of attention and may allow people to believe that creationism is actually a valid scientific basis for the origins of our planet.

I disagree with the critics that claim this. This debate has been watched by a lot of people over the internet, people who are either for evolution or creationism. I believe that by agreeing to this debate, Bill Nye has allowed to reach a bigger audience than they would have without it. This is a chance for people like Bill Nye to reach out to not the creationists, but for their children. These children could be teenagers who have never been exposed to any material promoting evolution. They could be people who have always lived in a community that has promoted creationism. These people are living inside a bubble. These people could reach adulthood without being presented a lecture on evolution and why it is a valid basis for the origin of man, unlike creationism. This debate has allowed the scientific community to reach out to these individuals, and maybe someday their doubt could grow into a better understanding of why creationism is wrong. 

The scientific community will never be able to change some of the minds of some individuals believing in creationism. But through this debate, Bill Nye can reach out to these children that are the hope of the United States. And this is what Nye wants to achieve. He wants scientifically literate individuals that can pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. 

By agreeing to this debate, Nye has strengthened the beliefs of creationists because of the show that Ham put on. But this debate isn’t going to change the minds of any evolutionists. On the other hand, it could be possible that maybe somewhere, a kid watching this debate with his friends and family might make him think, “Bill Nye is making a lot of sense.” And that is a win for science.

Derek’s post over at Put This On made me think about some things I’ve read about how beauty has changed over the years. Is it because something looks good like the suit that makes it appealing? Or is it the notion of the suit that appeals to us and makes us believe it is aesthetically pleasing?

I think of how women in the Renaissance period are really curvy by today’s standards, and yet in their time they were considered beautiful. I believe that aesthetics might represent more than just what we believe to be proportional and pleasing, but more about what this kind of beauty represents.

I also remember reading somewhere how what is considered beautiful also coincides with what we believe to be affluence or status. The curvy women of the Renaissance period weren’t desirable because their figure appealed to potential mates, but because they are part of the upper class who could afford to have some extra weight because they are affluent. White girls would be coveted for their skin, because they could afford to stay indoors rather than be forced to work outside. And from what I remember, tanned people are either the people who were workers who literally struck gold and were able to get rich, or were people who were able to afford to go to different countries with higher levels of sun exposure.

While I do believe that the suit is aesthetically pleasing and makes a man look thinner, taller, and stronger all at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if this is just our way of rationalizing what we believe to be a symbol of the powerful and elite. Maybe one day, generations after ours, people will talk about how the suit and its relation towards power in society, and not be able to relate to the aesthetic that we see in it.