Why I’ll Never Stop Obsessing over Sci-Fi

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Oblivion. Dir. Joseph Kosinski

A friend let me borrow Oblivion this weekend, and although I didn’t loose my mind over it, I did appreciate the world they created for this sort of futuristic “mop up crew” that is Tom Cruise. That suddenly had me thinking why I borrowed the film in the first place.

Maybe it’s the all of the countless nights I spent nestled beside my dad devouring junk food (perfectly hidden from mom) watching films like Alien or Terminator 2. He’d always tell me to uncover my eyes at the most gruesome parts. Thanks dad, I never got over that alien popping out of that dude’s chest, I’m traumatized for life.

Or maybe it’s because I wanted to be just as cool as the boys running around with toy guns and their fists in the air yelling “WE RUN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD!” (Cue several oddly shaped scars and bloody knees). I remember falling in love with sci-fi at a young age and my love affair with the genre never died. It’s funny how some people feel the need to slap a label onto those who crave mystical creatures, futuristic cities and the vast black sea of stars. “Geek, nerd, Comic-con freak.” I welcome it with open arms though, dodging stereotypes like Neo dodged bullets in the Matrix because I owe my larger than life imagination to sci-fi, and wouldn’t trade that for the world, or the universe, or deep deep space, or the Final Frontier…you get it.

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How To Forget Your Troubles in Singapore

1. Eat a lot of crappy food, then don’t eat at all. Cry. Workout til you want to throw up. Punch the wall if you must, scream if you must. Watch Pretty Woman and wish Richard Gere would climb a fire escape to rescue you. Then watch Terminator 2, drool over Linda Hamiliton’s muscles and remember you don’t need a man to to rescue you or to kick butt. Try and swallow the tears before you walk into the office, because being dumped is not a reason to be late. Stare at the ceiling as you try to fall asleep for the seventeenth time. Wake up, repeat.

2. Wipe your tears, and use your leftover flight credits you had booked for a trip to visit him and book it for Singapore to visit one of your best friends instead.

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3. Make a promise to yourself that once you board that plane you won’t come back the same person you are right now.

4. Arrive in Singapore and give your friend the biggest hug, because in that hug is everything you’ve been carrying alone for the past 4 months. Your shoulders already seem a little lighter now. Hold on tight to your bags as she waves down a taxi, hop in and begin to take it all in. The buildings are tall and otherworldly, from the future maybe. It’s almost 1AM but you’re not tired anymore. The reality of being somewhere brand new electrifies your body and stimulates your senses.

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5. Drop your bags in your hotel room and dive into the sea of white sheets. Wrap yourself in them as you lay back and stare out the window. It took you almost 28 hours to get here. You’re in the future, major Marty McFly style. Before you go out make a list for yourself.

1. Live in the moment
2. Laugh a LOT
3. DON’T check your email
4. Eat whatever you want
5. Leave your worries here

You can’t leave until you’ve checked everything off this list.

6. While your friend is at work take this opportunity to explore like mad. You won’t have cell phone service, so memorize the street names, left and right turns, bus stops and go. Walk without headphones and take in the sounds around you. The different languages and motorcycles wooshing by. The old Chinese man playing Jesus Loves Me on his harmonica. Oh, and words of advice, wait for the little guy on the crosswalk to turn green before you try and gun it across the street like the locals do you don’t wanna risk being toppled by a double decker bus.

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Look to the right and left, up and down. Don’t miss a thing. Ask a stranger for directions and he’ll tell you he doesn’t speak english. Ask another stranger for directions and he’ll ask why the heck you’re walking that far and to “just take a taxi!” and you’ll simply reply that it’s because you want to. He’ll laugh to himself as he points you in the right direction.

7. Keep getting lost until you finally stumble upon one of the wonders you’ve been drooling over in all of the travel magazines and blogs. It’s real this time for you, up close and personal. You stand amongst the others–some tourists, some locals, and admire it, crane your neck to take in the vastness of it all. It’s even more overwhelming in person, more than you imagined it to be. Take lots of pictures, your trip doesn’t exist without pictures (or does it?).

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8. Go out to eat and try literally EVERYTHING. Nothing’s off limits. Peppered bullfrog, veal tongue, chili crab, smooth yummy bread rolls, yes I said smooth, because they were. Taste it and sigh with satisfaction, because it’s so dang good. Memorize the spiciness of the veggies and sweetness of the traditional chendol, and pray to God that you’ll be able to recreate something even remotely similar when you get back home.

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9. Meet the perfect stranger who just happens to know everybody in this town. Let him whisk you and your friends away to unlock a different part of the city. It’s crawling with unexpected excitement. The music, the food, the people. You’ll meet so many amazing characters, I swear tonight will feel like a movie, especially after late night karaoke ;)

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10. Eat more food.

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11.  Tour the Financial District at night and watch it become a place of wonder as 30 or so cyclists whisk by you with their bright headlights, momentarily transforming themselves into temporary floating stars.

12. Get stuck in immigration coming back from Malaysia and fear for your life for 90 minutes (don’t ask).

13. Make new memories to replace the bad ones…

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14. Spend your last night at your friend’s place scrolling through the hundreds of photos and videos you’ve taken. You both giggle in the dark, with bright screens illuminating your faces. Your bodies are sore from the several days of constant exploring but you can barely fall asleep. You’re not ready to leave yet but you close your eyes and try to sleep anyways.

15. You catch your last taxi ride in Singapore to the airport. Other than the traditional Chinese music playing in the cab, it’s eerily quiet on the streets tonight, or maybe it’s just your feelings reflected onto the city. As your plane takes off, smile to yourself when you think of all the good times you had that week. Watching cyclists turn the city into a sea of fireflies, the smell of the street vendors and durian because of the laughs they brought you, the colorful view of Malaysia, watching BigBang music videos at 2 in the morning, forgetting that you needed to pay for toilet paper (HA). You’re grinning from ear to ear so much so that your neighbor asks what you’re thinking of. You simply smile and say that you had the best time of your life.

16. You remember now that the world is bigger than one relationship. That maybe you’ll be okay. And that my friends, means everything.

London Withdrawals

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*I’m missing London, so I’m sharing a few old posts! 

Welp, it happened. I fell in love with the foggy town. I knew I’d fall in love. I told myself I’d be Cameron Diaz in the Holiday, refusing to fall for Jude Law. But how could she resist that crooked smile clad in those crisp blue oxford shirts and perfect tweed coats? And how could I resist that architecture and history? Or the cobblestone streets,  fashionable commuters and cozy pubs?

You know you’ve fallen hard when the things that used to bug you about a person don’t bug you anymore. I usually don’t care for the rain unless I’m cozy, tucked away somewhere by the fire, but in London I welcomed it with open arms. I wrapped my scarf tightly around my neck and pushed against the winds like a champ.

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There was something freeing about that Underground transit. The freedom to go anywhere on the map I held in my hand by just hopping on a tube. This wasn’t anything new, NYC and Chicago have their subways, but in London everyone seemed to be so much more excited to get to where they were going, even if it was to work. The little conversations I’d overhear were so witty and lively, many times I wanted to include myself but quickly realized how ridiculous I’d look so I resorted to eavesdropping instead.

My appetite for wanderlust isn’t even close to being satisfied, I just crave more and more each time my plane touches down. Travel will always be addicting. The meeting of new people and getting lost on accident before getting lost on purpose will never get old.

London I miss you. I’ll come back to you soon. We can have a long distance relationship can’t we?

CAN YOU HELP US? WE’RE LOST…

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*I wrote this in the at the end of last 2013  but never shared. Flashback friday blog post anyone?

Today is our second day in Croydon, England a part of Surrey. Yesterday we were too pooped to do anything. Jet lag got the best of our frail bodies. Pfft. But today at noon we said no to our warm comfy hotel beds and ventured outside. The winds had been howling all morning, and the rain was fierce. We thought for sure we’d be drenched by the time we got to London. The rain held off though! I think the rain gods had mercy on our tourists souls.

First we needed to find “the bus stop”. Little did we know that there is a bus stop on EVERY single corner in Croydon. So we picked one. Queenhill Road to be exact. I won’t go into too much detail, only that we missed the right bus twice, for fear of it being the wrong one. How silly is that? Once we were on the shiny red double decker we got off too early for the train station. We were laughing so much that when we hopped off a woman stopped us to say how refreshing it was to meet “happy people” we told her we were happy and lost. She helped us find the station. “Oh goodness your miles and miles away from the station loves! It’s thatway!”

Once at the East Croydon station, the ticket machine decided to try and eat our money. So we had to go stand in line and actually purchase them from a human, a man who inspected Regina’s license too hard and too long. Catching the train to London Bridge was the easiest part. Watching the sun start to settle down for the evening while racing over the tracks was relaxing and invigorating all at the same time.

The London Bridge station was pure chaos. Madness in the form of people scurrying around, running to catch the next line. They looked like those ants from those ant farms kids used to be so enchanted with in the 90s (I wasn’t, I thought they were dumb). So much for blending in. Our pace was slow and careful, taking care not to screw up. We did screw up though, like 7 times. So much so that I threw in the towel and welcomed getting lost. When we’d finally reached Green Park via the Victoria Line, we’d gotten the hang of things. Walking up those stairs from underground and seeing all those beautiful buildings was so, so right. I was sad that the sun had already set, we’d spent so much of our travel time getting lost! But seeing London for the first time at night held some sort of special meaning for me. All the movies I’d seen that had cast London as the lead character came rushing back to my memory. The imaginary car chases and romantic affairs. This was real though, finally real. The night was mysterious and dignified. Couples occupied benches underneath the stars as Big Ben watched them. The festive pubs were bursting at the seams, and the slumberous children that were too tired to walk were getting piggy back rides from their parents. 

I’d like to say that we didn’t get lost coming back. But we did. Twice. The bus driver was kind enough to escort us back to Queenhill Road himself. Day 2 of being in England, and I’m already in love. That’s the thing about getting lost though, it forces you to have a real adventure. It kicks us in the rear and makes us talk to kind strangers and gives us a little confidence.

When’s the last time you got lost?

You’re Pretty For A Black Girl

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This comment (some people think it’s a compliment) either makes me laugh or want to slap someone, just depends on the mood I’m in. I mean what is that supposed to mean really? Take note I’m not talking about simply commenting on the beautiful color of someones skin, hair texture, eye color, etc. Like all that is cool.

“You’re pretty for a black girl.” I’ve heard this phrase so much recently I finally started to try and break down as to why it rubs me the wrong way.

I realized that it’s the same as saying to someone,  “You’re pretty for your age” or “You speak good English for a Mexican”. It usually comes from a place of preconceived stereotypes. Telling someone that she’s pretty for a/an (insert race here) usually means that you have never found that race of women to be particularly attractive. Which is completely FINE. Never have I tried to change someones mind about who they are attracted to or find pretty, but if you’re trying to use that as a compliment, IT’S NOT, and never will be. So please stop. It doesn’t make the other person feel pretty or flattered, it’s quite the opposite. Instead it leaves them in defense mode, scraping to find the right words to respond to the “compliment” you just gave them. It says about you, the person who’s dishing out the compliment that you don’t normally roll with people who look like me, but that I’ve become your exception.

It’s like after that comment why would I want to be your “exception” anyways? I think I’d want to be around people who found my culture interesting as a whole, not just one tiny part of it.

At the end of the day I’m not ranting about this to beat people down but to inform. Why can’t we just be beautiful? Why can’t someone just be athletic or smart or well traveled? Comments like this will probably never stop, but if I can voice my opinion and keep a few people from saying things like this then I’ve done my part. So, the next time you’d like to compliment a lady, tell her that she’s just beautiful, period. Not beautiful for being Black, Asian, or Indian, just beautiful.

Peace and love babes.

*Image source, Being Mary Jane

Cinematic Style | Manhunter

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give anyone a valid reason as to why I’m completely obsessed with 80’s flicks. Heck, I wasn’t even born in the 80s man. But I can’t help it. The grainy film, the mostly vibrant colors, the synthpop music that makes you feel like drum kits are life’s answer to everything. Man it just gets to me. HA. I’m laughing at myself. Ridiculous. Anyways my random Netflix pick last night was Manhunter, it’s kind of a prequel to Silence of the Lambs. It’s so good, totally worth the watch for the story, but even more so for the look and feel. I was into it. The negative space and the soft colors in the first shot had me hooked. The rest is well…you should watch, but only if you’re into tortured dads hunting down serial killers that are obsessed with dragons.

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