Blooming Flowers

大隐隐于市

The Lunchbox, 2014

lunchbox

Everyone should go see this movie, especially if you love Indian food (like me)!

I like the open ending of this movie, so it can have a different ending for everyone, and we don’t have to see Ila divorced her husband, and left with Saajan to Bhutan, or they met but eventually Ila decided to stay with her husband because of her kid, or anything that could happen.

My grandfather is a huge fan of Indian movies, and I watched every movie by Raj Kapoor with my grandpa when I was little. I’ll buy this DVD when it’s available in China and watch it with my grandpa again :)

Just in case you crave some masala chai after the movie, here is a lovely video on how to make authentic masala chai:

I also want to have the round eggplant dish Ila made, so I asked my Indian friend and he told me the name of it, so I found a recipe on how to make Peanut & Poppy Seeds Stuffed Eggplants. (I don’t know how to cook so I’ll just pick an Indian restaurant, you are welcome to try this recipe :)

Divergent, 2014

Divergentmovie-poster_1394820118

Every year my friend and I would pick a “Worst Movie of the Year”, and after Divergent, I think we have a winner for 2014.

Divergent is a not-so-smart copy of Hunger Games, and an even worse copy of Harry Potter. They should have find more people to proofread the script, because most dialogues are disconnected and made no sense.

I decided to see this movie only because I saw Maggie Q in the trailer, but it disappointed me – Maggie Q only had less than 5 minutes in total. The music should have been great, considering the main composer is Hans Zimmer (composer of The Last Samurai, Mission Impossible II and The Lion King), but it failed to meet my expectation.

I should have go see The Lunch Box instead.

Noah, 2014

noah-movie-poster

Noah is the first super hero. (I must say that since I’m Chinese and grew up in China, I have trouble relate to biblical stories like this. )

Pinterest

Pinterest-The_Visual_Discovery_Tool

Pinterest’s algorithm sucks, I’m on the explore page, it suggests me “Peacock Feather Tattoos” (I’ve searched that), “Lush Cosmetics” (I’ve pinned these), “Raccoon” (I love raccoons), and “Jesus Christ” (what?! I’ve been an atheist all my life, this has nothing to do with me)…

So I complained to a friend about it, and he said, “well, Pinterest knows your are going to hell, so it tries to save you by suggesting Jesus Christ :P 

Me:…

Nebraska 2013

February 16, 2014

What a brilliant movie!

Nebraska’s story is so original that you can’t predict what is going to happen next. This is a must-see of the year.

NEBRASKA

I, Frankenstein 2014

Jan 27, 2014

I choose to start this new category This Week In Cinema with I, Frankenstein, because this probably is the most influential movie of the year to my boyfriend. I read some reviews the other day saying this is “the worst movie of the year,” I can’t agree. I, Frankenstein has a weak story, and bad guys are indeed defeated easily, but it at least has big guys muscles and a blonde girl.

Aaron Eckhart was fat in the 2005 movie Conversations with other Women, but here as Frankenstein, he is ripped and buff. This motivated my boyfriend to work out twice a day, and for 1 and 2 hours each.

I-Frankenstein-new-poster

Change your password is easy…

Linkedin won’t let me login unless I change my password.

As usual, for all “reset your password” requests, I set it to the old password I’ve been using. But this time, Linkedin won’t let me use my old password because it is “weak”. However, if I reset it to a much more complicated password, I’m sure this will be the last time for me to login my Linkedin account, because I simply can’t remember any other passwords except the one I’ve been using for all my accounts.

Same thing happened to my Apple account. About 2 years ago, Apple asked me to reset my password. The new password had to follow a certain combination, with upper case and lower case letters, numbers, special characters and cannot contain my personal information. I reset it and couldn’t remember it ever since. After that, each time I wanted to download an app, I had to reset my password once again. So my password got more and more complicated each time I download an app, until I completely got tired of resetting. In the end I switched to Android.

Though I still use my iPad, I stopped downloading new apps. I just use it to browse the Internet and tweet when I’m lying in bed.

I understand that there’s a higher risk of account being stolen associated with simple passwords. But I still believe whether to change password should be my own choice. Instead of preventing me login and forcing me to change password, Linkedin should ask me “Do you want to change your password to protect your information?” after I login, and give me an option to say “No, maybe next time.”

As a result, I will not use Linekdin from now on.

Dutch Colonial Style

I’m suppose to meet a client at his place and discuss how to work on his website. He told me his address, and said, “my house is Dutch Colonial style…”

I replied, “ahhh, don’t know what that is.. You see, I’m Chinese, so there are only two style houses – Chinese style, which consists different styles across China, I can talk about that for a day; and foreign style, I don’t know foreign style, they all look the same to me.”

;)

Girl of Fortune

The case study assignment for this week is about Box, a cloud sharing application. So I logged in my Box account and accidentally found this, something I wrote years ago. It was March 2011, during spring break, I was in Miami with my friend, lying on the beach and enjoying sun shine. I can’t remember why that brought me back to elementary school, with my best friend of that time, Tina. (this story happened in China)

Here’s the story.

————————————-

1.

The day I met my childhood friend Tina began with heavy snow. I went with my mom for Christmas shopping. We had parked the Buick Lacrosse at a parking lot down the street where we almost lost sight of the shopping mall.

Hours passed with no sign of time. The night came, but inside the mall it was bright and warm, made it harder for us to imagine the cold outside.

While waiting for mom outside the fitting room, I heard someone calling my name.

“Daniel,” a girl’s voice, “there you are.”

I looked up.

It was a girl about my age, though the heavy make-up made her more sophisticated. She was wearing the mall uniform and looking at me with perplexity. I wondered if I knew her.

2.

My dad turned to look at me.

It was a night in January, during those New Year family get-togethers. I was seventeen then. I knew my dad wanted my thoughts when he said how he wished he learned calligraphy back in high school, but never had the chance. Outside the window, the sky was clear, and moon shone brightly high above. Mom called for help in the kitchen. Neither of us moved. I tried to study the moon. The moon was huge for the size of a moon, I thought.

My dad knew he had me.

He always does.

I hate dad’s expectations on me, but I love to be his favorite child even more. I know this fact would either be my salvation or the reason why I am a nerd and can never get a date. I know I must do whatever he says. We both know what will happen next -

I looked directly into his eyes.

“Oh dad, I have always wanted to learn calligraphy.” I admitted.

That is where it all starts, doesn’t it? Those piano lessons, swimming trainings, language camps, after-school classes of math, science, chess and private tutoring – always keep one step ahead, my parents would say. I spent all those years meeting what they have expected.

3.

Since I learned how to read, I always sat in dad’s den, surrounded by bookshelves with books piled from the floor up to the ceiling. I spent most of my spare time sitting there and reading. My dad is not like other men around the neighborhood, at least not inwardly. They spent most of their everyday life complaining about work, murmuring about unfairness or soaking in alcohol. However, my dad, as early as I recall, in every snatched moment he always spent his time sunbathing and reading fat books, as last summer: one on the conflicts of the world civilizations, one a biography of Taiwan’s former president Chiang Ching-kuo, with his portrait on the cover. Whenever dad acquired new books, he would immediately stamp them with his name on the flyleaf. At first, I laughed at dad’s obsession with books secretly. Fewer people really care about books now. But later I too, had my own stamp, and stamped all my books once I had them. It started out as a pure imitation, and later turned into a true habit.

I inherited all dad’s habits; if not all, I don’t wear gloves when reading newspaper. However, sometimes I would wash my hands before reading a book. It made my friends uncomfortable.

I believe that is not what made me a solitary today, but it is what made me the kind of solitary I am. Nothing is more acceptable than what we are born into.

4.

A day later, I ran into the girl who recognized me at the mall.

Tina, that’s her name, and she used to live across the street. “We were friends back in the first grade.” She said.

In fact, we were friends since kindergarten, and we used to do everything together. We were both on sports teams, she played tennis, and I swam. Everything seemed wonderful, until one day her mom fled away from home with her tennis coach. Her dad then started drinking, and later imprisoned because of a bar fight. The absence of caretakers in her life eventually dragged her life to the street. We started out the same though; our parents had diverted our lives into different directions.

She started missing school frequently, and later withdrew officially without completing junior high. In order to make a living, she went out to look for jobs. What kind of job is she qualified for with a fifth-grade in reading, and a sixth-grade in math on her academic assessment? Or should she just find a man — any man — who can provide her the occasional ride to the jail 30 miles away? How, then, can she make a way out of this dead-end life?

She has no way out.

Later that day, I lay on the bed but could not fall asleep; thinking about Tina’s life and wondering what I was up to all those years. I had drifted through, ambitious, attentive and serious, worked hard and turned in good essays, passed all the exams and started the life I have today, the real life.

5.

Where have all the fathers and mothers gone? Once the fathers went to war and returned, if they did return. Yet still other fathers and mothers fled away, or went on business trips. Do they think about their children? What better things do they have to do? Why escaping the life they have is so essential that made them left? Or what else are they hiding?

I should ask my parents why they didn’t leave.

6.

Whenever I bleed, it is their blood I shed.

I felt gratitude for all those things my parents did for me.

When their friends flew all over the world for more fun, bought new cars, moved into million dollar villas uptown — how jealous am I over their material abundance. Dad and mom remained in our narrow apartment, kept on the moderate way of life – make plans, work hard and put money aside for my education – so we could get to where we are now. Mom once said, the more you learned the more money you would end up making. Mom used to get up every day at six, to prepare my breakfast, and wake me up on time.

Dad did say that he wanted me to be a doctor, and I did consider it, but probably only because I like Milan Kundera and Andy Warhol and dad liked Confucius and all those classics. In the end dad told me it was hopeless to take up something that wasn’t going to provide me with pleasure for the rest of my life. He was wise in early education.

Though no one has ever taught me the art of being alone, it has already become indispensable to me, as important as the Beatles, or as the kisses on my neck, or as good human nature. Herein, regardless of reading, writing, meditating or even wasting time, I can follow my thoughts and roam in the world of myself – I’m saying the kind of doing nothing but getting lost with deep pleasure. The pleasure I gained through reading is too private to speak of. It was probably inevitable that I grew up to be a solitary.

In earlier years, my dad too, got a high-paid job in Hong Kong that required him to stay there. He worked there for a while, but eventually returned home, because he did not want me to grow up without a father figure that I could look up to. To my parents, this is still the era that family is something you always choose without a doubt – Tina’s parents are one of those few exceptions, and Tina simply has bad luck.

We moved to a new neighborhood after I finished elementary school. My parents wanted it to come to an end, everything with Tina, and the life before. Did I wave at Tina when I was about to move away or did I fight against my parents will? I must have, of course, yet I couldn’t remember now. It is the same as everything else I’ve left behind.

Nanhu Park in winter