One step at a time…

Recently, I’ve found myself thinking about my “true calling.” You know, your personal mission in life. At 23-years-old, I do not have a single clue of my so-called personal mission in life. 

We tend to go with the flow or follow the advice of others, including myself. Without realizing it, I have reach a certain point in my life where I wonder if this is where I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be where I am, living, laughing, enjoying every moment and event. The question is: do I want to be here? Have I found my true calling?

These thoughts have been keeping me up late at night. I can’t sleep without forming a good answer and solution for myself.

Then, one day, while enjoying a bowl of red bean soup, I realized that I am where I am because I let it happen, naturally and unwarily (just like I let myself enjoy a nice bowl of red bean soup). I simply cannot realize what I want and where I want to be, like I chose my major in college. To be happy or to achieve happiness, I may have to go through a journey of adventurous attempts and bolder ideas. I think it’s more maintaining a state of happiness than to simply select or realize a “true calling.” As long as I can smile each day, then I know that I’m completing my personal mission. 🙂

Broad Street Run Countdown: 31 days left to go

Am I nervous? No.

Do I feel guilty? Yes.

It’s been over 2 months since I’ve signed up for the race and I have not trained. The only upside is that I’ve been following my regular eating and workout regimen. On the downside, I’ve been heavily drinking and bingeing on the weekends. Worst of all, I have not been running as much as I would like. For Pete’s sake, 12 miles was the most I’ve completed in a week for a very long time. When I was training for the half marathon, I was hitting 25-30 miles per week! Even then, my legs felt like heavy jelly by the 9th mile. Here’s what I plan to do in order to avoid jelly-legs and half-assed results – 

  1. Follow the training plan. Hopefully, mother nature will be nice to me and grant me sunny weather on my runs.  Otherwise, I’ll need a backup running course.
    • x mile run: Fartlek style. Fartlek is a free-flowing format in which you run faster for however long (or short) you want to. Many great athletes, including the Finnish Olympic medalist Lasse Virén, have done their speed training this way. To run this way, I will be challenging my body by doing quick sprints every now and then.
    • muscle train – any workout BUT cardio: Body-weight style. I’m not a big fan of weight machines; I rather use my own body as a weight to train. I’m fairly new to the muscle training area of fitness so don’t judge me! T__T Anywho, I really like the no equipment full body workout plan by “The Bike Guy” (http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Equipment-Full-Body-Workout/). Just a series of your old-fashioned push-ups, sit-ups, planks, and leg-ups. I also want to try the navy seal abs workout… (http://www.instructables.com/id/Navy-Seals-Ab-Workout/step2/Crunches/)
    • Cross Train – any workout BUTrunning (options): 
      • I’m a huge fan of the insanity program and have completed the program several times. Nowadays, I choose a video and jump to it. It’s an amazing workout program and everyone needs to try it! Shaun T is just extraordinary…. and sexy, if I must say.
      • Swimming. This is only if I can get into a gym with my friend’s gym guest pass since I don’t have a gym membership. I’m too poor to afford one… and I simply don’t like working out at a gym. I’ve started my fitness lifestyle in a gym and slowly edged out of it. Nowadays, I’m usually running outside or jumping around my house to Shaun T’s voice.
      • Various gym classes such as cardio kickboxing and boot camp. Once again, I’ll need my friend’s fancy guest pass to LA fitness. Fortunately, I have several good friends with that option :D! 
  2. NO HARDCORE DRINKING. This means no weekend black-outs, Fanny! Yes, you! I mean, me… 1 to 2 shots here and there or a glass of wine is acceptable.
  3. NO BINGE EATING. This means I’ll have to start eating healthy on my weekends as well. I’m in the habit of using my weekends as cheat days. Instead, I’ll have to cut back and start having 1 cheat meal per week only.
  4. Develop a good sleeping pattern. I’ll have to learn how to sleep early on weekdays and even weeknights. No more waking up at 2pm EST on the weekends…. =___=

References:

1. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-263–12081-0,00.html

The Hunger Games VS. Battle Royale (warning: slight spoilers involved)

As of March 23, 2012 3AM EST, I have watched and read the movies and books of Suzanne Collin’s “The Hunger Games” and Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale.” Despite the concept of sending teenagers to a remote location and having them kill each other until one lone survivor remains, the two stories are surprisingly different. Sure, if you have never read/watched either of the stories, then, yes, you’d probably think HG is a “rip-off” of BR. That’s certainly what I thought when I was introduced to HG for the very first time. I thought “damn, another American rip-off of a great Japanese film...” Oh, how I regret saying or even thinking of such a judgement. Let me tell you, HG is a very well thought out story. Suzanne obviously took a lot of time and, most importantly, writing skills to create the world of the Hunger Games.

   So, what are the similarities? Let me point them out in list-format –

  • 20-30 teenagers are sent to a remote island to off each other until one lone survivor remains
  • In the end of the story, more than one survivor walks away from the game
  • Suzanne and Koushun-san has taken a great amount of skill to create and develop each of the characters in their stories.
  • Trackers are forced onto the students in order to track their whereabouts.

Overall, the similarities are material and physical.

What are the differences?

  • Battle Royale is involved with pointless killing. The survivor goes home to his/her typical everyday life. They aren’t treated in any way special. In HG, survivors are crowned victors and given expensive gifts. They are elevated to almost capitol-level. Most importantly, the concept of the Hunger Games is to remind the 12 districts of past uprisings against the capitol. It is the capitol’s tool, used to control the people of each district.
  • There is near zero emotional investment involved from the readers towards any of the characters in BR (I say near zero because a VERY smart part of me roots for Nanahara Shuya’s survival. HOWEVER! I have also rooted for other characters in BR. For example? Mitsuko Souma who is a seductive, manipulative, and purely evil character). For HG, we are very much investing our emotions towards Katniss Everdeen. We want her to win, to survive, and to have a happy life.
  • Battle Royale is all action and violence. Unlike HG, you WILL see severed limbs and leaking entrails in BR. Sure, you see a little bit of blood in HG. However, in BR, you see full footage of exploding heads and victims being hacked to pieces. The reader/watcher of BR is more focused on the strategies and techniques used by each killer which is the essential elements that defines BR. In HG, we are concerned with the people of Panem. We are in love with the idea of creating a better place for the 12 districts. We can relate to the people of Panem because there are certain elements of the government that are corrupt and we want to change it for the people of Panem. Why do we want to see Katniss survive? We want her to become a symbol of rebellion and hope. She is the key to bringing peace and happiness to the 12 districts. For BR, the title of survivor is meaningless. The end results is simply a lone survivor who goes back home as an average-joe.
  • In BR, the program is secret and the deaths/survival of the selected students cause zero to no impact to the Japanese society. These students could just as easily die from a car accident or natural causes and no one would know. HG is a worldwide, public event for all of Panem.
  • BR is not based on a first person perspective. The novel is told in 3rd person but most of the time it is told from the perspective of a single student per chapter (http://www.ratracerefuge.com/bookreviews/takami-battle-royale.html). Unlike HG, the reader does not become absorbed and emotionally invested in one protagonist (Katniss Everdeen). BR zooms in on the minds of each killer/student and helps us to relate to each one.

Neither of the lists are at all conclusive. Please feel free to point our any similarities/differences that I am missing.