Catching up with my Train of Thoughts


June 2015

“Ever wonder what was going on in someone’s head?” (Review) (Spoilers)

Ever wonder how someone is almost always smiling, even when everything might seem at its worst? Or wonder how someone could have the shortest temper, getting angry at the smallest thing? How someone could come up with lots of worst-case scenarios and is prone to high levels of stress? Or maybe there’s someone of whom thinks of only the negative, insistent that nothing will go as they would like it to go?

Inside Out is a movie that demonstrates what goes on in someone’s head, specifically with their emotions. I remember hearing that, while there are many emotions, most can be derived from a few main ones: Happiness, Anger, Sadness, Fear (Personally, I’m not sure where Disgust comes from).

Seeing it, the difficulties of the teenage life come to mind. First of all, there’s the physical growth spurt. Second of all is the fluctuating hormones. Thirdly, we tend to try to be more mature than we actually are. Fourthly (maybe most important of all), we’re in a new environment with different teachers, different kids, and a different school altogether. Fifth and maybe the final, with the new environment, we might be forced to find new friends and might be left alone to make our own decisions, which might be something new to us.

Becoming a teen is no easy feat. There were stories that stated that reaching 16 meant adulthood in the past. Neuroscience and Biology might say otherwise, with studies that suggests that teens wouldn’t be fully matured until 21 on average. Nowadays, some places say that 18 is the legal age while others say that 21 is the legal age.

So, is that what all teens are aiming for? To become an adult as soon as possible? Or maybe they’re like Riley, who wants desperately to go back to a time and place where everything was happy, where everything stayed the same and she didn’t have to worry about anything changing.

Even as we become adults, not everyone has a…. harmonious balance of their emotions (that’s putting it lightly). Some might still have their Anger being actively engaged in daily activity. Some might have the other emotions struggling to pull Sadness off of the console. And some might let Joy lead the other emotions everyday.

Either way, Joy, Sadness, Anger and Fear are crucial to an individual’s understanding of the world. And you know what – maybe Disgust represents our instincts that are deeply ingrained. Our memories are the foundations of different parts of our personality. We’ll have our down moments, but we’ll also have our up moments. I said that the five are crucial – that means that they’re crucial as a team because one or three can’t manage the console alone.


Even in the world of Pokemon, time still ticks by… (Spoilers) (FEELS)

Recently, I got Pokemon X (Fangirl squeal), and pretty much spend a large majority of my recent time solving every puzzle that presented itself in the game as I came closer to beating the Champion, Diantha.

Among the many puzzles, there was one that was so curious. In Anistar City was an old man residing in a small home, asking for a young Pokemon to take care of, as a companion of sorts. Being naive, I was wondering why he was there – was there a significance of giving him a young Pokemon?

So, what did I do? I gave him a level 3 Pikachu and was quickly back to running into the snow cave to save an Abomasnow from Team Flare. I saw him once or twice after that, seeing that he seemed to enjoy the company and I got the impression that he became sad when he asked if I wanted the Pikachu back.

I left it with him, running back and between places, beating one Gym after another, finally completing the within 3 weeks. It was only recently that I thought about checking on him and the Pikachu that I left with him.

This is what I found (not my character, but the letter’s content was the same): 

No one was there. No old man in sight. Just a Pokeball in the middle of the room. I was running around, catching Pokemon of all sorts, battling anyone who came my way and… it never occurred to me that there would be a day in which he was no longer there.

Reading that letter brought reality back. With every new version of a Pokemon game, the developers try to make it more realistically.

In Pokemon X, similar to the previous generations, there would be different colours in the sky for different days. There would be snow for days of which would be consistent with winter times and orange leaves consistent with fall.

And, of course, days would be counted where it was needed. For this one, his days were fading, fast.

It’s like that in the real world. No matter how much fun you might be having, you’re  still sacrificing time. Time that could be spent with treasuring moments with people of whom you may never see again. Time that could seem unlimited for some, but obviously limited for others.

This man, we never found out his name. He was a character among the thousand of others. With research, it can be found that his wife had recently passed and that he had become depressed.

Having a Pokemon as company made him happy. In his letter, he expressed his happiness and sadness.

It struck so many chords. It reminded me of relatives of whom I haven’t seen in so long. It reminded me of the older generations, many of whom you could count the days or months they had left on your hands.

It reminded me of friends that I had heard were not in the best shape. It reminded me that, in the darkest times, sometimes a friend is all we need to brighten up the world, even if that world is crumbling right in front of us.

RIP Old Man.

“Depends… on what kind of Dinosaur they cooked up in that lab” (Review)

Ever hear of Genetically Modified Organisms? Ever watch the movie GATTACA, or Star Trek Into Darkness, where characters were born of artificial circumstances? 

In the movie Jurassic World, it started with an island of dreams coming true, where you could see dinosaurs far and wide roaming all over the island alive rather than being robotic imitations. Kids and adults alike could learn about the creatures who were taller than modern buildings and who lived millions of years ago. Scientists could use the advanced technology to revive species that were once thought to be extinct and gone forever, to study their behaviour among others of the same kind. 

For the first few minutes, it seemed that the mistakes from Jurasssic Park had stayed in the past. However, after seeing the trailer, it’s easy to say that it’s too good to be true. Owen (aka Star Lord) had just gotten used to training a pack of four raptors when he found out that the scientists had created a hybrid that was bigger than the T-Rex, which was never a good idea. 

From there? Well, watch the movie and make your own analysis. 

After watching the movie, it reminded me of the many movies that stretched the possible results from genetical engineering. Many of the movies showed catastrophic outcomes (Splice, Star Trek Into Darkness), whereas others seem to indicate that such a world would lead to discrimination between those that were naturally born and those that were designed in a lab (GATTACA). 

In Orphan Black, the Leda clones are brought up in different environments while the Castor Clones are brought up together. While both are cared for differently, they were subject to tests by people who they thought to be dear only to find out that they were monitors. 

In Man of Steel, Clark’s home world had advanced technology where every child was genetically engineered for a specific… Career – some would be born for the army, others for the government, and the list goes on. In an old movie called Antz (?), the cartoon movie had a clip where the baby ants would be categorized before they even knew what was going on. 

Here’s the point – the Indominous Rex was a hybrid whose base turned out to be a raptor. In the movie, they implied that raptors are socially dependent, hunting in groups. To be alone and to grow isolated.. Somehow, it feels familiar. While genetically engineering isn’t quite to that extent, anyone who grows up to be different and/or isolated might know the feeling. 

In this world, a lot of things that are found to be different are treated as a threat to the safety of those dear. As a result, when found, it becomes isolated only to be studied extensively. It’s not to say that it’s always the outcome of anything different, but it seems to be common. 

To be different is to be noticed by others. Some are born with it, while some purposely deviate from the norms. Some are noticed, while some are capable of smoothly hiding in plain sight. Some grow to hate the world and some grow to envy the world, to wish to be “normal”. 

More languages, more angles

How many languages do you recognize? How many languages do you speak? How many do you speak fluently? How about reading & writing?

So, what’s the answer? 1? 2? 3 maybe?  

When I ask friends, they often tell me that they are fluent in English in the oral sense, but not so much in the reading or writing sense. Moreover, being in Quebec, where the signs are almost always in French, many have a fraction of an understanding of French. Among some of my friends, they tell me that they can read French, but writing and speaking is a whole other story. 

For those who are brought up in a place where there are multiple common languages in the region, they often learn multiple languages. In Quebec, it seems to be common for people to know English, French and their native language (similar case for other parts of Canada). 

From Psychology, I remember that knowning different languages can actually be beneficial for the individual. From the podcast TED Radio Hour, I learned that different cultures have different perceptions of the world (I.e. Time, gender, age, etc.). From Concordia, I’m frequently reminded that languages allow for connection with others who might have a similar background. 

English seems to allow for the creativity to take hold, inventing words when nothing else seems to be sufficient. French seems to demonstrate the precision of words, having a different meaning for almost any possibility. And Mandarin? While I’m limited in such a language, my impression is that it’s simple in nature, yet carefully articulated, with the meaning depending on the pronounciation. 

Someone told me that to be fluent in a language is to be able to carry a discussion, to read a text and to be able to properly write a text. It seems to remind me of the high school criteria in my French class, but it seems accurate since those are the three crucial areas. 

If you were to follow that statement (or maybe that would be a theory?), would you be able to consider yourself fluent in English, with confidence? How about the other languages?

Making memories

How often do you travel? How often do you meet people of whom you haven’t seen in a long time? How often do you travel to places of which you haven’t been to in a while?

How do you make a memory of it? Take pictures? Make videos? Who or what is the focus of those moments?

Travelling to visit family, photos were taken, souvenirs were gathered, laughs echoed the familiar surroundings, and stories were shared from the time apart… But something was missing. 

Unfortunately, it took so long to realize that what I missed was right in front of me… And now I missed the chance. In my head, I run through the possibility of sparing a couple of seconds to create a lasting memory of whom I might never see again. 

My advice to readers – should you go travelling to see family, take photos of everyone. Don’t take it for granted because it might be a long while until the next time. It only takes a moment and you can frame them to be treasured forever.  


Losing the magic

Ever have odd things that you would do as a kid for fun? Ever dress up for rain and run through a hose with running water? Ever dress up like a princess and set up a dinner with 3 dolls? Ever build a fort with the cushions and blankets, imagining that there was a giant dragon coming in fast? Ever sleep outside in a tent, imagining that all of those stars were within arms’ reach?

As I grew up, I had gone over such memories, remembering how simple and how silly it was to do those things.

I loved swimming, still do, technically. However, when I go to the pool now, people aren’t really enjoying themselves, but rather training themselves by doing laps from one end of the pool to the next. The only group I see having fun are toddlers and maybe their older siblings who are playing along with them. Somehow, it feels alien, like a kid who came to play in the playground only to find that everyone was training and working out.

Sitting in a tent, the mosquitoes seemsed more of the centre of attention than the hundreds of stars hanging over the see-through roof. Without using electronics, it seemed so quiet, with time slowly passing.

Thinking about this made me remember that movie of Peter Pan played by Robin Williams (RIP Robin). He was once the leader of a group of young kids until he fell in love and stopped believing. He couldn’t fly until he truly believed that he could.

Did the same thing happened to us? Did we grow up and stopped believing in the magic that surrounded us? Did we leave it behind somewhere? Can we find it again? Where would we begin to look?

There are so many questions. However, I think one place to begin is alongside a good friend who would follow you no matter where you go.

As Pumba said, it’s no fun doing it all alone.

“Imagine a world where nothing is impossible” (Review)

Frank Walker: “Why now? Why Her?”
Athena: “Because she hasn’t given up.”

A world where anything could happen, where people weren’t afraid to try things out or to fail. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 

In a recent article I read, the director mentioned that Frank lost hope not as he aged, but also as the machine he made counted down to the World’s End with what seems to be 100%.  

Thinking about it, Frank had many dreams and hopes and energy when he first came to Tomorrowland. He had enough energy to power a jetpack… With a little help from a machine. 

It’s like many of us when we were kids – we had dreams, we had the craziest of ideas – but then, we stopped. 

It was like we were all running to get to the end when, all of a sudden, the adults who were once cheering slowed us down and pulled us out of the race. All of that adrenaline, all of that dopamine, and that cortisol just suddenly stopped and along with it, the creative juice. 

As we would grow into teens, we would kind of stumble trying to find something that we could do, something else that we could run to without having other people stop us. As a result, some of us would just give up before even beginning (I.e. Frank). 

And finally, as adults, we stop our own creativity before it even gets a chance to flourish. Others are no longer a problem because now, it’s us who’s stopping the race before it begins. 

Watching this reminded me that growing up shouldn’t stop us from dreaming. We don’t need a secret place to not be afraid to try anything. We have the potential, the resources and the time to try something new. And just maybe, what we do can change the world and stop the counting clock.  

Listen, learn and connect

Being at University reminded me of something. It reminded me that there is more to the world than just the folks in the island of Montreal. It reminded me that are more languages than just English and Le Français.During my first year at Concordia, I met a lot of people of whom were from outside of Montreal and sometimes from outside of Canada. While they shared the common language of English, they also each had a vast knowledge of another language or two. 

Among my friends were 我的中国朋友. They were from different parts of 中国, but shared the same language whereas I did not, despite calling myself 中国人. 

While speaking in English, they often asked why I did not speak the language. Jokingly, I would say that I never fully learned, or that I was never taught how to speak. Puzzled, they continued their conversations in 中文. 

On a more serious note, it reminded me of how language can create such a strong barrier between people. For me, it create a barrier between most 中国人 as well as many of my relatives. It reminded me that there is always the possibility that they could have a conversation about me without my knowing. 

To learn a language takes time; I know all too well. However, time is becoming more and more precious as time takes away health points for many precious family members. 

As it stands, I have a partial, maybe a fraction, of an understanding for the language; nowhere near enough to understand even a part of a text/conversation.  To listen is to take in remaining precious moments. To learn is to expand on knowledge. To connect is to treasure the moments before they disappear for life. 

Rock-a-by baby🎶

Ever been on a plane? On a boat? Ever notice that a plane would go up and down on the way to its destination? Ever notice that a boat would also go up and down as it rode the waves from Point A to Point B? Ever notice that, even after leaving the boat/plane, you can still feel that rocking sensation? 

Maybe there’s a scientific explanation, I don’t know. What I do know is that the sensation is the same. As a kid, it was a funny sensation. As an adult, however, I start to critically think about it, asking why it is so. 

Even days after the trip, if you sit still, you can still feel it. Maybe it has something to do with the ears, since they allow for the brain to process changes in position. Or maybe it’s just psychological for those who are not so keen on those modes of transport, I’m not sure. 

Chances are that, after a trip in a plane with lots of turbulence, walking on a straight line would be rather difficult. 

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