What’s the best gift you can give this Christmas season!

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Christmas is almost a few hours or a day away, depending on where you are located around the globe. It’s one of the busiest and extravagant holidays of the whole year. People go around buying and exchanging gifts, dining and eating their hearts out at fancy restaurants, drinking and partying til they feel merry and pass out!

The holidays are called differently, depending on what faith/religion is observing it! The early Germans call it Yuletide, the Jews call it Hannukah, to the Judeo Christian based faiths this is called Christmas! And they all have different reasons why they celebrate this holiday. But I am not here to talk about that. Regardless of ones faith or the absence of such, Christmas have one common thing that everyone can relate to, and that is the gift of giving.

Giving is one of the most fulfilling things one can experience. And I am not just talking about giving tangible gifts! While this holiday had everyone spending and buying gifts, there are other more meaningful gifts that one can give which does not involve cash.

Gift of Love

Love. The most important thing that there is in the whole world. Remember that giving love is not limited to romantic love or love for your friends and family. It’s about loving all the other things.

Loving your life, regardless of where you are standing right now. Loving the idea that despite your missed chances, heartbreaks and unfulfilled dreams, you still are here alive and pursuing and doing what you love.

Loving people around you regardless of who or what they are. Whether it is your inconsiderate neighbour or toxic boss or your unruly co-worker. Choose to give them love, even if that same love is not reciprocated. What’s important is that we share this love. Some people are just mean hearted since they lack love in their lives!

Spread love instead of hate! In a world full of people that disseminate hateful, vicious, cruel words, disheartening and malicious thoughts, choose to give love instead. Be the light that ignites and combats the evil and darkness of this cruel world.

When you do anything with love, you are giving people the most precious thing that there is.

Gift of Forgiveness

Forgiving other people that have wronged us is one of the most courageous thing one can do. One does not need to deserve forgiveness for you to actually forgive them. By giving someone that gift of forgiveness, it helps you become a better person. It helps you to move on and to move forward, let go of the hurt and eventually start loving life again.

Many people have hurt us and have done things that are truly unforgivable. It’s human nature, people are known to commit mistakes. More often than not, we might have done the same to other people too.

But these mistakes, hurts and heartbreaks are all part of our past now. What we choose to do with it is exactly up to us. And I suggest for you to learn how to forgive others.

Forgiveness is not limited to other people, but also to yourself. Forgive yourself for being weak, being jealous, being hateful, being bitter, for not being good enough. Forgive yourself for simply being human.

Gift of Hope

You don’t need to be Superman to inspire people and to give hope. Hope is the best trait that we all possess. Hope is what can make people do things that were deemed impossible to do. Hope is what gives us the courage to push through and keep moving despite all our setbacks and heart breaks. Hope is aspiring on the best outcome despite the circumstances that we are dealt with. Hope is what people cling on to when there is nothing else to hold on to.

People lose hope from time to time. We get discouraged and disheartened from losses, failures and rejections. That’s normal. We are humans. What is important is that we give hope to others when they lose them.

Giving hope doesn’t need to be heroic. Simple gestures such as giving a simple hug to those who just lost a loved one. Giving comforting words to those who lost on an opportunity that they have desired most. Telling someone all the good qualities that they have when they think of themselves as not being good enough. Being an inspiration to others, by sharing your experiences and help people relate to what you have been through and assure them that they can also pull through. Small things like this can help people rekindle their hope.

My wish for all of you this Christmas is a happy heart and a positive outlook in life. Happy Holidays!

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How I learned to focus on a specific topic when writing.

Thinking

Many times, I have had thoughts that I would like to write down and publish. But for the life of me, it seems that these ideas are just floating around my head. Inconceivable. Disorganized. Uncharted. It’s as if I am having a hard time grasping them all and putting them it into a clearer perspective. Like billions of stars scattered all over my head.

These thoughts somehow appear out of nowhere. At times these realizations happen over a song that I heard or a certain video that I watched. Sometimes, it even comes to me late at night when I am laying in bed while trying to get a sleep. There are instances wherein I scribble these thoughts into notes, in the hopes that I can continue working on it on the next day. Sometimes I tweet about it. Post it as a Facebook status. But most of the time, I feel that these thoughts have more to it and I just can’t paint the whole picture, just yet.

And then I finally realized, these thoughts are actually all there is. I don’t need to worry on not expanding too much on it. I don’t need to feel like I can’t fully embrace them, because they are already there. What I recognized is that I just need to focus more on that specific idea and concentrate on it.

I am very guilty of drafting several articles that talk about a specific topic and end up writing a lot of sub topics in the process. I realized that when instances like this happens, I should take time to jot down these other thoughts/”sub plots” and put them into my drafts. This way, I can continue to work on my main article and also have the time to continue on the other materials at a later time.

I am also guilty of trying to have my work polished and perfect that I end up not publishing it since I feel like it is not enough. I think this is more on my perfectionist side. I end up re-editing and rewording everything whenever I do the “one last check”. Sometimes, I feel like I have not written enough or I may have missed several points to discuss.

But that was my mistake. Articles that talk about a specific topic just needs to focus on that specific topic or a certain point on that topic. Most of the time this thing that you want to talk about can cover a wide range of perspective. You don’t need to cover everything on that topic. Just focus on what you want to discuss and work on it. You are not required to cover everything.

Well for one it is time consuming, two the topic can be so broad that if you end up writing everything about it, the reader might miss the point that you want to make. Three it may end up too long and sometimes articles like that is just exasperating to read, as they say TLDR. What is important is that you let your reader understand what you are talking about and why you are talking about it.

At least for me, this serves to be true as I have read tons of articles and blogs. And the entries that I enjoy reading the most is the one that is concise, doesn’t use complex words, and drives his/her point straight home. I know I am new to this writing thing, but at least based on my observations and experience these are the ones that usually works.

Dealing with adversity, through the eyes of an introvert.

Heartbreak. Betrayal. Failure. Inadequacy. These are just some of the adversities that we have all experienced in the past. Dealing with these hardships was never easy. At times, we struggle to cope with it and sometimes we even breakdown. More often than not, we can’t help but feel helpless and powerless towards these situations.

I know, because like you, I have experienced the same feeling too. In fact, I was trapped in a circumstance where I felt like it was never going to end. Like all the burden in the world was suddenly placed on my shoulder. It felt like that initially, especially since I was expecting a different outcome. The pain also blind sided me and I struggled to process what has happened. This unfulfilled expectation was certainly the root cause for my disappointment.

During this struggle, I was always in deep thought about almost everything. It never helped that I was also a natural over thinker. Several scenarios were always playing in my head, and I was hard on myself as to how I was not able to anticipate several possibilities. I felt like if I was able to foresaw this outcome, I could have done a better job on dealing with it. But I am just a man. I never could have predicted what was bound to happen. And no matter how carefully I plan for it, it simply was not going to happen.

Eventually, I was able to learn how to deal with my misfortune. Like in all long nights, there will always come a dawn. Soon the morning came, and in time I finally determined how to deal with my situation. I learned how to forgive, accept my new reality, and eventually move forward. It wasn’t easy. It took time and required a lot of patience but it’s worthwhile.

It was in this time of reflection when I realized the stuff that I have done wrong and the stuff that I did right. If I can go back in time and give myself an advice on my previous situation, I would tell myself the following things:

First, remember that hardships are just temporary. Remember, This too shall pass. Whatever it is that you are experiencing right now, heart break, failure from landing a dream job, chronic illness, financial struggles. These are all hard things to deal with but like all things, it will come to an end. Endure, and just keep at it. Keep fighting, even if every morning is bleak. Even if there seems no silver lining, just keep going. All these things will come to pass sooner or later. Going through these difficulties will surely make you a better person!

Second, never lose hope and keep the faith. It is easy to just give up when you’re overwhelmed with problems. But always remember to never lose hope. What is happening to you does not make sense right now nor does it have to make sense at all. Difficulties are bound to happen whether it’s our fault or not. And when these trying times seem to be getting the best of you just remember that it will pass. Hope for the better, for the best. The moment you lose hope is the moment that you let these struggles beat you. Stand up! Carry on and keep on fighting. Like you, I was once hopeless, but over time I regained that hope. I believed that these difficult times were not the end. I kept my faith that things will get better in time. And eventually it did! The hope and faith kept me fighting even when things were unsure. As Gandalf once said “There was never much hope, just a fool’s hope.” Hope is all we have, without hope we can never go through anything.

Forgive yourself. You have endured a lot, you came to a point where you have done lots of regrettable things in your past. Sometimes, these are unspeakable and unforgivable. You may have done these things willingly or unwillingly. But one thing is for sure, you did those things because you were hurt. You never could have done such things if you were not conferred with negative stimulus such as rage, anger, jealousy, greed, lust etc. Just remember, that you are not that kind of person. These are just mistakes that you have made. Poor choices driven by negative emotions. In time, you should learn how to forgive yourself on what you did. Do not beat yourself up on these blunders that you committed in the past. There is no point of doing that. What matters is that you move forward, you learn from it and you forgive yourself on committing such regrettable actions.

The next one is obvious forgive others. If you have the ability to forgive yourself of wrongdoings, you certainly have the same ability to do so on other people. Some people have hurt or wronged you on the past. Whether they all did it consciously or unconsciously, it doesn’t really matter. These hurts are all in the past now. What matters is that you learn to forgive the person who wronged you. Even if they did not apologize for it! Even if you feel that they do not deserve your forgiveness. Believe me, you should. Forgiving others is not for their sake, but for your own. By forgiving people, it allows you to let go of the pain that they caused. Holding on to these past hurts will not do you anything good. Let it go. Don’t hold grudges. So forgive them, but don’t forget rather remember and learn.

It will always go sideways. You may have set plans for yourself, your family, your loved ones. But remember that not all plans come to fruition. Whether it is as simple as asking your crush out on a dinner, planning vacation with your friends, buying a house/car or planning your future with your loved one. There will always come a time when these plans will go sideways. And when that happens don’t despair. It simply means it wasn’t meant to be. We may have tried our best to make sure these plans happen yet sometimes it still ends up failing. When that happens fret not! Remember if it’s meant to happen, no matter the circumstances, it will happen. This just simply means that you should still have a positive outlook on the bad things that was handed to you. You don’t always get what you want. And it is only fair that you deal with it with optimism instead of sulking around these botched plans. Lighten up!

Your time will come! Everything takes time. Planting and harvesting crops takes time, earning others people trust takes time, teaching yourself how to play an instrument takes time. It all takes time! Whether it is about getting the job that you always wanted, being able to travel to your dream destination, earning more money or even finding the love of your life! It all takes time! Most of the good things in life takes time simply because these things requires an effort from your end. Depending on how big or small these goals and tasks are, it will always require you to do your best. You have to invest your time in it and eventually your time to harvest what you sow will come. It may take longer than what you expected. But surely, there will come a time when the thing that you are most hoping for will be yours! Remember frustrations mostly arise due to unfulfilled expectations. By remembering that the thing you want most will take time helps you manage your expectations and lessens your chances of getting frustrated. Patience, Hard work and Time!

Take a break! Go Travel! Dine in a restaurant which you haven’t tried. Go visit a nearby town/city which you haven’t been and explore it. Do something which you have not done before. Remember that problems come and go but we must still continue to live our lives. By travelling and exploring new places, you get to discover and learn new things. You also get to experience new stuff which you haven’t before. By having these kind of experiences helps you take a break from whatever difficulties you are in right now. It may be a form of escapism, but it also reminds you how wonderful and fun life is. Your problems may have consumed most of your time and may have hindered you from remembering what it is like to take a long stroll on the beach, enjoy a cold beer with friends, watch a movie, consume a sumptuous meal, to be happy. Taking a break recharges your spirit and gives you that much needed strength to continue fighting.

And lastly, the most important thing of all is to Hold on! No matter where you are standing right now. In midst of a bitter break up, financial woes, abusive relationship, life threatening illness, whatever circumstance you are in right now. Please, I have just one request for you. Please hold on. Hold on to your life, hold on to your family, hold on to hope. Hold on to faith. Hold on to whatever it is you can cling to. Don’t give up. All these hardships will eventually come to an end. Do not end your chance of seeing these things come to pass. I know it is hard, it never was easy. But remember you will always have someone to help you get through this. If the burden is too heavy don’t hesitate to approach your friends, family, and loved ones. They will help you the best that they can, just please hold on to your life. Hold on even if you feel like letting go. Do not ever think of giving up. You will get through this I promise you, it gets better.

These are just some of things which I learned. Certainly, I could have listed a lot more. But I feel that these are the most important lessons I can share with you all. The adversity which I went through molded me to what I am right now. It made me a better person. So if you are currently going through crucial times, remember that this too shall pass. And in the end, this experience will make you a better person. So I’m ending by sharing you with this quote:

Suffering builds character.

-Talia Al Ghul

Peace! I’m out!

Thor Ragnarok: Review: WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!

I finally saw Thor Ragnarok the other night and I can say that it is the best solo Thor film that was ever done. If you haven’t seen the film yet I suggest that you turn back as this post contains a lot of spoilers for the film. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Okay, first off the tone of the film is light and funny. Just like the tone of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. This is way better than the two previous Thor films. To be honest, the first one was the least I like as it is very stiff. It was like an obligatory film to introduce Thor to the MCU. It didn’t suck but it was not that bad. The second one, was way more interesting with the introduction of the Infinity Stone in Aether and it has some humor in it. But this third one, I didn’t expect they can pull it off. You have to give props to Director Taika Waititi.

Who knew Chris Hemsworth could be this funny? I mean we already know that he is funny based on some scenes on older MCU movies. But in this one he was given the liberty by Taika to just be Chris Hemsworth. I’ve even read in some interviews that most of the scenes in the film were improvised / ad lib. It was actually good and it worked well. Seeing Thor, Loki and even some characters like the Grandmaster and Korg deliver those funny lines was just awesome. The humor in the film was enough, not forced and not all over the place. It was the perfect amount.

I mean, even Hulk was funny and that was pure genius. In the previous MCU movies, Hulk is mostly used for tearing down walls, kicking ass and wrecking stuff. But on this one I am glad they were able to showcase more the character of Hulk, not Bruce Banner but Hulk. We all know that though they are one and the same, Hulk has a different personality from Bruce Banner. In the film, it was revealed that Hulk has been Hulk and has not transformed to Bruce Banner since Age of Ultron. The scenes with Thor and Hulk talking, those are the funny ones especially the Hulk tantrum. Acting like he was a kid, man that was hilarious as hell

Korg is also funny. He is a new minor that was introduced in the film. He is a Kronan warrior who was also a slave by the Grandmaster that fights in the pits. He is a big guy with a funny accent and his scenes with Thor was hilarious. Also, I did find out that his character was played and voiced none other than Director Taika himself. I believe his addition was perfect and Taika did a good job with him and his one liners did work.

Anyway, in terms of the story telling it was fast paced. The combination of humor, speaking scenes and fighting scenes were balanced. You will barely notice that the film is at least 2 hours long.

The fight scenes were actually very good. Especially the Thor vs Hulk arena scene. Man I was so glad they did that. This is the first time that we were able to see him unleash his true potential, his god like powers. In the previous Avengers films he was kinda tamed down. But for this one they were able to showcase how strong Thor is. In terms of power levels Thor is basically the strongest Avenger followed closely by Hulk. I can say by far, that it was the best Avenger vs Avenger fight. Prior to this, the best one in my opinion was Hulk vs Iron Man with Hulkbuster suit in Avengers Age of Ultron. 

For the new characters I was actually happy that they were able to introduce bad ass female charcters in Cate Blanchett as Hela and Tessa Thompson as the Valkyrie.

Hela is just a ruthless character in the comics and the role was portrayed by Cate fucking Blanchett, I mean she is a very talented actress. And she nails the character perfectly. Oh and did I tell you that she is gorgeous as fuck with that dark eye liner emo look. Just look at her:

Amazing right? I loved all of her scenes especially the one where she fought the Asgardian warriors. Just pure bad ass! Although I hope they find a way to bring her back in the future as Hela is a good villain to just write off and be used in one film. It seems that she died in Ragnarok. But we might know in the future films of her status.

As for Tessa Thompson playing The Valkyrie, she had a very good dynamic with Thor’s character. Her unwillingly dismissing him knowing who he was because of her past, to her finally helping Thor is great character development. Her character was well written. Unlike the previous female companions of Thor, Jane and Sif, Valkyrie’s character seems to worked better than the previous two. No offense to Jamie Alexander I love her, but Valkyrie’s character was just better. Sif’s character also suffered as she was just written to be a background and support to Thor just like Hogun, Volstagg and Fandral. At least with Valkyrie they had a better relationship and they both kicked ass. I’m pretty sure they will be bringing her character back.

Jeff Goldblum’s character Grandmaster was also introduced in this film. If I am not mistaken, he is the third elder presented in the movies. Taneleer Tivan aka The Collector was the first and Ego the living planet was the second one. Grandmaster’s character is also hilarious. And I love Jeff Goldblum. We know he is still alive and will likely appear to future MCU films.

Thor Ragnarok’s events is a good build up for the Infinity War saga. It also gave us an idea that despite leaving Midgard aka Earth after the events of Age of Ultron, Thor was not able to find any infinity stone. The ending credits was a bit ominous or rather simply mysterious. I wish it was the Guardians of The Galaxy or it can be Thanos. We will never know.

All in all the movie is solid. Giving it a perfect 5. I loved how they were able to finally make a good Thor movie. If ever they will do another solo Thor film, they should get Taika again. This is how Thor should be, fun and kicks ass. Loved how they used Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song throughout the whole film. I am bummed they were not able to put at least Judas Priest’s Halls of Valhalla in this. I mean that song can perfectly work too especially the lyrics. Haven’t heard of it? Then check the link below. Anyway, peace am out!

Thoughts to the film Arrival (2016)

Wow it’s been years since I last made an entry to this page. Crazy! Years, literally! Anyway, last night I finally decided to watch Arrival which was recommended by a friend.

Quick background about the film: Arrival is a Sci-Fi / Mystery film set in modern day earth which features linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams). One day, 12 unidentified extraterrestrial spacecraft suddenly appeared on several locations around the globe. Due to her expertise and previous help to the military on insurgents, Dr. Banks was recruited by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to decipher the language of the aliens. She teams up with astrophysicist Dr. Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) to further understand the aliens purpose on their visit.

The opening scene sets a serious and somber tone as it shows the audience the tragedy that Dr. Banks went through. I wasn’t actually expecting the film to incorporate a lot of “drama” in it since this is a sc-fi film. However, they have done so brilliantly. The combination of drama with mystery and sci-fi has worked perfectly for the film.

Unlike other alien films, this is not filled with action scenes and sequences like The War of The Worlds and Independence Day. Instead it was more grounded and was done like Close Encounter of the Third Kind.

As for the sci-fi part what I liked it is the way they presented it to the audience. It wasn’t too nerdy like in Interstellar in which they heavily discussed theoretical astrophysics like the special theory of relativity and how it massively affects the story. Here, they didn’t go on that territory but instead explained it in a simplified form. Especially on the way how they figured to communicate with the aliens. The explanation presented was logical and believable and not too ambitious.

The film has banked more on the drama aspect surrounding Dr. Banks and what made her special in a way. It also worked that they made you believe that the narrative was shown in a chronological order when in fact it wasn’t. The thing I liked about this is the further the film goes, the mystery grows and it wasn’t until the ending part when you realize that the film was presented in a non-linear way. Which I find absolutely entertaining and well thought of. I find the story telling consistent and the resolution of conflicts/problems satisfactory. It wasn’t that satisfying but it was believable enough.

The only thing I may have disliked about this is the ending. It is bitter sweet. I just got emotionally invested with Dr. Banks’character and the way that it ended for her is way too sad.

When she asked Ian “if you can see the future would you change them?”. That was the point when she chose to be with him and have her daughter. Yet she accepted the fact that she will lose them both of them in the future anyway. Man that was way too heartbreaking. In a way, it made me like her character more. The choices she made despite knowing the consequences and seeing the future, that is courageous and brave.

All in all I enjoyed this movie. I just didn’t expected it to be emotionally draining. But I still enjoyed it. Amy Adams gave a very good performance. Giving it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Peace, I’m out!