10 Things I Love About You (and you should too)

Contrary to what I posted on Medium, this was written with someone in mind. It was a little white lie that I’m sure no one will believe. However, everything else in that intro was true and on point. I love to write because it is therapeutic, but I also have a nasty habit of keeping some things in at the expense of my sanity, emotional wellbeing, and physical health. Sometimes life gives you a lot of things to deal with all at once and writing helps me ease the pain and find clarity in a way that I can’t find anywhere else. It’s not that having a heart to heart with friends doesn’t help, but friends are only there a part of the time. Best friends will stick around a little longer than your acquaintances, but when push comes to shove, how many people will truly be there? WHO will always have your back? Who knows your every thought better than…yourself?

And so I sat down one day with a nothing more than a cup of tea, my trusty pen, and my notebook. I let it all out. Rather than generalize and then get specific, I decided to start specific and apply it generally. People who know me well, and by well I mean we talk on a weekly basis, will undoubtedly know who I had in mind. Those who don’t will be lost, but don’t you fret, because this piece is for you as well. There are common strains in humanity and if ever you’ve felt that you’ve loved someone for a slew of reasons, then you know these feelings and thoughts.

It’s about love, it’s about seeing someone for who you believe them to be, whether that is a correct assumption or not – whether they prove that to you or not, and it’s about loving unrequitedly so that you may be forced to love unconditionally. It is not naiveté, but rather, faith, trust, and a belief in yourself that fuels the fire of love and keeps it burning bright even when you want to put it out and go to sleep.

So without further ado, I present to you:

10 Things I Love About You (and you should too)

by Vincent Tang.

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the direction of my life where to go from here

the trail

I’ve never been one to think on and on about the direction of my life. It’s not that I don’t have ambitions, desires, dreams, or goals, but that I like to focus on the present. I’ve found that when you’re standing in the middle of an empty road and lost, your best option is to stay there for a while. Turning tail and running back into the past does nothing for you. You’ve already seen and experienced that. Trudging on is not truly an option either, especially when you haven’t fully experienced the present moment. I like to stand in one spot and look around until I am ready to see something else, but keep in mind that life is a constant move forward. Even if I don’t feel like moving, I let the road move from underneath me. Staying in one spot for too long, you take the risk of getting run over by a speeding vehicle when you least expect it.

There’s nothing quite like the current moment.

As time ticks by, things start to change. That cloud that looks like a unicorn won’t stay looking like a unicorn for long. It’s something that I’ve noticed from my time taking pictures. Things don’t like to stagnate, and so, they’re always in a constant state of flux. Perhaps this is why people stand behind grabbing life by the horns. If you don’t take the chance now, there may not be another chance for you to take in the future. I’ve come to realize that it might be my time to move on from where I am now, after having several enlightening talks with two different people. As always, I take what they have to say with a few sprinkles of salt, because in the end, it will be my own choices that shape my future existence.
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Noodler’s Ahab

I got a bunch of toys shipped to my house recently. I’m excited, but before I go on about the seriously expensive toys that cost me about $100, let’s talk a bit about pens! I’ve been in the market for an all-around fountain pen that I can take out for journaling and random writing. I already own a Pelikan and Pilot, both of which I got on sale. Still, I get bored pretty easily and I really want to get in on some of this flex pen action. Don’t get me wrong; I love my two pens, but they’re not that well suited for day to day writing. The Pelikan is too thick and the Pilot is using some poop ink and it’s also superfine. I needed a change of pace. I have a bunch of dip pens too, but practically speaking, I’m not going out with a jar of ink and my dip pens. I prefer to use my dip pens in the house.

I ended up doing a lot of research on all the usual sites: Youtube, Amazon, Google, and a few fountain pen networks. I finally landed on an interesting video by the fine folk over at Ink Nouveau and the Goulet Pen Company. After watching two or three videos, I went to their site and was instantly drawn to the Noodler’s Ahab Flex fountain pen. I also went for a Goulet Polished Steel Fine nib. I received my order the other day and I noticed they included a handwritten note on the invoice! That’s personal and I like companies that get personal. Shoutout to Worthy Granola and WaterField Designs for being great in that regard as well. They’re a few of my favorite companies. Oh and a side note; I also got a lollipop in that package. Sweet!

I was so excited and broke open the packaging, took some pictures of my new pen and nib and wanted to start using them, but that’s when I realized that I was out of fountain pen ink. In hindsight, I should have bought some Noodler’s black. Next time I need to restock, I know where to go. I ended up going to Flax and grabbed a bottle of Aurora Black to try out.

I inked up the pen and got started. It didn’t work out too well the first time. It wrote ok for a while, but then I ran into some flow issues, so I had to fiddle with the pen. I repositioned the nib and feeder and left it a bit looser. Issue fixed. I’m taking this pen with me wherever I go. Thanks to Goulet for introducing it to me and at $20, it’s a steal. I’m sure I’ll need more ink at some point so I’ll go to Goulet for that and probably grab some ink samples too, which is a wonderful service. I’m a happy camper right now.

P.S. I took pictures of the pen, nib, and ink with my new flash setup. Hooray for new toys!

Muni

I took the Muni today, just like old times. I haven’t taken the train on the regular in over 7 years and the ride was just how I remembered it. Besides the dramatic increase in fares, not much has changed. Of course, Clipper is widely in use now; no longer a new thing. The “types” of people haven’t changed and the trains are still the same.Muni

I remember the long trips across the city on the N-Judah. It always started off really empty until midway through, when everyone would hop on. It was the same thing today. I remember the jostling and uneven tilting of the train and the squealing of brakes. Sometimes the train would slide because of the operator, but that serves to remind us that it’s being driven by a human on the street and not by computer. I also remember the weather change between the Haight side and Duboce/Castro side of the tunnel. It never ceases to amaze me the dramatic shift from fog to sun. Oh, San Francisco, so unpredictable.

These things are all surface observations though. What about things like feelings? It brought back a lot of feelings I had forgotten. Taking public transportation after driving around all the time is like getting your wings clipped, but at the same time, your brain is allowed greater freedom. My mind just wanders all over the place and that’s what I love about riding the bus. People are a great source of inspiration and creativity. Stories spring from people and experiences. I look at people minding their own business and study their quirks – I study their shoes, clothes, and accessories. Muni is amazing; a potpourri of different people.

Food

I went to Batch Made SF today and ate a bunch of food, interacted with the vendors, and drank some dang good beer. I also had the privilege of attending a workshop on kimchi making. It was definitely the Sparknotes version, but a great primer on kimchi. She started out with a brief intro to the health benefits of eating kimchi, but also went on to say that the preparation matters. Although she didn’t explicitly say it, she subtly hinted that the mass-production of food items is inferior to artisan and small batch operations, arguing that with faster production, quality ingredient use falls by the wayside. I agree. Although I don’t mind eating these foods, I prefer local spots where quality is king.Kimchi Workshop

Her talk got me thinking about food and the industrialization and mechanization of food production. A wonderful series to watch is the How It’s Made, which chronicles the production of items from start to finish. That’s one thing I like about cooking at home or eating at a place that sources local ingredients; you know what’s going on. There are some that say the allergies and intolerances that are so prevalent these days may be correlated with the way we manufacture and even produce our foods. See this about gluten-sensitivities, not to be confused with Celiac disease. Then there’s the matter of taste.

In talking about kimchi making, she stressed how important love is in it’s preparation and generalized it to food preparation in general. I think she’s definitely onto something here. I’ve heard it said time and time again on all types of cooking shows and by chefs: making food is fueled by love. Nurturing and really being in touch with the ingredients is what it’s really about. She went on, stating that food ties us together and spreads emotions to the rest of humanity. We already know that food is culturally, sociologically, and scientifically important. It’s rich and steeped in history: so let’s treasure all aspects of our food.

Hipster

Hipster this and hipster that. This group has seen a major resurgence in the last few years. I think everyone has a bit of hipster in them. From a sociological perspective, we all want to belong but be different at the same time. There isn’t just “one hipster fits all” either: there are different types be it in terms of fashion or geographical location. Read up on hipsters here. For the quick and dirty version, check out Urban Dictionary’s first entry. Wikipedia lists the article’s neutrality as “disputed” and that reflects society’s views on a larger scale. The hipster is generally looked down on and shunned. So why would anyone want to identify with them? You guessed it – they don’t. Hipsters don’t admit to being hipsters.

With the preface out of the way, we all embrace some sort of “hipster”. One aspect or another. Take a look at this: logos, the hipster way. Hipster design is now a roaring thing.Hipster Logo Design Guide

This is echoed by these cleverly redesigned logos. Subscribe to the tumblr here.Hipster Branding

So, here’s my hand at creating “hipster logos” with some hipster design elements.

Some Catchy Music

I was cleaning out and organizing my iTunes library the other day and played a few songs that made me get up and dance. Let me share these frickin awesome tunes with you. I love country music, so I think most of them are country tunes. Scroll through and have some fun. Sold – John Michael Montgomery: This thing is frickin catchy as heck.

Unbelievable – Diamond Rio

King of the Road – Randy Travis

Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford