Day 100: We’ve finally reached the finish line for this 100 words for 100 days project. With exactly 10,000 words, this has been an exercise of endurance as well as a way to fine tune my writing. 100 days doesn’t seem like a long time until you’re twenty days in and your insecurity begin to set in: What if you run out of things to write about? What if your writing sucks? What if this become yet another abandoned project?
Yet none of that mattered because here we are. Everything is done and gone, and the only question is: what’s next?
Day 99: Lesbians have a bad rep. As easy as it may be to make softball or Home Depot jokes, there isn’t a stronger community than these unsung heroes. While others may call them “tomboys”, I see them as defying gender roles and stereotypes. From Ellen to Allison Goldfrapp, I’ve been shaped and deeply inspired by their tenacity and endurance.
It’s silly how gay men and lesbians can sometimes be seen as on opposite sides when we’re always fighting the same fight and we’re so much alike. They are the epitome of cool and fierce and I wouldn’t dare of crossing them.
Day 98: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: life is great when you get to do all three in a day. A day like today.
Starting with having brunch with my lifelong friend and mentor Bruce, to bumping into my old colleague Matt, to grabbing a drink with fellow IGNer Tate, to rounding out the night with dinner and desserts with my high school friends, I’m still baffled by just how many amazing people I have in my life.
I met each of them in wildly different ways, but purely through happenstance they all came together to create this blissful, perfect day. Wow.
Day 97: Earlier this week I reached out to a great guy I used to date, the one that got away, and we finally got together today as if nothing happened. We talked and talked, drank and drank, and everything just felt so… easy.
Sometimes a hatchet isn’t really a hatchet but a grip that you simply need to let go of. Yes, things happened in the past, but at the end of the day I’m just happy I’ve decided to reach out to an otherwise someone I’ve lost touch with. He’s such a genuine guy and I’m smitten as can be.
Day 96: My friends and I went to this restaurant tonight that’s going to be closed by end of year, and through plates of tapas and glasses of Sangria I tried to soak in the atmosphere as much as I could — before it’s gone away for good.
There’s just… something about San Francisco. I’m at this strange crossroad where I no longer feel at home, yet everything is strangely familiar. Not unlike a lucid dream where everything seems so real, yet you’re fully aware that it’s but a dream; you’ll eventually need to wake up.
Oh it’s what you do to me
Day 95: Christmas is but hours away and I’m still trying to ease into vacation mode. With a demanding job along with my tendency to over think everything, my mind is constantly spinning in a million directions and it’s been challenging for me to focus on the present.
A big part of my SF trip this time is to catch up with my friends and family. There are so many people I haven’t talked to in years, simply because I’m never around long enough to do so. Reconnecting with them will be a crucial part to reseting my life as 2014 approaches.
Day 94: Rick recently got me a copy of Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for Christmas. I’ve been vey skeptical for this game for the longest time, mostly because I never really finished the SNES original and the graphics truly looked uninteresting for me. Who knew I’d become a believer the second I started this game?
This game is all about layers and depth, but you couldn’t tell from any of the game trailers. It’s only when you switch on the 3D does that world come alive. Ten hours and I’ve yet to be able to put this game down.
Day 93: I’m a huge sucker for Christmas, and it was only when my friends invited me last second years ago was I introduced to the magical world of the Dickens Fair. As if a time machine (or TARDIS, let’s be real here) could take us back to the Victorian London, Dickens Fair changes the Cow Palace in San Francisco from top the bottom, with Christmas spirit filled to the brim.
Every winter I return to the Bay anticipating returning to the fair, only to find out I’d just missed it. This year marks the first year and I simply can’t wait.
Day 92: I’ve driven on the I-5 more times than I can count since moving down to LA two years ago. The best part of this 6-hour drive to/from the Bay is the fact that I can catch up on my never-ending Podcast queue.
Just last night, I was listening to this five-part series on how a t-shirt is made. Sure, I might be driving a straight line down the otherwise dull highway in real life, but in my mind I was travelling around the world, completely captivated by the story of how this seemingly ordinary cotton t-shirt is anything but.
Day 91: There’s this gradual revelation throughout this 100 words for 100 days project to learn more about poetry. There have been challenging occasions to limit my message to exactly 100 words, similar to how a tweet is restricted to 140 characters. Everything has to be as concise as can be; there’s this unexplainable beauty underneath its frankness.
Poetry has this perfect balance between imagination and expression. Every word counts, yet what’s not being said is just as important as the negative space of any piece of art.
Like a boy, I’m equally nervous and excited to make my introduction to you.
Day 90: Several of my friends have mentioned they like reading my status updates on Facebook/Twitter because of my self-deprecating humor, and that while amusing, the updates also tend to provide a tug to their heartstrings.
I’m not sure where my sense of humor came from. I’d never been inspired by any particular comedian growing up, though I suppose a big part is just how I see the world. There are two sides to any given situation, but sometimes it’s simply better to make fun of the ridiculousness of the situation rather than labeling it as good or bad.
Day 89: I was such an asshole growing up. There were so many cringe-worthy things I’d said and done. Some of them still eat inside me, while others will lead to me facepalming every time these memories bubble up to my mind. And they often do.
I can’t blame my previous actions on anything or anyone, because if anything I can only blame them on my process of growing up: accepting my identity, outgrowing my insecurity, and fumbling over this constant yearning to fit in.
Stupid is as stupid does, I just hope I’ve become a better man because of these moments.
Day 88: If Buzzfeed and my Facebook feed is any indication, 2013 is the year of Introverts. With countless articles about every misconception about introverts one can imagine, it’s becoming this new, legitimate need to come out, announcing that “No I don’t hate people, I’m just an introvert.”
For me, it’s more about curation than anything else. I enjoy personal space so I can be lame without judgment. I enjoy the sound of silence, so I can work my way toward expressing my thoughts instead of broadcasting my otherwise knee-jerk reactions.
So maybe I’m not introverted, I’m just good in marketing myself.
Day 87: I have the utmost respect for teachers. Growing up, I was always that kid who hung out with teachers during recess and lunch. Sure, they taught me what their syllabuses indicated, but it had always been outside the classroom where they truly influenced, inspired, and shaped me into who I am today.
I’m fortunate to be in touch with so many teachers who have since become my friends (not to mention my mentors as I stumble through my adult life), as well as my friends who have since become teachers, inspiring roomfuls of hopefuls of their own.
Thank you, really.
Day 86: Hong Kongers love looking back to the city’s past, and the phrase “collective memory” is especially popular. May it be about a past tragedy or a fond occasion, there always seem to be a television special airing there, along with a heavy byline of “XYZ, a Hong Kong collective memory.”
More importantly, this collective feeling is what bounds us together. It’s what defines us as a community, and it unites us as human beings. We celebrate together, we mourn together. As our world is becoming more compartmentalized, more dog-eat-dog than ever, it’s important to realize our commonality underneath it all.
Day 85: I live a good life for the most part, with a wonderful job, family, and friends who are there for me. But there lies this secret life after dark, one where my eyes are closed, terrible decisions are made, and everything’s forgotten some time the morning after.
I was in a sham marriage last night, and vaguely remembered falling off a cliff the night before. But I always know to turn back: I’d wake up and for a brief moment I’m thankful for everything I have; the world is still as I remembered.
That’s also when I have to pee.
Day 84: Let’s get this out of the way: Cher is not Madonna. She’s actually not a lot of things. She’s not as short, submissive, nor young as our society limits her as a female entertainer. And then there’s her voice… not at all what you expect in a woman singer.
It really is too easy to make fun of her. But through everything she’s not, she’s undeniably Cher and she’s built one of the most renowned and prosperous careers in entertainment in the past 50 years and counting.
She perseveres because of what she’s not, and I admire her because of it.
Day 83: I’ve always been a nomad, having spent my life so far between Hong Kong, San Francisco, Rochester, and now Los Angeles.
It’s not that I have this constant need to move to a new destination every few years, but rather there would always be something that’d lead me there: RIT in Rochester, family in Hong Kong, IGN in LA, that sort of thing.
But it’s also my personal choice to keep my life as flexible and mobile as it is. I like that I can fit my life in my car; to pick up and go at a moment’s notice.
Day 82: There’s this area of the hardwood floor right in the middle of my studio apartment that would creak loudly whenever I step on it. I used to not pay attention to it since this is an old apartment after all, but lately I began wondering if that creaking noise would be bothersome to my downstairs neighbor.
I’ve been super conscious about it ever since. Every time I’d have to cross the room, I would try to walk around this otherwise huge empty space in the apartment, this massive invisible furniture I can’t unsee, just to avoid the noise.
Day 81: I used to love cold weather. I love how refreshing and crisp the air would get in the winter. There’s just something magical and blissful to cozy up in a blanket while marathon-watching my favorite tv show over a lazy Sunday afternoon.
But ever since I moved down to Los Angeles, I’ve been really enjoying the summer down here in SoCal. December marks only the beginning of winter and I’m pretty much ready for it to be over. It doesn’t help that my apartment has poor insulation so there’s no point of turning up the heat.
Counting down the days
Day 80: I was really lost the couple years after graduating college. No longer bound with project deadlines and graduation requirements, I honestly didn’t know how I should take my first step. This video encapsulates the impatience and frustration I felt after a long, stressful day at work only to get held up by something else seemingly outside of my control.
Of course, I’ve since understood that it’s within my power to see the world differently. What took me years to comprehend takes this video ten minutes to explain; I highly recommend watching this video, but ultimately I suppose that’s your decision.
Day 79: I’ve never been a fan of Lady Gaga. Fame Monster to me was generic and thought Born This Way to be full of clichés — she was but another artist hopping on the It Gets Getter bandwagon popular at the time.
But I’m pleasantly surprised by Artpop despite what everyone’s been saying. No longer is she tirelessly trying to convince everyone how much she cares for equality or that she’s totally not copying Madonna, this album has the space to express who she actually is.
As a result, Artpop unveils much more personality and diversity than any of her previous work.
Day 78: I’ve had the luxury of avoiding most of the notorious LA traffic during the first year and a half of moving here. It wasn’t until our IGN office had moved to Culver City for me to truly understand how ridiculous LA traffic can get.
Located 5.5 miles away, it would take me about 20 minutes to get to the office if I leave before 7:30am. Not bad right? But anytime afterwards or on a bad day, it can easily take up to an hour to get to work. An hour to travel 5.5 miles — that’s LA traffic for you.
Day 77: My most worn pair of shoes is this pair of Adidas I got at a Nordstrom Rack years ago. There’s no interesting backstory nor does this pair of shoes hold any significance in my life, and I’ve wanted to replace them but never really gotten around to it.
The funny thing is, I’ve been wearing these kicks for so long that I’ve grown to really liking them. It’s not comfortable at all, there’s a hole at the top, and the glue is no longer intact on the sides. But they do cover my feet and sometimes that’s all that matters.
Day 76: I name all my gadgets, and Dave is my first dSLR — Nikon D70. I got him in 2004 after receiving my first paycheck from the first “real” job in Hong Kong. Every weekend, I would bring Dave along and spend the day getting lost in the massive city while take pictures.
Nowadays, I’m pretty much resorted to taking snapshots and Instagram for convenience. It wasn’t until I dusted off Dave the other day and began shooting around in my apartment did I realize just how much I miss photography.
It’s like having an actual meal after years of eating candy.
Day 75: For someone who’s shamelessly frugal, one of the things I do buy on a regular basis is music. I’m big on personal growth, so I’m always curious to see how my favorite artists have grown through their latest work. Adding to the fact that I follow both English and Chinese music (Cantopop), I often end up spending much more than I realize or should.
Because I’m constantly buying new music, there are albums I’ve purchased but have fell completely off my radar. Fiona Apple came on the other day and I had no idea I even have her 2012 album!
Day 74: I second guess myself a lot. There’s been plenty of time when I’ve written something, may it be a blog post or a work email, only to re-read them over and over again. Are my words used as effectively to get my points across? What if people don’t agree with me?
Worst still, this habit has only been exacerbated by this #100w100d project. Confining to exactly 100 words, it’s challenging to compress my thoughts into a brief abstract, leaving out plenty of room for ambiguity and misunderstanding.
Hopefully, this exercise can help me toward getting it right the first time.
Day 73: HIV/AIDS is a forgotten subject. It’s extinct not because it’s no longer relevant but because it remains a heavy stigma and no one wants to be the downer who brings it up in our daily conversations.
I volunteered at a non-profit called Bay Positives in 12th grade, and that place taught me that the topic doesn’t need to be heavy, though the conversation does need to continue to prevent the spread of HIV while empowering those who have it to live happier, productive lives.
On this World AIDS Day, I urge everyone to get tested and talk about it.
Day 72: Darren Hayes has and always will be the artist I can most relate to.
Admittedly, it’s a little delusional to imagine how one can possibly relate to someone who doesn’t even know your existence. I know it’s silly. But through his songs there’s also this sense of openness; his songs are something I can hold onto.
From his Savage Garden days to his four albums afterwards, he’s taught me how to endure tension for the spark, when to fight a losing battle and when to let go, and that selfless giving is not a sign of weakness but of strength.
Day 71: I like to listen to music when I write, usually with headphones. Shrinking me into a smaller world, music sets me away from my daily worries and allows me to focus solely on the choice and order of my words.
But today is different. I’m at the library and there’s no talking. Instead there’s all these ambient sounds surrounding me — paper turning, keyboard typing (that’s me), backpacks unzipping, chairs squeaking, all unknowingly working together toward a crescendo that will lead up to the piece’s biggest drop: a cough.
It’s not unlike 4’33”, except it’s on repeat without ever repeating. Bravo.