Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Florida Keys

IMG_0008e       The Florida keys are some of the most biologically unique places in the world. This small stretch of islands is abundant with colorful aquatic life and even its own species of deer. Key deer grow to be almost half the size of a normal deer when fully grown and are a protected species due to their miniscule numbers. A little known fact about the Florida keys is that in 1982, there was a faux secession from the United States by the Keys, they became the Conch Republic, and are “recognized” as a micro-nation to this day.

My family and I have visited the Keys a couple of times and always have a blast. While many people go to Key West and visit the streets those land lubbers are missing out on the types of activities my family partakes in most. Me and my family water ski, tube, and fish. On top of that, we also have a lot of our fun under the water, my father, mother, sister, and I are all avid scuba divers and do so quiet often. I look forward to the vacation I’m soon to be going on. Seafood stomach-ache, here I come.

 

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IB exposed

I’m gonna be 1000% honest here, I forgot to do this yesterday so I’m gonna make up for it by doing it today. Anyways, hello.

IB is a rigorous program filled with sleepless hours, a lot of homework and in the program you build strong relationships with others. The fact is, while this is true it’s only the surface because IB has its flaws.

There are certain people in IB that consider themselves above regular kids which is false. The main reason you’re in this program is because you applied in time, good job. Grades do not measure intelligence and there’s also that. Some people believe that and that is utterly false. Just because you have better grades than someone does not mean you’re smarter. It means you try harder. The above statements leads into this, some of the IB population tends to be arrogant and need to learn when to get off their high horse. I have witnessed disrespect from students towards teachers because that student had hubris. Humble yourself, thank you.

There are people who don’t try, and if they do their full effort is not put out there resulting in procrastinating and academic dishonesty. I’m not gonna name anyone specific because I’m real but not every student is a model student. That’s just how some people work and they’re not looking to change their methods.

IB does result in a lot of sleep deprivation, that stereotype is true. But the belief that IB kids are always at home studying or doing work is false. We all have social lives and other interests besides academics.

Anyways, I think I did what I was supposed to do yesterday, sorry that it’s late. Adios

East and Southeast Asian foods they don’t tell you about

When visiting a country as a foreigner, many trip advisory websites, videos and blogs will suggest the best places to get pho in Vietnam (usually in little food stalls found on the streets) or 5 star restaurants that serve Japanese Kobe beef. (Do not eat Kobe beef from street vendors.) Of course, all of this is a part of the experience. When traveling, you want to see the best and most authentic foods a country has to offer. However, many foods are overlooked in these suggestions, simply because….well, they’re kinda unappetizing, whether it be by their looks, smell, taste or even all of them combined. I have made a short list of East and Southeast Asian foods that need a little more love despite their weird complex.

1. Stuffed Bitter melon soup/ Canh Kho Qua 

Image result for canh kho qua

Unsurprisingly, Bitter melon soup is bitter. The bitterness comes from the tropical gourd fruit itself. I find it to be an acquired taste, much like coffee or some types of cheeses. The fruit is usually stuffed with a type of seasoned meat, to make it more bearable I guess. This dish is really common in most Vietnamese households. You either love this soup or hate it, I actually really enjoy this soup. The bitterness isn’t overwhelming for me and the soft texture is not bad. I’ve also seen bitter melon fried with eggs or cut up and put into soup with plain baby shrimps.

 

2. Durian

 

Durian is the combination atrocity I hinted at in the intro. Durian is also a tropical fruit and it’s dubbed as the “King of fruits” in many Southeast Asian countries. (Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia to name a few.) Not only does this fruit look unappetizing by it’s spiky exterior and slimy consistency, the pungent smell can be described as a skunky rotten garlic milk  and depending on who you ask, it either tastes like a sweet, creamy custard fruit or roadkill on a hot day. I personally agree with the latter description. Growing up in the good ole U.S. of A, I still came across this fruit on a daily basis. I’ve seen it in cake fillings, boba tea and even in innocent ice cream! In all honesty, the taste is OK at best, it’s sweet, creamy and has an original taste.  I can see why some people enjoy this fruit. However, the smell really is awful and I find that there is a slight connection between the smell and taste. Overall,I still encourage anyone reading this to try it, Durian really is an original taste you can’t find anywhere else. You can buy this fruit in the States, it’s probably seasonal but you can always check at your local oriental supermarkets.

3. Balut

 

Balut is basically a boiled duck embryo that is still in the shell. It’s common across many Southeast Asian countries.This delicacy is usually eaten with salt and pepper. A lot of people get queasy thinking about eating a baby duck but it’s no different than eating a hard boiled egg or a grown duck. I’ve had this a lot growing up but I never ate the embryo until a year ago; I always favored the hard yolk. (I hope I used that semicolon correctly.) The taste itself was forgettable, it was raw and a little salty. On the other hand, the texture is EXACTLY how you would imagine it.

4. Pig blood curd

Yum did someone say congealed blood cubes. Pig blood curd can be described as tofu’s blood cousin. (Get it ha.) The texture of blood curd is almost exactly like tofu, it’s super soft and sort of disintegrates in your mouth. The taste isn’t very strong, it’s a very benign blood taste that goes as quickly as it comes. This delicacy can be eaten with a lot of things.In China, it is eaten with congee (rice porridge) and in Vietnam, you can find these cubes in bun bo hue. (pictured above) I have to admit that pig blood isn’t strictly an Asian delicacy. Black sausage is a common breakfast food in England and it’s made from pig’s blood mixed with oatmeal.

5. Duck blood soup

 

 

I sense a reoccurring theme. Duck blood soup is fresh duck blood mixed with fish sauce, peanuts and various (cooked) body parts of the duck. Yes, people actually eat this. It’s more of a “party” food than something you eat for dinner. I have a memory of when I was younger where my friend’s dad took us to a live poultry place on Orange Blossom Trail and bought two live ducks. He requested for the duck’s blood to be drained in a Tupperware container and the guys working there did just that. I can still see their reactions when my friend’s dad decided to try the soup for flavor. I haven’t had this dish in years but from what I remember, it was just another barely thick and lightly salted soup.

We’re done here for now, I hope you guys learned something from this post and hopefully are willing to try some of these dishes if you encounter them in the future. 🙂

Marilyn Nguyen. 3/30/2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Piece

One Piece is my favorite anime. It has lasted for seventeen years! That’s crazy most anime don’t make it that long and it has about seven hundred episodes.

One Piece is about a guy name Luffy D. Monkey, when he was young he ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, which basically turns his whole body into a rubber type. He has the traits of rubber, he is immune to electricity, and he can extend he body or even shrink his body. Since Luffy ate a devils fruit (Gum- Gum Fruit) he can never swim. That is the problem with devils fruits, you can become incredibly strong, but if you fall into the ocean you are dead unless someone saves you. The show is about  Luffy’s goal coming into a reality, which is to become The King of Pirates and to acquire the greatest treasure ever known, One Piece.

Crew Mates and Character Description:

Luffy has eight crew mates, Zoro, Robin, Chopper, Franky, Sanji, Nami, Usopp and, Brook.

  • Zoro is a guy that uses a three sword fighting style. He himself he strong, but he’s lazy and likes to drink a lot. He is very loyal to his friends and if anyone hurts his friends he will harm them back. Though he acts like he doesn’t, he really does.
  • Robin also has eaten a devils fruit called the Flower- Flower Fruit which allows her to sprout any of her own body parts anywhere as long as she can see. For example, she can choke someone by viewing that persons neck and bam extra hands pop out where she saw and strangles that person. She is also an archeologist and incredibly smart. His dream is to become the best swordsman in the entire world.
  • Chopper is another devils fruit eater he ate the fruit called Human – Human Fruit. He was born a reindeer, but he ate the human – human fruit which allowed to speak and turn into some form of a human. He’s the crew doctor and was trained by one of the best doctors in the One Piece world. He is so cute and when push comes to shove he will protect his friends at any cost.
  • Franky was born human, but something happened (not going to spoil it) that he had to change into a human/robot type thing. He likes everyone else is strong and has hidden guns and missiles in his robot body. His robot body is powered by soda and can hold up to three cans of soda. He may seem rude, but he is really soft and kind. He would never harm someone unless they deserved it. He also is the ship wright of the crew and even made the Thousand Sunny which is the Straw Hat Pirates boat. Frank’s wish is to make sure the Thousand Sunny gets to travel the whole Grand Line.
  • Sanji would never ever hurt a lady even if it kills him and that is his weakness. He is really strong and fights using his legs and feet not his hands. He is the ships chef and makes amazing food. He always tries to improve his own cooking and fighting skills. He will fall in love with any girl he meets,but he looks so creepy in doing so. His dream is to go to mythical All Blue, which is said to have every fish in their world.
  • Nami is the navigator for the crew and is incredibly skilled in navigation. She fights with weather and its really cool seeing her fight because she fights differently from everyone else. Name in the beginning seemed horrible, but it was all for her home village. Her dream is to draw a map of the entire world.
  • Usopp is personally my least favorite character in the Straw Hat Pirates. To me he is very useless and the weakest one in their crew. Usopp is the sniper for his crew and is  skilled at aiming and shooting.
  • Brook is another devils fruit eater, he ate the Revive – Revive Fruit. The revive – revive fruit brings him back to life once he dies and he is able to take his soul out of his body. He is also able to make hallucinations using his devils fruit power. Since he’s just bones he’s able to run through water and only needs to drink milk or consume calcium to heal.He is the musician of the pirate crew and plays any instrument as far as I can tell. His dream is to go back to his pet whale and play him his favorite song one more time.

I highly recommend watching this anime. It has everything from laughing to crying and even screaming. This show will definitely give you mix emotions about every character and enemy. I thought I wouldn’t like this anime, but I continued watching and I was hooked on it. The first episodes have bad graphics because it was made in 1999, but as time goes by the graphics get better. If you have seen it please write in the comments below if I missed anything or got anything wrong, thanks!

Need

Dreams.

(I meant to blog this week, but I kept putting it off later and later, and now I’ve missed basically all of break.)

Recently I’ve gotten into Naruto, and while its story is strange and childish at times, it also has some really great plot moments. The story overall is great, and the characters are even better. However, one plot point stood out to me, especially this spring break.

Near the end of Naruto (which is where I started getting into the series, because I’m good at following plots like that) the main antagonists of the story put the entire world into a state called the Infinite Tsukuyomi. In this state, everyone in the world is more or less put into an endless dream, in which they will be forever happy. (In the world of Naruto, basically everyone has a traumatic and depressing back story, so happiness is something pretty far off from reality in their lives.) Though this is everntually undone by the protagonists, its a rather interesting concept. The antagonists who put everyone under this spell truly wanted to change the world for the better. They were clearly evil, killing countless people, but they did so under the presumption that it didn’t matter, as everyone would be forever happy once their plans were completed. Sounds pretty evil all the same, right?

The funny thing is that people are split over whether or not the “bad guys” were right in their decisions or not. And actually its a hard one to debate. Infinite happiness or no? Even if the happiness is fake, you wouldn’t be able to tell it was. You’d live your life according to how you would want it to go, and while some bad things would obviously happen, you’d be happy. How would that be wrong? We already strive for that in our everyday lives, ignoring the bad things in life so we can appreciate the good. Why not just take out the bad entirely?

Recently I had a dream that hurt to wake up from. I’ve had one or two of those in the past year, but this one was very real. I actually thought it was the life I lived for a bit. Then of course, I woke up, and everything shifted back to the way it truly was. Its kinda funny how badly that affected me, though its probably just teenager emotions and stuff like that. Either way, how far would I go to be happy again? Though something inside me revolts against the idea of gaining happiness in such a cheap way, I already answered myself as to whether or not I would accept something like that. Happiness is what we all  strive for after all. And though, while in control of my emotions, I’m fine with the world, its not always that way. Life isn’t a story, there are no happy endings. You just work with what you get. And you try to ignore what could have been.

 

What If…?

Need

Nowadays we tend to stay inside so often that we miss out on all that the world has to offer. Those four walls of our rooms is all we know. It feels safe, secure, comforting. The light of the computer screen becomes our sunshine and the ceiling up ahead our sky. Accumulated thoughts and erased discipline choking us day by day. Deteriorating bodies and fading minds all around. But what if we took a step outside?

What if we learned to smile at the stars and appreciate the moonlight? What if instead of just clicking an arrow to move forward in a game we ran through the streets mindlessly? What if instead of using our headphones as an escape from the world, we immerse in what the world has given us and enjoy the song of the birds? What if we took a step outside?

Life comes with a clock, you’ll never know when it will stop ticking. Take advantage of what is around you and appreciate the world’s expensive beauty for free. Go for a run or even a walk. Taking this time off to yourself makes all the difference, as you detach from all that stress and clear your mind.

As I went for a run today I realized how grateful I was for that present moment. All my focus was on my pace and my breathing. Everything else was off my mind. Knowing that I was pushing myself and doing something that was benefiting me multiplied the satisfaction. Perhaps you don’t find running enjoyable and maybe taking a walk or playing in the court with a couple friends sounds more appealing. However, it’s all about staying active, maintaining a discipline, and going beyond the limits.  technology_is_consuming_us_by_saiya_story-d4qzd58

Do something that makes you passionate, even if it means reaching out of that safe and secure zone.  Absorb your surroundings and don’t settle for four walls, a computer screen, and artificial lighting. There is a world out there. Step outside.

League Talk

Like most of the people who play League of legends, I have a character who I just enjoy  playing with and can dominate any given game with, but unlike many I have two that I always go back to when I play league.

The first character I want to talk about is Mordekaiser. Mordekaiser is one of the first champions that I had played with and had reached level 5. I have to admit I wasn’t very good with him and really didn’t understand any of his abilities all that well, but I love how tanky and how I don’t have to worry about mana with him. Mordekaiser story is a bit dreadful as he is plenty evil living his days as a human spreading fear and pain to all those around him and ruling with an iron fist. His enemies eventually come to overthrow and kill him in the process, but death could not stop him as some evil sorcerers sought out his armor and bones to revive him. So for many centuries his cruel reign continue even when death claimed him, he was always revived. Although his story was pretty bad, he is a great champion especially his abilities can caused massive damage in the game.

The second  champion I will like to talk about is Olaf. Try not to confuse him with the snowman from Frozen but this Olaf is much deadlier. I find Olaf while I playing game using new characters and I just happened to choose Olaf. Due to my success in that game, I decided to use him more often, and I have not regretted it. Similar to Mordekaiser,  he is a very tanky kind of champion, but unlike Mordekaiser he is much faster than him allowing him to stock pile in kills which makes him more deadly. This is one of the many reasons I enjoy playing Olaf. Olaf is a full on berserker and goes on a full on frenzy on the brink of death allowing him to go up the strongest of opponents.

So if you ever play league, HERE ARE YOUR BEST TWO CHARACTERS YOU WIL EVER FIND IN THE GAME.

 

 

Spring Break

So I missed another two days of the blog posts, but there’s really nothing to blog about. I never got blogs to begin with, but now that I kinda have to, its worse.

Anyway, Spring Break started (obviously), and its been really relaxing so far. There’s no urgency or feel or a need to do anything, and so far it seems like the days last a very long time. Its weird to see how much school really takes out of you, and how much we should value our free time. It’ll only get worse as we get older, and we should enjoy the time we have.

Its weird to wonder how we will look back on this time in our lives. We remember very little, often only impressions of good or bad. It’s a little sad, before we know it we’ll be all grown up, with all the problems and responsibilities of the real world. But until then I can go ahead and play a full 12 hours of League.

PC Project Milestone 1

She’s done. Like a government conspiracy on drugs, it’s all connected and mostly working! After about a month of troubleshooting, component searching, staying up late, and doing everything related to school, I can finally say that I built a PC. To commemorate the event, I did a video alongside this blog post. Go ahead and watch it.

So there’s still some work to do on it, but it’s mostly done. Installing the Windows 10 OS was easier than I thought. I want to thank my dad for actually trusting me with this and actually getting the parts that I recommended and for helping keep costs down. My mom kinda talked to some of my family in the Philippines and a few of her coworkers. My family is proud and her coworkers are amazed.

So the PC may not be finished entirely, but I consider this a success.

Need

Nuclear Fruit

About a few months back, a Youtuber known as “Ahoy” made a series called “Nuclear Fruit”. The series exists to tell of how closely many aspects of the Cold War affected the video games that so many enjoy today. Give it a watch, especially since AP World History right now is dealing with the era the Cold War was involved. Hell, it even lists video games as an example for one of the Key Concept letters. The full series with all the episodes as one video is an hour and 8 minutes.

Seriously, if any of you are interested as to why video games showed up in our Key Concepts thing for AP World History, this would be of extreme interest. Ahoy, in my opinion, is one of the most informative gaming Youtubers right now, with topics ranging from the history of famous firearms that showed up in games like the Uzi or M1911 or a complete history and overview of graphics in games. His videos have production qualities that could rival documentaries made by entire film companies, but you don’t need a ticket. Just a good internet connection. Plus, the art is wonderful and his deep, British voice is just as wonderful.

Also, this is just one more blog post until I post the PC. Maybe. Until then, I bid thee farewell.

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