July 3, 2006

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Book day!

Today was a very good book day. I finished Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse,
and I bought five books – five books! – at Chapters. Details in the vidcast (10 minutes), short notes follow.

  • Siddhartha: Nice novel, well-written. Insightful.

    Listen, Kamala, when you throw a stone into the water, it finds the quickest way to the bottom of the water. It is the same when Siddhartha has an aim, a goal. Siddhartha does nothing; he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he goes through the affairs of the world like the stone through the water, without doing anything, without bestirring himself; he is drawn and lets himself fall. He is drawn by his goal, for he does not allow anything to enter his mind which opposes his goal. That is what Siddhartha learned from the Samanas. It is what fools call magic and what they think is caused by demons. Nothing is caused by demons; there are no demos. Everyoe can perform magic, everyone can reach his goal, if he can think, wait and fast.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People: Useful, classic. Packed with examples, although harder to read now.
  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in
    Relationships. Don’t get put off by the weird title and even worse
    self-helpy blurb at the back; actually sounds like a practical,
    useful book.
  • Right to Write: Haven’t really browsed through this, but inclined
    to trust the author because my mom likes her other book.
  • Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul: about as sappy a collection as
    you can get of heart-tugging awwww kind of stories.
  • Five Good Minutes: Sweet! Good for me _and_ superbusy friends.

Also, some thoughts on my now-depleted book budget, the importance of books, and my new need for bookshelves…

On Amazon:

On Indigo/Chapters: (for Canadians)

Random Japanese sentence: 悲しいことに私の猫はどこかへいってしまった。 To my sorrow, my cat has gone somewhere.

Comment from my mom:

did you know I read Siddhartha when I was in college? and that I have
been looking for “Right to Write” since last year? Try to find “Sound
of Paper,” also by Julia Cameron. I’ve read Carnegie’s book and even
took their executive course. Love, Mom

Sacha Chua, skater girl

I bought a skateboard today. It kept bubbling up in my consciousness,
so I finally went ahead and got one. I headed down to the skateboard
shop in Kensington Market and talked to the person at the counter
about what I wanted. She talked to me about my options and advised me
not to go for the cheap already-assembled ones or buy a used one. I
thought she made sense. =) If I’m going to try this out, I might as
well pay for good stuff so that I don’t have to struggle with it.
Nice, big wheels, good tracks, etc. I got a used deck, though, as I
don’t really need a bright and shiny one. I’m also not planning to do
any tricks that’ll really chew up my board… ;)

I spent the next hour or so figuring out how to travel in a straight
line. I still haven’t quite figured out how to come to a sudden halt,
although I’ve gotten the hang of using my foot to speed up or try to

What I really, really appreciate about skateboards is that when I
panic, I can _get_ _off._ It so totally owns bicycles and inline
skates in that respect. Being able to get off the board when I feel
even the least bit worried saved me quite a number of falls earlier!

I used it on the way back, too. The road going up to Harbord (one
street west of Spadina) was fairly quiet and car-free, so I tried it
out. I managed to make it all the way up to Harbord without doing a
faceplant! Happy girl. I didn’t dare try it with the cars and people
on Harbord Street, though, but I’ll get there soon enough.

I’m cooling off in my dorm room a bit before heading along Bay to
deposit those checks and go to Indigo. Bay is a busy street, so I
won’t take my skateboard. Besides, I’ve practiced enough for today.
I’m looking forward to playing with it more tomorrow, though!

On Technorati:

(Picture by mutednarayan on Flickr. Creative Commons license: attribution, sharealike.)

Random Japanese sentence: たとえどしゃぶりになろうとも行かなければならない。 I have to go even if it rains cats and dogs.

Domestic bliss?

I love my family to bits. Here’s a recent story from my mom:

Hi Sacha, we spent the night here in Alabang. Kathy (for the most
part) and I cooked. although papa volunteered to wash the dishes, he
was overwhelmed by the task – because we had guests :). Last night he
joked that he would like to go back to the Philippines so he could
call Jeanna to wash dishes.:D Actually, he went to bed promising to do
the dishes in the morning but Tita Liz and Jed took charge and cleaned
everything after papa went upstairs. I didn’t tell papa. ;) When he
woke up, he said he would do as promised. When he saw that all the
dishes had been cleaned, he said his fairy godmothers came to do the
work for him. But he did wash the dishes that we used at breakfast. He
is being broken in, and we’re having fun. Wish you were here.

Papa asked, “Whats the best way to wash dishes?” Kathy answered, “Dial
(our home phone number), and tell Jeanna you’d pick her up in half an
hour.” :-D Seriously though, Papa did a great job.

I love how my family jokes with each other. =)

On Technorati: ,

Picture by brooklyn on Flickr. License: Creative Commons attribution sharealike.

Thinking and not thinking

“Sacha, don’t overthink this,” said a friend of mine. This is not new
advice, and naturally made me think about why I’ve heard it so many
times before. (Couldn’t help it!)

I can see why people would think that I think too much. I share a lot
of thoughts on my blog, and I often ask myself deep questions. Other
people play things by ear, but I can usually give a few reasons why
I’m doing things or why I’m feeling a certain way. Even when I haven’t
quite figured out how to express something, people know I’m thinking
about it. That said, I can’t explain everything. When I try to explain
why I do things, I end up helplessly shrugging, trying to describe
that—feeling? instinct? intuition?—that _sense_ of what might be the
best thing to do at a particular time.

But do I overthink things? Do I strangle my spontaneity in logic and
attempt to reduce everything to a logic statement along the lines of
“If p implies q then not q implies not p”?

I don’t feel that I overthink things. I might give people that
impression, though, because I’ve had a lot of practice thinking about
what I feel, I like calibrating myself every so often, and I share
those thoughts with other people.


A friend remarked on my ability to articulate what I feel and what I
believe in. Like many things in life, reflection is a matter of

I’ve long thought about what I feel and why I feel that way. One of
the mementos my mom keeps in a fireproof safe is a letter that I wrote
her when I was very very young. “I hate you,” started the letter, and
it went on to explain how upset I was that my mom had broken her
promise to Kathy about cookies.

I don’t remember writing that letter, but I do remember writing about
how I hated it when my dad stole food off my plate, especially in
front of my friends – and then leaving the notebook conveniently
around. I think I even left it open to the right section. My mom
picked it up and brought it to my dad’s attention, and my dad duly
changed his behavior. In fact, he teased us about it during mealtimes,
stealing from my sister’s plate instead.

Likewise, I’ve written and talked about what I want to do with my
life. My vision changes from year to year, or even from day to day as
I learn new things. Still, because I think about my goals and
principles and I keep searching for better ways to express them, I’ve
had plenty of practice thinking and explaining the results.

New stuff I think about builds on stuff I’ve already thought about,
which is great! =)


Every so often, I like taking a step back and making sure I’m on the
right track. I also feel a deep need to recenter, recharge, and
recalibrate whenever I feel something’s off. That means taking stock
of my goals, my priorities, and my plans for getting from here to
there. That means exploring what I feel about certain issues and
trying to come to a decision that I respect.

I don’t think about the meaning of life all the time, and I try not to
worry about things too much. I spend some time thinking about things
when I sense that I need to clarify something or when something
doesn’t quite fit.

I think about these things so that when I am in the moment, I do not
need to think. Rather, I can act confidently, knowing that my actions
are in line with my principles and values. I love that feeling when
you know you’re doing just the right thing at just the right time with
just the right people. It’s definitely worth spending time thinking
about one’s priorities in order to get that aha! moment.


The third factor that makes people think I overthink is that I think
out loud: on my blog, in LiveJournal, in conversation… They get
exposed to more internal thoughts than they’re used to. Granted,
they’re somewhat filtered thoughts, but the main points are usually
there. I’m allowed to be wrong, and I’m allowed to change my mind –
but definitely having something out there. When I speak, it’s a good
idea of teee how immensely happy I waas.

I like sharing my thoughts for many reasons. Other people are going
through similar difficulties, and they often have insights and tips to
share. Talking with other people keeps me honest, too. In fact, I
often prefer small- or medium-sized groups over one-on-ones when it
comes to conversation.

Good stuff.


Random Japanese sentence: 私は私の可愛い猫を自慢に思っています。 I am proud of my pretty cat.

Picture by laspompis on Flickr. License: Creative Commons, attribution