Inspiration: Twenty years from now

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain


Inspiration: How bad do you want it? (Success)

I was watching a promotion video for the Spartan Race. I just loved (bold and italic!) the video’s over voice. Not just the voice and energy but the story that was being told. I had look into it.

Eric Thomas is the man behind the voice. He became a motivational speaker after he had lost all hope and became homeless. When he talks you feel that he speaks of experience. He’s a stranger but makes you feel like he cares for everyone of us individually. Every week I watch one of his TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) videos.

Must watch video Part 1 [9:01]:

Part 2 [5:20]:

The original Spartan Race video mentioned above.

Inspiration: Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young is one of my all time favorite motivation pieces. It was written by Mary Schmich back in 1997. A year later Baz Luhrmann transformed it into the hit song Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen.

I discovered the song a couple of years back when I was seeking advise. Someone on YouTube made video with the Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen song. From time to time I go back and watch it. The video is inspiring in three ways: the beautiful writing from Mary Schmich, the song and voice of Baz Luhrmann and pickupdance sharing with us some of his life experiences.

The original version by Mary Schmich found here:

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Books that I read or want to read

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2014

Books I’ve Read

Books I Started Reading

Books I Have But Not Started

Books I Want or Should Check Out

Goals for 2013

Looking at some of my life’s ultimate goals it can be a bit overwhelming. Slicing them down to smaller goals. I shall add and update to this list throughout 2013.

  • Try at least two new company ideas
  • Live in Montreal for a week (or another city)
  • Vegan for a week
  • Drink the recommended of daily water consumption for one week
  • Try to have a regular schedule for two weeks
  • Have a Thai restaurant debate
  • Cook for my family
  • Go to the gym every two days for a month

Organic Peppermint Amour Herbal Review (from David’s Tea)

Peppermint amour does not weigh much which makes quite affordable. Peppermint is quite unique. It opens up the sinuses and give you a nice warm fuzzy feeling. When I get tiered of drinking tea or want something refreshing to cheer me up I reach for the peppermint. I always have peppermint leafs in my tea cabinet.


The recommended steep time is 30–60 seconds. I steep for 30 to 45 seconds. I find that steeping more than this makes it too strong and make the flavour bitter.

Personal Score: 4.5/5
Would buy again? Yes

Vanilla Orchid Oolong Review (from David’s Tea)

I’ve only tried two oolong so far but I think I’m liking it. At the time of writing I’m quite a newb to tea. Oolong seems to have a very pleasant and soothing taste. It’s very light with little bitterness. I have to say it’s mostly enjoyable when it’s still hot.


The same leafs can be steeped multiple times. I steeped for about 4 minutes. I might need to think about new ways to steep. I’ve read about the Gong Fu method with Yixing Teapots here and here.

Personal Score: 3/5
Would buy again? Maybe. I will explore other oolongs before making a decision.

Red Velvet Cake Black Tea Review (from David’s Tea)

At first the name, smell and fancy garnishes threw me off. Once steeped it didn’t taste nearly as to what I was expecting. The after taste funnily tastes like eating a cake without frosting.


Steeped 5 minutes. Subsequent steeps do not result in the same taste even after steeping for a long time. I would say leafs can only be used for one steep.

Personal Score: 2/5
Would buy again? Maybe. It’s more of a treat tea. I wouldn’t drink it regularly.

Coq au Vin (cooking cost + review + recipe)

For New Year’s Eve 2012–2013 I cooked a Coq au Vin. This traditional French cuisine recipe was great! My guests enjoyed it and asked for more. I’ll repeat this recipe sometime soon.

The recipe is quite simple. Here’s what I did:

  • Season chicken (salt + pepper) then massage with all purpose flour.
  • Tap excess flour from chicken and sear in a large pot to give it color (about a minute a side). Once chicken has a nice sear (not cooked just a nice color) remove it and set aside.
  • Use the same pot to sear vegetables (about 3 minutes).
  • Add 3/4 of a bottle of wine to the vegetables. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer for 10–15 minutes.
  • Add chicken then add broth until 3/4 of the chicken is covered. Add some thyme and bay leafs.
  • Cover and let simmer for 1–1.5 hours. Remove bay leafs when done.
  • Optionally add chopped parsley as a garnish.

Technique Notes

  • Searing: Medium/high heat + grape seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil).
  • Do not overcrowd the pot when searing. Cook in batches if required.

Would cook again?


Notes for next time

Mushrooms could of been used. I simmered for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I could of left it for another 30 minutes at a lower heat. It seemed that people liked the thighs more than the drumstick so maybe I could repeat with just the thighs.


Description Cost
Total (4 portion at two chicken piece each) $28.50
Total per Person $7.13
Carrots (used 1/2 but kept all in total) $1.99
Celery (1/4 used but kept all in total) $2.49
Pearl Onions (about 20) $2.99
Pre-made Chicken Stock: Knorr Chicken Stock Bouillon ($3.49 for 4 but used one) $0.87
Garlic ($0.43 but only used half) $0.21
4 Chicken Thighs $4.98
4 Chicken Drumstick ($7.03 for 8 but only used half) $3.52
Wine: Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet ($11.25 includes $0.20 deposit. Only used 3/4 of the bottle for recipe but wine needs so be finished so I included in total) $11.45

Coffee Pu’erh Review (from David’s Tea)

The flavour is very subtle and smooth. After swallowing a tiny bitter taste appears and the throat becomes dry. It makes you want to take another sip to relive yourself from the dryness.


A good taste but I prefer a stronger flavoured tea. The dry month is creates is a bit annoying.

Personal Score: 2/5
Would buy again? Nop. Flavour too subtle and I don’t like the dry aftertaste.