The big rock

Overwhelmed by my to-do list this week, I wasn’t at all productive for the last two days. Nor was my sleep. 

I called my friend and mentor and spilled out my concerns.

“I feel like everything is so important that I can’t drop any ball I’m juggling right now.”

“Tell me what you have on your plate.”

“A new short film project. My weekly podcast. The dissertation outline that I’m collaborating with a Chinese screenwriting professor. The beat sheet of the animation project. And notes preparation for the three-hour lecture next Tuesday.”

“Here is a big jar and laying in front of you are the big rocks, the small pebbles and a pile of sand. How do you fill them all in without neglecting any?” 

He knew that I got the answer but kept going for my own benefit, “The big rock is your most important, most urgent task. Right now it is the short film that you need to turn in by end of tomorrow. How about you focus on that for the rest of the day and get it done, so you can have time to finish editing your podcast tomorrow?”

I couldn’t help thinking, “Why does it sound so much less messy when it comes out of my friend’s mouth?”

“You just can’t do everything at the same time.” 

True. ”But what if I am too tired too frazzled that I just watch YouTube?” I tried to hide behind the what-if, which is actually the reality I’m wrestling whenever the pressure gets the better of me.

“Well, then you just have some grow up to do. There are things you don’t like, but you are obligated to do it. Pace yourself and complete the task before those all-nighters compromise your health yet again.”

After the pneumonia-bad cold double whammy, I should know better. 

Several hours after our conversation, I now have a rough first draft of the short film. But I need to take a couple of more revisions first thing tomorrow morning before sending it back to the director. 

But hey, at the end of the day, I did tackle the big rock before romancing the other stones.


Yours truly,

Time v. Glam

For most of yesterday, I was shooting photos for eBay and Craigslist for items ranging from shoes to tennis racquet, from floor pillows to suitcase.

Deep down, I wish I didn’t buy them. Like some part of your life you wish you hadn’t lived, purge the items unwanted so you can keep a picture-perfect life.

My friend, the woman of the house, is the ultimate eBay ninja. Or “the Gypsy woman,” according to her husband.

She asked me to scrape the shoe soles. An hour later, she bleached them. Another half hour later, she took them out and scraped them again. Once they were dry, she did a coat of white paint at the bottom so it can pass as brand new, which it does.

“We’d better after spending these hours on the shoes.” She concluded.

I wanted to spend my time wisely.  But I also want to sell these stuff fast and cheap, so I won’t clutter my friends’ place too long, too much.

One interesting thing about the wife is that, she buys everything dirt cheap. If not, she would buy them again and return the more expensive ones.

Her husband doesn’t understand it, “What about your time, honey?”

Yeah, what about her time?

Before you know it, their bedroom is piled up with stuff she wants to purge. Because ultimately, she buys much faster than she can ever sell out.

She would argue, “I not only break even, I earn good dollars from eBay because of my taste. Some stuff become vintage.”

Indeed, she got me a pair of Ash Bowie Wedge Sneakers on eBay for $45 bucks including shipping. I was happy at the time, but soon I realized that I just didn’t like to tiptoe when I’m in sneakers. I want to be able to scoot and dodge. And they are too heavy for my ride.

“Are you selling those too?” She asked.

“Yes. I can’t stand {in} them.”

When she left for her own shopping returns, I turned to the husband, “I’ve decided to be a man in my next life with shaved head and turtleneck. Period.”

But today, I’m just paying my dues.


Yours truly,


To finish is harder than I imagined.

I promised myself a first draft before I fell asleep (yes, I fell) yesterday. Now I am up and the story is still not quite there yet.

My instructor asked me to be patient with myself as a writer. But seeing everyone else already sprinting away from you, I need more than just patience. I need my sanity.

I don’t usually compare myself with others. I know it’s useless, and pointless. But sometimes in the dark corner of my head, I just can’t help it.

I have friends juggling four courses in our 10-week packed schedule while still finding time to socialize, to go to movies, to Facebook (I shut down mine at the beginning of 2016), to intern, to work part-time, to finish a 100-page first-draft script by Week 5, to complete a 20-page paper within two days. How the fuck is that even possible? “Well, I want to do as much as I can on a single day.” Duh, I do too.

You see, now I don’t envy people with talent. I am jealous of those who use their time so freaking well that it seems God is so generous with them that he gives them 48 hours a day and still have them function like the rest of us who needs some 7–8 hours sleeping time. I try to drink coffee and stay alert. But by 12 o’clock, I climbed to bed like a zombie. Actually, I told myself that I was going to “nap for 15 mins.” I then did another 15. The rest is history. I woke up with the morning alarm. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning. Cue the T-Pain song.

Fuck — was the first word I uttered as I got up this morning. What a fashion to start the day.

Now back to my script. F — . Strike that. I meant Finish.