Tag Archives: waste

Movie Review: Waste Land



***Spoiler Alert***


This is a documentary that takes you into the lower-class citizens of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Renown contemporary artist wishes to return to his country and make a difference.  He wishes to use trash to create art.

He is aware of a land fill where a whole culture of people live.  They are called “pickers” and their job is to find recyclable materials such as plastic, paper, or glass to sell.

Initially, his expectations of the project were simple and straight forward.

But the moment he steps into the life of the “pickers”, he can’t help but get pulled into their world.

He meets key people who he decides to take portraits of, then he goes back to his studio and recreates the image using the material from the landfill.

Through his project he is able to sell the portraits for over $50,000.

All the money goes back to the “pickers” union organization.

Final Thoughts:

This is a movie that moves you, because in a way you can relate to the whole experience.

“Pickers” are down on themselves for not having a better job, while participating in the art project gives them pride and job in what they do.

Many don’t want to share what they do to friends and family.

The artist opens a whole new world to them that they could never experience without him.  At the same time, the pickers opens a new world of art that pushes the artist to reflect on his own life.

Waste land will have you reflecting on how lucky your own life is compared to those of the pickers.



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Baking Up The Sermons

My cousin and me recently made a visit to Costco.

We were casually going through the aisles until we hit the pastry section.

Immediately, we were mesmerized by the smell of fresh baked goods.

We were kids in a candy store, wanting to take everything home.

We settled on a mixed batch of cookies consisting of chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, and oatmeal raisins.

After putting the batch into our cart, my cousin made the following the comment:

“Its so difficult to find the motivation to bake cookies, when it’s so easily accessible through Costco.”

I wasn’t sure where she was coming from, so I asked her to elaborate.

“Well for me it’s so much trouble to go buy the materials, prepare it, and then wait for it to be ready”.

“Sometimes I go through all that trouble and my batch isn’t even good as the ones at Costco.”

My cousin had a point.

Why go through all that trouble, when you don’t have to right?

Most of the people that I know, don’t have enough time to do all the things they want to do.

Why waste time when you already don’t have enough time?

Life is about prioritizing what’s important and sometimes baking doesn’t always make it to the top of the list.

The only reasons I can think of, in which a person actually prefers baking cookies over buying them is:

1. Their batch is superior in taste and quality compared to the bought ones.

2. Their batch is considerable cheaper when you factor in time and materials invested.

3. They aren’t in it for superior quality or saving money, but rather they just enjoy the process of baking.

Intrinsically, you have to derive some type of benefit or else why would you choose the harder route?

This weekend I talked briefly with a friend I haven’t seen for a very long time.

She told me she recently transitioned from finance to going to school at Le Cordon Bleu.

I never asked her why she wanted to be a pastry chef, but I can see the above reasons applying to her.

Reason #1 applies to her because you got to have self-confidence in your creations and believe that they are of the highest quality.

Reason #3 applies to her because it’s impossible to make a career out of baking if you can’t enjoy yourself in the kitchen.

People ask me all the time, “Why don’t you go to the church anymore?”

I never really knew the real answer, so I made something up:

“The Catholic Church has too many rules and regulations.”

“I don’t get anything from going to mass anymore.”

“I look around at all the people in church who pretend to be holy and I lose faith.”

In the end, all those answers were insufficient because I felt like taking them back the moment I said them.

The truth is, the Catholic Church is good.

I do get something from going to mass.

Others only affect my faith, because I let them.

But still, I haven’t found a reason for my lack of motivation to attend weekly mass.

That is until now.

I stopped going to church because I wanted more than what was being offered to me at church.

For me, the most important of part of mass is the sermon.

It’s the one part that personally bridges my life to the life of Jesus Christ and all that happened before and after his life.

Everything else is simply ritual repetition with small deviations depending on where we are at in the Catholic liturgical year.

For close to 30 years of my religious life, I was like my cousin who finds it easier to buy cookies then to make them.

She goes to Costco, she finds her cookies, she eats it, and moves on with her life.

I go to Church, I get my sermon, I think about it, and then I move on with my life.

Every Sunday for 30 years, I have gone through this same routine.

I realized this same routine was cutting it for me anymore.

I took myself out of the church, because I realized that I depended on the church so much I felt like I was spiritually complacent.

I grew spiritually complacent because I knew that my Pastor will feed my soul every Sunday.

I was so busy with everything else in life that I didn’t even try to make more time for my soul than the bare minimum.

The bare minimum for any practicing Catholic is a 1 hour devotion to God every Sunday.

Because the church only required 1 hour of my life, that’s all I gave to God.

But removing myself from church didn’t exactly help me spiritually.

What has helped me spiritually after leaving the church, is learning how to bake just like my friend.

Instead of going to costco and buying cookies, she “bakes up” her own batch of cookies.

For me, instead of going to church and receiving the sermon, I “bake up” my own sermons.

I found the process of “baking up” my own sermons more rewarding than just receiving the sermon at church.

When a pastor “bakes up” a sermon, he sits down and reads the bible.

He asks himself, “How can I make this bible passage relevant to my audience?”

He does research and tries to come up with some stories, jokes, and props to engage the audience.

He brainstorms, makes multiple drafts, and might ask others to critique his work.

When he believes it is good enough, he delivers it on Sunday.

I go through a similar process and once I’m done, I usually put my findings in a blog.

In fact, all my personal sermons that I have ever “baked up” go directly into this blog.

I do this not because of reason #1 (I believe my sermons are way better than the pastor.)

Nor do I believe that I fit under scenario #2 (I probably invest way more time than a pastor does. He’s definitely more efficient than me.)

I do this because of reason #3 (I simply enjoy the process of “baking up” my own sermons every week.)

For me the “baking-up” a sermon process is a spiritual process.

It encourages me to be proactive in my spirituality instead of waiting to be “fed” by the pastor every Sunday.

True, I may spend way more time coming up with these sermons when compared to the pastor’s preparation time.

But my priority is spirituality, so the fact that I spend so much time preparing, is actually a benefit not a drawback.

I’m not wasting time, I’m actually investing it.

Before, I might’ve told myself to just get the hour of mass over so I can do what I really want to do.

Now, I might spend 1, 3, or 5 hours on my own sermon until I’m satisfied with the result.

This may only apply to me, but I definitely enjoy the process of “baking-up” my own sermons because I am more involved.

I could always revert back to going to church and receive the pastor’s sermon weekly, that would be so easy.

The only reason why I persist down the hard road is because I just find it way more rewarding when I’m the one baking up the sermons.

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Staring at My Own Food

My friends have been noticing that every time I eat, I tend to stare at my food.

They think its weird.

What do I think about this weird habit of mine?

I don’t even know what to think.

Because I didn’t even realized I stared at my food until someone pointed it out.

Of course, after some quiet time, I’ve finally gotten it figured out.

I stare mainly because deep down, I’m contemplating.

Food should be simple, you just put it in your mouth a chew.

What is there to contemplate?

Plenty, I assure you.

Well for sure, I’ve noticed that whenever I stare at my food, I’m less likely to overeat.

Perhaps I’ve lost my appetite after waiting for so long.

Perhaps staring at the food, gives it time to cool down and become less appealing.

I ask myself, “Do I really need more?”

And after some time, the answer is usually no.

When I stare at food, I acknowledge the power that lies in every bite I take.

Depending on what I eat and how much of it I eat, I could double my weight in a year.

I could physically and emotionally transform myself into another person.

I could imprison myself in my own home.

I could become addicted to food and use it as a source of pleasure.

I know it could happen to me only because I have seen it happen to others.

Food should not be taken lightly.

Food can literally make you or break you.

I stare because I care.

I’m going to respect my body by being careful on what food goes in my mouth.

People have different thoughts on food.

Some thoughts encourage a healthy lifestyle while others don’t.

“I always have room for dessert.”

“Never waste any food, finish it all.”

Are two that encourages overeating.

I have observed that many people don’t like to waste food.

They finish 3/4 of their dish and stop because they are full.

Someone usually a parent or a friend in the same table, says “You can’t waste that, finish it!”

And the person who is already full, slowly stuffs the rest of the dish into his mouth.

How does this make any sense at all?

Somehow not wasting food has become more important than my health.

If I make “not wasting food” a habit, soon I’m going to become over-weight.

And everyone knows that being over-weight comes with a ton of health complications.

I’d rather waste food, then end up in a hospital one day.

Why are we even debating this, the answer should be obvious.

Another thing some people say, “I’ve always got room for dessert”.

Doesn’t that sound cruel?

So even if you are full and your stomach can’t fit anything else, you’ll continue forcing food down?

Why would you do that to yourself?

If your stomach is already full, cramming more food down there will only make it expand to accommodate more food.

And guess what happens next time you decide to eat again?

You’ll have to eat more to fill up your stomach.

Last time you stuffed it with so much food, your stomach has been stretched beyond its normal size.

Now it’ll take even more food to fill it up.

This is exactly how people become overweight.

Now for views that encourage healthy eating.

“We should treat food like it is medicine.”

“Be present while you eat.”

Both require us to look at food from a different angle.

Both can make a difference if you allow it to.

I think food should be treated like medicine.

Medicine has powerful effects on the human body both positive and negative.

Therefore, you need a prescription in order to buy medicine.

Included with the prescription is how much you should consume and other warnings.

Without these warnings, people could over-dose unintentionally and die.

Food is just as dangerous if not more dangerous than medicine.

Food can heal and nourish you, but if you’re not careful it can also lead to diabetes, heart attacks, and obesity.

The reason why food is even more dangerous than medicine is because it is so easy to come by.

You think food is harmless, so you let your guard down.

You start to use and abuse it which eventually leads to your downfall.

Another thought of mine is whenever you eat, be present.

You’re going to overeat if your mind is wandering somewhere else.

When you are watching a tearjerker movie with a tub of ice cream in your lap, your attention is on the movie.

What’s stopping you from eating the whole tub?

Nothing, because your mind is focused on the movie.

Being present just means you don’t have anything else on your mind besides the food in front of you.

You give food attention because of the importance it plays in your life.

Food is a game changer and it should be treated as such.

If you learn to respect food, food will nourish you.

If you overlook the importance of food, food will hinder and hold you back from living a fulfilling life.

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The Traffic Lights Are Out To Get Me

My friend recently posted this on facebook, “When you’re in a freakin’ rush, all the damn traffic lights seems to be going against you!  Arggg!!”

Which is both funny and true at the same time.

I think the main reason you feel it is going against you is because you want so badly for it to be green.

The longer it takes to be green, the more you feel it is resisting your wants.

The reality of the situation is that the traffic light neither likes or dislikes you.   It isn’t purposely going against you today, just to annoy you.

It’s actually very fair.  The moment it goes against you, it’s actually allow someone else to go.  And the moment it allows you to go, it’s going against someone else who is in a rush by giving them the red light.

We just feel victimized in that moment, because we are trying so hard to get to our destination and only notice all these stupid obstacles (red lights) in our way.

There are many ways around getting frustrated at red lights …

  1. Plan accordingly.  If you’re not late, why would you rush?  Give yourself some extra time.  Know yourself.  If you always come 10 mins late, next time why not leave 10 mins earlier to counteract your 10 mins lateness.  What’s wrong with being there early?  Oh yeah, you have to wait for them.  Then what’s wrong with waiting for them?  You feel like time is wasted?  If they aren’t important enough for you to wait for them, perhaps you shouldn’t even be there in the first place.
  2. Don’t Rush.  Sh*t happens I know and you can’t plan for everything.  Still don’t rush.  I mean, do all you can, but in the end … everyone is known to be late one time or another.  Sometimes when you are rushing, it actually causes you to be more late … Such as speeding and getting a ticket.  Or running a red light and getting into a car accident.  Getting their on time isn’t worth risking your life.
  3. Reschedule.  People are understanding.  People make mistakes.  People have a calendar with tons of free space.  You could be in the next open slot.  I’d rather reschedule then waste my time waiting for you stuck in traffic … again!
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Bridal Shoot: Nikki & Bobby

I found this lovely couple through Craigslist.  Craigslist has plenty of people looking for photographers, but it also has plenty of photographers looking for gigs.

For me, it’s always a hit or miss.  I’d probably send out maybe 10 emails and maybe get 1 response.  You never know who wants you until they want you.

This couple has something special that I wanted for my portfolio which was a wedding dress.  All my other shoots were done in casual attire.  So I was extremely excited for this shoot.

In this photo shoot, I personally wanted to challenge myself through my equipment choice.

Normally, I shoot with a Canon T3i camera & my 24-105 mm f/4L series Lens.

The interesting thing about this combination is that the lens cost $300 more then the camera.  (Body ~ $700 & Lens ~ $1000)

I have two other lens:

  1. 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 efs  (~$300)
  2. 50mm f/1.8 (~$100)

For the longest time, I haven’t touched any of these lens.

Why would you use your second-best or third-best lens?

Well I’ve always known that the 50 mm f/1.8 is great prime lens and supposedly it’s great for portraits.  The only downside from using the 50 mm f/1.8 is there is no zoom.

That means if I want a close up, I literally have to run 3 feet away from the couple to get my close-up and if I want a shot with the whole landscape, I had to move back like 20-30 feet.  It can be a great workout if that’s what your looking for.

I decided to challenge myself by using only the 50 mm f/1.8.

I could always switch to my more expensive lens, if things didn’t work out … but I actually forbid myself to before the shoot.

No bailing out on the challenge.

This was a do or die situation for me.  Make the best out of the 50 mm f/1.8 lens or … waste the whole photo shoot and have a really sad couple in the end.

Sometimes I can be quite stubborn with my rules and my criteria.

As it turned out, the pictures came out great.

Here’s a couple of my favorite pics:

As you can see, all three pics are the same location.  I took pictures at other places too such as a pond, hill, and bridge … but this walkway is by far my favorite place.

Before, the couple came, I got a chance to scout out the area and found this little walkway that had perfect lighting.  The trees provided cool shade and the perfect natural frame for the couple.  While at the very end of the walkway, there was an open area that let in all the sunlight.

It’s the perfect combination of shade and lighting that allows the bride & groom to be in the spotlight.

By the end of the photo shoot, I was tired from running around with my prime lens but glowing with joy because I knew I had some great photos.

I was extremely proud of myself for sticking with the challenge of using only my cheapest lens.  It proves that you don’t need the most expensive lens to capture beautiful pictures.

This is a link to the whole album:  https://photoscripts.wordpress.com/couples-2/wedding/

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