Archive for Inspiration

Secret Worlds

xkcd 52

Today I decided to go back through the archives of one of my favourite webcomics, xkcd, and re-read everything. This was because:

  1. I had nothing better to do (which is actually untrue; I’ve actually got plenty of overdue work that needs completing, but I’ve been in a slump all week and haven’t been able to put forth the effort to completing them.
  2. I noticed today something that I never noticed before: each comic has a title attribute that holds an extra tidbit of information, and I wanted to find out what all those tidbits were. (My curiosity has always gotten the best of me.)

While browsing back, I happened to stumble upon this one, which really caught my attention. It features a quote by Neil Gaiman that really got to me:

“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people in the whole world—I mean everybody—No matter how boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”
––Neil Gaiman, Sandman

I love this quote so much mostly because I really believe it. At least for myself this is true. (Some worlds are darker than others.) I can only imagine what other people’s worlds are like. I’m fascinated by other people’s thoughts and ideas. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you were able to delve into someone’s mind and explore their labyrinth of sort of like a Penseive? One can only dream…

I’ve requested a hold on The Sandman: Book of Dreams at the TPL so I can pick it up within the next two weeks. It seems like a really interesting book (at least judging by the excerpt ) and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I’ve still got a huge book backlog, but I hope to catch up on that after I’m set to graduate on the 17th.

Speaking of books, I’ve recently grown a new-found love for them. I used to make weekly (if not more often) trips to the library and had dozens of items on hold at a time (FYI: the maximum hold limit (and checkout limit, for that matter) is 50 items at any given time), but all that changed once I moved. There is a smaller, neighbourhood branch across the street from where I live now, but I rarely frequent that location as it doesn’t quite have the broad selection as other district branches do.

But recently I’ve been reconnecting with books (and actually going out and buying them even — gasp!), which has led me to appreciate them that much more. I’ve always cherished paper, despite how digital my life has become; I carry around a moleskine wherever I go so that I can jot down any notes or ideas I might have. I find that the tangibility of a notebook and pen just make it that much more real, especially in this digital age we live in these days, where it’d be unthinkable to live life without being plugged in to the Internet.


Creativity 100

Apologies for being absent all this time. Things have been rather hectic lately and I haven’t had the time I would’ve liked to do things like update this (or my other) blog as much as I’d like.

I had this bookmarked a while ago, but never thought to post this here until just now when I went to retrieve the link from (I suddenly forgot why I was looking for it to begin with).

Henriette Weber Andersen has compiled an excellent practical creativity manifesto that can “create some twisting and turning in your minds.” I love it.

One of my favourite from the list is a creative exercise:

78: draw 20 circles. Try to make each one into something in under 7 minutes (ie: pie, bicycle wheel, sewer grate, etc). repeat daily.

when I first tried this (I was really out of practice at the time), the first few were easy, but it became more difficult once I passed the twelfth. Then I realized, I didn’t have to constrain myself to only things shaped like a circle; I could build around the circle, too: after that I came up with several other concepts, each one more fun to draw than the last (a few examples of what I cam up with: a snowman, a lollipop, top-down view of a coffee cup, a camera with a big-honking macro lens (I wish I had one of those <drool>), a pair of stereo speakers (I sort of cheated a bit an counted that as two circles, one for each side, but don’t tell anyone—shh!), …you get the idea).

Maybe one of these days I’ll have to do up one of these…

(via michele)

I <3 My Friends

pretty flower

I just had a really encouraging talk with Sacha just now. I’ve been feeling rather unproductive this past week, and haven’t been able to get any work done. She gave me some really great and inspirational advice. I haven’t much time to go into the details of our conversation right now (as this right here is a distraction; but I just had to give her praise), but I’m happy we had a chance to speak (despite her hectic schedule). I’m not usually used to people being so nice to me. Thank you, Sacha 🙂

Inspirational Advice

This morning I received a very inspiring piece of advice this morning from my dear friend Sacha Chua. However, I’d like to share the dialogue that led to this, just so there’s some context:

[…]there are things going on in Toronto that I know you’d just love to be at, even aside from all the
*camps. For instance, Mr. Doctorow himself will be at Bakka Books on February 1st to promote and sign copies of his latest short story anthology: Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present. I’ll be sure to get you a signed copy. Any particular message you’d want him to write to you? 😉


What, “To Sacha: I’m sure we’ll meet someday.”

? 😉


Well, if I remember correctly, Joey did promise you that he’d introduce you to Cory (and vise-versa) the next time he was in town last time when we recorded a podcast back in June (which never actually got around to getting launched yet; i’ve still got the files
sitting on my hard drive), this would be the next-best thing to that without having to wait for the next time he’s in Toronto. Of course, they deliver special signed copies, but that’s got an extra $10 added to the price tag and you’ve gotta do it before Feb 1 (i assume via email would be the best way to contact
them; i can’t find a link on their site). I think Quinn & Leigh will be there, too, & hopefully Joey (though he hasn’t replied to my email yet).


Oh, don’t worry, I can wait. =) After all, I don’t chase after celebrities as much as I chase after real conversations with real people. I’d prefer dinner (or lunch or coffee) with Cory more than signed first editions of all his books. =)


You’re right. I seem to be more of a ‘collector’ than a connector (like yourself, which is how it should be). I’ve got signed copies of books from authors (Tim Sanders’ for one), but there’s no real depth behind it and I after that we never see each other again; in retrospect it seems to be more of a trophy than anything else.

See, you can get away with inviting out renowned speakers for coffee or lunch because you’ve got your cuteness and charm (among other things) that make people want to be around you. I couldn’t pull off something like that, at least not in my current state.


Make a decision to get quality instead of quantity, and quantity will follow. =)

Get Inspired!

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while (ever since Jan. 26 when I picked up the paper, actually), but it seems I never got around to it until now. I guess I just liked the print version better.

There’s a great article in the January 26 issue of Dose about some ways to blossom some new ideas for the inspirationally-challenged. Features thoughts from seven of the most creative Canadians out there. Great Read!

Also, visit to see what makes Dose readers tick and to contribute your own opinion.

I’m an Artist

Benjamin Perez, an old high school friend of mine once told me (last year),

(Gabriel), you know what, you’re an artist. I mean like, you don’t like people telling you what and when to do things. You do things on your own terms.

After hearing that comment, I felt really good. It was the most appreciable comment I had ever received.

MyVeganLunchBox ()

Wow. I just had a really great meal. All vegan-friendly, too. Now time for my very own installment of Vegan Lunch Box.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo (I’ll have to remember that for next time). I’ve got a part-time job at agrocery store and lunch breaks are oftern boring and unexciting, often consisting of frozen meals :(. But today, I decided to try something different (it’s actually not that different since normally I’m a vegetarian but let’s continue..)

This meal is both apetite-satifying and easy on the wallet, and all you need to do is combine a few eas ingrdients to make a fantastic and delicious meal.

Cedar stuffed zucchini ($2.27) and PC Hummus ($1.27), with a side of mushrooms, sliced beets, and baby corn ($0.63, $0.97, and $0.93, respectively), served with Mr. Pita whole wheat pita bread ($0.99). I also bought an oil and vinegar coleslaw because I wanted something salad-like, but it seems that addition made my meal more than filling. So much, in fact, that I’ve got leftovers to take home with me tonight.

Verdict: Delicious! (Not to be confused with my favourite social bookmarking tool Now that was a meal fit for a king, and all under $7.” 5 Stars.

A Different Kind of Commute

I was up tonight watching CBC‘s ZeD TV (great programming BTW, I should watch it more often. I mean, up until recently, I’ve for the most part been uninterested in the CBC’s programming (except, of course, for the hilarious antics of the Air Farce), but now that I’m watching it more often (and listening to their many appealing radio stations), I’ve come to realize that the CBC is really not that bad. In fact, I would actually say that they’re quite good, as many other CBC viewers and listeners would agree, and I encourage anyone who does not already tune in to give it a listen (here too).)

So, as I was saying, I was watching ZeD, and I saw this cool segment where they showed a creative solution to boring TTC commutes: subway parties. A group of people get together early in the morning or late at night (or any time during at all, really) and turn a predetermined subway car into a self-contained party on rails. This by far is the greatest idea ever conceived. Bringing complete strangers together through fun and enjoyment. Plus, it makes for one hell of an Artist’s Statement.

This all started as an idea of Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner, who together and created newmindspace. Since Easter 2005, they have hosted many cool events, including giant egg hunts, subway parties, and massive games of urban capture the flag.

If you live in Toronto or New York and are looking to add a bit of change to your routine (commuting or otherwise), this is something you should definitely want to check out. Or, if you live somewhere else, start your own subway party with their Subway Party Guide.

Celebrations throughout the year

Just got back from the Celebrating Women's Voices Poetry reading from UT, and I must say, WOW! It was one of the most unique experiences of my life.

Firstly, because I'm a guy and the poems were commemorating International Women's Day, I got a chance to see things from a different perspective.

Also, I don't go to public poetry readings that often, and getting the chance to hear some poetry read aloud, by my own professor, no less, was a mind-altering experience.

I really should read poetry more often. It's a jump for the soul.