Simon Z

Ask me anything   "Keep moving forward."

My name is Simon. I blog about finding purpose, lifehacking productivity and self-improvement, social inequality, food, dance, and the amazing people in my life. It's all a bit random but you might find something interesting along the way. :)

Personal Goal: The 4 things we should say more often to live happier lives:
  1. Thank you
  2. I'm sorry
  3. Forgive me
  4. I love you

My Tags:
8:38pm. Walking to the subway from volleyball. 

Something about this city brings me back every time.

8:38pm. Walking to the subway from volleyball.

Something about this city brings me back every time.

— 14 hours ago
#me  #photos  #nyc  #city 

7:14pm. Wednesday night volleyball.

— 15 hours ago with 2 notes
#nyc  #me  #volleyball  #fitness  #photos  #sports 
Hypnotic Ocean Waves →

It’s 4:49pm, and I’m still at work. One big problem for me is that I can’t work (or sleep) if there’s any intelligible conversation happening around me because my mind automatically tunes into it and starts processing what’s going on, making it really difficult to focus. I’ve noticed that ambient sounds (like the playlist above) help me a lot and have been using playlists like these on Songza. If you’re anything like me, try it out to tune out what’s around you and focus on what you need to get done.

— 17 hours ago
#hypnotic  #ocean  #waves  #playlists  #songza  #nature  #ambient sound  #focus  #productivity  #work  #coding  #software  #software development 

It’s 2:41pm and I’m at work, eating a small cup of pasta salad.

Im realizing that artichokes and asparagus are extremely foreign to me. I recall having each for the first time sometime in college. I think this feeling towards them would be different if I are them growing up but now their texture and taste are taking some getting used to. My journey towards liking artichokes is the easier of the two.

— 19 hours ago
#artichokes  #asparagus  #me  #work  #thoughts 
What Is Safe Sex? The Raw and Uncomfortable Truth About Truvada →

"The whole idea of PrEP requires acknowledging that men want raw sex and they’re gonna have it even with the risks involved. One of the major points of my book was that, for some men, increasing the risk makes sex more exciting, so that HIV/AIDS prevention programs that think in terms of risk reduction are kinda missing the point. But to acknowledge that we want raw sex entails a big risk in itself, because that doesn’t fit in with the image of the good, responsible gay man who dutifully practices safe sex. To ask about Truvada for PrEP can feel like a failure for some gay men or an acknowledgement that they want to do something that even the mainstream gay community has coded as immoral. It removes the excuse factor for having bareback sex (I was too drunk/too high/too caught up in the heat of the moment). Thus part of what is challenging about Truvada for PrEP is owning your fantasies in the cold light of day, not just when your dick is hard."

— 20 hours ago
#safe sex  #truvada  #reblog  #readings  #articles  #prep  #pep  #lgbtq  #raw  #bareback 
On Being Fat, Brown, Femme, Ugly, and Unloveable - →

I’ve thought about this article since reading it last night. Caleb Luna’s piece raises a number of questions on how our society’s aspiration towards romantic love and an idealized (mostly white, thin, cisgendered) concept of beauty becomes a dangerous thing, particularly for those on the margins.

(Source: queerandpresentdanger)

— 1 day ago with 180 notes
#readings  #articles  #writing  #love  #body politics  #gender  #lgbtq  #community  #fat  #brown  #queer  #femme  #appearance 

I am walking back into my residence after a day of work, bouldering (not rock climbing), and dinner in Hell’s Kitchen. It is 11:52pm.

Today, I felt the first small pangs of a familiar contemplative slump. I wouldn’t call it depression but I also wouldn’t know how to differentiate it from such. Maybe it’s the result of something I ate this weekend, or sadness that my best friend who visited this weekend has gone back, or stress from the fact that my manager told me today that the deliverables of the entire 11-week internship are still due in full, despite the fact that the licenses that were necessary were only resolved today (mid-week 6), or the fact that I was reminded of so many unfortunate events during dinner tonight (that thing that happened, the fact that I don’t have health insurance and won’t have it until I find a full-time job, and various other scares of the past).

I had a freshman this past year with an amazingly positive and thoughtful and upbeat personality. He organized so many community events and picked up the spirits of everyone in the dorm with his short stories. However, at a number of points in the year, he would have one or two weeks where he was reserved. He’d walk through the halls as he normally did but instead of greeting everyone, he wore a sullen face. When he was greeted, he responded mechanically, in the way that someone who had other heavy things on his mind would. I brought it up among the other staff, wondering if these were signs of depression. They mentioned that this was just the way that he was, and another staff member promised to follow up. I never learned what caused these recurring episodes but he did always return to his cheerful self.

At this point, I wonder how much what I’m feeling is the same as what he was feeling. Did he feel overwhelmed? Do I feel overwhelmed? This is my first slump of the summer and I hope to understand it more to deal with it better. The most frustrating thing for me is that I don’t understand why I feel this way.

Sleep tends to be the first thing to go when I’m in this state of mind. Exercise tends to help me clear my mind and boost my energy. Music is helping now as well. It’s ironic that I’m feeling this after bouldering but I’ll try to see how I feel tomorrow after volleyball.

— 1 day ago with 1 note
#overwhelmed  #me  #personal  #feeling  #sleep  #contemplation  #depression  #existentialism  #exercise 
Trying for a healthier daily breakfast: oatmeal and one apple with peanut butter. There’s a lot less protein (still a good few grams in the peanut butter and maybe 2 or 3 in the oatmeal) but a number of good fats and complex carbs in the meal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about functional muscle versus aesthetic muscle. In the past, I’ve focused on the latter by pumping weights and targeting muscle groups that I thought could look better. After a few years of computer science and programming, I’ve gotten more squishy than I’d like and now that I have more time to focus on fitness and health, I’m hoping to think more about functional muscle, muscle that supports better coordination, core stability, and some kind of long-term cardiovascular health. My exercise schedule is now biking a few miles each weekday to work and back, boxing once a week, and volleyball twice a week. I’ll still slip in weights and my protein powder here and there (vanity has a strong hold on the gay mind) but the focus is more on having functional muscle and better fitness in the long-term. I’m going rock climbing today and hope to try a spartan race sometime in the near future. As someone who has been bad at sports for most of my pre-high school life, I hope that this new focus also nurtures a better relationship with sports (in addition to the aforementioned relationship with my health).

Trying for a healthier daily breakfast: oatmeal and one apple with peanut butter. There’s a lot less protein (still a good few grams in the peanut butter and maybe 2 or 3 in the oatmeal) but a number of good fats and complex carbs in the meal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about functional muscle versus aesthetic muscle. In the past, I’ve focused on the latter by pumping weights and targeting muscle groups that I thought could look better. After a few years of computer science and programming, I’ve gotten more squishy than I’d like and now that I have more time to focus on fitness and health, I’m hoping to think more about functional muscle, muscle that supports better coordination, core stability, and some kind of long-term cardiovascular health. My exercise schedule is now biking a few miles each weekday to work and back, boxing once a week, and volleyball twice a week. I’ll still slip in weights and my protein powder here and there (vanity has a strong hold on the gay mind) but the focus is more on having functional muscle and better fitness in the long-term. I’m going rock climbing today and hope to try a spartan race sometime in the near future. As someone who has been bad at sports for most of my pre-high school life, I hope that this new focus also nurtures a better relationship with sports (in addition to the aforementioned relationship with my health).

— 1 day ago with 1 note
#me  #thoughts  #fitness  #health  #functional muscle  #diet  #photos  #personal 
Polite or demure?

I’ve decided to mention where I am before my blog posts to capture when and where I tend to write. At the moment, I am at 51st street train station waiting for the uptown 6 train after my best friend, Aaron visited for a ridiculous weekend.

I have been meaning to write this post since the event happened this past Friday while I was biking home from work. I bike near the east river, where there are extremely narrow streets shared between runners and bicyclists. As I was approaching a group of three runners who were chatting walking in a row in front of me, I said “excuse me” but in a gentle tone, as if abashedly asking for an involved favor from a person I didn’t know. My voice was notably different from how I normally speak. They didn’t hear me and I asked louder (but still gently), as I slowly peddled less than 2 meters behind one of the runners, who heard me and let me through. Although it was a small event, I thought about it a lot throughout the rest of the day and this weekend. By speaking so softly and differently from my normal tone when asking “excuse me,” I did a disservice to both myself, whose primary objective was to get past the walkers, and to the walkers who were more than happy to move aside and would not (I assume) want to inconvenience others. By speaking more loudly and naturally, I would have still displayed respect to the walkers in front of me and gotten through a bit earlier. Why didn’t i?

I couldn’t trace where this habit of saying things like “excuse me” in such a self-belittling and demure way started. Maybe it was part of my familial upbringing, where Confucian rules of conduct dictate that unequivocal respect and obedience of youth to their elders reinforced the habit of subordinance when asking for favors. It could have also been my American upbringing in which peers and teachers may have subliminally reinforced the model minority expectation. I mention these reasons because I do think that it is correlated with my cultural background and upbringing. I have noticed a number of other Asian-Americans having the same habit of making themselves more “little” when asking for even small things that all people are entitled to (like passing walking pedestrians blocking your bike path). I think that subtle things like whatever mentality drives this habit could be detrimental to the ultimate leadership effectiveness of Asian-Americans (including myself).

— 3 days ago with 1 note
#me  #leadership  #asian-american  #thoughts  #demure  #manners 
"every time you
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
like you."
to fathers with daughters - rupi kaur (via rupikaur)

(via folieadeuxcherie)

— 3 days ago with 246627 notes
#poetry  #reblog  #wow  #childhood  #children  #daughters  #love  #anger  #kindness  #abuse 
Jamaica bay beach cleanup

Jamaica bay beach cleanup

— 1 week ago
#bloomberg  #me  #photos 
My beloved delivery bike and my new non-metro path to work

My beloved delivery bike and my new non-metro path to work

— 1 week ago
#bike  #me  #photos  #biking  #fitness  #commute  #internship  #nyc