Friday, November 23, 2012

The Best Iced Coffee Recipe Ever.

I'd love to thank the inventors of chocolate, coffee and books. I cannot live without those things. Up until recently, I called myself the type of person who would drink coffee regardless of how hot it was.

Then I discovered iced coffee.

I found some recipes on the internet and tried and tweaked them around until I had a simple recipe that tasted simply amazing. I didn't include amounts because I know tastes in coffee vary widely. Here it is:

You will need
  • Milk
  • Boiling water
  • Cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Sugar
  • And of course, instant coffee powder.
  1. Put coffee into a cup or glass. I use 1 teaspoon.
  2. Pour in just enough boiling water to dissolve the coffee.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Add sugar.
  5. Add cold water and milk in the ratio you like best.
  6. Add ice cubes and stir.
  7. Enjoy!

  1. Coffee beans can also be used. However, this method needs you to wait quite a while before you enjoy your coffee. You will have to leave the coffee in the boiling water for a couple of hours to brew, and then strain it. Too complicated, if you ask me. The taste is far better though, if you have the patience.
  2. Add some maple syrup to the coffee. This adds some toffee-ish taste, which releases divine flavours when it blends with the coffee. Remember that it will only dissolve if you add it to the boiling water.
  3. Replace milk with cream or coffee creamer for a creamier coffee.
  4. Add some whipped cream on top.
I don't usually do recipes and all things such. This is one exception though. Coffee is, after all, exceptional. :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thinking About Thought: Part 1 (The Introduction)

Hello again, imaginary readers. I have a policy on this blog. I don't edit, revise, rewrite or change any of my posts, regardless of how vulnerable or idiotic they make me feel. It's a freewriting blog and that's exactly what I do on it -- freewriting.
However, this particular post I had to edit. I realized how vast a topic this actually is. Although this post was far too long for easy reading, it still didn't go into a lot of depth on each point. So, I decided to make a series on it. I will divide my ideas into sections, and expand each section into its own post. This is Part 1, The Introduction.

We're incredible creatures. We have the abilities to think, figure out, understand and even imagine. Our minds are fantastic. But what does it really mean to think? Besides the complex chemicals running through our minds, what are we actually doing?

I thought about thinking for a while, and this is what I understand of it. It's like we have a huge database in our minds of everything we have ever learnt. This is not only the things we learnt from school or our parents but also every thought process, emotion, action and experience, and the consequences thereof. Everything new that we learn, every decision we have to make, every thought that crosses our minds is compared to our database, and then added to it.

If I take a simple example: I have to decide whether to eat a chocolate. My mind, subconsciously and at super-speed, runs through all the files on eating chocolate. It examines the consequences of eating it, versus not eating it. It runs through all the information it has on chocolate too, e.g. that it contains insect legs, or improves your brain power. Based on all of this, it makes a decision. I say, "Hmmm...I'll just eat it." My brain then adds this incident to the database. If it has any consequences, it adds this information too. If it doesn't have any consequences, it stores it saying, "No consequences."

This does not only apply to decisions. It applies to everything we learn too. For instance, maths. In order to understand almost any new concept, we compare it to older concepts we already understand. To understand multiplication, we explained it as adding the number to itself x amount of times. Then, this was in our database. Now if we try to understand exponents, we explain it as multiplying the number by itself x amount of times. Once we understand that, it's in our database, and we can understand more complex things by comparing them to it.

Going back to the chocolate example, how will I know if the chocolate tastes good or not? You guessed it! I compare it to my database. If the new thing tastes equal to or better than the average taste of things I've eaten, I say it tastes good. If it tastes far better than the average, I say I love it. If it tastes worse, I say I don't like it.

This also means that we don't really "imagine" anything new. We cannot. I mean try imagining how a colour outside the visible spectrum looks. Could you? Obviously not. Your brain cannot create anything completely original. It can only attempt to combine things from its database. This is what we call "imagining". Why, then, can we have so many "original" ideas? Truth is, we don't. However, think of how many billions and trillions of possible combinations there can be of just all of your knowledge. Everything in your database can be combined in all kinds of crazy ways. And since each person has a unique database, there could be an infinite number of possible imaginations.

Once we apply this understanding of thought to our daily lives, it has profound implications for us. We will explore some of these implications in later parts. In the meantime, try thinking about thought a little. If you come up with some interesting ideas, make sure to share them in the comments! :-)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Liebster Award

I've been nominated by The Magic in Writing. Thank you very much!

R U L E S :
1. Thank and link back to the giver
2. Answer the award giver’s questions
3. Nominate 5 other blogs that have fewer than 200 followers
4. Ask questions for one’s nominees to answer.
5. Post the Liebster’s Award Picture on your post.

A N S W E R S :
1. Favorite song lyrics?
There are so many, it's hard to choose a favourite. Besides, my favourie changes depending on my mood. Right now, it would probably be the following lines from Fireflies by Owl City:
"I'd like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams"

2. What book have you read that defied your expectations for it the most?
If you mean in a good way, then Lie by Moonlight by Amanda Quick definitely did. I expected it to be a plain and boring romance story, but it turned out to be romantic suspense, a genre I find extremely enjoyable to read.

3. What's one place you've always wanted to go?
So many places. I want to see all the amazing places of this world. Most of all though, I have always wanted to visit Antarctica and the moon.

4. Why did you start blogging in the first place?
I started blogging because I wanted an outlet to share some of my crazy opinions, be random, be myself and say whatever I would like to.

5. Favorite mythical creature?
I don't really have one, but the first thing jumping into my mind when I read this question was, "Unicorns!" So unicorns it shall be.

Q U E S T I O N S :
1. What is your favourite colour and number?
2. Oh look! A bubble! What's in it?
3. If you could have one wish come true, what would it be?
4. What is the meaning of life?
5. Which book/movie has changed your life the most?

N O M I N A T I O N S :

Note: I don't know why some parts of my posts are highlighted in white. If someone knows why, and how to fix it, please help. Thanks.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Raining, it's pouring!

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” 
― Roger Miller

It's raining. I drenched myself in it this morning. I truly love rain; it's so magical and mystically beautiful. 

I mean, who would have thought -- water falling from the sky? It's a crazy idea. Then again, the craziest ideas are always the best. Imagine if there was no such thing as rain. Forget the environmental implications of that for a while and just think. If somebody would have said, "Imagine if water fell from the sky!", what would people say? They would call him a crazy man. Water falling from the sky? He must be insane.

Yet it's real. Water does fall from the sky. It's an amazing thing indeed. We don't appreciate it. We don't realize how amazing it truly is. It's a miracle -- just like the billions (and counting) miracles all around us. They have become so ordinary, so overlooked, that they could just as well not be there. However, if they were not there, what consequences we would feel.

 "Then Which Of The Favours Of Your Lord Will You Deny?" (Holy Qur'an)

I think that a Creative can better understand the Creator. It's like we're all just characters in the greatest novel of all time. As a writer, I make people, I make worlds for my people to stay in, I make each person unique and profound, I make them all want something so badly, and I make obstacles between them and their goals. All of this is what makes a good story. The story is interesting, there are unexpected twists, and most of all, there are relate-able characters who change through their difficulties.

We love these stories in books and movies. Why is it so difficult to understand then, when we are faced with obstacles and difficulties? Why can't we see that Allah loves us much more than I love my dear characters? We are simply characters, and every problem we face is molding us into who we are supposed to be. Without any troubles, there would be no story. We would be flat, pancake characters with boring lives. Don't you see, how in books and television, the characters have to suffer endlessly? But eventually, they come out being so much greater than they were before. Don't you see that we are characters in the most remarkable story ever told? Every problem, every opportunity, everything is exactly what your Writer intended for you. He is the best writer ever. We live in a miracle. His attention to detail, His creativity, His characters are surely the greatest. But of course they are -- He is the one who has made every writer and every human. What an honour it is to be a part of this story.*

Let's go back to raindrops. The droplets of water splash against my body. I shiver as they trickle along my skin. They move slowly, but smoothly, leaving some moisture behind. As lightning flashes and thunder roars, I look up at the cloudy sky. The clouds are purple, grey, white and blue. A raindrop lands in my eye. Everything blurs. I close my eyes. I feel the rain increase, and the drops build up on my body. Soon, I am drenched. The single droplets on my skin shimmer in the lightning, making me look like a shining star. That is just what I am, and you are. I breathe deeply. In this moment, I have disappeared into the rain. I am nature, nature is me. This moment is beautiful. It is perfect.

For that is all we have -- moments. Just like the moment that is passing right now. You're using one of the moments of your life to read a random blog post. Is it really worth it? Because you will never, ever get this moment back. Will you regret wasting this moment one day? If so, I suggest you go outside and use it for something better. Something like dancing in the rain. Something magical which can make you understand everything.

While we're at the topic of moments, I suggest you watch this video: Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts.
Anyway, that is all. I shall now leave my imaginary readers and do something else. Dear imaginary people, do take care. I love you all.


* I am not in any way comparing Allah to myself or any other writer. That is impossible. He is far too great to make such a comparison. We are ordinary mortals, humans, creations of His. I was only trying to help people to better understand the problems they face.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Random Day, A Random Way

Good day to all you beautiful people out there! It's been half a month that I haven't seen you. I have missed you dearly. I'm so sorry. These exams have been keeping me so busy.

Well, it's a lovely Friday afternoon where I am. The 1st of June, 2012. Today is the first day on a remarkable journey I have embarked on. Camp I come! And today marks exactly 30 days until my birthday. I will be 14 sooon :)

<---This is my favourite car. In my favourite colour too. So kill me for being classical. Why did I post this here? Well in all honesty, out of the purest randomness.

Anyway. Since I have nothing more to ramble about, lemme post here some more randomness I wrote on Freedom Day:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Are You a Hamster?

This is an article I wrote for the Carpe Diem, our student newspaper.

A Day in the Life of a Girl

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. The alarm clock rang at 5 AM. Her hand flew out of the blanket and hit the snooze button. She turned around in bed. Hugging the blanket tightly around herself, she went back to sleep.

Five minutes later, it began beeping again. She opened her eyes and switched off the annoying noise with a groan. She sat up and rubbed her eyes.

Another Monday. She regretted sleeping so late the previous night. She looked in the mirror. Her eyes were underlined with dark circles, her hair a total mess.

She hummed a familiar tune in the shower to calm herself down. She was to write the most dreaded exam of all that day - Mathematics. She had been to parties and malls and movies the whole weekend. Therefore, she had to spend most of the night studying.

Her hair were so tangled she wanted to scream as she brushed them out. She grabbed the concealer and desperately tried to hide the dark circles without the make-up seeming obvious. A little lip gloss and she was good to go. Mr. Hugo would be their invigilator that day!

"No time for breakfast, Mom!" she called out, grabbing her bag and rushing to the car. Her mind was cluttered with endless thoughts on her way to school. Everything from trigonometry to that awesome movie to the cute boy which added her on Facebook.

Laughing with her friends as they tried to remember the endless formulas, the tension in her mind only grew. She hadn't prepared as well as she should have. She could not fail maths this time.

As Mr. Hugo handed out the question papers, her heart thumped like a hard ball thrashed by a madman. She could hardly breathe from all the anxiety. Breathe in...and out. She consoled herself as best as she could.

She was deathly silent on her way home. She couldn't even count how many questions she had left out. She felt like crying. Her parents would be so disappointed in her.

She needed to get good marks to get into a good university. She would have to work hard there to get a good job, where she would once again have to work hard to get a good salary. A good salary meant a big house, a nice car, plenty of dresses to achieve the perfect Prince Charming. She needed to achieve her dreams and her parents' by becoming a doctor.

Failing mathematics was not an option. Why do I even bother? she wondered. She worked hard day in and day out to get the best marks she possibly could. But now she was sick of living on this hamster wheel. The repetition of every boring day of giving up everything she had for marks was killing her. She would probably die working for those marks.

Back at home, she was depressed about how badly she had done but she was glad it was over with. Just a few more exams and then the long awaited holidays would arrive. She was done with the most difficult one, now all she wanted was time to go fast so she could enjoy her vacation. Whenever she was at school she longed for the weekend. When it was weekend she enjoyed it but was sad because it would be school again soon. Although she did enjoy the holidays, her family and the outing with her friends, she would never be truly happy.

Are You a Hamster?

So many girls live your lives like the girl in the story. Hating school, but needing the marks and being unable to get them unless they overwork themselves to the max. Still, their marks are never good enough. And they never will be. For those with very low marks, getting something a little higher might feel good, but she still won't be satisfied. Those with average marks will always look up to those with high marks. And the ones with high marks always wish they had done better yet.

Competition is tough. Life is a race, if you don't run fast others will trample you to get ahead. You need to work hard and aim for success. This is what people have been taught all their lives. What if it was all a lie? What if you didn't need to stress and be unhappy?

Truth is, you always have a choice. There is no need to be stressed. Success is not your objective, excellence is. If you chase after excellence instead of success then success will automatically chase after you. Do what you love, and excellence will be second nature. Don't study for the exams. (How the teachers will murder me for this statement!) You're not at school to write exams. You're here to learn. So when you study, do it to learn something new. To gain knowledge. Be so interested in the topic you have no choice but to do well. Understand what you read. Question what you're told. Believing everything you hear is stupid. This is the secret of me never ever studying for tests and exams.

Stop living for weekends. Weekends cannot be the only things which can cheer you up. If you hate every Monday, you will spend almost 15% of your life in misery. This means that if you live up to sixty, you will be miserable for an entire 9 years!

Start finding the little great things about everyday. Even Mondays can have excellent weather, beautiful flowers and a smile on your face! There is something amazing about every single day. 

Here is a short story about this:
"In January 2007, a man played six Bach pieces at a subway station in Washington DC for 45 minutes. It was rush hour, so thousands of people went through the station that day. Most people never even noticed he was there. A few people gave money and listened for a short while but were in a hurry so quickly left. The one who gave the most attention was a 3-year old boy. His mother tugged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the top musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written,with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"

Stop to smell the roses. Literally. We have some amazing flowers at our school, yet I have never seen anyone smelling them. It could be the best thing you have ever smelled. You never know! Enjoy every moment.

Dream big. Despite what people have told you, it is impossible to achieve a tiny dream. Make your dream big enough to be achievable. Go beyond your wildest imaginations. The only way of finding the boundaries of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.

Once you have dreamt, don't forget to make that dream come true. Do whatever it takes to get there. Why? Because you can. Write down one simple thing you can do today to get closer to your goal. Then do it. Every single day, without fail.

Follow your gut. Seriously, your intuition generally knows better. Go wherever your heart takes you and you will never get lost.

Smile. No matter what happens, smiling releases endorphins which make you feel happy. Laugh, sing, jump, dance. Be crazy. Be wild. Be awesome.

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL -- Breathe. Wait, what? You read right - breathe. Breathing is the best kept secret in the world. It is the secret to life. It is what allows you to be here now. As long as you're breathing, you're alive. If that's not something absolutely amazing, then I don't know what is. Whatever happens in life, as long as you don't stop breathing, you'll survive. The only thing you really have to do on this planet is breathe. The rest seems to just take care of itself. So just keep breathing. :)