My coffee allergy

Five years ago, while sitting in front of my laptop, I felt dizzy. It was so bizarre that I felt I really have to go to the hospital.

The doctor could not say anything about it. I went home hopelessly. In the meantime, the symptoms kept coming back on and off. A week later, my eyes got so dry. They are so dry that I could not even keep them open. Furthermore I got strong heartbeat. Things got worse as I also had a hard time sleeping at night. I decided to visit the doctors for several times at different hospital. But no luck.

Then I discovered that the problem got relief if I applied artificial tears. Things got better with my life as a result, but I did have to keep applying artificial tears every hour to keep my symptom under control. It was so inconvenient.

It had been like that for a couple of years. I could not use computer. I could not read books. I could not even drive. This affected my life a great deal because everything I do requires vision. At one point I had to stop writing articles, books and blogs. I had to use public transportations despite owing a car. Whenever the symptoms get serious, I got acid reflux and some kind of depression, as well. I went to see the doctor for several times more costing a lot of money but helpless. Life was so miserable at the time.

Until recently that I came to notice that every time I drank coffee, the symptom always got worse. So I decided to try quitting coffee entirely. In fact, I had tried this before but after a few days I drank coffee again due to my addiction. This time around, I quit caffeine entirely for a month. Surprisingly, my symptoms got much better. I got a very clear head. I still get some eye strains but not as significant. More importantly, I can read, write and use computer. I can also drive. My life is getting back on track.

It is likely that I am allergic to caffeine, not just sentitive but allergic. I have never thought I would be allergic to caffeine, because I have been drinking coffee since I was a grad student and did not seem to have any problem. However, I drink more coffee as I get older, sometime to the point of abusing it. I did get bad feeling after drinking coffee, but I thought I was just sensitive to coffee. I didn’t know that one can become allergic to caffeine after a  long period of heavy consumption of coffee.

Now I quit caffeine for good. Surprisingly, the hardest part of quitting caffeine was the fact that you had to change your lifestyle. I have always been relying on coffee shop to do my work. Not drinking coffee was equivalent to not having a workplace. Anyway, my mind becomes clearer than before. Although I could not enjoy the two hours of great feeling after drinking a cup of coffee every morning like other people, but I actually feel much better for the rest of the day by not having coffee at all. It’s actually much better over all. I feel like being reborn.




the Cezanne Study

Throughout his life, Paul Cezanne painted numerous still life pictures. They were fruits on the table of disproportion. I don’t really understand his ideas ,but I love his color style. 

This year I am going to study his still life pictures in depth. This painting was the kick-off. Hopefully, it would lead me to more and more oil painting in the future.

I wish I was a regular oil painter but could never succeeded yet. 


How to liberate ourselves

The entire universe has no meanings at al whatsoever. It is our own minds that give the meaning to everything.

When nothing has true meaning, it follows that there is no fact in the world, either. Nietzsche once said there is no fact, only interpretations. We have been mistakenly regarded opinions as facts, and we torture ourselves as a result.

So, when we no longer regard opinions as facts,  we are liberated. We no longer get mad when other people disagree with us. We stop trying hard to change other peoples beliefs. We then have time as well as energy to focus on improving ourselves.  We listen more to other people. We feel happier.


60. Mobile Shelf

Once in a while, I set aside some time slot to produce shop furniture. They do not have to be very fine. They are meant primarily for functionality.


As years go by, the shop furniture that I created is getting more specific in terms of use. This one is a mobile shelf for me to place stocks of wood while working at the planer. It added a little bit of convenience. 

The building of this shelf was very straightforward. I don’t want to spend too much time on it. For finishing I decided to deplete my wood glazing paint that I bought from Ikea long time ago. It’s quick and easy. The finished piece is much more beautiful than I had expected. 


I dare you to try Thai a-la-carte

For those who have been to Thailand for several times, you might have been all too familiar with Pad Thai or Tom Yam Koong already.

I suggest you try eating at a Thai a-la-carte (ตามสั่ง) food shop. This is where local people actually eat everyday (not Tom Yam Koong). Besides, it’s cheap and delicious.

You can find Thai a-la-carte everywhere on the streets of Bangkok. Some of them are inside the building. Others are along the pathways. In case you are too concerned with hygiene, you can also find them at the food court inside the malls.

Thai a la carte

In general, there are two types of Thai food shops. The first one is pre-cooked and the second one is true a-la-carte. The pre-cooked shops usually display a lot of ready-to-eat food on trays in front of their shop, whereas the true a-la-cartes usually show raw materials such as uncooked meat or raw vegetables in front. The latter is the kind of food shop that I recommend. In some cases, they might have both types of food available in the same shop.

Pre-cooked Food Store

When you order the food, they might ask whether or not you want to add fried eggs (“Kai Down”, ไข่ดาว). Also, you might want to tell them if you don’t eat very hot (spicy) food by saying “Mai Pet. (ไม่เผ็ด)”

There are quite a few food to order at an a-la-carte. Most of them are generic, so they are available at every shop. The followings are those I suggest you to try.

  1. Basil Chicken with Rice (กระเพราไก่ไข่ดาวราดข้าว Kra paw kai kai Dao)

This dish is by far the most common food for local Thais for lunch. There is a saying if they don’t know what to order, they will order this every day. You can swap chicken with any kind of protein such as minced pork, pork, beef, shrimp or even squid. The fried egg is optional, but Thais people love to go with it so much.

2. Fried Pork with garlic and pepper served with rice (หมูกระเทียมพริกไทย Moo Ga Tiam Prick Thai)

Another typical recipe I want you to try. It might be a little bit dry but it is a great choice when you miss fried food.

3. Stir fried Kale with crispy pork on oyster sauce served with rice (คะน้าหมูกรอบ Ka na moo krob )

This recipe is a mix of Chinese and Thai cuisine. This crispy pork is so great. Alternatively, you can go with salted fish if you are too concerned about health.


4. Stir fried spicy sea food served with rice (ผัดฉ่าทะเลราดข้าว Pat Cha Ta Lay)

This recipe incorporates so many Thai spices and hence the perfect sauce for sea food.

5. Stir fried curry powder with seafood served with rice. (ผัดผงกะหรี่)

You can have crab with curry powder  at the restaurant, but you can also taste the same sauce at a la crate shop as well. Don’t miss.

6. Drunken Noodles (Pat Kee Mao ผัดขี้เมา)

As the name suggests, legend has it that the drunken noodle was created when the inventor was drunk. Aside from noodles, you may opt for spaghetti as well.

7. Suki (สุกี้)

You might have tried a “steamboat” before. In fact, you can have another version of steamboat at Thai a la carte, too. You can opt for either with soup or without soup. They are delicious.

Nobody knows for sure why this dish is called sukiyaki, but it has nothing to do with Japanese food.



59. Desktop Shelf

I know I have been absent from this blog for a while. It’s a long story.

Essentially, I wanted to prepare my Etsy shop for the coming new year in advance so I devoted all of my time cracking out lots of products to populate the shop. As such, no time for personal projects.

I made this laptop shelf for a friend of mine. We can put a laptop on the shelf and a keyboard below. The purpose of this ergonomics is to avoid nodding one’s head too much which is always the case for using a laptop, an unhealthy case. The shelf helps raise the screen a bit.

This is the first time I cut dovetails on the side of an oak instead of on the end grain. This was quite uncommon and also risked being cracked. Fortunately, everything turned out okay. 

I also had a chance to try urethane finishing which I seldom do. The problem of using brush instead of spraying it that the layers got too thick and go bad easily when sanded. I tried my best to make each layer as thin as possible but still… Perhaps, spraying is really the way to go. 


Self-Actualization as a Life Goal

According to a famous psychologist, Maslow, humankind have different levels of needs.

The highest level of needs is to be self-actualized. In this regard, we can think of self-actualization as the ultimate goal of human life. The top of the mountain where everyone aspires to reach.

At low level, people need foods, clothes, houses, cars and all material things. When people fed up with these physical stuffs, they aim for social status such as to be recognised, to be famous, to be part of a community. Beyond social needs, we want to be self-actualized, meaning to be able to achieve the full capacity of our potential and also help others to achieve their potential, too. It’s a kind of need but more spiritual than physical or social.

Very few people can reach the stage of self-actualization. In fact, most of use would not reach there til the end of our lives. Still, it is a goal in life. It is a goal in term of human development.

To gauge whether or not a person is self-actualized, several characteristics can be observed. For instance, a self-actualized person is usually energetic in whatever he does or goes after. He does it not because of money or fame. He does not focus on his own needs but rather on others. He wants the task to be accomplished regardless of who did the task.

Also, the person is likely to be happy. He likely has sense of humor, able to admit to this own fault, has low level of stereotyping, flexible and can be alone sometime to reflex his own thoughts.