I made a list of the things I find interesting and it turned out pretty good

By Landon Amaradio


            Nutella is a widely consumed, hazelnut-chocolate spread. I put that shit on everything. It meandered over from the European market straight into the hearts of millions of Americans. Imagine my excitement when I found myself in Florence, Italy visiting some family and they brought out that familiar white logo’d jar. Here’s the thing, it was glass. I felt like this was a fancier version of what Americans know and love. When I opened it and began to spread it onto my toast, I noticed the delicious aroma of hazelnut drifting up into my nose-canal. The spread was like a dance of the knife and gooey-brown gold. Once the music stopped and the Nutella covered every last inch of toasted bread, I took a bite. My mind exploded. Nutella in Europe is ridiculously different, having (dare I say) even more hazelnutty goodness. Hazelnutty is a word TIL. I was perplexed by its deliciousness. Why would the product be different in Europe? Is everything in Europe better? Now when I consume Nutella, I am reminded that there is a better version across the Atlantic ocean I am perpetually missing out on.


            Apparently our favorite coffee place closes early on Tuesdays. I pulled on the door to receive pull back on my shoulder-socket. We sighed and wandered down the street to Starbucks. The coffee didn’t matter, she did. We talked until they kicked us out. I’ve never connected with someone so much. She was independent, driven, and confident. I didn’t want this night to end. I suggested that we go and see the new Star Wars movie, that we had already seen a combined total of ten times. She smiled, and started walking towards the theatre. I could’ve loved her. I think that she could’ve been the one.  Maybe I was afraid, maybe I was a complete idiot. I’ll never know what we could have been. I kissed her for the first and only time, and the credits rolled.


            Time is something we are first introduced to at birth. It is given to us in the simple terms of ‘Today’, ‘Tomorrow’, and ‘Yesterday.’ What I find to be quite interesting is how we can play with these terms. In their philosophical works, the Chinese get playful. Laurence C. Wu, a Chinese author, puts it like this, “...The meaning of "today" and "yesterday" is relative to contexts. Yesterday was the today of yesterday, today is the tomorrow of yesterday, and tomorrow will be the today of tomorrow." This is actually quite beautiful. I mean, it can never really be yesterday or tomorrow, because it is always today. We can definitively say that ‘yesterday’ is the previous 24-hour cycle before the one we currently inhabit, but we can also use ‘yesterday’ to describe fifty years ago. Similarly, we often hear “the __ of tomorrow!” referencing some future gadget or technology. Time zones further seem to skew this meaning, as it is already tomorrow in Japan. To the Japanese, however, it is today. Master Oogway of the successful Kung Fu Panda franchise puts it like this “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” He has a point, we seem to always look forward to the future and regret the past, but sometimes we need to just accept that we will never go back to yesterday, we will never see tomorrow, it will always be today.


            Funerals are not, as their name falsely conveys, fun. The first funeral I ever went to was for my great-grandfather. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was young. The only things I knew about him were: he had the same name as my grandfather and he always gave me a stick of gum when I saw him. He died the day after his 89th birthday. He fell asleep on a park bench and slumped to his left side, falling over and hitting his head on the steel armrest. I didn’t learn this until I was older. My mother always said that Jesus took him in his sleep, because Heaven needed more angels. Despite all this, I distinctly remember his funeral— I didn’t cry. I don’t think I understood what was going on. I was dressed in my fancy black shirt that had buttons all the way down. I think I tried to cry, but couldn’t. Everyone else was crying so I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t. My Grandpa made a speech of some sort and cried, so did my Dad. I think it’s bad form to count how many funerals you’ve been to. Since that day I tried to cry I have been to too many funerals. All of my great-grandmothers died when I was in middle school. My other great-grandfather died when I was a junior in high school. It’s bad form to count how many funerals you’ve been to. I think death is beautiful in a way. I think about how all my great-grandparents lived entire lifetimes, nearly five times longer than my own. They loved, they brought life into the world, and experienced so much. I saw my great-grandmother on her deathbed and she told me one thing: “The boat is sinking honey, keep throwing that water overboard. Fight for it.”


            Han shot first.


I’m going to preface this by saying that I despise babies. They’re loud, they poop their pants, they can’t feed themselves, and they cost money. I want nothing more in the world than to be a parent one day. The mere thought of bringing a living being into the world— beautiful. If you don’t like puppies, or kittens, or baby animals you’re not human. As much as that makes me sound like a hypocrite. I think as humans, with our vast understanding of the world, we find life to be beautiful and amazing in all of its forms.


Mirrors are cool. They allow us to make sure we look good and don’t have anything in our teeth. They make the words on your shirt read backwards and they intensify the sun by like a million times for some reason. What color is a mirror though? What if you put a chameleon in front of a mirror, what color would it become? It actually doesn’t change colors, I asked a chameleon owner. Science has shown that mirrors are actually slightly green. For proof, face two mirrors towards each other and you’ll see that the endless vortex of mirrored mirrors has an ugly green hue to it. As interesting as that is— I refuse to believe it. Mirrors are not one color. They are every color. They reflect what is shown to them, and by God they do a great job at it. I have never fooled a mirror. Mirrors are used in offices and restaurants in order to create the illusion of space. The brain sees the reflection, and recognizes that it is a mirror, but for some reason it makes the room feel larger than it really is. Next time you’re in a restaurant, look for the mirrors. If there aren’t any, look for the windows. Maybe it’s our primal instincts coming back, but people don’t like to eat in confined spaces. Small, cramped restaurants are proven to do worse, no matter how good the food is. I watched that Restaurant Impossible guy put a few mirrors in a smaller restaurant and double its business. Mirrors are cool.


            Play music for a baby.


            The only people I have ever said ‘I love you’ to are my family members. Once, my ex-girlfriend told me she loved me, I said “I don’t” and left. Literally— that’s what I said while looking into her gorgeous blue eyes. I liked everything about her, she was the definition my aesthetic. Love just wasn’t something I felt for her. My father says that I will know it when I feel it, and that it will feel like nothing ever has before. The world will suddenly make sense, the fucking stars will align and you’ll slip into a gooey coma. I felt things for her, things I’ve never experienced, but when those three words left her perfect lips I wasn’t going to lie to her. I felt stronger about pizza than I ever felt about her.


            Kung Fu Panda should not be as good as it is. It set itself up for failure just with the mere concept of a fat, noodle-making panda, voiced by Jack Black, learning Kung Fu from a smaller panda in order to save China. I thought this movie was going to make me wish I had an hour and 45 minutes of my life back. It didn’t. Not only did it amaze me and make me die of laughter, it has two sequels that managed to do the same. I thought you could only take the concept so far, and so deep, but boy was I wrong. I own all three and watch them more than I'm proud of.  Hans Zimmer, the same guy that scored Inception got on board to score this movie. Some people may not agree with me on this and I understand completely. But you’re wrong. The character relationships are better developed in these movies than The Notebook. The comedy is surprisingly original, and doesn’t rely too much on animal puns. The animation is stunningly beautiful, and convincing. I don’t find myself saying, “That’s unbelievable,” or “That looks dumb” even though animals talk and have crazy Kung Fu powers. When characters have flashbacks, the animation changes style to a 2D, almost comic-book style that gives the film even more depth despite it lacking a dimension. The story is a driven, rags-to-riches style masterpiece.


            We all have them, even though we may not remember their names. Drunk party friends are the best friends. There’s no birthday obligations or risk of hurting their feelings because you decided to hang out with someone else. I have met more of these people in my time in college than I care to disclose. I remember all of their faces, their attitudes, and what they were drinking. I met a guy once named Soup, that was it. All his friends called him that so I did too. We hung out for one night, riding around on a Thursday, too drunk to pass a sobriety test. I have yet to see Soup again, but he is someone I'll most likely remember for the rest of my life. My drunk party friends are better friends than my real friends sometimes. They don’t judge me for anything and they don’t ask what I got on my last math test. Drunk party friends are the best friends.


            I have seen six dead bodies in the wreckage of a head-on collision. I have had an Original Grand Slam at the same Denny’s on the same day of every year since I was fifteen. The same waitress still works there, her name is Laura and she was the only other one who showed up that night, while I sat at a six-person booth. I have seen six white sheets lined up along asphalt as black as the sky, little glass stars scattered across it. I have ordered an accompanying coffee for my Original Grand Slam at the same Denny’s on the same day of every year since I was fifteen. I have seen six funerals too many, six crying families at each one. I have seen a man try and apologize for what he did in hysterics, sobbing at the feet of six families. I have tipped Laura the same amount every time I visit, nearly forty percent of the bill. She was the only other one who showed up that night. She was the one who was there when I got the call that they wouldn’t be showing up. I have seen six lives taken before they got to graduate high school, before they ever got a chance to love, and before they ever got to bring life into the world. I have felt the grey wave of crippling depression surge over me and only recede when that Original Grand Slam is placed in front of me, and a black coffee next to it. I have felt life, in its most turbulent form.