Mind Over Matter

#1 A good tattoo conveys a message. I believe that the purpose of a tattoo is to reveal an important part of yourself. A good tattoo embodies meaning and speaks about your uniqueness.

A bad tattoo is a patch of fancy artwork you get inked in your skin out of impulsiveness.

#2 A good tattoo gets done on the bodily axis of symmetry. That axis is a vertical line which divides the body into two equal parts (disregarding the change in perspective). I think it’s best to have a tattoo done anywhere along that axis because otherwise the symmetry of the body would be visually affected. I mean that since the human body is symmetrical – we have two legs, two arms and two eyes, etc. each on both sides of the axis, and a head, a nose and a navel, etc. on the very axis – getting a tattoo done only on one side of the axis would create a visual unbalance. Symmetry is important because it creates holistic beauty.

#3 A good tattoo is symmetrical. A symmetrical tattoo done on a symmetrical spot would look like it’s part of your body as it would add to the symmetry of the body without disrupting it visually.

symmetrical tattoo on a symmetric place

A good symmetric tattoo on a symmetric spot is likely to be regarded as an indivisible part of the your body; a good or bad tattoo on a random place exists in distracting isolation and visually undermines the aesthetics of the human body. The size and colour of the tattoo are irrelevant.

symmetrical tattoo on asymmetrical place

Last, if you cannot think of an art work that embodies who you truly are and why you are unique, I strongly suggest you postpone the ink and re-discover yourself first.

I don’t have tattoo and I don’t intend on having one. Yet, I believe that my views on good tattoos will help you stand out from the crowd.

Photography has recently helped me develop greater appreciation of life.

I bought my first DSLR camera in July 2013. Few months later, I began watching online tutorials on how to use the camera effectively and soon afterwards in early 2014 I came across the YouTube channel of successful French photographer Serge Ramelli which taught me incredibly valuable lessons in creative image retouching using Photoshop and Lightroom. Recently, I sensed that photography and image editing had had a peculiar impact on my awareness and lifestyle.

I have become more aesthetics-aware. Occasionally, I would go out for a walk with my camera to snap images of what I consider beautiful and interesting. Such is my attitude that I am always walking around as if exploring the environment for the first time. My eyes are literally scanning for good composition and beauty. Surprisingly, that attitude remains to an extent even when I am not out with my camera and I often find myself actively looking for beauty in people’s faces or buildings and streets.

Once pictures are taken, it is time for the more exciting part – the image re-touching, a form of art itself. Generally, I would add contrast and saturation to enhance the colours, filters to bring back details in highlights and shadows, and my favourite – brushes to warm up or cool parts of an image and at the same time create a particular mood and incorporate a message.

Interestingly, I could link image editing with my childhood. The process of editing an image for me is a pleasant and soothing activity, always brings me a sense of achievement and joy and I love listening to music while doing it, just like drawing and painting when I was a kid.

Photography and image editing have helped me further understand the significance of light in relation to the aesthetics of life. I’ve now began to regard light as an artist in an endless creation of beauty, constantly painting and re-painting the world, using soft brushes in the morning and late afternoon and hard ones during the day, into constantly evolving beauty that we the photographers could experience no more than a glimpse of but luckily build upon and enhance as our unique selves desire.

I often view the process of photography as creating snapshots of a timeless world as seen not by my eyes or camera lens but by my loving heart.

Photography is also a process of sharing for me. A beautiful image is more than a flat screen or canvas hanging on the wall; it has been brushed with the creator’s feelings and emits a particular state of mind; it’s an expression of a man’s love for life and light.

I was out of town on 24 October when my room-mate messaged me that our house has been broken into and that my bike had been stolen – the criminal had grabbed the first valuable thing he happened to see before my room-mate came downstairs to investigate the bang produced by the front door been kicked in.

Broken into

I was shocked, furious and sad.

I haven’t had any of my belongings stolen till that day; plus, I couldn’t believe that somebody could take into possession something that didn’t belong to them. I was furious because I couldn’t have done anything to protect my bike and wasn’t in any way able to punish the criminal, perhaps a desperate person I don’t know. I was sad because I thought I’d never see my bike again; the good old second-hand mountain bike that took me to work, to university, to my girlfriend’s house, to all the beautiful places in Leeds where I go to chill or exercise. I felt like I had lost a close trusted friend.


Picture of my second-hand Diamond mountain bike that got stolen, taken in Bramley Park.

After all, it was me who took care of it, it was me who kept it rolling, and showed it love whenever it broke down. The bike carried my body and my energy as well. Now when it’s gone. I feel like someone else is in contact with my energy by using the bike. And I don’t think they deserve to be in contact with it.

The reason I’m writing about my stolen bike is because I have been confronted with a dilemma and I need your advice, dear readers. Shall I nurture the grain of hope I have that I will one day witness my bike again, for example offered for sale again in second-hand bike shop, or just being ridden by a stranger on the street. Or shall I let it all go, buy a new bike and move on. What do you think? I’m more inclined to do the latter.

I know this isn’t what I blog about usually but today I would like to tell you how I recovered all the data from my broken laptop. The reason I’m telling you this is because the method I used was surprisingly easy and money-saving, and I would like you to know about it in case your laptop gets irreparably damaged.

The motherboard of my laptop broke last month, at the start of my final academic year. I took it to a repair centre where IT technicians said they were unable to fix my laptop and advised me buy a new one.


I was determined to get my data back, however, so I asked uncle Google for advice. To my surprise, there was an easy solution.


I bought a thing called 2.5″ SATA External Enclosure for less than £5 online. I took the hard drive of my broken laptop out and plugged the external enclosure into it.





Then I put the case on and I had a portable external hard drive that I could link to another laptop via USB cable!

The Broken Laptop Benefits

The motherboard of my Packard-Bell laptop broke about three weeks ago, on 15 Sep 2013, the week my course’s final year began. I was gutted mainly because I no longer had the comfort of doing creative work such as video and image editing at home, and had to go to university to do this.

A few weeks later, however, I became aware of some of the benefits of not having a laptop. I had started to go to bed earlier, at 10 pm instead of 11.30 pm, feeling much more energetic on the next day! I had started to get up earlier too, at 06.30 am instead of 08.30 am (07.30 am if going to work) and found motivation to go for a street workout in Burley Park before uni or work instead of leaving it for after that. Now, I sometimes exercise two times a day, thus getting stronger and healthier! Having such a small lifestyle change has been amazing!

So stay positive next time your laptop breaks, or you lose something practical you’ve taken nearly for granted, because your life might become a little bit better without it!

A Ritual of Gratitude

I have a special relationship with music. In short, music helps me connect with humanity and life on a deeper level. The process is usually accompanied by movement that’s often in the form of dance. It’s mainly through dancing that I invite sound to run through my body and mind, and pull them closer to the universe so I hopefully get an ecstatic glimpse of divinity.

I really enjoy going out to dance. Unfortunately, I don’t know any people who like to go out specifically to dance; instead, they all go out to get more or less hammered. When I ask them if they’d like to go out dancing next Friday night, they do not seem to understand what I mean. The word “dancing” appears to be a foreign word they cannot comprehend.

To clarify, when I say I enjoy going out to dance, I mean I enjoy going to a bar or club in town to dance to the music being played along with others. Alcohol consumption isn’t essential, at least for me; plus, the sort of dancing I’m talking about here doesn’t have anything to do with getting off with women on the dance floor.

On June 14 I went to a karaoke party with a few of my colleagues and later joined my girlfriend and her friends in town. I found it discomforting to sit around a table with people who were drinking. It was also painful to listen to their conversations and attempt to participate. I was restless and energetic and all I wanted to do from the beginning of the night was to just dance. When I finally got the opportunity to do so, I became very happy.

In the days that followed, I wondered why I so strongly craved a dance floor and good music to dance to. I wanted to know my core motivations and drives. As usual, I tried to analyze my thoughts and figured out that in essence dancing for me is an act of gratitude towards the universe and a way of celebrating my life. Although not everything in my life is perfect, it is through dancing that I could still say, “Thank you universe, for all good things in my life.” Currently, for example, I’m very happy and grateful I’ve got a job, faithful girlfriend, supportive family, strong healthy body, roof over my head and food in the fridge as well as the level of personal development I’ve reached.

And if for me break dancing is more about expressing myself as well as regaining strength to overcome pain and continue pursuing my goals, “casual” dancing is more about celebrating the seemingly perfect things in my life.

On 22 April 2013 I got a job as Marketing Data Entry Assistant. My main responsibility was to list clothing products following a specific Excel template, add information about the products such as size, color, description, barcode, material composition and price, and upload the finished Excel document on Amazon. During my first two weeks at work, the job felt rather boring and laborious. Soon afterwards, however, I realized a few exciting aspects of the work I was doing and my attitude changed.

Data Entry

I realized data entry involved a degree of creativity. I saved lots of time and effort once I began managing data in bulk and finally met my daily targets. I’m now always motivated to think of other creative approaches when listing products to further increase my speed.

Data entry was a process that also brought me satisfaction, a sense of achievement and, to be honest, a sense of control because the job involved putting things together and creating a sort of order. I mean I was given the necessary information about the products and all I had to do was to organize it in an Excel document in a specific way.

Creation was at the core of my job, too. Data entry was also about building, creating something that served a greater purpose. I mean that every cell of information I am provided with could be perceived as a brick that is to be used in the making of a structure such as the completed Excel upload file. The realization made my job more fulfilling.

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