Archive for October 2009

End of an Era

October 29, 2009

It’s basically 3AM now, and I’ve only just finished a 40 minute pre-lab assignment that I started at 10:30PM. And it’s quiet. It’s the only time I feel like I have the apartment to myself; the only time I really feel comfortable blogging, and this one is going to be about cars. More specifically, my first car. 1011091341a

On my latest trip back home, I had found out that my grandmother’s Saturn’s transmission was hopelessly trashed. And so my dad proposed to sell her my car and I agreed. I did this not because I wanted to get rid of it, but for two reasons. 1) My mom told me that it was probably going to get trashed anyway and 2) with me in college, it doesn’t get much time on the road. That happened about three weeks ago now, and I’ve only just been able to write something about it. It was an amazing car, and you never really forget your first.

I don’t try to publicize this, but I failed my driver’s test twice times before passing. The first two times were in a Chevy Blazer. Now, I can drive it just fine, but that car just gives me bad luck, I guess cause I had a terrible time in that car at the DMV. The third time, I took it in the car that would be mine for the next three years: a forest green 1993 Honda Accord SE. The feeling of passing in that car, along with the fact that it was almost the end of school made it a very good day that day. You can even pinpoint the day, if you’re willing to, on my Xanga.

I have a lot of fond memories in that car. Within the first hour of my having a license, I had already shown off that I could drive and that I had a car to drive to my friends by giving them rides to Walgreens. I remember, there was one Saturday before school ended that I just sat in my car for a good two hours in the driver’s seat, just relishing the fact that I could turn on the ignition and cruise if I so choose. I got into my first accident a month later, and my second half a year after that. I took it on a total of four long car trips. I’ve driven it at literally every hour of the day, from dusk ’til dawn back to dusk. It was an integral part to my Senior year of high school. It’s what enabled me to know more of my city, to make my first real earned money, to become independent. It’s been stolen and returned. It’s been broken into. I’ve taken it to Berkeley, Vallejo, Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Cazadero. When I moved into my dorm, it was the only thing that I had with me. I’ve had so many people in my car, I couldn’t even start to count. But I’ve let only a few people drive it; off the top of my head, outside my family, I can count three. And many other stories and feelings in between.

For me, that dark green now 16 year old sedan was irreplaceable. It was the car that got me through some of the hardest times in my life, as well as some of the greatest. It is iconic to having fun, to enjoying high school, to growing up. These past three years would not have been the same without that car, and, as cheesy as it sounds, I will never forget it.

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Wanna Learn Something?

October 22, 2009

As I write these words, there is a lecture going on. Not a school lecture that I’ll be quizzed on or midterms or any of that. The lecture is being offered by one Michael B. Johnson, head of Moving Pictures Group at Pixar. His lecture is entitled “Making Movies is Hard Fun”. He’s lecturing about how his company works.

And I really wanted to go. But I couldn’t because I needed to “study”.

I just got back from my Organic Chemistry Lab, and on the way back was thinking about learning. Educators, parents, even students say that learning is a fun experience and that it’s good to go to school and learn about different things. But that’s not true. They say it as an absolute when it’s obviously not true. If learning was so much fun, then nobody would drop out of high school, everyone would be good at most everything, the world would be, I think, as a whole a better place. But obviously, these things happen. And on this walk, sulking and housing a huge desire to not learn, I figured out what is so key that makes learning “fun”: The Desire to Learn.

Now I know that some (most if not all) of you read that and scoffed and said, “well of course! that’s obvious!” And I guess it is. But it still begs the question why people don’t learn things they want to learn. I mean, the fact that people study what the actually want to study isn’t true either. I don’t remember the exact number, but a huge majority of people who earn bachelor degrees end up not using that degree for their job down the road. If it was true that people wanted to learn what they were interested in, the phenomenon, the “Mid-Life Crisis” would not exist. Because if people had a genuine interest in it, why would they give it up, except to learn more? And again, these things do happen. People go back to school in their late-30-40s to learn what they “really” want to learn and everyone would be happy with what they know, despite not having a job. But, they feel the pressure to succeed in the corporate sense of the word. To provide for families, earn a comfortable living, buy nice things. And that just takes all the fun out of learning.

If you’re learning something to earn money, and not to be happy, then of course you’re not going to like it, and maybe even be miserable. You’re going to procrastinate. You’re not going to try as hard because you don’t care about the subject material. And you’re going to compare and play with standards of the people who either try really hard regardless of interests or have a genuine desire to learn.

I’ve been wrestling with what to do with my life for the past six months. I suppose I’m having my Mid-Life Crisis early. And not once had something looked so good than going animation or art. But I’m 85% sure that I won’t do it. Because it’s a hard field to excel in. Because I exhausted and was comfortable with my talent for it when I was in second grade. Because the competition is amazingly tough.

But it’s only 85%. There’s still that 15%. That is the part that wants to know more about the field of animation. Of 3D design. Of Pixar. And often times, that 15% is much much louder than that majority that says I should stay and learn Biology and become something or other. And, in response to that, 85% is still a majority. So two sides of me are at ends, trying to figure out what the best place to focus myself is.

I’m trying to figure out my life. And I’m going nowhere fast. And it’s depressing the hell out of me, while I sit here, studying Math when I could be hearing about how making movies is hard fun; when I could be happy.

Cleaning out the Inbox

October 11, 2009

For those who don’t know me very well, let me start off by saying that I am a real sucker for nostalgia. It’s probably the main reason why I show interest in the things that I’m interested in. One such example: I love watching new animated movies and TV shows because those are rooted very solidly in my past. But I have just recently found a brand new way for me to relive yesteryear: cleaning out my many email inboxes.

Off the top of my head, I have four email addresses my current one, my school one, along with my other defunct ones: my first one [albro8190@yahoo.com] and my other one [stealingthewind9348@gmail.com]. I know, most of these are very gaudy and/or tacky, but keep in mind that I was only 14 when I made my first two. Well, I recently signed up for another yahoo account because I felt that I had outgrown my first one. So I decided to go on a email deleting spree. And I found emails dating back to 2005. Holy crap. I was like 5’1″ back in 2005. And most of them I was right to delete for multiple reasons: spam, spam, spam, outdated email greeting, spam, spam, princeton review update, spam spam… you get the picture.

But want to know what my oldest email kept was? It was HTML sent to me. For my Xanga. It was archaic, the code in this email. But the one thing that made me smile was who it was from. It was a girl from Georgia I had a slight crush on way back when, during a trip to Korea. It was the Korean Spirit! trip I went on before I was even in high school. It’s how I know James Ha the body beatboxer (but don’t quiz him on that, he probably does not remember me at all). And the name alone, along with the message she sent with the code was a nice gift from the past for an otherwise bland and cruddy Sunday. So, to Carol Lee, thank you for that wonderful code almost five years ago. And thanks for making me smile now.

A suggestion from me to you: go look at your inbox or your archived messages in your mailbox. It’s bound to surprise you, and maybe even make your day a bit better.