Fighting Spirits (2012)

Hey guys! This student thesis film by Gene Kim has been floating around as of late and I just had to share; after all, he hails from my dear alma mater, NYU!

This film cleverly pokes at the spirit of competition that plagues all artists that have to audition for a part.

Cool things to support: Ordinary Days Anthology

Hey guys, hope you’re all enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend as it winds down and it’s back to the daily grind of the ho-hum and ordinary…

… But hey there’s nothing wrong with ordinary, and in fact, there is the mythic in the everyday and something special to be said about those day-to-day moments that are in fact rather special. And with that segue out of the way, I’d like to direct your attention to a Kickstarter project backed by several students at Savannah Arts Academy: The Ordinary Days Anthology

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/782530523/ordinary-days-anthology/widget/video.html

Honestly, the advertisement, and the sneak peeks at some of the lovely art that’s been put into this anthology really speaks for itself; and if you’re interested in supporting the arts and the undergrads working hard to put themselves out in the world then I say more power to you! A friend of mine, the lovely and talented Sara Puranan, is also part of this project with her own 1920s slice-of-lifer short, amongst the other magnificent works of art that’s been compiled here.

But when it boils down to it, this project is the culmination of a lot of hard work for young artists in an industry that parents, friends, and family may not totally support. I, for one, have nothing but utter respect for these kids putting themselves out there and taking a crack at getting their work published — and thus far they’ve exceeded their $3,500 goal with about $5,000 dollars to their names!

How cool is that?

There’s still 60 hours to go for their kickstarter, so if you’re interested in supporting the arts (Even a dollar is nice karma for these up-and-coming artists) check out their work so far and donate if you can!

I for one am very much proud of their achievements, and, in the face of many a nay-sayer who says that this economy is tanking and that young people should look for “practical” career options — I say phoey. Because dreams can come true, as we can see by the success of the Ordinary Days anthology; it just might take a bit of work, but it can happen!

Steven Universe Pilot: A show to watch out for

So for those of you who haven’t heard by now: Rebecca Sugar, of Adventure Time fame, is ready to launch her own show on the Cartoon Network. She’ll be the first woman to create a show for the network, and she’s making her debut with style in her new coming-of-age story: Steven Universe.

Honestly, I believe the pilot speaks for itself and its promise of light-hearted fun, as well as a bit of a homage/allusion to the “magical girl” genre with a hefty dose of slice-of-life comedy gold. I have a more in-depth bout of commentary over on MoarPowah.com, but seriously, just give the pilot a whirl and tell me what you think!

I for one am terribly excited for this show to premiere =)

YouTube Comedy Week: What kind of Asian are you?

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t been around lately — graduating from university can do that to you! Well, there will soon be a write-up on the omg-graduating-experience, but for now, here’s a very clever video from YouTube’s comedy week which just speaks to me, as an Asian American woman.

Now I know how to respond the next time someone tries the “Where are you from?” line, haha.

Thoughts From the Eve of Graduation

For Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the talented Starshine5050 of MoarPowah.com–where she posts some lovely movie, music, and video game reviews!  Now I’ve got her writing up some inspirational words for the graduating class of 2013, haha

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It’s hard to imagine what a world unknown must have felt like to settlers and colonists, who set out to find things completely unknown to them. The closest I have ever got to understanding the feeling was when watching Star Trek. The intrepid crew of the USS Enterprise would go out every week to explore new, unseen worlds with hope, dread, and calm preparedness.

On the eve of my graduation from college, I can say I’m feeling two out of those three. You can guess which.

Once upon a time, I was a freshman, just like everyone was at one time or another. I thought that four years at one school was going to be an eternity – after all, my high school career had only really been three years long due to the large population of kids in the area. I thought I was never going to figure out my place, that I’d be homesick and miserable forever, that I’d wanna go home every weekend until the very end. Before I even realized it had happened, I had somehow found my place, my own little routine in a big and very daunting university.

Looking back on the kid I used to be, I changed so much. And now I am here, on the eve of my graduation, unsure of how to feel about it.

My first thoughts are of regret about all the things I never got to do. I never swam in the gym’s swimming pool. I didn’t see enough plays or musicals. I should have joined more clubs. I should have tried that one pizza place. I should have taken this class. I should have gone to these places. I should have tapped these resources. I should have gotten better grades. I should have made more friends. I should have been more daring. I wasted my golden opportunity.

It’s a silly thought, isn’t it? That I only have one golden opportunity in life and that it came around at 20. That what I did and didn’t do in college is going to define everything I do from here until my dying day, that I’ll never get to live again after this, just go into the drudge of human existence that we call adulthood with blind but begrudging submission until retirement strikes and I’ll be too old to do any of the things I wanted. Life doesn’t end after college. From what I heard from said adult humans, it only begins.

Then comes thoughts of fear. Will I get a job? When? Will I be a sadsack who mopes around her parent’s home for months looking for work, any work at all? Should I have applied more seriously to graduate schools? Am I going to be the 2% who fail and fall to the wayside to die alone and bitter and being a total burden on society?

I’d like to note that is in my total depression and paranoia that I came up with the 2% figure. In fact, I have no idea how many people do or don’t soar with the eagles in their post-college careers. Maybe 98% is low-balling it. Maybe it’s too damn high. It sure feels like everyone’s got an internship or job or graduate school they’ve got all lined up and I’m floundering just to find any positions I would actually be good for. Should I get a job in my small town to try and make a little money? Wouldn’t that be a waste of my very expensive private school education? Doesn’t thinking like that make me a snob?

I’ve chosen to write for a living, because it’s something I do naturally, compulsively everyday. The only issue is that writing is not exactly the most sustainable of careers and it makes me wish I had been born to be a concert violinist or a physicist, or a lawyer. If you believe in that kind of thing, that is. I don’t know if I do, but I imagine that it would bring me great comfort in a time like this – to believe I had been born to be a writer and that because of that it was going to have to somehow work out for me.

Come next week, all my friends from college will be scattered across the country, maybe even the world. Some will come back for their second, third, or final year of college, others will be like me – living in the graduate life of gathering infinite pieces to a puzzle whose image is a mystery to you. I will be digging, praying, hoping for a job or an internship, bugging professors for any open positions, to find help to get into places. I will be right back at the beginning of freshman year all over again, except there will be no structured classes or upper classmen to help me – I will be forced to stand solely on my own two feet.

I wonder if someday, when things get better, when I get over this hump and wind up on the other side somewhere, doing something, if I’ll look back on this post and wonder how I could be so pessimistic about my future, to believe that I would spend the rest of my life laying on a couch in my parents house. Maybe I’ll be exactly where I am now the next time I sit down to read this – worried about the future, jobless, anxious. There’s really no way to know.

It is a lonely feeling that we all share – each a little different than the other, hard to express and raw, so raw that it often leads to tears and anger. Life is hard to deal with – it requires effort and balance and strength that feels sometimes so Herculean you have to wonder how anyone does any living at all. Everyone around you smiles but you can tell that half of it isn’t genuine. And not everyone is sad to leave – some people can’t wait to get out and go and live their lives. I just happen to not be one of them.

I’m going to end this post on a happy note, because tomorrow it’s going to all smiles and celebrations and parents with cameras in the park. Our lives are like the voyages on Star Trek where we go into a vast expanse of new worlds and experiences. They are scary, and we don’t know what horrors or delights await us at every new step of the journey. But we do not go into that final frontier alone.

Warp speed ahead.

– S. R-M, aka Starshine5050

What do you do when no one seems to support you?

Graduation for me is just a day away — and I’m terribly excited, and terribly scared.

The “real world” is not the realm of academia, with security in the systematic cycles of Fall Semester turning into Spring Semester, and summer vacation just around the bend. You have no idea how much I’m going to miss that, that luxury of knowing what comes next.

In fact, I think it’s this idea of “knowing” everything that leads to all kinds of anxieties for recent graduates.  And if you’re suffering from Overbearing Parent Syndrome, Subtly Disappointed Parent Disorder, or perhaps even the good old Constantly Criticizing Your Life Choices — then you’re in luck. Because you’re not alone; I find it’s a problem for many people, although in different and varying dosages of parental pessimism over your education.

Because it does boil down to the fact that your college experience is your experience–and even if your parents may disapprove of that seemingly “useless” major that you picked up along the way, the fact remains that it is your life, and your choices. Be proud of who you are and what you know interests you, and what makes you get out of bed in the morning to attack a new day.

… But it’s not always that easy.

Sometimes your parents are the people who you might feel closest to, who you might want to have your back; people who you want to have say to you, “I’m proud of you.” And it definitely hurts when what you think is important will never match up to their seemingly lofty expectations–the shake of the head, the sigh, the muttered “Maybe you should consider another career path” lecture that grates on your nerves and makes your four years in the grind seem all for naught.

It sucks to feel like that. I know, I feel like that right now with graduation tomorrow and the knowledge that I just might have picked the two most useless of subjects to specialize in has apparently caused my parents great sorrow and grief. What will she do with literature in this day and age? Where’s the money in books these days?

Believe me, I ask the same questions of myself sometimes. Maybe all of the time now that I’m being tossed out into the “real world”.

But–here’s the kicker–this is my life. Not yours. I realize that parents want the best for their children, that they want to hold their hand and shield them from everything, and they worry about wealth and security, but I don’t believe it should come at the price of looking your daughter in the eye and telling her: Why didn’t you do what we wanted you to do?

And the answer? Because I’m not you, because I gave medicine a shot and found myself miserable, because we already had a moment four years ago when I announced that I was going to go off the “beaten path” and find my own way. And I thought that it would be a journey you two would support and walk with me to the end, even if it wasn’t a six figure salary, even if it meant that fluttering feeling of uncertainty — I hoped at least for the openness to possibility, that the journey is just as important as the destination, this quantifiable “happiness” that immigrant parents dream of for their children.

I get it. I appreciate that you two are afraid for me, and that in fearing for my own future you are both, in your own way, gently putting down my accomplishments, gently trying to steer me in the direction that you think would be best.

Once more, I say “Thanks”, to you, and to the parents that are deathly afraid for their children amongst the Class of 2013 — but this isn’t a productive way to think, at all.

To my fellows of 0-13 who feel unhappy that the people in your life do not support you–for whatever reason it may be–all I can say is: chin up. I cannot say for sure where the road may lead, but if you find yourself “alone” and surrounded by those who want to diminish everything you’ve accomplished for the last four years (And it’s hard to accept that, I know) just shoulder on.

This is your life, live it — live it happily and well to the best of your ability. And if it’s any consolation: you are not alone, so take what you’ve done with yourself and reach as far as you can — if it’s what your parents would have wanted in any other job, then you can prove you can succeed in what makes you happiest.

(As an aside, I’ll take any and all advice on how to deal with parents who just can’t seem to accept your accomplishments and only find in them faults that don’t match up to their expectations; my way of dealing with my own parents’ lost faith in me and my future career prospects–or lack thereof, in their opinion–is only one way to deal with this kind of anxiety.

Chin up, guys, they can’t bind you down forever.) 

The Freshman Mix Tape

For Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the lovely Olive of Blather, rinse, and repeat.  It is also a sister response to my own article, An undergrad story told in musicals

I love mixtapes. Actually, allow me to correct myself. I’m too young for mixtapes, but I love mix CDs. Ever since my sixteenth birthday, when I was lucky enough to get a car, I’ve been burning CDs of all my favorite songs at a given moment, labeling them with the date. I guess it’s my version of a photo album- my way of going back and remembering how I felt on this day in particular. Music does that for me. I’m one of those nerds who still has music on their iPod from the 6th grade because she can’t stand to delete a single song (resulting in tens of thousands of songs on a single mp3 player).

I’m only a freshman; my story has only just begun. I don’t have a whole college career to look back on, but I believe freshman year is the time in college that you undergo the most changes. It’s getting acclimated to being without your parents, without your high school friends, living in relative independence. It’s screwing up your laundry and not feeding yourself properly and having strange sleep schedules and meeting people who change your life.

This year has arguably been the best of my entire existence, so I can’t wait to recap with y’all. Most of the songs in this playlist were added to my iTunes library during my first year here at NYU, though not necessarily in chronological order. And I realize some of these songs are years old. Irrelevant. For whatever reason, I only added them just now, and they were an integral part of my freshman year of college.

Carry – Chris Ayer

This song, by one of my favorite artists of all time, basically describes how I felt at the end of my high school career, moving onto college. I knew that I still had a lot to figure out. I thought I knew a few things–what my major would be, what my friends would be like, how my studies were going to go… It didn’t take long to realize that I actually knew nothing. So I decided I was going to figure it out, but I wasn’t going to worry about figuring it out. It’s okay not to know what you’re doing. If there’s ever a time to be clueless, it’s now. But I’ll figure it out… eventually.

 New York City – moe

College is always a big transition, no matter where you’re going, but I was moving from a mostly suburban town in the conservative south to one of the biggest, most liberal cities in the world. Talk about a culture shock. I mean, New York City. There are people who can only dream of living here, and here I am, attending college. It’s ridiculously romanticized, but there are moments when the city truly seems romantic. It wasn’t even a month into classes when I realized it had become home. Nothing against my hometown, but there was something about the city that I felt familiar and comfortable with, even during my first few days in New York. Words can’t describe how lucky I am to be here.

 In Love – July

Obligatory instrumental track! During the maybe two weeks of pleasant autumn weather before winter came, I would take a lot of walks. I would look up at the different buildings and study their architecture, smile at the dogs on the street (while fighting the urge to pet each and every one of them), and dwell on the amazing friendships I had made that were already starting to change my life. I was in love. Not with a person or an idea, but with everything. I was in love with New York City, I was in love with my classes, I was in love with the weather, I was in love with all the people around me, I was in love with life. It was just the most content, happy feeling. It was then that I realized I made the right decision in coming here. I knew that this was where I was meant to be.

 Paperman – Christophe Beck

Back home, I never used to watch movies. Not that often, at least. Only the really huge blockbusters. And then I came and made friends in college who are obsessed with movies. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on movie tickets… and how many wonderful people covered for me when I didn’t have enough money at the time (I love all of you). The first movie I attended with this particular group of friends was Wreck-It Ralph. Before the film was the premiere of a short film– “Paperman.” I think I was just as blown away by the short film as I was by the movie itself. And don’t even get me started on the music. Too beautiful. This song is dedicated to all the movie nights I had this year, watching superhero movies, sci-fi movies, comedies, anime movies, movies about hobbits and rings, and even movies about “die-hards.” I have probably watched more films this year than I had the four years prior, and I have only my friends to thank for that. So thank you.

 My Boots – Lights

Where I grew up, winter lasts about a month, tops. When we get even half an inch of snow, everyone goes insane and runs to their nearest grocery store to buy milk and bread. And school is closed. People would smirk at me when they heard I was going to New York to college. “You’ll have to buy a winter coat,” they’d snicker. But it was true. I never had need for a warm coat before now. So I had my first Big Apple winter. I saw snow for the first time in a long time, and more at once than I was used to. I would go out in my knee-high rain boots and walk the streets as the snow drifted down. New York City as it’s snowing is one of the most beautiful places in the world. When it first starts to snow, there is nothing lovelier. When the snow starts piling up, however, that’s when we cry “Bah-Humbug!” No one wants to walk through that! This song is here to remind me not to get too cynical about winters up north. Yes, it’s a pain, but it’s beautiful, and something I couldn’t experience before.

 I Got a Boy – Girl’s Generation

Yes, it’s K-pop. No, it’s not PSY. I’ve actually been into K-pop for a few years now, so I couldn’t resist adding at least one Korean pop song to this list. I Got a Boy is probably my favorite K-pop song of the last six months, if not this year. That’s not to say it’s the best song (because it isn’t by far), but it’s the one song that I have continued to listen to since its release five months ago, and have yet to get sick of. The best part is the fact that I made friends this year who not only wouldn’t give me weird looks when I started singing Korean and dancing in the street, but who would sing along with me. I enjoyed K-pop more than ever this year, because I had friends to enjoy it with.

 Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker

This is the part of the playlist when I get homesick. There was a period when, as much as I loved New York, I would only listen to music that reminded me of North Carolina. I still love the city and living in the north, but there is a part of me that will always cling to my southern roots, and that’s okay. For every one thing I hated about the south, there was another reason to love it. The food, the manners, the accents, the music. These are the things I was raised on, and they’ll always be a huge part of me, no matter where I live.

 This Is the New Year – A Great Big World

 I love this music video more than words can describe. I see a bunch of friends hanging out and having fun and being themselves and oh my goodness, I just get a lot of feelings from this song and video. This is just such a flawless, upbeat, hopeful, beautiful song. Absolutely perfect for the new year. I know this year, I made a lot of resolutions that I’m sticking to pretty well. Stuff like letting go, not overthinking, and spending as much time as possible having fun. College being the fresh start that it was, I felt like my resolutions held more weight than in previous years, since I was already changing and becoming a different person. And still being a freshman, I’m still hopeful and starry-eyed and excited for the future. And this song sums that feeling up rather perfectly, if you ask me.

Torn – Natalie Imbruglia

 On a karaoke trip with some of my friends, I started singing this song. Angie (AKA. The Wandering Girl, the owner of this blog! :D) freaked out and sang it with me and we both had a wonderful 90s moment. This song set off a wave of nostalgia for the both of us, it seems, and we both ended up listening to 90s music for a bit afterwards (I remember her making a request on Facebook for some songs to add to a playlist). Angie being a senior in college and me being a freshman, we’re both in a transitional stage in our lives, and I guess it makes sense for us to want to cling to a safer time, even if it’s just through music. I can’t tell you how much Backstreet Boys I listened to last summer. And of course, that stupid Vitamin C song that everyone knows before you even say the title. Yeah, that one. Music can do that to you. It can take you back to a happier time, or a simpler one, or even a dark time if that is what you so desire. I guess this is my case in point for making this post in the first place.

Bulletproof vs Release Me – The Outfit

Pitch Perfect. Possibly my favorite film of the year. One that inspired much bonding amongst friends. Angie and I went on a mash-up binge, and another friend and I got hooked on the cup song (like the millions of other teenage [and younger] girls on youtube). I don’t really have much to say about this song in particular, because it’s just a happy memory for me. This song will always remind me of freshman year of college, and these two lovely seniors who obsessed over this movie with me.

It’s Time to Run Juliet – Flipboitamidles

More mash-ups because I wasn’t kidding when I said Angie and I went on a mash-up binge. There is nothing that can make me happier than that experience when two wonderful songs are blended so perfectly that it seems like they were made for each other. This was probably the mash-up that started it all…  We were singing Check Yes Juliet for weeks, you don’t even understand. When our friend group latches onto something, we are obsessed for a period of time. One of us will start and get the others going and it’s just this never-ending cycle. It’s amazingly fun, and one of the things I love the most about us.

The Way I Am – Ingrid Michaelson

This year was also the advent of my self-esteem. I’ve always been the introverted type, who secretly didn’t feel good enough for anyone else. Through my various friendships and relationships, I finally became confident in myself, my personality, and my body. There’s something to be said about the effect other people can have on you. I don’t fully attribute this change to the people in my life, but they were definitely a catalyst. When someone accepts you and loves you for exactly how you are, you kind of realize, “Hey, I must be pretty awesome.” And yeah, you are. So even though this is a love song, it’s dedicated to everyone I love, friends and family included. ‘Cause y’all take me the way I am. :P

I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons

Here come the feels. Um romantic first, I guess. There’s this boy. I may or may not like him a lot. We may or may not have been dating for two months. And he may or may not be about to go to the absolute other side of the world for an internship this summer. Neither of us want to deal with a long distance relationship, let alone with a 12 hour time difference in the way, so we’ve agreed to take a break. Just thinking about the summer makes me want to cry, so it helps me to listen to this song. This is my dedication to him. I’ll wait. And it will be worthwhile, because I think we might have something kinda special. Maybe.

Rescue – The Summer Set

Feels, pt. 2. Dedicated to everyone I’ve met in the last year, as well as friends from home. There isn’t much that I can say that this song already doesn’t. It’s more of a promise than anything else. So yeah. Listen to this song and you’ll realize how I feel about all of my friends. I’m just getting super feels-y because so many of my friends are upperclassmen, some of whom are graduating this year. Even though we haven’t been friends for long, I want them to know I’ll be there for them no matter what. And I refuse to make myself cry, so it’s time to move on to the next song.

Graduate – Chris Ayer

 This last one, I actually had to upload to Youtube myself, because it didn’t exist beforehand. I seriously like the idea of cycles and coming full-circle and having continuity of sort, so the last song is by the same person as the first. This basically describes how I feel about my graduating friends. “I’m gonna lose you.” They’re all moving on and possibly moving away, and it’s hard not to feel like I’m being left behind. I know they’ve got great things ahead of them, and I’m honestly so happy for them and so proud. I just hope they visit as often as they can because they changed my freshman year for the better, and I owe so many good times to them. So I guess my closing thought is a dedication to them. I wish them the best of luck, and I know we’ll keep in touch, because I will force them to keep in touch. Whether they want to or not. ^_^

So yeah, this is just a little glimpse into my freshman year… Some things I learned, and some things that meant a lot to me. It was a big year year, full of changes, but I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I can’t wait for the years to come… Hopefully you enjoyed the different perspective!

-Olive of Blather, rinse, and repeat

That Arch

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Legend has it that if you walk underneath the Washington Square Arch you will never graduate from New York University.

Woops.

Over the last few years the arch and the park–our impromptu quad–has been one of my favorite subjects to take snapshots of. Rain or shine, there’s always something happening around here, it seems.

Also I don’t think I’ve got this gallery thing worked out just yet, haha

Union Square Green Market

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So for the last two years the Union Square Green Market has been a fun place for me to visit once in awhile. A bit pricey for a college student budget, unless you’re just here for veggies; buying corn from here was one of my favorite pleasures of moving into the dorms early. Last year I stayed in a dorm that was just on Union Square and it was beyond awesome to be able to slink out and have a market right on my front step.

Due to its proximity and the quality of the produce I could find (As well as some expensive items I wish I could buy regularly, haha) it’s also been one of my favorite places to try out my picture-taking skills. Haha, so while I’m reminiscing about undergrad life, here’s some of my favorite pictures from way back in 2011 of the Green Market; I assure you I have a thousand more. =) But we can wait to post them another day, heh