The story of my life (pt. 1)

November 11, 2007

Vivian showed me this, and this pretty much describes my life (and my childhood!)

After visiting Claremont

November 2, 2007

Last week, I spent five days in Claremont, crashing with various folks. Overall, it was pretty fun, and it was great to connect with people again, and have face to face conversations, and have people be more than just a Facebook profile. (not to hate on Facebook. The opposite. When we’re apart at least I can have you in my life as Facebook profile, which is much better than nothing at all!).

By weird coincidence, during my stay there was this great talk by these great Vietnamese women, a film critic, Ngo Phuong Lan, and a  filmmaker Pham Nhue Giang. Their lecture was entitled “Nationalism in Modern Vietnamese film”. Due to time constraints, it was mostly the film critic talking about different clips she showed and about her book, since there wasn’t an opportunity to show anything of the filmmaker’s (she made a fun snarky comment about it). It was pretty cool to see these Vietnamese films I never knew existed. It made me realize how limited my knowledge of Vietnam is because the only lens I’ve ever really had to learn about the country and culture was through my parents and family. They have particular biases, interests, political beliefs, etc. My parents don’t really like cinema, and nor do they like leftist politics, so how in hell would I growing up ever been exposed to these really awesome anti-imperialism Vietnamese films from the 60’s? In this talk I saw clips from films I never knew existed, but knew in my gut must have. Since media, movies, TV, music was such an important factor in my growing up and defining myself, having access to these things from another country is my way of learning about that other culture. Part of the reasons why it was hard for me to connect to Vietnamese culture as a kid, was that I had no exposure to quality media from Vietnam, no cinema, no non-shitty overproduced music, etc. All I had was Paris by Night, and Chinese movies badly dubbed in Vietnamese. If I knew there was this prolific film tradition, that would have been an aspect of Vietnam I could relate to, could see myself finding a place in. When I find out about these things, like these films, I always at first kick myself, wondering why I haven’t been able to find them earlier. To find it, you have to make the conscious choice to, cuz with this stuff you’re not going to stumble into it. I always think I didn’t try hard enough. At the talk, one of the professors in the audience, said something that made me feel better. She said to not take it personally, not knowing about your people, cuz often THEY (white supremacist capitalist patriarchy) try to keep you from knowing about your history. True that.

It was interesting coming back to Claremont. On one hand, it was still pretty familiar. How could it not be, since I lived there for 4 years. Though I thought I would still know a lot of people (which I did), there so many young’ins who’ve I’ve never seen before in my life. One of the things I was missing about college was being with people my own age. Here, I am always the youngest person by at least 10-15 years. When I arrived at the airport, I ended up sharing a cab with three first years from CMC. When I got inside, I thought to myself, “Oh, I forgot about 18 years olds. Huh”.

In the trip, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I relate to people. As with going back home to high school friends after college, I feel like I am in this transition where I am learning who I consider friends and who I consider friendly acquaintances. Who do I prioritize to see, who prioritizes to see me? Or, maybe you think you’re close to someone, but when you see them you don’t really connect with them the same way anymore. It’s like when you see old friends again, and hanging out you have the same dynamic you always had, of easy conversation, etc. With some folks I expected that but it didn’t happen. It’s always an interesting process. On one hand it’s a little sad, because you wish you had stronger relationships with people, but on the other hand it’s pretty freeing because you know who you want to spend time with, and you’re doing that, and cutting through the bull shit.

Not to say that if I didn’t see someone than I’m not their friends. It’s still a hazy space. Sometimes it’s pretty random who I ended up contacting and who I didn’t. I sent an e-mail and just picked random folks because I thought the gossip would run like wild fire. Also, gmail doesn’t check the name if I type in just a few letters lik the old Pomona e-mail did, so people who I didn’t know how to spell their name didn’t get contacted simply cuz I was too lazy to look it up on facebook. Harrummph. In general, in looking at my own behavior, I became a lot lenient with other people in the past who might not done a good job keeping in touch with me, or giving me a heads up when they’re in town. You only have a short amount of time and you don’t want to be too overwhelmed.

I also noticed that people seem pretty detached or distracted when I interacted with them. Not everyone, not all the time, but a substantial amount. If we’re having lunch or something, it would just be clear that the other person have a zillion things on their minds. It totally makes sense cuz life at school is crazy like that. I know I was definitely like that, and people have complained to me about it. Here, even though I don’t see my friends as often because of job schedules, distance, and what not, when I do get to see them, they’re emotionally present, which is nice. I’m sorry to folks who I flaked out like that on!!!!

Also, a funny thing is that I kind of became an instant counselor. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older, or because I had leadership roles on campus, but people wanted me to talk to me about their issues from relationship drama, to academic crisis, and actively listen, give support, advice, etc. That’s definitely a dynamic I don’t really have with my friends here. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s just something funny to notice.

I’m glad I went. It was a good to see people I care about. It was a good amount of time, where I felt like I could see a lot of who I wanted to see without rushing or cramming it all in a short time. Also, by the end I was ready to go, so that’s good. Though there are aspects I miss about it, I feel definitely done with college, and that I’m in my next stage in life (even though it’s not exactly clear what I am concretely doing in this next stage). Oh yeah, I got to meet Buster from “Arrested Development” (Tony Hale), and he was really nice.

Old blog, new blog

November 2, 2007

Hello! I haven’t really been talking about my personal life lately, or have done any rants about what I’ve been thinking, issues that have been weighing on my mind lately. Part of the reason is that I haven’t blogged that much at all. The other reason is that when I do blog, I just like to post silly videos, because they take up space and make my blog look colorful. However fun that is, I think I’m going to try to write more, cuz I know blogs can be a way for people to stay in touch. I read my friends’ blogs to get a better sense of what is going on in their life, etc. I don’t know if I will fully get all livejournal, but I’ll try to have more thoughtful posts. Try is the operative word. I might just still post silly things, because that is more true to who I am, (a deeply shallow boy-girl).

As I said, posting silly things, particularly youtube videos is a part of who I am. I created an additional outlet for these tendencies. Come visit it! It’s absoludicrous.wordpress.com