Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer love in California

As I lay down flat on my semi-clean carpet, I gazed straight up at the ceiling overwhelm with the thought that I have to pack for my trip back to Texas. My clothes were scattered all over the floor creating a pile exemplifying Mt Everest. Soda cans, beer bottles, and cups of tea were left rotting on my expensive shiny hard wood desk. It's a shame that I spent the whole summer imitating the useless couch potato/bum wasting the days in my room staring at the lighting on the ceiling. It's 2 am in the morning and I only have a couple of hours to pack all my clothes, make up, hair product, accessories, electronics, and shoes. I definitely need two extra days to pack whatever mess I have, but for some reason I'm not concerned about the shortage of time caused by my useless procrastination. I'm too busy fixated on connecting the dots between the cascade of lights shimmering on the ceiling. As I close my eyes in this dimly lit room, I drifted off in a multi-dimensional state traveling back in time where the plane landed late at night towards Oakland California, which marks the beginning of my summer vacation in cali.

It was quite a refreshing change, going from hot humid Texas to the cool crisp night of California, but the morning, evening, and afternoon were dreadfully hot minus the humidity. On the way home, I was forming a "to do" list in my head, hoping to accomplish the world this summer. Unfortunately, I could barely accomplish anything during my stay. The first thing I did, was turn on my computer and check facebook. Facebook has became a habit and an addiction for me, it was a way for me to talk to the world. I look through my facebook messages and notice a message from the past. Two years ago, I was suppose to meet someone for dinner, but never seem to get the chance due to my busy schedule. Now that I'm free, I shall take the time to meet this person. I had an awsome lunch date with him, he turned out to be an amazing friend and a mentor to me.

It makes me wonder why people would delete their facebook accounts. People often complain that facebook elicit unnecessary drama and leaks too much information out to strangers. In the past, yes, facebook was too public, but now there are new features that allow us to choose what we want others to know and what we want to be left private. In addition facebook is a major tool for us to meet new people without leaving the comfort of our own home. What can I say, I met one of my future medical school classmates in my pajamas while staring at the tv. If it weren't for facebook or any chat forums, I would had to pack my bags, and fly to different states in the US, and ask for any students who are going to the same school that I will be going to. This would take forever, and by the time I meet someone, school would have started.

As I flip through everyone's page, I was so excited to see that all my friends have wonderful plans for the summer and are not stuck at home like me. My facebook addiction continues as I chat with my friends, unfortunately, I had to cut my chat short to visit family friends. I miss visiting childhood friends, they are the people who you grew up and do stupid things with. I know that life is about a long journey, and a lot of times you tend to steer off in a distance doing your own thing, leaving your friends and family behind, but it's great to come together once in awhile to catch up on things. I was excited to meet them, I can't wait to reunite and share stories about our lives and experiences. But the happy image and thoughts I had in my head did not go the way I planned. I was shock to find out that everyone has change to the point of making snarky, jealous comments about me. The conversation was very discouraging and rude, I couldn't believe I was once friends with them. Their smurky, arrogant attitude reeks havoc everywhere, but I nevertheless focus on the time we had when we were young laughing, smiling, and playing little games in the forest during a sunset that reflects dim blueish violet color light on a field of roses. Now that life has changed us, the memories of friendship, hugs, kisses, and the idea of never leaving each other's side had all disappear and reformed into hate and jealousy.

I came back, holding on to old memories and selectively dumping the new ones, but nevertheless glad to know that everyone is doing fine despite the malevolent comments. I came back with a semi-bittersweet smile, but immediately turned pure sugar sweet when my dog ran inside the house. His bear-like claws clamped onto my shoulders as his wolfish, shabby figure greeted by his friendly slobbers made me realize that I have another childhood friends that actually loves and adores me. Then I notice his neck, it was constantly cocked to one side. I was extremely worry about my four-legged friend, that I took him to the vet the following day. The doctor diagnosed him with an ear infection, his ears had clumps of wax and fox tail stuck in there. They had to keep him in the hospital for a couple of hours to extract the fox tail and clumps of wax. It took forever to put my dog in the cage, he was scared and unfortunately fast at the same time, resulting in many failed attempts in closing the cage door. After one successful attempt, the vet and the techs were relief, but I felt guilty. He kept barking and howling as I walk away, leaving me with a trail of guilt. Then again if his ears were left infected, it could perforate his ear drum, leaving him deaf and unable to hear the beautiful sound of life again. I had to hold my strength and walk out of petsmart with my head held high that I'm doing the right thing so my dog will not be deaf.

After a few hours, I picked up my dog, and notice that the poor thing could hardly walk. He was extremely tired from the anesthesia so I had to carry his 60 pound dog ass to the car. I finally made it home, and when I took a glimpse at the back seat, I notice the poor thing was too tire to even care that we're home. I gave out a huge sigh, and open the car door, and once again had to use my whole strength and drag him from the car to the garage, and into the house. I accidentally stepped on one of his squeaky toys and woke him up from his nap. he instantly open his eyes, stand up, and wagged his tail at the speed of light. He grabbed his squeeky toy and spun in circles hoping that I will play with him. Little did he know, I was boiling inside, "I can't believe you are actually awake now, I had to drag your fat ass from petsmart to the car, and from the car to the house, what do you have to say for yourself." He had his head down sadly with one eyes open with a very apologetic look. I can't stay mad at my dog for a long time, he has a way of making me forget. I turned my direction towards the tv, hoping that something good will be on. I look back at my dog and notice he was fighting the anesthesia effects on his body. He was trying to stay awake so he can play with his toys, but his eyes have a mind of their own. They were slowly closing while he bravely fight his war, but eventually lost. His body gave in quickly and he sadly collapse on the carpet and fall soundly asleep. I can't help but peacefully smile as I place a light blanket on top of his exhausted body. I decided to stay in the house for the day to take care of him and to review some material for school. I received some awsome text message, an invite to San Francisco Japan town with all my friends :)

The next day, I checked on my dog to make sure he was fine. Afterwards, I head off to my friends' place preparing for a fun trip to SF. We made our way to Japan town and witness an anime festival with little shops everywhere. One of the shops caught my attention,they were selling these little clay deserts/food mini sculptures. These clay look so adorable and life-like that it's extremely tempting to eat them. I end up buying two phone charm and a friendship necklace. I hope I don't get hungry and eat them. I can tell that the artist is very meticulous about details, it's impressive that she made these little delicious looking clay sculptures all on her own. I can't keep my eyes off of them, but I had to, so I wouldn't lose my friends among the crowded streets.

My friends and I made our way towards some of the stores. As I'm walking around the stores, gazing and touching all the merchandise, I can't help but feel like I'm in a different universe. I guess maybe because I'm not that knowledgeable about the Japanese culture, but I always find it very fascinating how Japan is one of the most "talked about" cultures in the US.

If you have ever been to Barnes and Nobles or Border, you will notice a huge section dedicated to Mangas and Japanese magazines. If you have ever been to comicon that only happens once a year in San Diego, you will witness that halloween is not the only day to wear costumes. Apparently, Japanese culture has become so big to the point that fans will dress up as their favorite characters for the anime conventions which happens frequently throughout the year. Fans are so die heart that they are able to replicate the characteristics and appearance of their favorite anime. It's amazing that fans are able to expand the popularity of the Japanese culture through anime. I only been to one convention, but only as a photographer so I never dressed up. It's like walking into another world, where the limitations in reality does not exist anymore. It's kind of funny, but I think some would say this culture is a way for people to escape the every day changes and stress that occurs in life. Think about it, in many japanese shows, movies, and mangas, the main character is always smart, popular, beautiful, handsome, and powerful, and in real life, it's very unrealistic for anyone to possess all these attributes. That is why it would be pleasurable to escape limitation and become someone else that has all the admirable qualities.

Then again once you take off your costume, you are back in realty where everything is what it is. But either way, I'm glad to have awsome friends who are on the same boat as me, dreading life's obligations and expectations.

I suddenly opened my eyes, and notice it's 5 am in the morning and I only have a couple of hours to pack all my crap in the luggage. I rushed around like a chicken with her head cut off and barely got everything packed. My parents drove me to the airport as I sat behind the car thinking about all my friends and how much I love them. As I stare at the clouds, I notice a swarm of birds in the sky, oh how I envy their freedom to fly and go wherever they want. Then I look at myself sadly sitting behind two adults who desire and lust for strong dominant control over my life. I fear that my parents' obsession over me could turn into something incestuous, that is why I'm thankful for my trip to Texas to visit my fiance, and my education in another country. My dad ask me for the boarding time, I looked at my boarding past, and it says 4, but I told him 3. He got to the airport, nearly too late for anyone who had to board at 3. He had a grin on his face with high hopes that I don't make it to Texas, but little did he know, I made a big fat lie. As I grab my luggage and place it on the cart, I looked back, and realize that even though they are very damaged people, but whether I like it or not, they are my parents. Hopefully time and distance will get rid of everything disgusting and taboo. I'm willing to suffer and work through everything with them due to the fact that I will never forget the good old days when we were poor and had to work hard together in hopes that one day we could live a better life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asians Breaking into the Industry

Before youtube, talent and passion were nowhere to be found in the equation. The definition of an "artist" was someone who is attractive and is acquainted with big industry folks. Therefore, leaving so many artist with potential to inspire sadly unnoticed. This dilemma was common among Asian artist whose soft-spoken timid stereotypical personality have rendered them helpless and defeated despite their great talent and work ethics. It was so rare to find Asian artists in the big screen to the point that if we were fortunate enough to find one, the normal response would be to rush towards our laptops, and anxiously search for his or her identity. Fortunately, that was just the past, and the future provides us with new opportunities through the phenomenon of youtube. This time, fame is not about having a hot booty or who you know, it's about what you can bring to the table. Thanks to Youtube, Asian artists can now be judge for their work, talent, and passion. This ultimately leads to the rise in well-known individuals or groups such as: Wongfu productions, Kevin Jumba, Niga Higa, Jason Chen, and of course the upcoming talent

Brian Lee (a.k.a BeLeeve)

The beautiful, humble, and yet sensational Kina Granis on the left and upcoming music and film artist Brian Lee on the right.

I ask Brian for his opinion about the future for Asians-American in the industry. He gave me a very informative idea of what we should expect in the future:

I feel that YouTube has been the "go-to platform" for not just Asian-Americans who want to display their talent, but for all people who share an interest in sharing their passion and love for the craft they do.

Yes, Asian-Americans have been typecast in the Entertainment Industry. Before the time of Bruce Lee, Asian-Americans were never shown on screen, but now we've been typecast as kung-fu warriors, asian mafia (triads), or the comedy factor.

Granted all of that, I'm starting to see more incorporating of Asian actors into roles, but there is still no sign of Asian-Americans being cast into a leading role unless a film is of Asian-American Interest

One of the pioneering actors is Ken Jeong from the Hangover series. He's really funny, but he gets typecast into being the same character in every movie even in Transformers:Dark of the Moon

YouTube does however allow for social commentary to be expressed that wouldn't usually be expressed otherwise. Look at Timothy De La Ghetto. He addresses issues of Asian American interest, but does so in a way that is funny, makes a point, but shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Also, the pool of Asian-American talent is endless on YouTube. Singer/ Songwriters like David Choi, Kina Grannis, Jane Lui, and AJ Rafael along with many others have been able to breakthrough into different fan bases in different countries. That being said, Asian-American artists, especially on YouTube look to be accepted for just being "artists" without having to fit within a mold of being "Asian-American" because in the end, that's only a part of who "we" are."

I was very impress with Brian's views about this whole concept, and with his permission I decided to show you:

A True Artists at Work

Excellent guitar skills, meaningful eye contact, very melodic vocals, and dominant rapping skills. Don't believe me, I will just let the music speak for itself

"Call me Mr been there done that, top model chick to your every day hood rat. Less than all, but more than a few, but I never met one like you" ~Neyo

What changes do you think will take place for Asian-American Artist in the future?