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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Report, soldier!

Unfortunately, nothing new to report here…or perhaps too much of not much importance to report in teh last few months.  We bought a house, saw some family…I’m still working at the same job but liking it less and less…but aside from professional life, things are good. 

Last night I went into a short “memory fest”.  I started remembering things…one memory leads to another and before I knew it I was thinking about old friends and old times from the past 8 or 9 years.  I can’t imagine having a lifetime of memories to look back on.  The good news is that I learned I am happy where I am.  I may regret a few things, but I can honestly say that my life is good and despite my flubs I think I’m in a good spot headed in the direction I want to go.  It’s a good feeling coming from someone who can barely decide which toothpaste to buy without contemplating the lasting consequences of said decision. 

Now for a quick review!   COLDPLAY: Viva La Vida. 

   For me, Coldplay is a mixed tape band.  I like them, but in small doses.  Viva La Vida is different.  I love their new sound that is so Coldplay but so different.  I found the musicality of this album to be much more complex and varied than other songs I’ve heard by them – lots of syncopation and funky rhythms.  I thought the lyrics were more meaningful and sophisticated and they really experimented with this one; new vocal styles, new instrumentality – and for me it totally worked.  I’ve been listening to it nonstop, as one whole, entire work, and haven’t gotten sick of it yet. 

Another good album is the new Seven Mary 3 (7mary3) album…which album title is escaping me.  Oh well, another good reason to post later.

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I was reading a post by a fellow Wordpressian who managed to write quality posts everyday for an entire month.  It’s something I’d love to commit to, but not something I want to force.  I’ll do my best, but heaven forbid I have to think TOO hard!

I’ll go many moons without a typing a word because having to read a forced post is as bad as having to sit through the love scenes in Star Wars Episode III.  I really don’t want to play Hayden Christensen to your Natalie Portman.  If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t see it.  You can thank youself now and thank me later.

But I digress.

I suppose what I’m saying is that I can’t promise to post anything good, and I can’t even promise to continually post often.  It depends on my mood, life going ons, and work (since I post 99% of the time from work).   I can promise that I’ll incessantly push media on you.  So go and read my post about Jose Gonzalez and This American Life – the former should be under Reviews, and the latter should be under Les Favorites.

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After finishing this sequel to Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, I started thinking. In both novels,  characters lose loved ones suddenly and prematurely. I found myself tearing up (on the inside only, of course) and wondering why themes of loss “appeal” to me; loss of love, innocence, childhood. 

Maybe it’s an Asian thing.  I was adopted and raised by Americans from birth, but perhaps my genetics are calling out to me.  After all, I swear that 9 out of 10 Asian movies end with some massive self-sacrifice or irreplaceable loss, and very rarely does the guy ever really “get” the girl without one of them dying.  Maybe it’s a basic human fascination; think Shakespearean tragedy, soap operas, even popular music themes.

I call it “The Wonder Year’s” feeling.  Whenever I watched that show as a kid, I felt something that I couldn’t place, even during happy episodes. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “I don’t to repeat my innocence.  I want the pleasure of losing it again” in This Side of Paradise.

Looking back, I realize it was a melancholy and nostalgia; the growing pains of growing up. However, it only appeals to me when given closure. What really resonates with me is seeing something productive come out of the pain.  I don’t want it all to be for nothing, and maybe that’s why I keep watching movies that make me sad and reading books that make me cry.  I want…perhaps need…to see instances of people who are bruised, dirty, and limping, but gaining strength from the good that was and by letting it make you better and remembering it forever , making it the happiness that is.

All that said, here are a “few” recommendations

Movies:
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape                                         
Leon, the Professional
Edward Scissorhands
Million Dollar Baby
The Cure
Blood Diamond
Life is Beautiful
Fried Green Tomatoes
Forrest Gump
The Green Mile

Books:
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
This Side of Paradise
When the Legends Die
Bridge to Terabithia
To Kill a Mockingbird
Water for Elephants

Music:
Plans by Death Cab for Cutie
Crane Wife by The Decemberists

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Becoming

Why does time in small increments seem to pass so slowly when 5 months can fly by so quickly?

It’s happened to all of us.  One day you wake up, after years of anticipation, and you’re graduating high school.  You’re a college student; a college graduate.  Suddenly you wake in the morning to find someone else in bed with you, and when you brush your teeth the mirror no longer reflects a confused young person seeking their identity, but a confused young adult trying to navigate through the working world. 

Your goals change; some accomplished, some left by the wayside.  You priorities change.  Your perceptions, about yourself and the world around you, change.  You stop wondering what to do, do, and start wondering why you’re doing it. 

You start wondering most of all about happiness. That magical, vague, term that is defined differently, but means to same thing to all people.  And I wonder, am I happy?  Am I proud of the person I’ve become?

I used to believe that I would be happy when I had reached certain milestones, goals, & aspirations.  Essentially, if I was perfect.   Now I think that we sometimes need to learn to be happy.  It’s when we stop worrying about where we are and focus instead on where we are going we can, well…actually start getting there.  Being content with the way you are isn’t necessarily laziness. 

The joy is in the journey. 

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Reality TV

I’ve been contemplating the boom in voyeuristic television for the past couple of years.  I wonder if it’s not a sick fascination, a secret desire, to see people fail.  Perhaps we love the “soap opera” side of it.  Do we all crave drama in our lives so much that we’re willing to vicariously experience it through television?  It amazes me that the public can become so emotionally tied to a tv personality, although I suppose it shouldn’t.  I’m sure there were many, many people who felt just terrible when The Waltons ended.  

The more optimistic side of me wonders whether it’s a secret desire to see people do what we only dream about — even if that includes trying and failing.

Oh well.  Better go watch “So you think you can dance”… (just kidding)

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All that glitters…

Between the “W Day” countdown, my little sister in the hospital for 2 days, and a good friend just home from a mission, I have to admit that I’ve gotten to thinking.  What makes us, as humans, do what we do?  What makes all the varied lives we lead worthwhile to us?

While social imprinting and genetics play a role, to a certain extent, I can’t help but believe that it’s more.  I’ve been thinking that anything deemed truly valuable in life comes with a price, and a “reward” so to speak that makes it all worth it.  Sometimes I think the hardship along the way is the end goal and the benefits are what pay for it in the end.  Let me give an example.  Doctors.  A few years ago, in a pre-med seminar, the professor said, “Why do want to be a doctor?”  It was rhetorical, but essentially he said that poor reasons for pursuing medicine were as follows: money, prestige, interest in medicine, or a desire to heal people.  I remember wondering if someone would like to tell me what a GOOD reason was.  But I realize now that he was right. 

There has to be something internal; some reward we can never get from anyone else. Some, inner drive, competition, mixed with a desire for any combination of the previous. The end rewards or money or power alone are not enough to survive the torments of medical school, residency, and the grueling lifestyle that often ensues. Hardest thing I ever had to do was accept that I didn’t have it; that good reason.  In the end, I didn’t WANT it bad enough.

I mean, people do things all the time that come with no guarantee of an end reward.  Humanitatian aid, religious missionary work, rasing children, even showing common courtesy to those around us — none of these have any guarantee of reward.  Raising children comes with a few minutes of pure, innocent, genuine love a day that have to make up for the hours of hard work.  And maybe those tender moments don’t come for years.  Why is the earth still populated? Ok, because people want to have sex.  But why would anyone stick around to raise their kids?  It sure ain’t for the lifestyle.  It seems counterintuitive.

I don’t know.  It’s like “right and wrong”.  After thousands of years, why are there still some prevailing “rights” and “wrongs” across centuries and continents?  Why is it nearly universal that killing another person without provocation of some sort is wrong?  (Minus serial killers and those without full faculties)  CS Lewis’ book Mere Christianity has some interesting ideas on that subject, but it seems logical to me that there is something out there within us AND something without us; something larger that guides us all. 

Some people refer to it as “the universe”, Buddha, Allah…  I call it God.  And so you all know now that I am a religious person.  Actually, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Long name.  Some know it as “the Mormons”.  South Park may have memorialized that.  But joking aside, just because I’m christian, doesn’t mean I can’t think for myself.  I’m rational.  I’m logical.  Hell, my major is Physiology and Developmental Biology.  But I swear, the more I learn about science, the human body, the  mind, and the world around us, the more it leads me back to God.  It just seems illogical to me that things could have happened any other way.  Occams Razor you know?  I mean, God really is a very simple answer to a lot of complicated questions.

I’m not sure why I felt like going off on such a tangent.  I very rarely wear anything “on my sleeve”.  Not my emotions and not religion.  Ordinarily I’d rather live it than talk about it.  Who knows.  But I guess what I’ve concluded is that just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile, and sometimes the gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow just isn’t as good as you imagined it would be.

Don’t worry, I am not referring to any sort of pre-marital blues or strife…haha.

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On Aging

Well.  I’m still alive, although my blogging habits would certainly not allude to that notion.  I doubt I will be much better in the near future as I have a wedding a month away.

 It’s strange how people use years as a measure of “age” when really, it’s a person’s stage in life that matters.  How can Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise possible be together when he is twice her age?  Simple.  They’re lives are so similar.  A 25 years old male who is single will often have nothing to talk about with a 27 year old woman if she is married and has children.  A high schooler often is not able to relate to a sophmore in college although the age difference may only be a year or two. 

On your birthday someone inevitably asks you, “So.  DO you feel older?”  Of course you don’t, unless you’re turning 40 or 60.    I felt older when I entered college at 17 than when I turned 21.  Now that I’m getting married, I feel like I’m aging years in a month.

I’ts not the years, but the events in our lives that age us.

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