I Made the Switch to Tumblr!


I will be updating there from now on. Blogspot, it's been a good run.


Unmellow Yellow X Art School Snobs (that I love) X Mindful Pollution

Lauren Kimchi and I met up in downtown LA today. It was great to see her glowing self and I finally got to meet her bf, James. (I'm off record here, but I think they're wonderful for each other. I approve)

She invited me to a performance at REDCAT by Asian-American artist Kristina Wong. The piece was entitled Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She was extremely funny, and I seriously wish I could be her best friend. The underlying issue brought to light was the fact that Asian women have some of the highest rates of suicide and depression, and Wong spent the performance attempting to act as a martyr to resolve the problem. However, she herself ends up going crazy in this process of trying to represent the Asian-American female experience. The performance was multi-layered, an awareness piece, a parody of herself (and of the Asian American experience), an assemblage of "fictitious" accounts of depression that are at the end of the day very real issues. I think she did a really good job of entertaining, but at the same time I didn't connect as much with the piece as I hoped. Not that I expected to be bawling the entire time, but... something was lacking in order to make it feel genuine. She reiterated the fact that she didn't want people to think that the personas she portrayed were related to her personal experiences, but for those 1.5 hours, I kind of wish they were more real. Instead of detaching herself from it, I wish she could have embraced it more. But I think she made it a point not for her own work to be that of monologues, and more of a meta-piece. The performative aspect will inevitable place a degree of separation from the topic at hand. Also, I always feel slightly uncomfortable about the fact, that in order to create awareness on something, one must play into the stereotypes at the end of the day. Not that the stereotypes aren't true, but I shutter at the fact that it may have a reinforcing effect on perpetuating the stereotypes. In this case, I think Wong balanced it well. Her presence, as an Asian women and performer, was enough to prove that Asian women can be anything but what you except. It's always hot to see spicy Chinese women who are doing really awesome shit.

Afterward, we went to Little Tokyo for dinner and after getting lost for a bit, ended up at a gallery opening for some CalArts students. Everyone there was intimidatingly hip, but there beyond hipster. Just cool. The show was in an empty downtown studio, very intimate. My favorite piece was about periods. Perhaps I am biased to work dealing with women right now, but it was insanely funny and uncomfortable watching a girl talk about the cyclical and cosmic nature of periods while she had smothered her face in some blood. At one point, the period blood was spewing from her mouth. Just dripping.

All in all, it was a very chill day. But after seeing Wong's performance and going to the art show, it made me a little sad that I myself am never going to be an "artist." Many times today people would ask "are you an artist, too?" after Lauren introduced me, and if I had told them "Oh no, I'm a public policy student at Duke," I'm sure I would have gotten some blank stares. What am I to them, really? Probably a soulless individual who can't appreciate the conceptual and complex nature of aesthetic renderings. Clearly. No but really, I wish I could be one of them.

Also, I've decided to end every post from now on with a video or two. Or a photo or two. Or anything visual that I find worthy of posting. Because I like visual aids.

Here are two videos about pollution of the mind and death by television:

Television is a drug. from Beth Fulton on Vimeo.



(Note: I haven't blogged in a while, but plan on doing so regularly again starting at some predetermined time... to be determined).

I'm back home. It feels wonderful to breathe easy for a bit, to plan lunch dates and hang outs instead of club meetings and study sessions in the library.

This past semester was... too many things. I hated it at times, kicking and screaming my way through. I loved other moments, when I was able to get over the seemingly overbearing life stressors. To those who saw me at my low points this semester, thanks for sticking by me, lending an ear and some words of wisdom, and for most importantly not rolling your eyes and judging me. (I was all over the place.) Some of you might not have noticed my ineptitude, in which case I succeeded in appearing quasi-functional. But at the end of the day, the past few months was necessary to get to where I am right now. I'm still not quite sure what that state is, but... I'm coming to terms with it all. Embracing it, even. There are things to be excited for. You know, a little thing called life.

To the seniors in my life (you know who you are): You will always remain seniors. I know you will all go off to do great things, however "great" may be defined for you. I am going to miss you dearly. I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself. Truly Madly Deeply.

On another note, here's my itinerary for the next couple months:

Now - June 5 :: LA
June 5 - August 7 :: NYC
August 7 - August 24 :: LA
August 24 - ?? :: Durham

And to close off this weird jumble of thoughts,

Some videos that I have been enamored by:

TORO Y MOI "YOU HID" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.



Cellphones Kill?

New GQ article reveals the growing evidence that cellphone usage is linked to brain damage. Sounds like something you heard back in middle school as a joke, right? And it became something we just dismissed.

But its true:
It's hard to talk about the dangers of cell-phone radiation without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. This is especially true in the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place, and where our lives have been so thoroughly integrated with wireless technology that to suggest it might be a problem—maybe, eventually, a very big public-health problem—is like saying our shoes might be killing us.
Hm. Panic is setting in. Not really sure where to go from here. My phone is basically an extension of me (we'll save cyborg talks for later). Maybe I should start using a Bluetooth headset? But then again, that may cause cancer. Just like breathing.

Don't roll your eyes next time I tell you why I'm dying this decade.


New Caribou Video

I'm more than giddy over Caribou's upcoming album. They've released their first title track, "Odessa." The band never ceases to amaze me with their changing sound. I'm really digging this new global edge. The video is pretty sweet--the lack of focus at any given point is a nice visual effect, really adds to the haziness of the dream pop.


CARIBOU - Odessa from Caribou on Vimeo.


Boing Boing Mass Blast

BoingBoing is a Web site I follow that is chockful of insightful/interesting/useless/fun/weird findings and clippings. For those that haven't really looked into it before, here's my shameless plug for it.

I was looking at the most recent batch of updates, and many I thought were worth reposting and commenting on.

I'm currently having a quasi-big dilemma: what things I should retweet on Twitter, repost on my Blog, or link it to my Facebook? Or all three. There's just too many nuances I haven't really yet sorted out in this new-age Internet fad. But then again, everything is linked to everything, so I guess, just like, whatever.

Here goes a summary of stuff:

1) Safe Sex=Saving Animals!

Now there's an extra added purposive incentive to having safe sex--save endangered species. Center for Biological Diversity has created a special line of condom wrappers featuring an endangered animal that is accompanied by catchy slogans, such as "Hump smarter... save the snail darter." Awww. Who doesn't want to save animals? And maybe stay safe and control population growth as a secondary concern. Good job, marketing team.

2) Men should lie about their height (or about how much they make) online

A shout out to Duke!
A recent study analyzed data from 22,000 online daters and found that "women put a premium on income and height when deciding which men to contact." For example, the study showed a 5-foot-9-inch man needs to make $30,000 more than a 5-foot-10-inch one to be as successful in the dating pool.
Damn. That's a high premium on height, but I think that maybe the 5'9" to 5'10" difference is more important to women than say the 6'1" to 6'2" height differences. After a certain point, I don't think females care that much. But for the folks who are below six feet tall... I hope you make lots of money ;)

3) MGMT is so Lowbrow (and not in an offensive way)

Album art for MGMT's upcoming record, Congratulations, debuted on BoingBoing. The artist is Anthony Ausgang, one of the original members of the Lowbrow art scene that emerged in the '90s. Here's also the link to an interview with him.

4) I want these!

New Post-its that look like blades of grass.

That's all for now. My life is boring right now. I'm doing lots of schoolwork, without feeling very engaged or satisfied in an intellectual capacity. More so just blase and burnt out. Spring break, come sooner please.


The Populism Problem

Check out this short commentary about how public opinion is louder, but more conflicted, than ever.

Here's a clip:
Similarly, the failure of free markets during the financial crisis might have led people to think that the government should be more involved in the economy. Instead, the percentage of Americans who think government is trying to do too much is higher than it’s been since the late nineties. Health-care reform offers a case study in this. The bills passed by Congress, whatever their flaws, would do things that voters overwhelmingly say they support: extend coverage to the uninsured, ban the worst practices of insurers, and guarantee insurance for people who lose their jobs. Yet more voters now oppose the bills than support them, with many saying that the government is overreaching. And, while voters routinely say that the rising cost of health care is a problem, it is the bills’ cost-control provisions—including a tax on expensive insurance plans and rules to restrain Medicare spending—that have proved especially unpopular. On top of this, many people are just annoyed with the whole process: a survey of voters who supported Obama in 2008 but voted for Scott Brown in the recent Massachusetts Senate race found that forty-one per cent of those who opposed health-care reform weren’t sure whether reform went too far or not far enough. In short, they don’t know why they’re against reform; they just are. It’s a bit like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.” Asked what he’s rebelling against, he says, “Whaddya got?"


Out with the Good, In with the Bad

As I was peering through the daily dose of editorials off of boingboing, an editorial from Clay Shirky caught my eye.

"A Rant About Women."

Hmm. Intriguing. It pertains to me. And I love rants. So I decide to read it.

Even more intriguing. The topic itself--why women aren't as successful in the work force--is a topic that has been beaten to death to no avail. I myself have thought a lot about it, but I can't seem to come to any good conclusions.

Shirky's perspective goes as follows (excerpts):
I’m not concerned that women don’t engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. I’m worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.

It’s not that women will be better off being con artists; a lot of con artists aren’t better off being con artists either. It’s just that until women have role models who are willing to risk incarceration to get ahead, they’ll miss out on channelling smaller amounts of self-promoting con artistry to get what they want, and if they can’t do that, they’ll get less of what they want than they want.

It’s tempting to imagine that women could be forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky, but that’s a false hope, because it’s other people who get to decide when they think you’re a jerk, and trying to stay under that threshold means giving those people veto power over your actions. To put yourself forward as someone good enough to do interesting things is, by definition, to expose yourself to all kinds of negative judgments, and as far as I can tell, the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction.
Essentially, I need to be a self-invested asshole to get ahead in today's society. To be noticed, I must inflate myself. I need role models that are willing to spend time in jail and don't give two shits about being a liar or thief or lawbreakers.

Frankly, I kind of like this idea. Too bad the only female con artist I know who is currently in jail only goes after feeble Williamsburg residents. It's funny to look at the comments to the blogpost. Of course it's a touchy subject--to be more successful, women must yet again adopt characteristics generally associated with men. But if it works, I'm all in.

Warning: Do not be offended if I become an arrogant self-aggrandizing jerk. Know that I'm probably happier. You should congratulate me if I succeed.


New Order

It's been a while since I've sat down and seriously blogged. I failed in Berlin, I failed over Winter Break, but I'm determined to get back on track with blogging (and journaling, for that matter) this new semester. So here's a retrospective and prospective post.

For the past several months, it's been really hard to get a good footing on anything.

In August I went abroad and had to acclimate to a new city and culture. Mein Liebe Berlin. I fell in love with the sprawling landscape, the makeshift assemblage of shops, clubs, and gatherings, and the undeniable air of rough cool that everything possessed. The history of the city was an unspoken truth, creating a place filled with such energy and excitement. As I watched this city in transition before my eyes, I couldn't help but feel a part of it all. To learn everyone's stories. To understand the ruin. To experience the rebuilding. I met some great people, did some pretty wild things, and all of it felt so natural after a certain point. But the relationship was nipped at the bud before it could fully blossom. Right when I was starting to really feel like I could manage the language and begin to feel at home. I'm thankful for study abroad and the opportunity to travel without worries and enjoy without true consequence. Though there may be regrets here and there (R.I.P. Blackberry), it was all a part of a collective experience I would not take back. All the time in a foreign place, outside of my comfort zone, gave me a chance to internalize my dispositions and my character. I grew a lot while abroad, perhaps more so than expected. In the end, I would say I did a pretty damn great job getting the most out of Berlin while managing to get some more understanding about myself.

Then after Berlin, I was back home, and that felt familiar and odd all at once. Mostly familiar, but still odd. I wanted to speak German all the time and be a snob. I wanted the freedom to hop on a subway without the worries of traffic or being carless. But the friends back home are irreplaceable. I forgot how much I missed Southern California and how truly different the people are. I'm not just saying this to sound snobby, but I am. Being home was great, and enjoying the company of friends and family was fantastic. Hopefully I stored up enough sunlight like a solar panel to last me until spring.

And right when home was starting to feel right again, I'm whisked away to Duke. Oh Duke. I've realized that I don't miss you that much. Or rather, I don't miss your essence. I miss a handful of people, but the rest I could do without. I know I'm not going into this semester with the right mindset right now, and I'm hoping it's only because I have been on campus for a total of three days. Three overwhelming days, with lots of familiar faces. But I certainly feel the gap in linear existence when being here. I keep thinking it's the start of everyone's semesters. I want a free planner and I don't want to walk into rooms that are way more decorated than mine. I need to get a grip on my classes and create a routine. I've never really liked routine, but I feel like routine will be very important to me this semester.

There's a lot of changes going on in my head right now, and I think I'll have my hands full soon enough. But not full enough to blog. I look back to freshman year, when blog posts were somewhat pathetically naive and resembled immature rants, but at least I wasn't feeling quite as jaded.

Here's to hoping I don't fuck up this year too badly. To starting 2010 the right way. To letting things go, and moving on.


My Top 9 Songs of 2009

I thought that since I didn't make it onto recess' yearly wrap up this time around, I would just post them here. I know, it seems so casually pretentious, but I just wanted to share what I've loved in 2009. It's in no particular order, but I do see some common themes: nostalgia, love , androgyny, electron0-dance (fist pump!)... enjoy!

Girls "Lust for Life"

Girls--one of the best discoveries of 2009. Love this song to death, love that it's gender bending, whimsical, etlc. It's Californian, it's Retro, it's Angsty, it's Sweet, it's Sassy, it's a Sing-My-Heart-Out-Athem.

Grizzly Bear "Deep Blue Sea"
I really think GB's best song of the year wasn't off of Veckatimest (I have to look up how to spell it each time), even though "Two Weeks" is wonderful. The arrangement is beautiful, and though the lyrics are a little bleak, the song just puts me in a place of calm and bliss.

Animal Collective "My Girls"
The entire album was great... this song is great... not much else to say. A classic already.

The xx "Crystalised" (those British, spelling things all funny...)
Probably my favorite new band of the year. They take minimal (and androgyny) to the next level. The guitar riff during the chorus is the best. So fresh and so clean clean.

YACHT "Psychic City"
This song is insanely fun and eccentric, and even though YACHT has been around for a while, this song feels like their big break. Basically, I want to live in a Psychic/Voodoo City now.

Passion Pit "The Reeling"
The song has such a great opening and the best sing-a-long chorus ever. Oh noooo-o-oooo-o-oooooo, Oh nooo-o-oooo-o-oooo! Saw them twice in one weekend, and it still wasn't enough.

Julian Casablanca "11th Dimension"
The beginning sequence sets up the rest of the song so well. Electrifying energy all the way through. And plus... I love Julian's voice. Melting...

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros "Home"
Another nostalgic powerhouse (whaddup Girls?!), making me yearn for things I don't even know about. I can't believe the dude from Ima Robot did a 180, and is now making music that urges me want to travel in a love mobile covered in peace signs. The song has a great beat, catchy chorus. Super cute.

Wilco "You and I"
I love Feist. I love this song. Simple and earnest. I think the album is pretty solid, but this is a nice little gem that I enjoy mellowing out to.