Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I went to Christmas mass too, and of course it was in Vietnamese, so I couldn't understand a thing. the funniest thing i saw were tourists (haha! white people!) at mass. of course, they couldn't understand anything as well, so at random intervals during mass, little by little groups would just abandon the building. There was absolutely no air conditioning in that building so I was burning up by the end of that hour-long mass.
I went dress shopping upon learning that my cousin Lan's wedding was FIVE days long and that it would be rude to wear the same formal wear everyday. Since we planned for only one day of the wedding and we were able to attend only two, i had to buy another dress. lol. it was fun.
Then, in the afternoon, we went to the airport and flew north to Hanoi. From the airport we rode an hour on bus to hanoi. Once we were there, we walked around before we looked for a hotel. It's dirty in Hanoi, even more so in Saigon, and so we had a hard time finding a clean hotel. The one we found was right next to the street with a power line within easy reach (which equals death by electrocution.) It was so noisy and I couldn't sleep. Drivers up here honk their horns all the time and probably just for the hell of it. The streets are narrow and gross and lined with dog pee. yuck.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Anyways, I went out wearing my four inch wedges, which was a mistake because the sidewalks are in complete disrepair and it was so hard to navigate them safely. Traffic is crazy too. I believe that everyone is breaking all the known laws of traffic here. Even the moped drivers, who are supposed to be confined to the street, drive on the sidewalks. I've seen a couple of small cars too barreling through the sidewalks! no wonder the sidewalks are so abused! anyways, back to my shoes. They made me look like a giant among the natives! I felt tall, which is something I've never felt before. It's a nice feeling and gives me a sense of superiority. but, like in Japan everyone is so skinny. I'm envious. lol. but walking on the abused sidewalks made my feet hurt, so right now I'm walking with a pronounced limp and my feet smell of blister ointment. gross.
another thing that I like about Vietnam is that everything is Asian sized! I was estatic when the eye hole on my hotel room door was a low height and that I was able to easily look through it! ASIAN SIZED! YES! It's also nice to be part of the majority. I like making fun of the white tourists because their paleness just sticks out like white on black and they always have a confused look on their face. I feel a sense of belonging here and I am no longer conscious of stereotyping and of what others expect from me. I really love this place and being here just changed my mind where I would want to live in the future. I want to live somewhere in Asia! Majority rules! Asian power!
Yet, another thing I like about vietnam is the cheapness of everything. I can get really pretty items for less than a dollar and delicious food costs about 2-3 dollars a dish. I really do mean that the food is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! And, I can get my hair washed and styled for $2.50. I got my hair washed today and they shampooed my hair twice,massaged it, conditioned it, massaged and exfoliated my face, and blow dried and straightened my hair. I think I'll get my hair washed everyday!
Okay, this is all that I can think of writing. It's about 3:15pm here and everyone here is having their afternoon siesta. lol. I think I'll go to sleep now. tonight, I'll be meeting family and going out for a buffet dinner! i hope i don't gain too much weight here!
The only thing that I hated seeing was the poverty on the streets. There are many well-to-do people here who have three meals a day, a steady income, and a roof over their heads. However, there are many needy souls who sleep on the streets and beg for money, rattling their empty hats at tourists. I see amputees and blind victims who sell lottery tickets to make a living. I see a hungry man rummaging through trash and upon finding a crushed, half-full plastic cup of who knows what, proceeds to drink the contents thirstily. I can't stand seeing this, but I can't help them all. How can I?
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This frail grip that i have on the meaningings of daily lives of people. destruction of everything is eminent. A black
hole that slowly crushes everything to a cingularity is slowly pulling everything. there's life and there's death.
sometimes death comes to things earlier. Everything has life and death. lifeforms, inanimate objects, words, and
relationships. Death till marriage, sporadic divorces on a whim. I wanna break that cycle. Isn't something that is born
has a string connected to what gave it life. Make that indestructable. making a connection, iit stronger till it's
impossible to break. That is my goal. Seein the death of two...no one obeject bornof two or more individual unts...that
death or destruction of the bonds that hold them together is terrible to behold...emotionally a. idealism isn't the best
policy, but. but...we can always dream. and if we want it hard enough we can work to make it happen. the right resources
are needed and then everything will fall into place. Just a little sweat is need.
muscles rippling as they move...glide underneath taut skin, reflecting light from the flourescent above misted with
excretions of salty sweat, beading up and inching downwards pulled by gravity, finally getting so heavy that the
hydrogen bonds cannot hold it to the skin and dripping down to the black matted floor and evaporating minutes...hours
Hazy smoke steadily floating upwards diverging in their path into nonexistence--the ceiling turning slowly blacker with each passing moment. The flames burning matter with a distinct odor flicker with a warm orange, red, and yellow colour. Beautiful, but dangerous. Bodies, laying lazily on the couch watch, thoughtless...unmoved.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Has anyone heard stories about friends using Ritalin/Adderall to enhance academic performance? Solely academic performance, I'm not interested in people taking ampetamines in large quantaties to get high. There's been quite a bit of articles posted about this in the papers and different magazines.
As a side note: Possessing Ritalin without a prescription is illegal, as many of you may know. I haven't done this since because (1) I'm scared of getting addicted to it, and (2) I have no money. I don't care so much for the illegal-ness of it. The drug war is failing. Worry about the hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth, crack etc.
Anyways, after a bit I started feeling a rush of energy and then just a calmness. And hell. I could really focus on the task at hand. It really worked. I felt like I could read my text book all day to be honest and classes were so interesting and I loved math lecture for once! I didn't eat at all that day because I had no desire to eat--I could if I wanted, but I didn't feel hungry. However, afterward I was left feeling agitated and very distracted because how I am normally and how I am on Ritalin is so different that the change was a little aggravating. I liked being able to really do things without getting distracted. I actually felt like taking more to keep the other persona going. That's when I realized, "whoa, this could become a problem" so that was an end to the Ritalin. At the moment. Now that I've been introduced to ADD medication and it's helpfulness with schoolwork, the possibility of trying more is always in the back of my head. However, I really don't want to develop a dependence to any drug so for now I stay away.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Who is Utada, you might ask?
Well, she has to be one of the most famous musicians in all of Japanese music history. She was born in New York to a record producer and a well-known enka singer (Keiko Fuji). At the age of thirteen she recorded her first English R&B album, but that never came out in the United States due to label change issues. At the age of fifteen, she recorded a Japanese language album (it went ten times platinum) that turned out to be the top selling album in Japanese history. Altogether she's sold over 50 million units and counting! She also holds the number two position for most digitally sold song ("Flavor of Life") right behind Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend". In 2004, she came out with another English album called "Exodus" but that failed miserably in the states selling only about 55,000 units. But I blame Island Def Jam for not promoting her. This time around the promotion has been a thousand times better!
Betcha didn't know all that! Well, unfortunately, she's virtually unknown to the U.S. masses. But there's always an underground fanbase for her, you'd be suprised at how many Hikki fans there are around.
But I digress.
This is the One came out in the United States digitally on iTunes on March 24th and physical CDs will be coming out some time in May to allow for more promotion. Of course, I had the CD way before it came out on iTunes and way before it was released in Japan (which was in early March). Pirating. Woo hoo! But hey, I kinda have permission to download it illegally since Hikki said in an interview that she didn't mind it. LULZ. It's basically a whole 180 degree change from her Exodus album which was mad-scientist experimental. This time around it's very poppish/R&B. It's drops hints of inspirations from good old 90's music, like what you would hear from Ace of Base and TLC. Overall, I think it's a better album for mainstream play in America, but I do miss the experimental tones of Exodus. Well, don't get me wrong, there is some experimentation in This is the One but it's very subtle. Anyways for this album, Hikki teams up with Tricky and Stargate (two VERY popular producers) to create a pretty awesome tracks.
Anyways, my album review (going from the Japanese track list):
The album opens up with On and On which is an uptempo track. I love the line: "Honeys if you're gay burn it up like a gay parade". It's a fun track and great way to open the album. The beat is good and the harmonies are catchy. My only gripe is the guy screaming constantly in the background.
The next song is one of my favorites on the album even though I'm not too pleased about the synthesized violin (possibly it's an electric violin) but I think a warmer acoustic sound would have sufficed. Utada samples the song "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" by pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto for the track. Considering the original song had such a different feel, Utada does a pretty good job incorporating it into a more poppish sound.
The album transitions into "Apples and Cinnamon". This was one of the first songs produced for this album and the final product uses vocals from the demo version. This song was produced by Stargate--a duo that has created hits such as "Unfaithful" and "With You". Some of the lyrics can get a little repetitive here.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
From the annoyingly catchy commercial jingles I hear coming from my television to the thunderous and powerful crescendos and cadenzas of Beethoven's symphonies, music permeates my everyday life. Music, as defined by the Encarta Online Dictionary is: The art of arranging or making sounds, usually those of musical instruments or voices, in groups and patterns that create a pleasing or stimulating effect. How can such a broad and diverse art be categorized in such a manner? This mechanical and objective definition cannot do much justice to this great, organic and complex art. Music is essential in our daily lives whose being is part of our language and is something in which we are immersed.
Something magical happens when I carefully place my practiced fingers onto the ivory keys of my baby grand piano, or place the spindly and fragile bow onto the surface of the surface of the Evah Pirazzi strings of my French-made violin (a note is played). This note is not just sound, but part of a harmony, the beginning of an arpeggio or a chord leading to the melody of the concerto. The sound that is heard is not just harmonic vibration of a string creating forced resonance within the wooden body of the instrument which amplifies the pitch created, but a connotative word imbued with both the composer's and the artist's soul. It is a live being.
The wondrous ways a single note may be played! A single note may sound sensuous, happy, angry, sad, and all the emotions in between. Like human words, a sentence of notes define a certain emotion and message. It feels like my soul spills out from my fingers as I create these sentences which embrace my attention and demand more soul-sacrifice for their hungry exploit. Their goal is to reach unwary ears and trap them into my world of emotions. The barely audible patter of my fingers running up the fingerboard of my violin express the genius of Mendelssohn's only violin concerto and tells a story of vivid landscapes—and the essence of Western classical music.
Playing the piano, my hands fly across the keyboard as I piece together Chopin's Revolutionary Etude. The passion and anger that Chopin felt after the failure of the November Revolution is written into the notes of his bold statement. I am the medium through which hundred-year-old emotions come alive once more. I feel the sadness, the passion, and the anger and I let it flow through my fingers. No, after having the privilege of reproducing these bold statements, I cannot say that music is a mere sequence of notes and rhythms. Not just classical music alone holds these powerful messages but so do all genres. From sugar-pop to the heavy bass beats of rap, all music expresses universal ideas and emotions.
Music is not only mere percussive instrumental or vocal sounds, but it is also present in our language. While music may create words, words may create melodies. When I was younger, my family returned to Maryland every Christmas break for a family gather. In this noisy environment, I would close my eyes and listen to the rapid exchange of Vietnamese traveling throughout Ba Ngoai and Ong Ngoai's small home. Drowning the distinct separation of words, I would listen to the rise and fall of the pitches and through the melody, I can understand a statement's general meaning (even though I am not very fluent in the language). The lilt of Vietnamese is comforting and every sentence creates a melody that is pleasing to my ear. Like instrumental music, not all language-melodies are pleasing to the ear. Personally, I find German too harsh and spitting and that English is quite bland and rough unless it is softened by an accent (preferably British). Similar to modern composers sampling tunes from older music, accents add color to a language by blending two distinct melodies together to create a variation of the originals. From the pitches and tone languages use, an emotion may deviate. A simple sentence, “She's beautiful!” may express surprise, admiration, sarcasm, and a multitude of other emotions. Words, like a single note imply a plethora of emotion and meanings.
Language and instrumental music offer only a microscopic view of specific regions of music's entire domain. Music resides within the very clockwork of nature itself. We hear animals grunting, chirping, squeaking. And beating out their melodies because they do not have a definite language like humans. They use their melodies to communicate dominance, locations of food, and other essential survival information. Communication to survive is their use of music. The sound of rain beating upon the windowsill to explosions of a molten erupting volcano constitute Mother Nature's personal song which brings peace or destruction to her subjects lives. The seasons, day and nigh, and the solar system move in a fixed rhythm. Some rhythms may die only to be replaced by a new one which only contributes to the never ending score that God has written. The movement of each individual component of the universe, from microscopic atoms to massive stars move sometimes in harmony and other times in cacophony like the harmonies and counter-melodies of a symphony.
The intertwined nature and music is an ancient idea. Thousands of years ago, the Chinese developed the Chinese musical scale and system that incorporated this philosophy. The Chinese mathematically derived their scale from a note, and each varying degree is associated with a cardinal point, the elements, the seasons, the planets, the months, of the year, colors, material,s numbers, parts of the body, animals, smells , and so forth. Also each source of sound, or instrument type is connected with eight elements of nature: metal, stone, silk, bamboo, calabash (gourd), terra cotta (earth), skin, and wood. From the earth comes music and from music comes the expression of creation and existence of all things. The harmonious intertwining in this eternal dance is the philosophy of music and nature.
Listen to the rustling of branches of those overgrown backyard evergreen trees. Listen to someone speaking without attempting to make sense of every word. Listen to the melodies of Mozart, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Broadway musicals, and (with a gigantic dosage of guts, stamina, Tylenol, and an extra helping of Vicodin,) Britney Spears. There is always a melody, a rhythm, a message, a sentence, a word, and an emotion written within each beat played. Music is not something that can be separated and eliminated from existence because it is so vast and extensive, its roots extending far into reality. It is not just a series of rhythmic pitches, rather it is emotion and the driving spirit of the universe.
A DICTIONARY DEFINITION: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/music
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Well, currently I've been in a relationship for oooohhh, about three weeks. I met this guy briefly a couple of months ago on my way to Harrison after a failed attempt to convince some people who were high off their asses to go sledding with me and the rest of the sober gang. He was with a group of people who were friends with one of my other friends and for one reason or another there was a frenzy of exchanging of phone numbers.
A couple of weeks after that, after a lot of crap went down with my friends at Harrison (I no longer am on speaking terms with them,) I saw this guy again and we started chatting a little. Fifteen minutes later, he texts me and wants to study for the exam with me. Who knew people could bond over the abomination of all school subjects? And about a week and a half later we started dating. Funny huh? Getting into a relationship with a guy I barely knew. I'm more used to dating guy friends whom I've known for months or years. Maybe this is a better way because I don't speak to my ex boyfriends anymore, which is really sad since our friendship was ruined after the breakups.
There are things about my current relationship that bothers me. I really don't know what his priorities are and I don't mind all the oddities about him and the things he does. But he's sort of "hot and cold". For a couple days he'll want to spend a lot of time with me, and others he'll just be a little curt when talking to me. I understand what influences him to act this way, but it's a little disconcerting sometimes. I guess that's what I have to deal with. I just wish I had a little more insight into his priorities or something so it would be easier for me.
Then there's those silences. It's a comfortable silence for me, but sometimes I wonder if I should start talking about something. I feel kind of stupid for not being able to think of something to say. I've never really been the talkative type of person. So, I wonder how it feels for him. ~
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Dear God, I envy the people who live for physics because I sure don't.
I've been studying for the PHYS172 exam that I took about an hour ago and I still think that I failed. Seriously I've realized that I don't understand a thing. Well, maybe a little bit but it's nothing to be proud of. I feel a little depressed about it and I don't know if there's a light bulb that will click "on!" and I'll start being able to understand the content a little more easily.
It's hard for me to keep up with such a fast learning pace. In high school, I took Honors Physics and that was a breeze because my classes were small so I could actually ask questions in lecture. PHYS172 recitation does not help me at all because the only I do there is work on problems the teacher assistants give my group. And still, it's hard for me to think up of a way to work out the problems. For example, take the energy principle. I know what it is, but it takes me a while to figure out which formulas for kinetic energy and potential energy I need to plug in and whether or not a system has kinetic energy or potential energy on either side of the problem (Efinal=Einitial [+W in some cases]).
Right now I am totally brain-dead and am lazy as hell. I still need to finish my MA172 homework. I'm so behind in MA162. I haven't paid attention to what has been going on in that class ever since the topic of series came up. So this weekend I'll need to start reading through the chapters.
Well, I confess. I haven't been studying as much as I should have. I studied for the PHYS172 exam, but only superficially. I don't have the concentration to sit down and pick through all the little details in the text. However, I have found that reading the textbook is a really great sleep aid for me. But aside from that, I've gotten no real benefit from reading the text. Also, I've been making bad choices that have kept me from studying. I should have studied all week this week, but what did I do? I spent practically 48 hours straight on Monday and Tuesday with my friends chilling out, smoking hookah, and...other stuff. And then I should have gotten my usual eight hours of sleep but my boyfriend kept texting me and was practically begging me to help him with his English homework which lasted to about 4:30 A.M.. The things I do...
I really think I should make a list of priorities and start keeping an hour by hour schedule of what I'm going to do through the day. If I don't learn time-management skills soon then I'm going to be screwed for the 2009-2010 school year because it will contain some of the most difficult curriculum for my major (biomedical engineering and assuming that I can get in) aside from the dreaded senior design project. Or I could just change my major, but that would be an epic failure (for me at least).
Friday, February 27, 2009
Well, the drug war in America is just fine and dandy. The government is doing a terrible job with this. Rolling meth labs, high school addicts, and whatnot. I understand trying to get rid of hard drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin, crack, and such. But what about marijuana, green, ganja, or whatever people like to call it?
How many people have died from marijuana? Seriously, I'm not sure it's as bad as television advertisements make it out to be. Pot is used in some states to treat cancer patients, depression, glaucoma, etc. So it can't be THAT harmful. And I don't think people always turn into the stereotypical potheads either. There's always something called MODERATION.
Marijuana is the number one most used illegal drug in the United States--it's a billion dollar industry. Well, even though it is illegal some states have passed laws making it legal to smoke for medical purposes. I think some government person in California has actually drawn up a bill for the total legalization of weed in the state and is hoping to get it passed within the next two years. Also, there's a state somewhere northeast that recently passed a bill to decriminalize it.
So, I guess we're making strides to legalize pot in the States.
Believe it or not there's a marijuana advocacy group at Purdue called NORML. Apparently, they've sent out a petition which currently has about 1300 out of a required 1500 signatures to try to pass a policy where if students get caught with pot, the punishment would be the same if they got caught with alcohol. Currently, Purdue has a zero tolerance policy for pot since it's illegal. But with alcohol, a student gets three strikes.
I know people who have gotten caught and kicked out of the dorms because of smoking and I think it's really stupid. I mean, yeah, they shouldn't have been doing it in the first place, but they weren't bad people who really deserved that. I think it was a little unfair.