Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Industrial Design (ID)

If I were to manufacture furniture, accessories, or other goods, these would be

My design tenets:
{} Don't make your products exorbitantly expensive! No one said that it is only the rich who appreciate good design; there's nothing of the sort. If anything, I say they acquire a taste for it, for obvious standard of living reasons.
{} Function over form, always. It's not just art, we use these things and they have got to work. Refrain from purely aesthetical excessiveness. (Unless of course you are shooting for a spot in a museum archive.)
{} Don't simply try to follow or get ahead of trends. Come up with creative ideas that will last and become good investments for your buyers. If it never becomes all the rage, people won't get tired of it (so quickly). Think of all the companies that have been around for a very long time, like Levi's or Wilson Sporting Goods. They have lasted this long not because they started off riding the crest of a current trend, but because they saw a need and their products wholly addressed it. No, they're not necessarily being paraded around in by today's celebrities, but the brands that become American classics tend to cash in a lot more in the long run than ones that gained popularity (and lost it) in a particular season, like UGG Australia or Paul Frank. And when you have a steady flow of cash coming in, you can loosen your grip, revamp a part of your image and/or start up a new product line to target a more fashionable and younger crowd. Case in point: Wranglers Jeans. I recently purchased a sweet pair that cost me a pretty penny (designed for and marketed to the fashion conscious, worldly youth/hipsters/wannabies), but even when they fall out of favor with this fast crowd, the head honchos in charge know that their loyal cowboys and cowgirls will always keep them in business. So, build a trustworthy name for your company! After all, the turtle beat the hare.
{} Stay true to the craft. Once your main motive becomes monetary gain, your work will inevitably suffer.

Still Striving For That Silver Nickel

Does any girl recognize the reference in the title? Keys for the Kingdom, anyone?

Modular houses: the houses of tomorrow
(Check out MD 100, your own backyard reading room; unfortunately, you must have a cool enough yard to achieve that modern look)

Sorry for that last post! After I actually reread it, I saw that it was definitely f.
(a) too wordy
(b) imprecise
(c) convoluted
(d) pretentious
(e) rough
(f) all of the above

Don't let me write badly if it can be helped.

Now, if only I could remember my blog password .. then I dare say this online journal thing could boast more updates than H. Reding's. At the office, there's a lot of free time and sitting around, which beats constant hard work, but it bores me to tears. This has made me realize how important it is to enjoy my future career. It's only my 4th day of work and I'm pretty tired of it. I've never worked full-time before and I feel like I have no time to do things anymore; this isn't true, but I feel more like and adult .. poor them, they don't have time to pursue their interests and just hang out. The cycle of rest and work - and then you gotta squeeze kids in there somehow. To kill the stagnant time, I have been scouring the web for music news and one day was dedicated to following links in Wikipedia. I dabbled a bit in the theology/religion/cult and sword sections, and then spent the remainder of my attention on the "best selling artists of all time" page. I like that site and I even contributed by correcting a few typos and awkward sentences in one entry I read.

Humans make everything dirty. And then they clean up. And then things naturally become dirty again (we do it).

Today's brainstorms:
If I had a pop culture news blog, I'd call it Juice.
If I had a product company, I'd call it Individuelist.
If I had a band, I'd call it _(a good adj.)_ By Nature.

In terms of music, am getting sick of:
- bands who rip off old bands, and are praised for it. I couldn't even listen to the whole single from the Kaiser Chiefs today in my car. I guess I mean that I'm against those bands gaining so much publicity and hype- it's fine if they want to borrow from the 80's, but why encourage them so? If you're older than I am, just pull out some of your old Stone Roses, XTC, New Order, Smiths albums, right? Don't give me none of that Bravery crap. (OK so I've only heard 30 seconds of their song after an episode of "MTV Cribs", but I'm lazy so I'll assume.) In this way, I am learning to appreciate originality and demand more from bands than simply pleasant or hip-sounding tunes.
- a term I made up, insignificant pop. In the past, I made the mistake of extolling sweet-sounding, obscure independent pop bands. This no longer satisfies me. There's a reason these bands aren't big in the least. Boring! I complain about the music world being strictly segregated into genres and it's something I've been conditioned to do as well. No longer, I hope. Wrench open my preferences to let in more than a narrow stream of pitchfork media picks and twee pop. From now on, I'd like to enjoy all good music!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fresnel lenseur [the start of summer]

"It's summertime and though it's hard to see its true

That's how it is, it's like looking at a painting very close up, grainy and all. Pretty uninspiring. Before the start of it I could stand back and have goals and be optimistic. No! don't let me fall into this cycle of waste again. There are, however, Changes:
1) I have a two week temp job working full-time as a secretary. Piece of chocolate cake; these forced experiences always make me realize that my people skills need some brushing up on. Can I say that it's just my personality? I can be no Erin. Found out that I won't be able to work at Princeton Review teaching little kiddos pricey secrets of the SAT this summer after all.
2) My parentals think I am addicted to smoking. Outrageous thought, although it might be a reasonable assumption considering that they know so little detail of my smoking experience in college (very limited) and that parents have that nasty habit of assuming the worst at times. Sorry RUF, sorry friends, you are collectively known as "bad company" for who knows how long. For those of you early leavers, Nora and I purchased a total of 50 cigarillos (and 2 non-flavored cigars) at Bobalu's in 6th. Smoking is not that inherently enjoyable to me. I don't even like smoke. I'm just a product of the age, ready to consume anything and everything laid out in front of me, whether my body likes it or not. Social reasons are the most of it and do I love society!
3) Going along with the unproductive wave that sweeps over students when summer actually starts, I'm going to tell you what I want(ed) to accomplish.

I. Get decent on the mandolin
II. Learn proper English grammar (it never stuck in hs)
III. Remember the Chinese I learned
IV. Enter the stream which is called reading the latest books and then some because there's no way I can catch up with the well-read intelligents of America
V. Design: find out if it's for me, learn the means (how?), get my ideas out and then see if there is a future
VI. And lastly, most urgently, make some cold hard cash to slap in front of the Carter's next year (and not share my room with shedding cats in the meantime)
-I went on an application run on Monday and one of the places I went was Half Price Books. They weren't hiring. Are they ever? Is it not discriminatory that all of their employers are either a) off-kilter b) careless c) plain weird d) all the above ? Instead of going about getting money the regular way, how about I've never seen Asian people working there and then sue the company? Yes?

I miss friends. I miss fellowship, is more like it. Andrew and Eric came over tonight to chat; Andrew and I were gonna have a smoke (I initiated in an email), but I refrained because I wanted to sway my parents' misinformed opinion as soon as possible, so I could use up them cigarillos as soon as possible. Of course he knocked flavored cigars whilst puffing away; can't I ever find things out and enjoy the personal feeling that comes with every little discovery and new experience? Can't it be a normal thing, not a sheltered thing? In general, the jaded ones who let loose easily ruin it for the young bright-eyed voyeurs.

You'll be proud of me for this one. Trying to be well-rounded and not topple over from excess and overkill in one area. Even though I've heard many a relatively unknown, make-no-mark bands, ex. the high dials, hefner, 20 minute loop, and electrolane, who cares about that if I have a shameful deficiency of knowledge in the subject of "old music"/the classics. So, in effort to soften the edges, last night was dedicated to listening to (and I found myself really enjoying) some of the best of pre-90's, in no particular order and in no way exhaustive (thanks to allmusic for the recs):

"If it's lasted this long, it must be good"

Pink Floyd
Eric Clapton
The Who
The Doors
Jethro Tull
Carole King
Rod Stewart
Bob Dylan
The Rolling Stones
The Byrds
Eddie Cochrane
Fleetwood Mac
Elvis Costello
Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Clash
Elton John
The Specials
Van Morrison
David Bowie
The Mamas & Papas
Tom Petty
Bob Seger
Alan Parsons

So, In this way I am not a true blue American. But a lot doens't happen for you when you are born to immigrated parents. That's just the way it is!

Ah what the heck, it's only music. How now, some real tragedies: Amnesty International

Sleep to do. Work at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

For Real Life [a biking adventure]

5:35 PM
Oh just came back from a very long and exhausting bike ride on Greenie (Sara's trusty bike). We went from Duval Villa, down 27th street to Lamar, along the disc golf course and Pease Park, down Lamar and across the (terrifying- narrow emergency sidewalk, zooming cars on the left, deep big water on the right) Bridge to the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail. I followed it east until I could go no further, passing the Austin Rowing Center, under rumbly I-35, a few community centers, a sportsfield, and ending up on Robert Martinez St. Whew! I'm starting to like "East of 35" more, or at least appreciate some of its redeeming aspects. It's easy to discount something you know very little about, especially if you have adopted a few of other people's ill opinions and formed an unfounded, unquestioned little world in your head.
Also, good thing the weather was excellent: it was what-it-feels-like-outside-just-before-a-storm-breaks-out for the 4 hours I was outdoors. Austin, I love and thank you for being so friendly to joggers/runners/bikers/people who transport themselves the old-fashioned way, by muscles and bone. We are people and are able to do many things without the help of machines.
On the way back I took a dead-ended shortcut through a quiet neighborhood park. There was a stranded turtle that I almost missed, but I saw the poor guy, took pity on him and proceeded to pick him up and throw him in the lake, wherever the thing was. He lost no time in kicking out his clawed arms and legs, insisting that I leave him be. I thought "turtles need water, right?" so I set my bike and backpack down, picked up the little guy who decided to quit and gingerly inched down a steep ravine to get to the shoreline many feet below. (I'm glad the water was in fact so close because I had reservations about putting him in my backpack, lest he pee/drip pondwater on my pristine condition books and Bible.) He started getting really antsy and freaked out again when he heard his fellow cousins plopping down in the water off the nearby log, so out of surprise and sheer inexperience in handling living creatures, I let the critter go. Unfortunately, my uncalculated toss was pathetically short and he skipped off the rocks once before entering the lake. I think he made it though (I waited a bit, nothing floated to the surface?).
Greenie pulled through and found the way back on the trail (I really had no idea where I was going the whole time), thankfully, and I felt myself fading fast. Then I had myself a Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna Bar. We stopped at Starbucks' on 5th on our way back so I could replenish the excess calories I had just burned and read a sermon out of Benjie's book, entitled "Weary of Doing Good." It was short, the way I like my sermons, and I wished it had been titled "Why Do We Do Good?" It is a question must ask ourselves sometimes. Bikers + downtown isn't as perilous an act as it seemed in my mind, I decided after seeing a living example come down the street, so we did forgo taking the Lake Austin and then the Intramural Fields buses back home. If only there was a mode of transportation between a car and a bike; I wanted to see so much more of the city, but my energy supply only allowed me to crane my neck at all the many side sights. They're worth a future investigation. I did venture into Pease Park, however, and found there a charming little neighborhood, a very woody field, and a Hansel-and-Gretel style park building (public bathrooms, so I gather). So I got finally home and took a cold shower, only because the hot water was out again but this time the situation was much more manageable (as opposed to 8 in the morning and sick). I like to explore cities. It makes me so happy when the world is my playground!

p.s. bad news, my typos have morphed and now I find myself involuntarily typing "bbuildings" and "bbbad" in the very manner of Kristi-speak. Ack!

8:55 PM
I watched the movie Hotel Rwanda tonight. I didn't cry, but there were many parts when I thought "what the hell what the hell." Movies (and art) are for civilized people who have had all their basic needs met, and then some. It's weird and paradoxical watching a movie about real things. I don't get the critics' reviews that only expound on Don Cheadle's superb acting ability or other technical aspects of the film. I really don't know. People can argue and debate about the amount of blame the UN/US/France/Belguim etc. deserve for letting this atrocity occur, but the fact is that it happened and some more genocide is going on in Darfur right now. Why can't we wrap our minds around it? What are we supposed to do? How do we care? How can I turn away and go shopping, lust after things/people, listen to poppy music, think about new hobbies, get-togethers, and all that excess? I don't know. God help us/ Jesus come soon

Friday, May 06, 2005

Clones are for Drones [the last day of school]

Lots, lots have been going on lately. Today was the last day of school. I am taking my Chinese final early, next Tuesday, and then I will have a few days of absolute free time to watch movies with my lovely RUFers, shop, gather my things, and maybe even ponder life. Listening to "For Real" by Okkervil River, I can't say I'm a fan of the band, but I like the song and last night as I was driving home I paid attention to the lyrics and realized just how depressing they really are.

"Some nights I thirst for real blood,
for real knives, for real cries.
And then the flash of steel from real guns
in real life really fills my mind...
Sometimes the blood from real cuts
feels real nice when it's really mine.
And if you want it to be real, come over for a night,
we can really, really climb,
and those blue bridge lights might really burn
most bright while we watch that dark lake rise.
And if you really want to see what really matters most to me,
we can just take a real short drive..
And there’s nothing quite like the blinding light
when that curtain’s cast aside, and no attempt
is made to explain away the things that
really, really, really are behind."

You don't have to read all of that. We all know how annoying it is to have to run your eyes through lots and lots of lyrics which mean nothing to the reader.

Today I finally met the famous Ruth Mayer. Turns out I had seen her earlier today and even talked to her without even knowing her true identity.

In short, this week has been crazy to the max. Not only does housing keep shapeshifting, I have come to a crossroads in my spiritual walk. For the first time, I struggle with my sin and with my faith! Shake my life of sameness for 19 years, gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww