Monday, May 30, 2005


It finally happened!  Six months after the fact, I finally had the opportunity to celebrate my bachelor's degree on Saturday in an intimate setting on the campus of San Jose State University.  Unlike most, I decided to skip the stadium bash of a graduation to instead help set up my department's graduation ceremony, which turned out to be a ceremony I'll always be proud to have helped put together because of its uniqueness and intimacy.  I don't often go into the intricacies of what's going on my life (unless it is a concert I can't stop smiling about afterwards), but writing this down will serve as a good log in a certain point of my life.  And I've just got too many cool pictures.

Here's the set up - Outside Hugh Gilllis Hall, with tons of food followed behind the chairs. 

Danielle, Sara, and me - Grad. Committee members, I like this pose

So I introduced the ceremonies, which went well because I had it scripted.  But... And I do this all the time, I made the bonehead decision to improvise my speech of the three most important individuals that I was to thank.  It didn't go too bad, but... I probably shoulda written it down   But... I did keep emotions in check, although a few of the eleven graduates did break down and had a few tears.  Who'd I thank?  The dept. of Social Science faculty, the "boys" (group of longtime friends), and my family, of course.  I got to embarass and have each of them come up  

I forget- Not all went perfect during my speech, my mike kept slowly trickling down!  I love this shot of Professor Rooks of the department helping me out. 

Love this shot!  Professors Do and Rooks, looks like those gowns really are hard to put on.  I learned more than I ever wanted to know about regalia that day...

After the ceremonies, all of the graduates!  Yes, it was THAT small! 

Another group shot, but with four of the faculty sitting- L to R - Professor Rooks, Gutierrez, Ochoa, Do. 

The Boys

The obligatory but perfect family shot

Buncha teachers

Lindsey, a great social sci. friend- But I wanted to point out the tower behind us, which was the backdrop for the entire ceremonies!  Very nice, indeed. 

So there you have it, quick and painless and each student got a few minutes onstage.  The best moment?  The end, when we, the graduating committee decided to close out with a few words.  Before we had a chance, Professor Rooks took over and began singing, beautifully, lines of an old slave song to which he described that he was inspired to share with us because of the emotional outpouring and brightened view of the beyond, for which he used rainbows as a metaphor for, or something like that.  I forgot entirely what he said, I think I, and my commitee mates, were just shocked, but in a good way of course.  We had no idea! 

I got more photos in a nifty slideshow here:

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Reality Check

Six months overdue, I'm having my bachelor's degree graduation in just about twelve hours.  Not the twenty-thousand people, stadium filled thing, but the department graduation, narrowing it down to a few dozen graduates.  I'm admittedly anxious for a few reasons.  First off, I headed a committee of students for the student-led graduation, from helping decide music to food to decorations.  Somehow in between I volunteered to at least emcee the first part of the ceremony.  Just a few words, but thinking back, I don't recall the last time I spoke through a PA and to such a large crowd.  Actually, it might have been when I read a speech running for President of my elementary school (i lost.  not as cool as pedro.) but that was eons ago.  And when my name is called during the ceremony, I'm supposed to speak and hand out certificates to the three inspirational individuals in my life (i'll update that later).  The other reason of angst?  I've invited certain people from different parts of my life.  It's one of those "worlds are colliding" instances, if you've watched Seinfeld.  Old co-workers, current co-workers, family, long-time friends, recent friends in my teaching department.  Not entirely too much people, though that may sound like it would be, but a group of people I would never expect to be in the same general area ever, well, except for if I got married, but of course that won't happen any time soon. 

Whew, too many words to say I'm a little anxious.

Song you can't live without.  The Doves - Black and White Town   -- This song's too cool. 

Friday, May 27, 2005

found this an amusing read during my lunch break-

Go Dumb: How Guilty Pleasures Disengage Brain From Body

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Carrie Underwood Voted New 'American Idol'

"Nearly 500 million votes were cast during the entire season, a new record for the show."

Wow.  It's comforting to know people will vote in record numbers on pressing and important matters. *shakes head*

my sneer-eyed comment of the day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


The tracklisting for Nickel Creek's "Why Must the Fire Die?"

1. When In Rome
2. Somebody More Like You
3. Jealous of the Moon
4. Scotch and Chocolate
5. Can't Complain
6. Tomorrow is a Long Time
7. Eveline
8. Stumptown
9. Anthony
10. Best of Luck
11. Doubting Thomas
12. First and Last Waltz
13. Helena
14. Why Should the Fire Die?

Monday, May 23, 2005

myspace is such an efficient way to waste away an hour of your life.  seriously. 

episode iii was fun!  such a long wait, though, was it worth it?  i still have bad dreams of jar jar when i worked at a theater during episode i's tenure in the theater. 

and while i'm on that subject, it's scary when you have trouble finding someone to go see episode iii like, um, a day after it came out? (friday) (i did find someone)

my musical pattern this weekend.  coldplay, the doves, jem, and muse.  anyone see the connection there? 

geeky johnny: ecstatic that i will be eligeble to go to e3 in the future!  as an educator, i'll qualify as an interested member of those eligeble to go to it (i don't f'ing know what they're called?).  gotta work on my fake enthusiasm for the next iteration of Leapfrog :) 

my attention span is spacing.  lack of an instructional setting is leaving me unable to complete thoughts!  maybe i'll write something more fleshed out later. 

Let’s go dancing
Waltz around the rumour mill
In your faded dress with the daffodils

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

before i forget

two hummer/limos passed my window at work yesterday. and they both had gold-plated rims. need i say more?

i'm no superman- scrubs season one is now on dvd!!! go watch it :)

i attended my first colloquium tonight, for all the MA students in Education. fears of being overwhelmed about writing a thesis were relinquished :)

Sigur Ros, the oddest and coolest band not many people talk about. i was reminded of them during the wes anderson film, the life aquatic with steve ziizzou (misspelled , obviously) in which one of their cooler songs were played. odd band because they sing in a made-up language. cool because their music is so spaceydreamy.

Arrested Development got picked up for 2 more seasons! How about that, smart and witty shows that actually get to be produced on a major network without decent ratings.

Coldplay. Catch'em on SNL this weekend. Then catch'em on their upcoming US Tour. They play Shoreline Amphiteather for those bay area folk in mid August.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Oops, I've been MIA of late. Not that I've been terribly busy. More like I've gone into lurker mode. You know, when I still visit sites but am terribly lazy at posting anything myself. And that in itself becomes a problem, because when I finally decide like I do now to write things down, I can't focus. I keep telling myself to write about something I see either in something I read in the paper or hear in passing that peaks my interest, but it somehow gets lost in translation. So here's a garbled list of thoughts from the last few days that I'm trying to piecemeal together but is still bunk.

Jem rocks. About a month ago, I posted an entry about bands I'd give a try based on Audioscrobbler's formula of taking what I listen to and analyzing what I'd like based upon it. Well, Jem was one of the short list. What can I say... She is reminiscent of Dido's vocals mixed with an eclectic style of beats that sounds, as a fellow reader said to me, like frou frou. Every song is so distinctive in its own right that Jem is really unclassifiable (shouldn't all music be?). So I say go listen to it. Here's track one to give you an idea. "They"

You've got to be fucking kidding me. I saw this ad, though much more subtle, in the local entertainment section of last Friday's paper. "Thousands of single Japanese women are looking for YOU" so goes the headline. "Destina Japan is an innovative company specializing in matching successful western professionals like you with single, relationship oriented Japanese women..." it goes on to say.

Oh dear, where to start? Aside from the obvious perception of white being right, which is the five second soundbite version of why Asian women flock to white guys, what irked me the most from checking out the website was the quotes of why Japanese women are looking for YOU. And that is because they say there's a cultural difference between Japanese women and men in that Japanese men are too conservative and dominant. Now imagine yourself as a Japanese man reading this. You're not open enough to express your love and emotion? I don't know, it's just a sore subject with me because I see instances of this everywhere (the acquiescing of beliefs to the dominant culture). I had a lot more I wanted to write but it's jumbled in thoughts and I'm rushing through this entry.

Something to pass along...

Dear friends,

As you all may or not know that. The Refugee Camp in Philippine
will be closed soon, and this means the Vietnamese boat-people there
will be returned to VN. I beleived we all know, these people have risked
their saving, home, relatives and even their own lives to get there, and
they have been living in bad condition of the refugee camp for so long.
On top of that, they might be mistreated if they are returned. The
Canadian government needs 50,000 signatures in order to consider
accepting these people into their country. So far, there are 30,000
signatures received. We need 20,000 more in order to help save these
people, please click on the link and sign. Please provide correct email
ad! dress or else your signature will not be valid. You will receive
confirmation email after you sign.

Please sign . . . and pass this on to as many people as possible.

And for the fluff stuff...

Did Eliot leave Scrubs? Did anyone see the last episode? Always funny, I hope it returns next season :)

I finally got to experience what it's like to be one of those annoying staff people that meet you at the entrance to concerts! Volunteering at the Blues Festival, I got to stamp (for in/out privileges) the hands of thousands on Saturday. It's funny and scary how people oblige to it like zombies and don't question why I'm stamping them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

hmm, let's get back to basics-

better than ezra are made for clubs, check'em out live.  you'll have a fun time.  kevin griffin, the lead singer, has a cocky sense of charisma.  their latest, "before the robots" is out at the end of the month and was a surprising hit to listen to. 

aimee mann's latest, "the forgotten arm", just reminds you of how underappreciated she is.  you hear a lot about male indie singer-songwriters, and a fair share of women as well, but none who really has that ability she does to make something so depressing go together with such lushful upbeat (might not be the best word choice) sounds.  like the equivalent of an elliott smith. 

Others that are spinning and worth giving a turn: Bruce Springsteen, Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, New Order.  All new albums, of course. 

Glen Phillips gives a humbling interview and song on Acoustic Cafe.  You can here it here.  Interviews + Songs: True, All I Want, Thankful, and Duck & Cover.

Happenings:  The 25th annual San Jose Metro Blues Festival happens this Saturday, the 14th.  Free and at the San Jose State University campus, they've got a huge lineup this year.  Grammy winner (just last year!) Etta James, Tommy Castro, Cris Cain, and a bunch others.  I'll be volunteering, so maybe you'll see me somewhere around if you go. 

KFOG Kaboom! is the 21st of May on the Piers of San Francisco.  Free w/ Kathleen Edwards, John Butler Trio, and the Wallflowers.  Best fireworks show period from what I've read/heard/saw through shots. 

Umm.... That's enough music for now :)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Motion Picture Review


Wow, it's about time a film approaches race relations in America with such a degree of truthfulness that displays the complexity that is our society, today, and done so without any sugar-coating that we're force-fed to keep us down.

I caught the film, Crash, last night and it's a heavy film that, first and foremost, tries to present to us the realities of living in a culture of fear in America. We're led to believe that we live in a nation that embraces multiculturalism and that, as "Americans", we're somehow a unified American society. Many of us know this is not true and don't even have to think twice. Others buy into this idea, either through ignorance or because they've grown up with that idea, whether through media, school, or any other means of being socialized.

What Crash does so well is show us the fear that is engrained into us, because of the way society is, even when we, as individuals, try to fight it. Two black males walking down a street ignites a fear that you will get assaulted. Anybody looking middle eastern arouses suspicion of terrorism. A Latino with a tattoo, shaved head is assumed to be a gangbanger. A white cop instills fear to the tenth degree to any minority. You get the picture. America is a unique nation filled with fear and intolerance. It's not just an isolated problem, it's a collective problem. The film does not offer any answers, but instead points out through six or seven interweaving story arcs that in a sense, "crash" together.

Crash pays particular attention to giving the viewer an opportunity to see racial tensions through multiple viewpoints. White people who are angry because of reverse discrimination through affirmative action. A Persian family who struggles to understand why they're assumed and prejudiced to be Arab. A Black man who, because of his color, spends his life "smartly, so he thinks" quietly living as an uncle tom, but realizing and struggling with his identity. I can go on and on, but that kind of thing.

There's just so much to contemplate from a movie like Crash. My hope is that it at least will open up the eyes of some who are close-minded about issues of race. I admittingly used to fall under the simplified philosophy that I considered everyone the same and that I was a better person because of that. That simply isn't true, however. Somehow, we need to be able to at least acknowledge that there is such a huge race barrier that it keeps us from understanding or even empathizing with each other. There is just too much unrecognized complexity and as a result, fear that we consciously and unfortunately subconsciously leave exposed and act upon.

And if you've seen the movie, I'll just remind you of the parallel between the two cops who essentially switched roles. all acted upon fear and assumptions. such a sad story.

I've rambled for too long. In a sentence, it was thought provoking but heavy film. Great acting, I never believed I could take Sandra Bullock seriously. Or Matt Dillon for that matter. My gripe, though? Although there was a Chinese character/story arc, (chinaman, they call'em-and geez i thought that term wasn't used anymore, learned my lesson..) they really did not tell much from the Chinese or, i'll just say it, the Asian point of view. Huge gripe.

Anyway, check it out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

first week of may and already it's been too busy!

talk about outrageousness.  remember that talk of a small buzz coldplay show?  try as i may, my luck ran out, and tickets sold out in. like. five seconds.  no kidding. 

then i jump on ebay to check.  mind you, these are WILL CALL tickets.  meaning you physically have to be there and show your credit card that you , yes, YOU were the one who bought the tickets.  buy it now for $800 per pair, i saw ten minutes later.  you got to be joking, i thought.  an hour later, people are bidding over a grand for $26 tickets.  outrageous!  Brad Kava wrote an article about these kind of shows here.  Here's a snippit:

"If you are a band that could easily play a bigger show, when you do a show like the Fillmore, you want to sell it out and leave people on the street,'' says Rick Mueller, the man who books all the large shows for San Francisco's Bill Graham Presents.

``There's a huge buzz when you turn people away. It gets the momentum going. Radio comes down and covers it. They play the single more.

genius marketing.

here's a tracklisting of graduation songs i came up with.  you know it's serious when there's no nickel creek/glen phillips/toad.  criteria was songs in major, somewhat celebratory, upbeat, etc.  disregard the numbering, no order. shuffle mode.

  1. Coldplay – Don’t Panic
  2. Norah Jones – Sunrise
  3. U2 – Beautiful Day
  4. Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine
  5. Polyphonic Spree – Section 9
  6. Vienna Teng – Harbor
  7. Darol Anger & the American Fiddle Ensemble – Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder Cover)
  8. Bruce Springsteen – Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
  9. Travis – Flowers in the Window
  10. The Arcade Fire – Wake Up
  11. Aimee Mann & Michael Penn – Two of Us (Beatles Cover)
  12. Incubus – Drive
  13. John Mellencamp – Walk Tall
  14. Dave Matthews Band – Everyday
  15. Foo Fighters – Times Like These
better than ezra, cake, and gomez all in san jose friday night, within blocks of each other.  for once we'll be the capital of the alternative universe. enjoy it.