Wednesday, February 14, 2007


This morning while i was checking myself out in the mirror as the shower was warming up (hey, don't pretend like you don't do it too), I noticed something about my appearance. It wasn't an empiphany or anything like that, cause I (like many others i'm sure) am very familiar with my imperfections. It was more like a reminder than anything else. They were always there, but i guess it became more apparent since my haircut: gray hairs. Too many to be cute; too little to be distinguished. All I could think of was, "Damn weeds, ruining the lush Eden that is my hair." I started conceiving excuses of the how the salt got mixed with the pepper: my parents, my school, no sleep, the drugs, the alcohol, the nature of my life. And so, naturally, i started plucking.

This reminded me of my dad. I picture him when i was younger, hoeing away at the weeds in our backyard, tirelessly fighting a losing battle and working on making his farmer's tan even more embarrassing. I would occasionally help by not really helping at all, swinging at 'em with a stick pretending i was a ninja or baseball player. "Stop fooling around and go for the root," my dad would tell me. This would ensure that they wouldn't grow back as fast. But needless to say, this didn't work too well. Their numbers would seem to almost double. I could almost hear them chanting, "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine" or "Resistance is futile." (to all the geeks out there.)

But that's the way it is. Our life is littered with "weeds" that we have to maintain to keep our gardens beautiful... or at least enjoyable enough to look at. And not just the weeds we have to pull in order to keep up our appearance: the plucking, shaving, cleaning, geling, brushing, moisturizing, accessorizing, etc etc. But all the little things that's a part of our everyday life that keep us alive and healthy and a so-called normal being of society, like paying the bills, feeding ourselves, feeding our children (luckily not there yet), going to work, doing homework, or even coping with a lost loved one or a love that was lost. All these little things combine to make a pretty powerful force that we hopelessly fight enough to keep us alive another day. We don't really see it, though we feel it from time to time - or maybe all the time. But it's that picture of integrity that my dad painted for me, ingrained in my head, that helps me to keep fighting as long as I have ammo. And not to forget those friends that playfully hack away at those plants, like i did with my father as he adviced me to "go for the root."

P.S. - Happy Valentines Day to everyone.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


.. is the name of the book I'm currently reading, written by Augusten Burroughs, author of "Running with Scissors." It is a humorous yet powerfully real memoir of the author's life, but more specifically, his path to sobriety from alcoholism. I received this book as a Secret Santa gift from my co-worker and was paired with, ironically, a bottle of Pinot Noir (the symbolism of the gift is surprisingly accurate considering how little she knows me).

It's a great book, but seriously don't take my word for it. I can tell a good book from another as well as i can taste the difference between a $50 bottle of Cabernet and 2-buck chuck when I'm intoxicated. But considering that, this book strangely enough hits home to me. Throughout the course of the book (or what I've read so far), Augusten slowly realizes the source of his uncontrollable drinking habit: his inability to cope with his feelings. Whenever he is forced to confront them, he throws up both fists... but clenched in each hand are bottles of Dewar's, followed by many more bottles. But this got me thinking about my own sobriety.

When I was about 19, my already semi-self-destructive behavior hit a new low (or "high" depending on how you look at it). I started smoking meth. God knows how much i smoked; I couldn't begin to estimate, not even with a tally of financial consequence because it was, for the most part, free. This continued on for years (about 3-4), until one day, after getting about 10 hours of sleep for the whole week, i frightened myself by what i saw in the mirror. The bags under my eyes looked heavier than ever, and as pale as my skin already was, my complexion had turned a nice, healthy hue of macabre. I decided at that moment that it had to stop. And stop i did.

But reading this book had got me thinking about that dark but un-regrettable part of my life, mainly why and how my excessive behavior started. And the answer seemed easy to find, cause it was right there written on the pages in my hand. It was the same reason why Augusten found solace bathing in a pool of whiskey. I found it hard to cope with the myriad feelings i was confronted with at the time. I didn't want to confront them at all. In fact, I don't like confrontation. I thought I could confuse my feelings by blowing a dense milky cloud in it's face. And it worked (for the time being). The speed kept me focused, but on things other than my feelings; It felt great (that irresponsibility to my feelings, not that cracked out feeling from getting no sleep for days on end).

I don't really know what I'm getting at, but i guess this is a small way of confronting those feelings now. To be honest, i still struggle with those feelings today. It gets really tough sometimes, but at least i'm doing it un-destructively. And what i guess i really want to say is how grateful i am to having at least enough willpower to stop that behavior and keep it under control... grateful for still being alive and strong... and thank you to all my friends who have been there for me unconditionally. Thanks for believing in me.

P.S. - I hate when you think about something earlier.. and you have a lot of great thoughts and insights at that time... but when it comes time to express them, it feels like not all of your points are surfacing?.. I'm king at that. And it's happening right now about this subject.. *shrugs*.. oh well.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Love School ; Hate School

For as many reasons why i love school, i hate school as well. Why do i love my school? Well, i do what i love. I'm being trained in skills that have been a life long passion for me. For as long as i can remember i've wanted to become an animator working for disney and the likes, and here i am doing exactly that (minus the working for disney thing). The people i associate with at school are amazing too. Never in my life have i been surrounded by so many great artists all the time. It's an instant connection of common interests; I truly feel like I belong there. Other things i like about school: the facilities are great, the equipment is great, the faculty, location, etc.. all great (or any other adjective that'll describe "great"). All in all, my experience at Ex'pression College has been fulfilling and inspirational, and i'm very glad to be involved with it.

Now for the reason's why i hate school. Really, it has nothing to do with the school itself, but all the other things that surround my school life. Considering how intense and immersive my school is, it leaves very little room for socializing. Keep in my mind, my school isn't what you call a "conventional college." The college experience at our school differs completely than your, say, UC college. No dorms, no frats/sororities, no long vacations really (just a week off for spring and winter respectively, plus the other regular holidays like thanksgiving). If anything, it resemebles more "real" life than "college" life. So with that said, socializing while at our school is different to say the least. Not hard, just different.

Most of my closest friends have already graduated and are working their 9-5's. I'm a late bloomer. This brings another mess of problems that won't go into great detail about, but in the short, my poor-college student-self tries to keep up socially (and financially) with them which is taxing. In reality, i just can't. And i shouldn't. But i try, and it's requiring a lot more will power than people might think to just hold off and say "no" sometimes. And this brings me another reason why i hate school: finances. I pretty much have none, and am accumulating huge debt because of it. Yes i know my bad spending habits are making massive contriubutions (which is odd cause I have nothing to show for it. No new clothes or gadgets or things of that nature), but by default, as a student, you're supposed to be poor... and i HATE it. Not only for the reasons that i've mentioned earlier, but i just hate being in debt and STILL having no money. To be financially stable, i'd pretty much have to cut my friends off. But who can do that? Yes they'd understand... but do i really wanna put them in that situation?.. what kind of friend would I be?

In conclusion (total elementry school essay flashback right there), as much as i love my time at Ex'pression college, I can't wait to graduate and get back out there. I can't wait to have (hopefully) a steady paycheck, unreluctantly hang out with my friends, and to go out and work on the next Finding Nemo or Gears of War.

am·biv·a·lence [am-biv-uh-luhns] n.
1. uncertainty or fluctuation, esp. when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.... i love this word.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

First Blog

Uncreatively.. i've named this blog "First Blog".. cause.. well.... it's my first blog: the first of i'm sure many blogs describing my unremittingly monotonous days. And why are my days boring you ask? Cause i'm a student... a digital art student to be precise... emphasizing on 3d character animation to be even more precise. Sure it sounds exciting on the surface (and don't get me wrong.. cause i love what i do), but when you spend 50-60 hours a week AT school, it doesn't leave much more room for anything else. But keep checking in and i promise i'll try to keep my blogs anything but boring.