Birthday Eve: Sporadic Thoughts

On the eve of my birthday, I sit here feeling simultaneously stressed out, worried, confused, elated, happy, et. al. It has been ten days since the inauguration of our country’s new leadership: ten days of angst across the country, as I obsessively scroll down my social media news feeds, consuming all the information that has come through and observing everyone’s terrified reactions.

I have been trying to figure out what I can do amidst all this confusion and anger felt around me, which is why I have been mostly silent about current events. Part of me feels like there must be more that I can do and say. Part of me feels guilty for solely focusing on my work even when I see how much anguish people are feeling around me. I was very vocal after the election, and many friends from different walks of life reached out to me because of how I expressed myself through Facebook live videos; yet, I also felt exhausted after I put myself out there.

There’s that part of me that wants to focus on the happier things in life: my birthday is tomorrow and I want to spend the day in celebration. It is hard for me to believe that it’s been seven years since my near-death experience, and how much I have grown personally and professionally since then.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday.

Saturday marked the start of the Year of the Rooster in the lunar calendar: this year was the first time in my whole life where I paid special attention to the pre-Lunar New Year rituals and made sure to follow all of them before midnight on January 28th. Celebrating my ancestral heritage, primarily by consuming delicious foods that remind me of home: dumplings, roasted duck, noodles, etc. Gung Hey Fat Choi!

There is happiness, and there is sadness. Perhaps I am not alone in how to feel–because yes, if we all turn a blind eye from all that is coming out of our leadership, then we’ll bury ourselves alive. Yet, must we not also cherish the happier moments in our lives and be grateful for what we do have in the present? Isn’t there still good in this world?

 

 

My Lack of Cycling: An Outlier?

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Today was Bike to Work Day; needless to say, I did not partake in it because I still have a fear of being out on the road alone like that. I kept thinking today, “If I had a helmet, I’d consider it.” But alas, I do not have one yet.

In recent years, the cyclist culture has taken off: I remember while living in San Francisco, I observed Critical Mass, watching the swarms of cyclists go down Stockton Street by Union Square. Since moving to Denver, I’ve come to know the Denver Cruisers, B-cycle, etc. More and more people are commuting by bikes these days.

I want to ride a bike again; I did a lot of circling around the front yard when I was a kid. I remember the excitement I felt when I transitioned from tricycle to bicycle. I’d show off some moves to my mom and my little brother; once, I leaned over too far and fell over, skinned my knees. Oops.

Perhaps many of you know about my accident in 2010; major head injury and trauma. Since the accident, I have been super cautious about where I’m walking and making eye contact with the drivers when crossing ths street.

When I see cyclists zooming by cars on a red light, or cyclists drinking and messing around with public transit, I become very anxious (and angry). I fear I will see an accident happen before my eyes; I feel angry that the cyclists would be so bold to risk death for a good time, playing chicken with a heavy car or bus.

I know I should not be so fearful for others and for my own venture out with a bike again. But when you almost lose your life once, you want to preserve the second chance you got at life.

And that’s why I’d rather walk or take public transit. Cycling appears too dangerous for my psyche still.

No way to cure ignorance.

Yesterday was the Second Inauguration of President Obama. It was also MLK Day.

 

Photo collage of Inauguration 2013. Credit to Bradley W. Johnson
Photo collage of Inauguration 2013. Credit to Bradley W. Johnson

I’d love to focus on the optimism and hope from the ceremony; no, instead, even during the ceremony, my Twitter feed was blowing up with people criticizing the Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco. “Why this guy? Why not Nikki Giovanni?”

And don’t forget to check out the sad reality of other tweeters complaining about the poem not rhyming (via mashable).

 

As much as I can become angry and spit fire over these kinds of remarks, I realize — I can’t fix ignorance. People will continue to think the way they think: they will continue to act like they are experts on subjects they know nothing about; use improper grammar in online arguments; and so forth.

 

We say, in this day and age, ignorance shouldn’t be around. Well, it still is. And some people will choose to stay in the dark rather than ‘waste time’ learning & becoming enlightened about topics foreign to them.

 

What we CAN do about ignorance is to enlighten OURSELVES. Choose to learn about poetry and why it is as it is (it ain’t all about rhyming, folks); choose to understand other religions, other countries and their politics; choose to just be empathic and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Desert Land & Reflections

Dusty, two-lane highways are quintessential to the American way. Up until this past weekend, I hadn’t really experienced the meaning of a “road trip”. Sure, I drove to campus when I was in undergrad, but that was just me traveling from Point A to Point B, several times per year. I wasn’t taking stops every hour or so to take in the scenery. Then again, I was the driver.

Over the weekend, I went to Las Vegas with some friends by car. Without stops, the drive would have been nine hours or ten, with traffic. But we took quite a few stops for gas, food, bathroom, coffee, etc. Along the way, I took many pictures of the scenery we passed by. It was different from what I was accustomed to in the past: dry, mountainous desert land.

On the way to Las Vegas, I felt intrigued by the landscape and watched it all pass by with a smile. On the way back to San Francisco, I felt a sadness emanating from the lands as we cruised on up Highway 5. The dryness of the area, the monotonous tones….I realized that I wouldn’t want to live in areas like this.

Just more thoughts to confirm what my landscape preferences are: mountains, oceans, lakes, forests, etc. Let’s not talk about cityscapes this time around. That’ll have to wait until a future entry.

Flight from Facebook

At the moment, pretty much anyone knows what the word “Facebook” means. One of the first majorly popular social networking sites, what used to be only a college networking place has turned to a free-for-all, hullabaloo.

It’s what the young, cool (and uncool) people talk about these days. Band kids on the MUNI bus yesterday–

“I’m going to post this on Facebook and you’ll be so embarrassed! You watch!”

“Nuh uh!”

“Yeah!”

What’s the point in having Facebook, one may ask.

For me, when I did have it, I felt it was a good tool for keeping in touch with people that I had met during school and such. My university was one of the first to be “invited” into the Facebook network when it started in 2004, so I signed up for it since it was something new and intriguing. Immediately, I found myself amused at how I could find former high school classmates, and add them to my list to keep in touch somehow. The novelty of how easily we could now keep track of each other (for free, unlike using websites like classmates.com at the time) was simply, yes, a novelty.

I found myself drudging up memories of people from my past, good and bad. Over the years, my list accumulated and I found more and more people from my high school, and also proceeded to add people I had briefly been acquainted with in college. It felt nice to have “so many friends” and be able to keep in touch with them all through Facebook.

Well, then, after awhile, after graduating from college, Facebook began to be something of a nuisance/painful point for me. Keeping tabs on people from my past (and vice versa), I felt like I was constantly being judged for what I was (and was not) doing with my life. Sure, I had only just graduated college, but I found myself feeling envious and upset when I would peruse through others’ pages and see what they were up to in life. I found myself judging them, which made me also feel like, “If I am judging them, who knows how much they’re judging me?”

It’s only the Internet, after all, but I found myself getting too hung over such a thing. I would sit by my computer and sometimes waste several hours clicking around my Facebook list, checking up on people and just becoming too engrossed into people’s lives who I didn’t care about anymore (or so I thought).

It was only in due time that I finally decided I needed to disconnect from the website. It was no longer useful to me in the sense that it was holding me behind in my past and trapping me in fear of being judged for not being “successful enough”. The mini-feed caused for me to feel like my own privacy on the site was no longer something I could enjoy. With every little update, of who’s going out with who or who did this and that–it became too much for me.

So, I left Facebook quietly this past June.

The few friends I did want to keep in touch with understood my reasoning; after all, if they were true friends/people I wanted to keep in touch with, they had other methods of keeping in contact with me, like via email or a phone call. It was unnecessary to have Facebook as another outlet for us to keep in contact anymore anyway.

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In the end, do people dote on Facebook a little too seriously? I was discussing this with one of my co-workers yesterday after he mentioned how he was going back to his hometown soon for his 10-year high school reunion. He said he never had much interest in Facebook in the first place, but one of his roommates wanted him to sign up so they could keep in touch somehow. He, however, has been clever in manipulating his information on there and showing how gullible people have become in terms of information on Facebook:

“I change around little things on my profile every day just to mess with people’s minds. One moment, I’ll say I’m ‘engaged’, then I’ll change it really quickly to ‘married’, then the next day change it immediately to ‘single’ again. It’s amazing how many people pay attention to that stuff and keep dropping me ‘Congratulations!’ messages.”

I’ll just leave it at that, since it speaks for itself.