Ignite Denver 11 Videos Finally Available!


The Bridge Between Worlds – Helene Kwong

After a couple months waiting in anticipation, the Ignite Denver 11 videos are now up!

I admit, I immediately jumped to my presentation to see how it turned out. Not bad, although now I don’t even remember saying all that I did!

That’s what happens when nerves get to me. 😛

Tomorrow, back to regularly-scheduled Denver-love posts 🙂

Ignite Denver 11 — A Smash!

My friend Tia took this picture of me near the end of my presentation.

Ignite Denver 11 was last night, and it was quite the night.

Since it was my first time attending the event (and, on top of that, PRESENT at the event), I wasn’t sure how things were going to go. I admit, I was nervous and seems the other presenters could sense my nervousness through my tweets.

When I got up on stage, though, all those nerves turned to excitement. I presented with passion, zeal, etc. as I talked about my trek in life being Asian-American, stuck between two worlds. After the show, both strangers and colleagues came up to me to tell me how well I did. It was a new feeling for me; to have complete strangers walk up to me and tell me, “Loved your talk.”

I posted the picture above on my Facebook profile at the end of the night; this morning I woke up with 20+ likes as old and current friends alike showed support. Now I have everyone hyped up for the Youtube clip, whenever that will be.

My takeaways from the event: well, certainly this confirms that I love public speaking. Yes, I get nervous still, but it seems even the pros feel that way, regardless of how long they’ve been standing in front of others, speaking.

I am so blessed to know so many awesome people in Denver, though; I recognized people from the Denver Bee (late April). Even met a couple great friends in-person (finally) after tweeting with them for several months. I’m getting better at doing tweetups these days; I don’t feel it’s strange to meet someone off the Internet anymore.

I just feel amazed at how easily the Denver community embraces us transplants. I’ve only been here since last August and already I feel that I am well-known in certain circles. Am looking forward to many more opportunities to meet more Denverites in the coming months.

Death, Depression, Society: Whitney Houston & Leslie Carter

  In the past day, I’ve heard and read about two celebrities’ deaths due to drug overdoes/depression/et. al.: Whitney Houston and Leslie Carter (sister of Nick and Aaron Carter). So far, no cause of death has been released regarding Houston, but spectators on social media have already assumed it was due to drug overdose. Carter was addicted to her prescription drugs to treat her anxiety and depression.

And again, society perpetuates the assumption: depressed/mentally ill = drug overdose/crazy/etc.

Houston deserved it. She was a druggie. Why are you sad/surprised she died?

It stings to read these words from those who will never understand the pain of a loved one falling into the trap of drugs to cure emotional pain.

Would you say this same thing to your sister who is battling a drug problem? Your own child? Your best friend?

Over time, especially since my own diagnosis two years ago, I have noticed how society continues to make depression/mental illness such a stigma. It is “wrong” to seek help for my depression. Because I am depressed, I am crazy. Because I had a public meltdown in San Francisco, I am deemed crazy. I had to go to an inpatient facility for a week after that. While there, though, I realized so many of the other patients were battling the same disease: depression. And yet, we were all perfectly normal, human, as well. We just needed a little more help and support.

Once, I had a colleague say to our other colleague, “Good thing you didn’t stay with your ex-boyfriend [because he is suicidal]. You don’t want to end up with a crazy person!” I sat there, feeling the sting of the statement and wanting to lash out in defense.

Do you believe that those who admit publicly that they are depressed that they are crazy? Do you feel they should keep it to themselves?

I have no shame in explaining my situation to those who care to listen. I know I am a stronger person for the help I have sought and the medication I take. I am healing, but I also still have moments of unrest.

It is a shame how our world works, to where stars like Houston, Carter, and even Amy Winehouse are ridiculed during their lives and after they pass away. Yes, drug use is terrible. But, can we not pull away that layer and realize that underneath, there are sad souls wanting help from others?

It is time for us to re-examine ourselves and our thoughts. Not everyone out there using drugs/abusing alcohol/etc. is “crazy”. Ask them what their story is. You may be surprised that their story is just like yours, only a little darker.

Unexplainable: Michael Jackson-related incident

It’s been a couple days since Michael Jackson passed away, and all the world/blogosphere is still buzzing away about the death. It’s still very hard for me to believe that the man died at the still-young age of 50; I remember growing up listening to his music and watching old music videos of the Jackson 5 on VH1. My siblings and I used to aspire to learn all the dance moves and found ourselves garbling together the lyrics of songs such as “Dancing Machine” and “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”.

The point of this entry is not simply to remember Jackson, but to also present a strange incident that occurred to me on the morning of the 25th:

It was just a normal Thursday morning for me; hopped onto the bus, took my 40-minute commute downtown. I crossed Market Street and was walking towards the office building when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a character dressed up strangely: the man was wearing a Michael Jackson-esque outfit, similar to what Jackson wore for his “Thriller” video. At first, I thought the guy was just dressed up weirdly and I shrugged it off as being “Oh, this is San Francisco; I’ve seen weird characters before.” But then, I studied the man’s outfit a little longer, and I realized that, in fact, he was intentionally dressing up as Michael Jackson, with the single white glove and everything. I didn’t study the man’s face too long; this whole little incident only took probably a minute out of my time that morning. It was 8 AM PST.

Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital around 12 PM PST. He died around 3 PM PST.

So, then, how did that man know? What was the purpose of that man dressing up as Michael Jackson so early in the morning? Did he somehow know? Was he deemed a “crazy man” but, in actuality, has psychic powers?

I hadn’t even thought much of that morning incident until the news broke of Jackson’s death and then, suddenly, that image of the man from the morning came back to me, and I felt myself growing spooked.

I don’t know if I’ll ever know what that man had meant by the outfit, but it sure gave me something unexpected to ponder upon.

Celebrity Apprentice

I began watching “Celebrity Apprentice” from the start and at first felt a little bored by it–I even managed to skip a couple weeks’ episodes. But just now, I decided to catch up on those episodes and realize how much information I can glean from the show.

Granted, I probably should have watched the original “The Apprentice” shows before, but this one seems to follow a similar model. I like watching how each of their projects evolve from the brainstorming phase to the presentation. It actually makes me miss school projects since I notice a lot of the same kind of conflicts popping up (yet the feeling of completing a project is always rewarding, no matter the outcome).

I should catch up with the previous two episodes tomorrow so I can watch the new episode on Thursday.