Thursday, December 16, 2004

Much ado about Nothing...

feeling weird...suddenly life seems uneventfull Posted by Hello


Somehow lately it's been difficult to see the beauty in the everyday to passionately blog about it...it's as if my soul is flatlining and I don't know why, but I am feeling very exhausted lately, but even when I try to rest, those nightmares just keep coming back and I wake up even more exhausted...so what's the use of sleeping anyways...and my sleep cycle is completely reversed...so now that the semester has ended, ironically, I don't feel like doing anything anymore, even the thought of going back to my beautiful home and bling bling car in LA doesn't excite me anymore...I am not depressed, but I just feel neither here nor there...

It makes me wonder what happens when nothing can bring about any kind of emotion to a person, and it scares me to even think about that...so maybe it's good that I will be taking a break from New York city for a month and I think it's about time. But at least the good thing is that I am getting my final assignments done before I leave the city behind me...and some driving might do me some good when I get back to LA. I can see myself speeding down 110 South at 80mph in the middle of the night. So today's blog is really about nothing, but even if it's about nothing, I am still compelled to blog about that nothingness...and hopefully tomorrow I will feel passionate enough to blog about something more intereting, but for now, dear readers, I am sorry that you have to deal with this nothingness...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

McDonald's Reunion...

A snapshot of Just James and John at Ollies at the the begining of the Fall semester at Columbia after Delanda's lecture....and tonight at the end of the semester we find ourselves back at Ollies after a long discussion about the paper for Delanda's class...our final assignment of the semester... Posted by Hello


The day started fairly late for after a night of feeling psychologically ill and along with insomnia, I had trouble getting myself out of bed today...not that I didn't want to get out of bed but I just couldn't because the dreams and nightmares were holding me back...I was bombarded by one nightmare after another...but those nightmares made me aware of that certain unknown fear or despair in me, which I gather to be a coomon experience of the modern human condition...they were dreams about waking up and not finding oneself at home but in some strange hospital like place being under constant watch, and people coming in to my space with what looked like restaurant bills while I desperately search for the 16E that should be on the door of my apartment...and then sudeenly I would find myself in a large social setting only to discover that my face was full of red scars...and just like ghosts, only I was able to see those scars and the people surrounding me were somehow oblivious to it...these dreams left me exhausted when I woke up to Jame's phone call about meeting at Starbucks to talk about the final paper for Delanda's class...

I dragged my tired self out of bed, got ready and headed to Starbuckes near Columbia University, much to my surprise John also showed up to discuss about the paper, because I haven't seen John in a long time, it's as if he disappeared for most of the semester...and just like that, over starbucks coffee and a few books and notes we talked about our topics of interest and helped each other out with those ideas...what I came to realize was that the subject matter in which we were each interested in writing about were all issues that were somewhat related to ourselves personally...and that made the discussion all the more interesting...

Just James was all about dicussing the current conditions of the squatters culture in the Philippines, and how the Philippines came to be this way and why it still remains a third world country...and this topic is of interest to James because he feels deeply for the political situation of his country and hopes to be a politician in the Philippines...or better, becoming the president of the Philippines because he seems so eager to fix the problems of his country...I am not surprised that besides architecture he would want to become a politician...afterall, James does come from a lineage of politician relatives and family members...

Meanwhile John was thinking about the issue of identity and how that relates back to the larger system in the network of cities, and to a larger scale bnation states...how in today's technology allows us to spread parts of purselves in different places, while still being in one place...and potentially exploring the idea whether there is the notion of the "self" or the "individual" is really valid or is it the social networks in our society that help bring about the notion of the "self"...and I think it is also very relevant to what John is going through, it's all about finding himself, and coming to terms with his relationship and his ADD problems...for John it was all about discovering the self, the identity problems and coming to terms with his personal issues...

This helped jumpstart my potential topic for my paper, about the outsider, the one that has different ties to different social networks but in the end discovers that as the outsider, one really has no ties, because the multiple ties that one has with the various social networks in the cities are all weak ties...one is not cut off from completely from any of the social networks because who has some resemblance to a particular social network in order to fit in...however, as James suggested, could it be that the tie only remains because the presence of the outsider helps reaffirm the existence or identity of a particular larger social group...I think to a certain point...this is also very personal to me always feeling like the odd one out, the one who has never developped any strong ties to any social group...

And so our conversation was briefly interrupted when Sawn and Bill walked in to Starbucks...all of a sudden, in a strange way the common thing amongst the five of us was that we were all in Bill McDonald's studio last semester...it was a brief "McDonald's reunion" at Starbucks...feeling hungry John, James and I headed to Ollies for a late dinner...we all decided to watch "one hour photo" at John's place at International House where Jon and James are neighbours...the movie was great...and to James that movie was all about the "beige" infiltrating the other "beige"...but to me it was all about a criticism on the utopia of surbanism, that image of perfection that a family tries to portray is in reality disfunctional...and we both read the movie as relating to our studio projects...him just after finishing the "beige" topic studio and me just after the completion of the "utopia now" studio...And so, that was our little reunion and for me that brings back memories of three of us having a great time in SoHo and coffee at the East village, going to the Brancusi exhibit at the Guggenheim with John, going to the Barneys warehouse sale with John and Greg, and most of all the excursions in the city with Just James. Truely expriencing new york city, with a coktail at the Hudson lounge, dessert and coffee at the "W" hotel bar, the making of our documentary film, afternoon tea at Takashimaya and taking a walk along Central Park...I had a great time...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

100% Feeling ill....

my interactive applications assignment for actionscript Flash MX 2004 class...I decided to go for something non-architecture related.. Posted by Hello


Things haven't been going so well...I have been going through a lot of self-doubt lately...sometimes I doubt whether I have the abilities that would take me where I want to go...because it's a competitive world and sometimes I just don't see myself at the top of that world...and at 24, there are still a lot of bad habits that I haven't had the conviction to change, like putting 100% of devotion in everything I do...and somehow I have been lacking that passion for architecture which I had lost long ago...being in grad school just made me feel the world is so big, and there will always be those who are better and worse than you...a world where there is a multitude of ingenious ideas...a multitude of styles...and a multitude of people devoting there 100% for arhitecture...a multitude of people from different backgrounds and experiences...and when I see that multiplicity, I wish I could do it all...I know, that each person can only do so much, and one can only empcompass one's style...and one can only find one's own singular vision in design and not emcompass all visions out there...but still...it pains me to think about that...
And at 24, I wonder whether this is the prime time to "have a life" and enjoy life or is it time to seriously contemplate the next step and to begin that 100% devotion in one's work before it's too late...is it about time to be more critical of oneself, I wonder...and knowing what my expectations in life but not quite seeing clearly the road that would lead me there,and it makes me feel ill at times...So I doubt myself, I doubt my future, I regret my past...and all those thoughts makes me feel teribbly ill...maybe anxiety is kicking in again...I don't know and I can't see the path ahead of me and it terrifies me...because I am running out of time...at 24...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Anna Karenina...


Shopie Marceau as the beautiful and mysterious Anna in "Anna Karenina"...

The coming of winter always reminds me of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina". Maybe it was Sophie Marceau's unforgettable portrayal of Anna or maybe it was the novel itself that was even more memorable...and somehow, just like this, the arrival of winter always reminds me of "Anna Karenina" and the bare Russian countryside winter landscape that look so cold and harsh with the train passing by...the train, a symbol of the industrial age of Russia...and Anna's gaze so beautifully portrayed by Sophie Marceau...that fearful gaze in her eyes that was a premonition of her tragic end...how ironic that she would die with her body mangled under the passiing train, that very symbol of advancement...and not killed by her divorce to Karenin or her scandalous love affair with Count Vronsky, but killed by the crushing conventions of the time...and the introspective Count Levin came to realize that no matter what kinds of forces that are mysteriously shaping our lives, somewhere out there, there is a god...it's as if the end of Anna's tragedy is the beginning of a revelation for Levin...

The Plastic Tree



Having spent most of the day at home and realizing how much stress Alice was undergoing to get her projects completed for her finals, only two weeks away, and knowing perfectly well how it feels to suffer from this kind of academic torture, I decided to get her out of her dorm and invite her to a nice dinner at Penang... thinking that some fresh air might be good for her, because it has always worked for me when I am stressed out...so before I met up with her at 7:30, I took the bus crosstown for some daily walking exercise, as usual on Madison and 5th...it is the best place to take a walk because it feels safe even when it's getting dark...SoHo is really nice too, but just too far and although it's an ultra hip place, there are still some elements of possible danger, like that episode of Sex and City where Carrie Bradshaw gets mugged in broad daylight with her Fendi baguette and Manolo Blahniks gone in an instant second...I must say, muggers are becoming more fashion savvy these days...so yes I would rather take a walk on the east side when I am by myself...One thing I enjoy the most after moving to New York city is walking alone in the city...I can't explain why I like it, but that I just enjoy my time alone in the city...and besides there is enough on my mind to keep me occupied, while I am walking...and enough visual stimulation in the shop windows lining Madison av. to keep me dreaming...about one day designing the shop windows or becoming a merchandising executive at Barneys... and those are the only brief moments where I can put away the cynicism and be more optimistic, in telling myself not to worry about life, that the world is full of opportunities, if I search hard enough... Tonight, the sidewalks of Madison were filled with Christmas shoppers and Jaguars, Bentleys and Mercedes line the sidewalk with chauffeurs waiting outside and reading the newspaper...I guess in LA, it's all about driving your own bling bling to go christmas shopping whereas in New York, it's all about having a chauffeur drive your bling bling when you go christams shooping... quite a big cultural difference...
The best part of the night was discovering the Columbus Circle night market at Central Park...something similar to a flee market...and I bought some hand made soaps...they just looked irresistable...then I rushed back to 72nd to meet Alice for dinner...
Over dinner, Alice asked me whether our family celebrated Christmas in the past, then the memory of the plastic christmas tree that dad had brought over from Taiwan when we were still living in Roxboro, kicked back...yes Roxboro, the very first home we bought when we immigrated to Canada...during the holidays, mom would bring out the plastic tree with the apple lighting ornaments into our living room, a living room that mom tried her best to decorate with the little means we had...mom put up the wallpaper by herself...they were rather tacky looking shiny wallpaer with embossed pink roses and pastel green petals accenting the pearly white background...mom even made the effort to pick out the sofa to match the wallpaper...it was a boxy velvety sofa with dark pink flowers and green leaves, and on top of the fireplace stood a big chinese fan...and I remember actually having fun making ornaments to decorate that "made in Taiwan" plastic tree...it even smelled like plastic...mom did her best to make our first home look nice, but it definitely felt very warm and homy, even if we often got injured by the sharp corners of our cheap furniture...but mom did her best...and that was enough...life was simple but we were happy in our home with our plastic christmas tree...
I was even the envy of my classmates, because my dad would always remind my mom not to stinge on the food and just give us whatever we want...so our cupboard was always filled with goodies such as chocolates, chips and candies...whereas my classmates didn't have that kind of freedom in eating whatever they desired...
Who knew, that at 24, I would end up in graduate school, living in New York City and Los Angeles having great expectations in life and living the good life...yes who knew?...but I am fully aware that everything I have is all given to me by my parents and I will forever be grateful to mom and dad for giving me the life I want and even if I never make in life to continue the good life...I will still be grateful for what I was once able to enjoy...and still be grateful to my parents who have to deal with a very difficult and demanding "me"...I just want them to know that I am not oblivious to what they have done and that I am aware of everything that they have given me, providing me with the best, whenever they can...and truely grateful to mom who once said that she would give everything I desired if it was within her means to do so...and so she did...much to my disbelief, she actually bought me that car...and I am truely sorry for being unresonably demanding and stubborn at times...but in an inexplicable way, mom always understands...and so once again, I am truely grateful...even for that plastic tree...I just hope that there won't come a day where I have to disappoint them...because that would be very painful for me, knowing how much they have given me in life and guidance...all beginning with that plastic christmas tree...


Beautiful handmade soaps at the Market...too irresistable to miss... Posted by Hello

More yummy looking soaps... Posted by Hello

Happy Together at the market... Posted by Hello

The Columbus Circle Market in Central Park... Posted by Hello