Saturday, December 31, 2011

Float on.

"We'll all float on all right..."

So, there went 2011.

2011 has been as crazy as it can be. I had a very good spring and a mediocre summer (dampened by the game that shan't be mentioned and the resulting shenanigans). And then everything just sort of spiraled downwards from then on. My last semester at SFU featured -- of all things -- a science class, and that fact alone was enough to strike down my year like a Messerschmitt in a dogfight. Starting mid-November, I've even been so caught up between school and work that it's left me gasping for sleep, let alone much else that even mildly resembled fun.

Nevertheless it has been interesting year -- not good, not bad, just... well, interesting. An eventful one for sure. To use the old, tired cliche, it's been a roller-coaster ride. Like a roller-coaster ride however, I seemed to have found myself back at where I started.

Oh sure, I found a job at Sport Chek and have done fairly well since (at least I hope so anyway... ahem). And yeah, I am officially finished at SFU as well so my 4-and-a-half-year campaign at Burnaby mountain / Harbour Centre / Surrey Central is officially over. What I found myself silently debating though, is what I managed to accomplish these couple years.

In the most simplistic terms, with work I get money. I get experience and a job title so I can put it in print to show other future possible employers how much of a winner (or a loser) I am. With school I get a piece of paper that verifies me as a student who sat / slept / facebooked through Communication and Political Science lectures for 4 and a half years. With that I can tell you in confidence who Theodor Adorno, Noam Chomsky or Antonio Gramsci are without consulting Wikipedia. They are, in fact, erm... Never mind.

But really, accomplishment?

What have I achieved the past couple years, let alone this year? I gained knowledge. I feel like I am a more knowledgeable, smarter person than I was 4 years ago (although the jury is still out on that one). At the end of the day -- or perhaps more appropriately, year -- it isn't accomplishment until I went out and did something with it. Right now, all I've done is securing a blank piece of paper to be printed with a thousand others before a ceremony six months from now.

And, because I am Asian, it'll probably be mocked mercilessly by my Asian relatives whose kids study at UBC.

There's no denying that upon finishing at SFU, it has left me feeling a bit empty. For one thing, I'll probably miss SFU alright. One of them is likely to manifest itself starting January 1, 2012, in the form of a U-Pass, which I am no longer allowed to carry.

The bottom line is though, knowledge isn't simply exhibited on a piece of paper. Experience even less so -- and considering my wealth of experience as a bus boy / camera salesman / bubble tea server / cashier, I can't even say that I have much in the first place. Both takes time to build. If you have it, people will know.

One of the dreaded questions when I was in University were something along the lines of: "What are you going to do after you graduate?" Well, to be frank, I don't have a clue. We're talking about a future that seemed so distant to me not so long ago, and one that I am now suddenly facing.

I know what I DON'T want to do. I don't want to go back to Hong Kong. I don't want to stay broke forever. I don't want to be alone all the time (which will be tough since I live alone... although my aunt is here so I may as well live alone). I don't want to be absolutely clueless about the future.

I guess it's one of my many quiet frustrations that's been irking me for a while now -- the future. These past couple years I haven't achieved much. That comes later, when I go out and skinny-dip into the real world of 9-5 jobs, saving up for stuff and getting my shit together. And now that I am out of University, the time is now to get out and actually do something.

With the future as unclear as it is now, however, I don't even know where to start. It is rather overwhelming. I guess that will be one of the reasons why 2011 has been a resounding meh for me: 2011 is like that moment when the teacher yells "time's up, pencils down." I'm that kid in class who is unsure about his answers on the scantron and desperately wants to change it. Oh well, too late. 2012 is coming.

Life, to me right now, seems more like a boat without its sails up. For now, I just go wherever the tides take me.

Lately I've been finding myself listening to this song a lot. It really is a fantastic song -- one that creeps up on you and stays inside your head. I've recently paid a lot more attention to their lyrics though, and really -- perhaps I am just worrying too much. You can't plan for everything anyway. People's who's got plans are schemers. And bad things happen to schemers.

Maybe, as Modest Mouse would put it -- life's okay, and we'll all float on all right.

Here's to 2012. Please take me somewhere good this time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I am a hired man.

Yeah, God knows what they were thinking... (seriously, thank you Teresa x 1000)

It is true -- I have a new job now. After all, I am in my last semester at SFU and if I were to get some job experiences under my belt before I dive into the world of poverty -- the time would be now. Seeing how I am only taking three classes, I started job hunting -- well, the iPhone 4S is not going to pay for itself. Neither will the rent. Nor the surging gas prices. And this is ignoring all other expenses such as *long gasp* foodgroceriesphonebillscablebillsinternetbillshydrobillscarinsuranceandetc.

This was about the time when Teresa told me that her workplace is hiring, so I gave it a shot. Next thing I knew, I got myself an interview. Et voilà, I got myself a new job. I know I know, I don't know what they saw in me either.

In all seriousness, it's been over a year already since I had a proper job -- the last one being Zephyr, where I had to make what felt like a million bubble tea drinks per night to satisfy the sheer thirst of the people of Richmond... and myself. Don't get me wrong though, I loved the place.

Still, it has been a while since I worked. So when I stepped in yesterday for my first shift, I was naturally rather nervous -- like a rookie at a training camp (which is coincidentally the title they came up with for their training manual, appropriately.)

So it helps when I realized that it wasn't only my first day on the job, as I was starting my job training with four other people. It definitely helps to know that you are not the only one who is utterly clueless about everything (unlike say, me in a math class where I am mostly the lone idiot), but that there are also new people to start at the bottom of the learning curve too. Although one of them was an employee who transferred from Nova Scotia... So she knows everything.

Anyways, we didn't actually get to do much either. Much of the day was spent going over the training booklet and the rest spent on a guided tour of the entire store to get a good feel of the place. Everyone was nice and seemed to enjoy themselves.

It felt less like a first day at work but more like it's the first day at school -- it was relaxed, and people were given the time to let things sink in to make sure that everyone was on the same page. In other words, it was nice -- if this was at T&T, people would throw you an apron and tell you to get out there to be consumed by an angry mob of Asian housewives (otherwise known as weekend at Metrotown).

So yeah, I'd say the first day went splendidly. Plus, here I am, hired with my very own name tag, a Sport Chek t-shirt and everything. And if you be nice to me, I'd let you use my discounts.

The best thing though? I get to wear my Canucks jersey at work on game days. Booyah.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2008 SFU Draft: A look back.

Part two of the final-semester-at-SFU series.

2008 - 2009 was really, really meh. My second year was plagued with issues such as having my car vandalized (in Surrey), having it broken into (in Surrey), having its tires sliced by a knife (in Surrey), got stuck in a humongous snowstorm (in Surrey... mainly), and being shot at (okay that was in Langley... but it's close enough to Surrey. Someone shot a paintball at my car). Not to mention that there was a GTA-style gang war as well. Guess where?

On top of those, I actually thought that it was a good idea to take four communication courses in the same semester in fall -- as the essays fell on me like an avalanche, needless to say the semester ended like a Greek tragedy. Towards the end of the fall semester I wrote over 14000 words in essays, projects and take-home finals... Yeah, that wasn't fun.

That said, there were some major developments though. I've pretty made up my mind about majoring in Communication at this point (despite some horrible courses in second year), and also decided to kick the tires in the political science department -- with some unexpected success. Even though these poli-sci courses usually meant more essays and readings... Something that we communication students really don't get enough from our courses.

Anyways, most important thing is that I survived the second year at SFU, and here's part two of a recap of all the courses I've taken.

2008 SFU Sophomore Draft.

1st Round (September - December, 2008).

1st pick: CMNS 221 -- Media and Audiences.
Potential: After the horror that was CMNS 130, I wasn't sure what I should major anymore. My cage was rattled, my confidence was shaken. Communications didn't seem quite as appealing anymore. What were my options? Psychology? English? Nah. I didn't have high hopes for this course, but somehow I was crazy enough to take 4 CMNS courses in a single semester after one disastrous outing.
Reality: The result? As it turns out, it didn't go that well. The course content was interesting enough -- it talked about advertising and marketing, as well as various aspects of capitalism that has infiltrated all levels of media, like product placement. Those were real fascinating stuff. And then the prof started talking about modernism and postmodernism, which was right about the moment when he lost me. On the bright side? Teresa Li also took this course. Also an interesting observation: Female turnout rate was unusually high, but that probably has nothing to do with the fact that the professor is a well-dressed guy in his 30s with hair that even Roberto Luongo would be jealous of.
Boom or bust?: Boooooomehhh.

2nd pick: CMNS 235 -- Introduction to Journalism in Canada.
Potential: Not much either. The only reason I wanted to take this course is simply because I wanted to see if I could survive studying journalism.
Reality: As it turns out, I can't. It had a ton of readings (which I didn't do), it had a presentation (which I didn't do... well), it had two papers and a final exam. I didn't do too well in them either. In fact, I don't even think I showed up to even half of the lectures -- it wasn't because the prof was bad or anything (although he was about as monotone as a 40s' LP record), but because the lecture hall was incredibly stuffy and the seats were incredibly uncomfortable. Try sitting in a room like that. It'll drive you insane in 20 minutes. Oh, and the professor I had looked like Steve Jobs.
Boom or bust?: Urgh. It wasn't good at all.

3rd pick: CMNS 253W -- Information Technology.
Potential: I was a bit unsure about this one -- it was another W course which either could mean there'd be an insane amount of writing or almost no writing at all. To make it even more ambiguous, it talks about information technology. The last time I took a course on IT was back in highschool, and I didn't do particularly well...
Reality: Fear no more. This turned out to be a course that talks about the internet and how technology has shaped the media. So naturally, a lot of discussion was also focused on social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. And it shows -- everyone in class was actively visiting these sites on their laptops. Nah, I kid. The class was pretty good. What's even better, it reused one of the old textbooks from the first year TECH courses so I saved a bunch of money there. Also good? Live online screening of the lecture, so I can have the class right in my bedroom. And the professor, Richard Smith, is one of the best in the faculty.
Boom or bust?: This is a class in which I wrote about blogging in all THREE of my (very short) essays. By the end of the semester the professor took us to Whitespot for lunch. Whaddyathink?

4th pick: CMNS 259 -- Acoustic Dimensions in Communications I.
Potential: Not much to speak of. By the time I chose my fourth course of the term, most of the CMNS courses out there were already taken. So I went for the one still with available seats instead. It'd be almost fair to say that I chose this course after a very intense session of eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
Reality: So what is the acoustic dimensions in communications? Sounds. That's right -- this a course about sounds. Cue first suicide. The textbook? Sounds. Essays? Sounds. Hell, we had like eight weekly SOUND journals (700 words each -- they were hardly journals). What were they about? Bloody writing about sounds. Cue second suicide. The first essay required us to sit in a public place for an hour and then write a paper commenting on everything we heard. Bizarre? No no no... X-files was bizarre. This is Bellevue. The big league. The real deal, where no crazy has ever been before. It also doesn't help when the prof was incredibly monotone, with low volume and little frequency changes -- oh hey! I can comment on sounds too! At least the TA was pretty cool.
Boom or bust?: Bust.

2nd Round: (January - April, 2009)

5th pick: CMNS 230 -- Cultural Industries in Canada.
Potential: Unfazed by the sea of mediocrity that was the previous semester, I went for more CMNS courses the semester afterwards. This one had some promise though, talking about music, television and movies. Shouldn't be bad.
Reality: There were three essays. The first one was a 100-word "essay" (although I wouldn't call it that) writing a profile for myself. The second essay was a profile on an actor / actress of my choosing. So I went for Robin Williams and researched by watching his stand-up shows. Third essay? You guessed it! Yet another profile. On who? P.I.X.A.R. So yes, some lengthy research (read: movie watching) has went into this one. There was a final too which worth quite a lot though. No worries, it was an open-book and notes-allowed exam. The final was 6 pages long. We had 3 hours to read our notes.
Boom or bust?: Two words: A minus. Pure awesomeness.

6th pick: CMNS 260 -- Empirical Research Methods.
Potential: Not so awesome? A course about math. Even worse? A course about math that is compulsory. Worse to the point that it makes you want to be a homicidal maniac? A compulsory course about math, and has a class 2 days a week at 8:30 in the morning. This is that course.
Reality: It sucks. People seemed to love it, but they are psychos. Who the heck would have statistics class at 8:30 in the morning? And I just want to throw this out there -- if your English is less than steller, don't fucking teach. I've had it up to here with incompetent teachers trying to teach -- as if I didn't see enough of those in Hong Kong already. I had such a hard time trying to comprehend what my Chinese TA was talking about, it's tragic. I am Chinese and even I didn't know what he was saying.
Boom or bust?: This course is the equivalent of a trainload of kittens crashing into a busload of babies.

7th pick: CMNS 262 -- Qualitative Research in Communications.
Potential: Yet again another course that I was forced to take. Well, when I say "forced", I meant there were three courses to choose from, of which I had to pick two. CMNS 260, the one I mentioned previously; CMNS 261, which allegedly had a 20-page research paper and an 80% student suicide rate (okay I made that up); and this. Since I wasn't insane, I went for this instead.
Reality: This class wasn't bad though, albeit a tad forgettable. The course wasn't that hard at all -- with three moderately long essays but all with pretty interesting topics. One of my essays required me to go to a public venue to record audience response. So we went to see the State of Shock in a concert. Awesome, no? Okay, I had no clue who they were, but it's a concert with a lot of noises and flashy lights. What's not to like?
Boom or bust?: Solid.

8th pick: POL 101W -- Introduction to Politics and Government.
Potential: Since we had to take a certain a mount of elective courses, I was rather stumped as to what to go for. Although it should be noted that this was roughly the same time I discovered the wonderful awesomeness that is the West Wing, the NBC drama that centered around the White House. So this was a bit of an experiment for me to see just how much the knowledge I got from the TV show translated to... Well, a poli-sci course.
Reality: As it turns out, it was pretty darn good. Everything in the course was pretty common sense and straight forward. And after the train wreck that was the previous semester (where I had close to 20 pieces of writing to do), I can pretty much take anything this course throw at me. So I did. The prof for this course was a white, middle-aged guy who was originally from South Africa -- and would occasionally speak with an African accent whenever he caught us napping to liven things up mid-lecture. If this was Hong Kong, the professor would've thrown a fit already.
Boom or bust?: As predicted, not a bad course at all.

3rd Round: (May - August, 2008)

9th pick: LING 110 -- The Wonder of Words.
Potential: As a lot of you may know, I am a huge fan of Stephen Fry -- mainly because he has this almost unnatural way of turning words into something of an art form in the most effortless way possible. Seeing this, I thought LING 110 would offer me a similar thing -- how to have fun with the English language. Hell, even the title "The Wonder of Words" speaks volumes about the potential for this course. What could go wrong?
Reality: Sigh. I had no idea that the professors in the linguistics department were such similar with the freaks at the math and science department -- their idea of "fun" usually concerns equations and memorizing theories like a zombie. In this case, it was "exploring" the origin of words, and pretty much simply memorizing the Latin / Greek / Old English / Middle English form of each bloody word. It is hardly what us normal people would consider fun. Not to mention the utter misleading nature of the course title too. The "wonder" of words? More like "memorize memorize memorize memorize and memorize some more just to get your SODDING ANSWERS COMPLETELY WRONG IN THE FINAL EXAM!" WHAT'S THE BLOODY EFFIN' FUN IN THAT? Needless to say, this was the only course other than CMNS 130 in which I got a C in.
Boom or bust?: $*#&^@)(!#@$%&$@^@#shit@$&#!)!*&&^!

10th pick: POL 151 -- The Administration of Justice.
Potential: After POL 101, I decided to give poli-sci courses another crack at it. This was the only other course in the poli-sci department that was offered in first year. So I took it.
Reality: Ignoring the fact that my professor shared a great resemblance to Richard Attenborough from Jurassic Park, the course was a delight. Yeah yeah, the materials were a tad boring, but as long as they weren't ridiculously hard, no? One awesome thing: I managed to find the textbook used online on Amazon (also authored by John Hammond the prof), so I managed to get it dirt cheap. Even better? Sonia Mak took this course too. Although this meant that she'd study the exam notes that I typed out and somehow get better grades than I did. That douche.
Boom or bust?: Decided to declare a minor in Poli-sci after taking this course, so yeah it was good.


This concludes my second year.

Read about first year courses here.

Coming soon: 2009 SFU Junior Draft.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death of a Giant.

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
- Apple, Inc, "Think Different", 1997.

It sounds incredibly petty, but I wouldn't blame Nokia if they held a collective sigh of relief after they learned of Steve Jobs' passing.

After all, this is a company that dominated the global cell phone market until Steve Jobs invented the iPhone and pushed Nokia off the map for good. Same can be said about Sony too, who was the face of mobile music players in their CD and MD Walkmans until something called the iPod came along and pissed on their parade. To a lesser extent, same can be said about Microsoft too.

Steve Jobs really was something. And it wasn't until his death when I realized how much he has influenced my lifestyle.

Case in point: I've been a PC user since 1996 (and will continue to be). It has never occurred to me until now that I've been to the Apple website many times before -- whether it be to check out the iPods or the iPhones -- and the Microsoft website? Exactly 0 times.

And it's easy to see why.

Going to the Microsoft website, and one will get the impression that he is navigating through an instruction manual -- everything is very organized, it's filled with information, and everything is very practical. On the other hand, taking a visit to the Apple website and it feels like you're going through an IKEA catalogue -- tons of pictures, a very simplistic layout, and what's most important -- it only tells you what you need to know, and usually in two or three sentences. It intrigues you, and sucks you into a vortex that is the world of Apple.

Of course, it also helps when they have products like the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad, the Macs, and Macbooks. Are they the best products in their classes? Not necessarily. But that's the thing: Samsung may make the best smartphone in the world, and Microsoft can continue to make the best PCs and an OS that would put the Macs and the Mac OS X to shame, none of them will ever come close to doing what Steve Jobs can do so effortlessly -- presenting an idea and make it automatically desirable to everyone.

And it's also why I'll continue being an Apple customer.

This, my friends, is how much of a difference good marketing makes. In Steve Jobs' vision, advertising is not about the product. It's about what it represents, and how it will impact your life. The "Think Different" ads and the Mac vs. PC ads are all great examples of inspired marketing that is years ahead of their era. If a rival company presents their product wearing a business suit, Steve Jobs does it wearing a black turtleneck and jeans. The products may not be the best (although I would argue fiercely that they often are), but one of the most important things is that it is fashionable. He took the nerdishness away from technology and made it simple. And cool.

I remember the moment when I saw the first iPod. It was in 2003 and it was my friend Leo's 3rd generation iPod. It looked like nothing I've ever seen before. I was initially so drowned in jealousy I took the iPod away from him for a couple days and wouldn't return it. The design was neat, and it was so damn easy to use. It had four buttons and a clickwheel for crying out loud. My own Korean mp3 player at the time had a million buttons and a menu screen that even a nuclear physicist couldn't comprehend.

It's the ultimate form of simplicity -- everything is so logical and so easy to use that even a guy like me can start using it in a matter of minutes. Unlike other manufacturers at the time, Apple did not throw gazillion random buttons and random flashy blinking lights to make it look impressive and geeky (what I call the Sony syndrome). All it took was a clickwheel and a simple menu screen. To this day, my iPhone 3G was the only phone my mom can just grab it off my hands and start using.

Needless to say, I badly wanted one. It took me another two years to get my first iPod -- the iPod Video. It was everything I ever wanted from a mobile music device -- A big capacity, a simple software to organize all the songs I had, and a simple design. What's even better, I can watch videos on it. So my morning hour-and-a-half bus commutes to school were accompanied by Third Eye Blind, Blink-182 and an episode of Friends. It also looked much better than my Sony Walkman, which could only play my collection of The Beatles CDs.

So the rest is history.

I have an iPod nano (my 4th in total -- after the iPod Video and two iPod Classics), and I had an iPhone. I am about to get a new one (even though I ridiculed Apple for not releasing the iPhone 5 like I predicted). I've spent money on Bose speakers and a radio transmitter for my iPods. All the songs in my iPod come with their album names and the covers (yes I am a bit of a nerd like that). I wouldn't be spending so much time and money on them if they weren't so damn attractive and easy to use.

This was also a guy who developed iTunes in a time when the entire music and entertainment industry was up in arms fighting a war with Napster, WinMX, Kazza and Limewire, and successfully changed their attitude towards music downloading.

Another thing that made Steve Jobs exceptional was his ability to envision what the consumers potentially want, and his ability to prove me wrong. At first I thought the idea of a smartphone was ludicrous. All I wanted from a phone was to be able to talk to people. Why would I care about going online on my phone? Of course, within two years I was checking my email on my iPhone, tweeting and Facebooking.

To be fair, I still ridicule the iPad from time to time, because I do think it's a sized-up iPod Touch that doesn't fit in your pocket anymore. That said, Steve Jobs probably has the last laugh as iPads flooded classrooms and lecture halls, while getting everyone obsessed with Angry Birds like drug addicts.

Like his products, hate his products; there is no denying that Steve Jobs' legacy extends far beyond the computer industry. His impact is seen everywhere in the music and entertainment industry, he revolutionized smartphones, and changed the way technology is marketed. And he did it facing Microsoft, many antagonistic record companies, Nokia, and Google. On October 5, 2011, the world has lost a true giant -- one that has changed the world on a scale that is comparable to the likes of Edison, Einstein, Ford, and Bell.

That's quite some legacy for one man.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Show me what you got, Apple.

Chances are, the "talk" won't last very long before the audience raids the stage to rip the phone off of Steve Jobs.

As you may all know, my beloved iPhone 3G was stolen from me while I was vacationing in Hong Kong last year. Almost at the same time, my iPod Classic 80GB decided to kamikaze itself to death. In other words, I've gone from having two Apple products down to none.

Since then, I've tried to survive this Apple drought with an 8GB 4th generation iPod nano to combat the lack of music between travels; and a LG phone that I've had since grade 10 to combat... Well okay, no one ever calls me anyway. How have I done? Well, I've gone nearly suicidal when we ran out of music to play during the one-week roadtrip to Wyoming (always prepare over 2000 songs for a trip that long), and my gigantic dinosaur of a phone -- man, that thing deserves a paragraph by itself.

My old LG phone has quite the character. The flip screen flops about like a dog with its ears sticking out a car window; it has the reception performance of an old Soviet radio tower; and when it does get calls, it drops 'em faster than a drunk man walking on stilettos. On the bright side, sending a text message feels a lot like going on Twitter -- in that it has a 100-character limit before it bans me from sending a message. It forces me to be creative.

Suicidal, too.

My, you have no idea how long I've waited to retire you again.

Obviously, to hold out for this long without a proper iPod and a smartphone turns out to be, well, quite a challenge. I've always maintained that the release of the next iPhone -- the iPhone 5 a.k.a. the-most-anticipated-Apple-product-since-the-last-Apple-product-that-rolled-out-of-their-factory -- would be nigh.

Yep. I started saying it since March. It's October now, and it hasn't happened yet. Like Harold Camping, we both aren't very good at predicting the Second Coming. (the method being something along the lines of: "March! No? April! No? What about May then? Oh bugger... June! July? August?..." etc etc)

Unlike Mr. Camping, however, I finally have proof that the rapture-- I mean, the release of the iPhone 5, is happening.

And yes bitches, it's happening tomorrow. Already rumours have been flying all over the place -- the phone will have a new A5 chip that would put the hadron collider to shame, a camera that could rival the Hubble Telescope, an operating system that could cure cancer, a storage that can store thousands of hours of music (or around 10 songs by Pink Floyd), and a brushed-Aluminum case that is smoother than a baby's bottom.

Oh, apparently there's this crazy rumour about how you can use it to call your friends too. Although obviously you won't have any friends, because you'd be too busy locked in your bedroom playing Angry Birds on the Retina® display.

You Android and Blackberry fanboys just weep in your misery while I get my hands on my future iPhone 5. Sure, it'll probably bankrupt me and I'll probably be doing time for all the banks I robbed to get my hands on one. But hey, it'll be worth it. Anything that could put my cell phone back in retirement would be great. All those time I spent waiting for a new iPhone will soon be over. I can have an insane amount of songs with me everywhere I go again. My life will be complete.

Can't wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve tomorrow. Apple, you've managed to get me all hyped up.

... So if it isn't good, I will come to California to shove my old LG phone up your ass.

Monday, September 26, 2011

2007 SFU Draft: A look back.

Part one of the final-semester-at-SFU series.

Rewind back a couple years. It's 2007. I've just graduated the horror that was high school, and ready to move on with my life. To where exactly? Hmm, not so sure. UBC didn't want to take me, SFU didn't seem to want to take me either, UVIC didn't even humour me with a response, while Thompson Rivers University and UNBC all seemed too eager to take me in their arts program (to all out there who hasn't heard of these universities, don't worry -- I haven't either*). It was so comical that even the journalism program at Langara didn't want me. Lan-bloody-gara. It was like having my application rejected at the Canadian Alliance of Rejected Outcasts (membership: 1).

Things were looking grim. I was about to be shipped off to Kamloops for university. My math grades were uglier than Piers Morgan's face, I got a 4 in my LPI, and oh look -- Dr. Swain from the counsellor's office screwed something up again. My summer in 2007 would then consist of being employee of the month at T&T supermarket as a busboy. All my Asian relatives would then look at me as an example for their kids: "you see Simon over there? Now he is not in UBC and he's working at T&T everyday. See what happens when you don't work hard enough at school?"

It wasn't until the middle of June when Simon Fraser University sent me an email admitting me to TechOne, which was an "excellent set of first-year courses that will enable you to pursue the degree of your choice at SFU!" (Read: You're not good enough for our Arts and Social Science program, so here's a random program you can play with for a year while we figure out what to do with your sorry ass.)

Fast forward. It's now 2011. I am a 4th year Communication Major and Political Science Minor at SFU about to graduate, and ready to move on with my life. To where exactly? Hmm, not so sure... How things change, eh?

Anyways, in honour of me surviving the past four years at SFU, I'll look back at all the courses I've ever taken -- draft style. Note: This has nothing to do with other mainstream sports drafts whatsoever. No. Especially the logo. This is completely original.

2007 SFU Freshmen Draft.

1st Round (September - December, 2007).

1st pick: Tech 106 -- Spatial Thinking and Communications.
Potential: Not much really -- it's 1 of 4 compulsory courses at TechOne, and the term "spatial thinking" is as vague as it gets. What is it exactly? Something about designing three-dimensional looking cubes and how that could relate to communicating ideas. Erm, yeah.
Reality: As expected, the course was as vague and bizarre as it gets. There was quite an amount of drawing random objects on a computer. The book was thicker than the holy bible but didn't teach me anything useful. We did have to design and build a model for our term project though -- and we came up with a wooden mechanical-esque thingy that allows you to control a guy to hit a Mexican pinata (and yes you're reading this right). Alas, I didn't do much useful compared to my group members. We got an A in the project.
Boom or bust?: Meh.

2nd pick: Tech 114 -- Technology in Everyday Contexts.
Potential: Much like the other one, this was a bit of a mystery to me before I took this course.
Reality: This is still a mystery to me after I took this course. Academic-wise I had no idea what was going on -- the professor just kept on quoting Marshall McLuhan and how "the medium is the message" -- I know, right? I remember playing around on computers a lot. The class was a slack-fest in general -- we just spent time on macs going online and not doing anything, which was sooooo much fun. Ended up with a B+ in the end -- so it can't be too bad.
Boom or bust?: The jury is still out on that one. I can tell you though, it was fun.

3rd pick: IAT 244 -- Digital Photography I.
Potential: Highly-touted, supposedly a super-easy course that talks about something I happen to be moderately good at -- photography. Should be an easy one for me.
Reality: What I hadn't realized is that any courses that's art-related is prone to arguments over artistic interpretation. "I told you already that the design of the lighting is meant to portray the subject in a blah blah blah manner!" "... Meh, I'm giving you a B-." The prof was a nice enough guy, but the TA was from Poland or something and didn't speak English very well. Which made all the arguing much more difficult.
Boom or bust?: Not bad at all, but not that great either.

4th pick: CMNS 110 -- Introduction to Communication Studies.
Potential: Back then -- way before my life was inundated by all the essay writing I've had to do these 4 years at SFU, there was a point when I actually wanted to take journalism as a major. Alas, they don't have journalism at SFU, while UBC offers it as a graduate program. So instead I gave this a shot, and the rest is history.
Reality: The class was fairly basic -- all the theories were learned here, which almost guaranteed a boring class. Not quite so, however, because my professor turned this ship around quickly. Picture an old, bearded 60-ish-year-old guy who dresses like he is a detective from the 1950s. Imagine him as a grumpy person who is mad about everything in the world. Add a couple of "fucks" and "cunts" in his dictionary. Now picture him teach this class. Entertainment value: A+.
Boom or bust?: Actual course grade: B-. But doesn't matter, one of the best classes I've ever taken.

2nd Round: (January - April, 2008)

5th pick: IAT 100 -- Systems of Media Representation.
Potential: High. Everybody kept telling me that it's the easiest class in the world / GPA booster / best class ever / savior of humanity.
Reality: Blurgh. Worst class ever. The prof was a douche. HTML was easy, but then it all turned to shit when they started teaching flash. Colour me defeated. Promised myself that I'd never take another IAT class in my life ever again.
Boom or bust?: Bust.

6th pick: Tech 101W -- Communication, teamwork and process.
Potential: First W course ever taken -- it was meant to be a "writing intensive" course, writing essays were to be expected in this.
Reality: It was writing intensive alright. One essay. One 1000-word essay was as intense as it got. It wasn't much work at all, but they did manage to teach me a little something about researching for papers, which ended up being pretty darn useful for the 9325346 papers I ended up writing the next couple years.
Boom or bust?: Meh (one can't help but be a tad alarmed that most TechOne courses are just a fine collection of adequacy -- you probably won't remember much about it two weeks after you've finished the course)

7th pick: Tech 124 -- Design thinking.
Potential: Supposed to be similar to Tech 114 -- focusing the communication side of things in design.
Reality: Nope, still can't tell you what "communication side of things in design" really is. For our term project, we had to redesign a skytrain station to reflect... Something about Surrey. So I took the Surrey Central Station and turned it into a Hong Kong MTR-esque station, only to find out that my TAs weren't really fond of it. This was about the same time when I stopped liking my TAs. At the end we came up with the design and I named our group "PenIsland" -- and I am not joking -- much to the delight of our TAs.
Boom or bust?: So-so. It was better than all the other Tech courses.

8th pick: CMNS 130W -- Mass Communication.
Potential: After the delight that was CMNS 110, I thought CMNS 130W would be very much the same thing -- fascinating course with tons of fairly useful information. If I do well in this, then I'll be pretty much set as a Communications major at SFU.
Unfortunately, I didn't do very well. As a matter of fact, this course still stands today as the worst class I've performed in (a putrid C). The prof was monotone, the course was boring, it was horribly disorganized, the TAs were harsh markers, and I had my first taste of a truly writing intensive course -- registering 3 essays, 1 presentation, 1 gigantic video project in four months. To give you an idea of how bad everything was, I got an A in the video project. Still I only got a C. After I was done with this course I was scared shitless and was no longer certain whether I wanted to do CMNS anymore.
Boom or bust?:

3rd Round: (May - August, 2008)

9th pick: FAN X99 -- Analytical / Quantitative Reasoning.
Potential: Meh. It's math and I had to take it because of some stupid SFU regulation about me needing to take foundational math courses if I didn't do better than a 70% in math 12. Pfft, who'd do that well anyway? On the bright side, it's the last class in my first year.
It was awesome. It was fun, exciting, and it opened my eyes to new things I hadn't seen before. It's where I met my cousins too -- and I haven't seen them in years. Oh, I am sorry. Are we talking about this shitty course? I thought we're talking about how I took two weeks off from this class to go on a trip to Toronto + Montréal + New York City + Philadelphia + Washington DC.
Boom or bust?:


This concludes my first year.

Coming soon: 2008 SFU Sophomore Draft.

*To the people of the fine towns of Kamloops and Prince George: Please don't kill me. Although even if you do, that's quite some traveling to do just to kill a person, no?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Not a lot of things have gone the way I wanted lately. For one, technology has a vendetta toward me lately it seems -- things have gone wrong with my laptop, my headphones and a game I forked over 60 bucks for. School's started and classes have been less than steller, to be honest. I finally escaped from a long dreadful semester of statistics, only to find myself emerging into a class that talks about geometry and trigonometry. I've spent a lot more time being alone at home as of late and as a result, my mind wanders off in all directions and brings back an avalanche of stupid thoughts. I have a bad tendency to over-think at times, and there are only so many comedy shows on YouTube to distract myself with before I become possessed by the curse of my own mind again.

Yes, I've been down lately.

It's usually times like this when I find myself wondering about the ideals vs. reality -- the what-ifs; if-nots; wouldn't-it-be-great-if... blah blah blah. "If" could be such a powerful word precisely because it brings you to a world that doesn't exist. If things went the way you wanted. If only. Reality is often more disappointing, isn't it? Recently I found myself thinking about an alternate universe where, Simon, a 22-year-old in Vancouver, lives in a world where things goes his way just a little more.

"If only..."

In an ideal world, my headphones wouldn't be so flimsy that it breaks whenever I pull the cord.

In an ideal world, the hinge of my laptop screen wouldn't be so flimsy either.

In an ideal world, the sales person wouldn't lie to me by saying that the laptop came with international warranty when it actually applies in Asia only. Now I have a laptop that would disintegrate if I bring it out and HP Canada wouldn't fix it. And the warranty is expiring in 3 days.

In an ideal world, NHL 12 won't be the most overpriced, glitchy and laggy piece of horse manure that I've ever played. And I would actually enjoy playing it right now.

In an ideal world, the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future and the portal from Being John Malkovich exist so I could go back to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final -- where I'd wait until the final 15 minutes, hack into Tim Thomas's head and force him to let in 5 goals just before the game is over.

In an ideal world, I'd be driving a Volkswagen Golf GTI or an E30 M3.

In an ideal world, I would have longer fingers so I can play chords properly instead of having the guitar sitting in the corner of the closet for years now.

(Actually I wish I wouldn't be so shit at music in general...)

In an ideal world, I would write and speak much better English than I could now. I've always envied the likes of Stephen Fry and Aaron Sorkin -- who always seem to have the ability to play with words so effortlessly and taking language into a true art form.

In an ideal world, I wish I'd come to Canada sooner. My 17-year stay in Hong Kong was 10 years too long.

In an ideal world, university wouldn't be such a creativity-killer. I wish I could enjoy writing again.

In an ideal world, high school in Hong Kong wouldn't be such a confidence-killer either.

In an ideal world, I wouldn't have recurring nightmares about studying in Hong Kong because of a broken education system.

In an ideal world, I would've preferred if that same broken education system didn't drive my friend Bernard to suicide at the age of 15.

In an ideal world, my relatives would stop nagging me about moving back to Hong Kong. It isn't going to happen.

In an ideal world, I would stop being jealous of other people's happiness.

In an ideal world, I wouldn't be still trapped in a relationship that ended over 4 years ago.

In an ideal world, it'd be more "Happy Together" that reminds me of you, rather than "Two Weeks in Hawaii".

In an ideal world, we'd be living on the same continent.

In an ideal world, the sight of you two together on facebook wouldn't crush me like a freight train.

In an ideal world, I should've manned up and said what needed to be said when I saw you last year. I lost courage and words escaped me.

In an ideal world, you wouldn't come crying to me everytime he breaks your heart only to go off again when he does superficial things to cheer you up.

In an ideal world, I would be able to move on and be happy for other people.

In an ideal world, things wouldn't be so hard.

In an ideal world, I would stop wondering about these things.


In this night I need to call you,
but all our lines are blown

If only you knew how empty I feel
Maybe then you're lonely too
And it's tearing through you like a puncture wound
Maybe no one knows what to do
When we know we're alone
In a temporary home
Maybe we'll realize
That's a blessing in disguise
A blessing in disguise

Well don't you know the sound of anger
Brings a dark result
And every insult is like a lightening bolt
So go home now oh yeah you do not have one
To some guy that you don't know
And make a baby
That won't change my problem though

I spent the last three years setting myself
On fire for you, I spent the last three years
Never knowing if what you say is true
And it will be this way til one of us dies
Is that a blessing in disguise?
It's a blessing in disguise?

And I tell myself what we're living for
And say rejoice evermore
Till one of us dies

Well I confess that so far happiness
Eludes me in my life
You better hurry up if it's ever to be mine
Better hurry up now if we're ever going to find
What we're living for
If it's not you anymore
I'll learn to sing
Rejoice evermore

Third Eye Blind - Dao of St. Paul.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

O Summer, where art thou?

"Oh look, there it is!"

Summer has been woefully short this year.

Of course, it's not helped by the fact that I took summer this year as well. But when one is desperate to graduate, what can you do?

I definitely abandoned my blog yet again. So blogging wasn't one of the many things I did this summer. Meh. I did plenty of other things though, so I guess that's a consolation. Aside from school and the essays that latches on like leeches, I also took (gasp) a statistics course! And I did not fail! I know I know, the chances of me taking anything related to math AND not have the final result looking like it's been destroyed by a Texas-sized meteor is just, as they call it, astronomical.

P(me taking a statistics course) x P(me passing the statistics course) = Get the hell out of here, you kiddin'?

Well, thanks to one of SFU's many rules applied to undergraduates, I was forced to take it because somehow every student will be better-equipped for the horrors of society if they know how to add some numbers together to make another number. I know, crazy eh?

It hasn't been a bad summer though, I must say. And it's not only because I did not fail my stupid stats course.

June, 2011.

Ahh, June. Normally this is the time when school is in full swing and I'd be busy crapping my pants because of a) essays; b) midterms; c) presentations; d) my aunt hogging the washroom. This year though? It's a tad different. Thanks to some stellar performance by the Vancouver Canucks instead of being dismissed for the third time in three consecutive years by the assholes in Chicago, we made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

It's funny what happens when a major sports team make it this far -- everything just sort of... stops. Statistics? Pfft. Essays? Meh. Midterms? Who gives a flying crap! I don't even know the names of my professors! OH LOOK! ALEX BURROWS JUST SCORED IN OVERTIME! HAHA TIM THOMAS YOU SUCK! WE'RE BRINGING HOME THE CUP THIS YEAR! SUCK IT BRUINS!!...

... As far as I am concerned, the finals stopped right there. I don't remember anything that happened between game 3 to 7. What? We had a scoring drought? Luu is being blamed for everything again? Riot? What riot? The day before my birthday? Now, that's something I should be able to remember now, isn't it?

Oh, right.

June also happens to be the month of my birthday. So Sonia Mak and Teresa Li decided to throw me the best surprise party in the history of the universe.

Thanks people!

Also scored three Canucks jerseys in one night -- which I was going to wear all summer, but...

July, 2011.

The Cup-denial phase starts. This is when you get back to your normal, boring life and sob in quiet depression over the loss. Of course, such is not helped by the fact that Vancouver suddenly pissed rain for a couple weeks and turned into November. In this time period, you're willing to stab anyone who's from Boston. Hell, anyone from New England who speaks with a weird accent (think Matt Damon in The Departed) would be vulnerable. Alas, since we're Canadians, we just spend most of the time quietly sobbing in a corner. And saying sorry.

This is when I downloaded roughly 50 movies and old television shows. Dr. Strangelove? Check. Amélie? Check. First season of ER with George Clooney still in the cast? You bet! Countless nights were spent watching videos on my computer while I sobbed to my heart's content.

Thank you, ER. Although I'd be much happier if you weren't set in Chicago.

August, 2011.

August was really the month when summer started for me. Summer semester was nearing the end, and I really couldn't give a rat's ass towards the gigantic failure that is statistics. I wasn't really bothered with my political science paper either -- I wrote the darn thing in 12 hours. All 3500 words of it. You'd imagine my surprise then, when I saw this on my own paper:

"Simon, you're the best paper writer in the world. A+. Signed, professor."

I landed on a wedding gig, so with my painfully amateurish photo equipment I yet again took photos for a wedding -- this time, some engagement shots in Gastown. However, it went splendidly, and happy couple Owen and Saskia couldn't be more sweet and made the afternoon ever more fun for me.

Best photoshoot yet.

In keeping with the tradition of July / August being the road-trip period (2008 July: Toronto > Montreal > NYC > Philadelphia > DC; 2009 July: Ucluelet, BC; 2010 August: Miami, FL), three separate trips to Seattle were in order. Observation #1: there are a couple of USAF fighter jets doing random fly-bys over Downtown Seattle in the middle of the day for reasons unknown, which was quite a sight. Observation #2: The Cheesecake Factory makes awesome cheesecakes. Verdict: Seattle is quite awesome.

My parents also suddenly decided to come into town, blitzkrieg-style. Pretty glad to see them, especially this time I got a surprise new camera from them. Which we took to Yellowstone. Oh, have I mentioned that we drove to Yellowstone National Park? No? Well, we drove to Yellowstone National Park. Quite some awesome pictures taken over there. Arguing the choice of music played in the car for 7 days with my cars, on the other hand, was less than desirable. I also got caught doing almost 80 in a 65 zone in the middle of Montana, by what seemed to be the friendliest cop I've ever met.

Good evening sir. How are you?
Er, good.
Are you in a race?
Me: No, sir.
Cop: (smiling) Are you winning?
Me: Er, no, sir.
Cop: Do you know how fast you were going?
Me: I don't know... Around 75?
Cop: Hmm you're quite close. I clocked you at 78. This is a 65 zone at night.
Me: Oh, I am sorry. (thinking to self: fuck, fuck, fuck...)
Cop: May I have your driver's license please?
Me: (scrambles to find wallet, which seems to have disappeared in the most inopportune time, but found it anyway)
Cop: (looks at license) Where is "Burnaby"?
Me: Er, that's in Vancouver, sir.
[Few moments later]
Cop: Alright you're free to go. Just keep it under 65 for the rest of the way because you might hit a deer this time of night. I don't want you hittin' any deers.
Me: Yes, sir.
Cop: Where are you headin' to?
Me: Whitefish.
And then my dad pretty much defused the whole situation by asking
Dad: Do you know any good motels over there?
Me: (has a heart attack)
Cop: Oh... Well, there are plenty of motels over there. Do you want a pool? Try the Best Western o'er there. It's pretty nice. Just head into town and turn right about a mile in. Can't miss it.
Me: Thank you very much.
Cop: Yeah no problem. Just try to keep it under 65 'cause there are deers around here. Y'all take care now.
Instinctively I went and shook his hand. Amazingly, he obliged. After that, I buggered off and did 55 the rest of the way. Now, picture this happening to me, but in LA:
[Helicopters hovering around, 10+ Ford Police Interceptors parked behind my car, sirens blaring, guns blazing]
Cop: (through microphone) Driver! Get the fuck out of the vehicle!
Me: (Stumbles out of the car, falling because I can't feel my legs. Gets tackled by 20 police officers, gets hit in the head by a police baton, Arrested Development style)
I kid, I kid. Yellowstone was quite awesome. My 5-year streak of no speeding tickets issued by a cop lives on. Although combined with the three trips to Seattle, the distance I've driven this month could've taken me to Halifax, Nova Scotia. So I'm a little tired of driving, you could say.

Oh well, school just started now. So soon I'll revert back to getting tired of a) essays, b) midterms, c) presentations and d) living alone.

RIP Pavol Demitra and the victims of the Lokomotiv plane crash.


For those curious about my 30-day song challenge that was abandoned like an orphan in a Dickens novel, here's the whole list.

Day 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
Day 2 - your least favorite song: Black Eyed Peas - Fergalicious.
Day 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates: You Make My Dreams.
Day 4 - a song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On.
Day 5 - a song that reminds you of someone: Hellogoodbye - Two Weeks in Hawaii.
Day 6 - a song that reminds you of somewhere: Hot Hot Heat - YVR.
Day 7 - a song that reminds you of a certain event: Green Day - Holiday.
Day 8 - a song that you know all the words to: Third Eye Blind - Motorcycle Drive By.
Day 9 - a song that you can dance to: Village People - YMCA.
Day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep: Maclean - German Industrial City Retract.
Day 11 - a song from your favorite band: Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life.
Day 12 - a song from a band you hate: Nickelback - Far Away.
Day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure: Loco Locass - Le But.
Day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love: Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.
Day 15 - a song that describes you: Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer.
Day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate: The All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret.
Day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio: Jason Mraz - I'm Yours.
Day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio: Hot Hot Heat - Middle of Nowhere.
Day 19 - a song from your favorite album: Maclean - Much Better People.
Day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry: Metallica - Enter Sandman.
Day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy: Jackie Wilson - I Get the Sweetest Feeling.
Day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad: Rent - Will I
Day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding: Elvis Presley - Can't Help Falling in Love.
Day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral: Justin Bond & the Hungry March Band - In the End.
Day 25 - a song that makes you laugh: Rent - La Vie Boheme.
Day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument: The Beatles - Yesterday.
Day 27 - a song that you wish you could play: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird.
Day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty: Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter.
Day 29 - a song from your childhood: Backstreet Boys - Everybody.
Day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year: AC/DC - Night Prowler.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."
- Jack Layton, 1950-2011.

Monday, May 9, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 9. (continued)

Day 9: A song that you can dance to: Village People - YMCA. (1978).

[Embedding failed -- click here for song]

Honestly, who doesn't know how to dance to this song? This song is a sports anthem, disco classic, gay rights anthem and racial equality anthem all rolled into one. Not a lot of people would admit it, perhaps. This song however was the song we listened to on the school bus on the way to the YMCA concentration summer camp. No joke, the bus driver danced to it... While he was driving, rather alarmingly.

There's no denying it though. We ALL know how to do the YMCA dance.

[Note: Yes yes yes, I realize I have skipped a month of blogging -- so I am picking this up where I left off... Sort of.]

Runner up: Michael Jackson - Billie Jean. (1982)
This is a song that most people would probably admit they know how to dance to (and most of them would probably be lying). Now obviously, I am one of the few who knows how to moonwalk.


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams.
April 4 - a song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On.
April 5 - a song that reminds you of someone: Hellogoodbye - Two Weeks in Hawaii.
April 6 - a song that reminds you of somewhere: Hot Hot Heat - YVR
April 7 - a song that reminds you of a certain event: Green Day - Holiday
April 8 - a song that you know all the words to: Third Eye Blind - Motorcycle Drive By.
May 9 - a song that you can dance to: Village People - YMCA.
May 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep:

Friday, April 8, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 8.

Day 8: A song that you know all the words to: Third Eye Blind - Motorcycle Drive By. (1997)

One of the most beautifully written song ever. Love how this song really comes alive midway through. Could be a painful song to listen to at times too because of the imagery... But then what good is a song if it doesn't evoke your emotions?

And there's things I would like to do
That you don't believe in
I would like to build something
But you'll never see it happen

And there's this burning
Like there's always been
I've never been so alone
And I've, I've never been so alive

Runner up: Third Eye Blind - Wake For Young Souls. (2003)


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams.
April 4 - a song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On.
April 5 - a song that reminds you of someone: Hellogoodbye - Two Weeks in Hawaii.
April 6 - a song that reminds you of somewhere: Hot Hot Heat - YVR
April 7 - a song that reminds you of a certain event: Green Day - Holiday
April 8 - a song that you know all the words to: Third Eye Blind - Motorcycle Drive By.
April 9 - a song that you can dance to:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 7.

Day 7: A song that reminds you of a certain event: Green Day - Holiday. (2005)

Oh yes. Every time I listen to Holiday I couldn't help but be reminded of a Canucks game. More specifically, when the Sedins do insane things like this:

Or this:

And of course, this:

"Daniel to Burrows to Daniel to Henrik HE SCORES! Oh what a thing of beauty!"

I want to hear Holiday being played over and over again come playoffs. Oh yes.


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams.
April 4 - a song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On.
April 5 - a song that reminds you of someone: Hellogoodbye - Two Weeks in Hawaii.
April 6 - a song that reminds you of somewhere: Hot Hot Heat - YVR
April 7 - a song that reminds you of a certain event: Green Day - Holiday
April 8 - a song that you know all the words to:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 5 & 6.

Day 5: A song that reminds you of someone: Hellogoodbye - Two Weeks in Hawaii. (2006)

Never had a song that rings more strongly about a person than this one. This is the song that will always remind me of you.

Definitely one of my favourites.

Runner up: Third Eye Blind - Water Landing. (2009)
(this song comes pretty darn close too, but Two Weeks in Hawaii is better)


Day 6 - A song that reminds you of somewhere: Hot Hot Heat - YVR. (2010)

Another band that is very underrated. Hot Hot Heat is quite an awesome alternative band that has a distinctively West Coast Vancouver sound (which is appropriate since they are from Victoria). I mean, watch the video. Can't get any more Vancouver than that, can it? And it's called YVR for christssakes. And it heavily features the world renowned BC bud...

And sure enough this song does not exactly sound like your typical alternative song -- and nothing wrong with that really, as Hot Hot Heat is neither the most radio-friendly band out there nor do they try to be. This song is not very catchy, yet somehow it grew on me. (and yes I play this song every time I drive near the airport)

Fly into YVR
Get myself in a car
Get to the people that will keep me alive
Frostbitten drunken skids
You make it howl, kids
Something about you, I just trust you tonight

Runner up: Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle. (1987)
(this song should be LA's official anthem)


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams.
April 4 - a song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On.
April 5 - a song that reminds you of someone: Hellogoodbye - Two Weeks in Hawaii.
April 6 - a song that reminds you of somewhere: Hot Hot Heat - YVR
April 7 - a song that reminds you of a certain event:

[Whoops -- too busy yesterday working on my presentation that I didn't have time to update the 30-day song challenge. Consider the blogging streak over?]

Monday, April 4, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 4.

Day 4: A song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On. (2000)

Somehow, this song always reminds me of my old friend Bernard whom I've known since elementary school. On June 10, 2004, he took his own life at 15 years of age. He was a victim of Hong Kong's failed education system.

I miss you buddy.

Runner up: Third Eye Blind - The Background.


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams.
April 4 - a song that makes you sad: U2 - Walk On.
April 5 - a song that reminds you of someone:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 3.

Day 3: A song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams (1981)

Who said there's no good music in the 80's?

Listening to this when essays and presentations are slaughtering me really brightens up my day... Such as now.

And yes (500) Days of Summer couldn't have portrayed this song better.

Runner up: Jackie Wilson - I Get The Sweetest Feeling. (1968)
Just listen to it. You can't not love this song.


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy: Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams.
April 4 - a song that makes you sad:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 2.

Day 2: Your Least Favourite Song: Fergie - Fergalicious. (2006)

My oh my. Where do I begin.

Yesterday it took me about 10 minutes to figure out which song is my current favourite. This one though? Oh, I don't know, about a minute?

This is what's wrong with popular culture -- the lack of substance, a music video that make my eyes bleed, the absurdity of the lyrics, the lack of skills all around. Listening to this song gives me a brain hemorrhage -- and frankly Fergalicious isn't even remotely the worst out there. It's close, but it's not the worst. Fergalicious is just hilariously bad. So bad that it makes Video on Trial's review that much more awesome.

Listening to this song is like listening to the sound of a truckload of kittens crashing into an orphanage. It's an insult to my ears. It's evil. It's what the Third Reich would come up with. But hey, the good news is there are much worse out there.

There are just some that is so bad that it is no longer entertaining to laugh at it. Songs that are so bad -- so bad that it's just utterly putrid that one can't even get worked up about it anymore but to totally give up any hopes on humanity. Songs like this; or this; or this -- all of them so engineered you'd be surprised if the artists don't have an electronic voice box in their bloody throats. Fair enough, I've had a loathing for this new-age pop / hip-hop nonsense for a while now, so I am willing to admit that I am biased. Seriously though, whatever happened to the old-style hip hop that was all about social injustice and empowerment? As they say now, hip hop is now all about bitches and hoes. Nothing more than a corporate sell-out.

Not to mention that stuff like autotune will continue to destroy music until it becomes something like an apocalyptic ruin.

Sigh, what has this world come to?

Runner up: Crazy Frog - Axel F. (2005) It's just so horrible. Nothing annoys the bejesus out of me more than this crap.


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song: Fergie - Fergalicious.
April 3 - a song that makes you happy

Friday, April 1, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 1.

Yes, I have succumbed to the devil.

I am never really that big on doing anything that probably no one really cares about -- like those online quizzes and what not. After all, it's not like I don't have enough on plate already, why should I spend half an hour doing a quiz that doesn't serve anything other than being an adrenaline shot for my ego?

But you know, my good friend (and worst enemy) Sonia Mak is doing this on Facebook and she was trying to persuade me into doing this, and I thought: Why not? It's not like I don't have 2 presentations and an essay coming up next week; another two the following week; and a final by the end of this month anyway... But then, the whole point of this is about music -- which is something I definitely love (and unfortunately very talentless in).

... And I really want to go back to blogging again. Really, this shouldn't take me too long to write.

So starting today until April 30, here's my 30 songs that... do something to me. Just read the bloody list at the bottom.


Day 1: Your Favourite Song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires. (2008)

It's not just this song, really. Death Cab For Cutie has always been a very underrated band -- considering how deep and melodic a lot of their songs really are. In the age of auto-tune and the soulless, top-40 bullcrap (more on that tomorrow) that most mainstream artists make these days, you've really got to respect what DCFC represents -- the rawness and simplicity of their music that is not adulterated by digitization. The Narrow Stairs album in 2008 was a particularly brilliant one (and sadly, one that I only discovered late last year); and Grapevine Fires is one of the finest songs in it.

Sure enough, the music video itself is a tad eccentric -- but it certainly meshes well with their style. The sadness, the incredible imagery, and the profound helplessness in the face of tragedy -- all coupled together in this song. At the end, if all else fails and nothing could be done, sometimes the only thing we can really do in is to sit back and hope for the best. No matter what, life goes on and everything will eventually be all right.

And the news reports
On the radio said it was getting worse
As the ocean air fanned the flames
But I couldn't think
Of anywhere I would've rather been
To watch it all burn away
Burn away

This song -- for now anyway -- is my favourite song.

Runner up: Third Eye Blind - Semi-charmed Life. (1997)
(simply because Third Eye Blind is the best band ever and I've always loved this song since high school)


April 1 - your favorite song: Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires.
April 2 - your least favorite song
April 3 - a song that makes you happy
April 4 - a song that makes you sad
April 5 - a song that reminds you of someone
April 6 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
April 7 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
April 8 - a song that you know all the words to
April 9 - a song that you can dance to
April 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
April 11 - a song from your favorite band
April 12 - a song from a band you hate
April 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
April 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
April 15 - a song that describes you
April 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
April 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
April 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
April 19 - a song from your favorite album
April 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
April 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
April 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
April 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
April 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
April 25 - a song that makes you laugh
April 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
April 27 - a song that you wish you could play
April 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
April 29 - a song from your childhood
April 30 - your favorite song at this time last year