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Mar. 6th, 2010

Goodbye Livejournal

Dear all,

For those of you who haven't heard, I've moved from Livejournal to Tumblr. It's been a fun 6 years, Livejournal. A lot of drama, a lot of introspection, a lot of comments. I won't delete this blog in case I ever want to go back to it or if anyone blogs friends-only stuff, but for now, if you want to see what I'm up to, here it is: http://naivecynicism.tumblr.com

Cheers,
Ryan

Feb. 10th, 2010

Medical School English

One of the most frustrating things during the past few months has been my plans to go into medical school. After a lot of flip flopping over my commitment and interest in medicine over the past few years, I've made it a goal to make this the year I actually apply. Whether I will get in or not is a shot in the wind; while I work at a place that seems geared towards getting into higher education, I don't know if my background is strong enough still.

In the meantime, I'm trying to read more about medical school through memoirs and first-hand accounts, experience it more saliently as a patient, get into some volunteering, and eventually try to shadow some doctors at the hospital. I shadowed an oncologist once at the hospital and it was a good diversity of patients, from those in remission to those with transplant rejection. Watching a bone marrow graft was probably one of the more traumatizing moments I've seen, but I should probably try again.

But, one thing that's frustrated me to no end as of yet is medical school English requirements. Since I passed AP Literature, I did not have to take much English at Berkeley except one Comparative Literature class for a breadth req. I've since learned (rather late on my part) that some medical schools don't accept AP Literature. So I've been scrambling to try to find a class to take around here to fulfill that last bit.

Pierce College has been stupid. I enrolled for Spring there but discovered that the classes there were for ESL and/or occurred during work. I've been trying to contact them for Summer, but only until today did I get a response. They haven't released their Summer schedule and frankly, I don't know if I want to wait that long to take a class at a location that is pretty out of my way.

CSUN, while only a few blocks from my house, has even less classes to offer in the Summer. I was interested in a Narrative Literature class, where I would write lots of short stories, but I don't know if my creative writing skills are still intact. Emailing the professor or the department advisor didn't help much and I don't know if it's worth enrolling in.

As of now, I'm leaning towards UCLA Extension. I found a small creative writing class taught by an actual screenwriter (she wrote Before Sunset). Trouble is it's a quarter class and I don't know if a semester + a quarter counts towards one year of English. I was thinking of just taking 2 quarters to be safe and maybe having more fun. Only thing is it's more expensive than the prior options but at least it's within range from work.

And in the midst of all this, I'm trying to relax. But I guess this isn't time to just idle by. I think I've done enough of that the past few months.

Jan. 21st, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

Why is it that I picked this time of the night to update my blog? It's been a pretty quiet week at work so I should have plenty of time there. Except it's work and I should be productive there, not create liabilities for myself. Oh well.

So it's 2010. A new year. A new me? Not really. I think I've always made half-hearted attempts at self-improvement that fail and leave me less motivated for future attempts. Not this time. I think my goal this year is to be more proactive with my life. I think of it as a general rule. That means making lists when I don't know what to do with myself, doing new things, taking a few risks and above all, meeting new people.

Part of it is a reaction to this aspect of me. The other day, I noticed when I was talking with a friend after watching Avatar that whenever the subject comes to my life, I always consider myself "boring." And for some reason, I think that's more of a judgment than an honest observation. I think I'm "boring" because my life lacks the pizzaz of my peers, whose lives I can pick and choose interesting tidbits from.

Examples of my boring-ness are:
I've never left the United States.
I don't speak another language fluently.
My career choices are conventional.
I'm not extroverted.
I don't drink, gamble or smoke.
I lack a good sense of rhythm.
My style leaves much to be desired.
I'm not an avid gamer.
I don't follow a lot of TV shows or sports.
You can probably name a lot of artists on my iPod.

There are probably more but that'd be just depressing. But sometimes, I do wonder how boring I am and if there's some idiosyncratic way I can break out of my shell and be interesting. I am my harshest critic after all.

But trying to make myself happy by tackling all these boring aspects seems rather daunting, especially the career one. One at a time I guess? I'm looking into classes over the summer semester at CSUN or Pierce, or maybe Spring Quarter at UCLA since I need another English class so I can expand my choice of med schools. And I'm thinking of volunteering somewhere on the weekends. Or maybe, I just need to be happier with myself. I might be more set in my ways than I'm aware of.

I guess it's also a way of tackling the odd thought that comes to mind when I'm with others, of trying to understand why they like me in the first place (or at least tolerate me) when I don't even really like myself.

Another reason for being proactive is hating the feeling/fear that my life is one big game of CATCH UP.

-

On a similar note, the past few months, I've been trying to get to know Los Angeles better. One thing I've noticed growing up in the San Fernando Valley, a suburban black hole of culture, is that there's this desperation growing up for something to do.

Now that I'm older and able to drive (when I'm not being paranoid about hitting other people), I have the option of actually exploring Los Angeles and its many enclaves. And so far I've been somewhat successful, with the help of some new friends. I saw the famous Watts Towers and the Hollyhock House over winter, both unusual architectural forms of art from opposing sides of the planning and artistic spectra. I've been to West Hollywood for the first time this year, and I saw Utada in concert just yesterday, checking off another one-thing-to-do-before-I-die item.

Still, I feel embarrassed that I bash Los Angeles so often and yet, I realize that I don't understand it fully. I may have grown up with parts of it, but there's something about its unusual history and culture that have not been available to me until now. Maybe people were right to say that the Valley isn't considered Los Angeles (even though it is part of the metropolitan area), but given the Valley's history and suburban nature, I don't think I really appreciate what Los Angeles truly is.

-

With that, I should sleep. Waking up at 6:30AM everyday is just like waking up for school, except it lacks the communal nature of doing it with other students or at least the nap on the bus. If you haven't watched my Youtube channel, I suggest you take some time to do so. I seem to be updating that more frequently than this. But, at least I got my thoughts down and I can still write.

Nov. 15th, 2009

Looking Back

To be honest, I don't like reading my old blog entries. Whenever I attempt to, I get this feeling of embarrassment about their content and how little my mind has changed since writing them. Ideally, I would like to look back and see some kind of steady improvement in terms of my attitude, my career progress, my self esteem, my adventures, etc. But unfortunately, my entries remind me that my life doesn't change much over time and that I don't often live up to the promises that I made to myself months before. Now, if I were more of an optimist, I'd argue that these reflections are just reminders of stuff that I can still accomplish. However, my most instant response is one of disappointment in myself, as these failed promises amount to just missed opportunities.

It's funny how a lot of my friends have stopped blogging. I wonder if the fad died out, if Facebook really took over people's voyeuristic tendencies to spy on each other's lives. I've wondered if I should make the move to Blogspot or Wordpress and start a new blog, but then again, I don't know how many hits this Livejournal gets so I don't know if it'd be worth starting/maintaining another one.

It's been getting cold, so I've stopped swimming. I think my body is getting back at me for being so lazy. Nowadays, I get tired earlier (Daylight Savings didn't help much either). I have a yearlong membership to UCLA's gym so I guess I should try working out there, amongst all the youngsters. I'd rather do some exercise that's less involving, one that requires less awareness of which muscles I'm working on, but I guess that can't be helped now. Unless I want to be content with a rounder belly.

Oct. 11th, 2009

I miss Berkeley

I miss...
... the way clouds rolled through the skies, blanketing the hills with a fine mist.
... catching AC Transit on the way to class, saving me an extra 10 minute walk.
... people-watching on Sproul.
... the atmosphere of complete discontent for the present, warranted and unwarranted.
... how the Campanile tends to dominate the skyline, even with Evans Hall next to it.
... looking for fish and crawdads in Strawberry Creek.
... the obnoxious number of people during special events/holidays/weekends.
... cooking unhealthy food for myself because I couldn't afford a real meal.
... sensory overloads of primary colors during spirit stuff.
... impromptu parties and dinner/lunch dates.
... being in walking distance of everything.
... disharmonious styles of architecture clashing.

I wish...
... I had made an effort to see people more.
... I had thought about my career more thoroughly before I chose majors/jobs.
... I had been more creative and self-expressive.
... I had been more social.
... I could have kept some friendships in spite of bad grudges.
... I was better at keeping touch.
... the Bay Area wasn't so far away or expensive to visit.
... people would stop posting on Facebook how wonderful their lives are.
... I had put less emphasis on school my last semester.
... I had joined NSU sooner.
... I didn’t have so many regrets.

Sep. 13th, 2009

my bad body double

Being at home, I've been trying to devote more time to working out. Since I don't have to study anything and I have more free time than ever before, I put my focus into getting healthier. This means eating smarter and exercise.

As for eating smarter, it's tricky because being at home means there's an essentially limitless supply of food and my parents' tendency to pressure me into eating more. I try to eat a small breakfast every morning, whether that be yogurt or cereal. Lunch varies, but I try not to make it too big (if it is big, the workout's a little harder).

As for exercise, as of now, I try to swim at least 2 times a week. I aim for 30+ 50-meter laps a day, usually focusing on distance. I try to do as many flip turns as possible given that I swim in a 50 meter pool rather than the 25 meter pool I used in HS. Usually, it's a 10 lap warm up, then some set (a pyramid or several 100s), and then maybe something with breaststroke or backstroke if I'm up for it.

I like waking up feeling sore though. It makes me feel like I accomplished something, that I'm not getting completely complacent with my new post-grad life. It's better than being at home I guess and just being on the computer (which is a lot of what I do at work anyways). I just hope I can use an indoor pool when it gets too cold, or get into a gym routine.

moar videos if you haven't seen themCollapse )

Aug. 13th, 2009

to die by your side is such a heavenly way to dieee

I really need to write more often. It helps me consolidate my thoughts. I'm pleasantly surprised with how many views my videos are getting though. There are a lot of them though, so I'll post the recent ones on the bottom.

Work's been good. I think I'm pretty acclimated now but I feel like I need to start taking more responsibilities. It's just hard not getting complacent and lazy. Sometimes, I feel like my mind is losing its edge since I'm not at school, like it's on permanent vacation. Maybe I should take a class in something practical like Statistics or something I might need for med school apps, like an English class since I never really took those in Berkeley. I try to keep my mind a little active, with playing Chess on my iPod, Sudoku, reading the New York Times, etc. but it's tricky. I'm scared that after awhile, my head won't remember a lot of things or that it'll take me longer to process things. And by then, it'll be too late for me to do anything more with myself, if I ever figure what I want to do with myself.

I've done a lot of traveling in the past 3 weeks. I went to Berkeley on the last weekend of July, and I was in New York in the 1st week of August. I had a lot of fun hanging out with friends, being touristy, reminiscing old times, catching up with relatives and what not. Hopefully I can make more random trips to Berkeley, or even New York. There's so much in both cities to see and do that I can't possibly do them all in one weekend.

I feel like at this point, I should be researching medical schools, getting professors to give me letters of recommendation (I don't have a lot of prospects for that), and getting to know the whole healthcare debate. As of now, it's hard for me to tell the lies from the truth in the whole debate, the paranoia from reason, from what issues are based on class/race lines. My gut instinct is that even if the system is not perfect, there's plenty of time to fix it and improve it before the debt weighs too much. What I don't like is inaction, of parading other solutions that are clearly not getting any ground. I'm still sketchy about all this increased welfare for drug addicts, homeless people and the elderly but it'd be great if hospitals could better reimbursed for treating them. I don't know. I'll have to learn more before I can make a better stance.

Oh, I recommend watching (500) Days of Summer. It's romantic, refreshing and mature, if one sided. When they started playing the Smiths though, The Perks of Being a Wallflower came into my head. I have a feeling that had I seen this movie 5 years earlier, it would have an effect on me, but I feel more mature now about romance and relationships, so it didn't as much. Still, I recommend seeing it.





Jul. 8th, 2009

holiday from real

I forgot how terribly relevant Jack's Mannequin's "Everything in Transit" is during the summer. I offhandedly was listening to it this morning while walking to work, and it hit me just how the lyrics changed meaning for me.

Nothing says summer like the pained lyrics of a piano-playing singer-songwriter, battling with leukemia, who misses his girlfriend (wherever she is) and is dealing with the mediocrity of everyday life, airline travel, emotional distance, and dying.

Kinda hits home for me since some of the people I really care about are still in Berkeley. At least in 2 weeks-ish I will be there, if only for a weekend.
____________________________________

On a less sad note, I made more videos of myself.


More on my channel, if you care/can stand my voice for another few minutes.

Jun. 28th, 2009

(no subject)

Wow, I'm really not trying with this blog, am I?

RIP Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and now Billy Mays. Wow, it really isn't a good week to be a celebrity.

Anyways, here's a video for all you BSG fans. I'm a big communitychannel fan, so I thought this heightened her awesomeness.



Jun. 21st, 2009

Talking to my computer

So I make Youtube videos now. I don't know if they're very good, but here's a few of them. I try to make them on a regular basis.






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