Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Makings of a Superhero: A Case Study – Superman (1978)

The Makings of a Superhero: A Case Study – Superman (1978)
Image from here.

 Also known as: The Optimist’s 14 Rules To Live By To Be The Most Super Human You Can Be.

1. Humility is key – even if it leads to a certain kind of humili-ation. Superman was in charge of the football equipment when he could have thrown those teenage footballers clear off the field. Also, it’s okay to pretend to faint in front of Lois Lane when, in fact, you just literally caught a bullet that could have killed her with your bare hands. Some insight: you will get her to faint soon enough. ;) 

2. Respect your elders; they are wise. Especially those that pat you on the back and call you “son”. Because when you break Rule #1, you better believe the truly wise are going to call you out, son.

3. Follow the voices in your head, even if they are eerie and come out of nowhere. They might lead you to uncover the key to your unique (read: bizarre, weird) gifts. This rule is also known as: “Believe in the impossible” & “Don’t question the hologram.”

4. Abandon all you know with only one word directing this rash decision. In Superman’s case, that one word is “North”. While the word can be replaced by your own single word of guidance, there is a way to check its applicability in this rule. The respected-elder who calls you “son” will support your journey. If this is the case, follow that word. You do need to broaden your horizons and learn what cloth you’re cut from (if it’s one with a big “S” on it, I can help with that).

5. Don’t regret seemingly blank, boring times in your life that are not even worth documenting. They are leading up to the climax of the movie; trust me, I’ve seen it.

6. Don’t be ashamed of Rule #2. It’s quite impressive in this world.

7. Be appreciative of the little things unabashedly. There is nothing wrong in saying things like “Gosh, it was kind of swell,” even if “there are very few people left in the world who feel comfortable saying that word.”

8. Take the extra step and trust your instincts about where you need to change your clothes. That extra time you spend doing something right is not a waste.

9. An oldie but a goodie from the Wiccan Rede : If “it harm none, do what ye will.” Let the burglar nearly sob and think himself plunging to his certain death, only for you to save him at the last moment. He probably learned his lesson.

10. Stick to your mission, despite being called names like “big blue bird with red boots” and “it.” People will see for whom you truly are as long as you continue your pursuit of truth and justice (See Rule #13).

11. Be ready to take your clothes off at any time for anything at all times. This may mean being uncomfortably warm under layers and layers of clothes and might contribute to your reason to live in New York as opposed to California.

12. Smoking is not cool. You can care about other people’s health. 

13. Do not tell lies. A person in search of truth and justice (See Rule #10) would be a terrible kind of hypocrite if he lied. Loophole: you can simply omit the truth in dire situations like preserving your true identity. 

14. And of course, go to the ends of the Earth (which may turn out to be simple the flaming, boiling core of the Earth) to save the world.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Coffee Cravings

I'm the type of coffee drinker that didn't start to drink coffee until freshman year of college at 16 years old,  partly because I had heard of its downsides but mainly because I did not know what I was missing (oh, interesting, that isn't an official type? okay..). For the next two years, I was a fan (to put it mildly). Honestly, I was borderline a caffeine addict. I would have coffee in the morning to start the day and then at night to keep me up, to write papers, to survive in last-minute cramming, and to give me energy to go out with friends.

My guilty feeling catching up with me, a year and a bit ago, I decided I needed to get a better handle on my coffee cravings so last year, I only drank coffee when I absolutely needed it to stay awake (okay, saying you need something in this context does not make me dependent at all, alright?). Or, on special occasions like trying coffee on my alternative break in Panama.

Now, with my attempt at being more productive and proactive, in my job search and goal-making and general post-grad life, I've found myself craving some of that magical potion (still talking about coffee). After reading this awesome article on LearnVest, I don't feel bad at all about this mini-craving and can't wait to get my hands on my next cup! After all:

Photo retrieved from

Friday, August 3, 2012

Video of My Day

I cannot believe how much I am in love with this cover of Coldplay's "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" I stumbled upon on mean, I absolutely love, and perhaps overplayed, the original when it first came out. Just check out this blog post! But, Emeli Sandé's soulful voice adds something that I cannot describe with words, just a gesture that makes me look like I'm hugging the air and an "ouf!" sound. 

Sidenote: Listening to Emeli Sandé's album now. In her song "Where I Sleep," she says she's from "a generation undecided" which basically summed up my life at the moment and has forged a slight connection of kinship that makes me wish her very many happy things. Doesn't that always happen?

Anyway, what do you think about this cover? Any other videos I should check out?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

So, I Graduated..

It is August 2nd as I write this. It's officially afternoon, and I'm slightly upset by the fact that I did not write this yesterday since it could have been a great "beginning" moment. You know, new month, new post, new life [if that's even possible].

Anyway, I wanted to pick up writing again (after an absence of almost a year). Hopefully we can chalk it up to a challenge that I've overcome and a proof of perseverance and not just the bad excuse of a busy undergrad schedule. Well, that bad excuse will never be used by me ever again (unless I decide I do want to go back and study Psychology, Architecture, and whatever else I was fascinated by). But, for the most part, I will not use that particular excuse ever again (a busy grad schedule has a nice ring to it though).

I graduated on May 5th, 2012. It has been almost three months since that sunny summer day. Actually, it has been 2 months and 28 days, not that anyone's counting but me. So, after four years of tuition, work-study, late nights, and papers, what have I learned? 

A lot, I think. 

It feels like a lot. It feels like I'm a changed person but at the same time I just cannot seem to put my finger on what exactly I learned or how exactly I changed. Maybe that's the real proof of gaining knowledge - after it happens, it seems like it was always a part of you. Or, maybe that's just me theorizing. 

But, I digress. 

May 5th, 2012 - My graduation day was a flurry of colors and emotions. In the heat, under my graduation cap and gown, with the guys in my row enjoying a plastic water bottle filled with some transparent liquid, I could not for the life of me pay attention to the keynote speaker, Ken Burns. Mind you, I love school. I love listening to lectures about Philosophy, Art History and some of the other widely-stereotyped-as-boring subjects. But the words of this speech, with its importance as serving as the closing chapter to my undergraduate career and even introduction to life as a recent graduate, were completely lost on me. 

Well, that won't do at all. After being told later by a fellow graduate (who, by the way, did not like school) that it was in fact a great speech, I was bewildered at my moment of lack of concentration. Of course, the only logical step I could take at that point was to watch the keynote speech on the Loyola Marymount University website. This time, I took notes. 

Ken Burns asks of us to:

1.      Pursue future and past, as guide.
2.      Keep involved with school.
3.      Do not descend too deeply into specialism in your work, educate all your parts.
4.      Replace cynicism with healthy skepticism.
5.      Don’t confuse success with excellence. Careerism is death.
6.      Give up addictions and habits.
7.      Insist on heroes and be one.
8.      Read. Read. Read.
9.      Serve your country. Insist we fight right wars from within this land.
10.  Do not let government outsource candor, democracy.
11.  Insist we support sciences and especially the arts. They have nothing to do with the actual defense of our country they just make the country worth defending.
12.  Do not lose your enthusiasm – that is God in us.*

As I listened to the graduation keynote speech again, I realized I had heard the words, but in the chaos, I could not see the meaning behind them. It was me bored out of my mind and talking to my best friend while doodling while trying not to get caught passing notes while sneaking some bites of food in Geography class in Gr. 6 all over again. Maybe that's what I learned. That it's okay not to completely understand the first time. That it's okay to enjoy not understanding the first time. That it's okay to go back and be neurotic about taking notes on a speech that I won't be tested on - although, I'd like to think I would have always done that. Well, learning is a process.

It was a great speech. 
Thank you, Ken Burns.

* Ken Burns' words from the speech streamed on the LMU website.