Friday, April 17, 2015
Thursday, April 16, 2015
GIRL IN A BLOG
One of my favorite things to do in California is hang out at Amoeba for several hours, digging through bins. The one in Hollywood is especially huge and eclectic. They even have a cool, reused book section. Found a really rad American graphic design book from 1994 that looks super interesting. Also took a chance on a "UK Street Soul in the Nineties" CD for $4.99. This was one of the jams on it. Feeling it for sure. Discovering music the old school way is that much better. My friend Amy did make fun of me for going to Amoeba. Apparently, the last friend of hers that went to Amoeba for sake of music discovery was years ago. California. Where they take shit for granted. :Eyeroll:
Purchased Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band, read it on my flight from LA to NY. A really great read- got sucked in from the first page. Her narrative is thoroughly engaging because it actually sounds like her voice- not that I know what or how that sounds. If you are a fan of hers, it's a great thing to be able to find that kind of intimacy through this book. Especially since she's notoriously reserved. I find myself relating to a lot of the subtle yet significant observations she sprinkles throughout her memoir. Ultimately, she reveals an extensive amount of personal experiences that I found poignant, humble, and well written.
Although I identify as a straight female, I think my brain deviates from the heteronormative expectation that is often assigned to straight women- the mask of graceful passiveness. I feel most, if not all, women are subject to having to constantly negotiate their exterior value throughout one's life. Where as the predominant male figure operates as an institutionalized fixed value in society, a woman's beauty, talent, sexual appeal, intellect, aptitude for care giving and child rearing, work, career- are all benchmarks of perceived value. At the core of our negotiations, how a woman chooses to process, interpret, and commodify the attention of the "male gaze" throughout life remains public domain. In that way, Girl In A Band hit a lot of the right notes for me. The title itself proves to be a joke sinking under the weight of it's own tired cliche.
Today, the popularity of feminism has gone beyond the singular 90's "Girl Power" movement splashed on the covers of Tiger Beat and whatever other shitty, ridiculous pre teen tabloids existed back then. Now it's a rampant hashtag, a onesie for a feminist baby in training, and timeless legions of female pop artist fanatics are encouraged to basque in the facade of commercial "feminist" success through unparalleled technology and shiny media fueled extravaganzas. As Kim pointed out Lana Del Ray's translation of "feminism" to basically encompass the freedom of a woman to do whatever she wants- even at the cost of self destruction. Though Lana Del Ray didn't verbalize that true freedom may result in self destruction, it is not only plausible, it's the truth.
All in all, the book exercises the timeless restraint of "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." For one thing, she could have shit on so many people in this book, including her ex-husband Thurston Moore, and shit harder on the people she did briefly mention. She manages to script this memoir of probably enormous emotionally vulnerable undertaking with her iconic, cool, detached, and matter of fact narrative. But it makes sense that it's a memoir and not an exposé. Even if she's been accused of being "icy" in interviews, this book demonstrates that being "icy" might be a symptom of having multitudes of intellect, observation, and lyrical whims most interviewers and fans never got to see beyond "the girl in a band" role. She writes, "I've always felt uncomfortable giving people what they want or expect." In this case I think she gave people way more than they expected. And that's not just cool, it's sincere.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
It's been a while since I've posted some casual music youtubes. Stoked to have some time to post some recent tunes I've been feeling.
Thanks to Dogbone for giving Womack & Womack a shout out this week
:Continuation of No Social Media Week:
Day3: Made a note to check out Lower Dens the band to myself. Starting to think if I have major projects or deadlines within the week I should ban myself from social media until it gets done. Might actually be an effective form of self discipline. Because I am actually getting more work done even when I am distracting myself from my other normal set of distractions.
Day4: One hour is a lifetime on the internet. One hour is also the same amount of time it takes me to watch one episode of Mad Men. Realizing maybe instagram is the greatest distraction tool ever invented. The double edged sword being without Instagram, I tend to realize how fucking stressed out I actually am with my current day to day. It also makes me feel a little less alienated.
Day5: I can hear the baby birds outside squawking with new life. It sounds like a frenzy of chaos out there but they're probably hungry and confused. It's a bit poetic for some reason. Early Mariah Carey is my therapist.
Day6:Barely the sixth day, I hope it doesn't snow tomorrow. "Under Pressure" by Queen is one of the best songs of all time. Realizing that being off the grid furthers anyone's agenda of mystery. Is mystery overrated or undervalued in this day an age? While we live in a dawn of technology aided hyper transparency, I can not help but admit I have always had a hyper compulsion to document most things so I'm not sure if I'm enlightening myself in the process or screwing myself over. While I realize I can come across like an outlier of randomized observations, I can not help but to appreciate a casual cloak of secrecy in others.
I've always been a proponent of shared information and experiences but realizing that social media dictates and influences your behavior in the present is largely true. Bored? Check your phone. Looking for the time? Check your phone. Change your plans. This is what social media offers. Human beings are constantly bored. Bored with others, bored with ourselves. The question is whether you like the version of yourself that social media brings out? Or do you prefer the version of yourself that being off the grid provides? Maybe with enough thought and consideration there is a healthy middle ground that can be made.
Day 7:Final day. Amazing milestone in terms of officially hiring two part time employees for Onto. The band is official. Contemplating logging in. Promise yourself you gotta turn off these dumb notifications.
Final result: Okay I just logged in. Seemed like a big waste of time. Ultimately, I feel like without social media I naturally gravitate towards people that actually matter to me. Who would have thought? Those are the people that actually hit you up to hang out and let you know when their band is playing on text. Being off the grid affords you the opportunities to cultivate those relationships. It's easy to take for granted. I do hate the feeling of not knowing what's going on, but there is something truly satisfying about the freedom of operating without a network of predetermined life information.
I have to admit when I first heard that "Fresh Off the Boat" was going to become a real show on primetime it made me skeptical that it would be a floodgate to reinforcing toxic stereotypes about a facet of my Taiwanese Chinese American culture. This show is clearly not a representative of all Asian American culture but the fact some people have found that it should be is not so unexpected. It's probably due to the cultural thirst created by the fact that there are zero other shows on tv with an all Asian American cast that can even attempt at embodying some sort of relatable "All American family". If you can get past the horrible gong'ed out Cypress Hill intro and the terrible show name, I'll admit the show somehow manages to balance out.
Some episodes are actually pretty funny. The year I was born, "Long Duk Dong" became a quintessential pop culture icon of the 80's. He was basically a "fresh off the boat" geek equipped with a fierce butt cut and broken English one liners from some Asian country not worth mentioning in the movie. (Ironically, Gedde Watanabe who played Long Duk Dong grew up in Ogden,Utah to a Japanese American mother who was forced into a US internment camp during WW2.) But I guess we've come a long way since the time of screen stars like Anna May Wong who were forced to cinematically represent the evils of "Yellow Peril" which included "scheming, robbing, and killing". If the concept of Yellow Peril where "the vision of the menace from the East was always more racial rather than national,"(Americanhistorian,JohnDower) I'm not sure there is a show, a movie, an actor or actress(American born or not) to fix that fundamentally institutionalized westernized mindset of perpetual foreigner turned model minority.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
A good friend challenged me to a week with no social media.. namely Instagram and Facebook. I don't think my blog counts since it's not technically social media seeing that absolutely nobody reads this, the last time I updated the blog was like 10 days ago, and I'm usually just talking to myself. Which is what makes this little cave of a blog that much more cozy. I thought I would share some daily thoughts during my 7 day no gram, no fb week. Maybe the goal at the end of the week is to regain spiritual balance, best illustrated by a dolphin frolicking with a dog in warm water.
12:50AM: Right now is when I would look on instagram to see what people were doing. Since my integrity is everything, I will follow this social media black out all the way through. No slip ups since I've signed out of all my accounts. I feel myself fantasizing about clicking the shit out of the Instagram icon and logging on because I've had a few glasses of wine- but not tonight. Must stay on track. Kick Danny's ass.
9:46AM: in the morning and as I check my text messages I realize I would naturally start to scroll through my instagram right about now. I find that when I answer texts I usually go for the instagram button right after- as if my Instagram account was an answering machine and I'd have to check any old messages. But instead of checking IG or posting thoughts and articles on FB, I've spent the past two mornings calling friends on the phone and updating them about things I'd normally post as random or actually personally significant thoughts. I don't feel any particular urge- but I do realize that my mind needs to wander as working from my home constantly fucking blows sometimes and I enjoy visual breaks. Social media is kind of like coffee or crack for the mentally restless and the insatiably curious. To which I'd like to say k holing through social media for visual research is a much different "fix" than trolling through profiles to ghost on crushes and/or be sidetracked into the lives of people who are so far removed from you, by the end of your six degrees of separation spiral you actually consider you might be suffering from an undiagnosed, social media driven disorder.
8:40PM: Thinking about getting pizza at Prince St Pizza wondering if I was on instagram whether if something was going on in the city before I retreat to Brooklyn. Don't have Instagram though or Facebook, so will have to rely on someone texting me or calling me on a Tuesday about something- which will never happen. And it doesn't.
Get a linked in invitation from someone called "Man Wang" in China. His profile photo is a picture of a rubber outsole and a sneaker laying on top of it- obviously an overseas footwear connection. If I was on instagram today I would definitely post this Man Wang invitation. I'd also feel like posting a picture I saw in Chinatown of a jar of yellow ooze advertised as "Snail Slime Filtrate". But I guess nobody else needs to see that- or do they?? Those are the questions of the day.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Logistics. One of my least favorite things I have to deal with when importing. As a designer you think- cool let's start a company to design stuff! Wrong. Let's start a company so most of your start up time is centered around completely alien admin type setting up, sourcing, and figuring out the politics of importing, customs, and warehousing. At any rate, not everyone is familiar with the inner workings of the global economy but for better or for worse, I'm hoping better, learning about it will make me a more resourceful entrepreneur. And it's just always cool to learn new stuff.
Monday, March 2, 2015
"When kids are taught that only one group of people is responsible for the history of a vast, diverse nation, they feel left out … unmotivated ... unimportant … all of the hurt feelings."
For those of you interested in alternative ways of educating young ones about the diverse and rich history of the United States, The Zinn Education Project exists and is worth a browse!