Recently in America Category
September 29, 2010
America preaches the freedom and liberty that's granted to her citizens, often, I have to admit here, I take that for granted, and to be frank, I'm more negative towards this issue than possitive, ie, prisoner rights, and lack of death penalty. Over the past weekend though, I saw the other end of the spectrum at Folsom street fair.
For friends that don't know what this is about, it is a fair that purely celebrates sexual freedom, doesn't matter what your sexual preference is, you're welcome to show it off, judgement free. It's the ultimate celebration of our sexuality, for that, I'm glad I was part of it.... despite the fact I wish to "un-see" a lot of things I saw that day.
The following is a sneak peak, more pictures will be saved for later showing.
August 17, 2010
This past weekend we took a trip to two our America's prettiest National parks, Yosemite, and Sequoia. Sequoia was a bit out-of-the-way from SF, but after hearing that it has some of world's largest trees, it got me really interested, especially after Yosemite became some what of a let down as it requires you to park in a super crowded parkinglot and get on the shuttle to see the El capitan up close.
Sequoia sure paid off, as we walked down the trail to see the famed General Sherman, a teenage bear walked by us, a brief acknowledgment, and it walked away.
August 8, 2010
The Karate Kid was a beloved classic of my childhood, only thing was I was too young to relate to that story. This 2010 remake of the story had many elements I loved, though I thought it really should have been called "The Kung Fu Kid".I chose this movie as my opener of the Summer season not because it's a nostalgia film, but I chose it because I felt the need to pay respect to Will Smith, who is the producer on this film. Making this film sounds near impossible, taking the consideration of a production in China, writing a story that's both true to the original franchise and a step up from them. Plus a corny story of an early teen's "coming out of his shell" story. In the end, the movie was pulled off, and it is truly enjoyable. I had a lot of fun as a picky early 30 something and I'm not afraid to say it. I also wanted to commend Jaden Smith, I felt he truly related to that character, who was singled out and lonely.
There are two things I really look forward to around my birthday in June. One of them is a Pixar film. It has become my annual tradition ever since Toy Story. This year once again they didn't disappoint. The 3rd film to end this story well. It wasn't as powerful as UP since all the main characters are already established, but still, it is a film that will beat out its' competition once again.
Then of course, this must see. Christopher Nolan is somewhat of a Hollywood effect whistle blower, everything's gotta have real physics and textures, script aside, that creative vision alone is worth seeing.
Alright, this wasn't a summer flick, I just happen to finally see it. I love Michael Moor films, he fights for the common man, not afraid to piss people off, and I think he is one of the visionaries in America. I hope more people watch his films than people watching FOX.
June 10, 2010
When the news broke out that W+K got the Jeep assignment, I was both relieved and disappointed. Relieved because "i live, i am, i whatever, iphone, i jeep" campaign in my opinion is the advertising stinker of the century, what an irresponsible act to stink up such an icon. I was disappointed because Jeep didn't come back to us, Cutwater SF. I wasn't with the agency when Jeep was here, but I ADORED the campaign cutwater did, in fact in my 19 years of living in America, the "have fun" campaign is one of the two that really propelled me to check the cars out in their dealerships, first one being bmw because of bmw films.
This recent tv spot done by W+K is very typical W+K anthemic style, just like their Levis spots. Cutwater also explored that direction with it's own version, see here:
You see, the difference is fun, I truely believe that's what jeep is about, from wrangler to grand cherokee, its not about the bling, its not about safety, tow power, whatever whatever, its the brand that spun out from pure love from 18-24 GIs who loves that kind of freedom, reminder of their adventure. It's Americana, yes, but really, the essence in Americana, willingness to go out and just have fun.
Another thing that bothers me about W+K spot, being in my generation, I'm starting to doubt their anthem right from the beginning. Are we really a nation of builders these days? Last time I checked, it's China. I thought we're a nation of innovators and inventors. Yes things we make makes who we are, but it is the idea, and the willingness to explore and fail that makes us Americans. So yeah, fine, i'm sure some people will shed tears over your spot, but for me, I immediately put up my judgement as soon as the first 5 seconds. Also, how will this direction be translated internationally? Last time I checked, unlike Americans, the rest of the world knows the nation of builders is China also. Do you guys really think they'll catch up to this idea? Chinese kids will laugh at it, just as hard as they did when Timothy Geitner told a roomful of them that US debt securities are "VERY SECURE".
Jeep, I wish you're still here, and hope you to return one day, Chuck still drives his Wrangler.
A footnote* Friends, read this for what it's worth, it's my honest opinion even if I'm not with cutwater, I fought my way here because of cutwater's rayban and jeep campaign. Industry professionals, yes, I'm with cutwater, and yes my opinion's obviously biased, I'm admitting to that right here right now, albeit it is my honest opinion and it's not an agency stunt. Also, yes, I saw chuck drove away in his green wrangler from grumpy's today, which prompted me to write about it.
June 7, 2010
Growing up in America as a minority has certain challenges, growing up as an Asian guy, let me tell you, a lot of times, it's just plain unfair. Just ask any non-Asian American girls how much action we Asian guys get with them, the answer almost always come back as none. Now I'm not saying its absolutely impossible, but, I'm DEFINITELY saying the odds are against us.
This leads me to the broader topic of representation, I don't like the fact that we're under represented in the media in this country, we love America just as much and we contribute just as much, but we often gets castrated in the media, we're sexless, all you see in films of of us is 1. Kungfu guy, 2. Waiter / cook / laundromat owner, 3. Triad / mobster. Compare to other minorities, we never get casted as romantic leads, or even in an inter-racial couple setting, Asian women does it far better, but that's a whole other conversation.
Romantic leads, representation, what made me suddenly rant like this? It was today's Apple Iphone 4 announcement. If you go to their website now, you'll see some pictures of a highly touted feature - FaceTime. I mean, I get it, I'm also an advertising professional, it needs to be an obvious mix of races to make the whole thing look - A. International, B. Politically correct, but I was frustrated with not seeing an Asian dude once again! Especially on an apple ad out of all places. In case you lived in a cave for the past 6 years, we Asian guys not only make up a big percentage of Apple's company, the silicon valley, the general SF Bay area, we aslo buy a lot of Apple products, in fact, most of my Asian buddies had every version of the iphone ever since it had launched, I personally have bought three, but no, layout must be "White guy talking to Asian woman."
I don't have problem with seeing Caucasian dudes with Asian girls, not at all, but, I HATE not being represented, somehow, I just feel wrong, wrong in a fundamental sense and in Apple's case a sense that someone is telling us we're bad at math, or doesn't like to own a Honda kindda wrong too.
Racism in America, yes I believe it still exists.
April 8, 2010
This is the second year I'm covering Earth Hour in my city. This time, I was expecting massive blackouts in various neighborhoods caused by SF residents. Techies, Hippies, Gays, who doesn't want to safe the planet in this city right? Besides, California is nearing bankruptcy, if I'm a government official, I'd shut off as much lights as possible for one hour.
Just like a lot of calculations I made in my life, I was wrong again. I stood on my balcony totally stoked thinking that I could document the dramatic switch off, but instead, things pretty much stayed the same, except for Coit Tower and the Golden Gate bridge off in the distance.
Shame on you San Francisco.
There was absolutely no change before and after 8:30pm, what an embarrassment.
March 16, 2010
Over the weekend, out on a whim, I decided to make my way to Eureka California. Of all the years I lived in California, I've never drove on the one beyond Golden Gate. Besides the fact that renting a Mini Cooper S is pricier than I have expected, the trip turned out to be one of my most favorite trips. Sally enjoyed the drive too, we both were awed by the stunning landscape, and seeing the Pacific ocean from the edge of a cliff was something new to both of us.
Another noteworthy item on the trip, was this huge whale scull next to a light house.
December 21, 2009
Jenny is the youngest of 4 cousins that grew up with me. Her graduation is in a school called University of Valparaiso. This trip was one of those typical "don't judge a book by it's cover" strips. The midwest was just swept with a blizzard, Valparaiso was one of those places people don't really know, in a state that I have little interest in - Indiana.
Coming into O'hare, overlooking the massive flat midwest covered in snow was pretty magical, almost like a scene from Starwars.
Marianne is one of Jenny's buddies who was there when none of her relatives are around.
U-Valpo is actually a pretty charming campus, complete with a post modern Library and Chapel, complete with a bell tower.
In their graduation speech, and this is something I haven't yet heard from all the graduation speeches I've heard before, was that they stressed on the balance of religion and knowledge, faith and reason. I thought that was really interesting.
November 18, 2009
I got this special aluminum coke bottle, previously only seen on design blogs. I put some typical things next to it for scale reference. The aluminum is thicker than the can, in fact, so thick you can't squeeze it to crush it. It's a very good looking bottle, kudos to Coke for finally spreading this around.
November 4, 2009
30 miles west of boston there's a city called Stow, and in that town, there's a really cute farm called Honeypot farm. We went there for apple picking over the weekend. It is not my first picking activity, but it's definitely the most fruitful one ever.
I've always had a special feeling towards apple trees. My parents planted one in my grandfather's garden when they got married, and another when my mom was pregnant with me. Every year, for as long as I can remember, my family, along with my cousins' would collect a full bushel of apples from the two trees. The apples were not particularly attractive looking nor sweet, but I always enjoyed the freshness of them. To me, the trees also were the proof that my parents are extraordinary, since they possessed the power of making trees bare fruit.
As China's environment deteriorated in the 90s, so did the two trees and the rest of the plants in my grandfather's garden. What used to be a tiny oasis for us in the city during the 80s quickly became an empty, colorless yard. The trees from the Honeypot farm are far bigger and bore far more fruit than the apple trees in my memory. When I walked along them, smelling that apple wood flavored air, seeing the unpicked, ripened apples on the ground, my overloaded senses made me think of the days where my grandfather stood in his garden, smiling at his grandchildren, giggling around apple trees.
October 19, 2009
I kicked my self for not making the foliage trip last fall, and this year I was determined to see it in its glory. Turns out, it was more stunning than what everyone has already told me. Glad I went. O, and I'm sorry Shoshanna, for not making it to the house warming party. :-/
October 3, 2009
Recently I had two paper bags in my possession, one is a parcel envelope from Switzerland, the other, from the local Shaw's supermarket. The parcel envelope, being an international parcel envelope, contained a plastic bubble wrap out of necessity, unlike the 3m bubble wrap envelops you get in the States, it had precise instructions on how to separate and recycle both paper and plastic, the bubble wrap can easily be taken out of the envelope despite it being very sturdy during use, and judging from the info graphics, it's clear they have a pretty robust recycling program and infrastructure.
The latter, a bag of felafel chips I got, is almost the antithesis of the parcel envelope. The packaging was labeled "organic", and was the only product in the category that had paper bag packaging as opposed to plastic, I chose to buy it solely because I thought the paper bag would be environmentally less harmful, but little did I know, it was a paper bag that contained an additional plastic bag. Congratulations Felafel Chips & Dips LLC, I will never buy your products again.
September 2, 2009
The first credit card I've ever applied for is a Sony card, back then, it was distributed by Citi, and is currently owned by Chase. I've been a loyal customer with this card for close to a decade.
I remember using it when I went to dinners and movies with my first girl friend, later, on my expensive art school equipment, my first, second, and third laptop, 5 different digital cameras, my trips overseas, Amazon purchases, you name it. Just when I thought I have earned enough "Sony points" for a flat screen TV, my card somehow was cancelled. Just like that.
When I called, of curse, Chase bank's credit cart support is in India, no offence to my Indian peps, but, I couldn't really tell comprehend what they were saying, and why they canceled my card, they did tell me they sent me a letter, which I didn't get.
Well, good riddance Sony Card, if you are thinking about doing business with Chase bank, or getting a sony card, think twice about doing so.
July 16, 2009
July 6, 2009
Believe it or not, I've never spent my life in June and July under constant thunderstorms and 65 degree weather days until now. Just when everyone dreaded the possibility of fireworks being canceled this year, things started to look better.
This is Castle island near Logan Airport, one of the patriotic sites in Boston, It protected Boston during both the Revolutionary war and the war of 1812.
It's key cannons could fire all the way into the city, two miles out.
Also, the fort shared the same architect with fort McHenry's in Baltimore.
Weather really cleared up on the 4th, it was perfect for fireworks.
Now I have to admit, it wasn't as crazy as Beijing during Chinese New Year, but we still all oohed and awed for an hour, fireworks going along with Fanfare to the common man and all the other patriotic classics are really something you need to be there to appreciate.
May 10, 2009
Puma City is a cool design store concept. Its already cool to convert a shipping container into a store space, but Puma cleverly did it with several containers and made them into interchangeable sections. This one is the biggest one, which included a Bar and a roof deck. If you're in the Boston area, this is at Fan pier.
Fan pier is also currently hosting some sail boat races. Pretty cool.
March 27, 2009
The Bread Art Project was created by the Grain Foods Foundation to help increase awareness of the growing hunger problem in the United States.
In an effort to help end hunger in the United States, the Grain Foods Foundation will donate $50,000 to Feeding America. An additional donation of $1 will be made for each piece of Bread Art submitted.
Please visit www.breadartproject.com and show your support to the cause.
January 19, 2009
January 18, 2009
I've recently heard of this film and it's "inconvenient truth" for Americans to understand the current budget deficit. As the new president takes office in two days, this is my number one concern I wish Obama will address.
January 3, 2009
After a brutal day with various airlines, namely US Airways and Continental, I'm finally back in Boston. Lets just say the experience wasn't pleasant. A note to America, how come everyone's beating us to this alternative energy game? Even Kiwi's are beating us! I really hope America is not yet too fat and dumb to change the game.