Insidecy


100 Thing Challenge. Viva La Vida. Firefox 3.
June 17, 2008, 12:14 am
Filed under: Music, Nerdy, Technology, YouTube

I. 100 Thing Challenge

I recently found on popurls, which is now my favorite place online for finding more stuff… online, a very intriguing TIME Magazine article which over the last several days got me thinking about my life and what I hold important. The article talks about this dude David Michael Bruno and how he has committed to reducing the clutter in his life and challenging himself to try to live with only 100 personal possessions. He doesn’t count items that are shared by his family like the dining room table or the piano, but rather things that are for the most part only used by him. He’s dubbed it the 100 Thing Challenge and it’s recently gotten exposure to the world wide web through the TIME article and other forums. Another site I found interesting giving more insight into the challenge was ZenHabits.net.

I like to believe I’m a minimalist. It shows in my design and artwork and I generally just agree with the philosophy of it all. Do more with less. I think trying out this 100 Thing Challenge will be a great way to extend that philosophy to the way I live my life. It’ll probably be pretty fun, but a little difficult as well. By the end of this month. I’ll take inventory of my stuff and report on what I’ve got. Depending on what I’m starting off with, I’ll make a deadline for reducing my inventory to 100 things. That’ll be the start date for this year-long challenge. David is starting his challenge November 12th on his birthday. The challenge is to keep an inventory of only 100 things by November 12, 2009. I’ll probably start mine when I get back to USC and keep an inventory of 100 things at least through the end of the school year.

David wrote this in his latest post summarizing the 100 Thing Challenge and I agree firmly with it:

“My buddy Todd summed it up better than I could today when we were talking about it. He said, “Things are to be used. People are to be loved.” The crazy thing about our consumer culture is that we so often reverse it. We use people to get the things we think we’ll love. How stupid. As if fancy cars or more shoes are really going to satisfy us more than a great friend or a close relationship with our children.”

I think that as of late, I’ve been a little bit overwhelmed and engulfed in our consumer culture. Trying to get the latest gadgets or clothes or whatever. I think what I really value in life are relationships; how close I am to my friends, my contribution to society as a citizen, my family, etc. Committing to this challenge will help me put things in perspective and focus on what really matters in my life.

Keep checking back and I’ll keep you all updated. And if any of you want to join in on this with me, it’d be cool to have a confidant and partner(s) in this challenge.

More: Check out ZenHabit’s 10 Things You Can Do Today to Simplify Your Life.

II. Viva La Vida

I’m no music expert and I don’t know all the technical terms to describe the different sounds and attributes of a song (like our friends over at Pandora and the Music Genome Project), but I’ve been listening to Coldplay’s newest album for the past hour while writing this entry and I’ve got to say, it’s incredible. It’s quite distinctive from their previous albums. I may dare say I like it a little bit more than Parachutes.

This might sound a little funny, but for the last hour or so, I’ve been sitting in the dark in my living room, listening to Viva La Vida on my sound isolation earphones. I guess it helps to focus on the music a bit more. I feel like this album goes through a lot of different emotions. It just seems to flow so much more than their previous works. As the week goes by, I’ll give more of my thoughts on specific songs, but right now my first impression of this album is that it is extremely refined. It’s a great listen. Surprisingly enough for me, Chris Martin’s lead vocals take a backseat to the incredible composition and musicality of this album. There are so many points on this album that make me drift into my own thoughts and forget about anything around me. I guess that’s pretty powerful.

I’ve had the digital files off of iTunes for several hours now and I’m pretty sure that Viva La Vida is quickly going to be the Most Played on my iPod for the next several weeks. Sorry, Jason Mraz. (Although, his newest is really fresh. Check that out too.)

More: Listen to Viva La Vida, Violet Hill, and Lost? for free on Last.fm.

III. Firefox 3

Nerds everywhere are going crazy because today is the official release for Firefox 3. Mozilla has put on their blog that they’re attempting a Guinness World Record for the most downloads on a single day. They’ve also put on their most recent entry the link for the download site for the new browser.

I’ve got to say that I am so psyched for F3. While no one is going to really even read this post until after it’s been released, I’m just saying now that I plan on being awake by 10am PDT to download the official release ASAP. I’m sure there are thousands of geekophiles out there who will be doing the same. This new browser has so many new features and a slick new design to go with it. It looks great.

LifeHacker recently posted an entry in their blog about the changes from Firefox 1.0 through 3.0. It’s definitely worth a read! One of the changes I am most looking forward to is the location bar update. You’ll be able to search your location bar in a topical sort of way using keywords. I don’t know how to explain all this stuff exactly, so check out that article to get the scoop on the newest Firefox browser.

I’m stoked!



The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
February 11, 2008, 6:17 pm
Filed under: Friends, Music, Thoughts, Trojan Men, USC

One of the first EPs by the post-rock Texas band Explosions in the Sky. Go check them out. Purely instrumental. Driving melodies… it’s amazing. I first heard of them from the song “Remember Me As A Time Of Day” which was used as the theme song for NBC’s Friday Night Lights. Sometimes I just put this stuff on and sit in silence and think. It’s pure emotion.



“Your Hand In Mine” – Explosions in the sky

So lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I’m just grateful for where I am in life. I’m content. I think I’ve been through a lot. Lots of emotional ups and downs. Lots of disappointment and heartbreak. Lots of joy and happiness. Lots of accomplishment and excitement. It’s pretty cool cause I can look back and see the different events that have shaped me into the person I am today. Though at the time, it’s hard to see things for more than what they seem, I can be assured that later on I’ll know exactly why I needed to experience it. Such is growing up.

Update on Trojan Men… I made it into the group. Thursday night was pretty crazy. I get home from the callback audition around 10:20p. We were told that we would be notified that night whether or not we made it into the group. An hour passes and I get nothing. I’m checking my email constantly and making sure I haven’t missed any phone calls. Around 11:30p, the leader and founder of the group Evan Bregman adds me as a friend on facebook. I accept thinking, “Okay… cool?” I check out his status and it says, “Evan is really happy with the New Trojan Men.” So my energy is renewed. I’m thinking that they’ve already picked and I’ll find out soon if I’m in or not. Midnight rolls around. Nothing. Now I’m bummed. I’m starting to think that it’s pretty jacked up that I don’t even get an email to say I didn’t make it. At a quarter after, my roommate yells from the living room, “CY, YOUR FRIENDS ARE HERE.” I’m initially confused. I’m thinking it’s my friends from church, but they never stop by this late. I go to the front door and it’s the guys from the Trojan Men. I’m shocked. They pull me outside, congratulate me on getting into the group and insist on taking me out to dinner. I go. I’m in.

Since that Thursday night, they’ve thrown a welcome party for me and fellow new Trojan Man Pierre, I’ve had one rehearsal, learning three new songs, attended a performance at CalTech, and have gone out for sushi in Little Tokyo for Evan’s birthday. I feel like I’ve integrated pretty quickly. The guys are amazing and so talented and unique. I feel like I have a lot to learn, but that’s the excitement of it all. Life is for living and learning and USC has been great for that.

I’m grateful. Go and be likewise.

Cy



Jennifer Chung
December 12, 2007, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Music, YouTube

In my last post I talked about the Nick Pitera, one of the front runners of that broadway competition. Well, through him I found Jennifer Chung, the winner of that competition. She is absolutely amazing. She’s an 18-year old freshman at the University of Califonia, Irvine. She’s Korean and in addition to having a wonderful voice, is strikingly beautiful as well.

She has uploaded several videos of herself singing different songs on her YouTube account. My favorites? “Just Like a Star” by Corinne Baiey Rae and “Crank Dat Soula Boy (Remix).” In the latter, they’re just messing around, but I think it has a lot of potential to go viral if she took it seriously, re-did it and tuned it up a bit. It could be huge.



Nick Pitera
December 12, 2007, 1:05 am
Filed under: Music, YouTube

Singing in falsetto is something that a lot of males can do, but few are able to pull it off successfully. I can do a decent falsetto, but I’m not particularly proud of it. Here are a couple Male Vocalists who are masters of the Falsetto…

  • Elton John
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Barry Gibb
  • Prince
  • Radiohead’s Thom Yorke
  • Coldplay’s Chris Martin
  • Muse’s Matthew Bellamy

All great singers. Tonight, my roommate showed me a video on YouTube of this guy who entered a BroadwayWorld.com contest where you were to record yourself singing “Part of Your World” from the Little Mermaid. His name is Nick Pitera and he has to have one of the purest falsettos I’ve ever heard. Check it out his Little Mermaid entry and his most recent video covering Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.”




Dancing Through
December 6, 2007, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Music, Theatre, USC

Tonight I had the opportunity to see USC’s Dance Company present “Dancing Through the Chocolate Factory.” I’ll just say it. I was amazed. It was one of those times for me when I just thought to myself, “Man, I really really wish I knew how to do that.”

When I first heard about the recital months ago, I was skeptical of watching a dance recital set to some sort of story that I was supposed to follow cohesively for 3 hours. I was definitely surprised. The concept was simple. Dancers told the story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory through all kinds of different styles of dance from jazz to ballet to hip-hop. It was really a lot of fun to watch. The song selections were well chosen too. Here are some of my favorites from the show:

One dancer seemed to particularly stick out to me and that was the part of Violet Beauregarde. You know, the gum chewer. In this version, she was a petite sassy Asian chick with a whole lot of attitude and personality. She really sold me on the character. You know how the story goes for Violet. She gets her hands on a special prototype of gum and long story short, ends up turning into a huge blueberry. Basically for the number, the dancer playing violet gets hidden in a mob of dancing Oompa Loompas and has a blue plastic poncho type costume put over her. The mob moves over to one side of the stage and steps away to reveal a very plump looking little girl. She’s standing right over some sort of blower. This got a lot of laughs from the audience.

Anyway, it was pulled off flawlessly and really made me appreciate all the more just how beautiful and expressive dance is. It can be fun and light-hearted and other times it can be a ride through the deepest of emotions.

As I sat there taking in all of the amazing imagery and performance, I couldn’t help but think of how much I would just love to do the same. Here’s where the shocker comes in. You probably don’t know this, but I’ve recently been accepted into the Thornton School of Music here at USC to minor in Musical Theatre. I’m really excited about this and can’t wait to get in on some productions here at the University. However, as a Musical Theatre minor, you have to take some movement classes. I opted to take… (drum roll) …ballet!!

I’m quite excited to take this dance class, but very nervous as well, because I’ve never had any sort of formal instruction whatsoever. I might do well, but it has the potential to be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever taken on. Either way, I’m looking forward to taking it next semester. Haha! Imagine me, doing ballet of all things. Crazy. I promise, no tutus.

Be looking for updates about that. I’ll definitely be talking about it coming up in the Spring semester.

Anyway, there’s a little update on my life. Yay.

Oh and if you didn’t get a chance to see “Dancing Through the Chocolate Factory,” you still have a chance to do so tomorrow Friday night at Bing Theater at 7pm. Don’t miss it!



Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
December 3, 2007, 12:40 am
Filed under: Music, YouTube

Alright, you’ve all heard Stronger,” Kanye West’s first single off of Graduation, his latest album. And you may have even heard that the song is sampled off of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” A search on YouTube for these words will give you some pretty crazy results.

The Highlights:

Daft Hands

Daft Bodies

Aren’t those INSANE? Lastly on a related note, here’s a YouTube clip of a Pop and Lock showcase in Japan. The last song in the routine is Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Enjoy.



Jonathan Coulton
December 2, 2007, 4:24 pm
Filed under: Funny, Games, Music

Two posts ago, I blogged about the game Portal that I was looking forward to playing. Well after 3 hours, I beat the game. Don’t think I’m some kind of video game guru, though. The game is pretty short. However, after I beat the game, I was delighted by the ending credits. A song plays that’s really funny, but you won’t understand it unless you play Portal.

Anyway, the song was written by this guy Jonathan Coulton. His website has over 40 or so original songs that are all pretty funny. One song of particular interest is a folk-y kind of cover that he did of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back‘.

It really reminds me of Nina Gordon‘s cover of NWA’s Straight Out of Compton and Obadiah Parker‘s cover of Outkast’s Hey Ya.”

Check him out at www.jonathancoulton.com and see his original music page under ‘music.’

I wish I could make folksy sounding tunes from rap songs. Ha.