Chris Jordan on the State of Our Nation
June 18, 2008, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Blog, People, Thoughts

Recently, one of my friends Ben Blair told me about a four day conference called TED which essentially is a seminar of 50 distinguised speakers talking about everything from Entertainment and Technology to Politics and Social Issues. From

“TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”

I didn’t think to research TED when Ben told me about it initially, but today, fellow blogger David Bruno, who is the inspiration for my participation in the 100 Thing Challenge that he started, posted this video of Chris Jordan, photographer and cultural observer, giving his “talk” at TED.

About Chris:

“Photographer Chris Jordan trains his eye on American consumption. His 2003-05 series “Intolerable Beauty” examines the hypnotic allure of the sheer amount of stuff we make and consume every day: cliffs of baled scrap, small cities of shipping containers, endless grids of mass-produced goods.

His 2005 book In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster is a chilling, unflinching look at the toll of the storm. And his latest series of photographs, “Running the Numbers,” gives dramatic life to statistics of US consumption. Often-heard factoids like “We use 2 million plastic bottles every 5 minutes” become a chilling sea of plastic that stretches beyond our horizon.

In April 2008, Jordan traveled around the world with National Geographic as an international eco-ambassador for Earth Day 2008.”


As David Bruno says in his post, this video is certainly worth eleven minutes of your time.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.


New Shtuff.
February 7, 2008, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Friends, Politics, Thoughts, USC, YouTube

Yeah, yeah… I know. It’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I want to say I’ve been busy and while that is partly true, I’ve just honestly been too lazy to type out a post. My bad.

Moving on…

I. Trojan Men

The Spring semester has started (bout a month ago) and my life has been pretty sweet. Tonight I had my callback audition for The Trojan Men which is a sick all male a capella group here on campus at USC. Over the fall semester and even before attending USC, I was watching their stuff on YouTube in sheer amazement of just how cool these dudes are. The audition was a lot of fun. Me and five other hopefuls spent two hours belting our hearts out. For me, it was a little surreal to even be singing with the guys I had watched and admired on YouTube. The audition pieces we were given were Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and the original “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” popularized by Frankie Valli. It was a blast.

At the end we had the opportunity to sing our solo audition piece for all the guys. Mine was “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” by Bryan Adams. Check out that link, it’s a super sweet video of Bryan Adams performing it live. Good stuff. Towards the last line of the verse, one of the guys started harmonizing with me. It was awesome.

Anyway, even if I don’t get chosen to be a part of the group, I’m glad I got the opportunity to audition and sing with the guys. And there will always be next semester. Additionally, I’m even more grateful that God’s given me such an incredibly fun talent and a passion for music and singing.

II. New Minor

A couple entries ago last semester I had written a post about being a Musical Theatre Minor and looking forward to taking a dance class. Over Christmas break I had a lot of free time to think about this and weigh my options in a balance. There are two things I really really love doing. I love singing and I also really love designing and doing graphic arts stuff. I found out towards the end of last semester that USC offers a minor in Communication Design

The core of this minor is communication design. In addition to courses in design, visual literacy and digital imaging, this minor includes optional courses in business, communication, journalism and marketing, allowing students to translate their design foundation in ways that are directly relevant to their career paths.

I decided to change to Comm Design because of my love for designing stuff… print, web… you name it. It’s a lot of fun. The reason I chose it over Musical Theatre is that I feel it has more relevance to my Major of Business Administration with an Entrepreneurship concentration. I’m thinking that I could eventually own my own business as a Web Designer or Graphic Artist for hire. I’m not sure exactly what my end picture looks like, but ideally it would be owning my own business and putting those skills to work.

So this semester I’m currently taking an Intro to Design class which is a load of fun. It’s a nice break between a full day of lectures and discussions. I’m taking two business courses, accounting and organizational behavior and an international relations class. The design class is A LOT of work. It’s 6 hours a week with a lot of homework doing projects, but it’s definitely worth it as I feel like I’m really learning practical things that I’m going to be putting to work.

So look out for some design stuff on here I’ll be posting as the semester rolls a long. Should be fun.

III. Changes

I’m a recent legal adult. I just turned 21 last Tuesday. Not too eventful. My roommates had champagne waiting for me when I got home at 1am on Tuesday. I popped the cork over the balcony and it cleared the swimming pool and the fence. It was pretty cool. Other than that, the rest of the day was filled with class and being sick. I came down with some strain of the flu last week. I’m just getting over it now, actually. On Wednesday night, my friends from church took me out to Applebee’s for some food and the obligatory birthday drink. I had something called a “Mochatini”… which was essentially a martini with some chocolate and coffee in it.

How was my first legal drink? It was cool. Maybe a little overrated. The funny thing is the guy didn’t even card me… Bummer. Actually, this past Sunday I was doing grocery shopping and I was sooo tempted to purchase a 6-pack of beer just to have the satisfaction of getting carded. I didn’t because I’m a noob to all this and didn’t want to buy something I wouldn’t like.

So aside from the fun stuff of having alcohol and achieving status as a legal young adult, being 21 has brought me to the realization that life is changing. No longer am I the teenage worship leader at Desert Christian High School, planning parties and get togethers for my friends, driving to Ventura beach in a minivan singing “Say It Aint So” by Weezer at the top of my lungs. I’m a different person now. I have different ideals, different goals in life, a different outlook, and different friends. The only two people I talk to on some sort of regular basis is a recent graduate of this school and her boyfriend who lives 20 minutes away from L.A.

Times have definitely changed. I’ve always said that I’m glad to be done with High School and would never go back, but I’m not sure how true that is now. I miss having regular times with a set group of friends who I could call on a moment’s notice and we’d be hanging out at my house, watching a movie or throwing pillows at each other breaking my mom’s teapots. Those were good days. Since then, drama has risen up between my friends. We can’t all come together or else it’s too awkward. All of them talk behind each other’s backs anyway. Saying how they don’t like the other person or the other person’s too emotional, etc, etc. I’ve been turned off to try to reconcile anything between any of them because nothing would come of it. So I’ve since moved on. I realize that things will never be like high school again.

I heard it said many times when I was a teenager that the friends you have for life will be those you meet in college. I see now that it’s incredibly true. I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing people in the short time I’ve been at USC. I’m eager to see what the next two years bring as well. I’ll most likely be an Resident Adviser next year, building even more relationships. It’s all very exciting. I wish I could keep the ties from high school, but it’s proving difficult. Everyone is too busy or doesn’t find it worth the energy or time. I guess that’s fine with me. Times are changing and I accept that.

Well, there’s my rant and thoughts for the night. Oh, one other thing that’s changed since high school… I’m now a registered Democrat and yes, I voted for Barack Obama. I find that since being at USC, I’ve definitely become liberal in a lot of my thinking and in my expectations of government and what it should be doing to help its citizens. I hope that Barack is on the ticket come fall, but if not… I hope that a Democrat at least is. All the republican nominees are more of the same… This country needs change. Our economy is slipping, China is rising as the new world power, and our involvement in the Middle East is a joke of a mess.

Anyway, I don’t want to get too into politics as my views are only my own and I don’t expect anyone else to hold the same.

Alrighty… I’m spent. Hope this is good enough to tide you guys over to the next post… which should be coming soon. I always do my posts in spurts. Good for a month, off for a month… etc. Time will tell.

Go love each other.


An Observation
December 29, 2007, 6:45 am
Filed under: College, Friends, Thoughts

Hope everyone had a Happenin’ Happy Holidays.

So right now I’m at the Orlando International Airport in the lounge of the Hyatt that’s connected to the airport. As I walked through the airport and even as I sit here now writing this, looking around I see that everyone (seriously, everyone) is white. Not that that means anything… white people are wonderful. Haha!

Interestingly, going through high school, all of my best friends were white. Even growing up, my next door neighbors, my friends from church… all Caucasian. Now in college, I have friends and acquaintances of a whole slew of races – Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African American, Kenyan, German… the list goes on.

…hmm… and the reason I’m here in Orlando is to hang out with some of my really good HOBY friends, who coincidently enough, are all white as well. Haha.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

“Once you go white, you don’t go back… aight?” – I think this is from Undercover Brother… Not sure, but I’ve heard it somewhere in a movie. 😛

Happy New Year.

Shopping For Engagement.
December 18, 2007, 12:18 am
Filed under: Friends, Thoughts

I had a fun little chat with my friend Emily tonight. I just found out from her boyfriend, now fiance, that they got engaged this past Saturday. This recent development brings a sad realization: My two best guy friends from High School are now both engaged and I’ve never even been in a serious relationship.

I don’t know what the deal is. I think my standards are just really high. Maybe unrealistically high. I feel that when I get attracted to a girl, I find something about them or some sort of habit that really just puts me off. I don’t think that they’re annoying or stupid, I think I feel that it would bug me in a relationship. I don’t know.

Anyway, I told Emily that I believe the right girl will come along when I’m ready. I guess that’s a good way of putting it. Emily’s a great friend and she knows how to cheer me up…

me: I need to get back to studying

Emily: oh okay

me: haha, my roommate just said, “You need to go engagement shopping”

Emily: haha

me: he’s kinda rich and just buys everything

Emily: no need my friend

me: so it’s really funny in the context

Emily: that is funny

me: but yeah, I try not to be all self-pity and whatever. She’ll come along when I’m ready. That’s how I look at it

Emily: you shouldn’t. You’re only 20 years old. There’s no time limit on these things especially for you fertile men

me: please dont ever call me a fertile man again

Emily: haha. I will tell mallory about that one tomorrow

me: I mean, it’s true. But from you, it’s awkward. haha

Emily: sorry; no reference to your reproductive abilities ever again

me: Great, I appreciate that

Emily: go study

me: haha, alright buddy I’ll talk to you soon

June 28, 2007, 8:14 pm
Filed under: Thoughts

So it’s definitely been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve had a lot of time this summer to consider where I am in life and the things that are important to me. Recently, I changed the “About Me” section on my Facebook. I think it describes a little bit about what’s been going on with me lately.

“I figured I’d rewrite this since life is ever-changing…

I’m still a Christian and still love God, no change there. I’m finding my life to be one continual roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. I think and wonder about how odd, yet strangely beautiful and ugly at the same time life is. It’s short, but at times it’s quite long.

I stretch the limits, I push the boundaries, I strive for above-average. I get tired of monotony and upset at mediocrity. I hate apathy and the word, “whatever”. I lean towards those who are decisive and forthright. I don’t like to make decisions for other people. I do however give out advice.

I’m sometimes loud and sometimes soft-spoken. I tend to take leadership when no one else will. I work well in groups. The way to destroy my spirit is to leave me in a room by myself for the rest of my life. My purpose and calling in life is to help others. Forget monetary success and hording material possessions, the impact you make in other people brings more happiness than anything else you can acquire.

I love to sing. I love to act. I would love to do both at the same time. Honestly, sometimes my life is like a song, other times it’s an act. I hate to disappoint, and unfortunately for me, a temptation is to be something I’m not. I don’t cope well with failure, but it’s not hard to admit my faults. I like to be liked and I search for acceptance from my peers. I am a social butterfly.

I’m polite and kind. I don’t have walls or barriers. I let people into my heart if they’re willing to go there. However, I do have a hard time giving it back to people who step on it or break it. I long for someone to truly love, in a hopeless romantic sort of way. I love people. I love their strengths, but I also accept their weaknesses. Who are we without them?

I realize now that life is what you make of it. I understand that life is monumentally short in comparison to the vast expanse of eternity. I accept that because of that, I must make it my goal to enrich the lives of others. I admire the fact the only thing I can leave behind is my memory and what people thought of me. I fight to be positive and uplifting because I don’t want to be remembered as a downer or someone who sat around while the world passed him by.

I live.”

I’ve been trying to reconsider and debate in my mind the things that are most important to me. I’m not sure what those things are. I suppose family and friends are somewhere close to the top of that list. I think making an impact in the lives of others is up there. Being the best I can be is somewhere on that list. It’s just interesting to think about how far we’ve come as people. We’re no longer kids. We have to make decisions and we have to follow through on them.

I think I know what I want in the short term. I want to get accepted to USC. I want to move out of my parents’ house. I want to find a girl I like and date her. I want to make new friends. I want to keep old ones. I want to travel. I want to stay busy. I want to make others happy. I want to be happy.

This summer is so jam packed with things to do and I’m loving every minute of it. I like how I’m going to be in San Francisco this weekend for a wedding, return on Sunday and leave three days later on the 4th for Boston. I like that after I return from Boston on Monday, the 9th, I have a week at home before I leave for Washington, D.C. for HOBY. I like the friends I have in this organization. I think the reason I want to travel so much is that I just want to be out of the house. I’m honestly ready to move on and start my own life away from the influence of my parents and the umbrella they have over me. I appreciate it and I’m grateful for it, but I’m over it. It’s time for me to venture out and find things out for myself and start on the path to the life I’m supposed to live that is supposed to be my life, and not my parents’ life for me.

Anyway, I’m just babbling on and on now. I figured I’d write a little bit, because it’s been awhile. Hope you enjoyed it.

Go Hokies.
April 17, 2007, 6:13 am
Filed under: News, People, Politics, Thoughts

Today was an absolutely terrible day for the students of Virginia Tech and the residents of Blacksburg, Virginia. A total of 33 people died in today’s shootings. Any search on YouTube will get you a video of student interviews and testimonies. The gunman was a man in his mid-20s, asian, and not a student of the University.

What makes someone do something like this? What pushes someone to the edge to the point they would go and massacre entire classrooms, killing random young adults? When I heard about this on the news this morning I was shocked and instantly tearful. Watching images of policemen carrying people out of the school, stains of blood on the floor; listening to sounds of gunshots and people screaming… it’s horrifying. You would never think that something like that could happen at your campus, but it can. This could happen in any public place other than a school; a shopping center, a park, a busy street. Some people are completely irrational and throw all and any sort of logic out of the window to act entirely on emotion and out of passion. It’s disgusting.

What disturbs me further is the fact that the school didn’t even send out notices to the students that there was a shooter on the campus until two hours after the first shooting occurred at one of the dorms, where two people were killed. By that time, the killer had already made his way across campus to kill 30 more people. Why wasn’t the school evacuated earlier? It’s absolutely deplorable that it’s entirely possible that 30 lives could’ve been saved if action was taken sooner. When asked about their decision to keep the first shooting under wraps, they said that they believed it was an isolated incident. The man came, did his business, and most likely left the campus. There would be no reason to cancel classes for the rest of the day.

Excuse me, “MOST LIKELY” are not two words I’d like to hear when concerning my safety or even my life.

“Yes, this plane will most likely stay in the air and make it to the Philippines.”
“You most likely do not have cancer.”

You get the idea. In my opinion, this was a very bad and fatal decision on the part of the school administration.

Besides the ranting, the fact of the matter is that 33 people lost their lives today and that’s sad. I took a day off work just to pray and meditate over what happened this morning. It’s impossible to predict or change what will happen in life, so you just have to roll with the punches and be grateful for things you have. I say “Go Hokies” in my title, because they need our support more than ever.

It’s actually quite amazing how fast someone’s life can be taken from them. Life is so precious and fragile. We’re not a very durable species; at least not physically. Our organs aren’t protected by a hard outer covering, our bones will become brittle and our joints will creak. Thankfully, we have logic to keep our wits about us to keep us from killing ourselves off. (Caveat: The Darwin Awards) So why do we murder each other? Is this particularly necessary? We’re easily breakable enough as it is. We don’t need people to go around doing that for us. Being a Christian, it’s understandable that in the Old Testament, God’s people were often in war and battle. However, when was the last time God spoke to you to lead people to kill others and take the promised land?

Anyway… I’m sick of murder and violence. I’m tired of all that crap. Have some sanctity and respect for human life. Get over your selfish and disposed self and learn another freaking point of view. What gives one man a right to cease the life of another human being? Ugh… this makes me sick and miserable.

Oh well, there’s no use in ranting except to let off some steam. My heart and prayers go out to all of you who attend VT and the families and friends of those affected by today’s tragedy.