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!

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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.

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.”




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.