Day 273: little boxes

I don't know what activity is worse, unpacking or packing up (either way, I'm going through both this weekend). Throughout this whole process I've had to deal with the concept of "less is more" since I've come to realize the extent of my worldly possessions. I've had to come to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe I don't need that old box of college textbooks anymore or that spare Christmas tree stand. Regardless of my recent epiphanies, however, I don't think I'll be getting rid of anything anytime soon.

crazy writer

Morbid curiosity and utter boredom at work led me to take the "Which Crazy Writer are You?" online test. While I'm nary one to take online quizzes seriously (anymore), I was intrigued by the results of my other tweeps and decided to try this out for myself. (You can do it too, right here!)

F. Scott Fitzgerald? Famed author of the great American novel, The Great Gatsby? A literary classic whose plot I've since forgotten since being forced to read it junior year in high school?

Let's look at the description:
"You poor thing. So underappreciated. Only you truly understand your brilliance - everyone else just goes on about that cad Hemingway. Your father once told you when you were young not to pass judgment on others, so instead of lashing out, you just drink. And drink. And drink some more, content in the knowledge that SOME DAY your works will be appreciated for the masterpieces that they are. And so you beat on, like a boat against the current of time."

Yes, someday Every Which Direction But Forward will be recognized for the literary masterpiece that it is. At least they got the drinking part right.

"I like your hair!"
"I don't...I look like a dyke-wolf"


Day 272: new school

I'm in school again. But you already knew that. Today, however, I'm in school at the San Francisco State College of Extended Learning. That would up the amount of institutions of higher learning I've attended to 8. They are (in chronological order):
Chabot College
DePaul University
UC Riverside Extension
College of San Mateo
City College of San Francisco
San Jose State University
San Francisco State College of Extended Learning

The last four I've attended in this past year (2010) alone. Considering I've had decidedly different types of classes at each of these institutions, I have yet to figure out how to articulate this on a resume.

One cool thing about the lab I was working in. All the computers were named after Harry Potter characters:

EDIT: Thank you, anonymous user for pointing out that I did in fact fail to mention another institution of higher learning in my post, DePaul University in Chicago. How could I have forgotten my brief stint in the Midwest??


Day 271: furniture

It's been a while since I've gone furniture hunting (the last time being back when I was still a resident West of the Wood). Turns out furniture is a bit harder to come by when rich kids moving out of their apartments are too lazy to move their nice fancy desks and couches their parents paid for when they first moved out on their own.

So I guess now would be a good time to officially announce that I've signed the lease to my first own apartment in the Bay Area. Go me. (and my cousin/roommate too, of course)I'll soon be a resident of that potentially noisy apartment that happens to be across the street from a bar I mentioned earlier. But don't worry, I think I made it sound worse than it actually is.


Day 270: corporatespeak

Today some bigwigs from corporate visited our tiny satellite office in an effort to get a better understanding of the work we're doing and whether the cultures and values of SAIC are reflected in our morale.

Translated from Corporatespeak to English, that basically means they wanted to do some testing on us.

As per their suggestion (orders), we were all given the "Strength Development Inventory" Test, a questionnaire that in the end was supposed to be able to pinpoint what our motivation style is, and how it is we react to conflict. While I don't believe any 20 question fill-in-the-blank will really delve deep into the psyche of what drives us, I figured we didn't have a choice and simply went with the flow.

After answering some basic inquiries on what motivates us and how we manage dealing with difficult colleagues, we figured out our results by counting some numbers on some lines, placing some dots here and there on a triangle and pinpointing which part of the triangle spectrum we fell under. I ended up being characterized as demonstrating the traits of someone who can be described as cautious-supportive. In other words, I have:
-Concern for affirming and developing self-sufficiency in self and others
-Concern for thoughtful helpfulness with regard for justice

I can't tell...is that a good thing or a bad thing?


Edvard Grieg - Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16 I (A)
This is my 15th Music Monday and I still haven't posted a classical track? I'm shocked.


"it's like kogi, but african"


Day 269: chabot

We've been lagging on on our weekly hikes lately and I've pretty inconsistent in trying to get any physical activity in. Considering I've had some pretty bad (read: actually really really good) food in the past few weeks, I probably should get back into the swing of getting some amount of exercise in before the holidays.

Today we found ourselves at Lake Chabot. I hadn't hiked this trail since sometime in high school. Not much has changed in the past 6 or 7 years since I've come here, but I guess the same could be said about alot of the people I went to high school with (zing!)


Day 268: possessions

This is my life.

At least, all my worldly possessions. Spent the afternoon cleaning out and organizing my tiny storage unit full of old dishes and pots and pans, little trinkets and collectibles, old clothes that hold some sort of sentimental value, piles of old letters and cards from friends, lovers, and family, and of course, these:

I was really cool as a kid. Can't you tell?


Day 267: CMF

The UC Berkeley Campus Movie Fest Finale Screening was tonight. If you recall, the Campus Movie Fest is the biggest student film fest in the world (the world being the participating countries of the U.S. and Mexico). Without A Mirror, the short that featured a half second of the best stoic expression I could muster, made it to the top 16 out of a pool of 105 films.

Have to say, that was pretty cool to have played a part in a film that was featured as one of Cal's best. But the fun doesn't stop here, and like I warned you in the past, I'm going to be asking for your help to get this movie promoted to the next stage.

So, in standard Dancing With the Stars fasion, I'm gonna have to ask you to text VOTE22 TO 41234. The details and other 15 finalists can be found here. And if you have 5 minute intervals to spare, my favorites from that night were "Beware Lolita," "The Hit," "With Draw," "Underneath," and "My Quiet World." Oh, and Without a Mirror, of course.


Day 266: scary cow

Went to an information session on Scary Cow Productions, a film co-op based in San Francisco. The info session was at the Shelton Theater, which greeted you with this:

And led to a room that looked like this:

The co-op claims to have over 200 directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and other film buffs involved to collectively create teams and make films for the love of making films. Those whose films are voted to be the best are then given a budget to continue to make even better films.

Only downside? It cost $50 a month. The idea is that people are supposed to give up their TV bill so they can go out and make their own "TV."

Eh. Nahh.


Day 265: super 8

It's been a while since I've dropped any sort of film to be developed, and the first time I'd ever dropped off actual videotape to be processed into something watchable. Since I shot those films I made last night on actual film, the process to have them developed is slightly more complicated than the drag-and-drop digital transfers we've become so accustomed to nowadays. Very few places offer a service to process "super 8" film nowadays, so I had to find my way towards the city to procure said services, which, by the way, still came at an out-of-pocket cost.


Day 264: paranoia

So I finally figured out what I was gonna do for my project. What was my storyline? Eh, nothing too exciting.

What was more exciting was the role I played in my partner's movie, "Paranoia." Once I get the film processed and digitized, this picture will make alot more sense.

the final product

Hey, remember all those productions I had played some minor role in? No? Well there was the Oakland mayoral campaign commercial for Jean Quan and my friend's submission for the Campus Movie Fest. Well, it took a few weeks, but the final products are finally in.

"Block by Block - Stovall Sisters"
Jean Quan for Mayor
Directed by Mandel Lum

Nope, I don't show up in this video...and you can't tell, but I played a major role when it came to keeping watch on everyone's bags while they were filming.

"Without a Mirror"
Submission for the 2010 Campus Movie Fest
Directed by Manuela Lim

I'm sure I mentioned this in the post featuring this production that I played a small role as the manifestation of "The Man" who is constantly "oppressing" us. So, do you think I look stoic and intimidating enough for my half second at 3:17?

"Every 10 seconds a woman gives birth...whoever she is, she needs to be stopped."


Day 263: ah, the dentist redux

Aaaah, the dentist!

Has it been 6 months already?


Focus - Hocus Pocus (Live on NBC's Midnight Special - 1973)
What makes a good band? When the live performances sound just like or even better than the studio recordings.

Also yodeling. It's all about the yodeling.

Shame we hardly see any talent like this nowadays.

"Pumas are real animals? I thought it was just the shoes!"


Day 262: 690

Why, hullo there Westwood from the top of my old home at BMV Properties.


Day 261: to the observatory!

Apparently one should be able to see Venus from the daytime sky due to the light reflecting off of the gaseous clouds surrounding the planet. But only if you have a super powerful looking telescope like this one at the Griffith Observatory.


Day 260: small claims

I was at small claims court today. During the roll call, someone named "Tyra Banks" was called. She wasn't present. I guess she lost her case.


Day 259: lease

Possible new place?

I have my issues:
1) The bedrooms are tiny...I don't think I'd be able to fit a bed in mine.
2) The bathroom looks like a public restroom
3) Whenever the streetcar passes by, the apartment shakes
4) We're right above a music school...for elementary school kids...with violins.

...but hey, there's a bar across the street, so that makes it all good.


Day 258: cathedral building

Sometimes architecture in Oakland isn't given as much credit as its worth. Too bad the building's been pretty much unoccupied for the past 5 years.

There are plans to renovate the historic gothic revival structure into condos, but when I passed by there was nothing but empty space and "For Lease" signs that could be seen through the windows.

so much has happened but nothing has changed

It's fairly demoralizing when you realize that the passion you thought you held for a career path is no longer there. As young 20-somethings, we're prone to change our mind about what is we want to do with our lives, let alone even figure it out in the first place.

My life has been on a single track since September of 2005, when I first stepped into a room which would the host of a class in a subject I would eventually hope to see a future in. Everything I’ve studied, everything I’ve trained myself for, every class, every internship, every job search led me down this one single plan. I stuck to this plan so vehemently that even when I began to question whether or not I was still into the whole shebang, I continually convinced myself that there was a future in this path I had laid out in front of me.

And I’d have to say I did a pretty admirable job of trudging along this tunnel with the greatest hope that everything would make perfect sense once I reached that light at the end. Even as my interest began to fade, the day to day at my job started feeling longer and I found myself questioning my grand scheme of a career path I had prepared myself for, I somehow faked a smile and told myself "don’t worry Mark, keep at this, you’re putting in your time and you’ve come this far and this is it…you’ll see."

But is this it?

I know, this isn’t the first time I’ve asked myself that. And it won’t be the last given that I find myself 11 months later feeling as if so much has happened but nothing has changed.

For the first time in a long time, I’ve been feeling unhappy about where I stand at this point in my life. Perhaps it was the fact that I’ve spent a whole year working the same dead-end job, maybe it’s because of the sudden massive exodus of many of those closest to me to bigger and better things in life. But as I reflect, I can’t help but wonder that I haven’t done enough to improve myself. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of the bigger picture and only now do I find myself feeling a sense of such soulless mediocrity (melodramatic I may seem, but you try and paste bus schedules onto a website day in and day out for the past 12 months).
you can only do it for so long.

The part I don’t understand about myself is that I already knew that I was on a safe and reliable path towards independence and stability, taking this realistic and conservative road in life. I already knew that the work I was doing was unsatisfying and unstimulating, but I somehow persuaded myself into thinking that “I can’t complain…I have a job.”

A job. That’s all it is at this point.

Somehow I persuaded myself that this was the end-all be-all in life. That this was the sole path for me. Somehow I scared myself into thinking that things would fall apart if I were to lose this job or try to shake things up by trying to do something else with my life.

When did I become so tame? Why am I so fearful of the breakup of the rote routine that has come to define my everyday life? In the past, I didn’t fear the lack of a paycheck every two weeks at the expense of my weekday hours from 9-5. I didn’t let a dull job behind a desk define who I was as a person. I don’t feel like I’m living life anymore. I’m merely living.

In the past year, I’ve let myself slip into some sort of mindless job-related coma. Somewhere along the way, I stopped striving for something. I wouldn’t say that I was content, but I sure as hell wasn’t doing anything about it. It pains me most to look back at myself in the past year and realize that I haven’t worked on myself at all...I just worked. Who at 22 and 23 would be proud of that?

I need to shake things up. And I need to re-teach myself the fearlessness and the drive to move onto more meaningful things in life. "Someone’s gotta do it" just isn’t going to cut it for me anymore. The relatively happy paychecks and growing retirement fund no longer seem worth it when I feel like I’m merely wasting my time. I want to do what I want to do. I want to work on myself. I want to put in the effort so I can say that at the end of it all and however long it took that at least I’m doing something I’m passionate about.

A friend of mine put it best:

"Then, dive into the deep end of the pool.

Reach as far as you can. And touch the bottom.

When you come up for air, you'll be exactly where you ought to be."

Not gonna lie, I’m frightened as hell to take the next step. But that’s a good thing.

"fun fact: as an incoming frosh, the deciding factor btwn 2 colleges was toilet paper. on that note, stanford would've won me with its 2-ply....given i'd applied and gotten accepted"


Day 257: more adventures in cinema

I've been finding myself behind a video camera alot lately. Sure, this is only for class, but I still think it's a fun experience whenever I'm on set.

By the way, I still haven't thought of a movie idea for my project next week. I need ideas, people!


Day 256: office excitement

I've never had my nametag on an office door before (and above my officemates, since you know me=awesome), so I guess this is kinda a big deal. Surprisingly enough, I expected myself to be more excited about this somewhat momentous occasion, much like the excitement I felt back when I first started working out of college.

But I felt nothing of the such. Reflecting on the past 2 years in which I've been a part of this thing called the "real world," I've spent a good majority of my time behind a desk, possibly in a cube, with a proprietary and obligatory email address (somevariationofmyfirstandlastname@insertcompanyhere.com) with the only consolation being that I can tweet about how mundane the work I'm doing is.

I'm not sure I like it. And I'm getting a bit afraid that I'm becoming a bit too jaded too fast.


This is more of an editing masterpiece, though the fact that this was composed using nothing but chords, bass notes and vocal samples from the movie "Up" is still pretty damn amazing.

"There are beautiful babies and ugly babies. Luckily, you're a beautiful baby"


Day 255: futbol

Ah, beautiful Sunday afternoons in the Bay Area. Actual warmth and sunshine abounds. And how will I be spending it this fall?

How else?


Day 254: in the park

Film Night in The Park is a weekly summertime tradition in San Francisco for the past 19 years. These night screenings are reminiscent of the drive-in movies of yesteryear, with Washington Square Park filled to the brim with friends, families, couples, and the homeless sprawled out on blankets with snacks and wine (or in our case, beer in paper bags).


Day 253: bhalla

This is what the office of a division manager of a Fortune 500 company looks like. A balla, so to speak.

No really, look at his name. He truly is, a "Bhalla."


Day 252: sans mirror

Helped a recent acquaintance with her submission for the Campus Movie Fest, the world's largest student film festival. Her movie is named "Without A Mirror," so when the voting for best submission goes up, I'm gonna have to ask you all to participate.While I'm not really a student (and I felt really really old walking through Berkeley), I've got yet another experience on set to put under my belt (plus I got some screen time too).

My short bit went like this:
Juxtapose interviewing shots of either Brian and Diane
No interviews to test us
No system to suppress this
Collectively beautiful bliss

...it's a poem of some sort that will act as a voiceover. I was to play the part of the Interviewer, the manifestation of the "System" designed to "test" and "suppress" us.

Gah. Even when I try to escape the corporate world, I still end up embodying it in the end.


Day 251: the outside world

The view from the window in my office. It's the only time I ever get to really see the outside world.

We've made it a game amongst my officemates to guess what kinds of clothes we're gonna see hanging on one of the windows (you can see it...second from the top). What a life we live!


Day 250: cinema 24

In case you couldn't already tell from my earlier posts, I'm taking a filmmaking class at the local community college. Our first big project involves making our first film in class, using a real film camera using real film...so I don't have the luxury of going back to edit scenes or to view what I just filmed. I'm confined to making a 1.5 minute film within 2 hours, while staying on campus grounds. I have the option to making a short film exploring a particular place, or exploring a single emotion.

City College of San Francisco isn't exactly the most inspiring place, so does anybody have any bright ideas?


Day 249: coyote hills

Just because we finished climbing Half Dome doesn't mean our weekly hikes had to end.

We climbed to the top of Coyote Hills in Fremont, where we got some nice panoramic views of the salt ponds on the southern tip of the San Franciso Bay on one side...

...and of suburbia in the distance on the other:


Rave/electronica/techno/trance music is making some sort of comeback, so I'm bringing back an old late 90s/early 2000s hit in tribute to the last time this genre of music was socially affable to listen to. Fatboy Slim rounds off a number of electronica artists from back in the day (who includes likes of Darude, Robert Miles, Ian Van Dahl, Gigi D'Agostino, Alice DeeJay, Propellarheads, Lamb, and Tiesto...for your reference) that enjoyed the popularity that many new artists are enjoying today.

Come on, admit it, you were into this stuff too 10 years ago too (or was it really just me?)

"Mark, come watch the god channel with us"


Day 248: sunny day in the sunset

SoCal has its beaches, but we have some pretty good coastal views up here too:

It was a sunny day in the Sunset District today...

Considering that 80% of the time, the neighborhood looks like this:

...this is kinda a big deal.


Day 247: alternative angles

Today's day with the other half was a day full of alternative angles. For example, remember the pretty dome in the extravagant mall in downtown San Francisco I visited once? This is what it looks like from the outside:

And if you've ever driven through 101 north here near the city, you're sure to have seen South San Francisco's attempt at the Hollywood sign:

Well, anyways, here's what it looks like close up:

And I probably forgot to blog about the time I tried to get into the Pixar Exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California for free but failed miserably when the free tickets had sold out 5 hours prior. But to make up for it today, I decided to suck it up and pay to make sure I did actually get to go in. So here's some pictures of the exhibit in which the 'no photography' rule was strictly enforced:



Day 246: T. Rusty

Meet my bike, T. Rusty.

I acquired him after he no longer had a home when my brother skipped out of the country. He spent most of his days following, just left to watch the fog roll by on the balcony of my parents' condo.

Sure, the front brakes don't work and the gears grind at every shift, but he's been reliable thus far. I'm riding him until the foggy weather here has finally corroded his moving parts (that's what she said?)

3rd blogoversary

Hey, Every Which Direction But Forward, since happy birthday is such a trite phrase, I just wanted to wish you a good tidings on the anniversary of the day of your origination!

Happy 3rd Blogoversary!

(In celebration of my 3rd year blogging and the many different designs I've established, I decided to bring back my favorite blog template)

"your professor was an interesting lady. she came to my surprise birthday party...the day before."


Day 245: hold on

I know this poster's old and all, but I'm sure they would have still been able to tell what's an unflattering angle back in the early 80s.


As my internship at SamTrans comes to an end, I'm surprised I didn't feel much more of a sense of nostalgia as I left my cubicle for the last time, shook hands with my internship boss, and turned in my badge. It started off with the right amount of excitement, and was full of some fun times throughout, but as I boarded the CalTrain for the last time I probably ever would in San Carlos, I turned around and never looked back.

What happened? I had an internship in the field I always raved about. I was getting hands on real life experience in the position I dreamed I would be in. I was following the path of a fellow classmate who sidestepped and delayed getting a master's in and was on my way to becoming a transportation planner. I was offered a job that would have extended my time at SamTrans, effectively getting a little more than my foot in that door.

But I turned it all away. Why?

Somewhere amidst all the community meetings and panderings to city councils and state representatives, the bureaucratic nature of attempting to get anything done in the public sector and the alphabet soup of organizations and terms I still had yet to learn (we worked on the GBI and CWTP and collaborated with MTC, ABAG and C/CAG!), I realized that urban planning was much more interesting in study. The same didn't necessarily bode true in practice.

So right now, I'm putting my pursuance of a career in the annals of urban planning on hold. I'll still enjoy learning about the subject, but I don't think I'll be pursuing a future in it (though with the way my resume has evolved, I believe I'll end up finding myself in the field anyway).

For now, I'll stick with my soul-sucking yet incredibly stable job. I can't complain too much now since I finally have a view of the outside world from my desk (I went from a part timer in a cubicle to having two minions and an office within one year of employment...guess I've made some real strides). So were my years of training to eventually practice in the field of transportation planning all in vain? No, of course not. It got me here.

"their comments: important, but not that important. we're offering a free service! how often do you get customer service for a free service?"


Day 244: living room

The apartment search begins...

Possible new place? Not when the living room resembles a sort of dorm room. I'm a yuppie now, dammit. I want my home to be a home.