Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Thoughts on Rap Music

I know so many people who do not like rap music. They say it's all about sex, money, and drugs. So, I'm guessing people can't relate to it. I'm guessing people don't like what rap music is about.

I, however, have never hated rap music. Sure, I hated certain songs, but I never hated rap music as a whole. Then, again, I'm one of the few people I know that will listen to a wide range of music. The only music I can say I hate for sure is the music that my parents put on. And, that's not real music, it's just elderly folks screaming out there struggles with no beats at all. 

I feel that even though lots of rap music might be about sex, money, and drugs that doesn't mean that the song wasn't powerful. I feel that lots of rappers mention sex, money, and drugs because its what they are surrounded by and it's part of life. There may be some things people don't want to hear, but that's part of life.

Songs or raps are like storytelling. I feel that when people write stories they put a lot of themselves in it whether they like it or not. They put their style in it. They rap about experiences or struggles that they relate to even if its not directly about them.

I like how rap isn't always sweet, cute, and innocent. I like that rap can be explicit. I like how rap music can be intense and serious.

I feel that I relate to rap music because they talk about their struggles, their past experiences, and how some things don't work out in their favor. Rap allows people to express themselves in a way that is pretty powerful and in a way they feel most comfortable. An example of a rap song that I relate to is Airplanes, Part II by BoB featuring Hayley Williams and Eminem.

Some of my favorite artists are rappers. I really like music from Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay Z, and Dr. Dre, and more. I grew up listening to rap music from the radio and I haven't stopped.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sugar Skull Workshop at the California Museum

Last week, I helped Sugar skull artist Rob-O with the Sugar skull workshops. The event was so much fun. It was nice seeing all the different designs of attendees.

Artist Rob-O's Sugar skull
During the workshops, Rob-O demonstrated some popular Day of the Dead motifs and some other cool things you can do for the skulls. One of the things I learned was that the upside down heart is what is used for a nose.

Rob-O's work was amazing. He did that beautiful sugar skull so quickly and its a masterpiece. I also admire his other work that is displayed in the Day of the Dead exhibit at the museum.

Since I was volunteering, Rob-O said that I can also make my own sugar skull since I was doing a service for him. I thought that was very nice of him. I wasn't quite sure what to do with my first mask, so I decided to go with the flow and slowly thought of what I wanted. I didn't end up finishing it as the session ended and had to prepare for the next workshop.

I had the opportunity to make a second sugar skull because I helped out Rob-O on the second day of the sugar skull workshop. This time around, my goal was to make my sugar skull was decorated as possible and to add more gems on it. I think I achieved that. I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this fun craft. It's always nice to bring out my crafty side.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Thoughts on Game Apps

When I first started playing game apps on my Ipad, I never imagined myself getting addicted to any game. I figured that I would only be playing a game every once in a while when I felt really bored. However, I found myself getting addicted to an Ipad game and even now I don't want to completely ditch particular game apps because I worked so hard on making it so far.

I know I said I stopped my addiction with Clash of Clans, but I went back on it a few months afterwards. But, I decided to stick with a few rules to keep me away from addiction. One of the rules was that I cannot stay in a clan for more than one night. I would have to leave by the end of the day. I think that rule is really important because if I stayed longer I would have to contribute more. And, I would hate it if I'm not doing my best to contribute to the clan. Another rule is that I try not to battle everyday, but only when I'm really close to getting enough resources for the next update. Those rules have really kept me out of being addicted. I don't think I will ever go back to playing it like before. Even when I go back to the game every once in a while to join clans, I feel very exhausted.

The Simpsons Tapped Out is the other game that I still play and never really stopped. But, I never got addicted to the game because the game isn't as demanding as Clash of Clans. For Simpson Tapped Out, you collect your resources and give your characters job and then repeat. You don't join a group and chat with others online, so it was easier to not be as committed. I would say that the game wasn't an addiction to me, but I would say it was a daily routine because everyday I would make sure to collect resources and give character jobs. I would say that's what happened for Clash of Clans when it stopped being an addiction.

But, why do I chose to just go back to Clash of Clans and Simpsons Tapped Out just to collect resources and keep stuff upgraded or to get new stuff? Why does it matter to me to have the new things? For me, I think it's because I put in so much of my time in the games. I played those games for a few years now and it's hard to let go now. I guess it also had to do with my personal life. I feel that although the games can't replace what I can't have, it can be something I do have. Moreover, possessing unique characters or items in the games kept me happy because I had them. I felt that I accomplished something and have something many others don't have. I liked that I was the highest level on the Simpsons Tapped Out. I liked having nice walls and being a high level on Clash of Clans. Those things provided me satisfaction because at least it was recognized as an achievement and other people in the game was amazed. It meant that I had at least had something in my life that was doing well and can be proud of. That's why I couldn't let go and still can't let go.

Friday, October 16, 2015

My Thoughts on Volunteering

I always strongly believed that it's important to give back to our community. I don't always have the money for it, but I do have the time, energy, and desire to be involved in my community.

None of my friends have ever encouraged me to take part on a volunteer opportunity. To my knowledge, none of my friends are a regular volunteer. I've had some friends and/or family members who keep asking me why I need to volunteer. Some have even suggested that I quit it because it takes time out of my busy schedule. But, I feel that I want to volunteer and I try to make room for it. Volunteering is something I started around high school and wanted to continue from then on.

I've always tried to look for opportunities I enjoy on my own because it's my time and my choice where I want to spend my time. I've volunteered in gardens, botanical conservatories, and greenhouses. I like volunteering in places that allow me to grow plants and provide a relaxing atmosphere. I really like being surrounded by healthy beautiful plants and vegetables. Somehow, it always makes me feel relaxed no matter how tired or stressed I am that today. I've also volunteered for the food bank, youth programs, and museums. I admire what those organizations are doing for the community. I really like those volunteer opportunities because those programs are really striving to do something for the community and I get to be a part of that. I'm so glad that I made the decision to be involved in them.

I find that I like volunteer opportunities that are more long lasting and not a one time thing. I like that I will always have the chance to meet new volunteers and now more about my responsibilities. I also like going back to the volunteer "home base", which I refer to as the place where I come back again and again to volunteer. I like that volunteering allows me to escape from my other responsibilities for a short period of time. I like that I sometimes get to serve members of the communities, which is something that I wanted to do whether it's a career or not.

As of now, I'm currently in a volunteer program that I enjoy and hope to be a part of it as long as I can. A few years ago, I decided that I want to find a volunteer program that I can be part of for a long time and I feel that the one that I am in right now meets that goal. I decided that when I'm older and retired I want to be one of those people who volunteer and help out others in their community.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

California Bucket List

Even though I live in California, there's still many places I haven't been to yet. There's still plenty of things I want to do.

I think it's a good idea to create a list, so I can remember everything I want to do and it might even help others with travel ideas in California. I'm also going to list stuff I've already done, but can't wait to do again. I'm well aware that the list won't be completed within a few years or at all.

Places I have yet to go...

  • Klamath’s National Forest, Yreka, CA
  • Pluto’s Cave trail, Mount Shasta, CA
  • Redwoods National Forest, Eureka, CA
  • Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA
  • Universal Studios, Universal City, CA
  • Santa Catalina Island, CA
  • California Adventures, Anaheim, CA
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa, CA
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium & beaches, Monterey, CA 
  • Yosemite, CA
  • Coronado Island, Coronado, CA
  • Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Lancaster, CA
  • Legoland, Carlsbad, CA
  • Sequoia National Forest, Visalia, CA
  • The French Laundry restaurant, Yountville, CA
  • Natural Bridges, Calaveras, CA 
  • Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, CA  
  • Daffodil Hill & Black Chasm Cavern, Volcano, CA 
  • Apple Hill, Placerville, CA 
  • Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
  • San Francisco, CA 
  1. Twin Peaks
  2. Stow Lake 
  3. Walt Disney Family Museum
  4. Mosaic Stairs
  5. Painted Stairs
  6. Legion of Honor
  • Los Angeles, CA
  1. Venice Canals 
  2. LACMA
  3. University of South California (USC)
  4. Asian History Museum 
  5. Japantown
 Places I want to return to...
  • Morro Bay, CA
  • San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Carmel, CA
  • South Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
I want to say that just because a place isn't listed here, doesn't mean I don't ever want to go there or that it wasn't special to me. When I created the lists, I imagine myself pursuing these places and things to do mostly within the next 5 years. After all, I did title this post "California Bucket List". It's not a rank of special places since I never been to all the places. Not all of my favorite places are listed on this post. I chose to keep those places in my mind longer and revisit them at a much later time. I will also discuss some of my favorite places in a later post.
I want to...
  • go horseback riding on the beach
  • wagon or Horse riding in the snow
  • be in a place that's covered with snow and while it's still snowing
  • go dog sledding
  • visit more beaches in California
  • eat ice cream & BBQ on the beach
  • have more potlucks or food gatherings with friends 
  • go on a nice boat ride
  • try more different foods and popular dishes from places all over California
  • go on scavenger hunts
  • go whale and elephant seal watching
  • beach bonfire
  • camp bonfire
There's some things I already did on the list of "I want to...". The reason why I listed some things I already did is because that's one of the things I really love doing. It's too bad I don't get to do most of these activities often. Some of the stuff listed might be expensive and/or far. But, it's always good to remind yourself of your goals and to do things that keep you happy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UC Davis China Summer Abroad 2010 Reunion

Since we last studied abroad together in 2010, we managed to have some reunions with most of the group. I've also had other classes with the group and saw them on campus. However, as time passes, we all went our different directions.

But, no matter what, I will always remember all the good times we spent there. It definitely called for some interesting stories.

Wang Lin (Michelle) who was our tour guide and interpreter in China made a trip to America. Upon her visit, Adrian coordinated a reunion meet up in San Francisco. I struggled with the decision of whether to attend or not, but decided I should because it's not often I would see old friends. So,  I decided to drive to San Francisco all by myself for the first time. It was alright, but I hated that traffic delayed my arrival.

My first stop in San Francisco was Purple Kow. Afterwards, I drove to B*Star to eat dinner with the group. It's the first Burmese restaurant I ever been to. I actually wanted to try Burmese food since my last time in San Francisco. I knew I had to try Burmese food in San Francisco because of its diverse populations and the high ratings for the Burmese restaurants. The first time I heard of Burma (Myanmar) was when I was studying abroad in China. Regina told me that her family is from Burma and some other background of Burma. Regina, Shoun, and I also visited the Myanmar pavilion while we were at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010!

I ended up ordering the Pork entree with vegetables. And, it was unbelievably delicious. The meat itself was the best part. I especially loved the skin. I like the rice and bok choy that came with the dish. The soup that was shared among us, I didn't enjoy it that much. I will definitely have Burmese food again. I'm looking forward to trying their curry, desserts, and some other dishes :).

When I arrived at B*Star, everyone else was already there, but didn't order yet. It was nice seeing everyone again. Everyone looked the same to me.

I was able to meet Matt's girlfriend at the restaurant, who helped us take some photos.

It was great catching up with everyone. I had a really good time hearing everybody's stories of how they been and just catching up. I hope we have more reunions in the future. I also hope Wang Lin comes to California more, so we can see her.

After finishing dinner, we walked to a boba place since Michelle wanted to try boba in San Francisco. We also meet Andrea at the boba place called Little Sweet. I'm glad that a good number of us managed to meet up for a reunion. I understand it always gets harder as people move and have too much commitments.

While we were at Little Sweet, we had a discussion of the boba place we used to go in China that was near our hotel. We knew that the name had the word "girl" in it, but forgot what it was. I thought it was "ok girl". I remembered having a photo of it and its "My.girl".

Ah, good times :). I can't wait for the next reunion we have together. Maybe next time, I will see more members of the group.