Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Hi guys, so now I'm basically on Tumblr exclusively now -_- I'll be posting blog posts there, if I even get around to that... I just like the way Tumblr looks and interfaces a lot better than I do blogspot. Lately I've been posting mostly music and pictures anyway, so Tumblr functions better for that kind of thing. It's a good indication of what my life's like right now: way too busy, with only small bursts of peace. Plus, a bunch of you already have tumblrs, so yay. Hopefully the rest of you make them, too. Either way, check it out!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More time wasting!

Hi, I've made a tumblr: http://alekschang.tumblr.com/

I like to share music and movie trailers and such, so I figured it could be cool. Problem being, I'm not sure how to get comments on tumblr posts, so that aspect sucks. How else am I supposed to know that the four of you out there are reading my posts? =[

Any ideas on whether I should move to tumblr or use both tumblr and blogspot, or just forget this whole tumblr thing to begin with and stick to my old ways? For the time being, please check it out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Genre Battle 1: American Satire

Lately I've been taking my enjoyment of movies more seriously, mainly by simply watching a lot more of them (good ones, of course). Today I tried something that I didn't really plan on: watching two movies that had been recommended to me in the past that are more or less in the same genre. It sort of just happened, but it ended up being pretty fun, so I think I'll start doing that intentionally from now on. If the two of you out there who read this blog are in the mood for a certain genre and can't decide which prominent movie in said genre is worth watching, I'll be here to give my two cents. Plus this is just a nice activity for me; as always, in the end all of this nonsense is for my own enjoyment.

This week's genre: American Satire

"Thank You for Smoking" vs. "Idiocracy"

"Thank You for Smoking" was the clear winner in this battle. I had no idea what they were going for in "Idiocracy." It couldn't have been aiming to be an intelligent satire, because there was nothing original or insightful about this film. All it really did was beat the audience over the head with its same boring message over and over that the human population will grow stupider at the rate it's going. It didn't even provide much of a basis for this prediction, so the film ended up being a vacuous waste of time. So then was it aiming to be a comedy? Though the film had its moments, it never got more than a mild chuckle out of me. The only "joke" the film ever makes is showing people in the future acting stupid, and that isn't even funny the first time it happens on screen. One of these stupid future people you see quite often is played by a blubbering Dax Shepard, who, if you google image him, you'll recognize as an annoying look-a-like Zach Braff. Sad to say, I would have actually preferred Zach Braff. Luke Wilson plays the same character he plays in every film, so no talent from the lead helped, and this film even manages to make Terry Crews seem boring, and that guy's fucking awesome!

On the other hand, "Thank You for Smoking" was pretty damn good. It was clever, insightful, had good acting, and it was funny; basically, it was everything "Idiocracy" half-assedly attempted to be. I like Aaron Eckhart more than ever now! He did an amazing job of getting the audience's sympathy, even though clearly his character bullshits for a living and has no true values or motivation for what he does. It's a movie about a morally polarized issue like smoking, yet somehow tells a story that's morally gray, and that's awesome.

See you kids next time. What genre should I do next?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The In-Between 4

Hello. I don't really know what to say about my life right now, because I'm just kind of waiting for shit to happen. I didn't want to wait until then to post, though, so I figured I'd at least post a song I'm really into at the moment.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The In-Between 3

Ah, so I totally failed at the In-Between -_-. Sorry, to whoever was waiting to read those entries, like Maria in the Philippines! Well, my explanation for this absence fits in with what's been with me, so here goes...

I started a journal. Shelley gave me the idea as a way to get to bed, since I'd been having trouble sleeping at the time, and I've been keeping up with it ever since. Partly due to the time I've spent writing in it and partly due to all of my thoughts going into it, I've been rather distracted from blogging. I definitely love to blog and keep the few people who keep up with my life filled in, so I won't abandon this altogether.

I will say that journal writing has some advantages over blogging that are nice. It's nice to be able to write anything without fear of repercussion (unless your roommate's a nosy asshole, I guess). Sometimes my entries become an even more of a disorganized mess than these blog entries, but it's a little liberating to write so carelessly. There's also a certain charm to sitting in bed with my back resting on a pillow, scribbling away in my shitty spiral notebook with the same blue pen every night, having to stretch my hand out every now and then after it cramps from writing too quickly for too long. One drawback, though, is if someone were to read my entries after I died or something, they'd have a hell of a hard time deciphering my hand-writing -_-.

I've also just been crazy busy in general. This summer's been fun, but it's definitely been the fastest summer of my life. It's already August, which for us Berkeley kids, means class starts three and a half weeks! Holy crap, I'm panicking. Join me, won't you? At least looking back on summer, even though I didn't do everything I hoped I would, I still think it was one of the best summers of my life, as well, which adds to the profound sadness of it concluding so soon.

Hrm so rather than try to play catch-up, noteworthy event: last night I accompanied David to San Francisco because his cousin who's leaving to teach in Turkey was having a going away party of sorts, and he wanted someone to talk to there. It was at the piano bar at John Foley's, which seemed interesting, so I said I was down. Oddly enough, the night ended up nothing like I'd expected it to. My friend from lab, Amy, called me up and asked if I wanted to get dinner or something, so I ended up just inviting her along. The funny thing was, I had thrown it out there expecting her to not be too interested in coming all the way to SF with me and my roommate to his family thing, but she said she was down. A healthy taste for adventure-- now isn't that cool?

The night took another interesting turn once we finally got to the place. We didn't realize that we had to be 21 to even enter the place! Ugh, why must I be only 19?!?! David Anderson, why couldn't you have been born 2 years later/why couldn't I have been born 2 years earlier? Anyway, the way things ended up playing out was actually pretty cool, though. David and I were talking about it afterward, and had it been just us two, he would've had to say hi really quickly to his cousin and then leave as to not keep me waiting outside for too long, and then we would've just went home and had a pretty uneventful Saturday. So while David went inside to talk to greet his cousin, Amy and I just walked around SF, window shopped, looked for places to eat later, etc.

Oh, and jeez I didn't realize how few good restaurants there were around the Union Square area. I guess it makes sense since it's mostly for shopping, but still, we couldn't find anywhere good to eat, so we ended up just going to Mel's. I've been there so many times, but to be honest I'm not really sick of it. Oddly enough, this was the first time I utilized the $12.99 cheeseburger/fries/milkshake combo. I'd failed to see it every previous time I'd been there -_-. Anyway, we had some delicious Mel's, and then went home to hang out with the suite (or apartment-mates, whatever they are and forever will be "the suite" to me).

Fortunately, everyone seemed to like Amy, so we had a pretty good time. We partook in some nice "beverages." I finally got around to try a shot monster/vodka. It was pretty good, and my heart didn't explode! Though I only had like one shot of it. Who knows if I had, say, 6 O_o. We ending up watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That movie never ceases being funny ^^. Amy seemed to enjoy it, so I'm glad about that. After the movie ended, I walked Amy home pretty late at night. Luckily she doesn't live too far away, and it wasn't too cold out. Admittedly, it was a tiny bit unnerving to back alone through the empty streets, but at the same time it was kind of cool. Why is it that everything I remember from every horror movie I've ever seen rushes into the forefront of my mind when I'm in a situation like that? -_- So all in all, a good Saturday evening.

GAH and I still have to watch Inception at some point.

Oh, and I've been enjoying new/revisiting old electronic music lately:
-Digitalism (Idealism, Frances =D)
-Copy (Hair Guitar)
-Pendulum (Hold Your Colour)
-Fatboy Slim (You've Come Along Way, Baby)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wisdom from an Unexpected Source

"You know the advantages of a one-sided crush? Firstly, you won't spend money. When you're dating, you exchange gifts, and that needs lots of money. There are no restrictions so there's lots of freedom. There's no need to always consider the partner; it saves that effort. I have no expectation of anything from the partner, so just watching them is enough. When I want it to stop, I can stop at any time. Since I'm the only one who will be sad sad, it's better. Anyhow, those who have one-sided crushes are those who lack the courage to love."

Monday, July 5, 2010

The In-Between 2

So I followed through with "The In-Between"! This post was a little late because I realized that posting at the end of the weekend makes a lot more sense, since a lot of what's interesting about my week happens on the weekend, and I'd rather write about those things when they're fresh in my memory.

This week was my first week with 2 labs, which was a little challenging, but definitely doable. I enjoy organic chemistry a lot more than I thought I would. Maybe it's because the material is still fairly simple, but it's definitely more enjoyable than general chemistry. I think it's because things make more sense, whereas chem 1a was this annoying, vague mash-up of different concepts and principles that they kind of just threw at us. Or maybe it's because Pedersen is a badass, and he could just about teach anything and it'd be interesting and clear. If there's anything that's served as an extra incentive to go to lecture in the mornings, it's been this cute girl that sits near where I sit. Unfortunately, from the few times I've interacted with her, it seems doubtful that things will go anywhere with her, but nonetheless it's fun when someone in a crowd of hundreds stands out to you. It gives you something to look forward to seeing in the morning haze of Pedersen's monotonous voice, bond-line structures, and very uncomfortable tables.

Thursday night Jeff's friend Nikki and her roommate (whose name I can't spell and won't attempt) came over for dinner. Andy and Xavier made chicken curry and ox-tail soup, which were both really good. I'm glad I live with guys who like cooking and are good at it. I really enjoy having company over for dinner. I have a feeling when I'm old and settled down, I'm going to be a Monica and invite people over to my house or apartment all the time.

Friday and Saturday were fairly uneventful, but pretty relaxing. I got a decent amount of my ochem problem sets done with. I haven't touched anything for lab... god do I hate ochem lab. It's really only made tolerable because of two things: for once, I have a partner who's likable and competent, and actually a little cute, too.

Today I went to see fireworks. Unfortunately, David, Andy, and Xavier were too busy/unwilling to come with me, Jeff, and Yuxi =[. We were originally going to take the bus, but realized we were running too late after dinner, despite having inhaled our hamburger meat as fast as we could. We actually started running towards the bus station, then ran back home and took the car -_-. We picked up Teruki and Michelle and headed to pier 39, and got back at around 2 AM. How could going to see fireworks take upwards of 5 hours was what David wondered when I shuffled into our room not so long ago. Well let me tell you, cars on the 4th of July = headache.

From finding parking to navigating traffic to finding more parking, we probably spent a majority of the night in Jeff's car. Luckily, I wasn't driving so I got to relax carelessly in my seat. Despite not having actually done much for the time we were out, I had a lot of fun tonight. I love getting lost or stuck in traffic with friends. I'm fortunate that I have friends who are fun to be in mundane situations with. Really, Jeff and Yuxi can make just about anything interesting and entertaining, and Teruki and Michelle are plenty cool. A radio blasting Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and the latest guilty-pleasure pop hits helps, too.

By the end of the night, I felt as though I had enjoyed my 4th of July to the fullest. I was worried that I'd be feeling down, since my 4th of July last year was just so much fun. It's funny, actually. When David and the others had decided to not go, I had a moment where I was sitting on the floor, putting my shoes on, and I had to choose whether or not to stay home as well. I was a little worried that going out wouldn't be that fun and that I'd just be a downer, but looking back I would've regretted not going, so I'm really glad I put my shoes on and just went with it. In the future, I think I'll try to always opt to put my shoes on, as I spend enough time with my feet warm in my slippers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The In-Between 1

There's this song I like, and one of the verses goes like this:

"as for those things
that act as markers in your life
but in between
you can't remember"
Another song I like, it goes like this:

"all of my regret will wash away somehow
but I cannot forget the way I feel right now"

Those lyrics sum up pretty well my reasons for the new segment I've started on my blog, "The In-Between." I tend to blog when things come to mind, but I'm making a point of blogging at least once a week from now. Rather than throw bullshit out there just to meet that quota, I figured I would blog about the mundane happenings in between the "enlightening" events in my life. It'll help to document my life for future reference for better introspection and just reminiscing. These posts may not be that fun to read if you don't particularly care about what's happening in my life, but I'm doing it to keep me in the blogging mood, because talking to an imaginary audience of my peers keeps me sane, ironically enough. So here goes:

My first week of summer class comes to a close. It's Thursday evening/Friday morning, but I don't have lecture on Fridays (fuck yeah!), so I figure at least for this summer I'll be making these posts anytime between Thursday and Friday night. It's been a good week, since David is finally up here in Berkeley. The week before, I was in this odd limbo, since I didn't really have my room set-up and the apartment felt incomplete without all 6 of us in it.

Hrm I just realized I haven't done a terrific job of keeping all of my friends in the loop, so if you are in the loop, in these blog posts I might be saying things you already know of. So I'm living in a 3-bedroom apartment with David Anderson (who shares a room with me), Andy Cheng, Alex Lee (otherwise known as Xavier from Ecuador), Yuxi Tian, and Jeff Young. I'm taking Chem 3A and N3AL, which means I'm doing organic chemistry lecture and lab, though for the lab, instead of a lab lecture that the professor teaches, there are online lectures.

Living in an apartment has been an interesting experience so far. Living in a dorm, we never had to worry about cleaning, rent, food, etc., so there's an added stress to it, but at the same time it's fun dealing with these things. I feel like I'm in my own place now, rather than just borrowing someone's room for a year. And it sure helps to not have to eat Foothill food or sit in Foothill furniture or climb Foothill stairs every day -_-.

I'm also single right now, which is new. Haven't been for over one and a half years. I don't want to talk too much about the break up, but Maria and I are still the best of friends, and we have the utmost respect for each other. And that's what I've always wanted in life, anyway, so things are swell. It's been hard, for various reasons, but I'm getting by alright. More on all this later, though, because David and I are getting quite sleepy and this post is fairly long. I look forward to writing again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Trusting is an incredibly difficult thing to do. You all know this, and I understand people don't really need some teenager on his laptop to tell you that. But here are my thoughts on the subject.

Okay so what we all know: trusting other people is a high-risk-high-reward process. We put ourselves in the hands of other people, intentionally making ourselves vulnerable and susceptible to judgement and betrayal. The reward is that we feel safe with the people we trust, and this sense of security allows us to expand our circle of comfort and do more than we could have before. The not-so cut and dry part about trust is, how do we decide on when to trust?

This similar dilemma comes up all the time. My favorite of which is how God is supposed to decide who goes to heaven and hell. Oddly enough, I can sum this up with a line from this really deep, amazing film called "The Curse of the Black Pearl," I don't know if you've heard of it:

"One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness."
"Though it seems enough to condemn him."

How many trustworthy acts do we need to perform to be trusted, and how many acts of betrayal can be tolerated before shaking peoples' confidence in us? There has to be a certain quota of acts to meet, and a non-betrayal success rate that a trustworthy person has to exceed. Unfortunately, like many things in life, trust is something that's more or less impossible to quantify. Shucks.

I guess such a benchmark can't exist because there's no surefire way to tell if someone is trustworthy. Even if a person has never betrayed you, and has stayed loyal to you through numerous events in which they could have betrayed you, there is still that possibility that they could betray you in the future.

Logically, the safest thing to do is to not trust others at all. Biologically speaking, if there's one person who will always look out for my well-being, it'll be me. But haven't we all promised ourselves that we'd act, feel, or be a certain way, and then let ourselves down? In a way, we betray ourselves at times, so does that mean that we can't trust anyone? It can't be that we can't trust people, but rather only phenomena, like trusting that a ball will fall to the floor if I drop it and nothing is in the way. But even that's in doubt... and that's a whole other topic for a whole other blog post -_-.

None of this inquiry actually answers how to start trusting someone. To trust someone else is a big deal. For me, it means having humility and believing in someone else, even more than I believe in myself to act in good-will. It also involves courage, because it takes big balls to admit the very real possibility that you will be harmed, and to say "meh, fuck it." And even though it's easy to say these things, they're much harder to do.

Recently I had a realization that the difficult, and really quite bizarre, part of trusting others is that it takes getting others to trust you first. It's much easier to trust someone who already admits to trusting you, because not only do you know that they think highly enough of you to do so, their vulnerability has put you in a advantageous and safe position. When I realized this fact, I frowned and thought, "...what?" If trusting relies on one party to be trusting first, how does anyone get around to trusting? This was all very confusing, and I laughed at this very chicken-and-egg scenario.

The conclusion I reached, and by conclusion I mean something I just threw together in order to make sense of things for my sanity's sake, is that trusting isn't necessarily your history with those people. I think it's more about conveying to the people around you that you're willing to be vulnerable and trust them, and that's the only way they'll truly trust you. If we're all guarded, there's no way we'll ever break past each others' defenses. If we all stand around with our shields up, looking at each other through the corners of our eyes, expecting the others to stab us when we put those shields down, we'll never put our guard down and will always be afraid of each other. It just takes one courageous act, one person to make themselves vulnerable and to show that it's okay to do so for others to follow.

So at the end of the day, it's not about being able to trust other people, but rather wanting to trust those people. If you want to be able to trust people, you have to be willing to put yourself out in the open. Of course it's not so stupidly simple: there will be some who won't believe that we do trust and will thus not reciprocate, some who abuse our trust, and some who are just plain crazy. I didn't say the be-courageous approach was guaranteed or even safe. It's like fishing, but instead of casting with grubs, you're putting your hand out covered in powerbait into the water. However, I find making myself vulnerable, even to people who could take advantage of such vulnerability, is worth it. The way I see it, people can only connect on a significant level with a very small percentage of the population, because people are birthed from such vastly different circumstances and environments. The less politically-correct version of that statement, and how I really feel about people, is that most people suck. They're boring, stupid, obnoxious, and self-absorbed. If you want to actually trust a person, they're most likely not going to be of that variety (If you're reading this and you are of that variety, please leave. If you're reading this and you're all of a sudden questioning your intelligence and "coolness," trust me, I probably like you :]). Seeing as how there are so few people out there to enjoy, I think it worth it to chance getting a little hurt in order to gain relationships that will sustain us for life. Pain and betrayal is easy to get over compared to a lifetime of loneliness and solitude. Living alone is suicide by tiny increments.

From being alive these long 19 years, I think I've noticed a trend in life that I approve of: if you want to be happy, if you want to be close to people, and if you want to be loved, you have to be willing to put in the sweat and tears for it. We'll work hard, harder than we think we need to in order to maintain our relationships, and we'll hurt and cry more than we think it's worth it to have relationships, but we pick ourselves up and know it's worth it. We just have to trust that our friends and loved ones will believe the same thing.


I realize I left out of this post one of the most important things I wanted to talk about, which is my inspiration for the post. I guess the post ended up being more philosophical than about my life, but I definitely want to make a shout-out to my inspirers. I feel that in my life right now, I have two people I can call my best friends. You know who you are. I was wondering why I trusted these two people so much, and I have to admit I wondered why (in a philosophical manner, not that I really questioned trusting, I love you guys!) I should keep doing so, and that's what got me thinking up this whole thing in the first place. I don't really have reasons or events to point to, and I don't know who shot first with their truth-gun, but I just know I trust them and they trust me, and that's all that matters. How we got here, I'm not entirely sure, but it took a lot of courage and work, and I'm so proud of having these two people in my life. I love you guys, and I'm sorry if I've made you worry. I trust you guys completely, even more than I trust myself to be a good person.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No more!

I've always had a tendency to quit or take the easy way out of things. Rather than really man up to issues, I just kind of recede and sit back, and for the most part it's always worked out alright. I think the only reason why it's worked out in the past was because life never really interested me much. It was just something to participate in, but never to really have a stake in.

But now things are actually really important to me. Not like "It'd be cool to have that last slice of cheesecake but no matter I can always buy some more" important, but "worth holding onto and never want to lose" important. Part of this is my own renewed drive to really be happy with my life, but I think a large part of it is because I have people who rely on me and whose happiness relies somewhat on my success. Maybe rely is a strong word to use, but I guess what I'm saying is I'm sure they'd be pretty bummed if I failed at life or offed myself.

So let's talk goals:
1) Don't chicken out and doubt myself; get into med school and become a kick-ass doctor (no really, I want to be a doctor who knows martial arts)
2) Make the people that love me happy, and make them feel loved, well, because they are. I've finally got a hold of some really great people to be my friends, and I don't want to let them go.
3) Get good at Korean. I owe it to my family, here and in Korea, to be able to communicate with them.
4) Get good at SSF4. May seem like a silly goal, but if I can't be good at a video game with fair, fixed rules, how can I expect to be good at life, a game with constantly changing rules that are never in your favor? This goal goes a little less with the theme of "people around me," but it is a personal obstacle that I really want to overcome and not just quit. Plus, David needs someone to be his rival.

I have the people around me to thank for this, because when your actions have consequences beyond just yourself, you tend to be more mature and well-thought about things. I was afraid that I would spend my life stuck in "me me me" world and end up alone, but I don't think that's so much of a problem anymore. I think I'm finally growing up a bit.

I'm an adult! >:o Hope somebody gets that reference.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Silly Alex -_-

-Slaps face-

So I guess that "New Habit" post failed in its duty... Well I foresee more blogging in the coming future, especially with summer coming up. Maybe I'll start actually playing guitar again. Until then, hello again, blogosphere.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New habit?

I've noticed as I get older and more and more things are introduced into my life, I have a harder time keeping track of it all. It'll be a good idea for me to blog about these things, whether they be pivotal moments in my life or just the movies I've watched recently and what I thought of them.

That's all I really had to say. After not blogging for so long, probably a big upset to the few people who actually follow this blog. Actually probably not even that big an upset, for obvious reasons. Well, that's my heads-up to those of you in the blogosphere keeping up with me. See you around.

Movies seen recently (kind of):
-Avatar (pretty with an elaborate universe, but stupid)
-Sherlock Holmes (fun, flawed, Robert Downey Jr. was awesome, probably enjoyed it more than I would have since I watched it with cool kids)
-Invictus (inspirational, good pacing, not exactly my cup of tea though, well-known American actors doing South African accents is awkward, and as always Morgan Freeman is a badass)
-Men Who Stare at Goats (amusing but overall disappointing, George Clooney's performance was strong but rest of cast was bleh)
-Up (finally got around to seeing this; was sweet, original, heart-wrenching, and thrilling)
-9 (like Avatar, pretty, but a lot of the artsy elements served no purposes, plagued with plot holes and a stupid plot, but humanoid dolls fighting sentient robots is always kind of cool--I would say "original," but the movie is based on a previously made short-film)
-Law Abiding Citizen (just plain awful, so please never watch this movie)

Movies I want to see:
-Fantastic Mr. Fox
-Up in the Air
-Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (an old movie, kind of a random urge)
-Where the Wild Things Are
-Youth in Revolt (not going to expect to much, though)

Music of interest at the moment:
-Ronald Jenkees
-The Shins (not so much a new interest but just can't seem to get sick of them)
-Ingrid Michaelson
-Mondo Grosso (Shinichi Osawa)
-Spoon (I've always had their albums on my hard-drive, but only in the last year did I realize how good they were)
-Nostalgic video game and cartoon music (I blame David and Andy, respectively, for this)

That actually ended up being longer than I had anticipated. Cool!