Friday, March 8, 2013

My Top 5 Saddest Moments in TV/Movies

We all need a good catharsis every once in a while. And although I experience the whole spectrum of emotions on a daily basis at my work, it is nice to experience emotions in a more.. shall we say, "controlled" environment. Hence my recollection on the TOP FIVE saddest moments in my history of television and movies. I have spent all of about 10 minutes trying to remember the saddest things I have ever seen, and here is what I have come up with, videos included. All of these scenes are pretty much guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes.

5. The End of Selena:

This is by no means one of my favorite movies - I've maybe seen it in its entirety once or twice. But this last scene definitely gets me every time. That hag in the car is annoying as eff, but after they show her sobbing some incoherent mess, they start to play "Dreaming of You" and show the empty stage.. and if that's enough, they cut to the family learning about Selena's death.. I DIE.

4. The Up Montage:

If you did not cry the first time you saw this, YOU ARE NOT ALIVE. No one warned me that the first time I saw Up (and every time thereafter), I would be crying my eyes out within the first 10 minutes. For a four minute time frame, it has got to be one of the most powerful montages out there. No dialogue, no words, just a beautiful, moving story.

3. The Annihilation of the Straw Hat Crew:

This actually takes a whole episode, but the clip condenses it down to a few minutes. Throughout the hundreds and hundreds of episodes leading up to this one, Luffy (the captain) has been on an epic journey in which he meets and recruits the 8 other members of his crew, which, after starting alone, he considers his closest friends (his "nakama"). On the brink of finally going to the New World, however, they face an opponent that completely outmatches them. Luffy is completely helpless as he watches his best friends get separated. One by one, his crew members are defeated and sent off into the unknown.. the saddest being the weaker ones who cry out for help, but with Luffy being unable to do anything about it. These scenes were DEVASTATING to watch, especially because it was so unexpected. The show is literally based around his crew, and they are all defeated and separated in one episode. The guilt and desperation that Luffy feels is really hard to watch, and you can't help but feel for him..

2. The End of Toy Story 3:

Guaranteed sobbing every time I see this. As someone who grew up getting way too attached to material objects (such as toys), the ending of Toy Story 3 definitely hits some personal notes. Who hasn't at some point in their life had to decide whether it was time to finally give up that favorite childhood toy? Silly as it may seem, there is a special bond created between physical toys and a child's imagination. I grew up having "adventures" with my toys - just me and the toys. Do kids even do that anymore? I still have a select few of my toys in my closet from those childhood days that I have not been able to give up, and even though I don't even remember them for years at a time, I find comfort now, in my reminiscing, that they are still there. In this scene, you can see how conflicted Andy is when he is debating whether to give up Woody or not. When he says "Thank guys.." at the end, and then Woody says "So long, partner.." wow. Get me EVERY time.

1. How I Met Your Mother: Season 1 Final Scene:      

"As I rode home the next morning, the city looked the same, the people looked the same, it all looked the same.. but it wasn't.. in just one night, everything had changed."
It was really close between this scene and #2, and honestly they're almost interchangeable, but the suddenness and tone of this one makes it #1. The music they chose for this scene is PERFECT - the scene would not be the same without it. The change of expression on Ted's face - from happy to the dawning understanding of what happened - and then the cut to Marshall sitting alone on the steps in the rain.. no words were necessary.

And there you have it. The Top 5 saddest scenes, in my personal opinion. I'll have to make my next post a relatively happy one to balance out this one. Some honorable mentions that did not make the list:

Going Merry Funeral:

This is also from One Piece, and features the funeral of a talking ship. Judge me.

LOST: Charlie's Death:

The saddest scene from one of my fav shows, LOST.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

1st year of Grad School Recap

So it appears I've been neglecting my blog.. for a while. And by a while, I mean almost a whole year. Oops. I've been meaning to write in it, but so much time had elapsed that I just figured I would wait it out until I was completely done with my first year of grad school. And that day comes tomorrow, as I finish my last day of student teaching.

Needless to say, a lot has happened in the gap of time from my last blog post to now. I'm living in a new apartment, I am in a new relationship ("new" as in about 6.5 months new), and I have a new job lined up for next year. A "big person" job, teaching math at Animo Locke 2 High School.

A lot has happened in my first year in graduate school, but I feel like I haven't changed too much, in the sense that at my core, I am pretty much the same person. By the time we're this old, most people have a pretty strongly established core, right? I do, however, feel like I have gained some new perspectives, acquired some new skills, and perhaps most importantly, learned some new things about myself. How exactly do you learn new things about yourself? Well, it's not so much learning, as it is realizing what was there all along, and bringing it into your consciousness. It only took a couple weeks of student teaching for me to realize what my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, and there are definitely a lot of weaknesses. So much so, that there were definitely a few points in the year where I seriously questioned my decision to become a teacher. Where I almost gave it all up for a career that would be less stressful and depressing. For a good while, I was coming home feeling defeated everyday, and it was really affecting my mood.

Luckily for me, along with recognizing my weaknesses, I also realized another thing: that I am very critical of myself. That I need to give myself a chance to get better at this before I call it quits. That I'm not going to be a super great social justice teacher my first year. That I need to rely and trust other people to help get me through the hard times. All these things are, of course, easier said than done. But at least I am aware of them, and that is a good first step. Now if only I can remember them...

And so in a little over one month, I will begin my first year as a "real" teacher, in addition to completing my second year of my Master's Program. This has all the makings to be one of the most challenging and testing years of my life; fortunately, I have people I can depend on to see me through it. Here's to a new chapter, a new summer vacation, and a new blog post.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cleaning House

It is a rare occasion that I do a thorough cleaning of my room, yet alone my closet and under my bed. However, since this is the possibly the last time I will be moving out of my house (my home home, in Anaheim), and because my mom told me to, I've undertaken a cleaning for the ages in my room this past week in preparation for my move. I had put off cleaning my room for the whole summer, not because I was lazy (well, maybe a little bit), but because it meant going through the contents of my closet and deciding what stays and what goes. And by goes, I mean goes in the trash/Goodwill. Ya know.. GOES. And considering my attachment to material objects is higher than a normal human being, this was no easy task. Indeed, my closet had become a refuge for all the stuff that I didn't want to get rid of in previous cleanings but had no real use for, and the Day of Reckoning had finally come. This of course resulted in multiple trips to Memory City, making the task at hand take much longer than it should have. Yet I knew this part was inevitable, and so I began.

Why is it so hard to let go of these nonliving, nonuseful things? I had a lot of time to think about that while cleaning, and essentially, for me at least, I think it's because letting go of those things was like letting go of a younger, simpler part of myself. Once I threw away something, I knew there was no getting it back, and a lot of the stuff in my closet I had held onto for years and years because I just couldn't bear to throw it away at the time. And the time after that and the time after that. I guess when it comes down to it, the act of throwing something away to me seems like a declaration that that object, and the memories and emotions that go with it, just aren't that important anymore. And that's what made cleaning so emotionally difficult - I didn't want to let go of those memories, of those objects that at one time or another represented something so meaningful in my life. It's like I could hear my past self questioning - how could you throw this away?? Didn't this mean something to you?? Perhaps what scared me most is that once thrown away, those memories may eventually be even forgotten given enough time. And in a time when my job, relationships, and future are still so uncertain, I guess holding on to those things meant more than I had realized - it meant holding onto something that was a concrete and real part of who I was.

But alas, in the name of space, a lot of stuff had to go. Toys, cards, elementary school notes, and clothes, among other things. For the first time, I tossed out a piece of Unicamp clothing. Mind you, Unicamp clothing makes up literally about 65% of my wardrobe (sad?), and these sweatpants I threw out had a permanent dirt stain on the back that made it look like a poop explosion had just happened. I never wear them anymore, but they nevertheless still had a sentimental value to them. Another victim was the pillow I had since I was a baby. Again, the pillow was pretty much nonfunctional - it was dirty and had tears everywhere - but it was one of the few remnants I had from when I was a baby. Not much is left from that era now.

Despite the loads and loads of stuff that got thrown away, in the end there were some things that I could just NOT bring myself to throw away, and these things got to stay. A few examples are: some elementary school reports/projects, a handful of Hot Wheels cars (only my favorites got to stay this time :/ ), all my Pokemon cards (I mean, come on), all my Unicamp happy notes and memorabilia, my drawings and comics I made when I was small, and my video games. A lot of people sell their video game stuff, but I honestly just can't part with them for some reason (weird?). Oh, and these stuffed animals:

I call these guys the Survivors; they are all that remain of the zoo I used to have that took up about half my bed space when I was small. They've just made it so far.. I don't think it would be fair to give them up now. :P

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hello Blog.

Usually, when I write a blog, I have something exciting or amusing to write about, but that is not the case tonight. Tonight, I am just bored with nothing to entertain me, and so I am going to ramble on here about who knows what until my boredom is satisfied. So... what to talk about...

Well, one notable thing is that it's about 2am right now. Which means I have given way and fallen into old habits again. It seems like an inevitability that when I don't have to wake up early, my bedtime will drift closer and closer to the rising of the sun. There have only been a few cases in which the sun has actually risen while I was still in my waking state, and I distinctly remember each time because it was a very unpleasant experience. For some reason, it actually bothers me when I stay up so late that the Sun comes out. It's just not natural. These are the times I recall when I was awake when the sun came out:

1. High School Grad Night at the Bowling Alley. This one I didn't really have a choice because it ended at 6am and that's when parents picked everybody up.

2. First year of college studying for a Beethoven final. This was the last final of my finals week, and it was a final amongst relatively harder finals, so I put off my hardcore studying until the end. I remember being worried about the listening portion of the final, where we had to identify pieces of music.

3. Third year of college having a LAN Party. For the n00bs out there, LAN = Local Area Network. A LAN Party is where a bunch of really cool people bring their laptops together in one place and play online games against each other via the local internet connection. Starcraft was our game of choice, and we'd split into two teams and go into separate rooms, so as not to spy on each other. Out of the three times I recall staying up to greet the sun, this one is my favorite. I miss these times.

Well, speaking of the Sun coming out, I should try to get some sleep before I rish adding a fourth time. I think I'll read myself to sleep. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Arizona Trip

Well, my family has returned from another successful trip to the great state of Arizona. Why Arizona, you might ask? We like to go to places where it's really hot so we can walk into air-conditioned rooms and it feels really good. But seriously.. it's really hot over there.

Our first stop was Scottsdale, Arizona, where we stayed at the Doubletree Resort. Our 2 day stay there included the usual mall run, poolside antics, and movie watching. We also had some fine dining at the Blue Moose. Brian (my brother) and I were also able to locate the fitness center, where we played racquetball and I attempted/failed at lifting weights. It was in the 100s outside, so it felt really good when you walked into the hotel room, which we did numerous times.

From Scottsdale, we headed to our cabin in the woods in Prescott. It wasn't as hot here and so it didn't feel as good when you walked into a building, but we still did a lot of exciting things here. Some highlights include:

1. Visiting Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well. Montezuma Castle looks like this:

And the Well looks like this:

Both were really cool to places to see. I think some tourists were literally expecting a castle when they visited Montezuma Castle and I think they were a bit disappointed.. but I thought this was more interesting anyways. I mean, they built their home in a wall!

2. Playing volleyball at the local rec center with strangers. Every Monday and Wednesday is open volleyball in the mornings, so we went and checked out the competition. Turns out some people take their weekly open to the public volleyball very seriously. There was a guy there that had a strong resemblance to the guy with the glasses in Dodgeball, the one that knew all the rules and stuff. Upon arriving, he quickly approached us and indicated that his court was not for beginners, to which I scoffed at for assuming I was a beginner and played on that court anyways. I may have been on the shallow end of the skill pool there, but after a couple games of warming up I was doing a bit better.

3. Stargazing. The night sky in Arizona, especially in Prescott, is SO dark and clear that you can see the stars REALLY well. You can even see the disc of the Milky Way, which is awesome to see. I used the Google Sky app on my Droid phone to find constellations and stars in the sky, including Aquarius (my constellation!). The last night we were there was the night of a meteor shower, so I got to see lots of shooting stars as well. :)

4. Watching a group of Cloggers at the Square. Clogging is the dancing where you make lots of noises with your feet, and the Square is one of those American parks where senior citizens tend to gather and you can find square dancing or something going on most nights.

5. Fearing the cicadas. This is a cicada:

They are HUGE seasonal bugs, and it turns out they were in season when we got there. They are really big, and really loud. Anyways, one night at the Square, it was getting dark and what I thought were bats flying above us actually turned out to be some of the cicadas that had been screeching earlier. They began to descend lower and lower until finally one of them flew staight into a littly boy's head. You could actually hear the impact of that thing hit him. The littly boy then proceeded to pick up the cicada with his hand, examine it, and place it under his shirt, to which I did this: o_O. I guess that's what little boys do? Maybe there was a time when I was young that I would have done that too, but now you couldn't pay me to do that..

6. We also saw Lynx Lake, a nearby body of water in Prescott.
And there you have it folks, another trip to Arizona. Special thanks to Mom for actually finding stuff to do in Prescott besides the mall. Also thanks to my new Droid phone for making the car rides a lot less boring.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I recently got back from my WALL (Wilderness Adventures in Leadership and Learning) experience in Unicamp. Ever since I joined Unicamp, being a WALL advisor has always been something I've wanted to do, and this year I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do so. Was it everything I expected/hoped it would be? Well.. yes and no. It was definitely a good overall experience, just different from what I had anticipated.

We did our best to contact all of our kids beforehand to make sure they were prepared for the hike, and lo and behold, the 2 kids we weren't able to get a hold of apparently they had no idea they were going on a 26 mile hike... -__- And so the problems started there and continued throughout the week, with the bad attitudes and complaining being constant. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do any of our night programming on the hike, because we usually arrived at the campsite so late that all we had time to do was cook dinner and set up the tents and bear hang. This was one of the parts I was most disappointed about... I feel like it would have been a different experience had we been able to do some of the more serious night programming.. But alas, it was what it was.

Somehow, we all made it to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio on Summit Day, with time to spare! Granted, my Co and I did wake up at 4 in the morning to ensure we had ample time to reach said summit.. But it was definitely worth it. I just wish our water filter hadn't broken earlier in the hike, because I had to hike farther back to get more water when we ran out. >_<

Anyways, I just hope our group of campers took something away from this hike. We tried to emphasize how they were role models for the rest of camp.. hopefully this message got through to some of them and they were able to take some of the things they learned on the hike back down with them to the city. If anything, they were able to spend a week in nature (whether they liked it or not), away from the city and everything else. I think that in itself makes it a good week, regardless of anything else. It was nice to just be in nature for that big hike and enjoy the stars at night.

When I returned to the campsite from the hike, everyone was telling me how tan I got, and when I finally looked in a mirror a day later.. they were right. But then when I took a shower when I got back home, turns out my "tan" was just a lot of dirt accumulating over the past week. o_O My skin is also starting to peel from some of the sunburns I apparently got. Physical ailments aside, it was a very interesting week, and I hope to stay in contact with some of my campers to see how they're doing back at home.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big 5. Shoe life.

Ah summer vacation... how I love you for the free time and relaxation you give me. I'm a person who truly needs down time to just chill every once in a while, so summer vacation is great for me. But alas, I am not truly free, as I must have some source of income to stay afloat, especially with huge grad school loans on the horizon. Enter Big 5 Sporting Goods.

I swore to myself a couple summers ago that I would never set foot in a Big 5 as an employee again, but I sold my soul this summer because I needed a flexible job fast that would give me time off whenever I please. So once again, I put on my business casual outfit with my "Andrew" name tag.

So what is it really like working at Big 5? There are a few key skills you need to work as a Big 5 employee, and this is them:

#1. You have to own a business casual outfit and be clean shaven.

#2. You have to be alive.

Well actually that's pretty much it. So what happens when customers ask you questions about stuff in the store? In general, I'm pretty good at pointing people in the general direction of an item that they're looking for. However, when people ask me specific questions about an item, my knowledge becomes much more variable. When it comes to answering questions about running shoes and camping stuff, I might actually be able to help. With most other stuff my helping skills drop to about zero, and for guns/rifles, knives, and fishing gear, my help actually goes into the negatives. Meaning that if I try to answer a question, there's a good chance that the customer will walk out of the store with less knowledge than they came in with. Here, example interactions at the gun counter:

1. Customer: So what's the biggest legal size of a knife blade that you can carry in your pocket?

Me: o_O

2. Customer: I'm looking for one of those automatic rifles. You know, the ones that go 'bahbahbahbah!'. Do you guys carry those?

Me: .........Let me get the manager.

Those are some pretty typical interactions around the gun counter. Since our Big 5 branch is pretty close to Disneyland, we also get a lot of tourists who don't know how to speak English, so a lot of my interactions with people are actually done with improvised sign language. Sometimes we succeed in communicating, and sometimes they just give up and leave the store. One time, an old Asian lady grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to a clothes rack, where she proceeded to stare at me for a good 7-8 seconds. After asking if there was anything I could help her with and more awkward staring, we just ended up walking away from each other...

Anyways, for anyone who wants to work at Big 5, there are 2 big pieces of advice I can give you.

#1. Try not to look at the time for as long as possible. It only makes it worse.

#2. When faced with a question you don't know, and this will be about 85% of the time, make up an answer that is vague enough that it sounds legit, but not specific enough that they can call you out on it. Example interaction:

Customer: What kind of swimming goggles would you recommend for my son?

Me: Well, basically the higher you go in price, the better quality you're going to get. This here is a pretty good brand (point to random item on the shelf). See, it has all these features (proceed to read the features straight from the box).

And there you go. You're ready to work at Big 5.

P.S. In case you're wondering about the title of this blog, it was something I saw on a piece of tape stuck to the wall in the backroom at Big 5, and it pretty much sums up what goes down at Big 5. :P