An Abundance of Media

I’ve got a problem.

In the past few years, I have queued an overwhelming amount of, well, ‘stuff’, for the expected ‘when-I-get-bored’ moments in the future. Saved on my laptop and iPod are lists upon lists of movies I need to watch, TV series I need to start or catch up on, books I need to read, and podcasts I need to listen to. Over time, it sort of became a habit, a natural inclination to stock up on these things, an automatic mechanism I have unconsciously employed to rid myself of gaps of doing nothing – boredom, as we call it.

I’ve even got designated ‘Favourites’ folders (which I have so pretentiously titled ‘Films’ and “Reads’, because in my mind they somehow sound a little more sophisticated than ‘Movies’ and ‘Books’) to deposit website links to which I can easily access my abundance of media that very likely add up to hundreds of hours.

– Author Unknown – (Tumblr)

I feel as if I’m running out of the mental capacity to store all of this media madness.

What’s strange is that, although I have accumulated a rather extensive collection of all this ‘media stuff’, when those ‘I-have-nothing-to-do’ moments do come up, I still find myself thinking, “okay, so now what?”. What follows is often a Google search of “top 2013/4/5 movies”, or something along those lines, you get the idea (because I know you’ve done it too!). I have truly become a digital hoarder! No matter how much I already have stored, I am constantly adding new stuff to this endless media inventory. Once in a while, however, I do pay a visit to my ‘Films’ and ‘Reads’ folders. And that’s when I come to the realization that “wow, I’ve got a lot catching up to do”. That’s also when the pressure kicks in and the binge-watching cycle begins.

Luckily, the binge-watching doesn’t usually last too long. Juggling between school, work, and (hopefully) a social life, I literally cannot squeeze 10 hours out of this sponge that is my time to listen to Radiolab or watch the newest Marvel movie (or Nicholas Sparks … heaven forbid). Thank goodness I’m still lucid enough to know that I need sleep. At one point during my first year of university, however, I was going back and forth between ten different TV shows… Why don’t I have that kind of motivation about the more important things in life?

I guess for me a big reason why I can’t seem to steer away from media, movies and television especially, is that, I find them to be huge conversation topics. To avoid the awkward small talk silence, I constantly feel the need and  pressure to know what people have been watching/listening/reading, so when the topic comes up, I can tell them how much of a badass Scandal’s Olivia Pope is or how ridiculous Samuel L Jackson’s lisp was in Kingsman. With that said, in my 20th year of life, I truly hope to instill a bit more control on my outrageous amount of media consumption and start paying a bit more attention to the more important things in life, like politics and doing my taxes or something … (jokes… I’m not ready to deal with that much responsibilities yet).

I’d like to consider this acknowledgement of my rather unhealthy relationship with the media a fairly good first step. The next is of course making actual substantial changes. While it certainly takes time and lots of discipline to avoid this element of modern life that has so deeply infiltrated our lives, I do believe it is possible. Fingers crossed that entries on this blog later in the year will see some positive changes in my digital hoarding habits.

x. Michelle

Graduate Exhibition: Revisited

It’s been  a month since I last put up any content, here, or on YouTube.

Back in Toronto I was constantly exposed to all sources of creativity. The food, the fashion, the architecture, the interior designs, and the people that made these things happen. Since I came back to Ottawa, I have been in this creative rut. I still want to put out content of course. But not just content, I want good content. Things that I can actually be satisfied and happy with myself. Not just some rubbish to temporarily fill up this lackluster gap.

So there I was, trying to get my creative juice going again, when I found the pictures I took at the OCAD graduate exhibition back in April. This annual event showcases the final thesis projects of both undergrad and grad students from a wide array of programs the school offers. Looking through some of my favourites from this year made me realize just how innovative people can be. These are the people I had surrounded myself with in Toronto. These are the people who had inspired me and motivated me to do more and do better. I guess that’s why I’m writing this today, to give myself that extra push and to instill some creativity back in myself.

I will take you through my a few of my favourite installations by the order I visited them.

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Before & Still

The artist (Peter was his name if I recall correctly) collected ten decades of Toronto’s history and stored them in these custom-made wooden crates. The spot where the Hard Rock Cafe sits in Dundas Square today could be compared with how it looked back in the 1940s. It was astonishing to sort of visually rewind back in history and see how much the city has changed. Peter also brought up an interesting point when he showed us the TTC maps in the 1920s and 30s and noted that though the 1930s saw more development in many aspects, the map of the metro system was a jumbled up mess compared to the previous decade.

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(I can’t remember the name of this piece. Sorry.)

It certainly is something we should all keep in mind. After living in Toronto for a few years, I have found that people are more accepting in this city, especially in terms of race and physical appearance in general. Ottawa consists mostly a Caucasian population whereas Toronto is much more diverse when it comes to race and ethnicity.

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Like Pixel, Like Paper

Alison’s project must have been an enormous amount of work. She had transcribed multiple books into several creative form: a portal, a traditional sized book, and a scroll. She even presented a video of her working process which shows how she transformed an idea into … well, into something big and solid. And that’s cool. I mean, the girl even marble painted the book covers! This kind of hard work and creativity inspires me. (You can find out more about the project, and about Alison here),

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Offline Survival Kit

Oh how I loved this piece. Poking fun at today’s millennial reality, Matthew Flute hits all the right spots with this project. The kit includes 5 “wearable emotions”, which made me chuckle and think back to all the times I relied on emoticons to fill up those yeah-i-saw-your-message-but-i-don’t-know-how-to-respond moments. And the “approval stickers” reminded me of thumbs up buttons on Facebook/Instagram/Youtube etc. Can you imagine a world where we stick paper adhesives on people when they make a contribution to our personal entertainment/level of happiness?

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NÜFÜD

The first thing that caught my eye with Alexia‘s installation was obvious the colors, they are so vibrant and in your face, I love it. She (literally?) highlights the amount of crap and preservatives that go into our food with a witty and satirical touch. From the rosy-pink pineapple to cyan cup noodles, there were a lot to see in one installation. My favourite piece though, was the flavour essence bottles, made with spray-painted, larger-sized cylindrical batteries. Aside from the ‘fried rice flavour’ I was holding here (let’s ignore my chipped nails, shall we?), there was also ‘mushroom soup’, ‘california rolls’, and a few others. The futuristic/dystopian-esque vibe from the packaging and coloring of the food is 10/10.

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One Touch Ultra 

It’s safe to say that this piece speaks for all of us. This phrase is in the back of all our heads, pushing us to go forward, to continue on, to pursue … something. I believe there are three types of people in the world: the ones working hard to change their lives for the better, the ones that have given up, and the ones that never tried and accepted failure from the get go. How we choose to live our lives is 100% completely within our control, especially those of us fortunate enough to have the opportunities to learn and explore at our free will. Nadia’s installation is a powerful reminder to all of us.

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This was so up my alley. It reminded me of the blogs DIY Pinterest posts direct me to. It’s just got that look you know what I mean? Besides the utilization of vibrant colors on the posters, to catch people’s attention she also included a video of the making of her copy of the journal, which started with “draw it”, “cut it”, then “glue it”, and lastly … “WACK IT!” Similar to the Wreck This Journal concept, I like that the artist encourages the free expression of art.

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This last one wan’t part of the exhibition, but a sticker I found on the wall while we were doing a photo shoot. The school is truly filled with creativity and inspirations. Thought it was cute, snapped a shot, and here we are. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Graduate Exhibition: Revisited”

Year of the Sheep

Baaaaaa! Happy Chinese New Year! Or as some like to call it, Lunar New Year!

According to Chinese Zodiacs, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep 羊 (or Goat). Each year is associated with a zodiac animal and the cycle repeats every 12 years as there are 12 animals. The last Year of the Sheep was when I was in grade 2… wow how time flies eh?

I did some digging on the mighty interweb and found that people born in the Year of the Sheep tend to be polite, filial, clever, and kindhearted. They also have a “special fondness for quiet living”. Do you know someone in your life that’s like this? I sure can think of someone close to me that matches these descriptions! It also says that these people’s lucky colors are brown, red, and purple; and their lucky flowers include carnations and primroses. If you know someone born in the Year of the Sheep, consider getting them some beautiful flowers in the new year. 🙂

The actual date on which Chinese New Year takes place varies from year to year, so I was super excited that this year’s (February 19th) matched up with my spring Reading Week so I could come home and celebrate it with my mom. We went over to my auntie’s place on the 18th, which is essentially the Chinese New Year’s Eve, and had a delicious family dinner.

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Yeeeeah, as you can see, it was a feast. 10+ course meals FTW amirite.

Chinese New Year is great, it’s like we get a second Christmas! We get to be with family, eat great food, and sometimes we even get gifts! As many people may know, a Chinese New Year tradition is for seniors and elders to give the younger people in the family red envelops, aka. 红包. It usually carries money and the red color signifies good luck, good fortune, and good health. And to be honest, the amount of money doesn’t actually matter, it’s the thought that counts! 🙂 My family (aka. my mom and I) used to do it a lot back when we lived in the China, where we always celebrated the holiday with our entire extended family. But since we moved to Canada, it’s only mine and my auntie’s family that are here so this tradition kind of faded away. To my surprise though, my mom actually gave me one this year! I must say ’twas great waking up to a red envelop this morning !

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As my grandparents would say 恭喜发财 万事如意, which can be translated to “May prosperity be with you and best luck with everything”! It’s a traditional Chinese saying used most often during this time of the year, wishing everyone good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year. So on this New Year’s day (大年初一), I’d like to wish all of you, everyone, a good 2015 and may your year be filled with good health and happiness! 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year! 祝大家在羊年喜气洋洋 得意洋洋!*throws confetti*

x.

Tea with Bree

Spontaneity is something I have learned to appreciate very much since I started university.

One of my housemates, Bree, is probably one of the coolest people I’ve met in my life, so far. We’ve had so many instances where a quick 10-minutes conversation turns into hour-long talks about film, religious beliefs, and loving life. Our friendship is interesting – I think we’ve got just the right amount of privacy to ourselves. On the one hand, we can talk about profound and deep things that we only share with those closest to us; on the other hand, with every conversation we have, we learn something new about each other. And I love that.

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Bree’s art works.

I discovered today that Bree owns a Pentax Q pocket camera. I’ve seen so many similar models on Tumblr but to touch and work with it in real life for the first time was, frankly, quite exciting! It’s dainty and light, easy to work, and can definitely produce some v nice images.

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Poster and light wreath with semi-inverted build-in filter.

The Pentax Q also comes with two interchangeable lenses, including a fish-eye one. Some people think this is overrated (to be honest, I was one of them) but man, once you’ve worked with it, it’s hella rad.

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tbh probably thinking about my next meal

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Last comment: David’s tea’s rooibos is very tasty. I recommend it.

x.