The Final — Not Supper — Chips

Last week Thursday. I was sad.

The final consultation Professor Nericcio set up was from 3:30 to 5:00pm–the exact time period when I was having my last Metabolic course. Life is tough. You always need to make ONE choice even if you thought “Yuh, maybe I will get a second chance”, and it will turn out to be “Nah, sorry XXX I had to make a choice.”

My last Metabolic course. That was the choice I made.

The class was a wrap-up and our professor Herndon was finally back from her sad family issue. We were all empathetic for her loss (NO SYMPATHETIC, we are all injured runners in pathetic anthropomorphic avatars!). Her final lecture, after two-week absence, was still rich and instructive. I almost forgot my sadness for not choosing Bill. Bad Leon!

So the lecture ended early, since every professor knew that he/she could not stop us unbridled mustangs from swarming into libraries to study all nights (Though every professor would still say: take a good rest. Interesting). I wandered towards PC and thought about how I should deal with the 8am final on Saturday morning. While I suddenly realized it was just 4:40. Hey! Touch down confirmed! I saw the Loft icon shine in the dimmer night, I climbed on the stairs quick, I broke into the cafe and searched around. I didn’t find Bill. Again, sadness almost slipped into bottom of my heart, but a burst of laughter scared it away.

I turned, and.

There was Bill, crashing in a couch and holding a wineglass, smiling at me.

I was the only one who came to his consultation; that made me proud and sad. But Bill didn’t care, (mimicking Bill’s tone)he’s fine. I was just too excited to catch up with Bill and I didn’t know what to say, so I took out a bag of chips as the “appetizer” of our talk.

We talked about UCSD students. It really sucked when there was only one student came to your, to say, final appearance in a quarter, which should be purely fun. Bill and I felt so sorry for those poor guys. We laughed very hard.

We talked about random things: Chinese education, Vonnegut, Chinese writers who are like Vonnegut, Trump, Trump’s likeliness to Mao… I felt free and encouraged when talking to Bill, and I really hope we could be friends after he returned to SDSU.

I didn’t take too many chips. Bill ate them all. He said: “oh you bought gluten-free!” Indeed, 0.5% daily fat in a whole set of chips, no wonder he can’t resist!

The enjoyable talk ended when Bill got his wife’s message, and he took a quick leave.

Hope to see you next quarter in SDSU, Bill!

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How important can that be?

Werner Herzog’s documentary “From One Second To the Next” is a shock.

A total tragic experience that he himself must have suffered from even just by shooting it.

Four men and women. Four text messages. Four accidents. More than four families changed.

A sunshine boy who dreamed about becoming a football player can no longer be told “GO PLAY!”. It was just because the woman who decided to send “I’m on the way” to her love, and the collision broke both people’s wills.

A young man who had a sweet family life with his wife and children will live with guilt for his rest life. It was just because he sent “I love you” at me moment he didn’t see the carriage was right in front of his car.

A hardworking granny who was always on the way to help others can no longer leave the house or play with her dog. It was just because of a teenager’s “innocence” as well as ignorance.

A brilliant astronomer who always accompanied his daughter under a sky full of stars will not be able to teach her daughter more. It was just because the guy thought that early morning could be safe to text on the road.

Yes. It was just texting, not a big deal. How important can that be?

Through the whole documentary, Werner was trying to seek out the answer. His curiosity and urgency forced him to think: HOW important can that be, texting while driving? How important was that message? How important was it, that a person would choose to read/text it without noticing how important other things were?

The first woman texted “on my way”, and she didn’t make it on time.

The young man texted “I love you”, and his life will be burdened by GUILT and SADNESS afterward.

The last man didn’t even remember the text he sent out anymore.

So how important can they be?

Werner featured four different narrators with the same kind of experience, trying to vividly illustrate the inner selves of both sides in the accidents, victims or drivers, before and after the second to the next. By telling the story from the driver, the victim, and the victim’s family, the agony was carved on the screen, souring our eyes and making us to think and remember the question.

How important can that be?

Sunder of the Ghost

No one has their eye–or ear–focused on youth as acutely as Daniel Clowes.
—Vogue

Just as Vogue’s comment on his Ghost World, Daniel Clowes created such a comic that pierces through puberty, right into the deepest layer of young lads’ heart.

ghost-world

It was about two young women who just finished their high school and never noticed that they were facing the biggest crisis they ever got. It was about dealing with the past.

“We march backwards into the future.” As Marshall McLuhan said. It is essentially difficult for us to proceed forward, since we are always looking at the present through a mirror, in which the past reflects as well. It was no difference to Enid.

In her puberty, Enid tried hard to deal with her past. She put up a garage sale of her old stuff, but struggled to make the decision. She left the pile untended in the garage, but came back and pick “Goofie Gus” back up at the end. She also tried a punk style hair cut and dressed totally different from usual. She thought in this way she actually “committed the change”, that she embraced it with no fear. However, her inner self still didn’t change, and all ended up with disguising hats. She felt desperate for love and recognition, but simultaneously the super-ego rejected her desires, sealing her real feelings from being expressed and making her hate herself for being such a loser (a totally inner feeling not expressed or even self-recognized).

And there was her bestie Betty. Her real name was a trick played by Daniel: Rebecca Doppelmeyer, which lures us to think of “Doppelganger”.

The shadow of self. The GHOST.

They’ve always been good friends and there were almost no secrets between them at all. That was such an advantage towards their friendship, as well as a critical trigger for annihilating the perfect relation. They were like shadows of each other, moving and acting as a whole; and each side tried hard to maintain the relation in that state. Even when they faced changes in their old friends, they would express the same argument just to match up with the other.

This seemingly unbreakable, synchronized relationship was doomed to end. When puberty came, inevitably Enid and Betty were forced to face their unknown futures. As described above, we are always looking back when marching forwards, re-tasting the viscous sweety past of us especially when we fear to face the truth of grown-up. Enid wanted things to be as they were intended to be, but she felt a stronger feeling that she had to step forward. She gained more and more self-recognition, and thought that she was shadow of no one(that she was the “leading side” in this relationship with Betty). Meanwhile, the uncontrollable reliance and tendency to stick with Betty confused her, then the hatred to herself stroke, and the Great Wall of friendship started to shatter.

It was the same story to Betty.

She tried to look back, re-tasting her sweet past, maybe even before her mom died. The song, the “Goofie Gus”, the dinosaur in the park. These were her solace as she couldn’t figure out what to do but hate herself.

Enid accidentally met with Bob Skeetes when he was using a metal probe to find something on the shore (how interesting). The so-called astrologist offered her a guide that was very ambivalent.

And the story ended with Enid coming back to town. She saw her old bestie Betty; she saw the scratches near the bus stop, she saw the reopened bus come and go. Most importantly, she saw the newly painted “Ghost World” on the wall, and she almost caught up with the guy who painted it.

The ghost was still there.

ghost world 2.jpg

Miss Lonelyhearts and the End

It took Miss Lonelyhearts three weeks to figure out what really happened.

Miss Lonelyhearts realized that when the cripple was trying to drag out his gun from the package, he was still hugging him. Then he heard a deafening “bang” and he felt sudden warmth on his belly. Then the memory became fragments.

He remembered there was a moment that the world was spinning; there was another that he saw his left arm being risen; and then there was total whiteness. Then darkness came.

He tried hard to search for his rock–the one that was thoroughly tested and perfect. It was there. And he was relieved. As long as his conscience, his sense of reality, his self-knowledge were still, he didn’t care about anything else. However, this time it was different.

The rock was gone. Then back. Then it started trembling. Then it changed colors. Then gone again.

His faith started to shake. After all the struggles and apprehensions he had experienced, he thought he was ready for a reincarnation as a phoenix, and he truly saw the rock was there, but it was no more.

The darkness was worsened. The space was squeezed. Miss Lonelyhearts saw the fence Desperate taking off her clothes and climbing on him, and he can feel her no-nose face getting closer. He struggled away and bumped the Broken-hearted in the darkness, whose little sister’s laughter was right beside him, moistening his right ear. And he touched a belly. It was the Disillusioned-with-tubercular-husband’s.

Miss Lonelyhearts wanted to get his rock back.

He started to scream. He didn’t hear his own scream.

In a local hospital, Betty held Miss Lonelyhearts’s pale hands, the cardiac pacemaker’s beeping constantly. Suddenly he had a convulsion.

The beeping became monotonic.

Khalo

Self portrait can be hard if you don’t believe that you are fully in control of yourself. Kahlo is such an astounding woman who could strike your nerve with her various self-portraits as well as some of her portraits for other people.

Frida Kahlo’s childhood couldn’t be defined as words like “blessful” or “peaceful”. Though she had a great father who taught her how to paint and photograph, and took her to many places to enlarge her vision, the early breast-feeding from a nurse and the bus accident happened on 1925 still left major traumas in her life. It was the turning point that forced her in bed and led her think about what she still can do. And she started painting.

The reason why her paintings are so obsessive is that they reflect her moods and stakes. Most of her paintings are self-portraits, and from these self-portraits you see the inner world of this woman. These should be the derivations from her early experience in childhood being isolated from mother-feeding and the near-death thinking after the bus accident, which leave her in a sealed chamber and enable her to think individually about death (to Freud’s theory). The driven force to death makes her more sensitive to self, and then combining her painting skill she’s capable of turning her moods and thoughts to vivid and striking images.

One of the portrait that strikes me is Self-Portrait on the Borderline between Mexico and the United States, 1932. In this self-portrait she stood on the borderline, holding an Mexico flag and facing toward her motherland Mexico. While behind her are the industries and “Ford” symbol that raises as an America flag. The difference between ancient and natural life and technology-dominated living style is the main conflict in the painting, and her orientation towards her motherland reflects her nostalgia and the loneliness in an “iron country”. Further expression was conveyed in her other painting My Dress Hangs There, 1933.