Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hi, my name is Wynton and I have a problem.

It’s hard to admit that there’s a problem. Saying that failure is important, vital, just a part of every day life is easy. Actually believing it is another thing-heart and mind aren’t as synchronous as we hope.

I have depression.

I’ve been avoiding it for such a long time that I was actually surprised when it stopped me from getting out of bed. When it sapped me of all energy, when it stole my motivation, blurred my focus, and made me question my existence.

I will not apologize for having depression, it only creates this circular thought train that solves nothing. Just like an allergy or any persistent illness, depression is a sickness and I have it, it is not something that I chose.

I will apologize for not dealing with it sooner, for not seeking help earlier, for thinking that I could deal with it alone. For the past three weeks it debilitated me-I couldn’t do the things that I loved doing-the mere thought of trying to write made me sweat and froze my heart. I couldn’t deal with the responsibilities that I chose to take because I care about them, because it made me think that I would fail immediately, that I would let down the people around me. I couldn’t speak to the people I love because I didn’t trust myself to be the person that they thought I was, because I wasn’t me. I was trying to be me but I couldn’t have been because there was this creature gripping my heart, reaching up and through my mind, its tentacles holding everything dead still as I desperately tried to live.

“Should” is now a word that I’m wary of, because I’ve realized how prevalent dissonance is. What is on the outside, what is spoken is often not what’s on the inside, the true motivating factor. Should I have gone to professionals earlier? Absolutely. Should I have told my loved ones how I’ve been feeling? Yes. Should I let this illness define me? Should I let it take away the things that I love? Restrict the things that I do? Be the first thing that I think about when I wake up? It’s easy to say no to all of these things-if you live in a utopia. But we don’t.

Mental illness is taboo. It is an easy excuse, made up, fantasy, weakness. Being Chinese, being American-mental illness is regarded as something that happened to others, and always with an eye roll attached. In a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 42.5 million Americans (18.2% of the population) suffer from mental illness. Of those, 9.3 million are afflicted so seriously that it impedes with day-to-day activity. These numbers are probably lower than what is really out there since many people don’t get the help that they need. I didn’t.

The paranoia that paralyzed me as I realized that I may have a problem wasn’t born from the idea that there may not be a solution but from the thoughts of what others would think of me; my friends, family, professors, peers, employers. However, the stigma of mental illness doesn’t just hurt the individual suffering. It hurts those around us, it stresses prisons systems, fills the street with homeless, crowds hospitals. I highly recommend reading about the importance of dealing with mental illness, USA Today has a great multi-story feature.

I’m getting professional help and I’m more than ready (though a little nervous) to work towards becoming the person that I know that I can be. I am still the hard working, responsible, clever (?) person that I was before depression took over my life. I’m so thankful for the family and friends that I have, for the amazing support systems I didn’t realize I have (and that you probably have to.) I wouldn’t have had the strength to get the help that I need without my loved ones.

If you feel like you are drowning, suffocating, paralyzed, pinned down, whatever imagery that works with how you’re feeling, talk to someone. Consider speaking with a professional, you are worth it, your mind, your sanity is worth it.  If you are having any destructive thoughts please call this hotline (if you are in the US) 1-800-273-8255. Know that you aren’t alone, that I’m right beside you. That regardless of what your mind (or others (what jerks)) are saying about you, that you deserve love-not just to receive it, but to give it as well. To anyone that I know IRL, please know that I am here if you’d like to talk about anything that is bothering you, don’t be afraid-I’m the last person to judge.

Happy Thanksgiving. I know that I’m thankful of pretty much everything right now, especially all of my family and friends supporting me.

I love you.

P.S. It feels so good to write again. Try it, you’re probably better than I am 😉

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RIP Robin Williams

To say I owe a lot to Robin Williams would be a gross understatement. It would be a lie made through gritted teeth and teary eyes. It would a betrayal of who I am and who I will be because without what Robin Williams created and brought to the world I couldn’t possibly imagine who I would be.

No other human being has made me laugh, cry and understand the value of art and artists in the world more than Robin Williams. His standup is what I aspire to write and perform like. His performances have made me want to do it all just like he could, pulling every laugh and every emotion out of the audience. Between Good Will Hunting and The Fisher King, Williams made me empathize like very few can, those performances will stay with me forever. Not only because they are master classes in acting but because Williams could make you understand so clearly and beautifully. One of my dreams was to meet you, to get the opportunity to work with you, to just see if I could learn even more from you.

I’m trying desperately to not talk about myself-to focus on this amazing, genuine, wonderful, talented, giving human being. To shine one more light among the millions of others spotlighting the gifts that Robin Williams gave to all of us. To remind you how he is one of the feel people in the world to actually EGOT. To tell you to watch every Robin Williams movie and TV episode and stand-up special because you will never laugh and cry more. But that wouldn’t really compel me to write this post nor explain the tears and snot all over my face. Robin Williams was like a father to me. No fuck that, he was a father to me.

He taught me to be bold, to make all the weird voices and faces I could possibly fathom and to make those that I couldn’t. He taught me that a good laugh can be a powerful force, and that a single, genuine look can break and rebuild your heart. He taught me to never be afraid of silly, to always give 210% as soon as you commit to something. To love what you love apologetically. To not be afraid of trying different things, for accepting challenges. To never apologize for being yourself and if yourself is a little than even better.

Robin Williams, you are irreplaceable, the world has dimmed a bit without you here. I hope with all my heart that you can feel how much we all miss you. Rest in Peace, I will forever be indebted to you and will continue to love you with every fiber of my being.

Resolutions for 2014

I’m writing this clichéd post with my first (and only?) tattoo healing and Carolina Basketball on the TV-getting ready to leave to work as a bar back on New Year’s Eve. A lot has happened in 2013 and to say that I have changed because of it is a gross understatement. From traveling the world and meeting new people to taking small steps towards being more comfortable with myself-2013 has been revelation filled. I fully realize how hyperbolic that is, but I’m okay with it (also I just don’t know how else to describe it.) Enough of the past (for now) on to the future and 2014-here are some goals (or resolutions cause that is such an “it” word this time of year.)

 
Take better care of my body
     Health and fitness have always been important to me but I’ve definitely lost somethings as I’ve grown more busy, so this year I resolve to make taking care of myself a solidified routine. Specifically floss everyday, stretch everyday, and run/swim/walk everyday
Read 50 books.
     I need to read more and I think 50 is a pretty solid number to aim for. This includes fiction and nonfiction, novellas and graphic novels, pretty much everything that is a lengthy text but not a longread. 
Watch 200 movies.
     I’m planning on starting with the Sight and Sounds list mixed in with the Oscar and indie favorites of 2013.
Take notes more. 
     I’ve made the realization that my memory is terrible so to combat this I’m going to try to write/type down as much as I can on as much as I can. I’m considering a Ryan Holiday esque type of system-perhaps more digital. Right now I’m starting with my trusty notebook and Evernote. 
Write everyday. 
     I know that I had this as a goal last year but I kinda fell off the wagon-so here we go again, same details apply.
Spend an hour everyday learning a new language.
     I’ve traveled and met a lot of amazing new people in 2013, through it all it made me realize how important communication is so here’s to making it a little bit easier for everyone. I’m planning on working with my mum to clean up my Cantonese (perhaps learn to read/write.) I’ll be doing at least one Duolingo set of Spanish and German everyday, and I’m hoping to get started on Mandarin some time soon. 
Spend an hour everyday learning a new skill.
     Through some digging I’ve learned that as a Carolina student I have access to Lynda courses for free so first on the list is coding so that I can get a nice website up. Once I’m through with that I’m sure things like After Effects will be what I spend my hour on.
Make more.
     This is a bit more general but one thing that has hit me the most going through 2013 is how much I love making things-so here is to more posts, videos, pictures, whatever in 2014.
 
This is a lot and I’m sure I’m going to fail at achieving some of these but failure is okay (learned that in 2012, reinforced in 2013.) Here’s to another year of adventure and change. Bring it on 2014.
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Purpose

It’s funny how much your brain starts to spin when your summer winds down. So begins a rant (perhaps every rant).

 
An idea has popped in my head multiple times for the past weeks, the idea of purpose-why are we doing these things, why not?
 
Examples:
I go to school because I like to learn things or because it is the socially acceptable thing to do to get a job, which is a socially acceptable thing to have, or perhaps some combination of the two?
 
I want to tweet this joke because I want to make a joke at hipster culture and make my followers laugh or I want people to know what I’ve done and where I am?
 
I hang out with these friends because they have possible connections and we have decent conversations or I just like to hang out with them?
 
Purpose is silly, frivolous and arbitrary but it is still the thing that drives my decisions the most-I use it to justify whether I do something, or don’t.
It is freeing to have a process in making decisions and acting-I’ve probably made many more choices than I have before, but it bogs me down. It clouds everything in mysterious fog, something that automatically gives everything an air of importance and danger. So I shirk back-wondering is this right, and if this is the purpose of the medium, what is the purpose of my choice? Why am I choosing to share something on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
 
Why I am sharing these thoughts on this blog?
 
Purpose is important, I know that and I respect that, but do you think I could get a guide? I’m more than a bit confused.
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An Update…

I am currently sitting in bed. Having done nothing the entire day except avoid all of my responsibilities. My brain desperately worries about the script I have to rewrite, the footage I have to edit, the material that I need to study for, my future in general.

 

Before I go any further, I also want to apologize for the lack of posts on this site (I am fully aware that I do this all the time.) The past couple of weeks have been insane (both in a good way, and in a more “I just realized that the Insane Clown Posse is an actual, popular thing.) But throughout it all I kept thinking-this would be something cool to write about, oh I’d like to think this through with some typing, could this make me internet famous?

 

So instead of rewriting my script, I’m going to write a quick Cliffnotes/Sparknotes (both are very useful-love, awful stupid student) of some of the thoughts that have gone through my head since my last post. Both for you (imaginary readers, that according to analytics are not that imaginary) and me so that I can remember to write more about these things.

 

GERONIMO (Just watched Doctor Who, they are definitely trying to get Matt Smith to use the 11th Doctor’s catchphrase more-we may reach Tennant levels if the current trend keeps up.)

 

1. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the student playwright for Activated Art at the Ackland this year. I got to work with some amazing professionals, go through a very similar process that many working playwrights go through (8 drafts and counting,) meet inspiring people, and get to see my play performed in front of me. The entire process was amazing, unimaginable and strange. I will definitely go into much more detail as to how everything went but the biggest thing that I got out of this experience is this. Creativity is scary.

When your ideas are still in your head there is a certain amount of control. You can still manipulate the ether, shine your light into the unknown darkness, hide from the scary bits, and keep mulling it over.

But the moment you say it aloud, the moment that other people can hear, can see, can feel what you are thinking-any semblance of control is gone. And that is scary. Just as terrifying as those moments when you question personal loneliness, as exhilarating as when your fingers brush against your crushes, as encompassing as when you dive straight into the deep end. It was overpowering and there were days where I left rehearsal seriously considering my current path towards a creative career. Yet I am still here.

 

2. During those hazier moments I realized how powerful just simple gestures and emotions are. Because it boiled down to just seeing someone genuinely smile at me. It was a beacon in the darkness that I am ever grateful for. And it is addicting-I never really understood the strength of another person. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my crushes, my loves, my unrequited loves that create collapsing black holes in my heart. I just thought it was me, that my silly head created these feelings in the absence of anything really tangible (essentially angsty teen.)

But the emotions that washed over me when I saw that smile, when it was directed at me-because of me. I want that feeling, and I want it forever.

 

3. Forever is such a silly concept, especially when you connect all of the wibbly-wobbly timey wimey stuff to it. Time is such a strange concept-something that I want to keep exploring especially in context with the human lifespan, “milestone” moments, biological development, culture-essential “what are we meant to do, and when.”

 

4. This would be even more interesting when you add human relationships to it. Thing I also learned-human relationships-I know nothing, so I need to discover, explore, and investigate.

 

5. Discover, Explore, and Investigate.

Those three verbs are what I need to constantly keep doing. Learning is important and it is very hard to keep that in context when culture keeps pushing as to just do. How do we make learning a lifelong priority? How do we make it as flexible and adaptable as the human brain/evolution? Why does my current university learning experience make me question everything (and not in the good, whoa the world way.)

 

6. I suck.

The world is an amazing, glorious place. Filled with inspiration, joy and mysteries. I love that it exists, but I question my place in it. There is a part of me that just wants to blend in-become part of the ecosystem so well that people forget that I’m there. Another part of me wants to be extraordinary-be fascinating, be wanted. I’ve thought about this dichotomy a lot-how culture creates these ideas and expectations for me, but the most that I’ve concluded is-I suck.

 

I’m going to end on that cheery note because that has been my lingering thought lately, so may it linger in your thoughts a bit.

Perhaps I will elaborate on all these points in the near future, I’d like to. But remember I suck, so I might not.


Talk to you soon blank word document, you devil you.

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Exams

Well exams are here @ school and I’m starting to break out…Productivity is down, so hoping for some inspiration that will start up the engine again. In English one day, we were assigned to write an essay about exams (coincidently because a friend and I had made a presentation to the faculty about exams…) This is what I submitted sans any real editing. I’ll get to editing and the real juicing up in my free time (which might be in about 5 years…)

Bringing Education and Evaluation to the Future

Education is important. The importance of an education is so high, that they United States government spends 46.7 billion dollars on the Department of Education. Without it, we would not be the world that we are today; we wouldn’t know how to find the derivatives of numbers, or how to properly use the semi-colon. Without it, we wouldn’t know how to build a car, let alone drive one. The absolutely amazing fact is that we wouldn’t even be sent back to the Dark Ages because even in 450 AD they had schools. Education is important-but is testing necessary?

The very first standardized test was used in the Han Dynasty in China in 206 BC, to correctly evaluate the abilities of men attempting to enter the government. These imperial examinations covered music, archery and horsemanship, arithmetic, writing, and knowledge of public and private rituals and ceremonies. Further along, military strategies, civil law, revenue and taxation, agriculture and geography were added to the list of subjects. Participants of these set tests were expected to properly perform and know everything in front of proctors, as well as amid hundreds of their peers. Crowds would anxiously wait for their results, chatting nervously to each other, sweating as they wait to find out if they passed. This type of evaluation began to spread and eventually was adopted in many other countries, including the United Kingdom, big sister to the United States. This type of system has lasted for more than 1300 years.

In 1300 years, we have harnessed electricity, invented ways to fly through the sky, created pathways across the globe, and flown to the moon. Yet we are still testing in the same way as our Asiatic ancestors?

A system that has worked for more than 1300 years demonstrates that it works. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. And exams are necessary, without them we wouldn’t know what we need to work on, both as students and teachers. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to properly evaluate the entire education. Without them, we wouldn’t be properly preparing students, the future generations, for what is out in the real world; life is just a giant test and an A+ is thriving and surviving. But is life the same as it was 1300 years ago?

With a new world, there are new challenges that must be prepared for. A test based in the 540 BC doesn’t exactly prepare for 2010 (horseback riding and archery really are not that vital in the digital age.) We have adapted to new security threats, new information about the environment, and even the problem of properly sending human beings to space. Why not adapt testing too?

Currently testing often calls for some sort of extreme standardizing that was unheard of in the Han Dynasty. Each subject back in the Han Dynasty would take 24-48 hours to complete, allowing for proper evaluation of the participant. Now, three hours are given to comprehensively show the understanding of weeks of material. This causes undue stress that often results in “superficial” learning aka “cramming.” This does not properly evaluate the education received by the student, which is unfair both to the student as well as the teacher. However, it must be noted that these types of tests do lend to certain subjects, specifically depending on the purpose of the course. If the purpose of a history course is to know who does what and when, then a multiple choice scantron is absolutely acceptable.

What this new digital, globalized world now opens so many new doors of opportunities in not only learning and teaching, but also testing. Studies have shown that there is an increase in scores, when students are allowed some access to computers and computer-based instruction. Furthermore, other studies have shown that student’s attitudes towards learning and their own self-concept improved consistently when technology was involved. It isn’t just about technology but advances in teaching, for example the use of modeling, could be implemented and adapted towards better testing.

This school has always had a tradition of innovation and excellence, why not take the resources that we have and find a new and better way to soar into the future?

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The Apple iPad- Some Thoughts

The New Revolutionary iPad

Absolutely MindBoggling

I’ll post a more fully organized post about the new iPad with specs and what not. But right now its about my thoughts. I’ll also post some link of other people’s thoughts that I value or think is very interesting.

Gut thought: Okay…coolish, but not a “buy” on my part.

Lemme explain my gut feelings. As the rumor mill churned constantly, I was hoping that Apple would really fulfill all my dreams and maybe even kick off the Courier as my dream niche worker. But then the day came and the iPad was released. I secretly knew that there was no way that Apple could live up to my expectations but I wish, wish, wished, because the iPhone blew me out of the water in terms of concept and execution.

And here was the iPad, this 9.7″ thing that remarkably looked like a giant iPod Touch. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s clean, pretty, and shiny. All the makings of a good thing, especially an Apple thing. However, maybe the software would blow my mind, Apple is good at that. So when Steve Jobs (His Jobness) started moving his fingers across the screen, I was holding my breath only to have it just stagnate. It looks like a Touch, moves like a Touch, it must be a Touch. But its not, its an iPad.

Maybe thats the problem; I wanted something new and mindboggling, and thats exactly what I got. The iPad is new and mindboggling; its not old, because its not an iPod Touch, iPhone or anything that has been in mass production. And its mindboggling because its just so similar to what Apple does have. I understand that one doesn’t want to spring something super duper new into a market, just look at Apple’s Newton. Nevertheless with Apple’s trend of allowing the rumor balloon to grow and grow and making its own products such a big deal (I’m looking at you, Your Jobness) ; this was like a pin in the growing ego of Apple. I also understand that a good company should milk all the goodness out of a product line, instead of making them smaller, let’s make them BIGGER. Apple has become the company that wows. So when it doesn’t it is off-putting.

Now I don’t doubt that the iPad will be successful and will fill that little media niche that apparently I don’t have. It’s just with the assumption of tablet, the word PC is always close by. The iPad is not a computer, its guts

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