Thursday, September 11, 2014

RE: Sept. 11th, 2001

It would seem, now that I've remembered I have a blog, I keep having thoughts that I want to put out there, and this is the perfect platform to do that, and since I keep seeing 9/11 thoughts on Facebook, etc, I thought I'd add myself to the mix. So here we go:

Today, in Sondheim Hall between classes, I heard one girl saying, "Why don't we have off from school today? It's like a national day of mourning. We were like, in third grade and we remember being scared and s**t".

While I agree that 9/11/01 was a terrible, horrible day, and I also remember (as a 4th grader) watching the news that whole day, powerless to tear my eyes away (and as a homeschooler, allowed to watch!), I don't think that we should get off from school, and I think it's a specific kind of self-centered attitude that leads someone to say that (not calling that girl out, I completely understand how she feels regarding how she remembers the day).

However, if you go with the idea that we should get off of school to remember national tragedies, then you'd be off of school pretty much every single day. Imagine it - there would be "Lexington and Concord Day" to mourn those lost in the Revolutionary War, "Gettysburg Day" and "Antietam Day" for the thousands of men brutally killed in the Civil War, "Lusitania Day", "Titanic Day" and so on. Tragedies and wars define history, and while the 9/11/01 attacks are still fresh in the mind of our generation, the past holds many tragedies and I'm sure the future will hold many more. I think Sept. 11th will always be a day we remember the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Stony Creek PA crashes, but eventually, it will be like Pearl Harbor Day - something we (here "we" means the general American public) know was a tragedy but don't personally recall.

I have eight younger siblings. Of the nine of us, only the first four of us can recall 9/11/01. My sister Stephanie was born before 9/11/01 but I would say she lives in a post-attack generation, and the rest of them were born after the attacks. Each year, many of my friends say "I remember where I was when it happened, how I heard it had happened, etc". But for five of my younger siblings, there is no "pre-9/11" in their mind. Something else will define them and their generation. I remember in 7th grade science, my teacher talked about watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon (that is a moment I wish I could remember - a happier definition of a generation!). If my younger siblings got today off from school, they would be happy for the day off, but it wouldn't be giving them a chance to remember - it would become a day of late summer BBQs instead of a day of remembrance.

Should we have monuments and memorials for the attacks? Absolutely. The families of those who died deserve to know that their loved ones were important and that we're not ignoring them. I'm not suggesting that we ignore it, and since I didn't personally lose someone in those attacks, I know it's easier for me to say this than it might be for someone else. I'm simply suggesting that we not do this "selectionist history" where we only remember things we personally want to care about. We (here "we" means my generation) should consider ourselves lucky that we grow up in a world where only one tragedy defines our childhood, unlike some of our counterparts in other nations who's entire lives have been defined by genocides and other horrible daily occurrences, instead of once in a lifetime.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Soundtrack to College

Been meaning to do this blog post for a while now (read: since graduation in May). Here are the songs I associate with my undergrad years, not in any order, and a little note about what/who they are associated with and why. If you want to hear the songs, they are posted to a YouTube playlist here:

Chicken Fried - Stephen Moore
I had a major crush on this boy freshman year (Stephen, if you're reading this, surprise!). Anyways, I would go into his room with computer questions, and this song was frequently playing. My affinity for country music arose from my crush, and while that faded into a standard classmate friendship, the love for the song stayed.

Butterfly Kisses - Reese
Two good friends of mine (who were my high school youth leaders) had a baby this past year. I ALWAYS wanted them to have a girl, with much opposition from other friends (who wanted them to have a boy). I won, and I think this song applies for Dave & Reese now. It makes me think of them.

Sometimes he calms the storm - CWF
CWF = Camp Wildflowers. As a kid I attended this camp for years but I stopped at age 17. Summer 2013 I got the chance to go back for two weeks, and this was the theme song. It was wonderful to see my sisters as JC's and to have fun remembering with my friend 'Ginkgo' who went back with me.

Revelation Song (in Mandarin) - Debra
Debra is one of my good friends from school even though we were both so busy we hardly saw each other. We bonded over attending the Asian American IV conference, and singing this song together. I love her!

Te Alabare - Hannah Perskie
My first day at Intervarsity, I was greeted by a curly haired woman named Hannah, and we sang this song (which she translated). She and I never became friends, but I loved her welcoming attitude and tried (and failed) at replicating it through the years. This song = happy welcome for me.

Magic Flute Queen of the Night Aria - Elisabeth Cruz/Elizabeth Milligan
My junior year, two of my friends from high school were in UMBC's opera show. They sang/played for the Magic Flute. I picked the Aria because it's one of my favorite from the show.

Downton Abbey theme - TRW
When I worked for the student newspaper, the editorial staff hung out in the office on production days. I loved those co-workers, they helped me become a better writer and more open minded person (esp. the opinions editors, Sean and Sam). I would watch this show on the mornings in the office, so that's why it's here!

It's no good - Oates
Dr. Oates is one of my favorite faculty, and he's really fun-loving. One time, I dropped a $10 bill on his head in class (his favorite example was money falling from the ceiling) and he laughed instead of being mad. That's a good professor! He also went on my friend Alec's podcast ( and played this song.

Just Give me a Reason - Ryan
OK, so he HATES that this is the song I picked for him, but this is my boyfriend! We met spring of my sophomore year in ballroom dance, and started dating the following summer. We like to do things together, including sing duets - this is the first one we learned (even though the lyrics are not exactly romantic!)

I love it (Icona Pop)  - Christina
Christina is my BEST friend I gained at college. I love her to death. This is her favorite song from when we lived in the same apartment, and so I now only think of her when I hear it.

Moves like Jagger - Annette
Annette is a fellow CWIT scholar, and she and I also were in ballroom together. The first week of school, we went to a soccer game, and they played this song at half-time. Annette knew all the words and taught me dance moves to this song. That spring, when she organized CWIT Formal, we did the same dance, so I always think Annette when I hear this song.

Only the good die young - Matt
Matt is Annette's boyfriend-now-fiancee. He was a part of the school's acapella group, so we would go see him in concert. He was lead vocals when they sang this song. I love it, and I love Matt (in a platonic way! Not trying to steal him!) so this song has to be on there.

Crystallize  - Alec
I had a really hard time picking just one for Alec. I listened to his radio show/podcast because we're buds, and I learned a lot of new music from the show. I decided on Lindsey Sterling b/c it's something he didn't introduce me to, just someone we both adore.

I see the Light - Katrina
Katrina was my roommmate for 3 years and she is a sweetie. She loves Pixar, and taught herself this song on piano, as well as painting her own Tangled mural for her wall (on paper, not the wall!). So this one is for her

When Oceans Rise - Fadaka
This is another IV song. I didn't really like it all that much, but Fadaka told us what it meant for her, and I learned to like it based on how passionate she was about the words in the song.

Say So - Alan
Alan is one of my favorite UMBC classmates. He and I almost never agreed on anything, but we still were great friends. One thing we did agree on was loving New Song Community Church freshman year, where we could sing loud. This is one of the songs they sang a lot. I don't think Alan even likes it, but I associate it with him!

How he Loves - Bethanie
Bethanie is another one of my greatest UMBC friends. She walked down the aisle to marry Andrew (my freshman year bible study leader, Welcome Week Leader, and general hero) to this song. I don't know where I would be without her and our once a week three/four hour lunches (which are now once a month letters and twice a year visits, but are equally as powerful for me).

Yellow - Karen/Heidi
Karen and Heidi were my other suitemates freshman year. We were the BEST ROOMMATES EVER. This song was on our door because we each had our favorite songs on the door of our suites (you know, RA decoration stuff).

Cry Just a Little Bit - William/Ballroom
This song is kind of annoying to me because the dance teacher played it ALL THE TIME. It has a good beat that's easy to count for dancing, which is why she did that. William (the student who took over ballroom after me) also hates it, but the words are etched into our brains forever, so it's on this list. Ballroom was an amazing part of college for me, although stressful when I was president, and I'm really happy I decided to go with it after involvement fest!

Mahal Na Mahal - Kaylyn
My IV staff worker and I bonded over two things - men named "Brown" and Asian American Conference. We started dating roughly the same time and she, being older, helped me sort through all my anxiety about dating. I loved getting to know her finacee and talking about being bi-racial with her. This particular song is from last spring's AAIV conference (when Kaylyn and Vaughn came as an engaged couple and talked on the family panel!)

Pretty Women - Travis
Travis never fails to impress me. He was our class valedictorian, and in the honors college, and part of musical theater club, and on IV worship team, and mock trial, and studied abroad, and on and on - yet he still manages to be a genuinely nice and wonderful guy. This is the song he sang freshman year during MTC showcase, and my first memory of him was his getting murdered in this song. How funny. (PS - he's still being awesome in law school at UCLA).

Cruise - Morgan
Morgan is a fellow CWIT. Senior year, Morgan, Christina and I went to the Bahamas on a spring break cruise. It was so fun! Coconut cocktails, white beaches, hot tubs...and this song, which Morgan loves and now reminds me of that trip (even though it's the wrong kind of cruise).

Mnah Mnah - Will, Oliver, and Internships
This one is funny. My first college internship was at Booz Allen Hamilton. I worked with several other UMBC students, including Will and Oliver, two of my classmates. That summer our intern team got a lot of work done, but we also laughed a lot and talked about crazy things. One of our favorite silly things was to sing this song and the Potter Puppet Pals song. I remember most that Oliver had a scary good imitation of Dumbledore, and Will was the only one who could say "mnah mnah" without dying of laughter.

So Beautiful in White - Graduation/Melissa's Wedding
Melissa is a friend from high school, not college, but her wedding, to me, was a "sign" that I was old and graduated and now my friends got married and it wasn't weird. Melissa walked down the aisle to this song, and her wedding was lovely. I was so happy I got to be there for her, but sad because I probably won't see her often anymore (she and her husband live in ohio) or any of the other friends from high school, or college as we have all gone away to cool grown-up things. So this playlist is to help me remember the past four years.

Graduate Classes!

This is it. My last first day of school has passed (well, my last for now - I think I'm going to be getting more degrees though, we'll see. It's just the kind of person I am). This is technically the first semester I will be a full-time graduate student, but I'm transferring a crazy number of credits from the accelerated BS/MS program so I should graduate this December. Every semester (almost) I've blogged my classes, so here they are!

CMSC 641 - Graduate Algorithms
I'm glad I finally get Professor Chang. I've heard amazing things about him and in day 1 he already seems amazing. My favorite quote - he told us how he helped create the theory exams his second year of grad. school, which meant he couldn't help his girlfriend study for the exams because he knew the questions. The quote was, "We worked it out, cause now she's my wife, but be careful who you date!"

CMSC 611 - Graduate Architecture
I've known about Dr. Olano since freshman year of undergrad since I briefly worked with one of his grad students, but this is my first class with him. He's really easy-going and has a nice casual teaching style. I was shocked to find that I actually remembered stuff from undergrad architecture, and that I actually enjoy this class!

CMSC 626 - Computer Security
Dr. Marron is a new instructor to the CSEE department, but I was part of the student committee that interviewed him so I am definitely a fan of his teaching. Also this is what I find personally interesting so YAY SECURITY!