solving people

Three days a week, I wake up at around 7AM to attend my 8AM Differential Equations class, taught by Professor George Mohler. This morning my friend Josh blogged about my professor’s ex-musical career. His roommate had Googled my professor’s name, hoping to get to our course webpage, but instead stumbled upon ranchobozo.com, which appears to be a small collection of uber-indie artists that once-upon-a-time tried to make it to stardom.

It’s pretty inspiring, actually, to see that my math professor, who seems a bit bland during lecture (but I’m not judging!) has something about him. A twist, I guess. It’s comforting, I guess, to know that no, he’s not just a math professor at UCLA. He’s also a musician. He has interests, and his entire life isn’t all about math. Seeing where I am in my life right now (an undergraduate engineering student, not so sure about her future), it’s a bit hard for me to visualize where I’ll be in 10 years. It’s difficult for me to think about the hobbies I want to pursue, the studies I enjoy. But Professor Mohler? He’s got something. He tried his hand at one of his passions. Maybe it didn’t work out so well (Listen: George Mohler – Love to be in Love) but I guarantee there are people out there with this song on their iPod.

I was talking to my friend Rohit about my Mechanical Engineering 101 class’ professor a few days ago, about how he seemed like an interesting person. I argued that since he uses a Camelbak water bottle, he’s not just some guy. He might be some guy who wants to help the environment by utilizing a reusable water bottle. But we might never know, since all he is to us is an MAE professor.

I really really like people watching. I watch strangers all day on campus, while I walk to and from classes and work. It never ceases to amuse and amaze me the way people act, look, talk. Because with every motion, word spoken, it’s like you learn something about a stranger. A stranger that’s part of this community, our culture. And I guess in a way, it builds this conception of myself and what I think. Because what’s my opinion but a really convoluted mixture of everyone else’s?

Anyway, I think I might be getting sick, so apologies for mismatched thoughts. But tomorrow’s my day off so hopefully I’ll get to sleep in and get better. Oh yeah P.S. I met someone today who finished today’s crossword puzzle. His name was Paul.

back to school

My roommate Kency just came up to me randomly and said, “Jenn, I’m glad you’re happy.” And it’s true – I had a really good day today, and I have been so much happier recently compared to just six months ago.

This morning I woke up at 8 to get ready for CHAMPs. It was the first site I attended since early November, so I was really excited and awake in the morning. I met a few new volunteers, and introduced them to our system (and tried to convince them to work with the K-2 kids). On the bus-ride to downtown Los Angeles, I listened to my iPod and just relaxed in preparation for the morning. After getting to Casa Heiwa, everybody introduced themselves over breakfast (bagels and cream cheese, of course) and then I headed over to the K-2 room. Man, I totally missed those kids these last two months. Dasauni and Aleena, the cutest siblings ever, came today, and it was great seeing them and playing with them alongside Destiny, Memphis, Lailone, Gabriel, and the rest of the kids. I’ve definitely gotten attached to a large handful of those kids since I started attending CHAMPs a year ago, and don’t plan on quitting as long as I reside in LA.

After we got back to UCLA at around 1, I went back up to my dorm to work on homework due early next week. A few days ago, my computer got infected by a virus – my friends were using it while I wasn’t around, and when it froze, they came to get me from my boyfriend’s room. Josh had this serious expression on his face, and said he had something to say to me. Josh and Emili were freaking out about whether I’d get mad at them and yell at them for crashing my computer…I just laughed it off. No way I’d get mad at them for something that could’ve just as easily happened to myself. But anyway, last night I asked my boyfriend’s roommate, Matt, to help me get rid of the virus that caused the crash (and the successive crashes afterwards). A software genius, he spent a few hours figuring everything out and cleaning my PC up for me while I used my neighbor Wesley’s, spare laptop to do my CS lab (with Visual C++ instead of Xcode). When he got my computer working again, I was so happy! It’s really nice to not have to reinstall Windows on a reformatted PC.

My afternoon continued with my first problem set for MAE101 (Statics & Strengths of Materials). I got through quite a bit of it, happily, and was totally ready for our floor dinner reservations at BJ’s at 5:30. Kency wanted to go out to BJ’s tonight for her birthday, so twelve of us went together (Josh, Wesley, Emili, Harrison, Sing, Lynn, Matt, Dennis, Nghiem, Steven, Kency, and myself) to Westwood. The food was delicious and plenty, so we’re planning on a leftovers-party tomorrow in the dorms. After the meal, of course we had a few pizookies for the table, which were pure yum. We took a group picture outside of BJ’s (which I opted out of) and then headed home.

My day was productive and fun, the best day I’ve had in what seems like a long time. (The only thing missing was Stanley, who I saw in the morning but went home while I was at CHAMPs. I missed him the most while the rest of us ate dinner.) Tomorrow I plan on going on run in the morning, a quick Costco trip, finishing the last of my MAE101 homework, doing the bulk of my math homework, and maybe some shopping for a birthday present.

It’s been a pretty good first week of school. Earlier this week Heather and Sophie visited me at UCLA and we went to Rodeo Drive, Sprinkles, and Pinkberry. I really like being around my high school friends, as it always seems like they know me better (or at the very least, differently) than my college friends. I hope that this quarter doesn’t get too much busier, as I’m afraid I won’t be an efficient time-manager. If all else fails, though, I’ll at least have learned my limits.

PS. After we walked back home, I stopped and sat down outside to relax and check out the full moon. I was just sitting around with Matt and Wesley when Steven Chang, from Miller/Lynbrook walked by with his girlfriend, Daisy. Man, that brought me way back, haha. I vaguely remember being pretty good friends with him in 8th grade…

BCAM at LACMA

Yesterday, I went to the LACMA with my boyfriend, Stanley. We got there pretty late, a little after 3pm, so we didn’t have that much time to cover much of the museum (which is actually pretty huge, split up into a few separate buildings) but the first building we stepped into was the one I was probably the most interested in – the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA. In the last few years, I’ve met people who misunderstand, abhor and even despise the concept of modern art, but I am definitely not one of them. For me, the intensity of representation is one of the most defining things about art, and whether abstract, direct, simple or complex (often a mixture of all), I feel as if it’s often all about the ideas formed as well as the expressions evoked and expressed, no matter the form. Long story short, I noticed a few artists at the BCAM at LACMA: Inaugural Installations exhibition (and the rest of the museum) that I decided to do more research on.

John Baldessari
The piece that caught my attention was the wall mural, Buildings = Guns = People: Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog). I noticed that the word “Hope” in the title corresponded to a giant print of a blue rose. After checking out the mural for awhile, I moved on to the other sections of the exhibit which included other paintings of Baldessari. He had a handful of really conceptual paintings, as well as some that were purely text against blank canvas. I found humor in his cynicism and view on modern art, and as an influential contemporary artist, I think he’d be good a good choice to look up.

Helen Frankenthaler
Frankenthaler’s work reminded me vaguely of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, so of course I had to do more research after seeing her work at the LACMA. Her abstract works had a certain graffiti style to them (akin to Twombly’s and Basquiat’s, in some ways), and it’s interesting to see how that they compare to her earlier more color-field style. I feel as if her style is easier to read and understand than Baldessari’s work, maybe because of the easy juxtaposition of the elements in her paintings. Either way, I definitely found her work to be interesting to observe.

Overall, I definitely found the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the LACMA to be worth going to. It’s not overwhelmingly large, nor is it too extensive (it mostly focuses on a few influential artists) but still, it’s been awhile since I’ve museum hopped, so it was nicely portioned cut of my day.

ben’s jenn’s 3

I spent the last few days decorating a “3” for my friend Ben. We were at Santana Row the other day with a few other Bruinlife 2008-ers (Christine, Erica, and Steven) and were wandering the stationary stores (because really, that’s all we can afford at Santana Row). Ben ended up purchasing 4 numbers to spell 1337, and offered me a 3 to decorate for him. I definitely made it my own, as it’s very stylistically me. It was a lot of fun to design it and then execute my ideas. It’s really messily done, but I really like the way it turned out anyway. It’s me, in a 3.

I still have all the color scraps of cloth from my Making Amends and Connections pieces from high school, so I used grey and blue coth to cover the letter after painting it blue (it was the only paint I had in my room, from summer school). I cut leaves and shapes from red and green cloth to make a miniature rose-bush of sorts to put in the bucket of the 3. So here’s a blurb about my concept and idea –

Definitely I wanted to incorporate the idea of the importance of nature and environment into my 3, because I mean, seriously? Nature is always amazing, though people forget it often. The shapes and curves of the 3 made it really ideal to keep something inside, so easily enough I decided to “plant” the flowers inside. It kept it all together well composed, and so for awhile, I had the plant-part done but not the rest of it, which I hadn’t decided on. I really wanted to continue working with my fabric, because of how messy and hands-on it looks (I like it like that) so I cut out the 3 shape twice in dark blue, for the front and back. A few days ago, I found these miniature brad-buttons at Target, so just playing with them I put them into the cloth, gradienting light blue on the top to nothing on the bottom. After setting that up, I realized it looked like stars against a night sky, so of course I had to keep it that way! I did the same on the back with the light grey button-brads. And voila, pretty much it. Oh, lastly, I found these really old earrings that my sister was about to toss – they had little lock/key charms on the end, so I cut them off and hung them from the serifs of the 3. They hang on the side, so from the front & back you can’t see it. I knew I wanted the lock somewhere easily visible, but I wanted to hide the key somewhere within the “garden.” Thinking about it, though, it didn’t seem to fit well, so I kept it on the side, underneath the lock across the jump of the 3. Separate but together, as a lock and key should always be.

I had problems with the super glue – I didn’t experiment and forgot that the glue would darken and stiffen the fabric. I should have put the plants through the cloth more neatly, and stuck with double sided tape instead of super glue. Oh well, though, the grey cloth = dirt will just be like that. Yeah, honestly, I should have experimented and sketched more ideas, but I was so into decorating and getting started that I couldn’t help just jumping in. Next time, I’ll hold myself back so I can think things through more clearly.

I uploaded a few other old and new sketches onto my portfolio site, mint. I plan on updating that more often, and hope to change the layout sometime soon (ish) as well.

a refreshment

This is where I want to be in 2009.

I want to find myself somewhere where I am comfortable with myself. Where I’m not afraid of making mistakes, because I’m confident that the only mistakes I’ll make are in ignorance and not due to stupidity. I plan on being somewhere, with people I am constantly learning from and with. I want to be in a constant state of education, because that means I’ll be growing. Even if I don’t have a clear destination in mind, I hope I continue moving, because only in motion and action can I experience the live I’m living.

I’ve realized that one of the most necessary things I need to find happiness and contentedness is balance. I hope that in the coming year I learn to have confidence with room for modesty, to be selfish selflessly, that I offer help only if it doesn’t lead to sacrificing my own well-being, that I’ll avoid excessive honesty and treachery (in which case any amount would be excessive) and that I do my best to share my happiness with those around me.

New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Produce at least one piece of (serious) artwork/concept a month
2. Spend less money on “fun things”, because there are better things to spend money on/save money for
3. Disregard fear, because most of the time it’s irrational
4. Study, so I can do better in school
5. Learn to love again, because it’s important

This year has been a painful one for me. I unexpectedly lost both friends and loves, and although the experience shaped me, I often regret the steps I chose to take that led to where I am. I made big mistakes that led to an emotional crash, and it took me months to pick myself up again. But here I am. I’m not refurbished, in no way am I as-good-as-new, but I am beaten up and have been taught. I’ll remember, because the cognizance of pain is permanent. And now I’m more ready than ever, to accept what life has in store for me.


I put this together a few days ago as a representation of my 2008. I spent a few hours looking through my digital photo album and took two pictures from each month. I tried to pick pictures that I never liked enough to make part of my portfolio, just so I could learn to appreciate them more. It helped, actually, because as the time between a photo is taken and when I view it gets longer, the less I remember why I didn’t like it as much to begin with. One of my more lax resolutions is to take more photos this year, and to try to bring my DSLR (a Nikon D40) around more often. This way I’ll always have the choice to capture a moment on (digital) film. I guess at the same time I want to learn how to utilize my camera more efficiently rather than give in to my shutter-happy tendencies, too.

It’s time to take things more seriously.