Too much has changed in my world, I don’t know if people would consider me the “same person” now, though I have doubts about how people actually “stay the same.”
Snapshot of June 1, 2002
It was graduation day for Loyola High School, a Catholic all-boys College preparatory high school. I walked side by side with my fellow soon-to-be fellow Banana Slug E-Bust.
It was the first time I would put a Black and Mild in my mouth, only because it was a day of celebration. I felt like a criminal (though months later while at UC-Santa Cruz, I would take my roommate out to a liquor shop and seek the exact same mini-cigar).
I get a hug from a girl who I liked but had been ignoring me for a year. I get a CD of hip music from someone who would turn out to be my first girlfriend.
I was 18 years old. My parents and I were living in a 4-tenant apartment in Silver Lake, in the back of the 99 cents store. We had been living there a year, and I’d been getting used to it though it’d felt a little cramped.
George W. Bush was the president of the United States. I wasn’t too happy, mainly because history had shown Republicans not giving a shit about poor folk. Bush was just another extension of that history.
The Chicago Bulls of 2001-2002 were the worst team in the league, but I still loved them. I was particularly excited about the potential of Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, and Jamal Crawford — the sky was the limit I felt. I remember one game which posed the league worst Chicago Bulls against the league best Los Angeles Lakers, in a Filipino Laker household; it was the game that Brad Miller and Ron Artest got into a fight with Shaq. Tyson Chandler officially showed his talent in this game. He made a lot of clutch plays, including one thunderous two-handed dunk. The league-worst Bulls would go on to improve from 7 wins and 29 losses to 8 wins and 29 losses.
The music I listened to was derived mostly from older hip-hop & R & B songs and Video Games — the Bust-A-Groove series, Street Fighter, Grand Theft Auto 3 songs. I got whatever song I wanted with the help of my friend Keith, where he had a fast computer connection — I was stuck with my 56K connection. I would then make CDs and give them weird names.
Back then, my mode of transportation was a red 1989 Celica that my folks had bought thirdhand. The first time I drove that car alone, the preceding November, from ROSS in Glendale to my family’s apartment, I felt like I had the world at my hands. I was now officially one of the high school seniors at Loyola, a bit of a contrast to September 11, 2001 when over the public announcement system, they announced that my daddy was ready to pick me up. I would use this Celica mainly from my place in Silver Lake to go to school in Pico-Union, and to Eagle Rock.
I was spending a chunk of my time at “debut” practices, the Filipino quinceanera at age 18, hanging out with actual live girls, something they completely lacked at my all-boys Catholic school. We would dance to Jennifer Lopez’ Lets Get Loud, a waltz — I don’t think I ever really got it.
In school, I was having a severe case of senioritis. After a 3-year career where I was a humdrum B+ 3.1-3.2 student, somewhere near the bottom of the class, I finished with a 2.6 GPA thanks in part to 7 AM Physics, and Trigonometry. I was half looking forward to UC-Santa Cruz where I decided I didn’t want anything to do with math and would go into “Legal Studies” only because they lacked “Political Science.”
Snapshot of June 1, 2012
Today is just another day, I am still a student, a Master’s student in Anthropology at Cal State Long Beach, though I should have graduated this year. I am writing this blog post from my girlfriend’s apartment. I was hoping to run today to regain my running form in time for the Annual Historic Filipinotown Run in August. I might see my friend from UCLA who works in the Bay area and another UCLA friend who I meet up with every so often. Tomorrow I go to some wine festival in Temecula, and hopefully I make it to a celebration of a student group I was part of at UCLA.
I am now 28 years old. My parents live in the Valley of LA, the San Fernando Valley, in an area with a huge concentration of Filipinos, particularly at its churches. I consider myself still living there as I have mail delivered there, but I’m there usually only a day, mostly to do laundry, that is when I had a car. Now I just go there to pick up my mail and check in with mom, dad, and my sister. I spend most of my time now in the southern tip of Los Angeles County: Long Beach, Lakewood, and Wilmington.
Barack Obama is the president of the United States. I’ve been happy about that; I think he’s accomplished a lot, from breaking the cultural/color barrier instilled in leadership positions against people of color to the health care act. He’s also messed up a lot, particularly with internet freedoms and censorship, but I think he’s done the best he could.
The Chicago Bulls of 2011-2012 had the best record in the league this year, I didn’t like them at all. Though I admit that I was a bit heartbroken to see Derrick Rose tear his ACL this past playoffs and officially knock the Bulls out of contention. I’m still kinda mad at the letting go of Shooting Guard Ben Gordon in 2009, particularly because it highlights the unwillingness of the organization to actually “build” a winner, preferring instead to “spend wisely” and profit handsomely, largely off of the global brand of Michael Jordan’s legacy. I do like the 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, but I found myself rooting a lot more for Jeremy Lin’s success. Jeremy Lin does not play for the Chicago Bulls; he plays for the rival New York Knicks. Incidentally, Tyson Chandler, also on the Knicks, was instrumental to Lin’s success, helping to finish much of Jeremy Lin’s passes.
The music I listen to consists of 93.9, a Latino pop station, whatever’s on my gf’s radio station, whatever is recommended by a few people on social networking sites, the Hood Internet, and the songs from the FIFA Soccer series. I could find and listen to any music that I want to on Youtube; I could find a faster wireless internet connection at any public library, university, cafe, or eff even McDonalds. I still look forward to making CDs and giving them tripped out names.
My mode of transportation is mostly a used aqua-blue Nishiki 10-speed bicycle with hybrid tires or a red 15-speed Raleigh bicycle, the Metro Blue and Red lines, Long Beach transit, my gf’s Silver Corolla, my own black Corolla, which I have left with my younger sister in the Valley. I’ve been using the aqua-blue Nishiki for over a year now to commute anywhere from Long Beach to the Valley; the Raleigh I used to commute all over the Long Beach-Wilmington area, but it’s slightly too tall for me. I take the Metro Blue or Red Line, depending on which stretch I’ve determined I want to bike to my parents’ home (the Metro Blue Line goes from Long Beach to Downtown LA, the Red Line goes from Downtown LA to North Hollywood, the southern tip of the San Fernando Valley). Long Beach transit I take to and around school in Long Beach. My girlfriend uses a Silver Corolla and we go to the parts of LA that I know because I know she’d like them. I’d been using my Black Corolla to commute from Wilmington to Long Beach, but figuring I wasn’t so pressed for time anymore, I returned the car to my sister.
I am now officially finished with classes as a Master’s student. I am getting the best damn GPA I’d ever gotten in school – a perfect 4.0 GPA. I’d spent a chunk of my time the past few months taking classes. School took up every inch of time, particularly because I was invested in some fairly big, ambitious class projects. I’d also spend time kicking it with other students in my cohort. With classes under my belt, I need to spend time thinking about my Master’s Thesis, which is going to be a bit of a return to…Math. I am interested in how students use their Math textbooks to build their comprehensions and understanding.
When not in school, I spend a chunk of my time kicking it either with my girlfriend, old family and friends, going to some event, or playing basketball. “Going to some event” usually means something like an open mic or a play.
The chunk with the girlfriend takes up the lions share of time and includes the “going to some event.” This is my 4th girlfriend. Its important to note that think of her and everyone I’d been with as more than just “girlfriend”, they’ve been my ride-or-die partnas, least until the last three couldn’t ride-or-die with me no more. I think of her as sweet, smart, organized; she kinda looks like a cross between the little girl in the Black Keys’ Tighten Up music video and Parminder Nagra, Mindy Kaling, and Freida Pinto though what you hear from her mouth will be “Hola! Me llamo mimi!” like it was straight out of a Crystal Fighters’ video.
By “kicking it with the family”, I mean my extended family. We meet up as a family, eat, trade jokes, play Cranium, talk about what we all used to be. Mikey may sporadically join us and tell us about his inspirational legal tales.
By “kicking it with old friends”, I mean friends from college. By “college”, I mean UC-Santa Cruz and UCLA. We check out places to eat, I’m learning to cook and how to be a man.
For 5 years on/off, I played basketball on occasion with a couple friends at some courts in Eagle Rock, but being in Long Beach I have to plan out my trips to LA. I hope I can continue playing.
I am not sure what the future holds, but hopefully in 10 years, I can update you on my exciting social life as a sire to young calves and career as a technical writer/translator, researcher, who has influenced some kind of meaningful change at an institution of learning, maybe a few hundred important people, or at the very least one person.
My high school prided itself on inspiring its students to being “a man for others.” I may be agnostic-pantheist nowadays though I do go to Spanish mass in a Catholic church, but I hope to be able to still live this idea out in whatever I do.