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Today was the annual welcome reception event for new Cornell students in the LA area. It was great seeing all the new faces, and it was quite interesting for me to see the event from “the other side,” after being at school for a year.  I had a great time sharing my experience with the new students, as well as learning about t them and what they’re expecting this year. I wish I had more time to talk to people though! It was also a longer drive, out past the 405, but traffic was relatively light today.
But after spending a few hours with people who’ve just finished their senior year of high school, I thought I’d go back and revisit my year with the #worldslongestmarthon hashtag on Twitter I used during my senior year. I’ll give a couple reflections and additional details where I can – I realize now that a lot of what I wrote was not very specific and detailed, and isn’t very conducive to sparking a memory. But I can try!

  • #worldslongestmarathon - day 59. 8.5 hours of school + 8 hours of band. fun day!!! 5 SWEEPS IN BAND!!!!! love doing hw @ midnight.... 
  • So this was some time in November I believe – don’t remember the competition – might have been at the school that doesn’t have its own football field, and has to share with the district. (Forgot the name, and not sure if that’s even the right one). But there was an incredible feeling when we won. It might sound a little corny, but when they announced our name, I could envision a movie moment, where the music would crescendo and swell at that moment to the grand heroic theme! Take note Hollywood – someone needs to pitch a real marching band movie (not just drumline!)

  • #worldslongestmarathon the big day 60. not really big. just really tired from band last night. hope todays spanish test was ok.
  • Evidently it was a Tuesday night competition the night before, thus a late night doing homework.

  • #worldslongestmarathon day 61 - sleepy, physics test, iba meeting, and more stuff. fun fun fun! too many clubs, hahaha
  • Not sure what other clubs were meeting – besides IBA, I was involved in NHS and Math Club heavily, but our meetings were on other days usually. Maybe it was a Science Olympiad meeting. Not sure there.

  • #worldslongestmarathon 62 - interesting day...not much to speak of. did some national honor society stuff - thanksgiving soon!!
  • There’s NHS. Not much to speak of apparently.

  • #worldslongestmarathon 63 - long band practice, christmas music, and the first episode of The Wong Show!!!!
  • I love playing Christmas music in band! Always makes me happy. I was super excited when we received our Christmas music. I think Kathryna or somebody might have laughed at me! But it’s all good fun. Not sure about The Wong Show – besides being an interesting pun, that might have been our “hot seat” thing in English, where I was the host of a talk show like thing, and other students portrayed characters from different books/stories we read, and have to answer questions in character.

  • #worldslongestmarathon day 64 - college interview! spanish test and presentation! learned about radios!
  • Not sure what college that was – might have been Brown, but I’m not certain. We learned about radios in IB Physics, we spent a good amount of time learning about radios, and how they worked (especially AM radios, and the mathematics behind the wave functions).

  • #worldslongestmarathon 65 sleeeeeeeeeepy!!! short day! band practice!!
  • Just what it says – but looks like it was a Wednesday extra practice in the run up to champs (whereas practices were generally Monday only, we had extras in the weeks before champs).

  • #worldslongestmarathon day 66 - really empty, since most people went to see the play. but i read a chapter of hw stuff!!! 4 hours...
  • There was a trip by the English classes to see a play – I think it was Shakespeare. I’m not sure why I didn’t go, but there were a few of us who stayed, and mostly had study hall periods, since a lot of my classes had the same students from IB.

  • #worldslongestmarathon day 67 - HARD spanish culture test...surprise english essay...getting ready for extended essay tomorrow!
  • Surprise! Not sure what the English essay was. But I remember Spanish culture tests! Each week in AP Spanish, we’d study the culture of a Spanish speaking country, and every so often we’d be tested on them (5 or 6 at a time?) – and I remember that they were rather difficult!

  • #worldslongestmarathon day 68 - interesting day...i liked the physics movie about radio. and sung last year's field show at lunch. Yup
  • We watched a video in physics about the history of radio – with Tesla, Edison, and some of the early businesses and corporations. Besides talking about the science and physics of radio, I believe it also talked about the politics of radio, with the patents and money and whatnot, which I found quite interesting as well. As for last year’s field show, that would have been Heartbeat – - not sure who was singing though. Me…Kevin was probably there, maybe Trevor and Victor…some others too maybe. Or if this was a Monday and we had a band club meeting, that’s possible too.

  • #worldslongestmarathon day 69. fun fun, last morning band practice ever on the field! can't wait to go to san diego!
  • Last morning band practice. Getting to school before 7am for band was tiring, but besides getting satisfaction from our performance and practices (most of the time), sometimes we were treated to beautiful sunrises.  And champs were in San Diego that year! It was great to see some alumni from UCSD come seeus when we went down there for band champs!
So that brings us up to about 1 week before winter break in 2009, when I get more time, I’ll continue with those reflections and notes.

PS – Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Quick rundown of the week! Last Saturday some of my dad’s old friends came over (from his childhood I believe), as well as my uncle and aunt, and we had BBQ Ribs! Yum! They were delicious (though one parent forgot to put aluminum on the pan, so they weren’t as tender as they could have been!), but nevertheless, very very good. 

Sunday was the pre-intern picnic for the Cornell in Hollywood interns, out in the Pan Pacific Park in Hollywood.  It was a nice day, though I’m glad I put some sun screen on. We all met in the park for our orientation, and it was nice to meet everyone, even though most of them were staying out west of LA. There were sandwiches, and we started to get to know each other. There was a girl who drove here by herself from the east coast! And there was a former intern from the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien!! (while it existed) – I thought that was really cool!

Monday was my first day at my internship – in the digital department at a production company, so they basically produce and distribute web content (like webisodes and things like that).  The first couple days I got to sit in my own office! That was pretty cool! Nice big office with a view of Century City, Sunset Boulevard, and Beverly Hills, nice chairs, and yellow lamps! Though that was just because that was the only space available – now I’m in a cubicle (which is probably a more proper fit) – but it was nice to intern in style for a couple days! The first day I caught up on the company’s content, and the next couple days, I was scouring the internet for possible talent for new web series the company is working on.

It’s quite a commute to get there! I have to get up at 5:45 or so, catch the train at 6:50 something from Industry, then transfer to the red line subway, then to a bus – all in all about 2 hours to get there (2.5 when you add the time going from home and waiting for the first train).  Though it took longer the first two days, because there was a light out on Sunset – so I was stuck on the bus for over an hour! Bumper to bumper traffic! But I’ll write more about the commuting experience in another post. 

Tuesday night was a panel for Cornell in Hollywood and the Cornell Club LA about Hollywood Jobs in 10 Years. While the panel went off topic a bit, it was very intriguing to hear what people in the industry had to say – about jobs, internships, networking, and various other pieces of advice. It was also a good networking event too. I met some new people (and alums) – and talked some more with the other interns – I’m partly sad that I’m going to be in London because I won’t be able to spend more time with these great people!

Though I am grateful to the intern program for allowing me to learn a lot more about LA! I haven’t gone west of downtown a whole lot, and the intern program has allowed me to do so (as well as gain some exposure to the thing we call our public transportation system). Farmer’s Market, Sunset Boulevard, the Grove, all that wonderful stuff!

And one more quick note – congrats to all the graduates in the class of 2011! Welcome to the “real world” now! Strange thing though. I’ve been reminiscing a bit about last year – I remember that I was excited, but even after the ceremony, I didn’t feel like anything big had changed.  Didn’t feel like I graduated exactly – it was rather anti climatic (quite different than winning something like a band medal!) – and has seemed like a rather drawn out process. Actually I feel like this whole year went by rather quickly – it’s probably about a year since I started blogging semi-regularly (May 2010 after Every 15 Minutes probably….) and I still feel that I graduated just a few days ago! And even the 2011 kids –  the last time I saw everyone they were juniors! (I suppose that’s what happens when you’re 3000 – not 4000! Hahah – miles away). Feels like I stopped in once…and then at the end of the year and it’s almost like waking up and 8 months just pass by and you haven’t seen any of it, which is an interesting thing after watching these kids for 3 years, and not seeing the third year. I guess it’d be like watching the first couple seasons of Battlestar Galactica, then watching the finale and recognizing everyone, but at the same time there are a lot of changes and differences that just seemed to have happened without really understanding. (Which is almost what I did – missed a lot of the Hera arc as well as the final 4 – I was like what’s all this talk about more human cylons?!?!) But today’s not about me – it’s about you, your accomplishments, your hopes, your dreams.  Congratulations again to the class of 2011!

Ok, back to the ole’ blog again!  So the other day I hosted a get together for some classmates and friends. (Do I have an aversion to the word party?  Maybe.  It seems like there’s a negative connotation to the word.)  Anyways, in addition to friends, I had family members over as well.  Since I didn’t take any pictures of the day (and I’ve lost my last 2 years worth of pictures any how), the blog entry will have to suffice.

Not that I remember a whole lot now.  A lot of stress before people were here.  But afterwards, it was pretty fun.  Water balloons around on the side yard.  I think they’ve pretty much become a staple of our summer gatherings by now. Derek brought his water gun too, for added excitement.  So that’s always fun.  Lobbing, throwing, and aiming at people filling up the water balloons. Until someone hits you on the back and it feels like a brick! Besides that, there was the badminton, where the birdies inevitably land on the patio cover. Lots of fun in the pool when I went in with Brian, Derek, Tim, and Nick – making a whirlpool in the shallow end created a current strong enough to carry us all the way across the pool.  Lots of food throughout the day too – and Christina’s homemade cookies were verrrrrry good, despite my teasing.  And the water balloons that someone threw on top of the patio cover that rained down on everyone. Thanks to Patrick for bringing strawberries also!

At first, I was really worried about all the people actually - lots of people from groups what while, aren't mutually exclusive, are pretty seperate. But it seemed like it worked out. Socially interesting, how people seemed to self divide themselves. But I think it worked out in the end - no fights or anything, so I'm a happy camper.

There were fun moments of sitting around talking.  Around tables, out front, inside or the pool.  Like the elite erudite Berkeley circle!  Hahaha.  Fun and teasing and whatnot - almost like school again! The intense Monopoly game, Apples to Apples, and more.  Anyways, it was great to see everyone again, before leaving. I’m sorry everything here is so general, I can’t remember a whole lot!  It was a much fun filled evening, and hopefully I’ll get to see everyone again soon!

I don't think it's hit me that we graduated. I wish I was this involved with everyone last summer. But today I realized my summer is more than half over - less than a month now until school starts for me, so the end is approaching quickly. But then again, the last month of high school was one of the most exciting and fun times for me, so why can't my last month of summer?
I loved that Perry Como song in middle school. And I still enjoy it. Anyways, I was just thinking about some really good days in High School this past year. My Magic Moments as they may be. I probably talked about them before, but hey, this is my blog, so here goes.

Marching Band!
There was one field tournament this past year where we basically won a bunch of awards and there weren't enough seats for us and we stood on the sideline. I think it was South Hills. Anyways, this was an amazing year, with the success that we had. But the best part was the end of this tournament - when Peter and the captains came back carrying all these trophies, and the band just ran up to them and we had a huge group of hugging, crying, laughing high school kids. It seemed like the end of a movie. And a magic moment.

Star Wars Concert
This was pretty cool - for our Spring Concert, we played music from the 6 Star Wars films, and Mr. Alvo came to me with this idea of making a video to go along with the music. So we floated around doing a Star Wars spoof with band kids, but ultimately that didn't happen due to the timing of AP/IB testing, and the enormous pile of other proejcts going on at the same time. So I ended up getting video clips from the films, and put them together. The fight scene with Darth Maul for Duel of the Fates; various Naboo scenes for Across the Stars; the battle over Coruscant, various scenes of Princess Leia, the forest battle on the moon of Endor, and a montage of battle clips with the second Death Star. Anyways, it was cool to run back and forth to the AV room in the gym - made me feel like my 8th grade year at Rincon, running the AV equipment in the DMP. But the magic moment was seeing my creation on screen! And it synced perfectly in the bandroom - that was magical too - and almost perfectly during the concert. But then the Death Star explosion synced perfectly with the last duh duh duh duh. And that was magic. Special thanks to Victor who got the timing down for the video clips so that everything synced well!!

Speech and Graduation
Speaking in front of 5000 people. That's something I never thought I'd do - and it's the biggest audience ever. I usually start shifting around when I have to speak in front of the small IB class! But I remember sitting on stage the Tuesday before graduation, in front of 500 and being freaked out. Though after a few hours, it felt completely normal to me, and so did practicing out on the field Wednesday and Thursday. I thought I'd be scared to death in front of 5000 people, but I felt quite prepared. And that in itself was magic. But then people clapped when I was finished! I'm sure at least half the people were asleep, but hearing the applause at the end was magical!

President Obama "Race to the Top" Contest
First let me say thanks to everyone who helped in this - Jessica, Christina, Benson, Frances, Tim, Olvidio, Alyssa, Ian, Mrs. Phillips, Mr. Falk, Mr. Brunyer, and everyone else. So I found this contest the White House was doing for the President to speak at a high school commencement ceremony. (Obviously we didn't win, because they got stuck with me!) This was a fun process for me. Getting called out of class for a meeting with the group and Mrs. Phillips, rushing the final copy from Mr. Houghton's room to the library to Mr. Brunyer's office - almost very West Wing-ish. But I was thrilled by it. And one of the best parts was the Sunday before it was due, and most of the group was at my houe writing the application. And we had notecards of ideas taped to the walls, surrounding us. And an alarm ringing every 15 minutes to keep us on track. And in the end, Jessica, Christina, and I stayed working up toward the 11th hour - quite literally. Anyways, magical process working on that application!

Every 15 Minutes Funeral
Well okay, this was sad too, but it was magical as well. Walking in was hard - especially when I had to walk by my IB classmates. I saw Mr. Suradeth as I came in the entry way - he sort of looked at me and gave a nod and a caring expression. I sort of nodded back and looked at the ground. And yes, I cried during the "funeral." But like I said in my original Every 15 Minutes post, the ending was amazing. Everyone backstage hugging and crying - most people who I had just met a mere 24 hours before were like family. All of us together, embracing, one last time together as a group. There was a bond there. It's hard to put into words. But those few last minutes together were like magic.

Filming our Bee-6 "Don't Stop Believin' Video"
This is the one that made me start thinking of all of this. The preparation in Ms. Woo's class (complete with pelvic thrusts all around) was great, especially with the tape lines and moving all the desks - how often do you get to do that with a teacher? But the real fun was the morning of the filming. Thank goodness that we had done the band concert the Wednesday beforehand. We filmed on a Friday; the same Friday as the junior/senior assembly. Getting there in the morning, I was super excited. The Friday before, Rita had gone through the basics of lighting the hideout with me at the Jazz Band concert.
Anyways, I suppose the magic of this moment was at the beginning of the day. I was the first one there. I went to the back of the room to the sound box, got out my bag of wires and stuck in my CD with the Glee version of "Don't Stop Believin." And hearing it come out of the speakers and echo around the hideout was, well, almost magical. It was a great moment, just to hear it, and the excitement built up within me. One by one, the group members filtered into the hideout. Rita even came to help out with lighting! Oh my goodness, the lighting was just as magical. I am so thankful that we were able to use the lighting set up for the choir show. The fade out at the end of the video - that's not a computer effect, THE LIGHTS ACTUALLY GO OUT! Shooting stuff practical instead of using the computer - that stuff makes me giddy and bubbly inside! It just seemed so...much more professional than other things I've done. Chase lights during the guitar solo; lights on max at certain music notes; and DOING THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SHOT! Well almost one shot. Technically it was two - the first half, and the second half, with some audience shots in the middle to show something during an instrumental break. Ok, technically three, because I snuck in a second shot in the first half. But it's hard to tell! Anyways, making it look like it was one shot gave it another level of professionalism, and I loved that too! More movie magic happening! Anyways, that morning was magical to me - even though ASB kind of interrupted the ending; that was one of the best hours of my high school life. The music echoing through the room, lights flashing - I felt like I was in the middle of a real show!
 Yesterday (Thursday), our graduation group went to see Toy Story 3 and such. I met up with Trevor and Victor at Rowland so we could get a ride from Daniel. When I was there, it was somewhat surreal. Seeing people like Kurt and Kevin – juniors now – oh my goodness! I still practically feel like a junior; taking my summer school class before junior year seems like it was yesterday. Actually, it seems like my first two years of high school were last month, and the second two were this past month. It is very surreal. On one hand, seeing this year’s rising juniors makes me feel old – I still think of them as freshmen almost! But then being back at Rowland, I felt like a student again – especially since I was there during passing period, and walking amongst the student. Though there was a different feeling – all the little kids were there! I saw Jason Ma (senior, my goodness!), and dropped by ASB to say hi to Mrs. Phillips, and saw Ariel too! So it was a nice revisit, even if it’s only been 2 weeks. Even though my high school experience seems like yesterday, the actual graduation seems like a lifetime ago.

We went with Daniel along the horrible Colima traffic, and met up with everyone at the mall, same people as our graduation group.  And watching Toy Story 3. Oh wow. Ok, so I’ll say spoilers, so if you haven’t seen and don’t want to know what happens STOP HERE. 

Ok, so Toy Story 3. First, that opening was epic. That scene was like, if I could but the Toy Story characters in their own “world” and make a movie, it’d be like that! The rest of the movie was epic too – though when they all held hands as they were about to be incinerated was very touching, and seemed almost like a sci fi film. Though I was half expecting someone to die. Too much Stargate Universe/Battlestar Galactica – I forgot it was Disney. But it was still a touching scene. And very dark for a Disney/Pixar film. Actually, the whole movie was very dark, in its themes and characters. I suppose it makes sense since we’ve grown up with the movies that they get progressively darker – sort of like Harry Potter, but not as much, because of course it’s Disney/Pixar. And yes, I cried at the end. Well, I began getting teary when Andy said bye to his mom. Probably because that’s how I imagine parting with my parents to be later this summer. I think the movie affected us especially because we’re the class of 2010 (yay Andy!), and we’re in the same situation as Andy. And at the end, when he has one last hurrah with the toys, that made me cry. In the same way (for me at least), our Bee-6/Glee video felt like one last victory lap, Andy’s fun at the end was his, except his legacy is passed on. It felt very much like the end of one story, and the start of another. Cliché, yes, but true nevertheless. It was like a return to childhood for one last fleeting moment before having to face the reality of growing up, which I hope this summer will mean for me. I realize now that the Toys saddened over losing Andy can be looked at from the other way – I will be equally sad losing my childhood, which is symbolized by childhood toys. That loss of innocence, of a youth’s imagination, is something that we all must go through in the end, and I suppose being in the midst of that transition means that the movie hit me especially hard. I think I tend to show emotions after the event – that happened with Every 15 Minutes, and probably with this movie too – I mean, reading the Wikipedia plot entry made me teary. But it was a wonderful experience to share with my friends.  

So post movie, Tesia left, and the rest of us hung out at the mall for a while. The girls shopped and us super cool awesome guys lounged in the center and had the most fun ever. After, we split up, some of the group going to Daniel’s house, and the others going to eat and then meeting up with us later. I ate too much popcorn to eat lunch! But we got stopped at the train tracks, and Daniel and Guzman rocked out in the car.  There, I got to play Mario Kart! I haven’t played in a long time. That in itself was a lot of fun. Then there was Shutter Island. Yes, I was scared, and yes, I hid under a blanket. About halfway, we had to move over to Trevor’s house where we finished. I actually enjoyed Shutter Island, even though I usually don’t watch those types of movies. It had a good twist, though I had begun to think that already; and I think the end hints at self awareness. But anyways, it was another good shared experience. Jess and Kelly had to leave, but then Trevor’s parents graciously gave the rest of us dinner. And after dinner, was mostly talk, about random topics – people, school, past, future, likes, dislikes. I probably sound like a broken record, but there’s little that can match sitting around and just talking with people for a few hours. And having another time to do that before we all leave makes those few hours all that more important to me. So all in all, a fun day, full of tears, screams, talk and friends.
My week-in review. I suppose it would have been stronger if I posted this on a Friday, so I could do the whole weekend review pun. But alas, no. So besides my incessant watching of the World Cup (go USA!!) here’s the week…

Wenesday, June 16

This was our clarinet+ sectional day!  I had spent pretty much the last two days cleaning up the entire house – which meant I wasn’t able to go hiking. But I was able to clean! Anyways, I hadn’t done that much in a while.

So then party time! It was pretty cool. Nick was the first one, and then people slowly filtered in after that. I wasn’t able to get water balloons to work, because I couldn’t get the nozzle to fit the hose! Though there weren’t enough clarinet people so we supplemented it with seniors and other band kids. Well not exactly. But over time, our sectionals have grown to include non clarinet members, who were invited. Along with supplemented people. But at least we weren’t sitting around in a circle in awkward silence! Well not for long anyways…in the end it was a good call I guess, because a lot of clarinet people weren’t able to make it. In fact I think the non clarinet people may have outnumbered the clarinet people…

Lots of fun in the pool.  I got these push squirt things at Jo Ann’s last week, and they were a blast (note the pun!), as were the splash ball things we threw at each other. I got tons of water up my nose, but it was fun shooting people with water. We played our clarinet sectional classic – Pictionary! Which was fun and loud as always. Although the 7-11 team shouldn’t have won. And we started watching Princess and the Frog late at night. Though I wanted Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure! I got outvoted. But I think it was a nice ending to my four years in band and as a clarinet player, and as Brett and Lauren take over next year, I’m sure the section is in good hands. I’m sure going to miss these sectionals once I go away next year though.


Then Saturday was Anna’s Debut. I was very glad to receive the invitation – though I was a little apprehensive that it’d be awkward for me to be there. It wasn’t too bad for me though, and I thought the court did wonderfully! It was great to see Anna again, along with others like Tedman, Kamaron, Abby, Edgar, Jonathan, Kris, and Virginia. The whole debut was very nice, and I was seated at a table with people I knew, and saw other people I knew as well, so for me it felt as much a reunion as a celebration.  


And Sunday was Father’s Day. We had a good day as a family, and engaged ourselves in a family project – making homemade dried apples from our apple tree! And using the car as an oven – pretty MacGyver if I say so myself. And homemade BBQ ribs for dinner! Nothing can get much better than that!

Sunday I also was able to watch part 1 of the Doctor Who series finale – The Pandorica Opens. I have NO idea how Steven Moffat will get the Doctor out of this one – come to think of it, I have no idea how the universe will get out of it! But I’m sure there have been clues laid out throughout the season that will be important when I watch this weekend!


Monday, I went to Rincon, and saw Victor! Basically spent most of the day there, helping out Victor, getting some stuff for the website. Go check it out –!! I’ve put in a lot of work into that site!  


Tuesday was marked by an early morning at 6:30 am – to watch the US/Algeria World Cup Game with my dad! Basically, the US needed to score a goal to advance to the next bracket stage. And we didn’t. Well we did, but the goal was disallowed – second time I might add for the world cup – and there were several chances we just botched up. And it was around the 84th minute when I was beginning to give up hope. Rarely are goals scored this late in the game. And then the 90th minute – the end of game time came, and it was still nil-nil. With 4 minutes of additional injury time, I figured there was no chance, and I bet my dad was ready to change the channel. But then in the 91st minute of the game there was a GOAL. IT WAS LIKE A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE!! And I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens some day – “Miracle on Grass!”  Unbelievable. I jumped up and screamed when they scored – even my dad gave a shout! I think the best part was when they showed the American crowd and a fan held a sign saying “Yes We Can.” Those three words really seem to embody the American Spirit, and Tuesday was really a highlight of pride, a moment proud to be an American, a moment to share with millions. Except Twitter crashed. But besides that, it was.

Also Tuesday was lunch with Benson, Malissa, Jess Kuo, and Stephanie Fu at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was great to see them all again, and I had a wonderful time. Again it’s these little personal moments that count the most in the long run. So we shared a bunch of wings and talked about topics from driving to college to other random things. I just hope when I come back from college for breaks, we can still do things like this with each other.  And eat more wings.

And Tuesday night was the school board meeting where I was supposed to get an award. And never received. I’m sure there was a mix up somewhere along the line, and it was okay – but being there made me think again about some of my own ideas about education – but more on that for another entry.



Yesterday was Helen’s graduation party – which was a lot of fun. I’ll post some pictures or videos on Facebook, but for those who aren’t on there, here are a few shots:
IB Kids!
A soaked Kevin
Assorted persons.....
So this time I did take pictures to remember things!  But I should wrote something down anyways.  When I arrived, I was greeted by water balloons and a toss into Helen’s pool by Daniel Kim.  Which I was expecting.  Of course Helen was nice enough to tell me to get all the stuff out of my pockets before I stepped outside. 
Compared to last weekend, today turned out very much like the IBA banquet. Including Chui in a dress.  Except it was somewhat more tame. And we had ASB people and other friends with us last night.  Everything devolved into a water fight.  Between the dozens of balloons and various splashes of people getting tossed into the pool.  There’s the simple “push” maneuver (me).  The more complicated double swing, taking the arms and legs and swinging someone into the pool (Helen!).  Or the suicide twist, grappling onto someone as they fall (Daniel Kim and Alex!). Or the shan (Christina…). Or any combo of the above.  Needless to say, it made for a very entertaining night.  And so were water balloons.  Getting hit in the balls by Eric. Pummeled by Jose and Patrick in the African watering hole puddle.  Benson lobbing water balloons.  Balloons hitting the wall – and the neighbor’s house. 
And food.  There was so much of it! Much thanks to Helen’s parents and family for grilling so much.  It was like they were preparing for the end of the world or something; there was a plate piled with what must have been over 50 skewers!
There were many more fun moments as well.  Swinging on a bench with Benson. Watching Benson fall off the bench.  Sitting around in a circle.  Mr. Suradeth!  It seems like a recurring theme in my blog entries, but again, some of the best parts of the night were just the sitting and talking. About anything. College. Berkeley.  Driving. I don’t even remember anymore, but those are the moments that count, the moments that show friendships.  The moments where friendships blossom and develop.  It was great to be with the IB kids again – that sense of family…and maybe more…is something I’ll probably not feel again for a long time.  Even at class reunions, it will never quite be the same again. So today, I’ll cherish the days of high school, my memories, my experiences (speech ripoff!) But seriously, I’m very glad I went and had the opportunity to spend more time with my friends before we all head off in separate directions. I can only hope that the rest of my summer is as enjoyable and full of friends (friendful?) as last night. 

Just a reminder - I love comments, and I'll try to respond if you ask me questions or anything!

My chair at graduation

Yesterday, I wrote an entry as a high school student. Today, I write my entry as a high school graduate.  It's been a great ride, and yesterday was the culminating moment, my highest achievement.  I wish I had more time to mingle with people, to talk to them.  I realized today that I will probably never be with every single person at the same time again.  Just trying to plan out something for the summer - someone will always be busy, or missing, or at a school far away.  Never again can I say "let's meet at the circle at lunch" or "go outside the library after 4th period." 
But living in the present, right? Let's move on to the ceremony.  Wow.  I got a bit emotional walking down the track, onto the field one last time.  Walking down the aisle in the middle actually felt a bit like Star Wars (the end of Episode IV!).  Sitting on the stage with Erika, Alyssa, and Kevin, was an amazing experience.  I got to sit in a nice wooden chair (pictured above), although the California flag kept hitting me.  The ceremony was marked by overcast skies - seemingly appropriate, though I wish there was more sun.  The wind, while feeling nice, provided some comedic moments.  Such as my IB sash flying off as I was walking up the stage.  And the California flag hitting me in the head.  And Alyssa's cap flying off during the ceremony.  But in the end, I felt that it went quite well.
I gave the speech, toward the theme "Our time today may be over, but our tomorrow is just around the corner," trying to contrast the today of high school with the tomorrow of life.  I think I could have used more emotion, and I switched out a word by accident in the final paragraph, I'm satisfied with how I did.  The compliments people have given me have been very nice, and I'm thankful for those.  Speaking in front of over 4000 people wasn't easy - but I was a lot less nervous than I thought I'd be. Maybe public speaking isn't so bad after all!  And then when my name was called for a diploma, I got an applause.  I know people aren't supposed to, but I think it was mostly the band, and maybe some of the people in the audience.  But alluding to what I wrote yesterday, that cheer was so powerful to me, it almost brought me to tears. For me, that was the most emotional part of the ceremony.  Just knowing that there are people who care, who love me is something that I will never forget. 
Afterwards was diploma distribution and I was able to see a lot of my friends one last time - and take a picture!  So many in fact, that I was near the end, when they were hearding us out. (One last chance to feel like a cow at RHS). 

After that was dinner with one of my Uncles and Aunts, over at Claim Jumper.  It was nice to see them, but the highlight was BABY BACK RIBS.  First time for a long time. 

And later that night was our Anti Grad Nite at Tesia's. (And if she's reading this, thank you so so much for letting us come over!).  Probably the last chance our senior band group will be all together at once, for a long time.  The night was marked by so many fun moments.  While I didn't get any on camera, holding the filter of the camera may have ruined the raw fun.  There was Bop It. And  Super Smash. A fallen PS3. Girls and boys fighting over sofa space and blankets. Using sleeping bags for cushioning, using pillows for...other things.  Talking about ourselves, and others - though some of it got strange after a while! Bee-6. Certain people taking all the sleeping bags ;). and foooood. 
All in all, a very memorable (and almost sleepless) night. Though we didnt' watch the sunrise together, I suppose that gives us something to do the next time we're all able to meet up again. Hopefully sometime soon in the future.  I know I'll miss my friends very much.  I'm sorry I'm not able to be with them today, but I hope to be with them again soon!
For those of you not following me on Twitter, I've referred to the IB senior year as the "World's Longest Marathon" - or more aptly, the #worldslongestmarathon.  It really was - we hit the ground running in August, and pretty much up until the week after IB testing - when all the projects were due the same day - it was like running a marathon.  Especially the lack of sleep and fatigue. 

So I stand here today at a crossroads.  Or maybe on top of a hill is a better description.  Able to see the years behind me as well as a glimpse of the future.  It seems strange, almost full circle - I came into high school feeling very much alone and isolated, and I feel that leaving in August I'll start off alone and isolated.  Especially seeing friends going together to West Coast schools. I'm sure it will turn out fine in the end, but it's just thinking about going off alone, without the physical presence of my friends.  And what seems to scare me is that it hasn't hit me that all of this is over yet.  I don't feel like a graduate yet.  Which may be because I haven't actually gone through the ceremony yet (a couple more hours!).  But it's that I probably haven't realized the value of all my friendships yet.  What happens in a few months when I realize how much I miss someone and I want to give them a hug, only to remember they're 3000 or so miles away?  It's very much like the aftermath of Every 15 Minutes, except this time, there's no saying hi in the halls, or sitting with someone after school.  After it's over, it's over.  And yes, we have phones, facebook, AIM, and what not - but nothing can ever really substitute for sitting in the same room next to your friend. 

Which comes to where I am today. Working so hard for 4 years to get up to the top.  Coming into Rowland in 2006, I didn't know anyone.  Well a few people, but the point is that I felt like a very small fish in a large pond. Actually, more like plankton in the ocean.  And's quite different.  I know so many people - different, amazing people.  And what's scarier is that there are more people who know who I am than I know who they are.  It's nice to be able to walk down the halls (I have no idea why we call them halls though), and people say hi to you. Like a lot of people. Add to that teachers - even those you haven't had a class with, and the powers that be, the administators know who you are.  I guess it's like being popular. Or it is being popular.  I don't know. Becoming a well liked, popular kid was never one of my goals at high school - it's just something that sort of grew and developed along the way.  But now that it's there, it's nice to take a pause and live in the moment, but the dread comes knowing that I'll have to work my way up again.  But it's not just popularity, it's a support system. People who actually care about me, and how I feel, and what I do.  People who have a genuine interest in my life.  And I am forever grateful to those people.  And again, I hope that I'm able to internally realize the importance of these people before it's too late to see them again. 

I have to learn how to live in the present better, as I learned in my talks with Mr. Phillips.  There's so much in the future that I can't control, so I have to make the most of what I do now. 

So to the memories of the past year. I know it's not quite the present - but I figure this is as good a time as any to go over some highlights of the year.  I'm sure I'll leave a lot out - but I can add later. 

Band this year was really fun. Having Mr. Alvo for the 2nd year now, and knowing the staff like Jeff, Mark, and Armando, made things a lot easier this year.  Being Woodwind Captain was a great experience too - especially conducting my arrangement of "Music of the Night."  I'm not sure how to describe it in words, but hearing it played correctly for the first time almost brought tears to my eyes.  And of course we went into championships in 1st place. The big Mo. Although we didn't quite get there, I'm happy with our effort.  Band president was pretty laidback except for field show tournament time.  One of the longest, busiest, most exhausting, most exciting days of the year. I hope my video tips help out for next year.  And I hope it's scheduled on a long weekend when I can visit!
And then concert season, we got superior and were able to go to a regional festival! Which was a completely new, but wonderful experience to have.  As was the Las Vegas trip - the first trip in 4 or 5 years for band, so my time spent out there was great fun. 

So this year wasn't as great as last year. But it was an enjoyable experience, regardless of our place, and the rain.  It was nice to get more underclassmen to participate and keep it going into next year - it's like Yongjin's legacy!

And we tried to get President Obama to be our commencement speaker.  Though obviously we didn't make it, and they had to settle for me instead! It was great fun filling out the application - rushing to make the deadlines and get notes and make revisions actually gave me a thrill.  And working with great minds like Christina and Jessica until 11 on a Sunday night was a wonderful (yet quite tiring) experience.  Sitting in the hall, surrounded by notecards and brainstorming ideas.  I only hope to be able to meet as amazing people next year in Cornell. 

Another great year - I had no idea how much work the president had to do - and I have no idea how presidents of huge clubs are able to get all that work done! But it was a great experience this year, although near the end I got a bit lazy.  But I was so lucky to have a great board of officers to help me out throughout the year. 

Mr. Falk was an awesome advisor this year, and I'm so glad to have been an officer and on the "inside" with events, such as inductions.  It's so much fun to watch the new inductees who aren't quite sure what's going on! 

Wow, IB. I don't know if I'll meet another group of people like that again.  I think we got crazier (and maybe more inmature?) as the year went on.  But I love all 16 of the others, and I'm so glad we were small, because it really let us bond.  And I didn't really realize how much I want a small community like that until I've been seperated from them this week during graduation practice.  It feels like I haven't seen them in ages!

There's just too much to say! Things like our Bee-6/Glee video for english class (which was cool to get out of the IB bubble for a while).  IBA Banquet.  Band banquet. Bowling, laser tag, stressing with all the club conflicts at lunch.  Senate meetings and Every 15 Minutes.  Prom! IB hiking trip.  Laughing during annoucements and breaking chairs.  Other memories from past years too.  Romeo and Juliet video, killing our bio animals.  The Weakest Dream, Destination ImagiNation, Feed Us More Than Peanuts. The West Wing, Iron Chef in espanol, school board meetings, APUSH lectures, history vocab, calculus equations. 30 Rock, Stargate Universe, and Glee. Twitter and Facebook. There's so much, and I wish I had kept a comprehensive journal all 4 years!! Although some old IM logs may serve that purpose well...

Nevertheless, I'm here today. I'm glad I've been to all 3 graduations so far because of band, so I have an idea about today's ceremonies.  Before, I was nervous about the speech, but then being in front of 500 people the past few days has made me much more comfortable about speaking in front of others.  Although when you add another 3500 audience people...I'm sure it will be fine!

So as my time in high school comes to an end, it will always exist in my memories and in my heart.  I will deeply miss Rowland High School, especially the people.  These beautiful, amazing people.  That truly makes Rowland unique. Despite our diversity (or maybe because of it), we create true relationships - we transcend differences, we cross boundaries, we rise above and unite in our commonality. (speech preview!).  Coming back will never quite be the same.  I can't just hang around on some benches after school with my friends, or sit in a teacher's classroom after class.  But life goes on.  And so wrote Michael Chricton in Jurassic Park, "Life will find a way."  And I have faith that my life will find a way.  But today, I'm just another graduate from Rowland High School.  And the only thing left to do is wait for tomorrow and see what way to go.
Today was the annual IBA Banquet, and once again, I forgot to bring my camera to a fun event. Although this time, it may have been a good thing, since we all got soaked. But nevertheless, I shall do a quick write up on the day's events.

I was late in coming. It started at 10, at Pathfinder Park, but I didn't arrive until noon. I was out shopping for various Math Cub things - which incidentally has its banquet tonight.

I drove with my mom, as I still have my permit. Upon arriving, Sharon came out and offered me a water gun - in plan for an assult on Malissa and Tiffany Chui. We got a gated in patio area - though when I asked the other kids how we got it, it turned out the guy who ran the place offered it to us out of pity. Which I suppose is fine and dandy - at least we had a covering with shade this year! And we had fun with water. Speaking of water, Mrs. Waters came around 1 - miscommunication, but she brought a delicious potato salad. She left a little later to attend a family function, but it was nice to see her.

And soon it began to devolve into a massive water fight. Or the strangeness of the IB seniors...a cross somewhere between cussing, homosexuality, and plain insanity. Between the guns, balloons, and bottles, we all got soaked. And drenched. Especially Chui. And Sharon. And Helen. And Bryan. And Malissa. And Yasitha. And just about everyone actually! Anyways, maybe it's a good thing that I didn't bring my camera because it felt like I went through a car wash! Anyways I had a great time hanging out with everyone for a few hours. It just makes the whole realization that all this is ending hit home harder. But I loved how there were underclassmen there too, so it's not just the senior IB bubble. Like Adolfo pouring ice water on me. It was great to have this time to bond and have fun - I wish we had had more time to do fun things like this as the Rowland IB kids!