Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stuck in Purgatory

I started writing a jogging journal for the finale, but I couldn’t ridicule all these kids while they cried about how much they’d miss one another and Laguna. I also couldn’t comment on any drama since it was essentially a farewell episode since there will be a completely new cast for Season 3. I decided I’d just enjoy the last episode with the originals and see what would come to me. I totally ended up on a tangent.

The conversation LC and Stephen had about her move to L.A. really hit a chord with me. She talked about how her previous move to San Francisco was horrible because she was so scared, freaked out and unexcited, but she says her move to L.A. will be different because she is really excited and ready for the opportunity. My move to Minneapolis was pretty much the same. I was a little scared, but who isn’t a little scared to start out on his/her own? I think I just lacked enthusiasm for the opportunity out there. I made some mistakes while I was there, and I feel like I’ve learned from them. I’m obviously not going to know whether I have until my next full-time job, but I do feel excited for what lies ahead. I relish the next opportunity, whatever it may be.

Kristin’s whole attitude about leaving Laguna was something to which I could relate. She couldn’t stop talking about how cool and exciting it was going to be when she finally leaves Laguna, but then the time actually came to leave and it wasn’t anything like she thought. I feel like this happens to me a lot in life. Expectations are rarely met. There is all this build up and idealized expectations, but when you finally attain something it feels empty. For example, I’m looking into buying a new digital camera. I’ve narrowed down my choices to 2-3 cameras based on style and price. I am now researching all the performance reviews. It is by no means a difficult task, but it does take time. I feel extremely excited to get this new camera, and I have all these ideas in my head about how I’m going to take all these awesome pictures to document my life. The problem is that deep down, I know it’s just a camera and I probably won’t use it half as much as I think I will.

Maybe this is where I fail. I worked so hard to get through school and get a decent paying job, but after graduation I couldn’t help but feel lost. I got what I had been working for all these years, but once it was in my hands I just didn’t feel enthusiasm. I felt like something was missing. I was missing my raison d’etre. What is my passion, my reason for being? What am I doing with my life? I thought college would help me find that something, but it only distracted me from finding it.

I feel like I’m stuck in a post-graduation purgatory. I’m not completely damned to the track of perpetual dead end jobs, but I’m also not on any heavenly career path. I’m just lingering in post-college unemployment, trying to find what drives me. I have a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson in my AIM profile that goes, “None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.” I once had an elementary teacher lecture us on the difference between listening and hearing: listening is just hearing with action. I feel like I am hearing the whisper, but I’m not really listening. I have all these goals and aspirations, but I haven’t quite found that thing that drives me to go out and grab it.

To view my situation in another way, there is something good in never being satisfied. Reaching for that next better thing is a good motivator. I would probably end up living an uneventful life if I was satisfied with finding security and settling for that 3% pay increase every year. Maybe my expectations not being met is a necessary evil in life. I’ll always have something toward which I can work.

I apologize if you were expecting a Laguna Beach update because I was also. I sensed that many of you are going through the same frustrations as me, and you could probably relate. However, I will say that I am extremely excited about The Hills, so excited that I may have to cut short my return to The Island if the show starts before I get back. Well, I’ll do that or just watch MTV Overdrive.

Until next time…

Monday, November 14, 2005

We Love the Drama

Me: Do you watch Laguna Beach?

Sis: Ummm…I watched a couple minutes of it today, but I didn’t like it. That show is too fake.

Me: Horrified look of disbelief and simultaneously thinking we’re not related.

Me: Do you like Kristin or LC?

Sis: My friends say Kristin…?

Me: Even more horrified look of disbelief and completely disowning my sister.

Okay, so I won’t disown my sister. She is only 12, and it’s probably better that she and the rest of her middle school cohorts don’t get exposed to all the drama and hooking up of Laguna Beach. But why are we so addicted to this show that we consistently place it in the Top 10 for basic cable shows and have made celebrities out of most, if not all, of the cast?

We love the drama!

A consistent theme that runs through the show is that the cast members are always trying to get away from the drama. In Season 1, Kristin went to Cabo to get away from all the drama even though every person from Laguna was going there for Spring Break. I don’t know how she thought she’d get away from the drama—silly high school junior. This season, LC saw Jason kissing Jessica and said something like, “I’m not in high school anymore, I shouldn’t have to put up with this stuff anymore”—silly college freshman.

Unfortunately, none of us are ever going to escape the drama. Ben Franklin should’ve included it in his quote about death and taxes.

So why do we love the drama on Laguna Beach? We get to witness the drama that every one of us has experienced or is experiencing, and we don’t even have to feel the ugly consequences. Each of us can relate to a story arc or situation from that show because we went through it sometime during high school or college, maybe some of us are experiencing it now, or maybe we know someone going through it. Here are some examples:

- Stephen and Kristin Post-Breakup (Season 2)

Who hasn’t gone through that whole situation? Do you remember the awkwardness on the beach when Stephen first returned from San Francisco? I’m sure about 90% of us went through some serious break up with a significant other. You talk and try to remain cordial, but deep down you both know it’s all fake. (Go listen to Dashboard’s “Standard Lines” and that will totally describe the situation. “So which of these standard lines will we use? I’ve been meaning to call you, but I’ve just been so busy. We’ll catch up soon.”) At a certain point, you do actually get together to catch up and it ends up being just like that scene on the beach. Awkward silence and leaving pissed off and disappointed. Both of you have changed, and that dynamic isn’t there anymore. We got to relive it vicariously through Stephen and Kristin, but we didn’t have to feel the disappointment. We talked about how awkward it was, how Stephen was being a dick, and how Kristin was being a bitch. We were entertained by it!

- LC, Stephen, and Kristin (Season 1)

Have any of you ever liked someone that was interested in someone else? If you didn’t say “yes,” then you are a liar. LIAR!!! It’s human nature. We want things we can’t have. It’s in the Bible. This woman, let’s call her “Eve,” screwed things for all MANkind by eating the forbidden fruit. (I’m not, to quote Jesse Spano, a “male chauvinist pig.” I just like to mess with the Womens’ Studies students out there.) Anyway, we’ve all been in LC’s shoes. Maybe you’ve even been in Kristin’s shoes. LC was totally crazy for Stephen even though he was in love with Kristin, and there really wasn’t anything she could do. Depending on who you rooted for in the LC vs. Kristin debate, you either empathized with LC or loathed her mere existence. You all know I’m a huge LC fan. Sure, some of it had to do with the fact that I empathized with her situation (mostly it was because I thought LC was hotter and Kristin is an annoying ditz), but I can also see why some of you would side with Kristin; maybe you’ve had that LC-type always going after your boyfriend or girlfriend. Either way, we were able to watch the situation unfold, engage in some lighthearted banter, but we didn’t have any of the hostility that LC and Kristin had between each other.

- Kristin and Stephen Fighting at the Bar in Cabo (Season 1)

If you have ever been in a drunken argument with your significant other at a bar, please raise your hand. Now that is drama…

- Finishing High School

Remember how psyched you were to finish high school? It was like a giant weight was lifted from your shoulder, and all you had left was college. You thought you could just go drink your way through, meet all these new people, and have the time of your life all while living off your parents’ mighty dollar. Well my friends, you were correct! But then college ended…Now we’re in the real world where you have to make your own way. Life really is kicking you in the ass now. You hate your job. You’re looking for a new one. This is where you have to step up, and that stresses out pretty much all of us. You saw the episodes last season where they’d talk about how exciting it was to go to college and how they couldn’t believe high school was over. I’m sure you’ve seen the previews for the season finale where Kristin is talking about how they’re finally going to college. When these people make a huge deal of the situation and talk about things like who they’re going to stay friends with, you can’t help but flashback to when you did that stuff. It’s like they’re having all the same conversations you had when you were finishing up high school. Part of you would relish the opportunity to go back to a time when that was the biggest deal of your life because it was so much simpler, and then reality kicks in and you realize that it would be really sad if that were still the biggest deal in your life and you are now in your early twenties. (Don’t worry, transitioning to life after high school is NOT the biggest thing that has happened to me in my life thus far. That award goes to never losing my keys (Jess) or vomiting in someone’s living room (Chelle) during college. JUST KIDDING!) Hopefully, most of us have moved on from the “who are we going to talk to after we graduate” phase, and we’re trying to figure out what we want to do with our lives so we can make something of ourselves. This is where it gets stressful, and for 30 minutes each week we watch those Laguna kids to take our minds off our horrible jobs and inability to find new likeable ones.

This is what I’ve come up with for why we love Laguna Beach. Hopefully I’m correct to some degree, or maybe I’m just full of crap and it’s just simply entertaining to watch. Regardless, the first two seasons of this show have been amazing. I hear they’re coming out with a third season, but I doubt it can be as good. Yes, the show was only semi-real, but I feel the third season is just going to be completely fake. It’s going to be like Real World, but in Laguna Beach. I’m sure they’ll have some new badass that cheats on everyone, a new blonde ditz, a super emotional punk chick with green hair and striped socks, a “secretly” gay person, a black guy who wants to be a musician, and some female minority that is a huge bitch. Do they even have non-Caucasians in that town? Maybe The Miz and Coral will show up to narrate the show. Who knows? At the very least, please stop Kristin from her horrible, monotone narration.

Sidenote: Personally, I’d like to see a Battle of the Seasons- Season 1 vs. Season 2. I would want Jonny Moseley and Dave Mirra to co-host. Obviously, there would be a bunch of questions about where crossovers such as Talan, Kristin, LC, and Stephen would go. I’m going Darrin’s Dance Grooves on you and breaking it down so you can do the moves at your own speed:

Season 1: LC, Stephen, Lo, Dieter, Trey, Christina, Morgan, Polster, Sam

Season 2: Kristin, Talan, Alex M., Alex H., Jessica, Jason, Cedric, Casey, Taylor

Why did I give Season 1 LC and Stephen? I felt they were more important to the show on Season 1. Why Polster and Sam? I needed to make it 9-v-9.

Why did Season 2 get Kristin and Talan? Kristin really elevated her star status on Season 2. Talan got way more airtime on this season. He even got to sing and ruin his music career before it even started.

Some competitions they could have:

- Who is a worse singer: Christina v Talan?

- Who is the more likeable friend of the main male character: Dieter v Cedric

- Narrator Jello Wrestling: LC v Kristin (This would be the Season Finale)

Until next time…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Getting Back on the Boat

Hello my friends. I have returned. I again apologize for the long delay, but I was in New York over Halloween weekend honing my playground recreation skills as a member of the Average Joe’s dodgeball team.

As you know, I am currently deciding the path I want to take in life. After speaking to my uncle and mulling over my prospects, I decided that moving back to the motherland for four months to work was just too good to pass up.

You may be asking yourself how I came to this decision. The fact that my uncle has his own ad agency speaks volumes for what I can learn; he obviously knows his stuff. I did consider moving to New York to be closer to my lady friend and other friends and enjoy the vibrant life of the Big Apple. There are tons of jobs there, and I’m certain I could’ve landed one that would’ve paid enough to have an enjoyable lifestyle in terms of someone in his early twenties. I could’ve paid rent, been able to afford some groceries, and I would’ve gone out and lived it up. I also considered the California option, but that would’ve been much more difficult due to the distance. The travel expenses for finding jobs and moving would’ve been insane. Ultimately, I realized that all these stateside options will be there for me in the future. Even though I am probably the most Americanized Flip you’ll ever meet, I still hold a special place in my heart for The Island. I spent the first five formative years of my life there, and all of my family, the people who helped raise me, is all there. It was just too difficult for me to pass up the opportunity to go back to my birthplace and work in an industry in which I’ve been interested since I was 11. Though the trailer for the Real World/Road Rules The Gauntlet II, which starts on December 5, looked really awesome, something in my gut just kept telling me to go back.

Here are some other reasons for me to go:
- Laguna Beach would be on hiatus, so I wouldn’t be missing anything while I am gone.
- I would get to miss the winter.
- I would get to eat a lot of food and gain my weight back.
- I feel tall over there.
- I figured someone could teach me how to drive a manual transmission and learn foreign driving skills, and I could eventually become a cabbie in NYC if corporate America doesn’t work out for me.
- My US dollars have a lot of purchasing power.
- A plethora of new blog material.
- Hanging out with all my cousins. (Since I am the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family, I feel like my cousins just think I’m that old guy and when I see them again when they’re like 15 and I’m in my thirties, my uncles and aunts are going to say stuff like “Do you remember your cousin Carlo? He’s the oldest. He used to play with you when you were 3 years old.” I don’t want to be that guy, but I probably will be anyway. Oh well.)
- Vacation! I’m not starting until January since my immediate family will be there vacationing during December, and I intend to vacation with them.
- Maybe I’ll pick up some of the Asian skills I missed out on because I grew up in suburban Michigan. Maybe I’ll learn how to break dance, color my hair, do my hair into some Rufio haircut or some other crazy style, drive an import tuner (for those of you that don’t know, an import tuner is basically a tricked out Japanese car like on Fast and the Furious), Asian rap, become a professional Dance Dance Revolution player, or maybe just get smart and be able to do some really high level differential and integral calculus or some other really difficult scientific/numeric subject.

Anyhow, I’m going to hop back on the boat that I rowed to get to America and head back across the Pacific to the land named after King Philip II of Spain; the land that killed Ferdinand Magellan, the first man to circumnavigate the globe by boat; home of Amelda Marcos, infamous for her shoe collection (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m sure your parents do); and the birthplace of the modern yo-yo (if you don’t believe me, then search “yoyo” on Wikipedia and see “The yo-yo in modern times”).

I am embarking on December 14 and I plan to make my triumphant return to the United States in late March or early April. Until then, I am going to undertake a farewell tour. I am planning to meet up with all my old roommates in Ann Arbor the weekend of November 11. I am definitely reuniting with all my Dance Dance Revolution cronies and revisiting my old residence in Ann Arbor the weekend of November 18 for the UM vs. Ohio State game. Thanksgiving will be a glorious reunion with everyone as always. I plan on visiting New York December 7-12 to see my friend that is a girl one last time before I flee the country for four months.

You will receive a Jogging Journal, some sort of recap, or both for the Laguna Beach finale on November 14. Stay alert. Good night, and good luck.