Sunday, December 18, 2011


from  a nifty little wallpaper app on my iPod

Hope your weekend has been splenderific! (I wasn't sure if this was a real word. How do I know it is? Spell check didn't correct me :)

As the mounting doom stress of my last two exams weighed down on me, plus the stress of christmas shopping, plus the stress of buying bus tickets to visit my grandma, plus the stress of interviews &ct... My weekend got off to a bit of a rough start, BUT, it was not completely unproductive :)

I present to you illusion, my "life, y u no give me a break?" playlist, complete with a little poem/lyrical mishmash created by yours truly. You may (or may not) be wondering: "Why the heck would you post something like this?" to which my response would be "well, I thought long and hard about it, and my conclusions were: first of all, I'm sure everybody feels like this at some point, so you can probably relate; and secondly, I spent 3+ hours creating/editing the playlist and composing/editing the accompanying 'letter'.... so why shouldn't I post it?" If nothing else, it was a fun creative exercise, and it helped me to go from the Kleenex-box-in-hand "Hello" (I cannot listen to this song without tearing up) to the I'm-going-to-throw-myself-though-a-hole-in-the-middle-of-the-planet-and-into-space-(but in a sexy manner) "Bliss" from Muse ^^ Once I get back to Muse, then I know that I'm alright again. *thumbs-up*



Essentially, I began by selecting the saddest songs I could think of (which wasn't exactly helping the situation, I know) and then songs which reflected how I was feeling. 

Am I crazy? Yeah, maybe. 

But I do believe in catharsis (re: Aristotle), so wallowing in self-pity for a little while helps me to crawl out of whatever hold I've fallen into. That's pretty much the story behind illusion. If you decide to listen to all of it, you'll notice a transition in the sound from pretty depressing to better - it was meant to reflect the process of healing. Even though this playlist was created to be pretty dark, I love each of these songs individually or as parts of other playlists, and I do recommend you listen to them :)

The following letter is composed entirely from my favorite lyrics from the songs included in illusion, and in the order that the songs appear. Although I did create the final product as a whole, I take no ownership of the individual lyrics. I know it sounds a bit awkward with the transitions in person (ie. from "my/I'm" to "you" to "she" and then back again), but I wanted to preserve the original lyrics in all their beauty.

Hello, I'm your mind giving you someone to talk to.

My wounded rhymes make silent cries tonight. Sadness is a blessing, sadness is a pearl, oh sadness I'm your girl. The feeling sometimes, wishing you were someone else, felling as though you never belong. Please don't cry now. Please don't go, I want you to stay, I'm begging you please, please don't leave here. I don't want you to hate for all the hurt that you feel, the world is just illusion trying to change you. Gonna hold ya, gonna kiss ya, gonna take ya, away from harm. Maybe not from the directions you are staring at... seduced by the light  of butterflies - how they shimmer, how they glimmer, those butterflies. Look at her with her eyes like a flame. Ownership is an illusion... something burns in me, something turns in me, something yearns in me: I'm my own sun. You don't have to love me, all the time.

I travel the world and the seven seas everybody's looking for something. She's crying to herself because eyes never once looked cruel, but the moon in the blade shimmered like a jewel. Elude the harsh reality of our lands, we saw tears and tragedy, rejoin the back of rebel angels at night like apparitions of an infantry. I never knew daylight could be so violent. A revelation in the light of day, you can't choose what stays and what fades away, and I'd do anything to make you stay. No light, no light...

The times you don't want to wake up, cause when you sleep its never over when you give up. Dark out, but you still gotta lie up, you need to wake up, gotta keep your face up. I have no space, no room to move around and this box is getting smaller I'm trying to get out. How did I get so far from where I was? When did I decide to lose my way? Who have I become? I've got a new low, I see now that I won't let go. Well who am I? I've been right, I've been left. I've been wrong: I've been left, behind. I've been up, but mostly down.

Wait, I don't ever want to be here. Like punching in a dream, breathing life into the nightmare. And not to pull your halo down around your neck and tug you to the ground. Your halo's slipping down, your halo's slipping down to choke you now. No matter what name she goes under, I dig her deeply and no wonder, for she's been lovely to me, and I'm the better for having met her. Everything about you is how I'd want to be. Your freedom comes naturally. Everything about you resonates happiness, now I won't settle for less. Give me all the peace and joy in your mind...

Suddenly I know I'm not sleeping.

Hello, I'm still here - all that's left of yesterday. 

This is what happens when iKaria is sad, lol


P.S. I feel better now 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter Exams: A Playlist

If you've been following along with my playlist fiasco - I appreciate the two of you more than you'll ever know - then you'll know that ever since blocked "my region" from listening to any music earlier this year, I've been searching high and low for a new site/method to upload playlists. I would have liked to say that thanks to my genius-ness, I cleverly discovered that I could simply upload YouTube playlists (since YouTube has EVERYTHING a little music blogger's heart could desire ^^) ... but, alas it was the genius-ness of my boyfriend to whom I owe thanks *sigh* Thanks hun! :DD


The Playlist! 

I present to you my "Winter Exam" playlist! A terrible title, I know, but at least it's pretty self-explanatory. Anyways, I figured if this worked out nicely then I could transfer all my previous and future playlists onto YouTube. Here's the story behind the two bands featured on this playlist:

Mogwai: bf linked "Letters to the Metro" to me on fbook, and I've seen him listening to them on YouTube while studying. They have a really nice ambiance to study to, a sort of mystic, yet I'm-sitting-in-a-coffee-shop-and-zoned-out kinda feel, which is exactly what I like when I'm studying! I can't listen to anything too stimulating otherwise I end up listening to the music and not studying (a VERY easily attained alternative).  

The Envy Corps: they were recommended to me on fbook by a friend who works at my campus radio station. The first song I listened to was "Ms. Hospital Corners" followed by "Make It Stop" which really reminded me of Radiohead cuz the guy's voice sounds a lot like Thom York. (Anybody else like to pronounce the "th" in their heads?) At any rate, they're a nice band to ease you into Mogwai and into some crazy "in the zone" studying state. 

*Disclaimer*: I don't guarantee that your studying will be more efficient, or that you will not get distracted because chances are, if you're on the Internet THEN YOU'RE ALREADY DISTRACTED, lol! Just take a look at the pic at the beginning of this post Ç

Ehhh, but I'm not one to point fingers.... why do ya think I created this blog two years ago during "reading break"? :P

Hope you enjoy! Rate/comment and tell me what you thought of it :D


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bunny Videos

from the "The secret to humor is surpise" Facebook page
Hey guys! 
Guess what? I have an exam tomorrow, sooo... it's time to blog, haha!! 

*serious face*

You might be thinking: surely you can't be serious?

I would say: I am serious and don't call me Shirley.

And he would say: 

Today, I was not watching cat videos on YouTube (that's for next week's exams ... in actuality, I don't watch a lot of cat videos on YouTube), 

This is true
but I came across a bunny video on a friends wall (his girlfriend posted it), and then Xiaxue, who is AWESOME and the funniest blogger I've come across, recently bought a baby Holland Lop Bunny.

Exhibit A: Bunny in a Shower

Exhibit B: Xiaxue falls victim to my awesome timing 
(pause button for the win) 
My sense of timing is so bad... it's good B|

Her Holland Lop Bunny
I didn't just "lol" at this, I actually laughed out loud. Xiaxue's real name is Wendy, I'll just call her Wendy for simplicity's sake.


Some random stuff I saw on my home feed ... kinda like the random stuff you find at the bottom of your backpack like little bits of gum wrappers and striped paperclips...

The Worlds Fastest Clapper 

(imagine that conversation, eh?: 
"Who are YOU?" 
"I'm the worlds fastest clapper" *YEEEAAHHH!!!*)

Now, tell me you didn't try to clap like him after watching this!! :P

Lol, can you imagine this guy at a concert? xD

I'm going to leave you with this nice little tongue-twister couresty of Arrested Development:
Tobias Fünke
... I momentarily entertained the notion of renaming my blog, but then I realized that it just sounded like I was saying "the blah blah blah blah blah". Scratch that idea.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Warning: Museum Graduate Programs Spawn Legions of Zombies!
While studying for a final exam today (which will take place tomorrow ... that's why I'm blogging :DD), I had a conversation with a grad student friend about her faculty's grad program. I got a behind-the-doors look into some of the politics and email exchanges that (apparently!) aren't uncommon. It made me think of my own future graduate study plans :x The following article offers one interesting perspective!

April 23, 2007
Okay, they don't eat people's brains. Heck, many of them are intelligent, sincere, interesting people. But someone needs to raise the red flag before it takes an MA to work the register at the admissions desk. 
Summer's coming to D.C., and with it flocks of museum studies / education / exhibit planning graduate interns. I’m always curious when I meet these folks, who are about my age, choosing a different entry path into the museum world. The value proposition of museum grad programs is cloudy in my mind. Is it a credential that serves as a gateway to better jobs? Is it an education that would make me a better person?

Sure, it’s great to learn museum theory and history. But I have some big concerns about museums studies programs, namely:

Standardizing the field limits the potential for radical change. I confess I often feel this way about school in general. One of the reasons I fell in love with museums is because they support learning that is distinctly un-school-like. So I see these programs as a threat, an encroachment of schoolishness on the willfully unschooled. Following a standardized curriculum to prepare for work in the museum field homogenizes the perspectives and skills people bring to museum jobs. I think one of the things that keep museums fresh, welcoming, and non-didactic is the fact that most exhibit designers, museum educators, and conservators come from a variety of backgrounds. You were a carpenter. I was an engineer. She was a ceramicist. He wrote poetry. Sure, we may have some communication trouble getting on the same page. But that’s worth it for the wealth of different experiences we bring to the table.

And by presenting the "right way" to do things, graduate school defines and judges other options as sub-optimal. Young people who walk into class with wild ideas may walk out (and into jobs) with the perception that those unique ideas are inappropriate or impractical. But those are the ideas we need to grow. Museum people aren’t mathematicians; our work can’t be traced to an immutable set of laws. The more we teach and judge based on laws, the less students and graduates will try to break them.

But this isn't just about my personal bias against school learnin'. I support pedantic educational models when goals and outcomes are clear. But no one can list the tangible skills these programs impart. When I ask alumni about the value of museum education/studies programs, they often say, “It was a good experience. But I wouldn’t recommend it for you.” This may sound reasonable; any life choice is a personal decision. But why isn't it right for me? Because I already have those skills? Because I'm already on the way? If I've learned in a few years of experience and reading--for free--what I would have learned in graduate school, why bother?

Other graduate programs develop hard skills. Last year, my museum was a “client” for an MIT product design grad course (in mechanical engineering). The students designed and fabricated prototype pieces of an upcoming exhibition. None of these students had backgrounds in educational theory or museum studies. And yet if given the choice to have one of them as an intern or a museum studies student, I’d choose a mechanical engineer in a second. All of those students had real skills—in building and design—to bring to the drafting table.

If the programs aren't about skills, are they a professional gateway? Not in my anecdotal experience. The credential is a crapshoot. I used to work at a children’s museum with another young woman who had a graduate degree in museum education. We cut the same construction paper. We taught the same programs. The only benefit her degree got her was 25 cents more per hour. I don’t think this is an unusual circumstance—most of the museum grad students I know have the same struggle as non-grad students to find museum jobs, made worse by hefty student loans. Worse, graduate school provides a sumptuous taste of exciting museum work via substantive intern projects which makes sinking into mundane entry-level jobs disappointing. At least I knew I wasn’t using a graduate degree to cut construction paper, that I was paying my dues without also paying thousands in loans. The grad students I know who have successfully transitioned from school to job did so because of connections they made in the program—connections they could have made on the job or at conferences. Why pay for an internship when you could offer yourself to a museum for free?

The graduate programs don't just offer false promises to students. The semblance of a credential creates a red herring that employers latch onto. Over the last 10 years, “graduate degree in museum X” has snuck into many listings for entry level museum jobs. Have these jobs changed such that a graduate degree is now a necessary prerequisite?

I asked my boss about this. She’s a graduate of a museum education program, and she originally hired me for a job that listed museum graduate degree as a prerequisite. She reflected and said that she would always prefer someone with interesting, diverse real-world experience over someone who just has a graduate degree. And yet, she admitted that seeing that MA on the resume imparts a certain comfort, a known quantity, that appeals to her. But how many interesting, diverse people like me would have turned away from that job listing because of a lack of the credential? How many resumes would she examine less closely due to lack of the MA? For her at least, the degree is a crutch that makes it easy for her to not seek out the best person for a job—which creates a lose-lose for the institution and for that best person, wherever he or she might be.

This is not to say that I don’t think education and learning is essential for our field. If anything, I support MORE educational opportunities in museums. But should they happen in a classroom? And is graduate school the best entry path for people new to the field? I want the head honchos of the museum world to spend some energy enabling apprenticeships, internships, and experimental projects, so that young people can learn real skills in the open, creative environments that museums can and should be. I want to see more graduate programs (and less formal opportunities) like Bank Street's Leadership program, which is for working, mid-career educators to collaborate and learn in a high-quality, focused environment. I want access and discussion around conference sessions, journal articles, exhibit critiques, and workshops.

When it comes to museum education, we need to stop grading and start enabling. “No one ever fails a museum.” But did they get an A in the class where they first learned that?