Archive for October, 2015

Two Cool Weekends

It was such a great experience last weekend to have my first short film, “Accident,” showcased at APAture 2015! APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival that focuses on Asian artists in film, comics, music, literary arts, This was actually the first event that I submitted to last year but I didn’t get in back then. My friend encouraged me to resubmit for this year and I’m really glad it got in this year. I’ve been submitting it since July 2014 and even up until now. It has been accepted into three festivals so far, including APAture. At first I was kind of bummed out that a lot of festivals did not accept it. However, I sent a message to Jason Marsden during the whole process and he reassured me that there is nothing wrong with that and to let it be a learning experience. I’ve really taken that to heart and I’m actually really happy now that it was accepted into APAture 2015. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I started with this festival so maybe I can end with this festival. No more submissions. They are costly and I’d really rather move on to my next project. Eventually, I will post my short film online and let the world judge it all they want. I love it and my opinion is the only one that really matters, right?

I did a Q&A afterwards…ok, I admit it. I HATE public speaking. Not that I don’t want to talk to people who saw my film. I’d LOVE to hear what they thought of it but being asked all these questions and being among my peers, I felt inferior, like I didn’t really belong there. People laughed at my answers. Maybe because of my delivery but I can’t help it. I hear it in my head and it comes out of my mouth differently than how I would have liked. It’s fine, I’m not mad. I don’t know how celebrities, teachers, politicians, etc. do it. Aren’t they afraid of saying something wrong? Or sounding like an idiot? Or being asked a question they don’t want to answer? I remember for the time before the screening and after I found out I had to do a Q&A, I told myself I wasn’t going to reveal the true inspiration for my film because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy or angry. Then I thought, well what are the chances they would ask that question anyway? It’s played out. Sure enough, the first question was “What was your inspiration for your respective film?” Oh man. In my head, I reached for everything I could think of to make up. I wanted to scroll through my phone and find my director’s statement so I could remind myself what I wrote. Then I thought of something I say instead of the truth, that I was inspired by my peers because they have been so supportive of my creative work. So when it was my turn to speak, the truth just rolled off my tongue. “I had an angry conversation with my dad on the phone one day and well, if you can’t do it in real life, you do it on film.” Please don’t think I’m crazy. Here’s a picture.

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I just realized I’m not crazy. Just angry. Like Taylor Swift, writing about her ex-boyfriends and telling the world how she really feels. I guess the truth isn’t so bad. Ok, I’m rambling. Other eventful occurrences yesterday: Girl Meets Texas was a 3 part series this weekend. Damn, that’s good marketing! You know people like to binge on this kind of stuff. This love triangle thing is really suspenseful. I have to say I’m pretty blown away by how the producers have handled this situation. I know social media has given some insight as to which direction the GMW fans want it to go. It’s basically Rucas vs Lucaya. For anyone who doesn’t know, “Rucas” is the moniker for the highly anticipated Riley & Lucas union while “Lucaya” is the moniker for those who are team Maya & Lucas. The writers have been giving hints as to what might happen. They said the biggest clue was in the pilot. So, I went to Netflix and watched the pilot. Well, I started to anyway. Then I thought, maybe the clue is in the first conversation Maya had with Lucas where she compressed their whole faux relationship/breakup into 9 sentences. She said “You don’t pay enough attention to me” as one of those sentences. Well, from what I gather in Girl Meets Texas, I feel like while Lucas does pay attention to Maya, he pays more attention to Riley overall. So maybe everything is being played out in this arc, expanding on those 9 sentences throughout the season. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. For now. :0)

If you’re wondering which pair I’m in favor of(I refuse to use the word “ship”), I would have to say Lucas and Riley. After watching this 3-part melodrama, I feel like Riley and Lucas have been taking things slow. So slow, in fact, that no one even realized they were doing this. It’s like a silent “I like you, you like me but let’s be great friends first” kind of thing. I know some fans think Maya has more chemistry with Lucas but it just doesn’t seem like Lucas feels that way about Maya. I mean, he stopped himself from kissing Maya. If you had that chance with someone you liked, you go for it. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t lead someone on. And if they did kiss, that would be horrible. Maya and Riley’s friendship could change forever. Just because Maya thinks Riley loves Lucas like a brother doesn’t mean it’s actually true. Riley is obviously stepping back because she wants Maya to be happy and always puts others before herself. And judging from the dumbfounded & confused way Lucas reacted when Riley told him he was like a brother to her, he obviously thought they had a mutual crush thing going! I mean, come on…ok, I am way too invested in this. What’s going on?? I’m 38! Moving on…

Oh my gosh, I got to see my favorite band perform last night when they opened for Twenty One Pilots! They killed it!! I had such a great time watching them jam out on this big stage. They have always been meant for the bigger stages. I love it! And I especially enjoyed watching them perform their new songs! I’m just adding to my playlist. I guess i could have stayed to watch the other opening act, Echosmith and the headliner but I was starving and needed to feed so I bounced.

When I got home, I started uploading my videos to YouTube when lo and behold, my favorite guy in the whole wide world, Will Friedle, tweeted a picture of the shirt I gave him! Oh my gosh, I nearly fell off my stool because my legs turned into spaghetti, haha! That was so random. I had always wondered if it fit though. I have two of those shirts, one in white and one in purple. I love it. You can wash it and the artwork will last for awhile as long as you are washing it properly.

Ok, it’s time to go to sleep. Lots to do. Shows to produce, scripts to write, and videos to edit. Happy Halloweeny, Mr. Feeny!

One-Month-Old Vegan

It’s been exactly one month since I turned vegan so I wanted to record my experience thus far. Where do I start? Maybe I should talk about why I decided to turn vegan. It didn’t happen overnight. Back in August, I had heard about a movie with a hashtag called #unitythemovement. I heard that Casey Affleck was one of the narrators and I LOVE Casey so I really wanted to go watch it, not knowing exactly what I would be watching. I didn’t care as long as Casey was a part of it. As someone who has always rooted for the underdog, I loved Casey while everyone else loved Ben.

“Unity” wasn’t a movie, I soon discovered. About 5 minutes into the film, I realized this was a documentary about human rights uniting with animal rights. About humans finding their compassion and finding out that there is a more peaceful way of living than we all know. They talked about history and all the wars the world has suffered through, all the deaths that occurred and questioned why after all these years of living, we still cannot get along and resort to war. The part that stuck with me the most was the footage of animals who were suffering and living a “life” for human consumption. The film was 99 minutes long. While there was only 12 minutes total of animal footage, those are the parts that stuck with me the most. They made me uncomfortable and since I was in a movie theater rather than sitting in front of a TV, I couldn’t change the channel. I had to sit there and watch the horror unfold before my eyes. That’s when I decided to go vegetarian. I still consumed dairy and eggs so it wasn’t that bad. Surprisingly, I found vegetarianism quite simple and I didn’t think I needed to go vegan. Besides, I would probably have fallen off the wagon anyway.

After 3 weeks of going vegetarian, I started researching more about dairy and egg factories. I started reading about how the dairy industry really works and I started to question why DO we drink the milk of another species that is meant for baby calves? The answer is that growing up, it was ingrained upon us that we need milk to build strong healthy bones and teeth, to stay healthy and to get tall. Slowly, I started to utilize what I learned in my Critical Thinking class in college. Exactly who is feeding me this information? The dairy industry of course. People who make money off of dairy are the same people telling us we need milk to be healthy. And the people telling us why we don’t need the milk are the people who don’t profit at all from telling this to us. Do your research, it’s true.

I was still afraid of turning vegan. I was afraid I would fall off the wagon. I was afraid it would be too difficult. I was afraid I wouldn’t get the right nutrients and I might end up not getting enough vitamins & minerals to survive. I decided to do it anyway because now that I know about how factory farming really works, I can’t go back to eating meat. I just know and have seen too much. So this is where it began, September 5, 2015. I turned vegan and my first breakfast was avocado toast, sprinkled with a little salt & pepper and drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil. I paired it with a glass of chocolate almond milk. After eating that breakfast, I felt great. I didn’t have any regrets and I didn’t feel overfull like I used to with toast and eggs with orange juice. My next meal was a vegetarian gyro I ordered at a greek restaurant and I asked them to make my order vegan. All they had to do was leave out the tzatziki sauce. That was it! Simple!

Doesn’t this look delicious?
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I was with friends when I ordered it. They laughed and mocked my new diet. I couldn’t blame them though. It annoyed me but I knew I had a pretty good track record of switching my diet every three weeks. They didn’t believe I would be able to stick to it. Honestly, I didn’t think so either, but here I am, a month later, and I feel GREAT. I haven’t fallen off the wagon even once. Yes, I had some opposition at first. Some friends requested that I postpone it or give it up for just one meal. Some people decided to exclude me from meal invites because they didn’t want to accommodate me. I can’t say that didn’t hurt but I still knew I was doing the right thing for how I wanted to live.

Yes, I did think it was going to be hard to give up meat, eggs, milk, ice cream, all the things I LOVE about being a foodie, but it’s really not that hard to be kind & compassionate. I would say that I have more compassion for animals than I do for some humans! So here’s the thing. I’m not giving up meat or dairy or eggs or seafood, I’m giving up animal cruelty which is the single most important reason for me to do it. I cannot contribute to their suffering anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love vegetables. I still struggle with them day to day. but I choose compassion. I choose to live a kind life. I know I won’t save all the animals from dying but I can choose to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. I cannot just sit there and buy into the “It’s part of the food chain” argument. It’s not. Animals are not a part of our food chain. In Unity, they said “We are not the same, but equal.” That’s the world I want to live in.

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There have been nothing but good things physically that has happened to my body as well. I’ve lost 7 lbs, my hair has been behaving every day lately, and my double chin went away. My double chin has been the one thing that has always bothered me whenever I took photos. However, lately, I’ve been noticing a lot less chin and a lot more smiles. My skin has gotten smoother, my energy levels are higher and most importantly, I’m eating with a clear conscience. No animals have been harmed because of my existence and that makes me feel much better. Veganism today is so much easier to do than it was 10 years ago. I think that’s why I’ve been able to stick to it. Almost everywhere you look, there are vegan options available to me. What’s great is that I have a wonderful support group of friends who share my values. One of them even has her own vegan Youtube channel: Astig Vegan.

All changes in the world happened gradually, nothing is immediate. Why should we afford one group of animals our compassion but not another? Children by nature are opposed to violence and murder. Now that I know about the violence and murder that animals have to go through to put food on my plate, I choose to be a part of the change, the vegan movement. I choose to live a conscious life. I choose love over cruelty.

If anyone is interested in living a kind & compassionate life, watch Earthlings on YouTube and open your eyes. It is possible to live this way. Or listen to Ellen DeGeneres. No animals raised for human usage is living a natural life.