Emily Lam

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Monday, February 25, 2013


I will gladly admit that I like change, spontaneity, chaos. I don't like doing the same things everyday or to know what I'm doing on any given day beforehand -- I live day by day, especially since I'm so busy and can't plan past tomorrow anyways. But I've realized that doesn't apply to all facets of my life. I do in fact want stability in certain aspects of my life, like health. I want to be consistently healthy.

But in order for that to happen, I have to eat consistently healthy. I eat very sporadicly. I'm on the two ends of the spectrum; sometimes, I will have a healthy and balanced meal, and other times I will eat instant noodles and chips for dinner. It's kind of a problem. So I'm going to try to fix that. I'm going to try to have three meals a day with lots of snacks. Breakfast is usually lighter for me than lunch and dinner.

This morning I had Nutella on a single piece of multigrain toast. For lunch, I will be having some braised tofu and a tiny bit of chicken with white rice and an Izze -- I made it this morning. I also have a wide range of snacks to get me through the day: fruit-gummy snacks and SunChips. For dinner, I'll probably have some form of soup and leftover tofu and rice. I haven't thought of what type of soup exactly though.

Braised Tofu and Chicken. This was my first time making it. It came out okay.
Sleep is another thing I need to work on. I want a high energy level, like when I was a kid. (When I was a kid I had a bountiful of energy; I was the type of kid who would hike ahead of my parents during a hike but then be too impatient to wait for them to hike up, so I would hike back down to meet them and repeat.) I know, it's ambitious. But why not? My energy is fairly low nowadays; I usually only exert energy when I need to. I'm also pretty lazy. But that's because I sleep an average of 5-6 hours a night. I also don't drink coffee or soda and the teas I drink are mostly decaffeinated. I'm not about to go and get my energy from caffeine though. I like that I don't have to rely on it. So I'm going to turn to the super underrated sleep. I feel, with a consistent number of hours of sleep, I can regain at least some of my childhood energy. And that would be more than I have now. This past weekend I started the process of sleeping well.

That's great and all that I had the ideal 7.5 hours of sleep last night and that I had breakfast and cooked a balanced meal, but really, that all means nothing if I don't eat or sleep well tonight. I need to be consistent. I know I will not get 7.5 hours of sleep every night. But I'm determined to make up the sleep I miss. The target daily amount of sleep is 7.5 hours. I've written a program to keep track of my sleep debt/credit. (It's currently written in MATLAB code, my native language. But I'll translate it to C++ code later for easier execution in the terminal later.) This program will help me keep track of how many hours I need to make up on the weekend. It can also help me not enter the slump of oversleeping -- it's a real thing -- by telling me how many extra hours I've slept. The goal is for the sleep debt/credit to be as close to 0 as possible. As for how to stay consistent with food. I think I can trust myself. Eating consistent for me is just to remember to eat and not be lazy. I generally buy healthy items. The key is to remember.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

World's Fair Postcards

I went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts this past friday. One of the temporary exhibits they had on display was "The Postcard Age." It's really cool. If you are around the Boston area, check it out. I only took four photos there. But oddly enough, three of the four photos, 75% of the photos, were of world's fairs. I haven't thought about it enough, but I am certainly attracted to the aesthetics, personality, and characteristics of the world's fair. Maybe its the grandeur, the international togetherness, the cultural exhibitions, the themes, the technological inventions, the extremely optimistic and progressive thinking, I don't know. It's something though. One of my favorite Disney attractions, the Carousel of Progress, was introduced at the 1964 New York World's Fair. (Other Disney Attractions introduced at the 1964 New York World's Fair include: It's a Small World; Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, now Hall of Presidents; and an early prototype of the Peoplemover.) As much as I love imperfection, nature, and authenticity; I also love the science and technology utopian. Ah, such a clash of interest.

Anyways, here are the postcards I photographed:

Exposition Universelle of 1900, Paris. The bright colors are made by shining light through tissue paper.
A Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago, 1933.
1939 New York World's Fair
This is the non-world's fair photo I took. It's of the women's and bicycle movement. I've always liked the bicycle as an analogy for liberation.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Self-Entitled Student

I think our society has created a monster: the self-entitled student. I'm not exactly sure how our society created it, but it exist and it's not particularly beneficial to our society or the student.

The self-entitled student I'm talking about is the kind of student that feels he/she deserves something but from a purely objective view does not. I'm not talking about rights here; everybody is entitled to their rights. I'm talking about opportunity, credit, praise, success, etc. The self-entitled student will walk into a class and expect to walk out with a passing and pleasing grade because they showed up and did the bare minimum. And if he/she doesn't receive a pleasing grade, he/she will complain that the course is too hard. The self-entitled student will believe that since he/she chose to go to school and learn instead of working a minimum wage job, he/she deserves a better job when he/she graduates. As you can see, the thought process is flawed: going to college does not merit you a better job and showing up in class and doing the bare minimum does not mean you deserve a good grade.

I've started to notice that the self-entitled student is particularly prevalent at my university or at least at a more intense level of self-entitlment than at other colleges. This is because BU exhibits grade deflations in certain classes. (You know, instead of inflating a grade of say C+ to a B-, a B is deflated to a B- because so many people scored an A and in order to keep the standard bell curve consistent, the grade is deflated.) But typical BU students will think there's grade deflation in all of their classes and mentally inflate their own grades up. So a B student at BU will consider himself/herself an A student if he/she attended some other college. But that's not true since most classes at BU do not employ grade deflation; the majority of classes stick with a no inflation or deflation policy or a bell-curve grading system that benefits the student. See how this sort of thinking will further increase a self-entiled student's sense of self-entitlement?

And because the self-entitlements of these students are coupled with their expectancies to succeed, they experience a sense of struggle. But most of the time, the struggle is not really a struggle. These self-entitled students are just so use to receiving credit for so little effort that the bare minimum work needed to pass in college feels like a huge burden to them. They also become frustrated that they need to work. They think of their other friends who are not working as hard as they are -- for a variety of reasons: different classes, different schools, natural talent, previous exposure to material, etc. -- to receive the same grades they are and believe it's unfair that one of them has to work harder. They don't appreciate the knowledge they are learning. This feeling of struggle and frustration are detrimental to a person's psyche if experienced too often and for long durations. But I've also noticed that self-entitled students don't tend to want to remedy their feelings of struggle and frustration. Instead, they bear it as a badge of honor that they are working hard. But if you are following my logic, this struggle and frustration is more pronounced to them then it actually is. So in other words, they are feeding their own self-entitlement and are kind of stuck in this circle of self-entitlement.

These self-entitled students believe they deserves jobs. They for some reason though don't believe they are equally self-entitled to get jobs. A sense of competition develops. If a friend gets a job, they not only believe they should too but also resent the friend for getting a job before them.  Sometimes a riff forms. But more often then not, these riffs are passive aggressive. Plus the self-entitlement continues in the work force, expecting a higher salary than deserved.

I do find this all deeply troubling. All this bothers me. It comes down to the fact that there's not enough doing and too much talking. Not enough authenticity.

And it of course comes barreling down on my self-integrity. My mother instilled in me early in my life that when something went wrong it was my fault and not somebody's else. Oh how I would try to blame a bad grade on the teacher's lack of teaching skills. But to my mother, that was never a good enough excuse. And to that, I an thankful; to that, I can recognize my own self-entitlement. I don't think a purely self-entitled person can admit to that. They don't take criticism well. But I have of course grown up in this society that has produced the self-entitlement student. So I do believe I exhibit those traits from time to time, despite what my mother has ingrained in me. What I suffer is a mix of the two, I think. Externally, like when I'm talking to a friend, I will readily blame others for my misfortune because that's what society expects to hear -- oh man, I am ashamed of that action though -- I will try not to be self-entitled at all now that I can recognize it. But internally, I will blame myself -- deep down, I tend to blame myself.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the self-entitled student. A quick google of "self-entitled student" will show you results from others who describe it so much better than I have. They are interesting reads. Do check some of them out.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Copying Concept Art

I just spent the last hour copying some concept art, probably done during the storyboarding phase of production, from well-known animated films. Guess the films? That's easy, Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away and Disney's Aladdin. Harder question: guess the scene?

The aladdin sketch is copied from art by the amazing Glen Keane. I have no idea who drew the Spirited Away one, so I'll just credit it to the equally amazing Hayao Miyazaki and staff.