I’m back in Florida at the beach house after spending the night on a red eye flight. I got in this morning. Can I say that the neck pillow ranks as one of the world’s best inventions? I slept so much better with the neck pillow than on the flight to LA where my bobbing neck almost snapped in half trying to sleep!
Well, my weekend was unreal. I went from running among the geckos on this Florida island, to speaking at Pauley Pavilion(!!) to UCLA’s Commencement for the Department of English! It was a little weird to come back to the big city life that this retreat was meant to be an escape from… to be driving my car (which btw, I am so happy to leave parked for the next five weeks… far away from the gas crisis) and to be amongst, of all things…. people! And lots of them!
There were many things that were unreal about the whole thing. I thought it best to sum up the experience in a videoblog below.
After recording this, I realized I am totally dressed inappropriately for the video blog. Maybe I could have slapped on some make-up or worn more clothes… but it’s freaking hot outside! What do you expect? Screw it! You get me in the raw! And you get to see my granny panties coming out of my shorts in the beginning. SIGH.
Check out the dolphin sleeves they gave me on this gown. I was actually able to use them to store my speech and blackberry. (Perhaps storage is really what they are for?) I think I was the only one at this commencement wearing plastic jewelry.
What a great Father’s Day gift for my dad to be able to bring him back to my old college campus and have him hear me speak at commencement! I was so proud to give him that moment.
They had an old bio for me and introduced me as “Kristina Wong is a Performance Artist.” I almost wanted to laugh at how weird that sounded. And I am sure they did too.
“Yes, that’s right. You heard the man. I’m a performance artist. Quit laughing.”
Here I am standing among the Harry Potter people.
Hmmm…. It’s not really the 99 seat theater I’m used to.
Seeing as how many people were there, maybe I should I have worked in a pitch to get people into my “multilevel marketing scheme.”
“Now if you can get three friends, to get three friends….”
I’m listening to various commencement speeches online in preparation for my little 10-minute number that I’m given to the graduates in the English Department in June. Right now I’m listening to Steve Jobs who so far I’ve learned was adopted, dropped out of college, returned bottles for nickels and would treat himself to one meal at the Hare Krishna temple because he was so poor in college.
He’s like me, except way richer. I was pretty poor in college. And if not for the Hare Krishna people who fed people by donation, I would have subsided entirely on Tino’s burritos, ramen and twix bars.
I actually wanted to drop out of college my first year. The bureaucracy was too much. I wasn’t learning all the things I wanted to learn. Something I’ve noticed that happens to students at some of the universities I go to– they get lost in the system. But I couldn’t listen to my gut. Instead, I listened to fear that being a “college drop out” would damn me for life and make me the great shame of my family. And so I slugged it out in an rigid system. Perhaps this is the great speech I shall give.
“What are you doing here?!? We should be out in the world traveling and making art. Let’s save our parents money and get out of this joint!”
I have no idea what my speech will be about. My mother forwarded me this really long email from her high school friend (a Chinese American baby boomer) with Chinese-American- Drill-sargeant-advice for my speech.
Here’s an excerpt…
“Tell her to go for it. Keep the 10 min speech professional with a little humor; no off-the-wall jokes; tell the kids what it is like to “really survived” and make it in this tough world. No need to go into long-winded personal biography…the kids would care less. If they really want to know, Kristina could “jokingly” refer them to a website and tell them to read all about it.”
My friend Isaac often remarks how irritating it is when people who don’t work in our field give advice. I am thinking that perhaps I should send my mother’s friend a video of me doing a speech that complies with her advice…. Other notes which include…. “Sticks to one issue, such as “how English helped me to survive and landed me a job in communication/acting/; how English helped me become a writer; etc.” NOT SOME CONVULUTED SUBJECT that will take a lifetime to explain. Keep it SIMPLE.”
Seeing as I don’t actually have a “job” nor any stories of how English helped me survive (I credit my career survivial more to my savage cockroach survival instincts than what I remember of Beowulf), so I’ll send her a video of the audience giving me the bird for being such a goody goody know it all.
Or maybe I’ll tell a great story about my day yesterday, I locked in that mid-life crisis early with some pin-up photos!
I took the train to New Jersey to sit for pin-up photographer Viva Van Story. The most not well kept secret in the world is that I’m turning 30 in June. Which means I must finally come to grips with the fact that just maybe, I will never be discovered as a supermodel. That the whole supermodel career and becoming a real Miss Chinatown thing or a lingerie model will probably not pan out.
Plus my junk on the front and back are falling down.
The solution? Take hot pictures of myself to put up in my apartment! YES!
It was actually really hard to lie around in underwear and a corset on the floor looking good and now I find myself saying, “Wow, Tyra Banks is actually good at what she does.” It probably didn’t help much that we shot in a bowling alley where these high school kids were singing Jesus Christ Superstar songs really loud and their parents were circling us. But I did it. The day ended with me naked in a bubble bath making sexy face for the camera. The make-up lady blew bubbles while the photographer said, “Close your mouth. I don’t need to see so much of your teeth.” And I was screaming, “Holy smokes, so this is what it’s like to be in a soft porn!”
That’s right kids… I’m going to be your commencement speaker!
Anyway, nobody gets to see the pics. Only me, the two people who visit me a year, and the cat get to see.
Aaahhhh…. This is what it’s like to age gracefully.