George Duong

This is George's blog ...


My name is George Duong... it's not as cool as Testy Testerson, but that's my name! I was born in St. Paul, and I'm still around. It's my 3rd year at the U and I think I'm declaring Studies in Cinema and Media Culture as my major... It's probably a very bad sign that I wrote "I think" in that last line.

My background in the media arts is that I've been making small videos every chance I can get in classes since my Sophomore year of high school. I've made a few catastrophes that I had regret at some time, but through the years, I've taken that harsh criticism and improved on my abilities in editing. Even now, I believe I can always improve on my work. Some of the videos I've done are usually ridiculous, but fun. I hope to make use of my abilities in this class.

So on Saturday night, I was hanging out with my friends at the park at night trying to do some flips and stuff, and then we saw a cop car roll by the perimeter slowly. When they drove over the curb and through the basketball court, the shined 2 lights on us and then signaled us to head over. All of a sudden they tell us to get in a line, put our hands on our heads, and then made us face the other way. As we were being patted down, I thought to myself "Not the crotch. Not the crotch."

A minute after checking our ids, 2 more cop cars come by and we were questioned. It turned out the loud noises we heard before were gunshots being fired. They said from the call they had earlier, the suspect was wearing plaid. All of a sudden I looked down only to realize I took my plaid shirt off, but my friend next to me was wearing his. All 6 cops focused their attention to him, but after about 10 mins, we were all in the clear. Afterwords they questioned us if were really doing some exercises here and asked who could do the most pullups. My lanky friend said he could, but they said his arms looked too long to do any, laughed jokingly, and then left.

But realizations from this experience:
-It's not always a good thing to wear plaid
-I'm starting to run into the police once a month now
-That gunman had some pretty decent fashion (sorry to make light of the situation, but I've never heard of a guy with a gun wearing plaid)

If you were curious about the video I mentioned in class, here's the link to it:

Warning: The gross part is around 4:00 mins. Watch the video only if you really want to.

My weekend has been not so productive, but my friends and I watched some interesting movies this weekend. One worth noting was "Iron Monkey" (1993). It's a classic kung fu movie that I had watched all the time as a child. Some of it may be cheesy, but the movie gets you pumped. Despite how asianxcore it sounds, it has motivated me once again to workout more. I used to go by the saying that "my body is my temple" but I haven't been following that saying recently. It also has reminded me of the process of art because the more you work on it, the better the outcome will be. In a few months, what my body can do will hopefully become part of my art.

I was out of town this weekend and did not have a computer which is why I am writing this entry past 12AM. Sorry if it's late. I am actually excited for Halloween this year since I am working on a costume which I hope turns out really well! I am planning on going as Haku from "Spirited Away" if any of you are familiar with it. Even though it's a costume, I believe it is a form of art. It's one that especially like since I enjoy putting things together and having a final piece at the end. You gain a certain amount of satisfaction from it, and that's the same feeling I get whenever I finish an art project.

My random thing that happened to me this week: At a playground at night with my friends, and some guy comes by twice on a bike and then stops by us. He opens his bag and asks if we want something. My friends were like "sure." The guy pulls out an unopened bottle of 40 and gives it to us. I was expecting some other stuff inside of it, but it was sealed until my friend opened it. None of us drink, but now I have a movie prop!

The beginning of this semester has been rough for me financially. 2 weeks into this semester, I thought everything was going fine until I receive my eFann which was about $300. I then got an e-mail about the first part of my tuition bill being due soon. I just thought to myself that if I couldn't even take out a loan, how would I be able to pay for school. My spirit just broke completely with the thought of possibly dropping out of school because I couldn't afford it.

I called my scholarship program to find out what was wrong since my scholarship did not appear on it and I wasn't even offered loans. I was just told to call one stop. They just told me that my account was just being verified still and it was taking longer than normal. Two weeks later, today, I received an e-mail saying that I received financial aid. It was the biggest relief that I've had recently.

Just from this experience, I realized how important school really was for me. I used to think of it as just trying to get a degree for your career and getting out, but I just learned to appreciate being at the U. Just the fear of possibly dropping out woke me up completely. I feel more motivated to become successful after this experience.

Random thing: Hitting your jaw while trying a back flip is not fun.

It's going to be a stressful week for me. I have 2 exams tomorrow back to back. I've been studying 3 hours straight so for one of them, so hopefully I'll do well. I have a speech to work on as well and I need to still find a subject I'd like to do. I also have to do a studio setup/rehearsal on Tuesday night for some live production we do on Thursday for my COMM class. I'm director, so I'll have to set the set of the production, how the camera shoots, and time when everything cuts. It doesn't sound like much, but recording live has to be one of the most terrifying things since one mistake can just screw things up. I've just been used to editing for videos where you can manipulate things at your control. I suppose it's a good experience for me though.

Random thing: Like Tenzin, I got a girl's phone number this week. Quite proud of myself actually... well kind of (not really). Except it happened in the weirdest way. At the end of my fashion retail class on Friday, some girl went up to me and said "Oh we sit near each other a lot! I like your sunglasses! My name is _____ What's yours? Put it in my phone after you give me your number!" It took me a minute to process what just happened, but we ended up exchanging numbers. It was kind of scary in a flattering way I guess. Now I have to see her tomorrow :|

This weekend I've mostly just been working on my costume for Halloween. I mentioned it earlier, but I'm planning on going as Haku from "Spirited Away". I can't sew to save my life, but everything has been going just fine for me... well minus the sleeves. I'm still waiting for my wig to come in the mail which it should be here on the 29th at the latest. I have a feeling I'm just going to go home after noon on Friday and work on it until I sleep.

I saw a video called "China Blue" in my Fashion Retail class last week, and it just hit me how bad the workers have it in sweat shops. My incentive to finish up my costume is to have one, and it totally wore me out this weekend. I'm sure they do 3x the amount I do on things that aren't even for them for like $.06 cents an hour. I can;t imagine doing this like 7 days a week for a living. I feel bad for owning half of my clothing now :(

Random: I'm back into playing Pokemon on my DS. It's the first time playing any of the games since... 5 years ago? But I find it fun now that you can just hack into the game file itself now and modify things. I'll cut my nerd talk now.

My Saturday was pretty fun. I did end up getting my costume done, unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of it myself. Good thing because I looked borderline between a male and female, which my friend said was good for the costume since the character is pretty feminine. But went to the Rosedale mall in costume, played some Smash Bros at Tomodachi, then hit up my friend's party. Met a ton of new people, and overall had a great time.

School wise, I think I know what I want for my project. Hopefully I have enough time to get it done though since I'm just aiming for a day with good weather. My presentation is due tomorrow on Tuesday. I'm not sure if I can find about 15 minutes worth of contents because of the lack of information on my artist, but I will try.

Random thing: So after I torn the crotch part of my pants that I made doing something stupid, I had to switch out of them. Luckily I had spare shorts, but the only other form of clothing I had were just my jacket. Flip flops + shorts + leather jacket do not mix well on a cold night.

I filmed most of my footage for my Project 3, but I'm not sure if I'll like what I'm doing. I spent about 3 hours getting about 1 hour worth of footage of what I need, but hopefully it'll give me enough for at least 3 usable minutes since I did several takes. I'm sure I'll have to add on to it, so I hope the weather stays just as sunny as it was last week. The other thing I'm worried about is the lighting in my clips. I don't think a lot of the clips had good lighting, but I guess that's where editing can come in. I'll see how well I can adjust the brightness and stuff when I get to editing it.

Random thing: I had a Weezy Gets out of Jail Party at my place on Saturday in celebration of Lil Wayne being released out of prison on Thursday. Dress code was strictly anything Weezy related. We even had a cake that said "Congrats Weezy!" It was pretty much just my group of friends hanging out at my place and playing some games. We're all pretty straight edge, so there wasn't anything too bad. I had one of my friends roll up a joint with parsley in it and light it up for a picture, but then he ended up inhaling some of the smoke which made my night haha.

After seeing a lot of the videos on Thursday, I'm not feeling as great about my video as I did when I finished it. Everyone had that "experimental" element in their video, and after watching mine again, I feel like I just totally left that part out. It was very... in the box for me in terms of camera angles and shots. On a good note though, I did try several new things that I've never done in video before, so hopefully that makes up for that.

Random thing: The snowfall this weekend reminds me of how much trouble my little rice burner has getting around in the snow.

Plain weekend since I had to do my semi annual part time job of recording my high school's play. It's really depressing since I didn't know any of the students on the front stage anymore since they've all graduated last year. Bumped into 2 students that I knew from before backstage. Seeing them as seniors now makes me realize how much time flies as I was in their shoes about 3-4 years ago.

Random thing: After ice skating outside on the concrete while I waited for my car to thaw out, I realized that my car would have a terrible time getting home. But since I was in an empty parking lot and the ice was frozen, I decided to hit 20 mph and slam on the brakes to see what would happen. The car skidded about... 6 feet while rotating clockwise for a while. It was stupid of me, but it was fun I must say. But I actually hope that the ice melts tomorrow so I can get to school without having to make up like 2 hours ahead of time.

It was nice to have a short break this week for Thanksgiving! I had tons of food and caught up with a lot of friends and family. I even met up with my ex (the source of why I did that emo collage) which ended up a lot more pleasant than expected. I feel a lot more stronger after being able to even see her without any resentment or bitterness towards her and where she is now. I'm patting my own back for that one.

Random thing: I also saw Harry Potter this weekend. I find it quite ridiculous that Potter essentially didn't have a lot of clothing throughout the entire movie. It was really funny hearing fangirls squealing over him haha.

My car battery died this weekend and nobody was at home, so I was not able to go to Sears this weekend to get a new battery. I also missed the snow emergency notice. So now, I have to pay a $53 ticket, my car is still doesn't run, it's trapped on the street since the snow plow pushed more snow on my car, and I have to dig it out. Fun.

I know our last blog entry is supposed to be about our reflection, but I am going to have one entry before I write my reflection.

This morning, I had to get up at 7 to shovel at a church. When I left out the back to see if I could take my car today this morning, I found that the passenger side of it had been broken into. My radio, my iPod player, my headphones, my parking pass for my lot even, and about $10 worth of $1s and coins were taken. After I found out what they took, I decided to shower then nap since it was a long morning. After getting a text about meeting up for my group, I realized that my tripod was also taken. It was the only thing taken that had any sentimental value. I remember playing with it as a kid like it was a toy weapon so my dad always told me not to do that. I've had movie ideas with that one haha. It's also been the same tripod that has been aside me during all 8 of my video projects during my high school years as well as my college ones. It's also been there with me as we had to withstand the numerous amount of unbearable high school plays. Although I have a spare tripod, it doesn't feel the same using this one. I never really liked it, but it will have to do for now in order to finish our final project. I just need to find the attachment piece to the camera now...

Now onto my actual blog. I feel like if you were to judge me based off of my blog entries, you'd think I was poor college student who put in money towards his interested and hobbies, is baked during his weekends, and possibly sold crack for a living as he is unable to make a decent living recording high school plays. That part may be true, but the other aspect of the blog reminded me why I liked art. It's the concept of focusing your time and effort into one single thing that potentially produces something that people can enjoy. I keep getting side tracked about why I enjoy making art. With project 4, I forgot how fun it is to work in groups as well for video projects. I remember in my senior year of high school, I had numerous times in which I had the entire class at my disposable for videos I made. We always bonded in some way and had tons of fun. When I entered college, that changed as I didn't have many opportunities to even make a single video for any class. I'm really glad I took this class otherwise I wouldn't have gotten to know John, Maria, Sarah and Mike better! So thank you GiGi for the 2 opportunities we got in class to make videos!

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