It’s business time!

August 27, 2008 at 2:55 pm (Uncategorized)

Sorry for not posting this week, guys! I’m going to be selling artwork at a convention this week so I’ve been busy getting ready for that.

I’ll write when I get back though! 🙂


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Save Money Without Willpower

August 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm (Happiness, Money, Tips)

There was a time when money in my pocket was never safe. Young and restless, I would drive all over the place, my wallet purging at small impulse buys that added up fast. In two hours, I could lose $40 to Starbucks drinks, Taco Bell, and random trips to Wal-Mart. I would go in, intending to buy maybe $10 worth of food and come out with 50 dollars’ worth of stuff. I hated having my money slip through my fingers so easily.

I tried countless times to refrain from spending money but it was always a strain. I wanted to spend money on new art supplies or books or TV boxsets or cute little finds at the thrift store (surprisingly, I never blew money on clothes). I eventually read ThinkSimpleNow’s article on the hidden side of what you own and it hit me at last that I was becoming extremely materialistic. I had always thought of materialistic types as those who aspire to gobble up money and indulge in Porsches and mansions but my little $5 purchases were still things. And it hit me that I didn’t need 70% of that stuff.

Trying to allieve myself of materialism made saving money a whole lot easier. Of course, this realization comes to people at different point sin their life; that article outlined my hudden reasons for buying stuff so specifically that it just made sense to me. I understand that saving money can still be difficult to do.

If a rock in placed in front of you, don’t try to climb over it: just walk around.

I’ve found three tips to save money without having to battle temptation. It takes a couple of days to implement them but over the past two months, they’ve saved me literally hundreds of dollars:

  1. Stay at home. Obviously, if you’re not out, you won’t be around temptation. Examine the stuff you already have and stay at home to use them. That bath collection you bought a week ago? Pamper yourself for a day. The unread books on your bookshelf? Curl up and get lost in them. Right now, I’m wanting to go out and buy scrapbooking papers for a couple of projects but I’m telling myself to stay at home and use the papers I already have. 😉
  2. Lock your card up. I literally lock my debit card up in a lockbox when I go out. Darling has adopted the same tip and he’s found himself saving so much money already. We try to buy something and then think, “Damn it, I don’t have my card…” Couple hours later, we realize that we probably didn’t need it after all. Out of sight, out of mind.
  3. Bring snacks with you. I think the biggest money drain throughout the day is probably food. Keep a small bag in your purse or car with pretzels, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, etc. Keep a bottle of water on you too!

I’ve also found ways to save money if you are out and about, particularly if you’re hanging out with a friend.

  • If you’re going out to coffee, buy yourself tea. At Starbucks, I choose either an ice tea (with Sweet and Low) or an iced tea lemonade. It’s healthier and cheaper. ^_^
  • At restaurants, opt to split an entree and share an appetizer. Restaurant portions are huge! Darling and I split a Chinese dish last week and we couldn’t even finish it.
  • If you’re going to be at a store, make sure you don’t bring your card with you! Just carry cash if you must bring money. Take note of clothes you are interested in and give yourself time to think about it. Do you really need those jeans? Will that shirt match with any other shirt you have? Is there an inexpensive place to buy something similar?

It’s not just about saving money. Striving to become less materialistic in general has brought me peace and clarity of mind. I also suddenly free up time to engage in my more creative hobbies too! ^-^

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Pretty Glass Jars

August 21, 2008 at 10:46 pm (Uncategorized)

This week, I’ve been out and about, zipping from Starbucks to Starbucks (And a lil’ Caribou Coffee ;D), locking in on my laptop, burying my face in my textbooks, and meeting people for coffee so I haven’t had time to sit down and finish Thoreau or indulge in creativity.

So I spent today doing crafts! ^_^

By the way, I ♥ Mod Podge!

Here are a couple pictures of speghetti sauce jars I’ve been spicing up with scrapbooking paper I bought two years ago:

Used some vintage scraps; I *love* vintage imagery!

I also redecorated a .77 cent ugly mini-composition book for my sister, Disney, to record down little ideas that randomly spark up:

( I’ll be writing about the wonders of keeping an idea journal later! 😉 )

And finally, I bought some heat & Seal strips and decided to jazz up an old t-shirt:

If you want to see the tutorials and stuff I’ve been looking at, check out the diy tag on my!

Also! Remember my tip about drying and reusing paper towels? Here’s my drying line. LOL

Cool people go green, you know.

Cool people go green, you know.

I have to keep it in the closet so my family doesn’t think I’m too nuts! Anyways, hooray, the weekend! No more classes ’til Monday! Life is good. 🙂

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Make An “I Feel Lucky Because…”

August 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm (Happiness)

photo by Merlijn Hoek via flickr

photo by Merlijn Hoek via flickr

All of us need to bitch about life some time. Family drama, relationship conflicts, hectic work demands, academic worries, financial troubles catch us at some point. Sometimes, it can be depressing and dismal.

They may even keep us down for months.

It’s damn difficult to think of anything at first in times like these but keeping a list of reasons why you are lucky, even if the things on it are arbitrary, can help lift your spirits and motivate you to go on. Everyone has problems of their own, no matter how rich or pretty or so-in-love they are. We wish for their fortune, we envy it, and we assume that if only we could have or be X, we would be happy and life would be perfect.

Could there be something about you people may envy?

Realizing your fortunes does not mean ignoring your troubles and being blindly optimistic. It’s motivating. It points out your advantages. It points out your resources. It points out your past achievements. You’ll pulled through bad times before, you can do it again.

Here’s my list:

  1. I’m lucky to be in school. If I wasn’t, I would be wasting time. I would be stuck in a crappy, tedious wage job. I wouldn’t be able to visualize some of my dreams for darling and myself. I would be closing off my options for the future.
  2. I’m lucky to have found my soulmate early in life. I used to not believe in soulmates, but fortunate compatibility. I’m lucky to have been proven wrong and to be proven wrong so early. I see people so much older than me still trying to find “true love.” :{
  3. I’m lucky to have been born in America. I was only a generation away from being raised in a third world, Communist country. America’s an imperfect country but it’s riddled with opportunity. I also understand the magnitude of trouble my parents went through to have me here.
  4. I’m lucky to be an artist. I dissect the world into forms and colors and notice things most people do not. It also cultivated a creative mind now nowadays, finds way to meet new people, make money, save money, and remake things.
  5. I’m lucky to have grown up so close to my siblings. Many people never get to enjoy the sort of close bond I’ve had with my brother and sister throughout my life. They make me laugh and color my favorite memories.
  6. I’m lucky to have parents who came from another culture. Okay, okay, it’s a double-edged sword. It’s definitely not all fun and soy sauce. It was hard and demanding growing up between two cultures but it also let me understand different ways of thinking.
  7. I’m lucky to have had friends who were my second family. They filled my years with adventure and were always there for me as my emotional safety net.
  8. I’m lucky to be young. I can still easily fix my mistakes, instill certain habits in myself, have the energy to maintain my health, have the time to decide my passions and plans, and the freedom to do stupid, fun college kid things. 🙂
  9. I’m lucky to be a geek. I love learning and that love of learning definitely works in my favor in the real world. 😉 having a wide cast of interests makes me hard for me to decide on a major but it also opens up a lot of options. I love anime it’s brought me to so many new friends, so much opportunity, and so many eclectic quirks. 😉
  10. I’m lucky to have had a crappy social life in middle school and early high school. It sure wasn’t fun back then but it makes me appreciate people and realize that it’s important to reach out to others.

So why are you lucky? 🙂

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Best & Simplest Relationship Advice Ever: Be Humble & Make Out

August 19, 2008 at 2:32 pm (Relationships, Tips)

photo by carlo_nicora via flickr

photo by carlo_nicora via flickr

The secret to relationships is 1.) being humble and 2.) making out.

I’ve been engaged to Darling for three years now. Sometimes, people ask me if it bums me out to know that I’m bound to a promise that I can’t see anyone anymore. Some say I am lucky to be with someone and others say they just can’t believe it. Actually, I don’t think there’s ever been a moment where I seriously considered being with anyone else. Even when I try, I cringe at the thought of being with someone who would be remotely less perfect for me than he. He fills the contours of all my little quirks. I honestly can’t imagine life without him.

Before I leave everyone with cavities with this post, I jump to say that our relationship was anything other than “smooth sailing.” It was a lot of hard work. Ever heard Dane Cook’s piece on “Nothing Fights“? I nodded throughout the whole thing! We’ve had our fair share of fights and some of those fights were downright brutal. I’m sure our neighbors raised an eyebrow during a couple of our arguments. Many times, we were pushing each other to the verge of shattering the relationship and be done with it. I even wonder how we managed to pull through some of those times yet the other night, we went out to a sweet, dim-lit Italian restaurant, had a vibrant conversation, and flirted and cuddled with each other.

In fact,  we haven’t had a fight for the past several months.

The Secret To It All

“What’s your secret?” people ask me, incredulously. Many come up with their own answers, some very true and insightful. My friend, Devon, said to me one night, “You and Shef have the best relationship not because you don’t fight but because when you do fight, you guys actually fix your problems.”

I’m not sure about Darling, but all the things we’ve apparently been “doing right” boils down to a simple piece of advice: be humble.

Why do we fight? We fight because we think we’re right and our partner is wrong. “She never gets ready in time.” “He never does his share of the housework.” “She is an embarrassment when we’re around people.” “He never pays attention to me and doesn’t care about the relationship.”

There was a time when Darling felt that I had been ignoring him for a long time. He kept it bottled up inside and then one day, when we were arguing about something else, he spat, “You never spend any time with me!” I scoffed, absolutely frustrated, and retorted, “I ate lunch with you a couple days ago! I call you like every night! I asked you if you wanted to get dinner tomorrow night!”

I felt like my efforts were vastly under appreciated, especially in the midst of a totally chaotic school schedule at the time. I had work, I had school, I wanted to keep up with friends and family, and I was stressed. Even when I thought about it and decided that perhaps I had bumped him down my list of priorities, I still had a stubbornness that refused to stop justifying myself. No one wants to admit they are wrong, even when they are. And surely no one wants to admit they are wrong if they are being aggressively criticized about it.

photo by dollipoptart via flickr

photo by dollipoptart via flickr

Our Perspectives are Our Realities

But even when I felt justified about it and I had a long list of reasons why I was right, it didn’t make him any less hurt or angry about it. In fact, it could have frustrated him further: I was neglecting his feelings. Even if I felt justified, it didn’t matter because he felt ignored. In his reality, I was indeed shoving him to the back burner.

I stopped trying to prove him wrong and actively bumped him up on my to-do list ( No pervy jokes, please. 😉 ). My ego kept telling me, “You’re giving in to his demands! You have more pride than that! He WAS wrong, this is why: blahblahblah.” When I quietly started to do more of what he felt was lacking, our relationship seemed to fix itself and we suddenly had fun again. At first, it was strained, the two of us trying hard to act like a couple. But we were happy once again.

Susan Page writes in How One of You Can Bring the Two of You Together,

“… one problem with insisting that you are right is that, often, there ar eseveral ‘right’ ways to look at a situation, and your right way is only one of them. Being right may be keeping you from expanding your vision.

But there is an even worse problem associated with being right: It makes you helpless.

Usually, your ‘right’ view of the situation is that the problem is your spouse’s fault … if the only solution to the problem is that your spouse need to make a change, this puts you in a terribly weak position. because if you can’t induce your spouse to change, there is nothing left for you to do … Here is the bad news: Your partner won’t change. Give up on that.

But here is the good news: There’s plenty you can do to help yourself anyway.”

This also reminds me of something Mystery (seduction guru) said, and I paraphrase: “When a girl is not responding the way you want, it’s always your fault. It’s always something you’re doing wrong. But that’s a good thing, because that means you can change it.”

Be humble:

  1. Let go of “being right” because in the end, the prize of being right is being right. The problem is still there but you’ve convinced yourself that you’re right and s/he’s wrong. Big whoop.
  2. Imagine if what your partner was totally right in his or her criticism. What if you are being negligent? Rude? Quiet? Selfish? If this is a concern, certainly something you are doing is leading your partner to feel and think that way.
  3. Restrain defensiveness. Don’t jerk back with “I never do that!” Even if you believe them to be wrong, let them rant and be wrong. If they say, “You never get ready on time!” Tell them, “I’m sorry I seem to be taking so long; I’m worried about being late too.” (Another tip from Ms. Page. Buy her book, btw, it’s wonderful.)
  4. Do whatever will make your spouse feel loved, even if you currently feel unloved. It does feel unnatural at first, blindly giving into him/her when you feel that they’re wrong. An example: getting up early to make him/her breakfast before work though you feel s/he is a workaholic and is ignoring the family. In similar case studies from Susan Page’s consultations, the partner was usually overwhelmed by the gestures of love & support and actually changed themselves!

Thou Shalt Make Out

The second best piece of advice? Make out. Just randomly, no cues, no “leading up to it.” Of course, you don’t want to jump off the bat and play tonsil hockey voraciously. Randomly surprise your partner with a sudden bout of light kissing and just let it escalate. No interruptions. No reason. Why?

  1. The first sign of downfall in a relationship is when it starts to not feel like relationship anymore. You can’t summon those butterflies in your stomach at whim, but you can summon up a random kiss.
  2. It is spontaneous and romantic and makes you unpredictable. It can be a refreshing break from routine.
  3. It makes your partner feel attractive. Happiness bestows happiness. When you can see how you can totally liven up your partner’s day and change how s/he feels about his/herself, you feel great too.
  4. Neurolinguistic Programming. When you change your physiology, you change how you feel, think,and act. If you feel neglected or stale in a relationship, randomly taking your partner for a kiss and letting it escalate can usually whip you into a more excited, romantic mood.

So let go of being right. It’s not worth running in circular arguments all night with your partner. It’s not worth the guilt, the anger, the sense of unrequited justice. It’s not worth making your partner feel crappy. It’s not worth trashing a relationship over. The only prize in being right is stroking your ego by yourself. Just give boundless, unselfish love.

Photo by ardentphoto via flickr

Photo by ardentphoto via flickr

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Monday Thoughts: Be Like Water, Be Myself

August 18, 2008 at 5:18 pm (Productivity, School)

photo by Hypergurl via Flickr

photo by Hypergurl via Flickr

Mondays are always terrible for me. It’s always an uphill battle to maintain the great habits I developed the week previous– even if I maintain it through Sunday, Mondays are the days where I want to sleep in and do nothing. Haha.

Towards the end of the summer, I was starting to become more socially withdrawn. I try and let myself “go with the flow” as much as I can but traces of social anxiety gets me paranoid becuase it’s usually the first signs of an upcoming period of total lethargy. I hate getting into what I call my “slacker periods.” Last week, however, my schedule was pretty busy with people. I hung out with Matt and Molly at Caribou coffee and then again last night, where they, Shef, and I (Is that grammatically correct?) watched the Roast of Bob Saget. Hilarious stuff, though i felt the last few comedians weren’t too great. It was funny, though, because I’ve been watching episodes of Full House nonstop for the past two weeks. Oh, Mr. Tanner …

On Thursday and Friday, I hung out with Tiara pretty much all day and then went to a get-together of her ex-coworkers’ friends Friday night. It enjoy immersing myself into a group of entirely new faces because though I am shy at first, I eventually enjoy the refreshment of meeting new faces. I wish I got to do it more often.

I think the biggest thing I learned last week was to truly just be myself. Not for other people, but for myself. One of my favorite bloggers, Gretchen Rubin, has a mantra: “Be Gretchen.” At first, I brushed it off; I mean, how many times do we hear the advice, “Be yourself”? It gets stale. It becomes meaningless.

Last week, I found myself getting so frustrated with myself. The week prior, I wrote and read everyday. Last week, I didn’t feel like doing nay of that and I wasn’t sure why, exactly. Instead, I was more focused on working out. I’ve been wanting to write in my journal a lot more to express all my thoughts and improve my writing but I just wasn’t into it last week. I beat myself up.

I then stepped back and asked myself, “Why is this so important to me at the moment? Why is this worth beating myself up about it?”

I find that if you fight against a current, it just burns you out. So what if I’m not in a necessarily creative mood? Or if I’m not in aliterary mood? I want to do things because I enjoy them, not because I feel I should be doing them. I started to enjoy reading Thoreau because I felt an affinity with his perpective on living, not because it made me “seem smarter.”  I started to enjoy exercising because I genuinely liked the burst of energy it gave me, not because I felt the need to be skinnier. I started to enjoy astronomy because it made me love the world more, not because it made me “more intellectual.” I enjoy meeting people when it it gives me energy and love, not when I feel that I need to be outgoing. The list goes on.

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Be water, my friend. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash.

-Bruce Lee

Sometimes, I wonder if I don’t alalow myself to be dynamic enough. Once I start a habit, I beat myself up if I don’t keep with it. Surely, there are habits I want to instill into my life pernamently, but is it productive to be so self-deprecative when I let them slip? I had my fair share of all that back in high school.beating myself up only makes me procrastinate and mope about it.

Today marks my first day of the Fall semester. I have made myself a goal to get to know my professors more instead of blending into the anonymous mass of the class. Last semester, I began slacking off too much. I regret it so much. Especially after watching Randy Pausch’s “Time Management” lecture. If time is money, then I’ve wasted a fortune. I look back and regret Ididn’t work harder in high school. I don’t want that to happen when I graduate college.

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Low-Maintenance Tips for Going Green

August 13, 2008 at 12:41 am (Green, Tips) (, , )

photo by victor_nuno (flickr)

photo by victor_nuno (flickr)

Over the summer, I developed a newfound urge and interest in trying to be as frugal and as green as I can. Pursuing this lifestyle was intended not only to save money and the environment (but definitely great bonuses!) but to stop myself from producing so much waste.

Er … let me rephrase that.

We live in a society where resources are taken for granted. Going green is more than some treehugging movement, it can also be quite the mental refreshment. Retreating to a minimalist, conscious lifestyle has bestowed in me a sense of mental clarity and peace to alow me to focus on more important things. It also empowers me to know that I am doing things to reduce polluting our air, water, and land.

The thing that made me hesitate to go green as first (even though I was always worried about thestate of the environment) was that it seemed to be expensive and it seemed to be a hassle. It’s actually nowhere near as tedious as I’d thought.

So I thought that I would give you guys some tips on how to be less wasteful:

The Lazy List: Requiring little to no effort

  • Staying at home. This is probably the best tip because I save gas, saved money *on* gas, saved money on impulse Starbucks drinks, and became more creative at home.
  • Turning off the shower when you are not using it. I try my best to take “navy showers”– get in, wash hair, soap up, and get out. While I am leaving the hair conditioner in my hair,  turn off the water and soap myself up and shave my legs, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much water you save!
  • Buy Clorox GreenWorks Cleaners. It’s biodegradeable, it smells great, and it actually works extremely well. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be as potent as other chemical cleaners but I was proven quite wrong! 🙂
  • Reusing paper towels. Don’t be gross, of course. I’m not taking about wiping up a Kool-Aid spill and then reusing it later; whenever I wash my hands or wipe off condensation from my water bottle or whatnot with paper towels, I hang it up to dry for a second use. Sometimes, I use them three or four times, even! This tip probably makes me happiest because I can see it prolong the life of a roll of paper towels and that I am thorughly utilizing them.
  • Use vinegar & baking soda. Pardon me if this makes me sound like Miss Suzie Homemaker but vinegar and baking soda are amazingly useful for countless things and will replace the need for chemical cleaners, deoderizers, and disinfectant.
  • Buy lots of underwear. An obvious way to conserve water and energy is to wait until you have a full load to do your laundry. You may be able to wear a shirt twice or thrice before washing it (Again, be reasonable; don’t be gross!), but there is no way you can re-wear a pair of underwear. Even if you still have clothes to wear, if you run out of underwear, you’re going to need to take a trip to the washing machine. Buy a lot of underwear so you can delay laundry day until you really need it!
  • BYOB: Bring your own bag. In France and Germany, stores don’t have plastic bags at all! Seeing shopping carts overflowing with globs of plastic bags makes me twitch; its only purpose is to transport things home and when it’s over, they flood landfills and take a long time to biodegrade.  Stores now sell these reuseable bags for cheap and carry three times more stuff, yet people still don’t advantage of this. the only bit of effort required is actually remembering to bring these bags along. I keep mine in the car! 🙂
  • Germ-X for the win! Place a bottle of hand sanitizer at the sink to use after the bathroom. It takes less time and it wastes less water.
  • Wash and re-use ziploc bags. I’m not sure why people are so resistant to this idea but it saves the bags and it saves money. People are weird, I guess! (check out this cute, quick DIY ziploc bag dryer!)

It’s Not *So* Bad: Requiring moderate effort

  • Recycle! Obvious tip but important nonetheless. I don’t have a recycling service but I toss my paper, aluminum, and plastic products into my recycling bins under my workstation and when I pass by my school, I take it in and toss it into their recycling bins. If you don’t want to pay for a service, find out where you can recycle your stuff. Or find a friend who has a service and see if they wouldn’t mind sharing. If it’s still difficult, just collect paper to recycle. Recycle bins for paper are easier to find; try Kinko’s or your school or even your workplace.
  • Take your clothes outside. Hang up a clothesline or buy a drying rack for your clothes and air-dry them! if you are worried about getting wrinkles, follow this tip from Frugal Dad and dry them until they are just damp enough for a quick tumble-dry cycle in the dryer. Toss in a dryer sheet for that fresh smell. ❤
  • Transform your stuff. There are so many DIY, craft, and homemaking sites out there with ideas on how to reuse household items. Some ideas? Use an unused CD as a coaster. Use empty paper towel rolls to store extension cables. Use a tissue box as a plastic bag dispenser. For starters, check out the magazine Real Simple. Each issue, they feature “New Uses for Old Things.” there are always some awesome ideas in there. Plus, it’s an incredible creativity challenge.

Going green isn’t just good for the environment but it’s good for your well-being. being more conscious of how to use your resources most effectively will help you save money, be creative, and be less materialistic and wasteful. 😀

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Why Astronomy Is So Important To Me

August 7, 2008 at 5:21 am (Uncategorized)

The most influential forces in my life have been, in no particular order:

  • Cartoons.
  • Sierra, my best friend from the third grade to the sixth grade.
  • Anime.
  • Shef.
  • Getting my haircut in 2007.
  • The whole GTD craze, which led to me deliberately breaking out of my social shell.
  • Astronomy.

Torrents of rain bombard the streets in long, silver curtains. I can barely see the road, the rain is so thick. It’s marvelous to look at, but it sort of dampened (no pun intended, I swear) my plans to head out to Caribou Coffee.

So I’m stuck in my room, writing now in my journal. I watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth last night and it reawakened that “realization of existence” in me, especially the famous “Earthrise” picture.

The first picture of Earth taken from the Moon.

The first picture of Earth taken from the Moon.

Earth really is such an infinitely fascinating planet. In the gorgeous, lonely abyss of the universe lies this lone planet where life doesn’t just exist, but thrives. Astronomy is such a passion for me–a very personal and deep passion–because it ignited inside me the most raw, genuine sense of spirituality.

It reeled in all of these threads of study and fragments of human–no, Earthling– existence into one coherent, beautiful tapestry that makes me have to physically restrain from tearing up when I think about it. The universe and everything in it is so utterly beautiful– not only visually breathtaking, albiet blooming nebulas and majestic mountains and serene seas undoubtedly are– but also in the perfection in its harmony of form and function. I regret that it took me so long to step back, WAY back, and see how insignifcant yet miraculous our existence is. Everything is so much more beautiful than religion can ever describe. A shame that humans get so wrapped up in affairs of no importance outside the realm of people.

Astronomy, more than anything, is what woke me up as a newer, happier, less wasteful, and more conscious of a human being. I hope I never lose this feeling of consciousness.

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On Heath Ledger’s Last Performance

August 6, 2008 at 1:49 am (Movies)

Shef and I haven’t been able to stop raving about Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. We got to go to the midnight premiere and we sat up front–far enough so that our necks wouldn’t snap but close enough to immerse ourselves completely into the movie.

And let me tell you, that is the ideal way to enjoy the movie.

Heath Ledger didn’t just perfectly portray the Joker, he blew every other version of the Joker in the Batman universe out of the water. The movie jumped outside of the box so many times, defying supervillian conventions left and right, rendering the Joker as an over-the-top villian but an extremely believable one. While we eventually discover in a movie the villain’s past and understand his motivations, you don’t get anything from the Joker. I loved that they incorporated his compulsive lying problem in the film (“Do you wanna know how I got these scars?”) and you could tell that it wasn’t that he was trying to gather sympathy– he was just that much of a bleeding sociopath, completely absent of structure in his thinking.

The animated series painted the Joker as a debonaire psycho hell-bent on destroying Batman, Nicholson’s Joker was twisted and morbidly playful, whilst Ledger’s Joker was nothing but a demented, nihilistic, cold-blooded sociopath. He was a deranged ball of total anarchy and antipathy, an “agent of chaos” that didn’t really want anything in the world but to make it crumble. The fact that he didn’t have a past made him all the more terrifying: you didn’t know his buttons. You didn’t know his motives. You didn’t know what he was going to do next. He didn’t care about anyone; he hardly cared about what could happen to him. He was pure chaos, unpredictable and mercilessly destructive. As long as he was alive, things that held up the foundations, structure, and security of normal social life came tumbling down.

Ledger created the perfect antithesis to Batman. Batman utilizes all of these specially crafted suits and gadgets and vehicles while the Joker’s clothes were labeless and custom, his gadgets were jugs of gasoline and household explosives, and his vehicles were hijacked. Batman became an upholder of justice because his tragic past while Joker is an agent of chaos because he simply “does.” Batman sees each life, even the Joker’s, as something to be spared and salvaged, while Joker sees all people as primitive animals who have deluded themselves into thinking they are something more.

In a way, the Joker is perhaps far more intelligent than many other villains, perhaps even Batman himself. While his cynicism in humanity was proven wrong in the final scenes of the film, he still had a very taut understanding of the primal survival instincts of man. Humans are, in the end, society and technology and art and religion aside, another species of animal trying to survive on this planet. They only believe they are higher beings because they’ve enforced order upon the world. The Joker knows that underneath this illusion of order is fear and he snatches that advantage to rile everyone up. They are merely animals for him to observe and laugh at, to prove to everyone that he is right.

Take a look at Batman himself, after all. He even has to resort to brutality and “evil” to achieve justice.

In the end, I almost had to cry; it seems tragic that such a talented, incredible actor had to pass away before he saw the fruits of his labor, before he got to see how blown away the world will be at his performance. At times, it was next to impossible to see his face in the character; he throughly dissolved into this character. If he had to die, at least he left with a bang.


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