Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Love the 80s F.O.B. Edition Part 3

     Kids' brains are like sponges.  Put some stimuli(or bombard them) in front of them and they'll soak it up.  Learning a second or even third language is easy when you're young.  My best English teacher was television :P

I watched everything on TV.  Back then, there were only about 6 channels in Raleigh.  My parents didn't restrict what I could watch(too busy trying to obtain The American Dream, priorities man), so I got to see violent R-rated movies and the cheesy sex scenes of prime time soaps before a lot of other kids.  I'm so glad my parents weren't restricting in that regard.  I got all that testosterone filled, frat boy popcorn trash out of the way early, so I could have more of my life to enjoy dialogue, cinematography, score, and editing in films.  You know, real artsy fartsy shit.

to be continued...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Love the 80s F.O.B. Edition Part 2

      So amidst the Star Wars craze of the summer of 1983(I didn't go anywhere without my Kenner Luke Skywalker action figure), two other interests would eventually death grip my attention, and they  have yet to let me go.  My cousin George took me to a few kids' outings of the local Chinese church.  There were two memorable events.  One was a picnic at a park, and the other was a party at a roller skate rink.

     The roller skate rink changed my life.  It was there where I played my first video game and heard my first hip hop song.  I was timid and shy around strangers, and the speed at which people zipped by me on skates made me afraid to try skating.  So I stood near the rink and observed(an activity I became good at doing).

     I noticed some machines with blinking colors off to the right of the rink.  I asked one of the chaperons if I could go over there.  He told me you'd have to cross the rink and for that you'd need to put on skates.  "Huh wha," I thought.  "Can't I just walk around the rink," I continued pondering perplexedly. (Who lets an idiot watch over a bunch of kids?)  I eventually went over to the fascinating machines when some other kids wandered over there.  There it was in all its glory - Pac Man.  My time on it was short and sweet as I only had one quarter.  Afterwards, I just observed the others play.

     So there I was, soaking in the sights and sounds of Joust, Galaga, and Donkey Kong when the whole place ERUPTED.  "Planet Rock" came over the rink's speakers and everyone went bananas.  People started dancing and skating at the same time even more so than previously .  There was breakdancing and popping and locking on sides of the rink.  I was a natural and enthusiastic imitator, so I went home and practiced what I saw and heard.  When I heard Fat Boys and Doug E. Fresh sometime later, I would start trying to beatbox. In 7th grade, people were amazed at how fast I could do it.

to be continued...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Love the 80s F.O.B. Edition Part 1

     My memory of my life before coming to America is in black & white.  Maybe it's because most of the photos of the first six years of my life are in black & white, so that has affected my perception.  Only movies and TV I remember watching in Shanghai are still in color in my mind.  Going to the movies was a very special occasion.  I can only recall going to a theater twice.  Both times, it was to see Jet Li's Shaolin Temple.  

     After arriving in The U.S., my first media consumptions would greatly affect my life.  It was June of 1983 when my parents and I came to Raleigh, N.C.  Each parent grabbed one of my hands, and I was lead off the plane.  My nose was gushing blood.  I tried to tell them, but they didn't hear me.  They rushed off the plane with me in tow like it was going to explode or about to take off back to China.  We lived with my cousin, George, who was attending N.C. State.  I think he was trying to get every engineering major.  He took me to my first American movie: Return of the Jedi.

     I didn't understand any English and had no idea what was going on story wise but loved the movie.  Even though The Empire Strikes Back is a better film, Jedi still holds a special place in my heart.  And speaking of Empire...about 6 years later, that was the next Star Wars movie I watched.  I caught the last third of A New Hope during a free preview weekend of premium cable channels, but Empire was the second Star Wars movie I saw in its entirety.

     The next movie I was taken to was Octopussy.  My aunt was a big James Bond fan.  I understood a little more English by the time we went to theater to see it, but still not enough to follow the plot.  All I cared about were Q's gadgets.  Roger Moore was James Bond for me.  It wasn't until years later that I discovered Connery's Bond and agree with the consensus that he was the best Bond.

     How could I have turned out as a geek?  Well, the aforementioned is a big part of the answer.

to be continued...