Monday, June 18, 2007

UCSB Graduation Text Blogging

On Sunday, my sister graduated from college. I drove up early that morning to attend the event. It was a long ceremony, and would have been really really boring had it not been for the wonders of text messaging. Here is an exciting text-blog recap of UC Santa Barbara Graduation 2007! I am "brother", sister is "sister". Clever huh? Yeah there's no doubt that I am a college graduate as well.

First order of business. Find where my sister was sitting, among all the graduating students.

Brother 9:05am: I'm with the folks, far right.

Brother 9:06am: There is a lady with a big orange sign next to us. It says "Andrea We Love You"

The sign was obnoxious. I understand how proud you are "family of Andrea", but you already made a huge ass sign that says "Andrea We Love You", you don't have to keep yelling it out. The sign does that job for you.

Sister 9:08am: Hahaha, ok we are on the left group.

Sister 9:15am: We moved, now we are on the right side, but on the edge. Close to the left side. I will raise my hand in 2 seconds.

I quickly stood and scanned the sea of people. I saw hundreds of outstretched hands.

Sister 9:17am: I saw you.

Graduation thus far was chaos. Families crammed into narrow rows of seats. I looked over to my mom who was holding a lei made with purple flowers.

At the entrance to the graduation ceremony, parents were able to pick up leis to give to their children to wear around their necks over their gown. I'm not sure what a necklace of flowers means in the graduation sense, but it looked nice.

My mom was upset that she wasn't able to find my sister in time to hand her the lei, and she was sitting in her chair with her trademark look of worry. She was afraid that my sister was going to be sad that she didn't get a lei. I didn't think it would matter, but after fidgeting for a while, my mom finally stood up and said "I am going to give this to Cheryl", and headed off into a maelstrom of people.

"Mom, you're not gonna get through that crowd", I said.

She weighs two pounds, there was no way she was going to get through the crowd of people taking pictures and waving signs.

Sure enough, five minutes later, my mom returned to her seat defeated. There was a leaf in her hair. I laughed for a little while, but my mom was disappointed.

Brother 9:37am: Africa, Africa, Africa. Blah Blah Blah. she talking about Africa?

The lady on stage, addressing the graduating students had been droning on and on in excess of twenty minutes about AIDS Research. AIDS Research is good. Encouraging the graduating students to think globally and do their part to help with AIDS research is good.

Bragging about your personal achievements, and what you have done personally to help with AIDS Research nonstop is bad. Graduation isn't about you lady, it's about the students who are graduating. Sheesh.

Sister 9:36am: I don't know! But people are NOT caring. So much talking. Trying to sleep. Need to pee.

Brother 9:39am: Bragging. Way to lose the audience lady.

Sister 9:41am: I know seriously. My graduation was lame! Some lady kept talking about crap, that no one cares about. Where the hell is Arnold?

Yeah, where the hell was Arnold Schwarzenegger? Why do some schools get Arnold Schwarzenegger, and some schools don't? How does that work? My graduation from SF State featured Ben Fong Torres from Rolling Stone, and Pete Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary. Who picks each commencement speaker?

By the way, Pete Yarrow was great. Very sweet, and was very earnest in his speech. His words of encouragement however, were deeply undermined by jackasses in the audience yelling out "PLAY PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON!". Sorry Pete.

Brother 9:43am: Arnold would be so rad. Maybe he's gonna parachute in and surprise us.

Sister 9:43am: Ha ha I wish. Kimbo is full on sleeping.

Arnold didn't parachute in unfortunately. Cheryl's friend Kimberly was not rousted from her slumber.

The lady on stage is still talking about HER achievements.

Brother 9:45am: Jesus Christ lady!

Sister 9:49am: SHUT UP. Don't care.

Finally, after a seemingly unending series of "final thoughts", the lady stepped off stage. Phew! Bring on the next speaker.

Who could it be? It's not Arnold. It's a UCSB student, graduating with Honors.

She did everything apparently; belonged to every club, volunteered everywhere, cured cancer, found the lost city of Atlantis, and was a Sudoku tutor to handicapped children.

The list of her achievements went on and on. It was pretty impressive. How she had time to do all this is pretty remarkable. When did she have time to party? Has she ever got drunk with a bunch of co-eds on spring break?

Has she ever experienced the joyous feeling that is having tequila poured down your throat by some guy blowing a whistle during a wild weekend in Tijuana?

There's no time for that now either, especially after it was announced that she's got some fancy job in San Francisco waiting for her after graduation.

Brother 9:50am: haha, you think you're sooo smart lady. With your fancy new job in SF and "honors" graduation.

Sister 9:51am: I know. You suck you mean bitch.

After smart girl's mercifully short speech, the Chancellor of the school took to the stage again. So far, Chancellor Henry Yang has been the best speaker. He was funny, and articulate, and didn't talk forever.

Sister 9:53am: Yes! The Asian guy!

Brother 9:53am: Lo Pan?

Ah Lo Pan. When I worked at Tower Records as a college freshman, I had to work on Christmas day. I worked the video rental counter, and was watching Big Trouble In Little China with another coworker who was Asian, like me. A customer walked in and offered this golden nugget:

"Look at you guys..working on Christmas. Well I guess, Asians don't celebrate Christmas. You're watching an Asian movie too!"

This was said in all seriousness. It wasn't mean spirited, just dumb.

Anyway, that was just a little Lo Pan tidbit..back to graduation fun.

After the Chancellor finished speaking, the students finally started approaching the stage. Hundreds of students. Rows upon rows of students.

Brother 10:10am: I can't see anything. Stupid "Gavin" sign blocking my view.

Sister 10:11am: hahaha, I see it!

The Gavin sign was ridiculous. Each letter in the name was on an individual poster sized piece of paper. The mom of the group kept barking orders to the kids holding up the sign. The poor kid holding the letter "A" couldn't have been more than five years old. He wasn't doing a good enough job according to his mother.

"Hold the sign up higher honey! Higher, you're tilting too much!" she kept yelling.

The kid couldn't hold the sign up any higher. His arms were stretched out so far above his head he was grunting with effort.

Brother 10:12am: Dammit, I hope Gavin sees the damn sign, so they sit down.

Sister 10:13am: ha ha, why didn't you guys make me a sign?

Brother 10:15am: We hired a sky writer, but he crashed his plane in Oxnard. Sorry.

Sister 10:15am: Liar! What about Kimbo?

Brother 10:18am: Well it was a joint message. He only got to "Cheryl and Kimb-" before he crashed into the children's hospital. We will be demanding a refund.

Sister 10:19am: Ah screw those sickly kids.

So many students....names keep being called. My sister still has many many rows of students in front of her.

Brother 10:22am: There is a small child in front of me waving a tiny "Congratulations" stick. Hey dummy! They can't read that thing from far away. Dumbest four year old, ever.

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Sister 10:33am: Hey! We are next row.

Yes! Finally. My sister's row stood up and moved to the side, ready to take the stage. My mom leapt up from her chair, seeing this moment as her best chance to get the lei to my sister.

Brother 10:34am: Mom's on her way. Tiny woman pushing against a throng of people. I don't think she will survive.

Brother 10:34am: We lost dad. Somewhere around here is a lost, fanny pack wearing old Asian man.

Sister 10:39am: I saw dad! He came out of nowhere!

My mom came back. Successfully handed off the lei to my sister. Just in time too, as she was about to step on to the stage.

I got a lot more excited than I thought I was going to be, the closer my sister got to the stage. At first I figured, I'd yell and cheer, but when they finally read her name over the loudspeaker, I yelled "FUCK YEAH! FINALLY! YEHHAHGGGHGGHH", something unintelligible. I was really proud of her.

My unintelligible yell was punctuated by my sister's equally as awesome karate style fist pump, on stage.

Brother 10:41am: ha ha! Sweet fist pump on stage.

Sister 10:41am: Yeah I know! I was totally feeling it hahaha.

Yeah, and that was that. Sister is a college graduate. It's fantastic.

Final text to my sister before we met up with the family for pictures in the parking lot.

Brother 10:50am: Have you seen dad's pants? They are amazing.

Sister 10:50am: haha no.

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