Spark of Creation

From the musical – The Children of Eden:

I’ve got an itching on the tips of my fingers
I’ve got a burning in the back of my brain
I’ve got a hunger burning inside me, cannot be denied

I’ve got a feeling that the Father who made us
When He was kindling a pulse in my veins
He left a tiny spark of that fire, smoldering inside

The spark of creation is flickering within me
The spark of creation is blazing in my blood
A bit of the fire that lit up the stars and brought life into the mud
The first inspiration, the spark of creation

I see a mountain and I want to climb it
I see a river and I want to leave shore
Where there was nothing let there be something
Something made by me

There’s things waiting for me to invent them
There’s worlds waiting for me to explore
I am an echo of the eternal cry of

Let there be
The spark of creation burning bright within me
The spark of creation won’t let me rest at all
Until I discover or build or uncover, a thing that I can call
My celebration of the spark of creation

The spark of creation, may it burn forever
The spark of creation, I am a keeper of the flame
We think all we want is a lifetime of leisure
Each perfect day the same, endless vacation

Well, that’s alright if you’re a kind crustacean
But when you’re born with an imagination
Sooner of later you’re feeling the fire, getting hotter and higher
The spark of creation

 

SXSW: South by Southwest Film / Music / Interactive Conference

Last week during Spring Break, I went to SxSW conference in Austin, TX with Ricardo and Albert.

Keep Austin Weird

Austin is a nice, clean and small but definitely bigger than Pittsburgh. The weather reminds me of California, just right. Food reminds me of California too, tex-mex rocks! It is certainly the live music capital of the world, especially along 6th street, where all the pubs and bars are. There’s also random people busking on the street and weird people walking around. Saw a LGBT parade on Congress one of the days. There are also many trishaws ¬†and bicycle rickshaws, with the cyclists dressed up like superman, wonderwoman, scooby-doo and the like. There is no subway network, only a small tiny 2-carriage commuter train. The streets are surprisingly clean with many trashcans around. Congress Ave is also very picturesque with the Capitol building at the end of the road.

Interactive Documentary

I attended many film workshops regarding interactive documentary storytelling over the first few days. It seems like a new trend nowadays. They inspired me to create an interactive documentary of my own in the future, perhaps in a Singapore context. It seems like a good fit for me too, since I can combine both my web design and filmmaking skills together. One of the workshops also talk about the intersection of user experience design and filmmaking, which is pretty interesting. I also went to a workshop which talked about DSLR and tools for filmmaking.

There was a party hosted by the Pittsburgh Technology Council and ETC was part of hosting it. So we were involved in a tiny booth helping to promote ETC. The music was really loud but we managed to showcase some ETC projects, including World of Goo as well as parts of our Project Xenon video. We managed to impress some people and also help to give out some swag.

We watched many films, such as

  • Evil Dead (remake): a gory, scary remake of Evil Dead (1981)
  • And Who Taught You To Drive?: a nice funny documentary about driving lessons in Japan, Germany and India
  • Hours: about Hurricane Katrina
  • Animated Shorts
  • Improv
  • Downloaded: about Napster
  • Cirque du Soleil #EVOKE13
  • Much Ado About Nothing: a remake of the Shakespeare classic
  • TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard
  • Documentary Shorts 1: After, Recollections, The Village
  • Reality Show: a movie about making reality shows, shot in a documentary style
  • V/H/S/2: a nice stitching of many horror/zombie-related shorts
  • We Cause Scenes: a documentary about ImprovEverywhere
Music and the Singapore connection
Over on the music side, I managed to catch LeCrae live in a collegemixshow. Everyone else is a non-Christian hardcore rap/hip-hop artist, except for LeCrae. He was really talking about God in between his rap songs. Pretty amazing. Managed to take a picture with him too. I also found out that there was a Singaporean band The Sam Willows performing, so I decided to pop by and check them out. Pretty cool and funky band with nice timbre-style music, and they’re all just slightly younger than me. Amazing people. Nice to see our local talent being exposed to the US market.
Over at the Trade Show, I realised that IDA has a booth and they brought some Singapore startups to showcase too. I managed to talk with one of the IDA persons and found out that they actually have an international office at Redwood Shores! So close to where I was last semester and I didn’t know! Pretty cool.
Twitter and Swag
Twitter is a wonderful thing in such conferences. I was searching “Singaporean SXSW” to see if anyone tweet about Singapore stuff, and managed to link up with someone from sge, an entrepreneurs group and invited him to the ETC party, and found out that he was working in Blk 71 as well. What a small world. Twitter is also a good thing to search for free stuff. There’s a channel called SouthByFreeNoms with all the free food and drinks posted. On the first day, we were talking with some random guy in the line, and he said we shouldn’t be spending any money or more than $20 on food a day. It is true. There’s always free breakfast, sandwich and drinks somewhere! And of course, free swag. There’s so many places giving out free t-shirts that you actually don’t have to bring shirts to the conference. And free pens, beer, tacos, beer, stickers, etc. Breakfast tacos are the best. One of the best swag was from the Oreo booth, after taking a photo and guessing where the photo behind you was taken, you get oreos, plus a small portable charger, plus a $25 voucher somewhere. I’ve got a voucher at a fruit juice place called Juiceland while my friend got his for Waterloo Records. Cool local places.

Everything is bigger in Texas

That’s what they say. The roads and freeways are definitely bigger in Texas. Bigger than the ones in California! It seems like a uniquely Texas thing to have a “frontage road” beside every freeway! And it is certainly a car country. In Houston, there 6 normal lanes plus 2 carpool lanes plus 3 lanes on the frontage road. Crazy! Speed limits are higher too, from 75mph on freeways (instead of 65) to 40mph on normal roads (instead of 35). And another strange thing is that the traffic lights here are mostly horizontal instead of vertical. Another interesting Texas phenomenon is the Texas U-turn.

Church

I went to visit Austin Stone Community on Sunday evening. It was held in a high school gym. The Texas music genes is pretty strong, everyone looks like Crowder. Haha. On Wednesday, I decided to drive 3 hours to Houston, TX to attend Lakewood Church’s midweek service. I also managed to convince Albert to come along and we had a nice chat during the drive. We had Church’s Chicken for lunch (which is called Texas’ Chicken in Singapore), and it is more peppery than Popeye’s and KFC. We drove to Houston’s “Chinatown” and found a huge area of strip malls filled with all kinds of Chinese stuff. We had Malaysian food at Banana Leaf (which is not related to the one in Milpitas), and spotted some Singaporean goods at the Chinese supermarket like Yeo’s and Owl’s. After dinner, we drove to Lakewood Church. It is HUGE, after all, it was a basketball stadium. It was pretty empty since it was a midweek service. We managed to get good seats in the middle. Worship was good, no Israel Houghton though. Joel Osteen came for a while to say hi, and then his sister Lisa Osteen preached about writing down our visions. All in all, a pretty surreal experience, as usual.

On the way back, we drove around Houston downtown before driving back. Downtown is like many other downtowns I guess, quiet at night. Houston is a large city, 4th largest in the states, and sprawling, like many others. It seems to have many suburban cores too.

Getting Around

We took bus most of the time, even though our motel was on the freeway. Fortunately there’s a bus a short walk away to downtown. At night, we have to take the last bus or take the night owl bus and walk. But the music crowd was crazy. Once they came, it was like the geeks meet the hippies, and 6th St became super crowded with many people partying. On the last night, we almost couldn’t get back – all the taxis were full and the buses were full too. Zipcar saved the day! Managed to find one in Downtown to drive back and then we could drive it back downtown the next day.

Conclusion

It was a good week. Feel very inspired now. And I’d miss Austin’s weather. Back to cold Pittsburgh where spring does not exist.

You gave your best, When I did nothing at all

It’s amazing how You can speak right to my heart
With our Daddy’s Word, we can light up the dark
Triumphs are made, I could never explain
The width of Your love and the depth of Your grace

The smile on Your face lets me know that You love me
There’s a truth in Your eyes saying You’d never leave me
The touch of Your hand says You’ll catch me if ever I fall
You gave Your best when I did nothing at all

All alone we could never speak for ourselves
That’s why You came & took our sins upon Yourself
You died on the Cross and You rose from the grave
You’ve set us on high, by Your grace at Your side

The smile on Your face lets me know that You love me
There’s a truth in Your eyes saying You’d never leave me
The touch of Your hand says You’ll catch me if ever I fall
You gave Your best when I did nothing at all

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150414048688673

How He Loves

This is like my favourite song now, written by John Mark McMillan (haven’t really heard of him before), covered by many others, including Jared Anderson from Desperation Band, Kim Walker from Jesus Culture, David Crowder Band etc. Here’s a nice video:

He is jealous for me
Love’s like a hurricane,
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of
His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.
(x2)

Yeah, He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves.
(x2)

We are His portion and
He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption
by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns
violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves
(x2)

Yeah, He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Whoa, how He loves us
Whoa, how He loves.

Yeah, He loves us
He loves us
He loves us
He loves.

A New Revelation of Me and Jesus

Me and Jesus, it’s not someone else, it’s not a third party, it’s not the person singing the song, it’s not your spouse, but it’s you, yourself, alone, but not lonely, because you are with Jesus. When you know that you are His beloved, you are the one whom Jesus loves, you are whole, not half empty, not half full, but a complete, satisfied being.

When there’s nowhere else to turn
All your bridges have been burned
Feels like you’ve hit rock bottom
Don’t give up it’s not the end
Open up your heart again
When you feel like no one
Understands where you are

[chorus]
Someone loves you even when you don’t think so
Don’t you know you got Me and Jesus
By your side through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own you got me and Jesus

After all that we’ve been through
Be now you know I’ve doubted too
But everytime my head was in my
Hands you said to me
Hold on to what we got
This is worth any cost so
Make the most of life
That’s borrowed
Love like there’s no tomorrow

[chorus]