Figure Drawing Weekend!

This weekend was extra fun, partly because I finished working at a hellhole, and partly because it was social!  Saturday, I went to the movies with my boyfriend and some college friends that he hasn’t seen in a long time.  They were all really friendly and easy to talk to.  We had drinks, saw the movie, and ate wayyy too much Thai food.

Sunday, I did a bunch of boring errands and then my boyfriend, a couple friends, and I went to Midtown to attend a figure drawing meetup.  It was great!  It’s the second we’ve (all) done this year.  Most of us are out of practice by years, so everyone is struggling, haha!  It feels good though, and I’m happy to see improvement already.  The guy who runs the Meetup runs it like a traditional figure drawing class, so we started with ten 30-second poses, 10 one minute poses, and then switched to 20 minute poses for the rest of the 3 hours.

The model was absolutely BEAUTIFUL…she had almost no fat except in her butt and boobs, so her shoulders and back showed off these muscles I didn’t really know about till now.  My own back is uh, too soft to learn anatomy off of :P

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re in an art store and try buying everything…and blaming your personal lack of skill on the tools.  I hear people say that in the room.  But as long as you have something sharp and something to shade with, that’s all you need.  Sometimes, like in the case of a graphite pencil, you get both in the same tool.  It’s a pet peeve of mine to hear people blame their tools when there is no shame is simply saying, “I need more practice,” or “I’m pretty rusty”.

Inappropriate At Work #9: Your Halitosis

This isn’t my usual little post about sexual harassment or some other offending comment. This is about an offending smell that no one wants surrounding them at work. Probably not even the perpetrator.

It’s a weird kind of torture. For the past two days, a guy has been sitting at the station to my right with terrible halitosis. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or what he eats, it’s just always sprouting from him when his mouth opens. He sits over a yard away from me and I can smell it, it’s that bad. The air is a minefield; sometimes it’s clear breathing for a few minutes, then suddenly the stench assails your face. Invisible. Stealthy. Lunch is my reprieve, because he’ll leave the area and then I can work in peace. Evening has more frequent bombings, because he gets talkative with coworkers.

Podcasts For Foodies!

I’m one of those people who likes to talk about food, learn about food, and eat a lot of food.  When I’m preparing dinners at home, it gets a little boring without a little noise…so I turn on a food-related podcast to keep me company :)  Here’s a few of my favorites so far, in alphabetical order.

America’s Test Kitchen

[Link]

This is probably one of the most popular food podcasts out there, and for good reason.  I learn a lot by listening to their Q&A section in the beginning and the interviews in to current and historical food methods are pretty interesting. There’s a ton of back episodes too, so they’ll keep you busy for a long time.  They’re part of the Cook’s Illustrated network, and consequently have all the experience and technique you’d expect from a CI book.  There’s also a section in the show for equipment reviews, which are pretty great since you have to pay to access the text versions online, and a wine tasting and taste testing section….both of which I don’t care much about!

Gastropod

[Link]

This podcast is pretty new, so there aren’t many episodes yet…but they’re all really good! If you like food AND it’s history and science, listen to Gastropod!  The first ep especially was really interesting – about how the material your utensils are made of change the taste of food.  It made me really want to eat ice cream with a gold spoon :)

KCRW Good Food

[Link]

This one was a new discovery for me, recommended by a fellow foodie coworker.  They’re based in San Francisco, so expect a lot of chat about local SF restaurants.  I haven’t listened to many episodes yet, but I did hear them go over the history of edible underwear in their latest episode, and talk about the gentrification of SF’s Chinatown.  A lot of the topics look really interesting so I recommend checking them out too.

The Sporkful

[Link]

Another new-ish podcast, based in NY this time!  The host has interesting discussions about food, but instead of just focusing on the past (eps on bagels and the origin of Belgian waffles), he also highlights and discusses new and more interesting ways to enjoy food.

Hope you guys enjoy these podcasts as much as I do!  They keep me motivated to keep cooking nearly every weeknight.

My Experience With HSIL And The LEEP Procedure

A needle, over a foot long, to administer anaesthetics. Took a pic while waiting for the doctor to come in to the exam room.


Note: I wrote this on my phone about 3 weeks ago, on my commute home from my LEEP procedure.  It took me some time to revisit this entry, since a big part of me wanted to forget about it.

As I ride the subway home from the hospital, feet apart to manage the sway, I wonder to myself. Do I feel weak from being nervous, or from having an electrical current shooting through me?

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Being A Villain Is Being A Friend

Sometimes I feel like I’m a villain when I’m with my friends.  They spill their problems and worries, ask for advice, and I tell them what they don’t want to hear.  9 times out of 10, I will tell you to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.  9 times out of 10, I will tell you “That really sucks, but this is one of those times you need to pull yourself together and man up.”  I focus on the weakness in their relationship, deem it unworthy in my own eyes, and tell them it’s over.

In a way, you could call it tough love.  But as the person doling out what people don’t want to hear but need to hear, it gets me a little down sometimes.  I start wondering, why does it seem like everyone’s in a shitty relationship?  Why does it seem like everyone is making bad choices?  But hey, I’ve been there too, so logically I do know the answer.  It’s just hard to see things objectively when you’re the one in the shitty relationship and the shitty-but-easily-escapable situation.  And thankfully, I too have friends who can be a villain and tell me the hard truths I need to hear.

What’s really rare, though…is when a friend actually TAKES this advice!  When they actually do break up with their significant other.  When they face the hard truth and deal with it.  It so rarely happens.  And even rarer than that, a virtual unicorn, is the “thank you” that may come afterwards.

Recently, a coworker of mine went through a breakup while we were rushing at work.  I have no idea how he even got work finished because if I were in his situation, I’d just shut down and not be productive.  He vented to me about his relationship, about what he loved about his girlfriend, about what he hated.  And what does a villainous friend do?  The villainous friend latches on to the bad stuff and slings it back to her coworker’s face, in full fury.  It was clear to me that they weren’t compatible on a fundamental level, and I tried my best to make it clear to him, too.  Two big red flags for me: she was uncreative but constantly complained that she wanted to do something about it (So why not just do it? Huge personal pet peeve), she constantly talked about “the ex” and how much better he was.  At what, I can only imagine. But HEY EVERYONE….You’re only allowed to compare your ex to your current boyfriend if it makes your current boyfriend look awesome in comparison!!  What the hell kind of bitch will say their ex was better at x y z?  A soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend kind of bitch!  I had no guilt in persuading my coworker that it’s great that his relationship is exploding.

“You dodged a bullet,”  I told him.

Days later, whenever my coworker would feel the urge to try and break their “no contact” agreement, he remembered those words.  I really don’t feel that I said all that much, and we weren’t very close beforehand.  But the fact that he latched on to those words meant, to me, that breaking up was the right choice for him.  He knew deep down that it wasn’t working out, he just needed a 3rd party to let him know: you’re not crazy for thinking that.  Throughout January, she would ring his phone, an attempt to break no-contact even though she imposed it herself.  He’d tilt his phone towards me, and I’d shake my head.  My coworker would turn the phone face down and get back to work.

Well, we’ve come this far.  I may as well brag some more, as he is one of the few people who listened to me when I was the devil on his shoulder.  Most people ask for my advice and don’t take a word of it, so this felt GREAT :D  I’ve probably told everyone I’ve ever met to break up.  Your relationship shouldn’t be a chore, you should light up when talking about that special person in your life.  Despite how often I say this, I feel it’s true every time.  Most relationships just suck.  Anyway!  My coworker had also hurt his leg two years ago; it still aches and he never got it looked at.  So what do I do but bully him in to calling a PT NOW, not later once he does other errands, but he needed to make that appointment on the phone NOW.

Couple days later, which is today, I got a message on my phone.  “Thanks again for the push.  Day one was eye opening for my leg. Alot learned and quite hopeful actually.”

Left a smile on my face :)

Cloning My Old Roommate

My old roommate was perfect, and had all this nice house stuff for us to use – a blender, a vacuum, glasses to drink water with (what a novelty!), pots and pans for cooking…the list goes on!  So I’m slowly buying replacements … that are pretty much the same exact things she had!  If she came back to visit, which she might do and almost did already, she might freak out a little.

With my week off, I’ve had time to go shopping!  Allow me to show off some crappy iPhone pics of my railroad apartment…

For The Kitchen

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Proceeding With Caution With A New Roommate

It hasn’t even been a year and I’m on the 4th roommate!!

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  As soon as I moved in with my boyfriend, his 2 roommates moved out to be with their boyfriends.  Roommate #1 was a disgusting pack rat, while Roommate #2 was quiet and kept to herself.  The only story I have about her is of that time when my boyfriend walked in on her giving a blowjob to her boyfriend :O  It’s a railroad apartment and, with the way things were arranged at the time, you have to walk through her room to access the rest of the apartment.  Since that incident, we’d just exit the apartment in to the “lobby” and bypass her room, and go through the other entrance to get to the bathroom, kitchen, and living room.  Yeah…not a great layout!

Roommate #3 was the best roommate we could’ve gotten!  I pushed to get her during the Craigslist interviews, and it turned out great.  We have nothing, and she had everything.  Great pots, pans, dishware, just…everything!  She was clean and picked up better than I did.  Even her boyfriend was really friendly and fun to hang out with.  But alas…..she moved out to a 1-bedroom with him a few blocks away, and took all her lovely house stuff with her!  No more blender to make smoothies, no more GLASSES to drink water out of, no more bathroom accessories, pots, pans, can openers, etc.  Yeah, I wasn’t exagerrating when I said we didn’t have much to our name!  I have a bed, clothes, computer, and gaming systems.  Oh, and the dog!

I’m undecided about Roommate #4, another Craigslist find, like all the previous ones.  She was really friendly when we interviewed her, albeit very desperate to get the place.  As if it were a job interview, she sent us her LinkedIn page and kept following up through text and email.  But hey, she was friendly…maybe it’s fine.  #4 and #3 were both from Long Island, and #3 mentioned how it was really hard to get an apartment when people found out she was from Long Island.  Brokers especially wouldn’t take her.

I’m still a little skeptical about the new girl.  She’s still very nice but some things are odd.  She paid her security deposit with a check that had her office’s name on it, not her own.  She has literally two bins of clothing and a mattress on the floor, which she just bought.  There’s still plastic wrapped around the box spring.  I know she owns toothpaste, an electric toothbrush, a towel, and a single mason jar for drinking.  That’s it!  Maybe she’s just minimalistic?  Or maybe I’m making excuses?  She doesn’t cook, which I knew from her interview. It’s just odd to me.  Oh, and I think she has 2 boyfriends, though she doesn’t label them in that way, they’re just her “friends”.  One of them is super friendly and I like him, the other one is a CREEP.  He does 3D like me, except…kind of a hack.  My boyfriend showed me the guy’s site and it’s all awful, unironically awful!  He said hi while I was prepping bits of raw chicken a couple nights ago, and that one encounter has me disturbed.  I don’t even know what he was saying fully, but he made some comment about “Two little Asian girls living together”.  Roommate gave him a look, while I cut him off and changed the subject.  Sure, he had a jack & coke in his hand, but he wasn’t drunk.  Just.  Creepy.  Both guys sleep in her room with her, and it’s all very quiet.  Yes, I’m kinda being a weirdo by being so interested, haha.  Boyfriend thinks the Creepy Dude is probably great in bed, while the Nice Guy is, you know, the one who’s fun to hang out with…like they independently fulfill 2 aspects a person may desire.

Goodbye Hiatus, Hello 2015!

Feels like every time I write a new post, I’m saying, “It’s been a while!”  Well, to sum up the time since my last post, life just went crazy.  There was the holidays, there were medical issues that I’m still trying to wrap up (went to the doctor 6 times in Dec.), and crazy amounts of work to do.  I’ve been staying late and working weekends.  Now that it’s February, I’ve mostly been taking it easy and recuperating….filling my days with cleaning and fixing stuff up around the house.  I finally got to get a haircut – they say you should go every 2-3 months, it’s been half a year for me!  And did 4 loads of laundry.  I’m kind of amazed how much clothes I own, because I still had stuff I could wear….albeit ugly stuff that I should be donating soon.  Oh yeah, and we got a new roommate!!  So that’s been hectic too.

I have several blog posts in progress at the moment, so things are gonna get active again around here :)  I wish I could have a better work-life-balance, but so far it’s just not in the cards for me.   So I’ll try to make the most of my current free time and do all the hobby stuff I’ve been yearning to do!

Freelance Life: The Ups and Downs, All In One Day

Found in the kitchen at work...

The life of a freelancer is fraught with uncertainty. Many of us live day to day, unsure of where we’ll be tomorrow. We wait by our phones, we constantly refresh our email inboxes. One missed message could determine whether you make rent that month.

Today’s story is about a roller coaster ride my job sponsored about a week ago.

I was working at an agency that booked me way in advance for a week, and they wanted to book me for the rest of the month. It was easy and fun design work, and I was excited to say yes…till I took a closer look at the schedule. There were weird gaps in it – work for Mon. – Wed., then off till next week’s Thursday. Repeat and repeat. I calculated that this would net me 2 weeks worth of income instead of a full month’s worth, which was unacceptable. The gap days weren’t long enough for me to find additional work elsewhere. So I started negotiating with the producer – give me a more solid booking or else I reject the job. It’s just financially stupid for me to accept!

“Okay, I’ll see what we can do,” she said. The producer knew it was unfair. “The Creative Director REALLY likes working with you, so I’m sure we’ll find other projects to keep you occupied during the down time.”

I felt good. Relieved. Maybe “ask and you shall receive” really is a thing!

Lunch came and went. The two coworkers I’d been asking out to lunch all week had left without asking me. Bitches.

When everyone returned, the producer stood up. “Our client decided to make drastic script changes, and we won’t hear anything back from them till October 20th at the earliest. We’ll honor all bookings already made….”

If I were a cartoon, you would’ve seen my head collapse in on itself! I didn’t book like everyone else in the room – I gambled and lost and now I’ll have NO income for the rest of the month!!!! Sweating, I tried to talk myself down with logic. I knew this was a risk. This is probably for the better…So, like the calm person I am, I sent out stacks of emails to studios, hunting for work, in less than ten minutes. My lines were out. SOMEONE had to bite…right?

And someone did!! I felt giddy and immediately, desperately said yes. It’s a good thing most bookings happen in text form, I’d just incoherently spazz out on the phone! YES, GIVE ME YOUR MONEY :D

Then, a tap on my shoulder.

Then, the Creative Director pulled me in to his glass office. It felt like being in the Principal’s office. I was panicking again.

“I heard about you wanting a more solid booking, I’m really sorry to see you go after this Friday.”

Ugh, me too. I regretted all those fancy pens and $70 leggings I just bought. Oh and the $40 leggings too…

“And this is really premature of me to ask right now, but would you be interested in a staff position here?”

A….WHAT?! My head re inflated.

“I think you’re extremely talented and I really hate to lose you. You’re…26? So you’re probably interested in insurance and retirement benefits, right??”

My head inflated even more, and then it popped.

The end!

EPILOGUE

Staff isn’t something he can just throw around, but it sounded like something we would talk about again later this year. It also wouldn’t change October’s schedule; luckily I immediately found work elsewhere, doing some cool stuff :)  Other freelancers have a very calm, come what may attitude, and are okay taking 6 months off in the year.  Me….I’m of the traditional school of thought, where you should work as long as you’re able, while you’re young, to save up money for retirement.  I don’t believe Social Security can support me (or if it’ll even be around) in the future, so it’s a big concern to me.

Fiction VS Non-Fiction: The Worst Thing You Could Do Is Choose A Side

Like The Daily Post’s prompt today says, there exists a “Great Divide” between non-fiction and fiction lovers.  But why choose one side when you can have the best of both?

I used to be one of those people who simply couldn’t read non-fiction.  What was the point if I was already living real life?  A book was supposed to unleash your imagination, I thought, it was supposed to make you experience incredible journeys and fantasies that could never happen in real life.

But the same can be said about non-fiction books – they let you experience the incredible journeys and fantasies that have never happened in YOUR life!  So why close one option off in favor of the other?  Perhaps this is just be growing up.  As a child, not only did I exclusively read fiction, I exclusively watched cartoons.  That’s right, I never watched live action shows.  Friends?  Seinfeld? They were all stupid and boring real-life people, who cares!  Now that I’m not a little jerk, I care!
So I’ve made a new rule for myself.  After one book of fiction, I have to read a non-fiction book afterwards….and I’m so happy I made this rule.  It’s made me pick up so many stories that I never would have before, made me learn about what it was like in Nazi camps for Jews, what it was like growing up a poor thug in Gowanus, and what it was like to leave your home in China, slash through Thai jungles and run the Mexican border to get to New York City.  I’ve fallen in to enough Wikipedia holes about WWII soldiers to know that Mark Twain was 100% correct when he said,

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

It’s not unheard of for movies to change true stories when they do the screenplay version, because the truth would make audiences say, “That’s too unrealistic!”

My favorite non-fiction book so far: The Snakehead .
The next fiction book I want to read: The Magician’s Land (Book 3).