Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last post of the year, most likely

Wow, is it really the 31st of December?
Did I really just press through all of NaBloPoMo with minimal missed posts? It was bound to happen, with all that was going on for the month.

Which reminds me! I've got to tell ya'll about my time in Vegas. It was great :D
I actually opted to stick my own entries on the dates they occurred, so, below José's posts. You can view them here and here.
I was going to put them here, but I wanted to keep this as a kind of New Year post. Reflection of 2008, hopes for 2009 post, stuff like that.

I often don't remember things very well. There were a few very memorable events that occured during 2008, though, among them the trip to Washington D.C. we took with some friends from Germany. Really, anything we do is superfun as long as we're with them. I did a bunch fun things with Alex while we were together, and although we're not anymore, I can't deny that it was great being with him. I went rock climbing for the first (and hopefully not the last) time, went to Texas and loved it, attended a RODEO on the 4th of July! – hee, these were all summer events, at least the last 3 were.

Spring semester saw me struggle with my first drawing class, Summer saw me pick up my first paid job at a local art school, and Fall saw me attain higher levels in art skill with my first life drawing class. Not to mention I saw more than any normal person's fair share of nudity in 3 months ;P No, art students and Europeans aren't normal people! Kiddingkidding :P

I made some new friends, and got back in touch with the old. Do you ever wonder why you haven't hung out with a person sooner? The person you always say you'd hang out with, but never do, and there are never any hard feelings, just the interception of life? I felt that, but ultimately I'm glad to have reconnected with some people, like José and Brendel. Through them I did make new friends like Chelsea, and I'm always glad for that.

I went through some drama again this year which I'm not that comfortable saying aloud here, but everybody who reads this pretty much knows what happened. I want to thank you all for helping me through this, it seriously seemed so bleak at times, like I'd never get out of the dark. You were my morning stars, points of light in the dark, and you helped guide me home, and I'll always love you for that.

My health took a plunge when my scoliosis started to give me trouble. Funny that that should happen as I was studying anatomy in the human figure, because it gave me a deeper understanding of how connected everything in the body is. It's like a microcosm: cause and effect, cause and effect. The twists in my spine twisted my ribs, making one side more pushed closer together; it got harder to breathe and I started breathing from my diaphragm, so that when my chest did expand it caused all sorts of pain. I've been in physical therapy since around the end of October, and my session expires on the 18th of January. I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking, and think I should be just dandy after the 18th.

I voted in a major election for the very first time, and the results were surprising for everybody.
America elected its first biracial president!
China threw a dazzling Olympics, despite all the crap that went down behind it.
There were fires in California again, but really, what could you expect?

I was exposed to many wonderful things. I'm sorry to say that Heroes took somewhat of a downfall, but I found my pleasure in books like Ender's Game and Watchmen, which will remain at the top of my list. Wall-E only strengthened my love for Pixar, and when Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out, that pretty much sucked me in. I was also introduced to Metal Gear Solid games which, while difficult, were very fun. Don't let me go into all the new music I got into, there are just too damn much.

Though all this, I wanted to thank a few people:

Lauren - For always being a good friend, someone excellent to talk to when I needed it. Whether we were plotting some weird antic, talking about life and love, or sharing what we liked, you were never judgemental and I always feel safe talking to you. Thanks for doing NaBloPoMo with me, too!

Justin - I'm glad we got to talk more this year. You're a great guy, and we've totally had our fair share of troubles, but I'm grateful to have gone through all this with you. You kept me grounded, buddy!

Brent - I will ALWAYS be thankful for you, you're simply the best!

Brendel - You're another person I'm glad I got closer to this year. It surprises me how much we had in common, and then how much more you had to offer in terms of advice, both in life and in fashion. I think out of everybody, you helped me the most in getting through the aforementioned drama. You were like, my coach, or something. Thanks so much.

Chelsea - CLAMMY HAND BUDDIES! A new friendship between us has forged, and I'd like to hang out with you more. Thanks for doing NaBloPoMo as well!

José - Your influence on me has been spectacular, like a supernova close enough to brighten the night sky. Watching the way you view and take in the world is great, I think that's helped me increase my own contentedness with life by leaps and bounds. You're a wonderful person, "just what the doctor ordered," and I can't wait to spend more time with you come the new year.

As always, my family, FSK, the Se7en, and my Germany friends are completely top-notch. All times are good times, and whatever the bads were paled by comparison. See, I don't even remember them, that's how awesome you are XD

Last but certainly not least, I wanted to thank God for another good year. I've definitely been through some trials and tribulations, but as the saying goes, God won't give you anything you can't get through. I'm glad He's blessed me with the people He has, and has given me unbelievable amounts of newfound strength. I'm not the same person I was on the 1st of January 2008: I'm harder, better, faster, ad stronger! All right, maybe not faster or harder, but I'm definitely stronger and much, much better.

Thanks to all my readers, those who left comments and those who didn't.
May you all have a wondrous celebration and a prosperous new year! We had a good orbit, Earth, let's do it again for 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Puri pictures!




Teehee.

So today I was supposed to do lunch with a friend, Alex V., aka "Van" aka "Squidbuddy" aka "that guy REALLY likes Wall-E." We were supposed to get crepes, but as I was just getting ready, pain hit my stomach like a shovel hits the dirt, and as I lay curled up on the floor it just kept digging deeper and deeper. I had to crawl over to my phone and tell Alex that I couldn't go today. Sadness. So for a good few minutes I was curled up – I didn't feel well enough to be able to do anything else, until I dragged myself to the bathroom. I was home alone, and it sucked. I went between curling up and then crawling to the bathroom, too much in pain to go to sleep or walk downstairs to fix me some soup. I stuck to sitting, hunched over, surfing the internet. Kat was telling me about her opinions on the story (much "OMG" and "CRAZY!"), and José later offered to come over and make soup for me. I took it gratefully – it sucks being home alone and feeling sick.

So I dragged myself out to let him in before sinking into the couch and letting him do the rest. Inny sweet? Then we watched Cowboy Bebop, talked until I felt better, then he showed me some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I was kind of disheartened when he told me that even if I had the same skill level as he, he would still be able to beat me because he's more massive. So being small won't really benefit me much in wrestling against someone bigger than I. Thinking in terms of street self-defense, any attacker may not know such techniques and can be thrown off by whatever I may know. Yes, this is what I think about.

I felt better enough to continue on with some shopping plans I made with Brendel. He's got quite the eye for fashion, including women's fashion, so I thought shopping with him would be beneficial, and he just got his paycheck and totally wanted to burn some of it. The mall stroll ended up being kind of disappointing; he didn't get anything and I got like one shirt. It's really cute, although my mom thinks it's too tight on me. Greeeeat. I suppose I'll try the medium and switch it if it fits better. Brendel also made me try on leggings, which I refused to try, and I think I may have liked them? I always thought my legs would look weird and sticky in them, but everybody tells me I have nice legs. We'll see how this develops.

Later we picked up his girlfriend Rachel and went to a sushi place. I wasn't that hungry, so we just shared like 2 dishes. Their dynamite sushi had SO MUCH STUFF, it's like, where do the toppings end and sushi begins?! We wanted to meet up with their friends Allen and Kelly coz they were there, but those two opted for a separate table to be more "couply" :P But we ended up all going to Coldstones together. I got "That's How I Roll." Mmm.

Although I didn't find many things I liked, much less actually bought, he did give me some pretty good shopping tips that I'll remember. We're planning on hitting up another, better mall, and trying our luck there.

I don't think I'll turn shopping into this huge hobby, but it's always nice to find things you look and feel good in. In any case, I think I need to get a job just to have some cash flow going... and more importantly, experience. Lord knows I need it! I also need to chuck out old clothes, probably send them to the Philippines like we always do. These would be clothes that still fit me (I haven't exactly grown much in the past few years), but aren't being worn anymore, so they'll be pretty good :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

What a daaaayy!

So I realized all too late that I didn't have a blog post for Monday the 29th. I thought I had done one in the wee hours, but that was what I did for Sunday I guess. The days are running together because it is break time. So I guess I missed yet another day.

Since I missed posting on the day of, I guess it's only fair to dedicate this blog TO the actual day, so ya'll know what kept me from Sans Raison.

Today was the day of the 2nd Annual Holiday Reunion-Party of The Se7en!
That's what the group is called; we are Jordan, Brent, Scott, Kat, Aaron, Fabian, and Livia. We all know each other from high school band and have been in touch since then. We all get on quite well, we have fun together, and we're all characters in the story Brent and I are writing. It's not as bad as it sounds, the story involves all of us in the future and leading these fantastical intertwined lives filled with drama and crime and crap! It's great fun :D Brent and I felt the need to 'flesh out' the characters beyond just our own understanding, so really they are caricatures of ourselves, with appropriate exaggerated features. Anyway!

So today we added two to the Se7en – Fabian's beau, Ebeth, and José. We met up at my house and then drove out to Cerritos to eat at this Asian-Hawaiian-ish place called Guppy's. The food was really very good, actually. We all ended up ordering individually, but we mooched off everybody else so it was good fun. Their grilled salmon was deeeeelicious! I haven't met a fish I didn't like yet, honestly. The sides, like the potato salad and stuff, tasted a little strange, but didn't take away from the eating experience. I loved that they started us off with miso soup. Miso = defreakinglicious.

Afterward we went to a place with a bunch of Purikura booths.
Purikura is like a little photobooth – you know, the ones where you squeeze into with all your friends and get stickers and little sheets printed from them? Yea, it's Japanese, and it's bigger than those normal photobooths, and after you take your pictures, you go into another booth and DECORATE THEM with all these neat little graphics and stuff. They end up looking extreeeemely colorful and crazy, but that's the fun of it! The prints come out tiny for the 9$ you pay, but it's a fun little experience. I was surprised we were able to fit all 9 of us in there, cripes! Unfortunately I don't have our print with me, I don't know who does, but when I get my hands on it or copies of it I'll definitely post the craziness up here.

Afterward we all gathered at Brent's house and exchanged gifts. I got Fabian, and Aaron got me... he gave me this book, 200 Projects to Strengthen Your Art Skills! How cool is that?! It goes by things like exercising using lines, shapes, colors, composition, etc. This is PERFECT for me right now, when I definitely need to get on the ball with being more proactive about creating. Fabian seemed to enjoy the beanie I got him, he kept wearing it all night, and then the shirt I got him, too. I'm glad :D

After all presents were exchanged I brought out a brown sleeve from Kinko's and announced that Brent and I had another gift coming: PART 2 OF OUR STORY! We're working in parts, you see, mostly for the purpose of handing it to them in nice-sized packs. This time we went to Kinko's and actually made 5 hard copies of it, printed front and back and stapled and everything. They were so excited, I was so happy to see them that way :) We'd been working on this story for a good 3 years now... honestly, I didn't know Brent and I knew such tenacity, such resilience, but here we are, 2 parts and 12 chapters into this story that keeps growing. We've been working on part 2 for 2 years, can you believe that? What a wait they had to endure! But it's in their hands now :)

Then we sang karaoke and played Cranium. José and I were a team, and we won! Brent was awesome and had prizes ready for winners; I got glow-in-the-dark CONSTELLATIONS and José got a Newton's Cradle. I kept playing with it, those things just make me so damn happy for some reason. Also, I already have glow-in-the-dark stars up in my room, so the constellations will be handsome additions to my little patch of Universe. And y'know what? I'm going to place the one for Sagittarius (my own star sign) right above my bed, then place them in the order they appear on the sky. That's right, I pretty much sealed my own nerdiness right there, but can you say that you have a fairly accurate line of the zodiac along your walls and ceiling? Didn't think so ;P

Livia, Fabian, and Ebeth left, and the rest of us went for a Taco Bell run for dinner. I kept needing to munch all night, no idea why. Everybody else skidaddled after that, and it was only José, Brent and me left at Brent's house. So we decided to play Risk. Damn game was so HARD! I definitely made some revealing choices from the get-go; by spreading my troops out too thin I lost a lot and constantly struggled to hold onto the one continent I had (Europe). I was actually getting really mad, and I don't know why XD I guess a sense of competition set in VERY STRONGLY, which was odd. But while I sulked around as José and Brent covered the board in their respective Yellow and Red armies, I got inspired to do a Risk-related art piece, which is always good. I guess I'll vent my frustration that way! :P

We wouldn't never finished that game. I would've probably been wiped clean off the board, but José and Brent would've still been going at it by now, a good 3.5 hours after we started. Guh. One of these days we'll set aside a buttload of time to play this game, and that next time, I won't be cornered! Y'hear me, I won't! *shakes fist*

So yea, I'm home now, telling you all this. I still have to recount the event of the Vegas trip. Perhaps tomorrow, I shouldn't be not-home all day :P Catch ya'll on the flip side!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

And now, back to our regular programming

Jordan's back, and speaking in the third person! Pah :P

Biiiiiig thanks to José for babysitting my blog for me! I had brought Galaxy with me, but couldn't get internet at any time during the trip. I tried to leech internet at the hotel, but the only one that worked was a connection I had to pay $13.99 per 24-hour-period for. Ew.

Hope you all enjoyed his writing!
And if you're sad that he left, you can always go check out his blog here, although he doesn't update it a lot. One word: hassle. Pah! You'll be seeing more of his creative writing here anyway if I post our collaborations. Huh, funny that I spoke about that (and him) right before he had to do posts for me, like it was an intro to that. I didn't mean it to be, because I didn't anticipate not getting internet until later on. So there you have it.

José brought up a good point in the previous post: why is this NaBloPoMo project so important? Honestly, I don't know. I thought it was a good idea, I wanted to get back into blogging, and I figured since I'm fairly good at sticking to obligations, I'd join this project that would challenge me every day. He mentioned that I could've written or drawn for each day I missed, and my first thought to that was, But then I wouldn't be able to post it on that day!
Then something clicked.
All this time I had been thinking of NaBloPoMo as a committment to post to the online blog every day, but the underlying concept was to be able to write something every day. I very well could have written in my sketchbook (I did bring it on my trip) and then copied or scanned it in for each day I missed. Then José wouldn't have had to do my blog for me, and I wouldn't have had to give him my password, and I wouldn't have to change it now. Not that I don't trust you, José (I nearly just typed "'zay" in there), just a precaution. Heee.

So yea, I guess the next time I do NaBloPoMo I'll just do that.

Speaking of next time begs the question: Will Jordan be participating in NaBloPoMo for January?

That's a tough one. Two months in a row? Oooph. Two 31-day months, at that!
Is it too much for Jordan? Is it too much for her public?

Well, say I don't join NaBloPoMo for the month of January.
With my newfound blogging skills, I'll still be able to maintain a happy, healthy blog without the crutch of the obligation of having to write a post a day. That's a mouthful. And it'll be less for you readers to keep up with!

But say I do join NaBloPoMo for January.
The theme of the month is "Change," and at first I thought, "I could write VOLUMES on Change, but I don't want to rehash old memories in blogpost-form!" Then I had a more brilliant idea: I could use this NaBloPoMo thing as, again, an engine! To propel my need to sketch every day forward. I did it so I can kickstart my blogging, and now I can use it to kickstart my sketching. It'll kind of keep in touch with the theme of Change; if I sketch every day, I will undoubtedly see some change, right?

Hahaha, the second option is looking mighty handsome right now, especially now that I've written out the brilliant idea. besides, I'm on break for all of January, and who knows, these sketches could turn up more good stuff, like actual long-term projects.

I think I just made the decision :P

Anyway, ども ありがとう ございます again to José. My grip on the 'deeper' concept of NaBloPoMo might've been misplaced, but he went along with it and posted for me. It's fun having guest posts! Totally not copping out ;P

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Second Edition

Jordan, still in Vegas shaking her fists at the Casino hounding, "One more year!" in frustration in her inability to gamble, is still unable to update Sans Raison herself. Once again I will be filling in.

I wonder, as you might, "Is this NaBloMo really that important?" I'll say simply that I respect her commitment to the thing. Could she not have blogged "on the go," perhaps some sort of blogging on her Macbook, Galaxy? Maybe even written in some of collection of paper, something in which the pages are reamed together? An unlive journal? If it was leather bound, a dead journal? Though in a handwritten journal you don't have access to bold or even crazy fonts

Then again Jordan is an artist, she could always just draw out how she feels and what is going on with her. Unfortunately I am unskilled in the drawing form and therefore I am secluded to text.

Jordan likes to find comparisons between her sister Mika and I. This is mainly because, well, in a lot of odd ways we're very alike. We both have very similar tastes in music. If I looked at Mika I wouldn't ever imagine that she loved underground artists and local acts like Dilated Peoples or Murs. We both also seem to be in love with black people, as a group, and copying them in attempts to be cool or phat or stupid or dumb or whatever kids like to be these days. Mika and I might also phrase something in exactly the same way the most recent account of this being the phrasing of "Thunder Thighs" to describe the powerful and enormous version of thighs such as my own, or as Mika may have been describing Jordan's Thunder Thighs.

I am currently obsessed with the song "Sooner or Later" by N.E.R.D.

I thoroughly appreciate the use of levels, the slow buildup, the hyped bombastic crash symbols, the nearly excessive guitar solo at the end.

Speaking of music, I have been enamored with many songs of late as my new interest in bboying this quarter had given me a new reason to hunt for music. That being, finding music that I would enjoy dancing to and not only listening to. Though I could list many, the last major favorite of mine was "I Believe In Miracles" by the Jackson Sisters. "Beggin" by Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, as well as the other versions by Pilooski or Madcon are fantastic breakbeats. I may be somewhat bias to this music, as much as I like them for the purpose of listening. I can't help but feel like other people can't appreciate them on the same level that I do. They haven't seen the amazing things people can do to these beats. How can they know?




Jordan here again, recalling what happened to me on this day.
Just keepin' it chronological, yo.
After the party at RB and Seba's house last night, we parted ways. Kyle's family left to stay with their relatives just outside the strip in Vegas, Josh's family left as well, and it was just my family with Nathan's parents. We had to rush to check out early and take Nathan's parents to the air port so they can go home. Then our own trip home!
On the way we stopped by the Primm, an outlet mall right on the way. I fell asleep (big surprise) for a good hour I think before stepping out of the car and joining my family in the shopping center. I walked out with a lime green sweater and bright turquoise pants. I LOVE those pants definitely, even though they're kind of loose on me. Anyway!

We drove backy back to my Amah's (grandma) house to rest up and stuff. Then we drove back home. That's pretty much it ;P

Thanks for the posts, José, I know I enjoyed them!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Substitute

As Jordan Jolls Gracious is off gallivanting with her family in the City of Sin and peering into the depths of the Giant Hole Arizona is famous for, I Josè will be filling in for today's post.

She regaled to me her experiences upon arriving in Vegas, eating Panda Express. And this morning? BUFFET. It reminds me of what my friend Jason, who works with Jordan's mother coincidentally, would say upon having a dinner, "WE SHALL HAVE A FEAST!" arms raised in emphatic postulation.

How was my day? Why I'm so glad you asked. I awoke this morning, perhaps I awoke several times to an empty room in my neighbors house. Don't worry, I feel asleep there, and this is a close near-family neighbor. Last night we drove all the way to AMC 20 Rolling Hills from Carson to partake in some late night watching of The Spirit, only to find the last showing sold out. Valkyrie? Sold out. There was really nothing else we wanted to see, and all the other theaters which were about to start, or were starting were full. A pity, that. So we despondently drove home in an implacable mood. We decided to stay in and watch a movie, breaking a chain of late night Rock Band playing which had become the pattern of late. Besides, his parents, who sleep in the room right above our "Rocktuary" could use the break.

Today I sessioned with my cousin. I can't say practice because I have to feel "bboy special." We ate some of his leftovers from Christmas. I ask, "Where's this chicken from?"
"KFC."
"Ahhh."
My cousin says, "I hate KFC."
"Popeyes is the best."

Then we played video games, specifically Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Too Long Name. In our younger days around the holidays we would all gather round the warm. . . television set and partake in wonderful competition that is video games. I suppose this little one on one session is a throwback to those days as the family on my father's side has splintered to say the least. Earliest memories? Bomberman. Was there some Mario Kart? Perhaps for the N64. I can never forget my cousin, this cousin, bringing the first edition of Resident Evil over the Christmas it came out, solidifying my brothers and my own interest in the Survival Horror genre for years to come. Incidentally I borrowed a game from him Christmas day, amongst our talk of bboying, video games, anime, and what have you. This game? Resident Evil 4. Today we did a trade, I gave him a copy of "The Freshest Kids" which is a fabulous bboying documentary about the origins of the art form and hip hop itself. He gave me the lastest Nujabes albums, the self styled hip hop, jazz and ambient sound producer. Our relationship influence has come full circle.

Hey guys, Jordan here, updating from THE FUTURE!
Nah, I wanted to go back and tack on my own experience of the day. I was going to do it on today's post (12/31) but I thought it'd be better chronologically to do it here. So everything's self contained, y'know?

So the sucky part was that Las Vegas has this tendency to sap my health. It's the dry weather there, I'm sure. I already have eczema-prone skin, combination skin, and it's just very bad for me. Not to mention it was DANGcold up there! Throughout the trip I kept taking frequent naps... in restaurants, car rides, just anywhere. People started to become concerned about me, I was just really pooped from Vegas is all.

The best part was getting to hang out with our friends from Germany. My family with Nathan's parents (Nathan is inthe Air Force now), Kyle's family (he lives in Cali with us) and Josh's family (who lives away) all stayed at the Mandalay Bay. Honestly, I don't think I've stayed at any other hotel on the strip, my parents are just such fans of the Mandalay! Anyway, we all arrived there on the night of Christmas, tired from the drive and extremely hungry. So guess what our Christmas dinner was? If you remember José's post, Panda Express and McDonald's. That's right. Rest up, wake up, brunch buffet! This was when I started telling José to update my blog, as well. Afterward we hit up the Fashion mall... Mika, Josh, Mikey and I just wandered around, seeing every window stickered with "SALE" signs and wondering if we should buy anything. The only money spent was spent on a pretzel.

Then we met up with Kyle and we all drove over to yet another Germany-friend's house! I hardly recognized RB because he'd grown so much (vertically, horizontally, and by way of facial hair), and Seba looked a lot older. Another family came: Bianca and Nico's family! They were supposed to be with us for the entire Vegas reunion, but they didn't, but they wanted to see everybody so they came. That made me happy, we were very close to them in Germany. All us kids ended up playing Halo 3 on XBox Live (we all love the way Kyle trash-talks the other guys), playing Mao ("failure to say thank you!"), and watching The Dark Knight. It was really loads of fun; all the while our parents were hitting up casinos. They did that a lot :P

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Christmas morning, I'm awake

I have to be awake at 8AM, but I'm awake now because I couldn't sleep.
At 9AM we're leaving for Loma Linda to do some mom's-side-Christmas-hangout-fun-time, and then actually leaving for Vegas at 2PM. I'm really, REALLY excited. Maybe that's why I couldn't sleep.

So what'm I doing in the meantime?
Facebooking, what else :P
I'm so unashamed to admit my slight addiction to the site.

I'm reading a long message José sent me. It's a short story he wrote by my request; I have my sketchbook in front of me, willing the gears in my head to churn out an image from the story. We started a collaborative project in which he'd write something and I'd draw to it. The content, length and detail of either piece varies with the whim of the creator, and this time I think I'll settle for just doing rough sketches to various scenes of his ditty. I'm a firm believer in the practice of doing something constantly to get better at it, although I don't actually practice it myself. That's what this project is all about. José is an English major, and when I saw that he doesn't write or put out as much work as he did before (I'm mostly referring to an older blog he doesn't keep up with anymore), I started pushing him to write more, even if it's just some random freewrite about whateverthehell. Then I thought, hey, I really should get into a sketching groove... why not artistically interpret his writing? So bam. There it is. And sometimes we'll switch it up, and I'll draw something from which he has to concoct a story.

Depending on how José feels about it, I may post the results up: his stories, my drawings. He's a good writer, honestly, and I think it'll only really get better the more of these we do. These collaborations will be excellent supplements to our own respective individual projects, diving boards from which to plunge into deep pools of creativity.

I've got to get to sleep!
Good night all, and HAPPY CHRISTMAS!
Jesus is the reason for the season ;)
May today and the days that follow be filled with love, because that's what it's aaall about!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

To start, I wanted to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season :) Whatever you celebrate, I hope it's filled with food, family, fun, and excellence!

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve already! I feel so behind, somehow.
I'm sticking to the theory that finals killed my holiday spirit. Everyone's getting their gifts from me late this year!

What's on the agenda for tonight... all right, we're having a dinner with my dad's side here at the house. It should be fun :) Last night we had a dinner with some family friends, and some craziness came out of it...



Eeeeyyyeeeaaahhh...
I'm thinking this lip-synching thing has to happen whenever I have people over ;) It's already happened twice in a row!

Honestly, I wanted to write something a little more profound, but my mind is going between tonight's party and packing for the trip to Las Vegas tomorrow. I'll definitely be bringing my laptop (a black Macbook I affectionately named Galaxy), otherwise I wouldn't be able to complete the challenge for this month!

Despite being a little late on Christmas, I really am thankful that I'm getting to see all the people I love this season. It's always the best part of this year.

I'll catch ya'll on the flip side!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And now, a short poem

By request of Brent!
I wrote this like 2 years ago. Needless to say, I hardly write poetry anymore.
If you want to use it somehow, don't forget to ask me and then give credit where it's due (sorry guys, the dislaimer is a habit with writing like this).

Prelude to a Surgery
Stick, stick, stick.
Beep... beep. Heart rate OK.
I smell white all around me, everywhere
and I see beep,
Beep beep. No, I'm fine. Maybe a little nervous.
There's the heart rate monitor,
Picking up pulses through the circles
on my wrists, my chest.
Short sting inside my elbow and
I hear numbness, it fills me.
How I know this, I don't know.
Mommy, you there?... I'm hungry.
I have a mask on, and I smell mind-numbing
"It'll be alright, I'll see you in an hour, okay?"
No, mommy, please stay...
I hear my vision blur
I taste... haze. All around.
There is one clear moment and it parts the sea
of nitrous oxide and anesthesia
I feel you squeeze my hand and tell me again,
"It'll be alrightsee you in an hour."
Words stumble numbly out my masked mouth
I smell white medical
I taste haze, I am not laughing.
The fight against sweet, sweet slumber
is lost.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tap, tap, tap...

...tap, tap. Pencil on desk.

New test subject, new theory. I have you under the microscope now, and we're ready to begin.

Evidence from the field predicts that you will act this way when faced with this stimulant... test initiated, confirmed. History reveals your tendency to boil at this temperature for approximately this amount of time, and freeze here. I have seen this on the field. This behavior is linked to this stimulant, but the tendency to adapt has also been displayed in response to... I have seen this on the field.

I have seen all of this on the field.

I peer through the microscope... you were better on the field, in your natural habitat. I look to my tests; must I really perform all this? If all has been observed, why provoke it further? Hadn't anyone ever heard of the Hawthorne Effect, anyway? Full appreciation doesn't come from behind any lens or within any lab, and from the moment I laid eyes on you something marvelous had been developing, and I don't have the heart to pick you apart any more. I don't need to.

So I set my pencil down and close my notes. I set you free.

I set myself free.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Musicals

So Lauren was a good, interactive little reader and responded to my request on something to write about :) She asked me what my favorite musical was.

I'd have to say The Phantom of the Opera.

I saw it live and cried, and then when I saw the movie, I cried again.

I'm not sure exactly what it is I love about Phantom. Its romantic, love-triangle storyline isn't something I'd normally go for. I think I very much like the chemistry present between Christine and the Phantom. There's so much raw seduction, fascination, and possession involved... you know it's an unhealthy 'relationship,' but you can't help but be drawn into it. I think I pretty much fell in love with the music as well, particularly "Past the Point of No Return." That scene was absolutely dripping with such raw emotion. In the movie, Gerard Butler makes an exceptionally sexy Phantom.



Damn, I get chills just by listening to it — then watching it is an ENTIRELY different story!

I've seen quite a few musicals in my time, and although I can attest to one's better story or scenery or set up as compared to Phantom, none of them have stuck in my head so well.

As a rundown, I've seen:
Starlight Express - it's about toy trains that come to life! I don't remember much of it, but it as the first live musical I saw, and I saw it in London. I forgot my glasses during it though! Ugh.

Mamma Mia! - It's such a fun musical! So catchy, the story was a bit confusing for me at first. How can you not get up and dance to ABBA songs?

The Lion King - The costumes were absolutely genius, as was the instrumental setup and music.

Wicked - It lived up to its hype: the story was excellent, the music moving, everything was absolutely top-notch. I'd definitely watch it again.

The Drowsy Chaperone - This was pretty funny, and hard to describe. It's about a guy playing a record of the songs from his favorite musical, titled The Drowsy Chaperone. The other players act out the musical while the guy pauses sometimes and makes random comments. Pretty good :D

I think that's all I've seen, including Phantom of course. There are a few more out there I'd LOVE to watch, like Spring Awakening and Avenue Q, and hopefully I'll get the chance to in the future.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Goodness, another butt-post

Seems as the holidays near, there will be more of these :P
Worry not, friends, I will update more later. Possibly. I'm running out of things to think about now that I have free time. Crazy, innit? Someone should, I dunno, give me something to do or something.

Or you can always suggest me something to write. You know, like I requested of you, dear reader, but a few entries ago? That's right. 

Ask me a question,

give me a topic,

tell me to give my opinion and/or analysis of something,

anything.

I'm leaving it up to you ;)

Friday, December 19, 2008

La vie en rose.

At this moment, I am content.

The songs on my newest playlist reflect my mood:
  • Louis Armstrong - La Vie en Rose
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World
  • Andrea Bocelli - Con Te Partiro
  • Luciano Parvarotti - Nessun Dorma
  • Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
  • Foo Fighters - Everlong (Acoustic)
I feel very relaxed and very content with life right now, there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

Like the fact that I have wonderful friends who have always been with me through pretty much everything — here's to you, Brent and Scott! — as well as friends who I've gotten closer to recently, and who have been helping me with my situation — that one goes out to you, Justin, Lauren, José and Brendel. You people are fantastic, and I feel so blessed to have you all in my life.

I just want to lay in a bed with all of you, listening to chill-out music (of my variety :P) til we all fall asleep and then wake up again to eat pie or something. José, Brent and I had warm peach pie with ice cream last night, while watching Wall-E. We were all sort of drifting in and out of sleep near the end of the movie, and I was sad to kick them out... a nice little sleepover would've completed the night.

Anyway, thanks to all you guys. You warm my heart.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Done with the semester!

RELIEF!
Today I had my life drawing final and political science final. Both went better than I thought they would. I'm just glad it's over. I'm so excited for next semester's classes! But thank God for break. My next classes are so cool. I'm totally going back and forth right now.

I realized that I need to start doing more serious art projects outside of school, ones that I can use for my portfolio. I have to actually think about and work on my art! This is so new for me, since all my life art has only been a hobby, something I do when the mood strikes. I guess it all has to change if I want to make it my career. I mean, sometimes I'll get the urge to just draw or create for the sake of creating, but it doesn't come that often.

I'll update with something else later, I'm going to watch Wall-E with José and Brent :)

Later...
Okay, I'm back to post one of my favorite songs.

Hallelujah
by Leonard Cohen, but as performed by Jeff Buckley.



I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
Well, it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah.

Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
So she tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah...
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah.

Baby I've been here before, I've seen this room and I've walked this floor, y'know
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch,
And love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Well, there was a time when you let me know what's really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Maybe there is a God above,
But all I've ever learned from love is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it's not a cry that you hear at night,
It's not somebody who's seen the light,
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelu...

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What do I write?

Do I do some research and bring back my findings?
No, I don't have time for that, I have to get to my project.

Another round of song-lyric posting?
Can't think of a song right now.

Hm.
Normally when I blog, I want the content to provide meaning for some people. When I blog, I want the reader to be able to take something from it — be it food for thought, a laugh, a cool link, a novel idea, whatever. This is probably why, over the years, I've blogged less and less about the daily happenings in my life. If you look at my old Xanga, that's pretty much all I wrote about, along with the occasional (HA!) survey or online quiz result. It really was all about me.

Actually, it's still about me, but my recent blogging habits turn my attention outward, toward the reader. If something happens to me that I want to write about, I will find the concept behind it and share it and invite you to contemplate how that fits in your life or something you've heard about. It is no exaggeration for me to say that I thrive on the connections and interactions between people, and the more the merrier. I suppose I'm biased though, these kinds of things are only really fun with people who are open-minded and willing to put forth their opinion in a non-offensive way, at least online, where so many of the nuances of face-to-face conversation simply get lost in translation.

Actually, when I started blogging again (I think when I started the Vox), I had this mini-dream of having my blog act as a sort of online magazine, where everything is viewer-interactive and intriguing. Blogs like powersugoi, which I've kept up with for quite a while, really inspire me in that way. What's even more fun is a blog team, like my friend Steve's darkmusic, where you have a bunch of people blogging. I'm actually on darkmusic (Jolls/Jordan). A bunch of people blog quite differently there, so check it out! We've got forums and stuff, so you could sign up and talk about whatever. It's all quite new at this point, so more users would be nice.

So there's my little thing on blogs. It seems like nowadays the way to get yourself out there is via social networking sites. Remember back when we all wanted our own webpage? When we ran to geocities and and other free hosting sites in order to have our own webpage? I think the social networking movement answered that call for our own sites and made it that much easier for us, which is, of course, a good thing. We can't all be HTML savvy ;) But you gotta admit, having your own site is still a pretty sweet idea. But like I said, if I were to have one, I'd really want it to have purpose and content, I wouldn't want to feel like I've wasted the viewer's time. Maybe I'm taking myself too seriously, but that's how I feel about it right now.

And so, true to my own stated opinions, I want to know how you feel about blogging. What do you write in your blogs? What do you want others to take from it? When you visit someone else's blog, what are you expecting?

Oh also, just to give me something to write about, I'm opening the floor up to you guys as to what I should write about. Give me a topic, any topic, and depending on how many I get and how long it could take to write, I'll try to get to all the ones requested. Not many people read this, much less bother to comment, so I don't think I'll have much trouble ;P

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taking a break to write about break

All right, so I thought I'd be doing my project in gouache on illustration board, but after a while I think I'll just settle for pastels and charcoal on paper. I know my teacher wants this one to be particularly traditional, and I'm not sure how well I can pull such effects off on gouache, especially since I haven't actually worked with it as extensively as I have charcoal/pastel.
Perhaps I'll do two versions and hope she gives me extra credit for it :P Artists do doubles all the time, right? Besides, I've got plenty of illustration board left over. I wish gouache wasn't so expensive. Maybe I'll try doing acrylics on illustration board to note the effect.

Thinking aloud!

Maybe it's because most of my friends are already on break, but I think I'm slipping into "break mode." I felt all too relieved when classes ended last week, and have been looking forward to all that's going on after this is all done. Just to lay it out for myself (and ya'll):

Sometime this week when finals are over
  • Gotta meet up with Brent to edit and finish the beast that is our story part 2 once and for all!
  • Post-finals celebratory dinner with José and possibly Brent and whoever else?
19, Friday
  • Crêpes-for-lunch funtime with Alex V. the Squidbudd-E!
  • Daddy comes home! WOOP!
20, Saturday
  • Hangin' out (down the street) with the family (same old thing) doin' stuff (we did last week) (guess the reference!)
  • Possibly Jason Tadeo's Christmas party with José, Brendel and Rachel?
21-23, Sunday-Tuesday
  • Bustin' it all over the gifts I still have to prepare! Aaaahh!
24, Wednesday
  • Dinner with Dad's immediate family at our house
25, Thursday
  • Head to San Bernardino in the morning to give gifts to mom's side of the family
  • Leave in the afternoon for LAS VEGAS, where we're totally staying til the 27th!
Sometime after all that
  • Learn the basics of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign from my uncle
  • Decide whether or not I want to take Chinese 201 next semester
  • STORY PART 3 BEGINS
  • Hang-out/gift exchange party with The Se7en
  • Visit Brent's classes, since I'm still on break by the time he starts his. Same with José
As you can see, I got plaaaans!
I believe I am understandably excited.
But now I have to crack down on this assignment, lest I get too lazy.
I'll see you all on the other side!

I've got to stop saying that, because I mean, I'll be here again tomorrow. Guh.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's a video blog!

video


So I decided to do a vlog for today's entry :)
Back when I first did vlogging I dedicated a lot of time per video to making sure my camera presence was okay, that the editing was okay, and that I had enough interesting content to hold viewers' attention. This one is, by comparison, very raw, I just shot it straight through and chopped out some parts in iMovie. As a result you don't get very many pauses, it's basically me talking straight through, which may be boring, but oh well!

Is vlogging in the future for Jordan?
I don't think so, actually. I'm much more comfortable with a text-and-pictures medium than I am with video, at least when it comes to coming up with content. I may throw some random things here and there, but it won't be a regular thing. It's hard for me to make myself interesting on video, you know what I mean?

Hehe, maybe Lauren can help me with my camera presence ;D

The only other time I'd want to do videos is with a group of people. I want to film silly interactions, or even skits if we're feeling a little more organized. I think stuff like that is way cool, and a fun way to express ideas and just plain fun. So if anyone is up for that kind of thing, let me know! It should be good times and gravy, really ;)

In relation to what I had said in my video, I wanted to thank my life drawing teacher Jen for teaching me about the importance of honing in on strengths. I'm pretty sure I'd listed her as a person-to-thank already, but I just can't thank her enough. Thanks also to my dad for showing me the same ideas at almost the same time Jen was telling me about it. Coincidence? I think not. Thanks to the big guy up there, that totally felt like a "God wink" (hehe, Lauren).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blogwhore!

I really do feel like a blogwhore sometimes. I've kept so many in the past, hopping from one to another. The very first one I had was a LiveJournal which is now deleted. That was a big favor to the internet, honestly XD If it had to be exposed to my preteen ramblings of angst and insanity, it'd be too much.

I think aside from that one LJ I've kept 4 main ones, and here they are in chronological order:

Xanga: hikari no uchuujin
I kept this throughout high school. I did a lot of html experimentation on it, and the results of my obsession with online quizzes and surveys are plastered all over the damn place! When I go back to Xanga now, I notice how much it's changed. Honestly, it's a bit confusing for me, the layout is a little all over the place. My sister Mika said it takes some getting used to, but whatever, I don't think I'm going back :P

Myspace: jordanxd
Yea, for a time I blogged pretty extensively on MySpace. I did a lot of html experimentation on MySpace a lot too, actually, back when that was totally the thing. It kind of died out for me now. It was quite fun while it lasted, though.

Vox: Peolacurei
If you want to know how I got this name, I was literally typing gibberish one day and it came up. I thought it sounded cool, wanted the name to stick, so I used it for everything. theJollity stuck better than it though, and I'm glad for it. Anyway, I got a Vox when I decided I wanted to get more "serious" about blogging again. I mostly blogged about Heroes episode reviews, what went on at school, stuff like that. It's fun reading through it... I really do forget what I write about. I had some deep thought things that my good friend Heidi always gave me advice about, like in this entry. When I really think about it, I think I took that advice and internalized it. I love you, Heidi :) Oh, and I found this entry particularly interesting because in it I detailed how I felt about my friends at the time. I did that because nobody really ever bothered to read the Vox, hahaha. What I really liked about Vox was the Question of the Days, which often turned up some interesting responses. I actually think that I blogged better on my Vox than I did here. Maybe it only seems like it now, thought. What do you think?

The fourth one is, quite obviously, this one. I like it pretty okay, I think I liked LiveJournal the best when I had it because it was so community-based and it was pretty easy to change layouts and add content. Not to mention that the whole hiding-things-under-the-cut was a pretty wicked feature. But I somehow haven't been able to get back into the "feel" of LJ, if you know what I mean. I do currently have my own LJ, but I only really made it to keep up with a certain community I was stalking. Now I just use it for stalking in general :P

I know for a fact that I have several other accounts just kind of strewn across the internet, but I really don't remember them, so they must not have anything too terribly significant in them. I like to keep these old accounts though... looking back is fun.

Today's thanks goes to: José, Jason Tadeo, and Dean, for movies and dinner tonight. Korean BBQ = unbelievably delicious! Thanks guys, ya'll made my day!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A chill post about my life.

Yup, I did say "chill" post.
I always thought Chelsea was better at doing posts about her life (since she does those a lot :P), and I haven't really done much since my old Xanga. I guess I just started using blogs to share the things I did and thought about. Oh well, this stuff should be easy to talk about :)

Today my mom, sister and I went down to San Diego shop around the Naval and Marine bases down there, since their exchanges are generally better than all the other ones. I didn't end up getting anything for myself, nor did I get anything for anyone else! I'm making the majority of my gifts this year, although I don't know if I can pull it off in time for Christmas. I may just have to be a late-giver. I blame school. Most of my friends are out already, but this is week is home stretch for me. Here's what my finals schedule looks like:

Wednesday
12:30-2:30PM : Chinese 102 Final Exam
5:00-7:00PM : Art 101 Final Exam

Thursday
8:00-10:00AM : Art 184 - Life Drawing, Final Critique & POTLUCK! (I'm bringing the milk!)
12:30-2:30PM : Political Science 100 Final Exam

Really, it's not that bad. I'm going to spend Monday and Tuesday working mostly on the final project for my life drawing class, which is supposed to be a full-body self portrait. She wants it to be more traditional than experimental, so I really have to buckle down for it. For the last 4 projects I've charcoal though, so I'm not sure if I want to do that again. I'm just going to say no to graphite if I have to shade (and that's a no-brainer), so I thought of doing a gouache on illustration board painting. That means the style will be a little more graphic, but I think I can figure out a way to show my own understanding of light and shadow, which is ultra important. I also already have a concept for the picture in mind, so I just have to get started.
But today sucked a little because I started to feel pain in the back... never cool. But I'm home now, so I'll feel better.

Oh man, but yesterday was an excellent day.
I woke up not having to take Mika to school (thanks, Mommy!), and later in the morning I went over to José's house. We just kinda chilled out, tried to watch Cowboy Bebop on DVD but everything he had that could possibly play a DVD wasn't working—aaaww—so we just kind of sat and talked. Then we went to San Pedro so we could get sandwiches at his favorite place there, Busy Bee's. Pretty good sandwiches, I'd have to say... mine got all soggy which sucked, but the bread was really damn delicious. I kind of prefer mine a little more toasted too, but it was still really good. I was so delightfully surprised at the BREAD dang it was so good!
We went to the Korean Bell to eat. He was surprised I'd never even heard of the Korean Bell, because it was like a big thing, a post-Korean War symbol of friendship between the two nations. The bell is HUGE, and it's on this hill that overlooks the ocean. Pretty sweet! So we plopped ourselves down and ate. Seagulls started surrounding us, and we found infinite amusement in tossing food at them and hearing them squawk. When's the last time you paid attention to a squawking gull? It's pretty hilarious.
There was a basketball court near the Korean Bell, and José just happened to have a basketball in his car. For the first time since 8th grade I actually shot hoops, and after a while I have to admit that I was getting the hang of it again. He still killed me when we did one on one, but it was unbelievably invigorating to play a sport again. Then we kind messed around on the grass doing various capoeira, bboy, fighting moves. Guess who did which ones ;P He tried to help me with my handstand, but I felt so off-balance and scared that I stopped. One day!
Then we went back to his place to PLAY WITH HIS DOGS D'AAAAAWW~ They're so adorable, at least when the giant Siberian Husky is not trying to mount me. D:

So yea, great Friday, all right Saturday, and finals coming up.
Bunches of Christmas plans that I'm way looking forward to, but I have to plow through the block that is finals. I'll see ya'll on the other side!

Well, really I'll be blogging tomorrow, and every day after that, but you get what I mean.
I can't wait!

To sort of clip a "thanks" theme to this one, I wanted to thank José, my mom, and sister for the great times so far this weekend. Rock!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Steampunk

I wanted to share with ya'll my recent discovery of (and growing interest for) a subculture movement called Steampunk.

When I first heard about it and started looking it up the concept was a little hard to describe, despite the distinctiveness of the Steampunk style. What I gathered from my research is that Steampunk is a sort of sci-fi/fantasy that takes place in a world where steam technology is still used, and from there human technology evolved still using steam. Since steam was mostly used during the Victorian era, the stylings of Steampunk very much reflect the sort of brass-and-gears, marble-and-swirly-embellishment type of design that was going on. Airships, clockwork machinery, Tesla coil technology, you know, stuff like that.

The name Steampunk is a play off the phrase Cyberpunk, which is another sci-fi/fantasy genre that deals with "high tech and low life" (Wikipedia): a world in which technology dominates, but at the expense of human society. This automatically creates this sort of dysotopian aura, whereas Steampunk doesn't. When you think Blade Runner, Akira, Serial Experiments Lain, or Metal Gear, think Cyberpunk.

Steampunk is also called "speculative fiction," because it depicts the advancement of a technology that existed in the past but has since died. When you think H.G. Wells (The Time Machine) or Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Days), think Steampunk. Hell, think Wild Wild West or Disney's Atlantis and think Steampunk! Although Steampunk wasn't an existing term at the time Wells and Verne wrote their stories, their works represent the cornerstone of Steampunk in that fantastical technological feats have been achieved with the Victorian technology they had then. And the human technology in Atlantis definitely counts.

But Steampunk has evolved to become a lifestyle instead of just a subgenre of fiction, with its own little set of values. It's very DIY, because the kind of machinery present in Steampunk technology can be physically "tinkered" with and stylized to suit the individual. It is enterprising and full of wonderment, an opportunity to mix and match, and a joining of "progress and tradition." A Boston Phoenix article on Steampunk also makes note of how today's technological style is pretty much lead by Apple, with its sleek minimalism and easy-on-the-eyes aesthetic. I had never really thought of their designs as "unimaginative" until I saw the article, but since I saw some Steampunkish things, I started to rethink design — which is excellent for me, trying to get into graphic design and everything.

My "thing" has always been more of a space technology thing, so the whole Victorian-era styles and technological ideas are very new and actually very appealing to me. There's a certain elegance in the way the parts of a Victorian machine are put together, as though its maker had design for design's sake in mind along with design for function.

People around the world have begun to adopt the Steampunk aesthetic and lifestyle into their fashion and way of life in general. This is probably one of the coolest computers I've ever seen, and it's STEAMPUNK'D.

Look at that monitor! That keyboard! That LAMP!
Steampunk artists and crafters the world over do this to a lot of their everyday items like notebooks, chairs, even iPods. You can bet I'll be looking more into this in the very near future.
The article from where I got most of my research (don't worry, I'll post it at the very bottom of the entry so ya'll can read it!) states some peoples' love of mash-ups, and how Steampunk kind of fits into that pretty well. Pretty damn well, I'd have to agree. The elegence of design mixed with the sophistication of technology is just too delicious to pass up for me. Not to mention the innovative ideologies it all implies. I think I can feel my own gears turning.

If you want to read all about the Steampunk movement, this is a very thorough article on the whole thing that covers everything I wish I covered here and more: The Boston Phoenix - Steam Dream.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flickr Flickr Flickr thing

Stolen from José off Facebook :P

====
Directions
1. Answer each of the questions below using the Flickr Search engine.
2. Choose a photo from the first three pages.
3. Copy the URL of your favorite photo into this site: http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/mosaic.php.
4. Share!

The questions:
1. my name
2. favorite food
3. hometown
4. favorite color
5. celebrity crush
6. favorite drink
7. dream vacation
8. favorite dessert
9. what I most want to be when I grow up
10. what I love most in the world
11. one word that describes me
12. how you're feeling
==

Bonus:
Try to guess what word I picked for each number ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inspired / MySpace vs Facebook

It's always when I'm busiest that I am most inspired for some reason. I made a post back at the beginning of school saying the same thing. Right now is finals time (CRUNCH TIME) (CRUNCHCRUNCHRCRUNCHsorry inside-joke to an outside-audience) and I've got ALL these ideas, not to mention Christmas gifts to plan out. One of the ideas is the blog topic idea I talked about yesterday, which, like I said, probably won't even happen til I'm done with finals.

The other two ideas I won't talk about, because I wouldn't be able to say much about it, and I don't want to feed you just a little bit if you're never gonna get the rest ;P So if you're interested in hearing them at all, feel free to contact me about them. My AIM screen name is theJollity. I should probably put that up somewhere on the right, like a little contact corner or whatever.

Because I'm feeling inspired I think I'll talk about something, like social networking on the internet. Generally speaking, the entire point of a social networking site is to connect with people who you either know or don't know. Given this foundation, people use social networking sites for either of the following:
  • To stay in touch with friends and family
  • To network within a specific group (locality, company, school, etc.)
  • As an advertising platform for a company, organization, personal service or product, stuff like that
Either way, we can all agree that connecting with others is the basis of social networking.
But what makes an efficient social networking site?
Let's look at the top two, MySpace and Facebook.

I personally think Facebook wins in the more efficient category, in that it provides the ideal setting for social networking: the layout is plain and simple (pro-newFacebooker, right here), its 'feed' almost forces you to stay in touch with others, and the inability to customize your individual page makes you and others focus on the information that really gets people connected, such as posted pictures, videos, 'notes', and basic things like interests.

So what makes it any better than MySpace?

For one thing, I believe it's the layout.
Let's take a look at MySpace's first:

While the whole boxes thing was a popular Web2.0 feature, I think MySpace misses the mark here. I didn't even bother screencapping to the bottom of the page because it was all so unnecessary. It tried to fit so many things in, each into boxes, and the end result was several boxes, God knows how long each of them. I permanently minimized the "friend update" box because it took up so much space.

Now look at Facebook's:

Yes, the screencap is, too, quite long, and to be honest I didn't even screencap the entire thing, I cut off a good chunk of the middle to show the bottom bits. But the thing is, the only thing that was cut off were a bunch of notifications. All the notifications, from who wrote on whose Wall, to who posted what Note, is all lined up single-file, just like they taught us in elementary school. There aren't separate boxes for notifications dealing with just pictures, or just videos, or just fanpages, or whatever, because that makes it cluttered. I really love how all the controls are in very simple and, for the most part, stable positions: you have your Home, Profile, Friends, Inbox, Your Name (which directs to your profile), Settings, and Logout there all the time, and a nifty toolbar below from which you can access any of your applications, wherever you are on the site. The bottom toolbar also features the Facebook chat, which stays there unless you want it to pop out.

Two of the main problems people tend to have with Facebook are the numerous applications and the notifications. Let me just kill that last one first by saying that you can completely adjust your privacy levels so that certain people can see certain parts of your profile, certain things can or can't be fed into others' "Site Feeds", etc. As for the applications, the old Facebook had a problem of the boxes that MySpace now has... when someone added too many boxes, the Wall disappeared (it used to be at the bottom of the page, like MySpace's Comment box). The new Facebook fixes this problem with tabbed profiles:

You can see how things are divided up nicely without cluttering the page. Now the Wall is ALWAYS there! :D

Remember what I said the point of social networking sites was? To connect to people, right? In order to do that, people will obviously share information about themselves. I think Facebook's limitation on page customization makes it so that you actually think about what you put on your page instead of slapping on the coolest premade HTML you can find. I'm sorry, but that does not impress me, MySpacers. If I really wanted to get to know you, I'd find all the important stuff: your info, maybe some pictures and notes in which you write your thoughts, etc. MySpace's cluttered layout, also littered with awkwardly placed advertisements, makes page-surfing chunky and difficult by comparison. Yes, I said chunky.

Site-wise, Facebook is more efficient as a social networking site because it focuses more on actually connecting people, whereas MySpace tends to put its focus on the individual. I guess I can't rag them for not being true to their name.

And yet others will argue that both sites are unnecessary; if you really wanted to connect, you'd just do it the old fashioned way: phones, actual meetings, etc. To that, I say you can work with both and have a beautiful connection. It's all a matter of balancing, and knowing how to use the site as a means to an end (assuming you actually wanted to be friends with all, or at least some, of the friends you added).

I have friended people on Facebook after only meeting them once. Their updates then scroll across my Site Feed, and I can comment on them as I wish. It's like Facebook puts you out there for you... but really, you're the one publishing the content. Anything you post on the Internet is made public, let's face it. On more than one occasion have I striked (stroke? stricken?) up conversation with aforementioned people-whom-I-just-met-once, and by the time we met next we had something to talk about — yes, even if we do start the sentence with "So I saw on Facebook..." But the thing is, that's just a launching point. You want to connect, and the Internet helps. It's a means to an end, ideally, at least to me. Sure, there will always be a few friends who I for the most part ignore, but when I get the urge to reconnect, I know they'll be there.

Oh, not to completely diss MySpace, I will admit that it is very good for advertising your company, band, or whatever. It is very much into that sort of media thing, and it's better to get people to see a certain page for music, videos, art, TV shows, movies, or whatever, on MySpace than it is on Facebook. Again, this leads back to customization and the opportunity to really show off what they've got.

So to conclude, I'm thankful for the Internet in general. It's a wonderful tool and, when used properly, can enhance human interaction rather than hinder it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The number 8

Because I missed a post on yesterday, December 8, I am making today's entry entirely about the number 8. No Lauren, I won't mess with the time stamp, hasn't Hiro taught you anything about altering time?

Anyway, first of all, 8 is considered a lucky number among the Chinese because its pronunciation (ba1) is similar to the word for "prosper" (fa1). Also related to Chinese culture are the Eight Immortals: Lu Dongbin, Immortal Woman He Xiangu, Royal Uncle Cao Guojiu, Iron-Crutch Li Tieguai, Lan Caihe, Philosopher Han Xiang Zi, Elder Zhang Guo Lao, and Zhongli Quan. "Each Immortal's power can be transferred to a tool of power (法器) that can give life or destroy evil" (Wikipedia).

Eight is also a lucky number in Hindu culture. It is the number of wealth and abundance.

They all seem to relate to that, and if you take our symbol for 8 and turn it on its side, it is the symbol for infinity.

The Buddhist wheel symbol, Dharmachakra, has 8 spokes. In general, 8 plays a great role in Buddhism.

Octopi have 8 tentacles, and are among my favorite animals.

Spiders also have 8 limbs, though unlike octopi, they are not among my favorite animals.

8 is the atomic number for oxygen.

Since the demotion of Pluto, we now have 8 actual planets in our Solar System.

8 is the largest cubed number in the Fibonacci sequence.

8 is symbolic for lesbian sexual relations(?!!).

The first surviving set of octuplet babies are the Chukwu octuplets, not all of whom actually survived.

October used to be the 8th month on the Roman calendar, before July was added in honor of Julius Caesar, and August in honor of Augustus Caesar.

I came up with an awesome idea for a blog, but I'll need to do some research on it before I can get it going. I'll probably enlist the help of some friends, but it most likely won't come until I'm done with my finals (last one next Thursday!).

STAY TUNED AND HOPE I DON'T MISS ANY MORE DAYS LOLOLOL.
Uuuuugggh I can't believe I missed it.
José was right though, my internet DIIIID go down for a good chunk of the night. I just fell asleep. Kuasehfgaiurgh.

Oh yea, this Wikipedia article was totally my source. I only really knew the infinity one, and the Chinese lucky number one, partially, hahaha :P

Did I REALLY just forget a post?!

NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I have failed ALREADY!
Dammit damn, I was doing so well, too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This song's been in my head all day



And it's helping me get through some tough thoughts of the day.
Heh, I never thought I'd actually find myself making music posts again.

I Believe in Miracles
Jackson Sisters

I believe in miracles, baby
I believe in you
I believe in miracles, baby
I believe in you

They say the day is ending, let's watch the Sun go down
And plan a holiday for two
For all eternity
We'll ride a cloud so you can see
The world I created just for you

I saw you standing on the street
I wanted to meet, just stop a while
You give me a smile to say hello
You make me feel so good inside
That I realized I could not hide
The feeling that came when you failed to say

I believe in miracles
I believe in miracles
I believe in miracles,
Don't you?
Don't you?

Lalalala lala lalalala...

I believe in miracles, baby
I believe in you
I believe in miracles, baby
I believe in you

I don't know what people are sayin'
Or what games that they are playin'
Or if they're playin' the same old game on me
People never knowin' where they're goin' or what they're showin'
So come on boys, show a little love for me

I believe in miracles
I believe in miracles
I believe in miracles
Don't you?
Don't you!

Lalalala lala lalalala...
(2x)

Here we are together, face to face
Forever in a place that I created just for you, you, you
So people are better than what you feel
Believe in dreams, and think they're real
And one day soon
A miracle will come true

I believe in miracles (don't you)
I believe in miracles (don't you)
I believe in miracles
Don't you?
I believe in miracles (don't you)
I believe in miracles (don't you)
I believe in miracles,
Don't you?
(etc.)





Saturday, December 6, 2008

Astrology

Ever since I was small I was really into astrology — you know, the Zodiac, horoscopes and all that jazz. I mostly loved reading about my own Sun sign, Sagittarius, and the Sun signs of my family (Mom=Cancer, Dad=Aries, Mika=Libra), to find the similarities in personality. I didn't understand it much back then, but it was pretty cool to me at the time.


As I got older this interest stayed with me, and I delved deeper into researching this fascinating branch of study that's been with mankind for several thousands of years. I asked my mom for my birth time so I can look up my birth chart, found not only the effects of my Sun sign but also my Rising sign (Libra) and Moon sign (Virgo), the effects of the positions of the planets at the time of my birth. After a while I started to question this, because it seemed rather arbitrary: the characteristics attributed to the celestial bodies used in astrology (the Sun, Moon, and planets) are related to mythology.

For example: I'm a Sagittarius, and my 'ruling planet' is Jupiter. Jupiter is the Roman god of the gods, equivalent to the Greek Zeus. His personality is grandiose, lucky, philosophical, and intelligent, pretty much what it says for Sagittarius. This is subjective, and permeates only really through Western culture. Who was to say it really worked for, say, people of the ancient Orient, who didn't exactly buy into such beliefs? However, they did have their own beliefs, their own form of astrology that I haven't actually studied in length: Chinese astrology. And although I wasn't raised on such beliefs, I find myself marvelling at the accuracy of my own Chinese sign of the Dragon.

So from all this confusion, I asked: what gives?!
What significance could something so arbitrary as the position of the stars on our celestial sphere have on human lives? How can something so big and seemingly disconnected and far away, effect something so local and familiar? In my searches I have not found an explanation for this... but in my own moments of deep thought I had come up with what I feel is a rather innovative theory. Here's where it takes a turn for the "wait, what?" but I ask that you bear with me through the rest of the entry.

I think it's God.

Or, or or or it could be any number of omnipotent powers or universal unconsciousnesses or what have you, that you believe in. I happen to believe in the Judeo-Christian God, so for the purposes of simplicity, I will use Him for this entry. But do know that it can be applied to any form of cosmic permeating giant mindthing you feel more comfortable with.

So, as a bit of a 'backstory' to let you know how I can believe in such a notion, I sort of settled the whole science vs religion deal by myself by saying that science is the method, and God is the scientist. It made enough sense in my mind, and there's a quote by Galileo concerning the study of astronomy (not astrology) that supported this belief: "The Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the Heavens go."
If I were to argue in the case of, say, the dinosaurs, I'd tell you that the Bible says that creatures were placed on Earth before man. The dinosaurs could have been part of that bunch, and subsequently destroyed for whatever reason. There's also the argument that the Bible counts the development of everything in "days," which, for all we know, could be billions of years in "our" time relative to God's time. And as for evolution, who is to say He didn't intend that either? Basically, I believe God had a system set up, a system by which all nature runs, unless He steps in for some divine intervention and stuff.

So, with that said, let's get back to astronomy.
What part could God possibly play in it?
Well, I believe He made the connection between the big and the small: the movements of the celestial bodies, the grandest things in the Universe, to the local and familiar human beings, the crown of His creation. He is the one that breathes life into human beings when they are born, so to speak, but if I wanted to break that down like I did with my dinosaurs, His "breath of life" is slightly evidenced in the positions of the stars themselves at the exact time of birth—the exact time you take your very first breath. God was there to give you that first breath, and He is hinted at in the stars, just like the Greek and Roman gods of old. Of course, I say "slightly evidenced" because your entire birth star chart alone is not sufficient enough to determine one's personality, which is, in my opinion, mostly shaped by your experiences (nurture over nature), but the tellings of astrology are a guideline. It reveals the general traits that underscore a person's entire personality, traits that constantly reveal themselves, making you read your Sun sign description and go, "Hey, that's eerily true."

So there you have it, a multi-paragraph buildup towards a theory I basically summarized in a paragaph. I hope I did my crazy electomagnetic bullet-train of thoughts justice enough.

Where is the thank you portion of this entry, you ask?
Thank you for reading this far!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Look, an early post!

I may even get two today if we're lucky! Gasp!

I just had a thought I wanted to get down. There was a line in my head I wanted to build into a blog, you could say. Chelsea had that yesterday :P

Anyway, back in high school (and still sorta now) I used to treat guys I was interested in the same way I treated everybody else. I say 'still sorta now' because I can now openly find many people interesting, without really liking them or wanting to pursue them romantically. I don't make a big deal out of it at first. I try to be friends with the people I'm interested in, crushes included. Generally it sets a good 'foundation'.

And hey, if the feelings aren't mutual, then at least I have some good-looking friends.

;P

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And I thought this would be easy

I thought, okay, I can do a blog a day, 'no problemento!' As my Chinese professor would say, hahaha. But each day I'm going, damn, what should I post now??

The good thing is, knowing I need to blog every day gets my brain going... thinking of content to put in it. Aside from a story I've been working on with my friend Brent (for nearly 3 years now!), I don't do a lot of creative writing... I used to; I should do some more eventually. The most natural things I think about when it comes to 'what should I put in my blog today' are:
  1. What should I draw for my blog today?
  2. Should I write about my day?
I usually take care of number 2 in the bathroom in a personal pen-and-paper journal, and since the 'original purpose' for this blog was to be a sketchblog, I just kind of reverted back to that mindset, and it's been really good for me... for some reason when I think of what to put things here, ideas come to me much easier. Right now I'm working on something else in Photoshop... I've been wanting to draw something like this for some time, but I never got any ideas. And suddenly, poof!This is the underdrawing, and it is extremely rough. Yes, it's a work in progress... I normally don't EVER post things that are not completely finished, unless it's just a collection of sketches I don't plan on finishing... but there's a first time for everything, right? Guess what I'm trying to draw ;D

I would've finished it by tonight if I had more time... at times I get really insecure about my ability to crank out anything good in Photoshop, but when I actually get on a project, I'm on a roll! I can stay on it for hours just focusing on what I gotta do. Sometimes I feel like I have more control in digital media, and I do, and I like that, but I like the feel of traditional media better. I just have to get over making mistakes and such, that's a big obstacle for me in my art-making. It's also fun to take advantage of the fact that I'm on my PC laptop... it has the Adobe CS stuff. I switched to a black Macbook about a month back, and I totally love it (still getting used to it, though), but it doesn't have the Adobe CS on it. I'm planning on getting it soon though. Also, the reason why I'm not using my Mac is because I left the charger at my cousin Kelsey's house over the weekend. D'OH!

And now for the thanks portion?
I'd like to thank Brendel and Alex V... seeing Brendel get all excited about art in the way I used to be kind of got me going again, and Alex V totally inspired me to do the piece I'm doing now. I've known these guys since high school, and although I'm not in constant contact with them, they've always been really cool, and I'm glad to be talking to them more now. Thanks guys!