Life & Ramblings

august ’19 // month in review

1. LA again

We went to LA again! This time it was because I had my orientation for UCLA, where I enrolled in classes for my first quarter there, did some mandatory health and safety training, and listened to a lot of ‘welcome’ type talks. It was good, in that I still felt pretty nervous beforehand and afterwards those feelings were significantly lower. I think I just attribute that to there being a solid amount of information that helps me feel like things are going to be alright and there’s shit out there to help me when it’s not. A woman said to us that you’ve made transitions before, you’ve done them fine, and this is just another one that you can do too. I wrote that one down in my planner; it’s helpful to think of starting at UCLA as not an entirely new alien experience, but just a new transition that’s both similar and different to previous changes I’ve had in my life. So I’ve made transitions before, I’ll do it again, and this time around I can learn even more. 🙂

The view from the room where I enrolled in classes. I’ve heard friends talk about how difficult it can be to get the classes you need and my god, I understand why now! It feels like a mad rush when the enrollment window opens and you can see that there are 3 out of 157 seats still available in this class you want but the internet is slow and the discussion section you want isn’t available and your fingers are cramping and your bachelor’s degree depends on it!!!!

We had dinner at Malbec, an Argentinian restaurant. I’ve never had this cuisine before and it was delicious! I especially enjoyed the rice, which had peas and carrots in it, and the empanadas. I had to unbutton my skirt after the meal, which is how you know you did a good job and made your ancestors proud.

After eating there, we walked a few blocks to take a look at CalTech. It’s a really pretty campus and there’s a pond full of turtles (tortoises??). There’s apparently also a Pokestop (correct terminology?), as we saw a ton of groups clustered around one building looking at Pokemon Go on their phones. I’ve always swung towards the humanities/social science/art type interests, so going to places like CalTech makes me feel like “ah very science and technology, much prestige discovery, wow”.

A really nize painting at the Chinese restaurant we had dinner at.

The Hammer Museum! I’ve never been here before and I am so chuffed that I’ll be able to come here as it’s definitely walking distance from campus. I’ve never really lived in a place that feels full of art and “culture” (whatever this word means, you know) long-term, so that’s something I’m really excited to experience in LA. It’s something that’s helping me feel much more OK about uprooting myself into a new freaky place.

This piece by Sondra Perry, titled IT’S IN THE GAME ’17 or Mirror Gag for Vitrine and Projection, is so interesting. When I go to art museums/galleries, I take photos of pieces that really stick with me and their accompanying descriptive plaque, but I usually promptly forget about them in my mass of photos. In the spirit of remembering, here’s this one:

In the early 1990s, Electronic Arts (EA) Sports videogames were accompanied by the motto “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.” The slogan became catchy enough that eventually EA Sports did away with the consequent clause […] Sondra Perry’s [work] takes as its starting point a class action lawsuit brought against EA Sports for the unlawful use of the names and likenesses of student athletes whose identities were licensed by the national Collegiate Athletic Association without their consent. The case in question involved Perry’s twin brother Sandy, who had previously played Division 1 basketball for Georgia Southern University […] Perry’s video draws a parallel between the absorption of physical bodies into the digital space of the games and the colonial foundations of encyclopedic museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, whose collections are based on artifacts that were removed from their original cultural contexts in an attempt to represent the expanse of World civilizations.

And this one features much less social commentary, but it’s Claude Monet’s 1884 View of Bordighera.

2. favorites

The straw lid for my water bottle: The Hydroflask I have just has a regular screw off lid to drink from. On account of being generally a bit clumsy and prone to distraction, I’ve spilled water on myself quite a bit while drinking from it. (The worst time was during class once – everyone was listening to the professor lecture and I thought, ‘hey, this is a great time to drink some water’. I lift the water bottle to my mouth, start drinking, and spill some water down my chin/shirt. The professor looks at me at that exact moment. He keeps lecturing and looks away like nothing’s happened BUT I KNOW HE SAW IT. Anyway, that moment clearly still haunts me, as I’m writing about it months after the fact.) I also think I drink much less water if my water bottle lacks a straw, because I can’t sip while walking or driving. All this to explain that I bought this for around $10 on Amazon and I like it more than the ~official Hydroflask straw lids because it has a bigger handle to hold your bottle in. It’s great! Water intake has increased! Embarrassing spillages have decreased!

Walking my cat: As you can see in the above photo, my cat is on a harness and a leash. It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened in my whole life!!!!! I hope I can take her on walks to give her a lil more fun and exercise as we move from our big family house to a smol college apartment, but it’s early days yet and I’m kind of more scared than her lol.

Redwall: It’s not like I needed another cartoon show to cry about, but here we are. My bf and I are watching this on YouTube – he used to watch it as a kid on TV and I’ve never heard of it before. The seasons are distinct storylines, so the first season follows a mouse named Matthias who lives in Redwall Abbey. Matthias and his friends, including a badass badger named Constance and a funny English rabbit named Basil, are being attacked by Cluny the Scourge (a rat), so they must fight to defend their home. The second season, which we’re on right now, follows Matthias’ son, Mattimeo, who is kidnapped by Slagar the Slaver (a fox) and sold into slavery, along with all the other Abbey kids. We just finished the second season, I bawled my eyes out, and now we are starting the third!

3. not favz

Fahrenheit 451: I quite enjoyed this book (I even took a photo of this paragraph I really loved), but I’m popping it in the not favorite section because the bits afterwards really took me from 😌 to 😟. The edition I have, bought from a thrift store, is the 50th anniversary edition, so it had an afterword and a coda written by Bradbury himself and an interview with him. He said/wrote things that compared very valid criticism from women that there were no real female characters in his books (which is true! I was thinking to myself while reading it that it’s fucked how the circle of people Montag encounters at the end is entirely male!) to censorship or a difference of opinions that a white Southern man might have when POC are included in art. And it seems, based on the interview in the back of my edition, that Bradbury intended this to be a critique of the increasing consumption of TV, rather than any tyrannical government or censorship of books and ideas (which is what I mistakenly took from it). So, you know, Mixed bag here. Really did love some turns of phrase from this book, though!

4. camera roll + reading list

While I was away for my UCLA orientation, my bf took care of the cat and our house – he made her a little pizza!! I die from the cuteness, lord.

This is an old photo (are we still calling them tbts? @youth, what are we doing now?) of the British Library that I unearthed and posted on my Instagram. It is the literal prettiest.

How to Make Granola Without a Recipe from Epicurious: The tl;dr of this is 6 parts dry ingredients to 1 part wet, with at least 3 being rolled oats, the wet ingredients being made up of half oil, half sweetener + an egg white, whatever seasoning you want but definitely a pinch of salt, bake until golden brown at 300°F, ~45 minutes, and finally add dried fruit at the end so it doesn’t dry out while baking. I like to eat granola with Greek yoghurt, but I like it at a pretty extreme ratio so I always run out of granola suuuuper quickly. I also think a lot of the granolas out there are kinda extra and I’m not looking for free range quinoa coconut in everything, you know? So I made my own and it turned out great! I did oats, sliced almonds, walnuts, dried ginger, and vanilla extract/honey/cinnamon for my sweetener.

I decided my new planner for the academic year needed a new color code, and then I decided I wanted my Google Calendar to match. So I figured out the hex codes for these Mildliners lol.

I got into an Instagram meme spiral one night and looked at enneagram memes for hoooours with my brother. I’m a type 4 and my brother is a type 9. We LOLed a lot at these.

Jennifer Aniston’s Home from Architectural Digest: It’s beautiful! It looks homey and artsy and cozy and cool. I got onto this link from a Reddit thread that started with Kim and Kanye’s creepy looking mansion, and that one looks like a weird celebrity house… so this is like the polar opposite and is like, ah, they are doing the right thing with their mountains of money and fame. The bathroom has hand-painted floral wallpaper!!

UCLA’s brand guidelines: I’m not entirely sure how I got onto this page, but I think it must have been while I was trying to figure out what colors to use while editing photos for a blog post? In this class I took on the history of graphic design I learned that graphic designers will provide a list of guidelines for brands, to make sure they don’t fuck up the colors and logos. So this page is really interesting, as an inside look into the ~rules~ of color and design that UCLA uses.

Work Shutdown Ritual via Cal Newport: At the end of an average work day, Newport says he goes over his master task list, reviews his calendar for the next couple weeks, and, once he’s decided that he’s on top of everything, finally closes his computer and says “schedule shutdown, complete”. He says that after he says that, it helps put work-related worries and stresses to rest, as he’s said the “termination phrase” and he wouldn’t have done so if everything wasn’t taken care of. The general idea is that a ritual and a phrase to be said aloud upon completing the ritual will really help one’s ability to relax and focus on other things, like resting and recharging and not working. It’s summer now so I don’t have much need for it, but I think I might try it once the school year starts to try and quiet those school-related thoughts that pop up in my head right when I lie down in bed.

Plan.txt via Cal Newport: Another Cal Newport idea! He begins by saying that there are two main parts to productivity – one, organizing all the shit we have to do (which is, obviously, the fun part), and two, actually doing that shit. This blog post of his focuses on the second part. He says that he uses a plain text file named plan.txt to write an action plan for the week on Monday in a very freeform manner. By not being rigid – he says, some weeks it just says “work on X until it’s done” and others it’s longer, with specific people and deadlines mentioned – it helps him narrow in on what’s important to make progress on and in the short-term, he can just do it.

Glamour magazine’s ‘Money Tours’ series on YouTube looks at how women spend their money each month. This is the first video I watched from it and it’s still the best one, because she seems to have a really good handle on putting her money to work for her and saving where she can. It helps, of course, that her apartment is beautiful!!

My bf found some photos from our trip to SF and I think I look cooler than I am!

5. goal recap

THE GOOD

  • Sorted out my residency for UCLA
  • Signed my lease for my (room in an) apartment
  • Enrolled in classes for my first quarter
  • Took my car to be serviced
  • Got pest control for the ants in our house (except as of today September 3, 2019 THEY ARE BACK and my parents refuse to do much about it so I think I will just let them sit there because I’m outta here soon !)
  • Bought a cat tree, desk, and chair for my move
  • Trained my cat to walk on a harness and leash (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

THE NOT SO GR8

  • Learned how to cook my favorite dishes from my mom
  • Cleaned my bedroom/donated furniture (this is a perpetual item here lmao)
  • Was confused about orientation and didn’t enroll in all the classes I need for the double major I’m hoping to do (2 BE FAIR this is half my bad for not doing more research but half my orientation adviser’s bad for not u kno advising me correctly)
  • Honestly August was not half bad and I am being forgiving with myself for the stuff I didn’t do, bc I’m happy with where I spent my time! It’s my last month with my boyfriend and my bb brother and friends and whatnot before I leave, so I’m glad I did all that 🙂

Man this one was a long one. Thanks if you made it thru! :))

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Life & Ramblings

july 🐶 month in review

My lord how time flies. July was a month and a half, honestly. Big ups and big downs in my emotional heart, but I’m in a good place now – I think? When my summer classes end in about a week I’ll be flying to China, where I’ll spend 2 weeks with my family eating lots and lots and lots of food, before coming back for the start of the fall semester where it’ll be full steam ahead.. I’m a little bit apprehensive about the load of work I’m taking on, but hopefully it’ll be manageable or, if it’s not, I’ll be OK with taking some things off my plate – that’s something I’m really bad at, saying no and admitting I can’t handle everything as well as I’d like. Anyway, July had some really good times, when I laughed so hard my boyfriend massaged my cheeks afterwards because they hurt from it all, and also perhaps five (5) occasions where I cried in my car. So thanks, July. It was rl.

1. the state fair

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Each year during the summer, CA puts on its state fair! My family used to go every year when I was younger, but I haven’t been since I was maybe 12 or 13.. My boyfriend Jose’s from Southern California, so he’s never been since it’s up north in Sacramento, and we thought it’d be a nice thing to do for his birthday weekend 🙂 I’m never sure how much to explain or assume people might know, but the main things the fair has are the usual fair rides, musical performances, produce farm, super greasy oily salty food, exhibits on things from fine art to science, and most importantly to J and I, ANIMALS!! We met some llamas and goats and cows and baby pigs and it was so so so exciting.

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This mama goat came right up to me!!! Look at how beautiful she looks. I mean, omg. Blessed, honored, etc etc.

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Travel

socal 🎨 spring break photo diary (pt. 2 of 2)

On this day, my frond Olive and I headed to LA, city of angels, city of girls with very long fingernails, city of The Broad art museum!!!!! We did a couple other things too, but the main attraction was obviously The Broad.

(Above is my attempt at a cute handwritten title card, done with the back pages of my planner and photographed with my phone and messily cut out with my old Photoshop app. Ta da. Am I happy with it? Not really. Am I so unhappy with it that I’m willing to spend more time learning how to do it better right now? Also not really. Maybe when I’m like 72 I’ll be a self-taught PS master.)

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We went to Sprinkles Cupcakes, which, if you’ve spent any time at all on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a photo of their cupcake ATMs. A basic bee’s pilgrimage, honestly lol. The writing in the ceiling circle (what an awful description, but lmk if you can think of a better way to refer to that lol) is an ice cream recipe from Benjamin Franklin, I think. How cerebral/historic/cool, right? I appreciated that.

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The location we went to had both cupcakes and ice cream, and I prefer ice cream over cake so I got a cupcake sundae type thing with salted caramel ice cream and a vanilla cupcake covered with sprinkles. A word of warning – the salted caramel flavor is super fucking salty. The girl working warned me that it would be and I even tried a bit and decided I liked it, because my usual gripe with salted caramel ice cream is that there’s too much ‘caramel’ and not enough ‘salted’. I was wrong, y’all. I was so wrong. It would have been all fine and good if it were a kid’s cup of ice cream, but it was larger than I expected and after a while it just tasted like a salt water rinse had accidentally fallen into a vat of ice cream. I had a lot of feelings about it.

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OK lol moving on from the ice cream tragedy, we also took a walk around the UC Irvine campus. These lockers are from the art department and the stickers say “everything is not going to be ok”, so in case you were wondering if things were going to turn out alright? They’re not.

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The Broad!! Pronounced like “road”, for us non-locals. Admission is free but tickets are popular, so you can either reserve tickets online for the next month (so, for example, tickets for July are released on the 1st of June) or wait in line at the door, which is what we did. I think we got there at 9 and they opened at 10, but it wasn’t a huge deal because we just sat and chatted. I don’t mind waiting in lines too much, which I think is a bit of an uncommon feeling re: queues. I guess I look at it as an opportunity to hang out with whoever you’re with, or if you’re alone, catch up on some reading or something like that. (Obviously DMV lines etc are hell on earth – this sentiment really only applies to voluntary ‘fun’-ish lines like art museum admission.)

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An infinity room! Yayoi Kusama’s famous infinity rooms were very very cool. Still undecided as to whether the strict time limits are a valuable part of the artistic experience or just annoying as hell. I didn’t take a ton of photos on my camera as I was freaked out because of the time limits, so I just kind of waved my phone around and tried to take it in.

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The paid exhibition going on at that time was for Jasper Johns. We just did the free stuff.

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Travel

socal 🌴 spring break photo diary (pt. 1 of 2)

Another day, another severely belated travel diary! Spring semester ended for me a few days ago, but during spring break (so at the end of March) I went to visit my best frond in SoCal, where she goes to sk00l with Peter the Anteater at UC Irvine. I stayed with her and her boyfriend (and their lovely dog) and we had a good few days of hangin’ out, art museum-ing, and eating lots of food, all of which are so so so nice any time but even nicer for ~long distance friendships~* like ours.

These photos are from the day we went to Laguna Beach, which you may know from esteemed reality TV show starlet turned lifestyle guru/Something Corporate bassist’s wife Lauren Conrad’s host of TV shows. Or at least that’s how I know of the city, lol. We started off at the Laguna Art Museum, then had lunch at Urth Caffé and had a long walk by the beach terrorizing anemones. (In our defense, we didn’t realize they were anemones. We didn’t know what the fuck they were, as the most marine education we have had is from Finding Dory.)

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Laguna Beach has an art museum, which was $5 entry for students but PRICELESS FOR CULTURAL IMPACT. Just kidding I think pricey art museums are bullshit and another way the bourgeoisie keeps lower classes down by depriving them of intellectual stimulation. Not to get all heavy and Marxist on ya ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Anyway I never turn down an art museum! The exhibition they had going on right then was on Tony DeLap, who is LITERALLY LIKE 90 YEARS OLD NOW AND STILL KICKIN’. I mean, what a legend. Lol, DeLap was one of UC Irvine’s founding art professors and his work focuses on abstract sculpture and minimalism.

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A lot of abstract/contemporary is very befuddling to everyone, including me, a self-proclaimed art luvr. It’s like, what is this red block? What does it mean? Why?? An article I read forever ago and keep going back to and foist upon anyone who listens to me for more than two seconds is this one from Salon, which describes abstract art and how it interacts with our brains from the perspective of a neuroscientist and his research. Basically, abstract art forces our brains to work in a different way than we’re used to and that’s why it bothers most people – super interesting and eye-opening and everyone should read the whole damn thing.

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