Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Films of the Decade

This exercise was really hard. The problem was that I felt compelled to limit the animation or the Triplets of Belleville (which I would have cheated and added Amelie to the mix), Spirited Away and any Pixar film could have replaced Wall-E. Also tried to limit the French and Asian film onslaught (The World, Cache, In Praise of Love, Trouble Everyday, Yi Yi, and Syndromes and a Century were all tough cuts). Top 13 in alphabetical order:

2046
A History of Violence
Adaptation/Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (it's a cheat. sue me)
American Splendor
The Gleaners and I
Gosford Park
Los Angeles Plays Itself
Mulholland Drive
Nobody Knows
Pan's Labyrinth
Talk to Her
There Will Be Blood
Wall_E

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Broken Embraces

While not his best film, the lukewarm reception in some circles (though since I really only read Ebert and AO Scott, who knows? they loved his film) miss the point. I would hazard that this is often true: his particular form of melodrama is many times lost on audiences that want something resembling reality with a happy ending. Yes, its suppose to be ridiculous--messy with life, color and amour fou ("mad love", a concept made famous by the surrealist). In that way, it's a beautiful, intoxicating brew.

Also, has anyone noticed the same vocabulary (though completely different feel) of Fassbinder and Almodovar's films? My Spanish and German aren't good, but the fact that I know certain words in both languages seem very striking. Their mutual craziness, love of melodrama and gay men/color/sickness/etc seems a thesis topic in the making. But sadly, not mine.

Sidenote: bought the boy something today. Should I give it to him when I get back or for a future (though soon-to-be upcoming, ie. anniversary, Valentines Day, birthday trifecta) event?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Delightful(ly Dorky)

Gift-giving

It was like the twelve days of Christmas from lB. I got a mini sock in the mail tucked inside a festive homemade envelope. Look how cute the sock is:


It came with a homemade card too. Definitely not the average holiday card! I wasn't the only fan of the sock. My mini sheep walrus has been eyeing it, while Kenya Lion has claimed it as his birthday present:


Additional gifts from lB included homemade vanilla extract and a mini folder with recipe cards. lB printed out several dessert recipes on some of the cards and decorated the backs with kitchen-themed icons. She even signed with a personalized icon.
There's plenty more blank cards for me to add my own recipes. =)

Last but not least, lB made a notebook from recycled academic papers. The cover has a cute bunny-meets-girl paper cut behind a frost layer.

Here's a nicer close-up of the paper cut:

I was lacking in the craft department right now...so I took lB to see Avatar in 3D earlier tonight and we'll see another movie tomorrow night. Maybe Broken Embraces, An Education, or Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Survived the Holidays

So busy. But all the presents were wrapped, I avoided the relatives (well, the ones once removed) whose name I didn't remember and prevented my father's house from falling into general disgrace for one more year.

Now I'm trying to finish some socks for some men in my life and assessing my wardrobe as I transition from student to working slub (unless I panic and reapply to school... still very much a possibility). The big question is, beside boring cardigans (black and grey ones really should be my next project) and vests, are knit skirts ever a good idea? I'm thinking black and grey pinstripe with red piping. Or are they a foolish leviathan project (like knit wool leggings... I want so bad and yet I know it's such a bad idea.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vengeance

It's all about the holiday spirit around here. And by that I mean my mom put on Johnnie To's latest film, Vengeance, while watching me wrap presents. Loud mix between Unforgiven, Memento, and any of the Asian revenge movies of recent years. Disposable fun for the whole family.

Oh my god!!

Johnny Cash reading the New Testament! This may be the perfect Christmas gift for those conservative types I never know what to buy for.

Freezing

I know, I'm in beautiful SD (sunny and 60). But inside the thermostat reads 57. Would you let your house get that cold in Chicago in the winter? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Early Christmas

Celebrated with my sweetie before leaving Chicago, here's another nice early surprise. Lobster: $2 a tail. Over abundant catch in New England this year means dirt cheap lobster for Christmas dinner. Since I'm in SD, diametrically the furthest one could be from Boston while still in the Continental US, it should be as cheap or cheaper where you're at. You're welcome.

PS. My mom has developed a strange fascination with Michael Jackson, listening to the music rather loudly every night. What the hell?

Peace on Earth

Need to knit like mad for grandma.

Until then, one of the few Christmas songs that I would defend tooth and nail.

Have a good one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lead me to your stuffing

Hi lB!

How was your Thanksgiving dinner cook-out? Are there photos before you guys dug in? I'll be getting the tradition dinner tomorrow at a friend's post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. Yay stuffing!

Gobble gobble,
dB

Monday, November 23, 2009

Glowing gingerbread

I played with more light up kitchen creations this evening. The goal was a 3D gingerbread sculpture with self-contained power supply, light source, and electrical connections. Unfortunately, the gingerbread I made was a bit on the soft side, so my 3D sculpture fold onto itself...

I jazzed it up to get some 3D feel:


Below is the gingerbread without her "make-up". There's a 3V coin cell battery resting on top of one cookie. It was originally sandwiched between the two cookies that slotted together to form a spherical frame. Silver leaf runs along the battery to the LED. The LED fits nicely into the junction where the two cookies' slits meet.


I jazzed up the gingerbread with powdered sugar:


Then I added an extra triangular piece to get more height.


The triangular piece served as the shield while I sprinkled powdered sugar over the gingerbread. It protected the lightly powdered regions to the right and left of the LED and ensured that the LED could glow brightly free of sugar.


I'll return to make a proper 3D baked structure that glows when I get my next chance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

5 Good Ideas for Friday

1. Stuffing baked in muffin tins (everyone gets a crispy bit)
2. Handknit socks
3. Berkeley Bowl's produce and bulk products
4. Top 50 music lists for the decade (not a good idea but great reading fodder)
5. Zombie Fluxx

500 Days of Summer

Saw it last night. Good/fun/light... but overly precious. (I liked the musical dance sequence and hated the split screen ones). Very much like Stranger than Fiction, but instead of a grumpy uncool lead character like Ferrell to balance out the conceits, we get overwhelming Wes Anderson cuteness all around. Speaking of the characters, despite an overwhelming appreciation for JGL, it was not enough to overcome the kinda dead performance of everybody else, including his love interest Zooey Deschanel.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Blood!

Screw Californians and their paltry donation practices... Guess I really am an Illinois resident at this point. Now how to make the overly bureaucratic and corrupt government there pay for my heath care. Need a social worker.

Also, still have to go to the hospital today. I won myself a two day ticket to Oakland--ugh.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Makin' not postin'

So due to unemployment and general to-be-determined suckiness I've been making tons of stuff--knits, paper goods, sewn items and other crafty arty bits. But there has definitely been a lack of photographing said items, blogging and "earning a living."

To fill up space I give you:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tech sneakers

Hey lB! How are you?

Your boy and you might be amused by these techie Nike sneakers. It's just 15 pounds...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Highlights from SfN and Chicago

1. Met more hot shots in our field!
Dr. Lee glanced at my poster, rather than just sending his students.
Dr. Tanji visited my poster.
I finally met Dr.s Rudebeck and Procyk and saw Dr. Murrary, but couldn't muster up the courage to introduce myself to her...

2. Learned of some amazing science
Dr. Sobel is making a prosthetic that is controlled by the patient's breathing, one of the few voluntary actions a locked-in patient keeps.
David, formerly in the Desposito Lab, had an excellent poster on hierarchical reinforcement learning, though I still don't know what to make of the PMd (and parietal area) being the primary region showing differential BOLD activity from no-chunking vs. chunking.
Miss Noonan gave a superb talk on the double dissociation of the roles of medial vs. lateral OFC. Violations of the independence axiom in economic theory is correlated with medial OFC activity.

3. Was complimented on my LED flower necklace at the BCI Social
I bumped into Gopal, Dr. Shenoy's first graduate student, who also remembered me from the Harvard-Berkeley Engineering Event.
Dr. Shenoy asked about my necklace with the best question being, "So are you a closet EE?" My inner me was jumping up and down with joy from getting to talk to him.
Dr. Velliste even came by my poster the following day, which I never expected any BCI expert to do.

(My collection of work was talked about at the unofficial Berkeley dance party!?)

4. Got some great prototyping side research done
A couple grad. students at Ann Arbor built a DIY electrophysiology rig for $100, as oppose to $40,000! It blew my mind, so I contacted Wired Magazine about them. Hopefully they get the media interested. Their circuit is surprisingly simple, so I may work towards making my own for biometric jewelry and clothing. Will need to inform Eric too.
Pairs of Victoria Secret's trademark wings from their annual fashion show are on display. Since I've been meaning to make myself a pair of wings that glow of course, this close-up look was the best surprise ever! I also learned that the wings are in honor of the grand opening of the N Michigan store, which I serendipitously checked out. Gorgeous store!
I played Mind Ball at the Museum of Science and Technology - the headbands are very comfortable for having three flat electrodes on them. In another exhibit, I bought an LED necklace, which had a similar structure to my LED flower necklace. Good to know that my design jives with others.

5. Had some bummer moments
I failed to make a good connection with those in my field. Alas, I'm a terrible networker.
I missed catching Dr. Sobel and thanking him in person for the continuous letters of recommendation, guidance, and inspiration.
While checking out posters on the last afternoon, my ex spotted me. I never expected him to enter neuroscience. grr. It's my field (and his girlfriend's)! I'd have no problem seeing him around either, if he weren't so insecurely competitive.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Waiting for a boyfriend is demoralizing

I've been giving myself headaches forgetting to eat, putting electronics in food and "clothing", and bringing my plushie lion on all trips - business and pleasure alike.

Need stability.


~~~~ Hope your job search goes well, lB! ~~~~

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Looking for a job is demoralizing

How do I know?

Well, I've made a couch cover, 26 little socks, and cute bento lunches for the boy recently.


Need to work. Desperately.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sorting out life

How goes the life-sorting, lB?

I'll be visiting your territory next week and bringing Spanish chocolate for you. I'm free for dinner Thursday night and/or Saturday night. What fits your schedule?

As for my life-sorting, I think I've reached a good point - I'm refreshed from my first journey across the Atlantic to beautiful Spain (and France). I'm already dreaming about going back, especially to Barcelona! I adore the art nouveau look that Gaudi sprinkles upon the city. It's far nicer than the rigid art deco look of NYC or the lacking art of SF and HK. From the trip, I've realized that I was meant to live in a walkable city, so after I get my PhD, I'm inclined to move eastward to Boston or Europe. My lingering ideas of moving to HK or Singapore are rather remote now - both cities lack science/technology and art in comparison.

I'm also happy in lab. Experiments are moving forward, albeit slowly. I'm starting to feel useful and proficient at what I do at last! My extracurricular project at Noisebridge is serving as a great outlet for my need to create, and this semester I'm taking a course on tangible user interfaces (TUIs). The class has confirmed my love for soldering, building, and electronics, and more importantly, has made me realize that my thought process is best utilized in science and engineering. More precisely, bioengineering. I was offended when a guest professor made light of my interest in biometrics for TUIs by retorting with "Anyone can slap on sensors." He clearly has no idea what many scientists and engineers do on a daily basis...

I've come to realize that regardless of what I do, I will always be meek and uncertain about myself. Perhaps it's an inferiority complex. C'est la vie.

Ending on a girly note: my love life is stable too. Single and comfortably so! Still not over my past, but at last I can live by myself for once. I don't need a guy besides me...well unless perfect he magically shows up. I've now openly accepted the fact that I do in fact have a type preference. For so long, I tried being open-minded and practice equal opportunity in dating, but alas, I'm attracted to certain things: drive, sense of adventure, talent in the performing arts (to contrast with my abilities in the plastic arts), football (aka soccer) passion, metro style, and the most superficial of all - guys who look like Ricky Martin or Kak√° (below middle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi):

I love this blogger's comment to the following photo too:
"clearly, ronaldo can also see how hot kaka is." She's totally right! Though I'd cave to the bad-boy look that Ronaldo sports.

lol, I always end up talking about boys with you, lB, huh? The things you put up with! =P

Monday, August 31, 2009

...continued

Went to Berkeley Bowl today after the hospital to buy my favorite snacks, tea, and some fruit. The amount of heirloom tomatoes there would put most farmer's markets to shame. Will go tomorrow to the Cheeseboard for dinner and to buy some cheese and bread for the plane.

Dinner at my friend's co-op the last two days has been delicious and free (though on the other side of campus from where i'm staying--like 25 minutes walking there and 30 walking uphill back). Co-op's are fun and friendly! Somebody stopped me in the dinner line to ask if I knit my sweater. She had just been to "Sock Summit" and took classes from all the knitting celebrities I knew. I'm jealous! (Yes there are conventions for sock knitting).

Also I sort of wish I knew about the new School of Information when I was applying to grad school. It's really something closer to what I'm interested in (a combination of their old library studies program folded together with new media studies). And they have their own offices and study lounge accessible 24/7. Though public schools do tend to treat their grad students as the cheapest, lowest form of labor... I guess it's not a trade off I need to concern myself over.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Berkeley...

I'm here on my old campus stomping grounds staying with a friend who has never let go.

I've been eating cheap Thai--like fast food, yum! Everyone is away for Burning Man starting this weekend so it's quiet. (Also Berkeley is the only town that noticeably empties out for Burning Man). California budget cuts has made it so the libraries are barely open on the weekends-boo! And it's predictably cool (the hottest two days of the year faded away just as I arrived).

My usual partner in crime dB is still in Spain, I think, so this trip will be quieter, require more exercise as my host lives on the top of the hill, and perhaps more productive.

Yet to be seen.

Also the boy reads the blog, or I'd be exuding about some hitherto unseen eloquence and thoughtfulness, dB. You'll just have to call for the scoop when you're back in the country.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spam and other distractions

I'm going through "major life changing" events. So of course my email was hacked today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Hope you're well dB. Tell me how the trip goes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Plushie distraction

Still missing him, so I'm turning to more crafts and chocolate.

The cute creations on My Paper Crane are adorable. Right now I'm strawberry, but with sufficient amounts of chocolate, I'll be smiling again:

Here's this weekend's craft-in-progress. It's a mini sheep walrus - travel-size! It's being attacked by my housemate's plush killer bunny from Monty Python. I have yet to give my sheep walrus Jr. tusks.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Interests collide

Thanks for the well wishes, dB. And good job on the glowing food.

How about this? Weird, right? Though I would never want one of these really... I still feel the itch to knit one.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Light-up LED brownie

Aside from enjoying the company of friends and their amazing culinary skills, I created more art this weekend. (No wonder my dad now constantly asks if I'm dating. =P)

Anyhow, this weekend's feature is a light-up LED brownie - a deliciously brilliant dessert!

The utensils used are shown below - a brownie on a plate, a color-changing LED, a battery pack for 2 AA batteries and wires extending out, and edible silver foil (some of which is on the brownie, and the rest is in its envelope package):


I began by baking a small brownie about 9 cm in diameter and 3 cm tall in one of my Hello Kitty baking tins. After sufficient cooling, I popped the brownie onto a plate, where a cleaned LED awaited, along side a button battery that I didn't actually use to power the LED. The ultimate goal is to use such a battery though.


The edible silver foil was from Gold Gourmet, a German company, and came in a small booklet of 25 3-3/8" square sheets. It's 23 K, and consequently is a superb conductor, as oppose to the conductive silver paint I bought, which only conducted because it had ions (like sodium benzoate, a food preservative) in aqueous solution.

Below is a photo of the edible silver foil:


The foil was extremely delicate and tended to stick to objects via static, as seen below with the foil floating up, attempting to meet my finger:


The foil tore when I tried to remove my fingers from the foil. The tear can be seen in the photo below. The foil was also impossible to cut with scissors, and shearing it with a fork worked moderately well. A layer of silver remained on the fork, refusing to transfer into the brownie. I didn't manage to remove rectangular pieces from the foil, but rather irregular flakes.


I meticulously placed this flakes onto the brownie, starting at the LED that was stabbed at the center. You can see the foil wrapped about the left lead of the LED:


Instead of using forks, I settled for wooden chopsticks. Because they were made of a nonconductive material, the foil didn't really cling onto the chopstick. I had one chopstick in each hand and teased apart pieces of foil from the sheet with one chopstick doing all of the pulling and the other steadying the foil. I didn't push down hard, because pressure would transfer down to the other sheets of the booklet. Below is a photo of me transferring a torn sliver of foil onto the brownie:


To complete the two traces across and down the sides of the brownie , I used approximately 12 sq. cm (roughly 3 cm x 4 cm) of a sheet:


Then I touched the wires of my battery to the corresponding traces of the brownie and made it light up. Apologies of the poor resolution in the following photo. This is a screen shot from the video documenting my creation:


The videos (parts 1 and 2) are here:
- Light-up LED Brownie: Part 1
- Light-up LED Brownie: Part 2


lB, when are you posting some of your latest creations?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy birthday!

lB, I hope you're enjoying your birthday!

It was great seeing you and meeting your boy! You two are adorable together. So jealous.

And Nopa was delicious - who would stick with kosher foods after tasting that pork chop?! Nothing like re-plating my food into a bunny just to wish you a happy birthday too. =P

Thursday, August 6, 2009

High heel parking spots

Wow, if this law is true, then I'm not sure what gender equality exactly means.

According to a New York magazine article, Seoul will have pink parking spots (like those physical disability spots) for people wearing high heels so they do not strain their feet as much.

Is this really necessary?! I understand that gentlemen care about their ladies, but separating the ladies in heels from everyone else at work seems to reinforce that looks matter most for a woman above and beyond her talent in her career. I am of course assuming men wearing heels are not being encouraged by this rule. The law did play upon gender stereotypes by choosing the color of the spots to be pink after all.

It'd be nice if pink stopped being so strongly associated with the female and all the connotations of physical beauty, emotional whim, childbearing patience, demire elegance, selfish nurturing, technological ineptitude...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Re: Settling...

Aww, I hope your writing is on an upswing, lB! Can't wait to see you!

I'm about to settle too:

I submitted a grant to my grant analyst to send off for university approval. It's been quite a headache dealing with bureaucracy! The grant analyst is new, so I knew this was going to be a long process, but my expectations were too high. Sure, since she's new, she didn't know which documents I exactly needed. That's understandable. But she should be computer literate! I had to teach her how to create shortcuts and find things in the menu of Microsoft Word. She failed to find my field of study in a scroll down menu (which was in alphabetical order). She couldn't spell 'psychology' or right click to find the correct spelling of it. When she finally collected all of my documents to compile into a single pdf, which she emailed to me for review, I opened it up to see but a single page - the cover letter. Ugh! This is my last chance applying for this particular grant too - perfection is essential. Also, I'm not here to train others in computer use either - I did that when I was twelve. Perhaps Berkeley should have just hired middle school students!

In short, I'm now just settling for my complete application to end up at the National Institutes of Health.

On top of my grant ordeal, I learned that I cannot mail things myself. All mail items must go through the campus' mail service, which sounds like complete bureaucractic bullshit. It's already ridiculous that we can't change lightbulbs by ourselves and that we have to purchase furniture through a company affilitiated with the university. No wonder the university has financial problems - they should steamline more processes and fire incompetent employees. There is a department specializing in this too! (Industrial engineering and operations research)

I don't want to read another email about the university's financial hardships, given these experiences. This is all crap. I suspect America's health care also needs some streamlining and ideological changes too, but that's another rant. Will not delve into politics.


lB, sorry to rant at you... I don't have anyone else who'll listen so patiently. =/

Plans for the next few days

1) Be with the boy.
2) To not think about anything.
3) Eat too much.

The fog will part and the angelic choirs will sing.

Also a cute picture of a panda. It's fluff ball backside kills me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Settling...

I just wanted to clarify from the last post that I don't really mind poverty. I do get some sort of perverse joy of being practical and frugal. That being said, I am exhausted and don't know if I want to continue my vaguely boho student lifestyle.

Up to recently I thought I wanted a lot of things. World peace, equality of marriage, a less psychotic mother, have a day when everyone I encountered was really great and on top of their game. For health insurance companies to pretend to be competent. Evolution and global warming to be universally recognized. Sleater-Kinney to reunite. Writing to not be a pain staking process. For people in academia to realize it is not a zero-sum game to the death. Once and a while not having to be the one who compromises to make things go smoothly.

But as the writing continues to go poorly...maybe it's the nerves talking.

All I want is to make peace with the work I'm doing. Maybe have a good meal with friends.

Can't wait to see you, dB.

re: Clothes I Wish I Could Afford

That suit is too cute, dB. I especially love the jacket. I'm not really a pencil skirt kind of girl but the whole thing looks so classy.

You know I prefer shopping on etsy and other smaller places (though god know most my clothes are free hand me downs and target and h&m). I also like Anthropologies' stuff but thank goodness it doesn't matter because their clothing is all too big for me.

I wish this were my new summer dress:



I'm not even sure this would look good on me. But I love the pockets and pleating (and the colored stockings):



If I had a lot of money, and I was the kind of girl who partied (your black and white must be rubbing off on me):



Ugh. I'm in a dress mood apparently. I think most of these are like an roundtrip ticket to California or a good portion of my rent. Sigh and sigh.

Clothes I wish I could Afford

I'm tucking myself into bed by taking a virtual window-shopping trip to VS and Rugby. I just wish I made real money or could sew myself the following:

Peplum jacket with pencil skirt and lovely heels
That's what I'd love to wear to conferences.

Here's what I'd love to wear on normal work days:

Tilden lace-up rugby


Tarina seamed rugby dress

Any cute clothes you'd want to wear, lB? I always adore the colors you pick. I'm so black and white and gray. =P

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

RIP Merce Cunningham

Though, as I have previously stated on this blog, that I am no particular fan of dance, his death greatly saddens me. A defender of what he believed and loved about his medium, I admire him very much as a great spirit in the art world. Also this video nearly made me cry. (First who would have thought that Cage would be the first one of them to go?) They look wonderfully in love.



PS. dB your Mad Men cartoon looks very much like you. I love the earrings, dress and ponytail with bangs... very, very you.

:re Mental Off Switch

Arg!! Me too! I'm full of all sorts of academic doubt, paper finishing terror, and longing to get "moving" again--whatever that means. (I've been very fidget-y but that might just be the sit in front of the computer 10hrs/day freak out about writing 100 pages talking.)

There a change in the status of your dating availability dB that I don't know about?

But more importantly, just remember you'll eventually push off those fantasies. As was said in High Fidelity (a new comedy of remarriage, now that I think about it-I'll add it to the very short list that includes Say Anything and Eternal Sunshine) the fantasy is just that; it isn't real and it doesn't ever deliver.

Also I find that late night exercise helps. I haven't done it in a while since I currently live in a neighborhood that I don't feel comfortable in. But put on your running shoes and run around the block, or better yet ride around the block--by the time you get your bicycle out of your apartment I bet you'll be wanting to get into bed. Good luck!

Mental off switch

I need an off switch for my brain. I can't fall asleep. The soundtrack for 500 Days of Summer is running through my mind behind cluttered thoughts of hypothetical product designs, scientific doubt, and whimsical escapes to Boston. Single and waiting?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mutant animal creations

I create kawaii mutant animals. All my animals have subtly slanted eyes. Here are a couple of them based on jellyfish and sheep + walrus.

Below is a light-up jellyfish. Its body is made from black fabric. Its eyes are small yellow LEDs, which make connections to a watch battery (Duracell DL 1216, 3V) via conductive fabric. A couple of the tentacles are also made from another type of conductive fabric that is mesh-like. The battery is inserted into a pocket inside the jellyfish. To make the LED eyes glow yellow, there are two methods: 1. have the two conductive mesh-like tentacles touch, or 2. push down between the jellyfish's eyes. I intentionally wired these two methods for more interactive capability.

Finish date: July 26, 2009
Dimensions: roughly 7 cm tall, 3 cm wide
Total time spent: 1 sitting ~6.5 hours - conceptualizing, blue-printing, circuit-checking, sewing by hand



The following is a sheep walrus plushie. Well, it's actually an airplane pillow cover inspired from a trip to the Northwest (Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland) last August. In any case, the sheep walrus' body and tail are made from fleece-like fabric. Its eyes are button pins (given at a free screening of 21, the movie based on MIT's blackjack team). The pins are covered with scraps from a worn-out pair of black pants. The ears, feet, and face are made from a worn-out sweater top. The tusks are made from the pocket lining from the black pants. What always surprises people is when they gently tug at the tusks and find that the tusks detach. I added hidden magnets, so my sheep walrus can be a sheep as he pleases.

Finish date: March 15, 2009
Dimensions: roughly 35 cm tall, 24 cm wide
Total time spent: Many weekends, many hours - conceptualizing, making templates and stuffing, sewing all by hand




I'm planning to make more sheep inspired animal plushies and hopefully a mini sheep walrus as a travel companion. Let me know if you have ideas.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The most redneck event ever...

It's in Il and during my birthday! If I went I'd be one of 7 females, and the only one with all her teeth. This commercial cracks me up. HELICOPTER RIDES! PAULY SHORE! VIOLENT JAY'S BEACH BOYS BBQ BLOWOUT BASH BLAST!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meta

Generally, I like things that are meta...it's a cheap way into my heart. (Yes, I know most of it is shallow and masturbatory--I don't care.)

Which is probably why I love the Magnetic Field's 69 Love Songs. They're not love songs, they're songs about love songs. I think this is particularly important for love songs which I'm pretty cynical about. But recently I've been trying to untangle why I tend to prefer swan songs to swoon songs. Perhaps there is something that rings very untrue about the "I'll climb any mountain" tunes, especially compared to the hurt of a good break up song.

So it's a rare song that gets pass that for me. And this may be the best example for me; it has everything I want out of a love song--sweet, not too serious, very meta.

500 days of summer

This is the only romantic-comedy i've wanted to see in years. Why is San Diego not a "major city" worthy it's limited release? Ugh.

Oldie but goodie. Hard to find great clips and couldn't decide on one anyways (though my favorites include the dying wife/mother cooking her last dinner, the old woman who perversely squeezes food in a market to destruction, and the ample amount of food sex between a mobster and his moll girlfriend).

Sorry the subtitles are in German. The end of the French dining scene, the "how to eat spagheti western style" scene, and the one easiest to watch without knowing one of the two languages, a food sex scene (starts about 6:20 into the clip).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

papercuts


Need to get back into it. This is fantastic. I wish I could do it as well as this very delicate piece--and I want this. Very left my heart in SF themed. Swoon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stories and sexy robots

Bonus clip from my favorite Chinese film of the last decade. From my understanding Chinese people don't really like Wong Kar Wai... It's mostly the art-y Caucasian set that dig his work. So what does that say about me? But a great mix of what it means to be creative and in love, realism, science fiction and trashy melodrama. And fantastic music to boot. To be that shapely android cabin attendant...

Optimism

To dispel all the fuming i've done the last couple of days, I'll focus on some more positives:

1) We did indeed land on the moon and Buzz Aldrin has a good right hook for a septuagenarian.

2) The Senate has indeed decided to scrap building more F-22's.

3) There is a small but real possibility that Una Pizza Napoletana is moving from NY to SF.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Light-up Pastries with LED and Edible Silver Paint

In my attempt to make glowing cake, I've purchased edible silver glaze that's normally used to color fondant to paint "wires" on baked goods. These photos and videos show my impromptu collaboration with Chris (narrator) at Noisebridge, in which we coated a Madeleine cookie with some silver glaze and used the glaze as wires to link an LED in the cookie to wires from the power source. We used 15.26 V, 40 mA current limit from a power supply to drive the LED, so there's more work to be done on lowering the power. The arduino circuit board controls the blinking property of the LED. Later in the afternoon, we experimented on a cinnamon roll and compared the LED with a surface mount LED that's super bright. They photographed well under the Sunday sunshine.

Our work bench:

Close-up of Madeleine (Shot taken during the "off" portion of the blinking):

Two LEDs with wires going through the edible silver glaze coated on top of a cinnamon roll:

Here are two videos of the madeleine and cinnamon roll circuits. We can now officially make breadboards literally out of bread with functions of a breadboard. How stellar!

Madeleine cookie LED circuit
Cinnamon roll LED circuit

~~~ Hire me please? I do neuroscience and bioengineering too.

When you've been where I've been...up the Amazon



As Ebert has pointed out, the most funny and sexy seduction scene. I love everything about this movie. Even, or maybe because it don't make any damn sense:



Only His Girl Friday delivers more laughs.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fun video mix tape from the boy



Also I really like this embedded list player from youtube. For all the other clunky interface stuff, this is pretty neat. And the cassette tape icon in the corner is pretty darn cute.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More bloods and guts


Went to go see the Body Worlds exhibit. Really cool. The dissection was very intricate and the plastination technique is pretty neat too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monsters Inside Me

I've always hated Animal Planet. It's my least favorite "educational" channel (I adore Discovery, TLC and the History Channel... the science channel's ok too when the mood strikes) as most of the programing is devoted to watching, usually cute, animals do their thing. It's always been something more appropriate for my conservatively raised school-age little cousins. Well, except for the puppy bowl during Superbowl weekend--that's pretty awesome too for about 30 minutes.

But this show is something i've been absolutely enthralled by. Not for viewers with weak stomachs. If you're fascinated by blood, bugs, and plague, as I am, then the Animal Planet has finally got some programing with teeth!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Too Twee?

Are these shoes too twee, even for me?

I do love Camper shoes but... sigh.

Happy 20th Merge!

Growing up in San Diego but not particularly into punk or ska at the time, I had to look outside for my musical education. Merge became one of the most influential labels in forming my tastes. Even without the greatness of their current roster(Spoon, M Ward, American Music Club, Telekinesis, Arcade Fire-and uhh..Conor Oberst I guess (people like him right?)), Neutral Milk Hotel, Magnetic Fields, and of course Superchunk would have cemented their place in my heart.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pick me ups

Hope life's alright with you, lB.

Thanks for informing me of Anthony Bourdain's episode on Spain - the desserts were amazing! I'm excited for the trip. =)

Are you dressing up for Comic-Con?

I read about RoboGeisha from Wired, but hadn't seen the trailer until you posted it.


I hit a slight lull in life with research hitting a bump (again). So here's some pick-us-ups for graduate students in my boat:

~ Humphry Slocombe ice cream, which I have yet to try

~ Some inspirational art by Kyeok Kim:


~ More glowing attire by LumiGram in France


More to be posted at a more permanent location.

Doing some escapism with Augustana and Kalimba

Need a pick me up

This song usually does the trick. Also playing with divshare. Seems to work pretty well.


Yo La Tengo - Griselda (Fakebook)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Palette Cleanser

Need something else to be the first post on the blog. Yeah I like J-horror (esp. the silly bloody stuff over the creepy ones) but they don't have a monopoly on the silly and freakin' great.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is this for real?

Sadly or awesomely, the answer is YES.

dB, you might not want to watch this. It's kind of gross, very incompetently done, and hilarious. But bloody and stupid too. I'm so torn. I keep watching it but it's so bad (and I laugh every time Geisha transformer pops on screen).

re: Bus Art

OHHH... Pretty, dB. Very pretty.

And yes, while paper is easier than men or wine to carry home, I think this stuff is kind of ridiculously expensive. But so is all the extremely lovely food porn and artisian products of the nation. However if you haven't seen this Anthony Bourdain episode on Spain (the whole thing is on youtube), you should. I think you'll really appreciate the chocolate art section (starts in the middle of part 2); he has a lake of melted chocolate under his shop! It's about 40 minutes long.



As for my own travel mis-adventures, I always seem to miss Hayao Miyazaki. When I was in Japan, I had just figured out how to buy a ticket to the Ghibli Museum in Japanese from a electronic kiosk the the help of the ladies at the local 7-eleven, when I got stupidly ill. I had to miss my appointment to see all the wonderful animation, tied up in a hospital. But he's apparently coming to me! Miyazaki is going to be at ComicCon this year. I'm trying not to get too excited because I very well may not be going but I live in hope.

Bus art

Would you like me to bring you back fancy paper from Spain? It'd be much easier to carry back compared to Spanish men or wine. =P

The camping trip wasn't miserable. I felt terrible about dampening the mood for my boy though...

Anyhow, here's what I did on the bus with my Swiss army knife:

I cut apart a sticker to make nail art. The pencil wasn't a pencil in the sticker, but rather part of a fan-like wire pattern. (I should have taken a photo of the sticker.) The cat eyes, back leg, and tail were dinky slivers of sticker. Not bad considering I was doing this on a moving old bus lacking good shock absorbers.

This was done before I started counting windows and getting dirty looks from the girl across my way.