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


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


Generally, I like things that are'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


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...


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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Poor O-Dub. I think I really am the female demographic of his site. Apparently there are at least 4 dudes for every dudette interested in his intellectual and informational website on hip-hop and soul music. Maybe I am a gal in demand. Who would have thought?

Also who the hell is buying up all the Gaston Bachelard books on the history of science? Why are they out of print and expensive as hell? I need them but not at a hundred dollars a book.


I've very jealous of your going to Spain, dB. Eating, architecture, art, history, drinking/partying, soaringly beautiful landscapes/seascapes. Lucky. Then there was this in the Times. So pretty--I love unique paper. You're totally going to have a blast.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

oh my...

I don't mean to belittle your (mis-)adventures but your recounting is quite grim dB.

Secondly, I've been listening a lot to two mixes by a favorite somebody but in between there's been a lot of SD radio, listening to my old KALX shows (man, I sound really nervous and young--no wonder so many creepy people called me), and NPR online.

My question is what does one make of appealing but possibly slight foreign fusion? Are Ozomatli, Manu Chao, and Amadou and Mariam the (and I shudder to type these words all together) the Dave Matthews of international music?

Thirdly, (i'm listless, excuse the rambling) I've rewatched Shopgirl in light of the fact I don't think Steve Martin's music is terrible. I think his novella and movie is a little too pat and smug (his voiceover narration really rubs me the wrong way) but this is a really cute, if flawed, little film. My favorite part is a gesture at the end. Claire Danes walks away from Steve Martin towards "Jeremy" and Jason Schwartzman raises his arms in a celebratory gesture of excitement, love, adoration and she rushes into his embrace. So silly and adorable. Something about how complete and uninhibited that gesture is--like a child wanting to be picked up, like the triumph of a touchdown, like the ecstasy of a gossip singer--like love.

Lastly, I think I'm coming to a better understanding of what floats my aesthetic boat in the world of cinema. I've always had a hard time reconciling my love of the over-the-top (Almodovar, Fassbinder, early Hollywood, HBO shows) and the minimalism (Japanese cinema, "mumble-core", Chabrol, left-bank French New Wave) that defines the two kinds of films that I adore. But really it's all about the well done melodrama. While that's certainly true of the big brassy films, there is something unabashedly grand and equally ballsy in the vast desolation and lack of things that happen in the small films I love. That makes something like There Will Be Blood (which I prefer vastly to No Country for Old Men) a perfect storm for what I love.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hippie camping

Thank you, lB, for making delicious strawberry shortcake to take on our camping trip! It made the trip a little bit better.

Since you know me well, it comes as no surprise when I confirm that camping isn't my thing. Sure, there was a shower with hot water and portable toilets at Belden...but the ~10-hour long bus ride up for a normally 4-hour journey was tedious - the old spray-painted blue bus with solar panels and vegetable oil containers overheated frequently*, so we had to pull over often; the interior decorating (if you could even call it that) was a dirty, worn, hippie look with a bed area at the back; the bus took many pee breaks that were reminiscent to Bay to Breakers; we simmered in the bus from the afternoon sun as we left the coastal area and entered the valley; we could have been in Japan with the lengthy transit; the other 24 passengers for the most part weren't my type of people, and it was mutual; my ears were sick of loud, crappy electronic music by hour 3; I suffered from ennui by hour 4 and studied window patterns for some time, which only led me to get a dirty look from the girl sitting across from me as I kept gazing just above her head and beyond her. And lastly, for a brief moment outside of Sacramento, our bus seemed like it would have to wait for the later bus to take its passengers, since the later bus forgot to pick up some East Bay folks and considered turning back for them. Luckily, the 9 forgotten people rented cars instead, so we didn't have to wait 30+ mins only to pack more people into the bus. That later bus beat us up to the camp site too, despite leaving 3 hours after our bus. We finally arrived at Belden ~11 pm and consequently didn't get great camping sites.

The rest of the trip was alright - I splashed around in the river for a little bit, though I got my period by mid-afternoon. I did some work and took a nap, then made us some smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill on cracker. Afterward, we played with balloons and made a balloon neuron. Then we went to the Midsummer's Night themed party, where people were dressed up in whimiscal gear. I didn't want to pack wings with me, nor did I bring my glowing creations, so I wasn't in costume. The live music was captivatingly beautiful, especially Lulacruza with the live re-mixing.

Another couple art pieces were excellent: the triad of swings that pulsed light in a center area, such that each swing shined a different color of light into the center. The pulse was timed with the swing's oscillations too. The other piece were screens, on which abstract patterns projected. Elements of the patterns were carefully and aesthetically controlled by two complex joysticks with various buttons and switches.

Aside from my boy, I only talked with 4 other people that weekend in conversions that exceeded ~6 lines of dialogue. I also suspect that I was the most sober/clean person there, having only two sips of beer on the bus ride up. Perhaps I should have drank more.

In any case, I have confirmed that I am not a hippie. (I already knew that though.)

sweet peas

Lots of cravings indulged recently. Smoked salmon, excellent mexican food, sand between the toes, new Spoon songs:

But there is one I can't scratch. I have to comfort myself with mix tapes in that regard.


water tastes funny in sd

dB, how was your "first" camping trip, city girl?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Many thanks

...for hosting me (and letting me stay even when you've gone away!) during my stay in the Bay Area, dB. Your birthday was a blast (ice cream cake--yum), the tech-art group you're in is very cool, and you and your friends are accommodating and wonderful as usual.

Post some ladybug pictures and good luck with figuring out how to make/alter that circuit for your earrings (will they be done by the time I get back?)!

Private to the boy: is it a microscope?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Not heartless...

For everyone who thinks I was kidding--i'm not. I legitimately and adamantly dislike dancing, which is perhaps why I am not particularly moved by the death of Michael Jackson. Sure I like the Jackson 5. But all the associations of dancing your heart out to Thriller and Off the Wall had me at the sidelines.

But I do like this cover.

Sacrilegious, no?

Also, this week marked the passing of Karl Malden.

Private to dB: Happy Birthday!