Dear Santa

Written by yours truly at eightish years old...

Dear Santa,

I have been pretty good this year but not that good. I probably only deserve a piece of coal but may I please have a tea dress for Samantha.




Poe wrote on both

My mother sent me this picture of a huge gathering of crows near my family's home in Montana. Perhaps I have a twisted mind, but I feel a bit like it's a good omen.

It also reminded me of, "why is a raven like a writing desk?"


2010 Goals Midyear Check-in

Time to revisit my goals and see how I'm doing...

1. Audition for something, anything.

Status: Fail
I'm working on bolstering my self esteem a bit before taking this one on.

2. Take one of the following classes: dance, piano, acting, or voice.

Status: Fail
I have a class in mind, but I'm not going to spill the beans until the awesomeness has actually happened.

3. Get my passport.

Status: Fail
I just need to get my butt in gear on this one. Apparently the cost either has or is about to go up 35%.

4. Buy (and wear) a dress (I haven't bought a dress in FIVE years. Five!)

Status: 50% Fail
I bought a dress, now I just need to wear it.

5. Gussy up and attend the SF Ballet's Nutcracker (I performed in it 15 years ago. Lordy, I'm old.)

Status: Fail, with a caveat.
I can't succeed at this until December.

6. Read three books for fun (last year I only managed two, believe it or not.)

Status: 2/3 Fail.
I read Snowflower and the Secret Fan, a book on productivity (meh), and a book on logo design. The last two don't count, but I'll have lots of time on planes to catch up on fun books in August, September and October.

7. Visit one new place.

Status: Sweet success!
Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, baby. Ooooh yeah.

8. Attend more shindigs (in other words, try not to turn down invitations).

Status: Sweet success!
Getting better, but man am I getting fat on dim sum.

9. Photograph stuff. Lots of stuff.

Status: So-so
My fancy new camera died in a tragic Diet Coke accident, so my motivation to photograph anything took a big hit.

10. At 11:59 PM on December 31st, feel like this:

Status: In progress
We shall see.



Hi folks,

My family is still in town, so between that and my side projects, I have gotten very little sleep. I'll photobomb you later with details on my faaabulous fourth of July weekend.

Hugs and smooches!



Weekend Rabblerousing

This weekend I'm off to S.F. to visit with my family, eat some BBQ, and support my dad's band.

If you're into the Reggae Dub Poetry/Country/Native American music scene, you should stop on by.
  • Saturday July 3rd 5-7pm, FREE 12th Annual World One Festival, Cerrito Vista Park, 950 Pomona Avenue, El Cerrito

  • Saturday July 3rd 9pm-1am, FEMI KUTI concert, The Fillmore, 1805 Geary, San Francisco

  • Sunday July 4th 10am-7pm, FREE 12th Annual World One Festival, Cerrito Vista Park, 950 Pomona Avenue, El Cerrito

  • Thursday July 8th 9-9:45pm, with DEAD DREAMS, Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo, Berkeley

Pictures and stories soon to come. :)

< 3 < 3 < 3


Stupid Sun

Los Angeles weather is far too sunny and warm. And bright. And happy.

I needs me some soul-search inducing gloomy grey weather now and again. And lots of rain.

Right now I'm faking it with this. (Thanks, Sheri.)


The good, the bad, and the awesome

Good: Finally managing to get in some quality ZZZs while sick.

Bad: Waking up from said ZZZs in the middle of the night with a mouth-breathing induced sore throat.

Awesome: Discovering that your boyfriend preemptively stocked the fridge with strawberry Häagen-Dazs.



I think I need a little soul...


Splode from Cuteness

I'm pretty sure my head is going to explode. Not from cuteness, unfortunately. (That wouldn't be a terrible way to go, I suppose.) No, I'm just battling a raging head cold. Stupid head cold.

Grumble grumble grumble.


This is full of awesome.*

*Thanks, Brie, for pointing this out. :)

Free Professor Peter Erlinder

If you don't mind, please consider taking a moment to help out the father of a friend's fiance...

Peter Erlinder, law professor at William Mitchell Law School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, long time human rights advocate and Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, was arrested by Rwandan Authorities the morning of Friday, May 28. Prof. Erlinder is a human rights lawyer, president of the defense lawyers' association at the Tribunal and past-President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Please contact your Congressional delegation and tell them to do whatever they can to secure his release.


From haunting to bane of my existence.

I'm officially sick of productivity suggestions. I'm done with Lifehacker for awhile.


Too much

I don't want to capture every idea that pops up in my head. Not only would it eat up a ton of precious time that should be spent on actually executing ideas, it shows a lack of confidence in your ability to generate new ideas when you have the free time to spend on them.

GTD is haunting me, at the moment. I can't seem to go a week without someone mentioning it.

I'm also a cranky pants, as it's fiscal close time at UCLA. Busy busy busy.

Bubble Girl

Maybe I need to resort to more extreme measures to avoid getting sick.

(As an aside, I feel like I'm the only person who really enjoyed Bubble Boy. Oh well.)


Nice lawn. Now what?

Kentucky was ... interesting.

Our transfer flight from Atlanta to Lexington was canceled at the very last minute, so Muse and I decided to rent a sexy and glamorous Ford Focus and drive through the night to see his little sis (and through Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, for that matter). First of all, I have never seen so many abandoned cars, 24-hour firework stands, and Cracker Barrels in all my life. Not to mention thirty foot glowing crosses. Second, WOW is Kentucky meticulously manicured. Very green, very white-fencey. Despite spending a full day and night traveling, I had a great time chatting with Muse and giggling at the overabundance of country music on the local radio stations.

We got to our hotel at about 6 a.m. local time. Man, we were sleepy. I scarfed down some breakfast and passed out just in time for birthday callers to start in on Muse. Eventually I managed to drag myself out of bed and grab coffee with little sis. Seeing her was awesome and it was very cool to check out where she works. I can see why she loves it there. Give her a Starbucks and lots of horses and she's happy with life. :)

I could be wrong, but it seems that Southern hospitality is a myth. Perhaps I just ran into the wrong folks, but virtually all of the people I met (primarily in customer service roles) were standoffish and even a bit rude. One stand out exception was the night desk manager at the Holiday Inn Express. He. Was. Awesome.

Unfortunately our luggage (and my camera) lagged behind us, as Delta did not allow us to retrieve our bags from the canceled flight. When I finally had the thing in my hot little hands, it ran out of batteries. I took very few photos on the trip. :-/

Brace for blurry, tilted shots from my mobile's camera (the vast majority of the state looks like the first picture):


Good girlfriend

My boyfriend's birthday is coming up this weekend. We'll spend it in Kentucky visiting his amazing little sister. She secured a rather prestigious equine vet internship and I am very, very proud of her. :)

I have to say that shopping for Muse is rough. If he wants something, he goes out and gets it. (Thank goodness he doesn't want much, otherwise we'd be broke.) I convinced him to pull together an Amazon wishlist, but not many of the items were fun. I had to improvise.

Gift one: The Watchmen. He found the movie rather off-putting (what with the gigantic glowing blue genitals and all - Google it yourself if you're that interested), but is curious to explore the world of graphic novels.

Gift two: Comic Book Tattoo. Muse's favorite female musician is Tori Amos. The book is an award-winning collection of stories based off of her lyrics (written by a variety of authors).

Upcoming anniversary gift: Lakers tickets. Sure, our anniversary isn't until November, but these things are really hard to get a hold of. Presents for him are hard to figure out, so I suck at keeping them a secret*.

* He doesn't read my blog, interestingly enough. He says it makes him feel like a creepy voyeur. The secret spilling happens when I blurt it out excitedly.


Pugs not drugs, found at dELIA*s.


Musings and happenings

Some of this weekend was great.
  • I felt good enough to voluntarily go for a hike.

  • I walked Cheeto.

  • I had my first official press junket experience (I'd link you to that, but it's embargoed).
Some of it was deeply upsetting.

Some of it was productive. (I'm excited that Chanpory has started posting again after a long hiatus.)

Some of it was introspective.
  • I'm still thinking about Getting Things Done. I believe part of my issue with it is that I feel like I get plenty done. I just want to keep increasing the quality of what I spend my time on, which means saying no to the stuff that won't increase my happiness/satisfaction levels. I also need to be better about setting boundaries - I deserve guilt-free free time to just spend as I like. I can't help everyone and I can't do everything. I *shouldn't* do everything. Will I regret not finishing something a smidge earlier when I'm old and gray, or will I regret not spending more time enjoying the people and the world around me? Some folks absolutely need a better system for keeping themselves organized, but I don't think I'm one of them. I'm happy with what I have in place and need to cut back on the quantity of what I'm doing.

  • Perhaps it's less that I dislike GTD and more that I dislike the idea of implementing a whole new system of organization. I'm pleased with what I've created for myself and suppose I feel a bit protective of it.

  • It's too bad that cutting back on the quantity of what I'm doing means that I have to choose between: a) cutting back on my activities that bring in income, b) cutting back on the activities that help people I care about, and c) cutting back on things that I find emotionally rewarding. Saying no to income is a luxury of the well-off. Cutting back on helping people makes me feel guilty and selfish. Not doing things that I find emotionally rewarding means that, if I'm hit by a bus tomorrow, I die unfulfilled.

  • I also have to consider the fact that doing too much can have negative effects on my physical and mental well being. I can't help anyone if I'm too frantic and frazzled to function.


Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming ...

My mind just won't quit. I want to redecorate, try new recipes, go to the beach & boogie board, write, draw, sing, act, go horseback riding, move, get more degrees, read, rant, relax, explore ...


Too much, probably.

Thoughts and lynx from my weekend:

- Towel bars should be hung at 48 inches off of the ground.
- Bunnies with stuff on their heads bring me joy.
- Years after first happening upon Wordle.net, I still adore it.
- "Righty tighty, lefty loosie," and other such nuggets of wisdom help me out constantly. It blows my mind that I never learned these things until my 20s. (Mom & dad, I'm looking at you.)
- I thought a political debate was going quite well, until the person I was arguing with referenced this guy.
- V for Vendetta dude's hair/beard is out of control.
- There exists such a thing as a collection of short stories based on Tori Amos songs. It's called, "Comic Book Tattoo."
- Ikea Hacker and Apartment Therapy inspired me to add legs to my bookcases. I cheated the back legs in a wee bit, so they now fit flush against the wall above the molding. I can finally earthquake proof the bejesus out of them.
- I want to take some classes, but I have no idea which ones. And it seems silly to take classes and not pursue an additional degree. What I want to study doesn't seem to exist.


Gosh Golly

Dear Internet,

Life has been quite busy.

- April has been full of birthdays. Cousins, aunts, mom, little bro, and several dear friends.
- I wrote for a Facebook game and it was recently released (some, not all of the writing). It's called Big City Life.
- A family friend passed away.

My to-do list is ginormous. (And it includes paying more attention to you, dear readers.)

Hope to see you again soon!




Random Thought

Games that have a lot of on-screen text really, really, really need to allow for changes in font size for those of us with bad vision or lower-res tvs.

(Fable 2 and FFXIII, I'm looking at you.)

That is all.


Oh my sweet little blog, how I have neglected you!

Fear not! You have not been forgotten.


I have been planning a makeover!

Brace yourself for more content. Hopefully something a little more focused. ;)

*Hugs & Smooches*

-- Cat


At this moment, I feel ...

very busy, very tired, and very happy.


Curse you, Photoshop

So, Photoshop stopped working on me. I'd create something gorgeous (as usual) and I'd go to save my masterpiece.

It would freeze. Every single time.

Luckily, the Google just gave me a fix:

Go to Edit>Preferences>File Handling and turn off Version Cue.


Underappreciated (imho)

- Into the Wild Soundtrack (Thanks Eddie Vedder)
- Bread and butter pickles
- 6 a.m.


The Trouble with LinkedIn

I like LinkedIn. I really do.

It's a great place to have a serious, strictly business web presence, with the advantage of some social networky action. Nice and polished, like a pinstripe suit.

I like to tailor my resume for the job I'm applying for. Sometimes I need to highlight different parts of my experience, rather than overwhelm the HR person with a nineteen page block of text.

But what if I miss out because my LinkedIn profile is too limited?

I hesitate to tell my entire life story (well, entire work history) to everyone on the internet. Why tell all the people who happen by that I was paid to dance in the Nutcracker ballet in San Francisco,? Not enough people would care to make it a valuable addition to my resume. But then again, if I don't list EVERYTHING, I might miss out on amazing position with a person who would care.

LinkedIn makes it incredibly hard to balance "enough" with "too much."

The end.


What has two thumbs and ...

Went to see Eddie Izzard this weekend, watched 500 Days of Summer, had her lakeside stroll interrupted by an L.A.P.D. helicopter yelling at everyone to evacuate the park, and desperately hopes that the diet Dr. Pepper that exploded in her laptop bag didn't damage her laptop, phone, and brand new camera, but she can't check and see yet cause they're still drying?

(points at self)


Fail weekend

Whoops. My inner blonde showed up this weekend. Eddie Izzard wasn't this past Saturday, it's this upcoming Saturday.

Internets failed - the boyfriend and I made the call and we're switching ISPs soon.

My allergies went nuts after I bathed and pedicure-a-fied our guinea pig. Coughing ensued.

Successes included getting a *lot* of work done and watching too much TV. It looks like I may be caught up by the end of this week. Maybe. Hopefully. :)


Overspecialization Leads to Weakness

Then again, without specializing enough, I'll never feel like an expert.

Or maybe it's better to know enough about a lot of things to be able to coordinate/oversee/lead the experts. Then I won't get bored/stuck.

Maybe I could be an expert at that.

Hmm ... possibilities!


Ah maaaaan!

I may be looking forward to Valentine's Day, but it just clicked in my little brain that I have to *plan* something for it.


Paintball maybe? Bowling? Princess-Leia's-gold-bikini-clad ninjas?


Good things

Sometimes focusing on the good things can help diminish bad feelings, so:

- I'm very much looking forward to Valentine's day AND Chinese New Year in San Francisco (cause time with my family is awesome!)

- I'm going to see Eddie Izzard this weekend. Score.

- My mom's website makeover is almost done (once I figure out how I want to handle the "gallery" page).

- I'm not coughing up a storm. I had the flu for about two weeks and it seems it has finally cleared up.

Deep Breaths

I'm trying not to get annoyed, but I'm failing at it. Here's my attempt at venting.

- I tried not to get annoyed when I found an abandoned cereal bowl in my apartment that appeared to be full of dry cereal, but when I reached in to wipe it out, my hand sunk into days old milk-turned-yogurt.

- I tried not to get annoyed when, after the milk-turned-yogurt hand dipping incident, I got into my car to discover someone had used Armorall formulated for dashboards on the inside of the windshield (which is gooey, blocks your vision, and is hard to get off).

- I tried not to get annoyed with the democrats (though I still <3 Obama).

- I tried not to get annoyed when three different people cut me off on my morning commute.

- I tried not to get annoyed when someone stopped by my office to ask for my help, then attempted to berate me for not knowing who it was they were here to see. Considering I didn't make the appointment for them (since scheduling is not part of my job), I don't have access to the appointment books for all of the many people in my building, and I'm not a study recruiter, I had no real obligation to go out of my way to help the guy in the first place.


Bedroom redecoration: Phases 1&2

Phase one is planning, but that is pretty much ongoing until I'm done. Ish. I don't think I'm good at being "done" with a room.

Anyway, last night I dropped by Target and picked up a few items:

1) Mattress topper. For some reason, our swanky sleep number bed has become quite lumpy. This thing was an awesome investment. Lumps = gone.

2) Lamp 1. I need to figure out if I'll use this in the bedroom, or if I'll yoink a lamp from the living room and put this in its place.

3) Lamp 2. Very simple. Also might be switched out for living room lamps.

Now to figure out where I want to put these guys.

Other potential plans (always subject to change):

- Keep the current duvet cover and find a textured purple throw and some purple pillows (you can see a small glimpse of our blue striped duvet here):

- Stop thinking about just getting totally new bedding (too expensive):

That counts as a greyish lavender, I think. In the purple family.

- Deep purple curtains
- Dark brown bamboo roman shades
- Paint?! Maybe?!

I have to keep in mind, of course, that I want to move in about a year. I don't want to sink a ton of money into something that's going to change so soon. For all I know, our new place won't lend itself to any stuff we buy now.


"The bedroom is kind of oppressive"

That's not what I want to hear my boyfriend say.

Looks like it's time to redecorate, but I have no idea where to start. There's a bunch of furniture we're stuck with, some sentimental, some budget-friendly. The bed is quite literally falling apart (thanks a lot IKEA, we're sleeping on beams propped up with books).

I asked him for color preferences and he said, "purple."

Now to figure out how to make a purple room masculine and a small room feel cozy and inviting.

Pictures to come.

The dog who ate Christmas

Just two hours before I was to taste sweet, sweet freedom and hit the road to visit family and friends in Montana, Miss Cheeto decided to taste some sweet, sweet chocolate. I believe it was a suicide attempt.

She ate this:

And this:

And a bunch of this:

And, for the record, when I say she ate these:

I mean that she ate everything. The paper bag. The foil wrappers of the individual chocolates. All of it. Even the wrapping paper. (Well, *most* of the wrapping paper. It's how we knew she got into the chocolate.)

We found this out shortly after she did the deed, so I assumed we could rush to the vet, get her stomach pumped, and all would be well.

I was wrong.

First we rushed to the vet, who said that it was good we got her in before the seizures started. Seizures?!

Then we went home while they knocked her out and pumped her stomach. They called to tell us there was a lot of stuff in her belly (no duh!) and that we'd maybe be able to bring her home the next day.

Later, worry set in, so I had the boyfriend call and check on her. I asked if we could go visit her.

When we got to the vet's office, they brought out a limp Cheeto and laid her on the floor. Her face was scrunched up in pain and she was breathing very, very hard. I watched her little doggy cheeks puff in and out with each breath. (This was definitely not the same as panting.) Then I cried. She struggled to try and sit up to greet us, but failed. About ten minutes later she managed to gather enough strength to put her head on my foot. More crying.

We went home, worried through the night, then called the vet in the morning.

Apparently she had seizures throughout the night and went to the doggy ICU to keep her organs from failing. She also had a doggy EKG after she developed a heart murmur.

We went back to the vet to visit. She looked haggard and I was told she hadn't bitten anyone.

The biting thing is actually significant. She HATES strangers. HATES them. She bites and she bites regularly (we're working on that, she had a traumatic little life before us). We saw the staff pick her up, bathe her, etc. without so much as a "Grrrrrr." This made me worry.

She stayed another night and we went to pick her up in the morning.

The vet suggested that we go to a doggy surgery center for an endoscopy, just to make sure there wasn't anything else stuck in her tummy (the x-rays were inconclusive on that front). The boyfriend and I struggled with the decision. It was probably going to cost a lot, but we do have pet health insurance. It was also going to be a big strain her little system, and considering she was in danger of her organs failing, I was concerned that it would be too much for her to be put under again.

In the end, we decided it was better for her to have the endoscopy, as they assured us that they could pull out any stray wrappers during the procedure. The boyfriend and I drove her to the doggy surgery center and dropped her off. They said that they'd call as soon as they knew anything.

We went to the mall to kill some time, and I managed to freak out at my poor boyfriend. There wasn't any good reason, I was just stressed as all hell. You're not in a good place if you're bursting into tears at Nordstroms.

A few hours later, we got a call from the surgery center. Cheeto's stomach was completely blocked with an immovable mass of wrappers, cherries and who knows what else. Surgery was happening, and it was happening now.

More crying.

Another night of waiting and we got the news that she could come home. We were also told that she was clear for traveling with us to Montana, as long as we were careful with her.

Her little tum-tum looked like this:

Finally, four days after our intended departure date, we hit the road with doggy and lots of medications in tow. (One for pain, one for her thyroid, one for her heart, and an antibiotic.)

I can't tell you how stressed out I was. I mean, I can try, but there's no way that words can express exactly how frantic I was.

Work has been very, very busy. Both dayjob work, 2nd job work, and my own side projects have managed to take up nearly every second of my free time. Los Angeles has felt oppressive, as I hit the point of despising my daily commute (freaking traffic). I wanted nothing more than to start my vacation. Then, two hours to freedom, I got hit with four days of thinking my baby puppy doggy was dying.

It was horrible. Just horrible.

And who knew chocolate was *that* toxic. I knew it was a no-no for dogs and cats, but I didn't realize that 13oz. of mixed truffles and chocolate covered cherries could kill a 22 pound dog. Had we not rushed her to the vet immediately (the office is just two blocks from our house) Cheeto would be dead.

Four days and $4,500* later, the boyfriend and I started our winter vacation. More on that soon.

*Here's hoping that VPI pet insurance delivers. Anything would be helpful.

For future reference:

1) White chocolate is by far the safest chocolate a dog can eat. Generally, they shouldn't even be phased by it.
2) Milk chocolate is also relatively mild. It's worth calling the vet about, as it can be dangerous in large quantities (which depends on the size of the dog).
3) Dark chocolate = death. It doesn't take too much (also depending on the size of the dog) to kill them.
4) Baker's chocolate = ultra death.

The boyfriend and I have resolved to keep chocolate out of our house entirely.

A few resources:

Dogs and Chocolate
Chocolate Toxicity and Dogs


Why videogame writing still needs some improvement

Star Ocean: The New Hope

So, my character in the game lands on a new planet and is soon assaulted by a bunch of big, scary spiders. He tries to shoot them with his gun, but their scary-spider-armor deflects his shots. He falls to the ground and scrambles to find an alternate weapon. One appears: a utility knife/sword thing. It ends up being an effective tool against the creatures on the planet.

Unfortunately, an hour or so later in the gameplay, the character "reveals" why he has "always" used a knife/sword thing. He claims he always uses it because, when he was a child, he tried to save his father by using a gun, but didn't know how to shoot it. Instead he saved him by fighting off a monster with a knife.

Things like this make me yell at the TV.


The end

That's it. Game over.

I'm past my prime and have begun the process of slowly dying.

I found my very first grey hair today.

Oh, the agony.


In with da funk ... er ... the new.

Goals for 2010

1. Audition for something, anything.
2. Take one of the following classes: dance, piano, acting, or voice.
3. Get my passport.
4. Buy (and wear) a dress (I haven't bought a dress in FIVE years. Five!)

5. Gussy up and attend the SF Ballet's Nutcracker (I performed in it 15 years ago. Lordy, I'm old.)

6. Read three books for fun (last year I only managed two, believe it or not).

7. Visit one new place.8. Attend more shindigs (in other words, try not to turn down invitations).

9. Photograph stuff. Lots of stuff.

10. At 11:59 PM on December 31st, feel like this:

P.S. I have a feeling that this year is totally going to top last year. Not that last year was anything less than great. :)


Out with the old ...

Let's see how I did on my "Resolutions, nay, goals for 2009."

1. Ride my exercise bike.
Replaced this with a gym. Good stuff.

2. Go to Chicago.
Missed on this one. I did go to Austin, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Montana, and Salt Lake City though. Not bad. It's the most I've traveled in ages.

3. Do a lot of writing.

4. Play more video games.
I think I outdid myself on this one.

5. Spend more money on myself without feeling guilty.

6. Open myself up more to love.

7. Re-learn French.

8. Eat a lot of dim sum.
Yes. I even braved the "dim sum platter" that some place in Montana served. For the record, it was not terrible.

9. Go to more galleries and museums.
Nope. I made it to the Japanese Tea Garden in SF, but I don't think that counts.

10. At 11:59pm on December 31st, feel very, very happy.
Well, at 11:59 pm on December 31st, I was driving in an icy canyon during a snowstorm. I think I was annoyed, more than happy.

I get a 6/10. That's a big, fat D-. Better than failing, I suppose.

Guess I'll just have to try harder this year. :)

(Not that last year was bad. It was mostly awesome.)