Degree confirmation

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Today I received an e-mail confirming the conferral of my degree.  Though I have meticulously checked to ensure I had met all the requirements to earn my double Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and Economics, it’s a relief to have the degree checkers from the registrar’s office validate it.  It came in a nondescript e-mail from the UCLA Registrar’s Office, with a subject line that I nearly deleted: “General Info”  Yet inside, its message was priceless to me – I will be picking up my degree in two months!  It’s official.  Official!

And ever more pressing is the job search… I had a conference call last Tuesday with the CEO of Caelan & Sage, their Managing Director, and my friend Marylin to discuss the possibilities of our employment together.  I really want to pursue this opportunity, but I am using it as an excuse to not apply for jobs here.  :-/  I don’t know why I’m so averse to the idea.  Maybe it’s because getting jobs has always been rather easy for me.  Sigh.

Stranded

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Last night, I went to the Hammer Museum for College Night and dropped by the OCHC Semi-Formal.  The galleries at the Hammer were left open, with 15-minute tours given periodically.  Two bands were scheduled to perform, with a fashion show and dancing to entertain the crowd between the gigs.  They had drinks provided by GuS (Grown-up Soda), cookies, and catering by Wolfgang Puck (they own the cafe downstairs).  I don’t eat hamburgers (I’m not vegetarian), but I had these and they were delicious.  I also managed to snag a piece of pizza on my way out.  I had stuck around for awhile, hoping to catch a server coming up with a full tray so I could bring a burger to Panda at the semi-formal, but none were to be seen.  Oh well.  From there I went to find Panda at the dance and we even went on the dance floor for a few minutes!  I snacked a bit more as he ran around taking care of things and waited for him to excuse himself for the rest of the night.  It’s always nice to see him.

I was leaving UCLA just before 1 AM (Saturday) when I got stuck in traffic on the 405N for over two hours.  After passing the Getty exit, traffic was slowing rapidly (haha) and I knew I was in for trouble when an ambulance made its way up the shoulder.  Immediately I could tell that there had been an accident up ahead that had just gotten called in.  I wasn’t sure if it blocked all the lanes, so I patiently waited for 10-15 minutes before deciding it was going to take awhile and turned the car off.  In the mean time, a firetruck and four police cars had made their way up the shoulder as well and I could see their flashing lights about 3/4 miles ahead.  I called my mom to let her know I’d be running late and then texted Panda to see if he could find out more for me.  He was able to confirm the accident and apparently Sigalert was saying it’d take 40 minutes to get 6 miles.  Except there was one problem: we couldn’t move those 6 miles!  All lanes were completely sealed.  The accident was in the way.

I almost wanted some snow right about then so we could play in it (though I’m glad it wasn’t that cold, I’d hate to have the cars running all that time).  I imagined if we’d be able to work out a system of people sharing heat in one car, then moving to another to conserve a bit.  After waiting for a good half hour, I decided to step outside, where some guys had started to gather.  I talked to a few and found out that some driver had been weaving in and out of traffic and hit a car.  The driver was killed and there was no news on the other car.  One of the guys is a truck driver, veteran to these types of things and he said it’d take 2 hours at least.  Great.  The other guys started to get impatient and decided to venture south along the shoulder.  The exit behind us was probably only half a mile away, so a few of them (with some maneuvering of other cars) turned around and headed down.  The first guy we sent off was stopped by what we thought was a cop car – game over.  Except it was the coroner, so that guy didn’t get ticketed after all.  We told him to give us one long honk when he was driving back up Sepulveda (parallel to the highway) if he got by ok.  A minute or two later, we heard a long honk and soon the troops had been mobilized.  At one point it looked like an entire strip of highway was going to get cleared from the cars escaping via the shoulder and I was tempted to give it a go myself.  Alas, I don’t have the guts to chance it and it’s not like I had a pressing need to leave anyway, so I stay put.

Conveniently (hah), I also had to go to the restroom.  -___-  After venturing to the side of the shoulder and attempting to peek into the depths, I decided it was more worth it to hold it.  After all, it was pitch black and I had no idea what kind of drop off there was awaiting me.  Edward, the truck driver, did say he had a flashlight if I really needed to go.  I got a little excited when the coroner’s car came driving by because he told me the CHP could take me to go to the restroom, but once we saw it was the coroner, well, I just didn’t really want to go.  Edward kindly helped me think of various solutions to the problem, if I really couldn’t hold it in any longer: a Hummer limo ahead of us could possibly have a bathroom in it; certain other vehicles, like charter buses also have them (he’d seen one nearby right before stopping, but it was nowhere to be seen; or I could hide under the shadowy depths of his truck to do my business.  To try to avoid all these awkward situations, I remained standing for as long as I could.  To stay distracted, I watched the traffic (that had been redirected) flow along Sepulveda and waved to those cars that had made it over from our area, honking at us to join them in their escape.

Three tow trucks went by and by 2:45, my feet hurt and I was getting cold, so I climbed into the backseat of my car to hug the bodypillow I had with me.  Panda was heading to bed at 3, so I called him to talk before he retired for the night.  Right around that time, it started to drizzle outside and I began to notice brakelights emerging ahead.  Everyone was turning on their cars again!  Excited to see movement, I rushed to the driver’s seat to get ready to leave as soon as things started moving.  We snailed along and I broke free of traffic ten minutes after they’d finally closed up the investigation and cleared part of the roads.  As I drove by, I saw a baby blue car on a tow truck that looked like a baseball had been thrown at its windshield.  The smell of the flares seeped into the car as I wryly observed the rectangular dry patches on the road where cars had been parked moments earlier.  I took a look at the traffic jamming up on Sepulveda and wondered if the redirected traffic was going to be re-redirected back to the 405 now, or if there’d be some buffer time.  Edward had told me where the nearest bathroom would be once we started moving again and though I apprediated his effort, I just wanted to get home by 4.

It was interesting to be standing and walking on pavement that usually never gets cars parked upon it.  I also observed how some people came out of their cars and others you would think were abandoned.  A couple of people had the confidence to walk a good mile up to the scene to check it out.  I was paranoid that traffic would begin to flow and I couldn’t rush back to my car in time.  There were a few cars holding up traffic when we did start to drive off.  I guess those drivers did what I didn’t dare and let their guards down, either by leaving their vehicle or napping inside.  When the entire row of cars in front of me had cleared out, I kind of wished I had my waveboard or skateboard in the car, so I could play around a little.  Now that would have been fun.  All in all it was a very… unique situation and experience.  What a way to end the night.

[edit] I was searching and searching for a news article about last night’s accident, expecting some generic headline about a crash, but this is what I found: http://cbs2.com/local/405.woman.killed.2.916740.html.  “Pedestrian Fatally Hit While Crossing 405 Freeway”  WHAT?!  I read and reread this headline during my search for an accident on the 405 on January 24th, 2009, but I didn’t think to click it because it sounded nothing like what I thought the crash was!  But alas, it is the reason for my two-hour delay last night and the story is far more bizarre than I expected.

Typing woes

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Oh the joys of a broken keyboard.  For the past week and a half, I have been painstakingly pounding out everything I wanted to type via a crazy combination of typing on letters that don’t work and clicking them out on the on-screen keyboard.  It is the most annoying thing I have encountered recently, especially since I pride myself in my efficient typing skills.  Communicating just isn’t the same when you have to spend quadruple the amount of time getting something out.  Instant message conversations are supposed to be just that: INSTANT.  I hate it when I have to slooowly click out what I’m trying to say and hope that it still works in the moment when the real moment passed minutes ago.  Some of what I say is time sensitive!  GAH.

Well, thankfully I am being helped out by a friend who ordered a replacement keyboard for me and will help me put it in next week.  In the mean time, I managed to borrow an external keyboard from him and found that I had gotten so used to the unruliness of my fried keys that it took me a few minutes to get back up to proper typing speed.  It’s such a relief to be able to express myself as I used to.  I don’t know what I’d do if I had to wait this out too much longer.  I am not the most patient of people when it comes to basic things like this that I don’t think I should ever have to deal with.  I am an extremely expressive person and I’d lose it if I couldn’t use language to bring that out in me the way I enjoy.

Now hopefully with this disaster behind me, I will get back to posting more regularly.  Previously it was such a pain I couldn’t handle it, with my mind running a mile a minute and my fingers going one word per minute.  -____-  What a great match-up.

Changing times

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Every quarter, my fraternity (Alpha Kappa Psi), goes on a retreat.  In the fall, I have no idea where we go since I believe I’ve actually missed those whenever they came up.  In the winter, it’s up to Big Bear for a lovely tromp in the snow.  Then in spring, it’s off to some beautiful beach house or someplace out in Palm Springs.

This winter’s retreat is my first as an alumna – no obligation to stay for whatever period of time or participate in whatever activities.  Just me, my fraternity brothers, and making it whatever I want.  And though there are treasured moments of bonding and fun, I find myself spending much time contemplating by myself and desperately trying to stay connected to the internet long enough to hold a decent conversation with my boyfriend.  Ay.  I didn’t even step out into the snow!  Not that I was prepared at all, what with no thick clothes to speak of.

Maybe this whole adjusting to life outside of college thing isn’t as hard as I anticipated.  It certainly would be nice to get that job though…  I’ve been so used to earning income these past couple of years that I don’t even know what to do without it.  My bank account is dwindling far too quickly for my comfort.

Birthday gathering & potluck dinner

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The past two nights I spent the back around UCLA, eating at Chili’s and hanging out for a friend’s birthday and then gathering with Orientation staff for a potluck.

This seems to me to be a good time of year to have your birthday – school is just starting up again and everyone is coming back refreshed from break.  They’re just getting back into the groove and haven’t quite accumulated enough work to be too busy for you.  My birthday has always been over winter break, sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s, which can be nice because I never go to school on my birthday, but it’s also difficult to celebrate sometimes since everyone’s got their own holiday plans.

The potluck was great because, as the host kept marveling, people actually made food!  Now isn’t that nice?  Ah, we are a talented bunch.  It was so nice to see those people again and be reminded of the fantastic summer we shared.  🙂  Originally Panda wasn’t going to come, but with some coaxing/guilt-tripping, he showed up and had a fabulous time too.  With Orientation Counselors, you just can’t go wrong!

On-screen keyboard

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So today I spent an exorbitant amount of time downstairs chatting with my mom and after a happy time I retreated back to my room with a hot cup of water.  Little did I know how much trouble that would cause.  -___-  As you may be able to guess, I consequently spilled said water and created quite the disaster for myself.  Now I am stuck using the on-screen keyboard, which is a painstakingly slow and arduous task.  I spent ages blasting the keys with those keyboard cleaners after letting what I could drip out first.  Then I dug out the one hairdryer that my family has owned and tried to save the keys that weren’t working.  Instead I managed to ruin more keys.  🙁

At first it was just 1 2 3 4 and 7 8 9 0 that weren’t working.  Now q w e r u i o p, the right shift key, and the arrow keys don’t work either.  Strangely, when I use the broken shift key with qwer I get 1234 and for uiop I get 7890.  Hmm.  So after all these desperate attempts, I was, of course, very sad and it just didn’t help when my boyfriend decided he needed to lecture me on being more cautious.  Now here I am, keyboardless and with noone to talk to.  :'(  Sad times.

Back to school… NOT

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Today, all across the nation (and likely, the world), students are returning to the classroom.  And I?  I sent my dad off at the airport with my mom this morning and returned home to scan some documents.  Just another day, just another chore.  Now, for the first time in my life, I’mnot going back to school.  It’s a strange sort of feeling to hear about all those who are going back to the old routine.  After 16 years of that, what else am I to expect?  Classes, breaks, homework, midterms, finals… it was all so familiar and now I’m in a whole new dimension, dealing with job searches, applications, cover letters, interviews, networking…  sigh.  It’s time to move on with my life, whether I’m ready to or not.

My parents and Panda have been on my case to apply for jobs, send out my resume, get something going.  I know they’re right, but at the same time… it’s so hard to find the motivation to because I have such a specific image of what I want!  Anything less is just not good enough and I’m afraid I’m being too picky.  I’m sure there are a lot of options that I can settle for, but that’s the problem: I don’t want to settle.  I want to find a job I’m passionate about, something I’ll look forward to doing every morning.  Something I can do for the couple of years that I’d need to before business school.

Well, I guess I just need to hop on it, do my research and see what’s out there.

Cross Stitch Project

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I have finally managed to finish a cross stitch that I began working on back in high school.  So, 5 or 6 years later, it’s finally completed.


Here’s to good fortune in the New Year.  🙂

Now I just need to find a frame for it so I can preserve it forever.  I opened up the next one to start on, but after looking through it… got a little overwhelmed.  It’s going to take another couple of years before I finish that one, most likely.  Since I’m feeling good about getting this one done, I don’t want to begin another to leave for a few years.  That would downplay the accomplishment of this one, so I think I’ll move on to some other thing before I return to cross-stitching again.  Uh oh, I just noticed a mistake I made that I’m going to need to fix… dang it.

[edit]  Ok, all fixed!

Rose Parade Floats

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This morning I was rudely awoken at 9 with my mother asking me if I was going to go.

“Go where?” I mumbled, squinting through sleepy eyes.
“To see the Rose Parade floats!” my mom exclaimed as if I wasn’t paying attention.  (What she doesn’t know is that her first sentence or two woke me up and I never actually “heard” them.
“Ugggh.” I grunted and closed my eyes, huddling under the blankets more.

With a swift tug, she pulled the blanket off and held out her hand.

“Come on,” she gestured for me to get up.

Sure that I should go, I still hadn’t decided if it was worth the lack of sleep and suffering to get dressed in the cold air.  Soon she got tired of waiting for me and went back downstairs to continue without me.  I eventually resolved to get up and drag myself downstairs, shivering.  We piled into the car and headed off, with my mom happily sharing some of the dark chocolate-covered cherries she’d bought and informing my dad that the way he was driving to get on the highway is not the most efficient way to get there.  Meanwhile, my dad went forth as he pleased, changing the radio station sporadically until he settled on a Spanish channel called QueBuena!  o.O  Of all the stations… he had to choose the one we wouldn’t understand?  Haha, I don’t get it.  But I can see how the other songs are a little grating to the ears if you aren’t used to it.  Along the way, I texted Panda because he lives in that area, so going that way reminded me of him.  🙂

So we got to Pasadena City College, parked the car, and got our tickets before boarding a shuttle to the site.  It was a bit of a gloomy day, but that turned out to be nice since we didn’t have to sweat it out in the sun and the flowers probably withered a little less.  I volunteered to decorate the floats a few years ago, so I kind of already knew how it worked, but it’s always cool to see so many nice flowers.  Strangely, I wasn’t in a picture-taking mood, so I just enjoyed looking at the floats as my dad ran around snapping shots.  About halfway through his camera died, so he moved on to my mom’s, lol.

One of the few pictures I did take with my camera, of my parents.

One of the few pictures I did take with my camera, of my parents.

We were walking for a good two, two and a half hours before getting back to the car and navigating our way to a dim sum place on Garfield and Valley.  Our family friends also have their office there and we just happened to run into the husband coming back from a lunch break as we left from our own lunch.  We went upstairs, where my parents caught up with him and I wished I could be spending time with Panda.  It was a nice day out with my parents though – we don’t get to go that often and my dad is going back to China in two days.

Reunion

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It’s not very often I get to meet up with my best friends.  In fact, we get around to it about once a year.  Tonight we finally managed to get together for a dinner (and dragged Gimp, Katana’s ex’s best friend, out with us).  Ah good times as we fell back into the old routine: the three deadly Asians threatening the attention-loving ginger.  See, back in high school, Katana, Elle, and I were quite the force to reckoned with.  It’s quite dangerous to spend time with the three of us if you’re a sensitive soul.  So, of course, we abuse those who can take it.  And Gimpy’s a big boy who can take a bit of a beating.


Elle and I shared a meal called the Love Boat.  Lovely, isn’t it?  😉

It was a fabulous time as we stole from each other’s plates, argued about who was going to pay (we volunteered Gimp), and stuffed ourselves full of Japanese food from Kabuki.  The Love Boat that Elle and I shared had an assortment of choices ranging from California rolls to shrimp and vegetable tempura and it came in that HUGE wooden boat pictured above.  I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever ordered.  It was also nice to get out and enjoy the company of old friends since I’ve mostly been staying at home since I finished up at UCLA last month.  Now Katana’s back to Kansas, Elle’s returning to UCLA, and Gimp is off to his job in Texas.  Meanwhile, I’m at home looking for a job and trying to convince my parents that this business venture in Singapore is worth a shot…

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