Sleepless in my bed

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

It’s early in the morning and I have yet to sleep all night.  This has been an ever-increasing problem with me in the past week.  I’ve always been a night owl, but now I’m up until brunch time and then I end up sleeping through until dinner.  If I have something to do during the day, I just take a nap before I have to go.  It’s not enough sleep, but I get through the day and usually pass out in the evening.  However, that sleep is never very restful and I end up waking up later that night, which just leads to another all-nighter.

I’m starting to get a headache from this, but there are so many things to occupy my time!  Sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to do it all and next thing I know, the birds are chirping outside and the sun has come out to shine again (or, in today’s case, just light things up through the clouds).  I have found so many blogs that may be worth following and now I just spent hours creating this website on Weebly.

My mom just got up to go to the local swap meet.  She loves to take a walk around there and try to haggle a few deals here and there if it’s something she needs.  In just two hours I should be driving down to UCLA to meet up with Panda and a friend for brunch.  At least I haven’t been sleepy or tired while driving!  That has only happened to me once in the past three or four years, as far as I can recall.  (I got off at the next exit and pulled onto a small street to take a nap.)

Should I take a two-hour nap?  Probably.  I’m at the point where my eyes start to feel heavy and I can sense the bags developing.  I also get ridiculously hungry at this time… grumble.

Etsy: eBay, handcrafted

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Recently, I discovered through Katana, who has now set up shop on the site.  Etsy is a place for people to sell handmade items, ranging from jewelry to soaps to no-wedgie underwear and pillows!  I absolutely adore the novelty of this place and the allure that customizations can often be made by request and many of these items are original and unique.  It’s a fun place to explore, but handmade items come at a price!  So, for now, I won’t be purchasing anything, but when I’m ready to splurge, this adorable, simple necklace is first on my list!

I really like how this site took something that seemed outdated and brought a whole new life to it.  In the olden days, people made their own stuff because they had to.  All merchants chose to specialize in something for local customers and townspeople only had those choices.  Now, it’s like having one big village!  People from all over the world can browse what each person is good at and specializes in and sellers can change items per customer’s request.  It’s so much cooler to have something that you know is special, whether it was because you chose the color combination or you may have even contributed to the design!

The world really is getting smaller, isn’t it?  That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as a sense of community is maintained and people don’t always retreat to their online havens.

Possible themes?

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: ,

I lay around all night, thinking about what kind of perspective my blog can offer the world.  Through hours of research in the past couple of days, I am slowly beginning to come up with an identity for myself.  At first, I thought about writing career related stuff, especially for college students and fresh college grads.  Then, I also wanted to incorporate a feminist point of view (and for me, that just means exploring how I view things being a female).  After that I started thinking about my interest in marketing and entrepreneurism and perhaps providing tips in those areas, as I learn them.  From there, I explored how my perspective is different as an Asian American and that is what I’m currently reading about.  So, in an effort to merge all these interests, I could create a “female Asian American’s thoughts and experiences in the professional world” type blog.

Of course, I also have a myriad of interests outside of those areas, so I really am struggling to try to keep a certain focus.  I adore traveling and immersing myself into other worlds, but I haven’t done that in a year, though I am about to leave for Singapore.  I love cats (and pretty much all animals), but my last one just died on Christmas.  I have an obsession for the military, especially the Marine Corps, but I don’t really get to interact with them anymore.  I am also fascinated with relationships and reading about all aspects of that kind of advice.  I find arts and crafts to be really cool, though I haven’t really had time to create anything lately (the last thing was my cross stitch).  I am a huge fan of food and I even take pictures of any and every meal that is vaguely interesting or tasty-looking.  Speaking of, I also take LOADS of pictures to document my life and those around me.

I think in the end I am just hoping that because everything I write about will be from my thoughts, there will be a theme or two that emerge from the way I write and what I choose to write about.  Am I just trying too hard to find it right now?

Twitter revolution

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , ,

For the past couple of hours, I have been entrenched in the world of blogs and Twitter, which seem to be at the forefront of social media.  I continued the slow trudge through the rest of the entries that Jess Goodman wrote on her blog after writing my previous entry and started to get curious about social media.  Link after link of related material led me to various blogs of famous writers, career coaches, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who has embraced this new trend.  I still have over twenty tabs open in my browser of blogs to visit and ideas to research.  It’s crazy!

What hit me recently (sometime between the last post and this) was the emerging phenomenon of Twitter.  Alarmingly, I haven’t a clue what it is or how to utilize it, but after reading up on it, it seems it is the new direction of the online community. I am sad to realize that as much as I pride myself on adapting quickly and being rather tech-savvy, I have been left behind on this front.  Thankfully, it’s not too late to get in on it, but to some extent I don’t want to.  I never really thought of myself as a traditionalist at heart, but I’m starting to see that part of me emerge.  I don’t want to learn about this “tweeting” and all the new lingo associated with it.  I don’t want to give up my Yahoo account for a Gmail one.  I don’t want internet access on my cell phone.  I don’t want to learn how to use a Mac.  I don’t want the pace of life to pick up even more!  But, it is the age of connectivity and sooner or later, that is how things will be.

Back when Facebook first began in 2004, I was graduating high school and resistant to this new concept.  It wasn’t until a friend whose judgment I respected greatly invited me to join that I decided to set up a profile.  Since then, I’ve never looked back and I absolutely adore what the site has done for me.  As a child, I moved every three to four years, and as a result of that, lost touch with most of my friends from my youth.  What memories I did hold of these lost friends enabled me to find them years later, on Facebook!  It was a great way to reunite with all those people who I had to move away from and now it is an amazing way to share the extensive amount of pictures that I take.  Throughout the evolution of Facebook, I have kept an open mind and though I am generally not a fan of the applications and the newsfeed made me a little concerned, I have always known that after the initial uproar, people would learn to use those new features.  It amazes me that time and time again, people will resist change, but then slowly they will adapt to it and forget how life ever was without it.

Now with the Twitter revolution, I feel like I am back in the summer before college, trying to decide if this trend was just a fad or something to start getting involved in.  And though I may not be entirely comfortable with it starting out, I will give it a try.  After all, it seems like every avid blogger (including my best friend)  is obsessed with Twitter.  There’s got to be a reason for that, right?

Grammar Police

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: ,

Today I realized how much of a stickler I am for grammar and spelling.  In fact, my obsession is borderline anal, yet I can’t help it.  It all started when I was reading through a random blog I came across and just couldn’t get past the mistakes the author kept making.  Now, I try to be open-minded and recognize that it’s not easy to maintain a blog with regular entries and never make a mistake.  So, typically, I glaze over those minor errors as I’m perusing other people’s writing.  However, this girl has taken it too far for my comfort.  When it gets to this point, I start to wonder if she put any thought into what she was typing.  She’s got some good ideas to throw out there, but I couldn’t prevent myself from getting distracted by the endless errors I encountered.  It was just too much for me.

Image has always been important to me.  Part of that is how you look (what you wear, how clean you are, how much makeup you put on, etc.), but part of it is also how you speak and write.  I immediately lose respect for writers who consistently make spelling and grammar errors or speakers who mispronounce words or use unconventional slang.  It makes them seem uneducated or careless, neither of which are traits I find help their credibility.  Despite that, I somehow couldn’t tear myself away and had to keep reading through Goodman’s blog, painful as it was suffering through typo after typo.  It’s unfortunate because I actually am interested in reading what this girl has to say, but I can only take so much at a time before getting impatient with her blogging.

I guess this only came up as an issue because I came across an entry by Penelope Trunk lamenting the emphasis on perfect blogging soon after I read a blog whose author hates spelling mistakes.  It made me rethink my personal vendetta against typos and in the end, I didn’t change my mind.  It’s true that occasional mistakes can and should be overlooked.  However, constant mistakes and inconsistencies are annoying and detract from the message.  So here is my response to Trunk’s points from “Writing without typos is totally outdated.”

1.  Spellchecker isn’t perfect.
I am an advocate of proofreading rather than merely spell-checking; it’s true that Spellchecker misses a lot of errors, hence the need to reread!
2.  Spelling has nothing to do with intelligence.
Spelling may not necessarily reflect intelligence, but honestly, nothing can measure intelligence.  There are so many different ways you can be intelligent that trying to measure it is obsolete.  However, spelling is a good indicator of attention to detail and like it or not, some people will also take it as a reflection of intelligence.
3.  You don’t have unlimited time, so spend it on ideas, not hyphens.
Though it does take time to be careful with your grammar and spelling, it shows a certain level of commitment to learn the basics early on.  Once you have mastered that, it is virtually effortless to construct coherent, error-free sentences.  It’s much more worth it to spend a little more time crafting a good image than to have opportunities thrown away because you were misrepresented as a careless, unintelligent person.
4.  Perfectionism is a disease.
Perfectionism is too extreme, but noticing typos is not exactly the most arduous task to undertake.  As long as people don’t dwell on periodic errors, it doesn’t hurt to improve this facet of your life, seeing as how the written word is so important to human culture.
5.  Use the comments section for what matters: Intelligent discourse.
I do agree that the comments section should not be wasted on people talking about these types of errors.  It’s up to the authors to be careful with what they write the first time around, making sure to proofread so nobody feels compelled to leave those messages.

P.S. – Did anyone else notice the spelling error in her entry?  Coincidence or just proving her point?


laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , ,

I have spent a lot of time these past two days reading people’s blogs, mostly about the guy biking all over the Americas and Africa and the aforementioned Brazen Careerist founder’s.  I also read through one about three guys longboarding their way through South America.  All this makes me want to have a strong theme to my writing as well, but I can’t help but write about all aspects of my life.  I don’t really have a focus for a target audience, though I feel like I should have one.  I’m also trying to come up with a good title for the blog that would encompass the right ideas and give the right impression I’m looking for.

As of yet, I’m having trouble with this – perhaps I am going to need to do what Katana is doing and have two blogs to achieve this goal: one for personal writing and anecdotes, the other for a more professional and focused front.  So, I think I am going to continue to write about all sorts of thoughts that cross my mind here until I am ready for a pro blog, which will ideally go on my own website (which I still need to have).  Thankfully, is not taken and a quick search of my name yields all but one result for me on the first page.  I am hoping that the other Mary Qins out there don’t steal that domain name before I get to it.  I doesn’t look likely, but who knows.

An important decision: Singapore

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

My best friend’s blog inspired me to pick up writing again and now one that she referenced has inspired me to take an incredible job opportunity abroad.  It started off when Katana mentioned Penelope Trunk’s entry on how that isn’t her real name.  This caught my eye not only because I use something other than my birth name, but also because Ms. Trunk started the website Brazen Careerist that Katana had recommended to me as a networking tool.  Interested both in the story behind her alias and background as an entrepreneur (especially a woman entrepreneur, which seems a lot harder to find), I went to her blog.

At first, I was unimpressed.  Here was a woman who had changed her name multiple times and wrote about it in a quirky writing style that didn’t suit me.  All those changes made her seem flighty, almost shady.  I had been expecting some sort of great revelation that led to her current name, but she didn’t even choose it.  The first time she changed her name would have made a good story, but the other times it was just giving in to pressures.  After reading the article, I hoped a second reading would show me something I had missed.  I was about to start on that when other links distracted me and before I knew it, I was engulfed in the opinionated advice of a career woman.

From working as a professional to working as a mother, tips on relationships to advice for the future, she covered a lot of ground.  I found what she wrote to be thought-provoking, whether or not I agreed with it (and mostly, I found I did).  She referenced Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, multiple times, which won brownie points for me – I have read the book twice and will probably continue to read it in the coming years, or at least remind myself of the lessons held therein.

Hours later, I was still reading, scouring every entry that had an interesting title.  I read about her experience beinga block away from the World Trade Center as it collapsed, why graduate school has become a deadend, why working any job is better than taking nothing, how changing jobs should be in the normal course of a career, how my generation is unique professionally, that failure will come and failure will go (and only those things worth doing will make you doubt your ability to accomplish them), and so many other lessons.  Most were lessons I knew in the back of my mind, but never really took to heart.  Some were new concepts that just made sense.  And somewhere in the midst of all this, I realized that I needed to stop living in denial.

I want to take the opportunity in Singapore.  I am going to stop being afraid of failing, I am going to stop being afraid of disappointing, and I am going to try.  I may not have a definite plan, but I have goals, dreams, aspirations.  I have a vision.  It’s time to stir my passion and just go for it.  It’s not going to be easy and it will take a lot of time, energy, and effort, but what better time than now?  I have the least to lose – no job to quit, no family to care for, no rent or mortgage or loans to deal with.  I will, however, be terribly sad to be so far from Panda.  He is supportive of my hopes and career choices though, so we can work through it.  I need to stop being so scared of how difficult it will be to not see him for months when I can’t even go a week without going crazy.  Because you know what?  Once I’m over there, working, learning, growing, it won’t seem as bad as when I’m sitting here like a couch potato, with no real plans and no schedule to adhere to.  Plus, I’ll be living with Marylin!  I’m sure my “twin” can help me get through rough times and we can commiserate, since her boyfriend is also here in California (albeit up north).

The joy of weather

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , ,

As my mom and I wandered through a store last month, we saw a section of rakes on sale and it made me wonder who in the world would need one here, where all there are are palm fronds.  I miss having the seasons and I can’t recall the last time I raked a pile of leaves and jumped in them.  There’s something so simple and wonderful about that experience, which certainly can’t be replicated in Southern California, where all the leaves in one county would be required for such a pile.

I also miss the snowfall and waking up to a world whitened overnight, a thunderstorm with bolts of lightning illuminating the sky as thunder roared, and the various other phenomena to be found in other parts of the country.  I don’t mind being rained on, which is probably why I loved England so much.  It’s so nice to curl up with a hot drink and your blanket as the world outside rages on.  I always feel so safe when I am inside, hidden away from the downpour, yet still privy to watching it through the window.

Degree confirmation

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , ,

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.


laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , ,

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:  “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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...