Posts Tagged ‘katana’

365great Day 287: LoveSacs

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 287: lovesacsBack in high school, I first discovered the LoveSac store in the mall with my best friend, Katana. We’d go hang out there on those amazing bags and dream of one day owning one. They’re so cush and fun to lounge around on. In college, they went away and I was so bummed… but then near graduation, I saw a friend wearing their t-shirt and I was SO thrilled to hear they were back in business! When I’d been working for a little while, I decided it was finally time to make that wish come true. I got a PillowSac, which is a square-ish version of the original LoveSacs. Funny enough, I then had a friend lend me his LoveSac (which had been sitting in the office unused). We took this picture the day he came to reclaim his property once he had space for it again. Today I went to check out their Sactionals, which I was considering for our new condo. The price point is beyond what I’m willing to pay at this point, so they shall have to wait. I sure hope I can get them eventually! They’d make a great addition to our home.


laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve had some pretty random and interesting experiences in my life. There are the moments when I had crazy encounters with strangers, the cool things I got to experience as a result of living in Los Angeles, and wonderful childhood memories. I’d like to share more of these, since a good story can be captivating, entertaining, and powerful. Perhaps I can hone my writing skills enough to write short stories!

long stretch of flat desert road

Driving, driving, driving, til she needed to go.

Today I was chatting with Autumnfall and our conversation reminded me of an experience I had back when I was working on the set of Wristcutters. I was interning for the first time and found myself taking on all kinds of roles, including buying food, managing staff (and wrangling extras), and taking care of the actors. When we were up in the deserts of Lancaster, our hotel was a good 40 minutes from set and I got called to go pick up one of the actresses. I got her from our hotel and we started racing down the long stretch of road. She asked to smoke in my car, and being the accommodating person I am, we cracked the windows open a bit so she could puff away. About halfway there, she wanted me to pull over. There was not much more than cacti and tumbleweed for miles in all directions and she needed to pee. So, there I found myself, pulled over on the side of this two-lane road as the actress squatted next to the open passenger door of my car and relieved herself (all the time still enjoying her cigarette). It was completely out of the blue and the type of startling experience that sticks with you for how random and odd it is. It also makes for a pretty hilarious tale to tell others. Autumnfall is going to take some elements of the story and write up a little fictional story from it. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what she does with this fodder!

This, in addition with Katana’s recent request that I read over some ideas she has for a book, make me want to share more of my life stories and grand adventures. I could share the times I took rides with strangers in foreign countries, the wacky times I spent with rich guys, the amazing things I got to do as a child, the fun experiences from college, and so much more… I just wish I could put together words as well as the writers I know (Autumnfall & Katana). Alas, I’ll do my best and hope to provide some worthwhile reads. Stay tuned!

A sense of impermanence

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,
panoramic shot of newly built condo

Hello future home.

Ever since I moved here I haven’t quite felt settled. There’s not much space for me, I barely brought along any stuff, and I didn’t know anyone other than Panda. Now I’ve got a job and (soon) a condo, so I can finally feel like this place is my home. I don’t think of myself as a Virginian yet and I don’t know how long it will take, but if I stay long enough it’s bound to happen. Going back to LA for Thanksgiving was a chance for me to bring over more things and the upcoming move to the condo is a chance for me to claim some space of my own. I’m looking forward to making 2014 the year in which I get to embrace life out here.

For now, I still feel like an outsider. Everything is an adjustment – I’m not used to the weather, the change of pace in lifestyle, even the people… at times I wish I could just retreat back to my parents’ home in LA, lounge around, and not have to worry about being all grown up. So much seems so out of place in my life right now. It’s a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on – a little bit of melancholy, a little bit of confusion, a little bit of yearning. I’ve dived into songs to try to express feelings I can’t place, but I think I just need to write about it. I’ve pondered putting together a fictional story to try to capture my thoughts and funny enough, my best friend recently reached out to me about her own writing. Perhaps reading her stories will help me collect my ideas for mine.

It’ll be nice when I have the move to focus on, so I can shift my efforts to building my new life.

365great Day 221: tenderness

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 221: tendernessI think the most beautiful thing in the world is tenderness. It exudes caring, compassion, thoughtfulness, warmth, sensitivity, and love. It could be a mother’s touch, a lover’s gaze, a friend’s affection, or even a stranger’s consideration. Often it’s the simplest gestures that speak volumes, from a stroke of the cheek to a careful brushing back of stray hair to a compliment whispered in your ear. Tenderness creates intimacy and a deeper connection that touches my heart. When I was a kid I always looked forward to getting sick because I never would and when I finally did, my mom would take care of me – tuck me in, touch my forehead gently, sit next to me and watch me sleep. It was one of the most amazing feelings, to know I was so loved and cared for. This picture is one of my absolute favorites of my best friend and I because of the strong connection we have and the lovely intimate moment we shared. It doesn’t look the most tender, but it brings out that sort of strong emotion for me. Isn’t it great?

Scions & shoeboxes

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Katana and her fiance came to visit last month and during a drive it came up in conversation that he likes Scions.  She and I were both appalled by this lack of taste and it got me thinking – why do boxy cars look so ugly to us?  When he first mentioned this opinion, we both exclaimed that they look like shoe boxes, so angular and awkward.  And that I think is the key.  You see, when have you ever heard of a designer shoe box?  They just don’t make them.  They make designer shoes and designer containers of various sorts (think perfume/alcohol bottles, branded packaging, etc.), but they do not make designer shoe boxes.

Now, since Scions look like shoe boxes, it goes to reason that they are not very fashionable either.  See?  My logic is infallible.  So it’s my conclusion that Scions aren’t appreciated for similar reasons that shoe boxes aren’t: they do the job, but not all that gracefully and they aren’t aesthetically pleasing.  Practical, simple, but certainly not the most desirable.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Ho hum holidays

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

I’ve felt strangely disconnected with this holiday season, perhaps because it’s the first time I’m not on winter break since… well, since I can remember!  It was a lot easier to be excited about not going to school and having my birthday off, but I’ve had things pretty easy lately.  Other than my internship three days a week, I’m pretty much doing my own thing as I job hunt, so there’s no huge distinction between this week and the last.  For some reason having my parents back and not having my internship for these two weeks doesn’t have a strong effect on this impression.

I feel oddly out of sync with the world and watching those shows full of holiday cheer is like watching some foreign movie.  I don’t really connect with what is going on and I kind of watch with a bit of confusion.  Perhaps some snow would help me get in that mood.  I saw some pictures Katana took while she goes on a cruise through parts of Europe and that is what I consider to be festive!  I guess it also sucks that my neighbors really cut down on their Christmas lights in the past two years, so the most prominent reminder of this time of year is no longer there.  I’d like to go somewhere to enjoy a bit of a wintery feel.

Our tradition

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,

The routine we generally follow whenever we get to see each other.

Step one: take pictures of each other.



Step two: take pictures together!


Standard "in the car" shot.


The more challenging vertical shot.

Step three: take pictures of the food.




Step four: do something non-food related and take pictures!



Yup, our lives revolve around food, photos, and fun.  Don’t be jealous.  😉

When time stands still

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Just like old times, taking self-portraits in the car.

Just like old times, taking self-portraits in the car.

I got a chance to hang out with Katana yesterday and it never ceases to amaze me how each time we see each other, I don’t feel like she’s been gone for that long.  The last time I saw her was sometime during Christmas break a good nine months ago, but it’s easy for us to fall right back into an old pattern, an old routine.  I guess this is kind of how I live my life, since the same thing happens when my parents and I are reunited, and last month when I finally came back to LA and saw Panda again.  In each case, the time we spent apart doesn’t seem so long because of the ease in which we slip back into familiar territory.  Sure, a lot has changed, but fundamentally, we’re still the same.

It’s weird to think about Katana and Elle, who were the two best friends I had from my high school years at Valencia.  Ever since Katana and I graduated, with her going off to VMI, then NMMI, and I going off to UCLA, the three of us have only gotten to hang out sporadically, whenever it happened to work out.  Usually that meant about once or twice a year, particularly the over the holidays and/or during another one of our seasonal breaks.  And though interactions were few and far between, we were still the Asian girls who stood out and didn’t quite fit into the mould of what people expected girls, especially Asian girls, to be.  I guess that’s what ties us together in the end – this common way of life that leads us from “normal” girl activities to things like JROTC, where we met, or to be particularly outspoken about some feminist beliefs.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve known these two ladies for nearly 7 years now!  I haven’t ever known and stayed in contact with someone for that long.  Being that I moved every 3-4 years, that’s not too surprising.  For the first time in my life though, I’m going back to old friends again and again.  They are no longer memories to be stored away in a compartment labeled based on what city I knew them from.  Now they are a consistent prescense in my life, however fleeting that may be.  So I guess this is shocking to me because I don’t know what it’s like to have lifelong friends.  Do they all fare so well seeing each other so infrequently?  No matter where we are, whether it’s spread across three states in the US (like we are now), or spread across countries (as we’ve often been), I don’t need to see or even talk to these girls to know they will be there.  It’s kind of like family.

A picture is also like a moment frozen in time...  photo credit: _Mike_Howard_ on flickr

A picture is also like a moment frozen in time... photo credit: _Mike_Howard_ on flickr

Speaking of family, mine is also a very scattered one, with me seeing my relatives something like seven times over my lifetime and seeing my parents twice a year on average.  And though we’ve all grown a lot these two decades, I still think of my parents as 35-year-olds and honestly, only when I look closely do I realize they’re not anymore.  But in my head, there’s a semi-frozen image of my family members – my cousins are still budding young adults, my parents quite young, and my grandparents still sprightly.  Sure, we’ve added a few new members since then, but they kind of just get tacked on without the others gaining much in age.  I don’t know how it works in my mind, but that’s how I recall my closest kin.  Every time I see them again, even after four years away and so much that happened in between, I remember a lot of my childhood and the main processes remain unchanged.  I still get spoiled and stay with the same people and generally do and eat the same things.

Even for my parents, the few weeks I see them out of the year doesn’t seem so odd because those memories last me a long time.  I’ve got so much other stuff going on while I’m on my own that just touching base with them semi-annually is plenty to work from.  It does get lonely in the house sometimes when I’m the only one, but I’m used to solitude.  That was much like how our household functions anyway.  Besides, at my age, it’s time to be moving out and doing things on my own.  Much as I adore my house, Valencia is not really the place to jump start a career.  I’d rather be in Westwood or Santa Monica, or somewhere more central to the hubbub of LA.

Finally, the day that I came back after months away in Singapore, I was nervous to see Panda again.  It was our first time being apart since things really got started and it was certainly not a short period of time to cope with.  Even now I wonder how we managed, because not seeing him for a day can make me antsy.  I was glad that we fell pretty quickly back into a comfortable rhythm, working out our schedules around challenges, as we’ve always done.  I had been afraid that it would take some time to warm up again and that we may almost be like strangers for a bit, but that didn’t last very long.  Once again, time altered its flow for me (well, at least to my perception it did) and it was like a fraction of the time had actually passed.  I guess that’s what happens with people you care about.  Katana said it best: we have changed enough to have things to talk about, but haven’t changed so much that we don’t connect anymore.

Trouble with electronics

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
Last time it needed fixing.

Last time it needed fixing.

I seem to mistreat my electronics quite often, cycling through cameras and cell phones every 1-2 years.  My first laptop lasted me three and a half years and this one is already in pretty bad shape after a year and a half.  I must admit, my klutziness plays a huge factor, causing me to drop the smaller items regularly and occasionally mishandle the laptops too.  Right now I’m dealing with a problem that apparently Katana’s having too (an unhinged hinge), which pushes up against my speaker panel and bends it.  The screw seemed to have made its way out again (the first time this happened I also needed to replace my keyboard because of spillage, so the problem was solved when Doc fixed the more visible issue).  I have the screw, but absolutely no recollection of how to remove the appropriate parts to get it back in place.  I don’t want to call up a friend just to ask for help with it, so I’ve been dealing with it for quite awhile now.  It gets annoying when the screen gets beyond a certain threshold and just falls over backwards because of the lack of support coming from that hinge.

I recently got a new phone that has been faring pretty well, but then again it has only been three weeks.  The last one I had to use only on speakerphone because I couldn’t hear the other party if it was the normal speakers.  Don’t know how I had to drop it to do that, but I guess it’s not an uncommon problem.  Unfortunately, it was out of warranty and not worth it to pay for the repairs, so I just had to deal with it.  Thankfully I don’t really have personal calls that need more privacy.  I don’t remember if my phone before that was having functionality issues, but you could obviously see the wear and tear from the chipped paint and scratches it had accumulated.  Similar issues arise with my cameras.  Plenty of nicks to show they’ve been places and they usually go out of commission when they won’t turn on anymore.  At that point, I get a new one and the old one is sent to China to be fixed up for others to use.  I believe each and every one has gotten splashed and encountered its fair share of sand (though they always survived that part of the abuse).  What can I say?  My devices are well-loved and very well-used.

Security or sharing?

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ve had this dilemma between wanting to share what’s going on in my life (especially as it’s current) and needing to protect myself to some degree.  I remember reading awhile back about a guy whose home was burglarized after he announced a vacation over Twitter.  That was a wake-up call for me and a reminder of the dangers of transparency. Katana had mentioned this very issue at some point, talking about how she would only speak of plans to vacation after the fact and make very vague references to places that she likes to frequent.  It was all in an effort to prevent certain people from finding her too easily or know too much.

A vacation long past.  Can you guess where I am?

A vacation long past. Can you guess where I am?

I may not be too concerned about my privacy yet, but maybe one day I will, if I become more high-profile through the work that I do and (hopefully) get to be known by.  I don’t want to get into habits of sharing everything about my life and finding it working against me in the future.  So far it’s been fine for me – I tend to talk about things I’m thinking of and things that I did on a particular day.  Nothing there that would pinpoint where to find me, since I would have been long gone by the time I wrote about it.  Of course, there was the huge move to Singapore that narrows things down quite a bit, but I’ve never mentioned where I’ve stayed or worked while here.  Also, I haven’t talked about exactly where I live in LA and it’s not like the house is empty and easy to be broken into anyway.

However, this is the first time that I’m vacationing (there, I said it) since I started my blog more seriously.  This time I’m not worried because people don’t know where I’m staying (except for colleagues, who I trust) and it’s not like I’m leaving the place empty – there will still be plenty of people occupying that space, going on with their lives.  The problem is I don’t know what I’d do when I do go on vacation and leave a home empty.  I absolutely love to share my life with others, friends or strangers.  I just don’t want that to come kick me in the butt in the future for being too transparent about my life’s details.  But will I really be able to resist sharing?

If you're sick of seeing my face, too bad.  I try not to put pictures of others unless they are hard to recognize or I am out of touch with them.

If you're sick of seeing my face, too bad. I try not to put pictures of others unless they are hard to recognize or I am out of touch with them.

It’s a battle between who knows the most intimate details about me (and who can find out if they wanted) and of those people, who would actually do something to harm me.  Does my announcement of some time away put me at risk for being robbed?  Can people who I don’t know that well find my personal details?  That stuff doesn’t seem too hard to find – I’m constantly filling out forms with it, so what if it all goes to the wrong hands one day?  There are so many questions and not enough answers – this has to end up being a judgment call with not much basis beyond a feeling.  I feel safe enough sharing it now, so I will.  I’ll try to only write about the cities I visit after I’ve left them, just for practice.

I remember thinking similar thoughts when I posted earlier this week about looking for a job.  I wanted to share a screenshot of my résumé, but I didn’t want everyone to see my contact details.  So, I spent quite a bit of time editing it so that people would know that the contact details would have gone in that space,  but not be able to read it.  The first few times I tired a variety of blurring effects, but none worked well enough, so I finally settled with a pixelating.  I trust that people are generally good, but it doesn’t hurt to take some cautionary steps at times.  I just hope I don’t ever get too paranoid.

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