jhameia: ME! (Default)
Have stayed at completely different places in the last three days: Corral Creek Cabins was in the mountains right by Kern River, then Sequoia Riverfront Cabins was a weird place which WAS right by a river, not across the road from one, and its front desk was a general store about a mile away, and now in a beachfront resort in San Simeon. My brother has been driving us a lot. We've been radio-surfing a lot.

Tomorrow we'll head to Santa Cruz, and hit up Monterey on the way, and after a couple of nights in Santa Cruz, we'll go to San Francisco.

I'm really liking the beachfront place. The front office gave us two rooms, one with a view of the ocean downstairs, and one upstairs with a fireplace. And I snagged the downstairs immediately because I wanted to work at a desk with a view of the sea. It's not been working, of course, because I spent most of the evening texting with A instead of working. But hope spring eternal?? We don't have to check out until noon anyway.
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- I have an interview this morning with the University Writing Program, since I don't have a TAship for next quarter.

- Went to Los Angeles yesterday. Took the Lyft for the first time to the Metrolink, which was good, and again to the Consulate's visa office. I expected a long line but nope, I was first in line. I can go get back my passport on Friday but since I won't have time, I'll just go again next Tuesday.

I found the Metro train just a block away and went back to Union Station, after fretting about getting bus money which led to the purchase of some baked goods. So when I went to the temple in Chinatown, I left the baked goods at the last altar (it's a shabby altar for forgotten souls). I burned some paper money. I sat and meditated for a while. People were still visiting it as tourists, like any other normal day.

Then I went to Homegirl Cafe where I bought a baked good for myself, went to lunch at Union Station, played some Pokemon Go, caught the train home. Decided that if the #16 bus came to the Metrolink first, I'd go to campus and do my GSA office hours. If not, I'll go home and nap. The #16 came.

I graded on the train and the rest of the day. The first batch of 30 papers will be done by this afternoon. They're pretty terrible papers (a lot of students trying to coast by on not having read the Iliad) so it's a bit easy to grade since I don't have to parse what's wrong and what's accurate.

- Besides the interview today, I have two more meetings.

- Yesterday, I called the Mayor's office to ask about whether the International Student Friendly Taskforce is going to issue a statement on the election. The person in charge of it isn't in town so I'll call back next week, but the official DID tell me that it's usually not the Mayor's habit to comment on national issues. To which I said, "oh, hm," because I was really just experimenting on how easy it is to call the Mayor's office.

- I spent the weekend crying a lot.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
So I'm using a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which uses Android v5.1.1. I'm still trying to get the hang of it and I have to look up how to organize folders and stuff. The phone is a bit too wide for my liking, alas, at 2.99inches. Still getting used to the touchscreen, which I'm not crazy about. I have a longer post coming about shopping for smartphones versus shopping for phones brewing in me, because I have many shopping-for-phone feels. Still, it should allow me to roam around in the States without having to switch my SIM card... I'm hoping this will still hold when I change my plan from a GoPhone account to something else which will allow me data usage.

I have totally progressed in Pokemon Go! Around Level 10 I did the Lucky Egg + Mass Evolution combo and went up to Level 13.

When I went to Singapore last weekend, I was expressly forbidden to play by my dad but I used mall wifi here and there. A friend also generously let me hop onto his hotspot (he has more data per month than he could ever use) at some point, and I felt bad when Pokemon starting spawning on my phone and not his. Good haul, though. I added a lot more to my Pokedex, and yesterday when I went to the Marina Bay Sands Shoppes, I finally caught a Pikachu. There was one more Pokemon which I wanted to add to the Pokedex but I was already late for lunch with my hostess so I skedaddled home instead.

It was a really marvelous weekend! My hostess is a friend and former worker of my dad's, and her daughter just got back from Australia doing an English degree, so we had lots to talk about. They're very churchy people tho so we didn't spend much time together. (Also their apartment was right between two Pokestops, so I spent a lot of time harvesting.)

On Saturday I went to have brunch with [personal profile] jolantru, and two others came to join us, Christopher Hwang and SEAsteampunk contributor Timothy Dimacali!! Chris had to leave us after lunch, but Timothy joined us at the fish spa :D

I went back to my hostess' place at Red Hill for a rest, and then went to have dinner with [profile] delfinuum (she is so smol!), and we played Pokemon Go in Raffles City for a while until I ran out of Wifi usage time. So we went to the Singapore Night Fest since it was nearby and ended up marveling at Nyonya embroidery and beadwork in the Peranakan Museum.

Yesterday I woke early and had breakfast with my hostess, and they were going to be at church until noon which left me two hours on my lonesome. I was feeling kinda tired so I only left at 11am and wandered to Marina Bay Sands to find out how to get to the Observation Deck. Took some pictures (oh, I have an Instagram now, because of the smartphone; I aim to be one of those insufferable selfie-takers) and went to the shopping mall side where I proceeded to catch Pokemon, just because I could.

The GPS is really wonky in Singapore, though. I wandered further than I actually was unless I was on the move. Kinda interesting, and I don't really want to complain too much because it means my 10km egg hatched earlier than expected (Electabuzz!).

I have to say that highway Pokestops are very interesting and fruitful places! I caught a Clefable on the way home :D Also it's fascinating what random things Ingress agents have decided should be portals... most of them don't actually take pictures of the stops themselves but random crap around it like... water towers. My bus was also caught in a traffic jam and I figured opening up Pokemon Go would make the jam go quicker.

This morning I decided to see how Map My Walk would interact with Pokemon Go! Because I wanted to hatch a buncha eggs all at once. (Three!) Turns out it doesn't work well... I think the GPS is suspended a little whenever catching a pokemon, and it doesn't register on the Walk app. So I had a few straight lines where there shouldn't have been because of the pause in GPS data. And if I'm not flicking between the two regularly the route doesn't quite register on the Walk app. I'm gonna try to experiment a bit more with this though, because I would really like to record my Pokemon hunts.

My dad's traveling until tomorrow night and I really want to go Poketrawling with him at least someplace further than the nearby lake or shops once before I leave for the States, so hopefully this will be a thing.

5am, 1pm

Aug. 8th, 2016 12:55 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
I'm in the transit hotel at Incheon. It's been a few travel full days. My computer says it's 1pm, and the clock on the wall says it's 5pm. I got in around 6pm local time, checked into the transit hotel, and crashed.

As soon as I got back from Clarion, I was out having dinner with Birgit. S came over on Wednesday to hang out--we went to lunch and watched Ghostbusters. (Leslie Jones was underused; Katie McKinnon was annoying except when she was talking science and even that was tiresome; Melissa McCarthy is good; Kristin Wiig's character was so incompetent I couldn't stand it.) Stopped by JoAnn's so I could get some jewelry things for my new piece of tree sap (which I saw on a tree in Balboa Park and made my classmate Derek get for me). It looks really good. Then the next day, I hung with Maurisa and Eric, and then Maurisa and I met with Nalo in the evening. Maurisa brought her friend and we went to Haagen-Daaz to get some icecream and listen to the live band playing in Uni Village.

The Amtrak to Oakland was some 11 hours; I missed the 6.50am train to LA because taxis are unreliable. But the 8.10 train got me to the train tracks, right on time for the Coast Starlight. I lugged my luggage to the Bart station, found Claire's place, and was greeted by Tempest.

Spent the whole Saturday with Tempest! We had breakfast with one of my classmates, and then worked in Borderlands for several hours before heading out to dinner with Chris. Then Joyce and Randy came out to hang and play Pokemon Go so we went to Dolores Park for it. So many Pokemon in SF!

Sunday morning, Maurisa came to get me and we went to dim sum with Emily.

Airport airport airport. The flight was 11 hours long so I watched the following:

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2: This was AMAZING and I am SO glad I got to watch it. It picks up 17 years after the first movie, and since the characters have been established, there is SO much more going on alongside the main three plotlines. Paris is annoying as a teen as can be expected, but adorable all the same (especially her face when she discovers her date is a nice Greek boy, and I also like that he doesn't show up at the end); Toula and Ian are still sqwooshy. I was VERY pleased to see the continued involvement of Ian's parents, who were taciturn and a bit nervous in the first movie, in the whole family drama. It took me a while to realize that yes, they were in the family group, actively volunteering to help out. There were subplots involving family reunions, and as usual I really love how the men of the family act so macho but it turns out to not be a kind of toxic masculinity ("It's not good to keep secrets from your family," said Nick and I BAWLED when I realized what happened). Mama-yaya's character got really fleshed out in a really beautiful way; she was used mostly for comedy in the first movie, and she got a lot more moments in this one that's interestingly, uh, symbolic. Things have changed for Toula and Ian, like Toula losing her travel agency job due to the economy, but it was so believable, and the ups and downs of the family are trite but WHO CARES, it's a story about a family, with attendant suffocation and all. It was a satisfying, satisfying movie that hit all my buttons.

ZOOTOPIA: I see why this movie is good--it's got an ambitious scope and the plot twists and turns are really great. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde are also really competent characters, which I like. I, uh.... I don't buy the worldbuilding, really. I think the scale is great with multiple climate types in a single city to have multiple types of animals, but what are the predators eating? Seriously. This bugged me all through the movie: WE NEVER SEE THEM EATING. Except donuts and popsicles. But it moves right along, each act feeding into each other really well.

THE MASTER: I watched this because I saw it playing on someone's screen ahead of me, which had two main characters having an intense conversation about their marriage while the husband is beating up thugs, and she's all like "we got married with the understanding that we would separate" and had great lines like "With or without a gardener, flowers die regardless. With or without a man, a woman would still live her own life."| It's not very coherent as a movie: a Wing-Chun master comes to Tianjin to establish a school (translated as dojo in the subs) but apparently the rules are that he needs a disciple who is a local to defeat at least 8 of the schools, and the disciple afterwards must leave Tianjin. Then there's the whole business where he marries a local woman (who's unmarried because she had a baby out of wedlock) for reasons unclear to me. Then there're the machinations of one of the leading schools (led by this woman who never does any actual martial arts, she's the wife of a former Grandmaster, and she's always really well-dressed), some double-crossings by a current grandmaster and the military gets involved and also a dual love story involving the disciple and a local noodle seller who I think is supposed to be coded as an ethnic minority due to her costume and aaaaaaaaaaaaaa what is going onnnnnnn. Like I felt like the movie was shot just so everyone could look cool (and to be fair, everyone does look cool)--it's so artful and posed. I also have never seen a Chinese movie with SO MANY random white people in the background before: the wife worked in a Western restaurant, seemingly the only local there; the grandmaster likes to watch performances of that Russian folk dance where the dancers seem to float across the floor. But really one would watch it for the escalating fight scene, especially the last part where it looks like the protagonist is making his way through a series of final bosses.

THE TALE OF TALES: This movie is hella fucked up and I watched it because I like fairytales but as far as fairytales go, this got hella dark and the bodycount was really high. It has about THREE stories in the one movie, and they never really cohere together other than, sometime at the beginning the characters come together for a funeral, and at the end the three courts come together again for a coronation. But you don't really see the characters from the different threads ever really talking to each other otherwise. And it's super fairytale because it's lush and gorgeous but apparently each kingdom really only needs like the ONE town to sustain it. it's based on a collection of Neapolitan tales, everyone is a one-note character, and it's made to be beautiful and lush and gorgeous, not to make any sense.

THE JUNGLE BOOK: This was pretty meh. There's still hella anthropocentrism up the wazoo; Mowgli is a special snowflake; I don't understand why the animals have American accents. It was entertaining but in the end I didn't care.

I played a lot of Phlinx, and now am in a transit hotel killing time trying to sleep some more. It's 7am, I only need to check out at 9am. So I'm gonna try to be horizontal a bit more.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
I've been visiting folks a lot!

Wednesday I went to ye olde school, and there were really only five teachers left I recognized. The classes are so much smaller, AND they have a new culinary arts stream! I was really kinda jelly at this. The demographics also appear to have changed--my cohort had more middle-class students, and it feels like a majority of students now are working class? Either way, it seems to be better now (aside from the weird mandatory technology in the classroom that doesn't actually work well sort of thing).

On Thursday, I got to hang out with Tumblr friends @technicoloresque and @tehmunchkindiary and was treated to tales of Catholic high school, going to church, gossip, and other stuff. It was a lot of fun! I just felt odd because they finished SPM in 2009, and I did mine in 2001, so there was a definite age gap. Turns out they also had tons of mutual acquaintances. It was good though--we just went to KL Sentral and hung out in Nu Sentral (because apparently we still can't get enough of malls here in Malaysia).

On Friday, I went to Tariq's house, and all four of us Killjoys sat around eating and stuff. We messed around with Hani's baby wrapping cloths (which, it turns out, CAN handle up to 85kg of weight, as a swing). It was super chill and I hadn't done that in a long time with anybody, because there's not very many people I would do that with. Kartina took me and Munira home at like 1am.

Saturday morning I went for a hike with my dad, and dinner.

Last night, my family went out to somewhere near Rawang to visit an aunt's friend's house, who had durian trees. It's gorgeous--he bought the land when it was still a swamp, two acres, needed bamboo bridges to get to the fruit trees. In the valley where it was swamp, it's now a fishpond (with edible freshwater fish) and a lotus pond, with a gazebo in the middle separating the two. The ponds are fed by a spring even, gosh. And by the side of the pond, of course, a house... built in the old Malay style, no nails, all hardwood, on stilts, by Indonesian architects. It's got three separate structures--a lower structure is a living/sitting room, the largest one has two bedrooms, two bathrooms (which are slightly open-air), a study, and a dining room, and the third structure is a kitchen. It's based on sultanate palaces of old. It's the sort of house that appears in my novel.

Unfortunately, at some point, probably while rifling through my little bag for mosquito repellant, I dropped my wallet there. My dad's going to get it today, because the man works in Subang Jaya, fortunately. Embarrassing! This is why I don't believe in purses and why I believe pockets are very important.


I started drafting my submission for Hidden Youth. It's very sad but it's shaping up.

I'm also trying to commit to a particular decision in my novel and I don't know which one sounds better =/ It's the sort of thing where each different ending has a different set of morals attached.

Grad work, however, doesn't happen easily here, sigh.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
At Incheon in a lounge right now hanging out! I attempted more sleep, less movies this time, because I slept very little the night before and was in LA all day. Spent the afternoon at a friend's house in Baldwin Hills (it was a fancy house, holy crap).

I did catch two movies:
ANNIE -- OMG SO GOOD SO FUCKING GOOD. Quvenzhane was AMAZING, her character was so charming. The updating of the plot was really well done, used social media in a great car/helicopter chase scene. The presence of whiteness is SO interesting considering the racial make-up of the side characters. I've not seen many reviews commenting on Ben Stacks becoming more connected in a community way (that the movie ends with Annie cutting the ribbon on a literacy center) (Stacks' heart visibly breaking when he finds out Annie is illiterate after that AMAZING performance) (Annie covering up with performance art) (UGH ALL THE FEELS) (WHY DIDNT I SEE MORE META ON ANNIE ON TUMBLR I DONT KNOW) (ALSO, wtf that MoonQuake Lake movie scene with THE RIHANNA AND MILA KUNIS CAMEOS and everyone geeking out after?? SLAY ME HERE WHY DONT YOU) I'm going to get diabetes from this movie omfg. Definitely something to buy on DVD.

SEVENTH SON -- ..... This could have been a better movie except for the shitty world-building. Why would you construct a world where there are people hunting down witches because witches are categorically evil and most of the plot revolves around the complicated question on whether witches deserve to be left alive because they can actually do good? How do you manage to balance a cast with POC characters who are all antagonists and hella exotified? UGH. What I did appreciate was that there wasn't a lot of Male Gaze Fail (no gratuitous gore, no gratuitous sexual violence, there's a sweet fade-to-black love scene and the emphasis is clearly on the feelings the characters express for each other) and the witches were actually interesting, and the main character, who IS the Seventh Son, is also grappling with some interesting ethical issue (which fall flat because of the scripts dedication to the good/evil dichotomy and status quo rather than continuing to challenge it as he did throughout the whole film).
jhameia: ME! (Default)
- I met a lot of new people at ICFA and holy fuckstix I was so tired the whole time, and had to grade. The grading was fine, and it was really nice to decompress with my roommates in the suite area of the hotel room every evening to do so. I went to only two paper panels. Did two readings. E. Lily Yu bought me a drink!! I need to send her a thank-you email. She seems quite cool but we didn't get to talk much. Emily Jiang and I would talk until like 3am every night. I got to have quite a few one-on-ones I rarely do at these things.

- It turns out I get kind of annoyed by people who insist that I'm not an introvert, because holy jesus people need to be able to separate my public face from my private face and not assume they see both. I also get annoyed when people insist that all writers benefit from having some mental depression of some sort. It is unpleasant when that person happens to be a fellow international student.

- A lot of people were very supportive of my SEAsian SFF zine idea! Even fellow publishers... I met Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld and Jacob i-cant-remember-his-surname of Tachyon Publications. I always feel a bit weird talking to other folks about my idea because it feels like I might be stepping on someone else's turf and become competition. Maybe it's just paranoia from seeing how Malaysian business operate and feeling coldness from people who treat you like an upstart and have no sense of mentorship towards newer people.

- I took photos of a lot of Asians and posted them to Twitter, using the hashtag #NotRelated. A joke between me and Emily (we were with two other Chinese-Americans, who actually were sisters, getting food, and some lady walked up to us asking, "excuse me, but are you sisters?" and we were like WHUT). So, that was fun.

- Ted Chiang emailed me! Woooo.

- Had a nap after lunch yesterday. Gotta catch up on sleep, but then on I will be writing writing writing to make some deadlines. Had a fairly plot-driven dream about a boarding school that is built over a underwater cave system, four girls discovering that they can transform into mermaids, only to discover there's a vengeful water spirit living underneath pissed off at the pollution of the waters. I think the girls and their little brothers die, especially the little brothers, who were awful shitbags. I'm not sure though.

- Must write write write! Have three things I want to submit to, argh!
jhameia: ME! (Default)
- finished paper, maybe. there's something i don't like about it but can't be helped now.

- went to LA chinatown with rubato yesterday, finally got to the Mazu temple. what fun! rubato had never been to a folk temple before. on the urging of the tour guide, we lit joss sticks and made the circuit at all the altars (with the help of a useful diagram showing us where all the altars were and who they were to), and finished by burning some joss paper (rubato had never burnt joss paper before either!) then we wandered around chinatown, had dinner in the san gabriel valley, dessert closer to LAX, and she dropped me off at the airport

- check in and security was quick and smooth but the flight was AWFUL. so turbulent, and the plane was just shitty! i think i slept some 3 hours out of the 5 hour flight. but PK and I were on the same flight, we got to the shuttle okay, and the front desk was very nice and said we had a room already.

- had breakfast with catherine, havent seen her in years! yay! also Ramada's breakfast area has a place where you can make your own damn waffles!!

- i meant to nip over to the conference hotel around noon to check out the tech, really must test mine, but i woke up at noon instead. very sound sleep though. i did get an email back from the tech person about what's available and he said i could come over to do a test run, so things are looking up.

- also, just sold a thing!
jhameia: ME! (Default)
I am alive.

It was a really uncomfortable trip. Stretching seems to make me feel sore. I got to sleep some on the first leg because the plane was quite empty and so I had a whole row to myself, but on the second leg, I was in an inner seat next to someone who didn't go to the bathroom often. Any attempt to be horizontal was met with pain.

I re-watched The Book Of Life. It's just as satisfying on a re-watch! I also watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is kind of ridic (they changed Splinter's backstory?! He used to be a man who becomes a rat-figure after being exposed to rats while on mutagen... now he's a rat who transforms into a humanoid).

When I got in, immigration was pretty smooth, and Jen Kavetsky (or should I say, DOCTOR K since she just defended her dissertation :D) was waiting to fetch me from the airport. She even had a fresh bottle of water for me since she figured I'd be dehydrated, and took me to a fast food place. We talked about her cats and traveling.

My laptop... I turned it on, but neglected to turn on the main powerbar. Now the thing won't turn on at all. I'm not sure I'm feeling up to going to the computer store but it is the only major computer in the house.

I slept for hours. I woke up even more sore, not sure how. Maybe because I'm finally allowing myself to be sore.

My discussion sections for this week have been canceled. Yay. I'm refusing to go to campus for the rest of the week now. I'm just so tired!

My apartment is also INCREDIBLY COLD. It was warm outside and my apartment was FREEZING. This is good in summer, not so much in winter when I want to be warm. Ugh!

My earthworms have survived. Their bedding is super dried out so they haven't been eating as much as I thought they would. Also because it's been cold, I bet. They have, however, started on the whole apple that I put in the corner of the bin!

I'm going to lie down again. I wish someone would bring me chocolate.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Alive! Slightly awake.

Watched four movies on the plane: The Hundred-Foot Journey (loved it!), Guardians of the Galaxy (liked it all right), How To Train Your Dragon 2 (better than I expected), and Hercules (it was okay, but I agree with all the critics that it was hella white).

When I got into Incheon I made a cot out of two chairs and passed out for three hours. Still waking up. Need a shower quite desperately. Then I'll go get some food. There's a transit hotel lounge here which does a mean buffet spread that has never disappointed me. And I'll read. See you on the other side, internet!
jhameia: ME! (Default)
- Woke up at 9am today, with only 6 hours sleep. Had to wash my hair.

- Ate just a noodle for lunch in anticipation of a dinner at some hotel with a new friend.

- Did some last minute cleaning, left the apartment at 2pm, caught the 2.25 bus downtown to the train station. It had to be re-routed because of some closure on Uni Ave.

- Train line was super long, because one of the machines was damn finicky and of course I got it. Took me three tries with all my available cards.

- Sat close to a chatty senior undergrad who, idk, had "rube" written all over her forehead, to hear her tell the ish she'd gone through the entire quarter. Tried to explain what I did, and she was enthused but started talking and I'm not sure I understood her sentences from start to finish. And I'm usually pretty good at deciphering these sorts of things.

- The Flyaway to LAX took almost an hour with the traffic. I kept texting the friend over and over, because I couldn't remember which hotel we were going to meet at. Couldn't check in early so I had to lug my luggage with me to wait for the shuttle.

- I got onto a shuttle that serves two hotels but didn't understand it. Didn't matter because the friend had thrown his back and couldn't make it down.

- Determined to make the best of it anyway. Ended up at the Westin. Had shrimp, a glass of wine, some fries, a brownie. Had a very nice waiter. A very expensive dinner.

- Caught the shuttle back to LAX, checked in, went through security. My cookies went through! So... now waiting for the flight. Developing a headache. Really want to sleep. Not looking forward to 13 hours of sitting. Too much sitting. Sigh.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Holy crap public transit luck was AWESOME this morning.

Got up at 4.45, headed out around 5-something. Had to RUN to catch the bus as it was arriving at the stop and I was still several feet away.

The driver wasn't going to the train station but he stopped by a staircase closer to the station than the next stop. I got up it, and went up, and didn't realize that the gate in front led to a closed, LOCKED park. So I wandered in it looking for an open gate, and realized I should have just turned at the top and climbed over the fence which is way lower. I disturbed a couple of homeless people sleeping by the staircase, oops!

When I got to the train station, THREE of the FOUR ticket machines were out of order, boo! But I got my ticket, and got on the 5.55 train, like, three minutes before it left. And I had a glorious, glorious snooze.

When I got to Union Station, I bought my Flyaway ticket, headed to the Flyaway platform, where it was JUST about to leave and the driver was making announcements. He let me on, so I barely had to wait :D

At the terminal, a very nice lady noticed I was looking lost and directed me where to go. And of course the hotel shuttle didn't take long. And so I was at the hotel at 8am, rather than the projected 9 or 10!! *chuffed*

There's not a lot in the programming that I'm interested in (left so early because I specifically wanted to catch a panel on racial stereotypes in spy novels), but I hope to be able to hang out with friends more and meet some new people to get to know. Maybe sell some books too... one can hope! And hopefully meet some other big names I should have met by now. Tim Powers is supposed to be here, and I didn't realize. Could've brought my copy of Anubis Gates for him to sign, aw!

I finished writing a draft of my story for CYBERPUNK MALAYSIA in the courtyard just now and came up to the lobby for actual WiFi and some hot chocolate. My roommate isn't here yet and check-in isn't until 3pm anyway, bah.

I'm still super underslept and really tired, but still pretty excited about how the day is shaping up :D
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Finished NaNo last night around 4am. I am about a third into the novel, maybe? I don't know. There's still a lot left to write though.

Woke up at maybe 10am? But didn't bother getting out of bed until noon.

All I did today was work on some embroidery, made fried catfish nuggets and mashed potatoes, and I'm baking cookies right now.

Tomorrow I'm going to do my best to get out to the train station by 6am for a 4-hour commute to the LosCon hotel which might not be so irritating if it wasn't for the many transfers. I have no idea what I am going to wear. I still don't really understand Southern California weather.

I saw a different cat from the calico tonight. This one is a dark gray, solid color. I've never seen it before. It came sniffing at the shelter I set up, looked up into my window at me, then walked away.

Today's embroidery progress. Trying to decide if I should take it with me tomorrow onto the train, or if I should just read a book. Got so many to catch up with...
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Missed the Riverside train by a goddamn hair! Had to catch another train t Orange County and wait forever. I was going to be so good, and just use public transit instead of shuttling it, and in the end I caved and got a taxi for the final leg home because I could not STAND either moving my luggage further or waiting another hour. I spent two hours in immigration alone, ugh.

On the plus side, my new Asus travels really well. On the con side, I really need to get another AC adapter for it.

I am sure I've been traveling some 45+ hours and only slept properly for 6 of them. Going to turn in early tonight.

I watched Belle and Snowpiercer on the plane(s)! What great movies. I don't think I could watch Snowpiercer again anytime soon; it's so intense! Belle is a really satisfying movie tho. I killed time with X-Men Days of Future Past and I DID NOT KNOW BLINK WAS ASIAN.

I did one of those "cultural experiences" art and crafts things at Incheon airport; seems they switch it up every month or so. This time they were offering lacquered pendants; you put on the abalone pieces yourself with a toothpick. I'll selfie with it later.

I'm feeling pretty glad I volunteered for the MA grad orientation rather than insist on doing the PhD one, since that's on Wednesday and not tomorrow because I am feeling kind of rotten right now.


Sep. 10th, 2014 09:09 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
OK, back from Penang! Yesterday we picked Ray up and drove bravely on. Took us about four and a half hours, and we made a stop at Ong Cheng Huat in Sungai Dua for lunch around 2.30. They deep-fry spring chickens there, you see, and it's delicious. It's also hard to find unless you know what you're looking for, because it's in a slip road and actually behind some residential houses in an industrial area.

We then went to find my Auntie Mimi in her nursing home. She's worse than the last time I visited; this time she practically did not recognize me. It's kind of sad situation; it's an understaffed institution and I feel everyone's sitting around waiting to die or something. There're no activities, nothing to give the residents any mental stimulation. My aunt is the kind of person who needs a lot of mental stimulation, and without it, her dementia has become a lot worse. She's also losing threads of memory that she never lost before, like who her brothers are, how many kids they had. She thought I was her sister (which I take to be a sign of how much weight I've gained) and forgot she had a niece, much less two. When I said goodbye, she practically waved me off, already tired of me questioning her, and I just had... this terrible terrible feeling inside. I tried to hug her but she was in no mood for it.


Anyway, we went to an aunt's house to stay. She's currently out of the country, attending her youngest daughter's graduation, but her mom was there, my Sook Poh as we call her. We hung out in the living room chatting with her the best we could: she speaks Cantonese and Penang Hokkien (and of course understands some English and Malay). Ray speaks a bit of Penang Hokkien, and Roy and I stumbled with Cantonese and English the best we could. It's the first time Ray's met her, too. We had dinner with Uncle Jimmy, wandered around for apung.

Sook Poh was shocked to hear we were only staying for one night. She'd given me a set of keys with an autogate controller with the full expectation that we were hanging out for much longer, sigh.

I didn't sleep well, had to pee, and then had a nightmare about yelling at my mom who had come to WisCon and was going around asking me intrusive questions about my friends, IN THE SAFER SPACE no less, after which it was a lot of being worried about something terrible happening (in the vein of her harassing my friends and triggering them in some way). Ray getting up for morning prayers got me out of the dream, thank goodness.

Roy had trouble getting out of bed, but we were on the road by around 8.30am. (Sook Poh looked so sad as we left. Sigh.) We hit up some food first , then went to Mount Erskine to find the columbarium where our grandparents' ashes are kept.

Roy and I found Grandpa and Grandma fairly easily, so Ray got her first ever look at our grandparents' ashes. They died before she was born (I have 9 years on her; she's the youngest of my generational cohort) and she'd never been (partly because her dad died when she was really young too, so her mom doesn't really know where the ashes are). What with the family trying to keep track of the family tree lately, I thought it'd be nice to make sure she got to see the place at least.

We had a lot of time, and our last stop, Ai Linn Boh's coffee shop, didn't open until noon, so we headed downtown to Armenian St and saw Hock Teik Cheng Sin temple (and the preparations for the Tua Peh Kong festival) (he's a local prosperity deity), the Khoo Kongsi (they have a very impressive family court that's practically a tiny town), the Nyonya beading shop I've been meaning to go to for years (40 years of beading, and he makes the shoes from scratch. It was super awesome; he showed us works in progress, past examples, some of his process. It was so terrific), and another nearby shop that the beading guy told us to go to because the lady there gives classes (she wasn't in, but her brother was and called her for us, and he has kids on the US side of the pond too). Grown-ups are so great.

We hung out in a hipster cafe for a bit, where I learned about the Depressed Cake Shop which is a festival program to raise awareness of mental illness. The Wifi at the hipster cafe was kind of shit, but Ti Kuan Yin tea is pretty nice. My brother had a lamb harissa which was pretty delish.

(Somewhere in the midst of this were exhortations from my dad to buy some fruits for my Auntie Mimi so Roy had taken off to buy some oranges.)

Around 11.30am, we headed out to Tanjung Tokong to find Ai Linn Boh. I called Uncle Jimmy to let him know that we were on the way, and also to ask which dialect she speaks (the night before, he offered to call her to let her know that we were coming). She runs, with her son and new daughter-in-law (I missed the wedding because I was in Singapore), a coffee shop, one of those affairs in a canteen area by a housing estate. They sell kaya toast and various beverages. They also make their own kaya, every morning. Just as we were settling in, Roy asked me which one she was, because the last time he saw her was years and years ago, and I was like, "she's the one on the phone, she must be, because she's now looking at us, quick, wave, I bet that's Uncle Jimmy on the phone."

So, that was cool! She was very pleased to see us too. We waved at our newly-married cousin. Uncle Jimmy came by. We got three servings of toast with butter and kaya (they now serve three types of bread so it was imperative that we tried one of each) AND two half-boiled eggs each. We were so wired on sugar for a while and I am still crashing.

There was also a box with a couple of horseshoe crabs flailing about in it which was both fascinating and freaky. Roy bought them for RM8 and we went to a nearby beach (I never knew that the coffee shop was literally 20 meters away from a beach) to set them free.

(Somewhere in the middle of this, we told Uncle Jimmy of the plan to stop by the nursing home once more to drop off the oranges Roy bought, and he sighed a long-suffering sigh, told us about the time he brought her fruits: "she wouldn't eat them AT ALL. And then she wouldn't let anyone take them away! So they basically rotted the whole time." So we changed our mind and headed straight home, super late.)

The way home was pretty uneventful; a couple of pit stops, a prayer stop. I fell asleep early on and my head was tilted back, so I pretty much snorted myself awake, which was kind of an awful sensation. (I put the back down and put my feet up and that helped a lot with the dozing.)

On the way down from Penang, there's a stop at Gunung Tempurung, which has a drain leading to a tiny river. In the drain, there tends to be a whole flock of butterflies. Not just ANY butterflies, though! These are Rajah Brooke's Birdwing Butterflies, which are about 2 - 3 inches wide with a glorious black and green wingspan (and red bodies) (they're a sexy butterfly). So, that was pretty cool. I'd glad I got to catch them; the day was kind of rainy.

We got to Shah Alam by around 8pm to drop Ray off, and Dad had cooked fried fish (pomfret, fuck yeah) so yeah, we got home in good time.

The oranges were delicious, my brother and I agree that they are sweet, but my parents think they are sour, and we have no idea what accounts for this.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
So, we did neither tea nor fish spa, but [personal profile] jolantru and I did attempt to do some work in the Esplanade library, which didn't work out too great because we couldn't get Internet! What is wrong with Singapore! How can you look so chrome-buffed hi-tech but have so few places with Wifi?!

Anyway, we then betook ourselves out to Books Actually, where we met @monkeygod who had to wait for us over an hour because we got distracted by cake and drinks. I bought some books, met the bookstore, then demanded to go to the Hainanese cafe nearby for lunch. [profile] troiyaumes came with her hubbie and friends to join us! Then came @halleluyang. While we hung out, a HUGE funeral procession came parading through, a really old-fashioned affair with three or four or five trucks bedecked in flowers, little girls in pink hanfus and tiny pink umbrellas, a troops of men wearing green and Stetsons (why? I don't know) and the coffin was hand-carried (usually they're in the back of the hearse) while relatives followed. And it must have been a big-name person, a sort of clan leader, because the route they covered for this parade was preeeeeeetty long.

@monkeygod shared with us some WorldCon news about where the next years' WorldCons will be (Spokane? Really? Kansas City? Even more really? And Beijing put in a bid) and I may have stared at him with increasing levels of alarm everytime he opened his mouth with a new sentence. We agreed that a SEAsian WorldCon would be best done in the Philippines, esp in Manila, where they actually know their shit and understand literary SFF. Malaysia and Singapore just doesn't have the manpower, we're too expensive, and there's not enough local interest.

It was a good lunch, and I feel we might have committed one of the Geek Social Fallacies by having so many people from two different friendship circles at the one table? I still enjoyed hanging out though.

Then @halleluyang, [personal profile] jolantru and I hung out in a hipster cafe nearby for further drinks.

My right spectacle lens fell off, not for the first time over the weekend, but this time for the worse, because the screw also fell off. Fortunately @halleluyang had some plasters on her, and [personal profile] jolantru got me a rubber band from the staff. So yeah.

The bus was really late which made me really nervous! I had a chat with a woman waiting for her fiance who was on the bus coming into Singapore. (It was an interesting conversation; her second marriage to a guy she's only met twice, he's already married and she feels it's better to be a second wife so she doesn't have to make the husband a very high priority compared to her first marriage. She also showed me a picture of her four kids. She seemed a really neat person.)

The bus ride in was fine. The only other person on the bus was a teacher at one of the USJ schools. I slept a bit.

Then I forgot my bag on the bus when getting off. My overnight bag! Not my backpack. I've got to go get it back from the bus station office now.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Yesterday I got to Singapore no problem. The hostel I'm staying at is... kind of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I like the open air concept. I'm currently sitting in the lobby and the roof is a plastic opaque thing, and I'm looking out to the other buildings. Somehow due to the placement of the building, the wind doesn't blow the rain in this way. There's also a smoking garden with more seating. There're some bookshelves too, and a couple of couches. The Internet connectivity has been somewhat abominable, and I don't think it was just because I was behind a wall in the dorm room. It's behaving tonight though, which is surprising given that it's raining. The shower stalls are awful, though. The folding doors feel like they're about to fall off, and I'm pretty sure the locks don't even work. They're also so tiny I'm in constant fear that I'll accidentally spray my clothes. The toilets are similarly cramped. The bed isn't comfortable, and the pillow feels like a "dead cat" pillow I once had. I've woken myself up snoring a few times because my head was so poorly supported.

The other guests are mixed: lots of fellow Asians; two of my other roomies are Vietnamese. Last night I had dinner with the woman who slept on the bottom bunk of mine, who's from Chile. But there're also a lot of Europeans here, and I think the proprietor is hanging out with the white dudes. IDK. I think I could grow to like the place if the staff were friendlier to me. When I first got here, the receptionist just got a blanket for me and showed me to my room and didn't even bother explaining anything else to me. Is this normal for hostels?

I do like the ambience though. I feel that maybe in the future I'd want a place like this for my own.

I tried to go to the Hipster cafe that Sarah rec'd to me, but the first time, I couldn't find the front door (it's not in front, it's through the gate next door) and the second time, it was closed by the time I got there. Bah!

But I had a lovely time with [profile] troiyaumes and hubbie today! We went to the Geylang Serai center and had delicious food, then went to get some durian at Aljunied, followed by shopping for mooncakes at Takashiyama. I have never seen so many mooncakes in one place. I hope never to see so many mooncakes in one place ever again.

My feet hurt from walking a lot though. I'm trying to decide if it's the shoes, or the walking, or the fact that I've put on weight so my feet are no longer used to carrying my weight. If it's the shoes, well, fuck, I gotta get new ones. If it's the walking, that's just a good thing. If it's the weight, that's no problem either; I'll just keep training my feet to carry me. That's what they're designed to do, after all.

Right now I'm sprawled on one of the couches in the lobby of the hostel, taking in the ambient noise, and eating Tim Tams. It's nice and cool from the rain, which is better than the air-conditioning in the dorm room right now. I'm also working down my new notebook as much as I can. And trying to work on a draft of my prospectus.

Tomorrow I'll see [personal profile] jolantru! We'll hit up Esplanade and figure out where to have tea from there. The Cookie Museum has sadly closed their Esplanade outlet, after 11 years too. But I'm sure the Singapore Flyer's fish spa is still there. It better be anyway.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Trying out this ASUS for the first time! The keyboard is tiny so it takes some getting used to, but I like it so far. Windows 8.1 is... very hit-and-miss. On the one hand, I think it's a pretty clean for touchscreens, if you're going to use touchscreens and Windows programs only. Not so much for using non-Windows things like Google stuff, which I also use. There're also some things which one needs a Microsoft account for, like the SkyDrive. I can't decide which Tumblr app to get. The Twitter app lacks the sophistication of the browser version, which is pretty darn unsophisticated already. The new MSWord looks terrible; they cleaned it up for the touchscreens by removing the bars with the fonts and everything, which makes it look like WordPad or OpenOffice and if I liked those, I would be using those. I'm sure I can deal; I just don't like it. I'll take this machine with me to Singapore and see how I feel about it, try to get more of a sense of it. I fortunately don't tend to use a lot with my machines. On the bright side, scrolling Tumblr is pretty okay when I'm in tablet mode.

I got a nice small overnight bag from my dad for the trip, and I'm leaving on Thursday after all. I don't really have anything to do until tomorrow, so I guess I'll go look for a nice hipster cafe and write there for a few hours. I'm staying at The Little Red Dot on Lavender St., so if anybody wants to hang out, let me know.

My bus leaves at 11.45am, so I'll get in around 6pm? 7pm? Depending on traffic. Hopefully I'll be able to find the place easily. I need a roadmap of Singapore! They must be easy to find, right?

I can't decide if I want to wear my running shoes or fancy sandals (which are also very good for walking). This will probably end up being a last-minute decision.

Anyway! Phone number again: +60123241148

October 2017

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