Sometimes I imagine…

Sitting on a bench, with a ball of white fluff on my lap and licking my fingers, already sticky from the sorbet I had eaten earlier, with a book just turned over on my right and a writing notebook just behind it. Quite a few of my friends, my New Yorker friends, some of them from my elementary school Churchill, are at the park, grinning and laughing and talking about the new show that just came out or that crazy movie, or what’s going on downtown, with ice cream that we’d splurged on but eccentric clothes that scream to the passerby around us, ‘West Village. People right in that creative niche of New York. May or may not be starving artists.’ And we laugh and talk about plans. Three of us want to do that 5K fundraiser next weekend, so we use our phones to sign up right there so we don’t forget. One of my friends might be living in Vermont, and I’ve roped another friend to come see her with me over a rare long weekend, at the end of the month. We talk about hiking and skiing a bit, and I tell them about the winter vacation I’ve planned as a large backpacking and backcountry skiing trip. They share their own adventures and plans, and when we all have to leave for the night we wave and I head to a cafe overlooking the park, one of those with vegan goodies, biscotti, and tea, and go back to my writing, or my book if I was just at a cliffhanger.

At work the area is nice, the buildings are clean, and people nod and say hi as I walk to my desk. I have a lot of control as a project leader and it excites me whenever we complete something, or get praised by our clients. The reports we do periodically record the economic and environmental impacts of our work. The work could be environmental consulting, new product design, documentary making, or video game design – but in any case the atmosphere is inspired yet not cutthroat, and long nights come during a busy week leading up to a final project but aren’t a regular thing.

I’ve tried out many classes each week, including photography, guitar, acting, and singing, so now I walk around with a digital camera looking for interesting colors on the water or puppies and post them to my photoblog as often as I’d like. Sometimes I make digital illustrations for my story or just for fun. I’m lucky that I have a well-enough paying job, because my musically-inclined friends tell me whenever a concert is happening and we go. Not all of them are high profile ones, but I’ve been impressed by many of them. I’ve really gotten into the music scene in New York, and I’ve actually been fortunate enough to meet some of the performing artists. I’m always adding bands to my playlist. I make it a point to see a movie or a show once a week. Or shopping – I no longer need or really want to limit my shopping trips to four times a year, whenever I would freeze or burn if I didn’t make them, and some of my friends really love going.

My editor has been calling me, sending me edits and questions and working with me a lot, although it’s a bit slow because I’m not a writer full time. But her enthusiasm helps keep me going through this long editing process. There are so many deadlines, but if I make them all I might get my epic novel published by mid next year. I’m lucky that my job is mostly a 9 to 5 one that gives me some extra time to think and write.

I head back to the train to commute home. I either have a place in the city like Brooklyn or someplace like Westchester. Wherever I am, the neighborhood is warm and inviting and has its fair share of crazy progressives.

Besides almost every moment in and around the city, I love getting to travel. I’ve done the Peace Corps and had my eyes opened quite a bit more from that experience. I can also speak Spanish almost fluently after all of that time – almost. Afterwards I’ve visited many areas of southern Africa and even spent a week with an indigenous tribe there – and got to write all about it. I’ve got goals on my life list that I am just now planning out – taking months off eventually to hike the Appalachian trail, completing an ironman, writing a song.

That’s more than enough to keep me smiling as I walk down the street. My phone goes off. It’s a text from him saying he can make it to the cafe and movie tonight, and that the last concert was even better than last week’s. And should he buy the new fiction book that’s on sale that I’d reviewed. He’s at the store now.

I text him back ‘NOOOOOO’ and then ‘Well I won’t drag you out of there but…’ and then an ‘It’s YOUR money…’ and grin because I was walking to the same place. In ten minutes I round the corner to the bookstore, look inside, and see him near the front of the line. I can’t see what he’s buying but he’s at the register, so I go around. As he’s leaving I jump on him and yell ‘GOT YOU!’ in front of the whole store.

He’s still laughing when we get to the movie. I’ve got his hand in mine. We’re going to talk about our trip and our future a bit together tonight. It’s almost been two years. I squeeze and don’t let go.

That last part might all be in my imagination. Even more than my job is. But getting eight hours of sleep a night and making money to keep my dreams alive and loving my job would be more than enough to keep me smiling every day as I walk through the street.

I’m not in a great place at this very moment, but I will be. One day.

Advertisements

Song song songs!

Cause I feel like posting them! What what?

Maybe when I finish my two assignments tonight (one 22 pages and at least that many hours in the making, the other 9-10 pages that I have not quite started yet) and review tests and material I didn’t do so well on, I’ll write a substantive post.

And my story. It’s still playing out, up here in my head, and fast – I seem to like to plot the most when I’m working, strangely enough – but no words are going down until this shit gets done.

And exercise. Last run was last Saturday. What happened to exercising every day? Oh, that thing? That starts with an M and ends with a T?

And shopping. I need new pairs of pants and shoes. And fall clothes in general. And more food.

And sleeping sometime that’s not from 10 AM to 1 PM.

And going to class.

But before this shit somehow gets finished so I can somehow pass my classes like a zombie that thinks that there’s a difference between a “hard curriculum that will get you great skills and jobs” and an “impossible curriculum that requires that you cut out anything extraneous including exercise or pursuing your own clubs or interests and hope of more than five hours of sleep on a weeknight if you’re not even procrastinating, in a school where you’re not taken seriously as someone that ‘works hard’ if you’re not doing a UROP for 2 or 3 hours a day or a varsity sport or course 6 or 18,” I’m posting some MUSIC.

This song never fails to make my day. Or early morning as it is. Sounds very much like the average day in the life of…

I think this is my favorite AAR song.

And here is my huge celeb crush. Back when he had his LONG HAIR. Still think he looked best in Snakes on a Plane…

And who knew that rockers from the 2000’s could introduce you to classic songs on their blogs? I love this song and this video so much. Should really give more of these types of songs a listen… did not like Come Undone though (I did love Unchained Melody, but that’s a different kind of ‘old song’, isn’t it?)

And here is my crush again, covering that song, sadly with shorter hair =(

I would totally post Saturday here again from Fall Out Boy, but I’ve posted it before. Time to get to work!

The Perfect School Day

A perfect school day in a perfect world:

6 AM – Wake up, throw on exercise clothes
6:15-8:30 AM – Exercise, maybe a morning run on a good day, 1-2 hours, + travel time + shower + change
8:30 – Breakfast + read books, fiction or non-fiction
10:00 – Policy-making Class/War Psychology Class
11:00 – Computer Game Writing Class/Music Theory Class
12:00-2:00 – Lunch + write LIKE AN AUTHOR
2-4 – Global warming related Classes/Computer game + website design
4-6 – Study and learn shit
6-7 – Dinner
7-9:30 – Chorus/Practice playing for a real BAND
9:30-11 – Write like an AUTHOR
11 – Go to BED

The weekend: Replace class time with study time or free time
The weekend(2): Do a morning run AND afternoon run to prepare for a marathon

…LIKE A BOSS

In case you’re wondering a perfect non-school day would look like…

(In the forest)

3 hours – writing
7 hours – hiking in the jungle, maybe taking pictures/film for a documentary
3 hours – reading
2-3 hours – cooking and whatever
8-9 hours – SLEEP

Stories and Songs

Man, it might be a really bad thing that I found out who William Beckett was almost mid-semester instead of say seven years ago. (Wait… seven years ago I was in eighth grade? What happened to you, time? That’s SO LONG! And here this story I’m writing started in like sixth or seventh grade… *hides in shame because it’s not nearly halfway written YET*)

Anyway William Beckett has this blog and whenever I go there he’s doing things like posting awesome music (Taking Back Sunday? Gotye?), posting awesome books (1984??), or having this Friday Night MOVIE CLUB where he recommends a movie and then watches it… with everyone online who’s virtually ‘watching along’ from their own homes. Haven’t done that yet, but dang! So far have to say that he has good taste.

The Gotye song is one that I particularly LOVE, and that I can relate to in terms of friendships rather than romance (seeing as I’ve never HAD a romance… my life is quite boring). There are some people that I just knew for a long time, maybe even a year at this school, but even after all that time they treat me like a stranger when I see them. Or even if we just had a two week trip together, or an entire class together – some people smile at me and say hi like they are happy and surprised to see me, recognizing me like I recognize them, and we even do a bit of small talk or more before heading on our separate ways.

But sometimes I would try to engage in conversation, say the right thing, ask the right questions, realize no one else was participating or really paying attention, and then be quiet. It was less of an embarrassment to be quiet than rambly, anyway; but more boring. Or sometimes people that I knew and that I would do something late for, whether cleaning my room or arriving to a meeting for a project, would smile and treat me cordially for the next few months but go bad-mouthing me all the while. As if, like in the song, I’d ‘screwed them over’, right?

There are so many cliches and tropes out there, you’d think every possible scenario would be covered in every song you hear or story you listen to, right? But I feel like there are few songs or stories that really capture my experience – haven’t broken up with anyone, haven’t really fallen in love with anyone. The fitting in alt rock songs come close, maybe, but for the most part they assume you’ve already been invited to the party (‘Dance Dance’, ‘The Middle’ from the MV, well…). But getting painted into the wall… now THAT’S something I can remember.

Without further ado here is the wonderful Gotye.

Now one more thing about stories…

I’m FINALLY doing this 750 word a day thing, on 750words.com. I’m focusing on my story now. I’m really excited because I’ve finally got most of the first three or so parts (parts probably equaling thirds of plot of one… or two books) outlined in my notebook and visualized in my head. I’ve got the beginning, the first protagonist’s background, the escape, the problem with society, the magic, the missions, the subplot mystery behind a villain, the truth behind it, the problem with ANOTHER society and a new villain, the injury, the betrayal, the showdown with major water boss, the rescue, the meeting, the attack…

Aaand that’s just part number 1! We haven’t even introduced protagonist #2!

I have parts 2 and 3 much more ‘thought out’ (all the stuff before them is plot I’ve developed over the last year) and my main issue now is fleshing out my villains. I have at least three – maybe four. But they definitely need to be fleshed out.

I am breaking one major rule for fiction. But I’m sure there has to be a quote somewhere out there like this: If you’re going to break a rule, break it boldly. So that’s what I’m doing. I accidentally typed my own name where one of my character’s names was, where a guy was talking to them like ‘Stop asking questions, … (my name)!’ I guess I just thought back to those scenarios I had been in and wrote my name from memory. But that doesn’t change the fact that…

The main character is almost like my avatar.

Almost. For one hideous first draft I had a class look over, one person said, ‘This girl is too perfect. It’s obvious that she’s the hero type. You can’t have perfect characters.’

I’ve realized while brainstorming this that the imperfections that I want to explore in the heroine are… my own. My insecurities. And it’s not cliche at all because no one’s written about them like I’m going to write about them.

And both my protagonist and I have a big crush on the second protagonist. But that’s in part 2. Faarrr away from where I am now, writing wise.

Bottom line: I’m going on a fantasy adventure and no literary or couch potato critic is going to stop me.

Onward!

P.S. A freshman on my floor wants to start a band! We’re going to learn guitar in the fastest time EVER!

4 Day Weekend… from HELL, in HELL

To say that last week was busy would be putting it mildly.

There were four problem sets, three lab reports, and a presentation due over five days. One of those lab reports was 20% of our grade in one class. Needless to say, I only made it to class on Monday (3/3), Wednesday afternoon (so 1/2), Thursday afternoon (so 1/4), and Friday (1/1). Tuesday was just a no go. And Wednesday, I hadn’t eaten before my four hour lab class, so by the time it was 6 PM my stomach was literally tearing a hole in me or something. I have never starved, like three days no food living in poverty starved, but I think I might start buying extra food or something to give to those people on the street. It’s a horrible place to be in.

(It was really strange when I started eating though – couscous – and then try some chickpeas and suddenly the stomach pain gets worse and this feeling like might-faint feeling comes over, like while you’re eating? There’s probably something wrong with that. Never again…)

This happened partly because of my meal plan, which gives me one meal a day, but also leads to me buying less food for myself in the dorm… and then during a busy week, when’s there time to go for a grocery run?

No time to go buy clothes for the fall – no pants other than these lounge-type sweatpants and no wearable sweaters after two days in one of them. No time to thoroughly organize my room, take out the vacuum from the front desk, wash my dishes completely, buy utensils after the last ones broke – I’m up till four working on school. No time to go to my exercise classes in the morning, to go running outside or inside, to wash my face and mouth before rushing to class after three hours of sleep. No time to work on the web design commitments that I had made and wanted to do. No time to find friends and karaoke or just talk with again. No time to read new books, finish Catcher in the Rye, and do my 750 words a day of writing for my novel.

I had time for all of this back working full time. Complain complain complain, right? Is that all I’m doing? I just don’t want a repeat of my ceasefire of passion and activities and constant lateness like last year. I started out well, trying to be on time and make it to every class. I moved to a single in a calm dorm and visited helpful offices at MIT for strategies to manage my time and work effectively (like S^3) in my first few weeks. I was writing down tasks and putting things on a calendar and whatnot. Last week I didn’t even have a phone, headphones, or facebook; and it was still hard to finish everything on time (and most thing got done late).

Enough, enough, there’s work to do, let’s not get stuck in the neverending cycle of IHTFP. I don’t really understand what ’emo’ means, but since there are some bands I enjoy listening to at these times that are called ’emo’, I suppose I might be going in that direction a bit late (after middle and high school…) MUST STOP NOW – Optimism time!

I do have a resolution for the three days of class that I have upcoming…

– Attend them ALLLLLLL
– Eat 2.5-3 meals a day (even a freaking 9 AM APPLE/cereal)
– Be prepared for those two tests coming up
– Get ahead on the next 20% lab report, ecology research paper, and psets (like THIS WEEKEND)
– Kick myself off youtube for REAL (like, seriously)

Hey guess what else I’m doing this weekend?

Web design!

In fact, that’s all I should be doing tonight! For a job! (And then there’s a club that needs a site too… ahhh)

There are other things I could write about, such as

– FINALLY getting a new phone after ~ 2 weeks, as in the iPhone 4 (no S) + the included headphones that ROCK THE BASS OUT

– Two weekends (and one ‘cannot work any longer’ weeknight) of obsessing over “The Academy Is…”, TAI TV, and William Beckett even if my friends call him ‘effeminate’ (and his oh so cool BLOG!), only for him to announce on Saturday that The Academy Is BREAKING UP…….! =( =( =(

And I just got these new headphones that make their songs sound SO MUCH BETTER TOO!!!!!! Even ‘About a Girl!’ Now I love the musical arrangements 1000x more! 😡 😡 (Except the non-chorus part that sounds a bit like Disney. But Will’s awesome vocals make up for it. But with these headphones I’m hearing this song more as a sad song than a purely poppy song, and I LOVE IT MUCH MORE that way. I thin)

– Getting my bicycle free from its rusted lock after MONTHS

But no time to expound because it’s time to perfect four web site designs!

Woo hoo!

Time for my current favorite celeb EVER to cover the song above!

(He cut his hair, and I wasn’t sure what to think until he started singing… He looks AWESOME either way! William Beckett, I’ll follow you and the others wherever you all go after The Academy Is…!)

Progress

This will be the last of those ‘How productive am I being at this random time of day?’ posts for a while – at least a week or two. I’d like to have more interesting content on this site as well, and spreading out similar posts might help me do that. But, like within a chapter of a story (if only I was writing those RIGHT NOW, right?), I can’t just stop before the chapter ends. I’ll try to set a positive note with this post for the rest of the week! =)

So, I decided that I was not ambitious enough last weekend. Allowing myself to get obsessed with an alternative rock star and spending all day in the room are only going to make me say ‘If only…’ when I listen to songs like ‘The Phrase that Pays’ or much less literal ones like the Taratino version of ‘Pistolero’ that just make me want to be, like, THAT adventurous.

Pistolero – ‘I hate robbing banks!’ *BANG BANG BANG BAM*

Anyway I’m going to go right back to building towards goals. With ambition. The next step is realism. And… the work, of course.

Well, I already worked for 4.5 hours straight on a lab report, with a group. Man, I can work 100% better in groups. Goal 1 – work with others a little more often.

But that’s not going to override my goal to become an efficient self-studier, so I did what the masses will never believe. What my friends will never believe.

I blocked YOUTUBE.

Cr-azy, isn’t it? I survived just fine on facebook and youtube over the summer, but I do better when there are no distractions, and no ‘oh I have to change the song’s every FOUR MINUTES. Sure, Safari still has it, but my computer crashes when I try using it, and I feel no temptation. None whatsoever.

Especially since I got my favorites on my computer already… 😉 Thank you, easy to use iTunes! Now if only you had Asian Kung Fu Generation…

Oh and I blocked CRACKED too. It’s a great site though, especially those posts about public bathrooms, Twilight, hipster-ism, and the 10 most baffling foreign horror movies.

Still have this site to procrastinate on though! Not taking that away!

Back to goals. One of those goals is to go back to my Life List and update it regularly; until then I’ll stick with these shorter term, more specifically ONE term ones:

– Write write write every day + participate in meetings + workshops with the Lit society
– Exercise exercise every day
– Design websites for a club and startup
– Chorus! (Learn rhythms, improve sight-reading…)
– Audition for a small part in this term’s musical
– Help organize social events/activities with Sustainability @ MIT
– Get on top of classes

That’s all just a liiiiitle ambitious for someone who spent their Saturday on their computer, no?

Well, I’ll start with the last – getting on top of classes – then other commitments with the websites, then exercise, and see what happens from there. But now I can’t finish everything at the last minute (or five days late) because I have other things to do.

Unfortunately since I can’t go on youtube (and can’t even see the videos from this site – I KNOW!), I’ll have to end here… with a Yosemite picture! Eventually I’ll figure out the music thing but am short of time right now. Finish problem set time!

Freedom (from my room)… Is Near!

Well, no, I HAVE GOTTEN out my room, done laundry, gone grocery shopping, gone to class, two classes left… and I’m still out of my room! *rejoices*

But there are still these two pesky psets to finish. And a lab report and presentation to work on. Boooo.

So there’s this thing called ADD. That I probably don’t have because I never had big attention problems in classes in high school… (except if you asked my Japanese teacher…)

So what do you call it when, with a problem set to get in hand-in-able form before 4 PM or so (in two hours), when you get back to your dorm to work on it at 2 PM, you say ‘Hey! Maybe I’ll go charge my computer at the piano room for a bit, practice a bit, and get to work’, and then end up practicing about 1 and 1/10 songs for 45 minutes?

And earlier: “Hey I’m going to study. But first, I have to reread that Cracked article about how Zac Efron started ‘the Orwellian horror we live in today.’

And now: ‘Hey I’m going to blog, because maybe increasing my self awareness about my distractability will help me… face it!’

And here I was doing so well (better, like, seriously) until that pset took 20 hours of my life and is still giving me 0 out of 10 points until I hand it in… I never got that stuck on anything I did in DC…

Back to work, time to focus for an hour. (Is story-inspiring music the best choice for this moment though…)